War on Terrorism

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News-November 8, 2006

Colorado Producers Resist Livestock Registration

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture's drive to register livestock premises to guard against disease and bioterrorism is meeting resistance from Colorado stockmen, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported Tuesday. The premises registration is the first step toward individual animal identification and tracking, which the government says will speed a response to disease or bioterrorism targeting food supplies... The goal is to equip officials with tools to identify diseased livestock and where they've been within 48 hours of discovery... Many have balked at participating because they don't trust the USDA, said Bill Bullard, a former South Dakota cow-calf producer who heads R-CALF [Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund], United Stockgrowers of America.” (Cattlenetwork.com; 07Nov06; Angie Pointer, Dow Jones Newswire)

SRI International gets $56.9M federal contract

“SRI International said Tuesday it was awarded a $56.9 million contract to help develop treatments for avian flu, SARS, West Nile virus, hepatitis, and biodefense pathogens and toxins. The Menlo Park [California]-based independent nonprofit research and development organization said the contract with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is five years long.” (Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal; 07Nov06)

U.S. senator wants user fees reduced on Canadian flights and product imports

“The Republican head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee wants U.S. officials to reduce new user fees on Canadian commercial flights and goods shipments that are supposed to kick in this month. ...Maine Senator Susan Collins complained that the fees could seriously harm cross-border trade. Proposed in August as an emergency measure, the fees would start Nov. 24 and are intended to fund random U.S. inspections of Canadian goods to control pests, disease and bioterrorism.” (The Vancouver Sun; 08Nov06; Beth Gorham, Canadian Press)


Anthrax hoaxer is let off jail

“A grandmother who sent hoax anthrax packages to Tony Blair's family[,]...Shirley Freed, 72, escaped with a 51-week suspended jail term after mailing terror packages to the Prime Minister and several other politicians. She was told she had only escaped prison because of her age and poor health. Freed stuffed the envelopes with various substances, including weedkiller and sugar... Lewes crown court heard that Freed was arrested after
DNA and handwriting analysis led police to her home in Littlehampton, West Sussex. She pleaded guilty to five counts of sending hoax packages. Judge Anne Rafferty said Freed was ‘nasty’ and ‘wicked.’”
(Mirror.co.uk; 07Nov06; Krissy Storrar)

Interpol Warns Legal Loopholes Threaten Bioterrorism Prevention Efforts

“Interpol launched the second phase of its bioterrorism prevention programme today with a specialised workshop for senior law enforcement officials to raise awareness and understanding. The three-day meeting, held in Kiev and attended by
police representatives from 23 countries, will address a range of issues including biohazards, laboratory security, bioterrorism identification, and the importance of legislation to combat the threat... The first phase of Interpol’s bioterrorism prevention programme identified the lack of legislative support for the law enforcement community as one of the most significant problems... Implementing the appropriate legislation needs to be done urgently, as without this, law enforcement often has no framework or authority to act,'
said Professor Barry Kellman, legal advisor to Interpol’s bioterrorism prevention unit.” (Interpol media release; 06Nov06)

Research to combat chemical threats

“Multiple laboratories on [Rutgers University’s] Busch campus are searching for antidotes to some of the most deadly chemical weapons used by
terrorists and military forces. A National Institutes of Health $19.2 million grant awarded to researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey [UMDNJ] and Rutgers University will support the formation of a Center of Excellence to perform the research.... One chemical weapon the Center is focusing on is sulfur mustard, which Laskin said was used in World War I by the Germans as a battlefield weapon. More recently, Iraqi forces utilized sulfur mustard during the Iran-Iraq War and also against the Kurds... Research on antidotes for chemical weapons has made some major advances, but the success of already developed antidotes heavily depends on exposure time and where the exposure is located in the body... The researchers at UMDNJ, Rutgers, and Lehigh universities work on synthesizing the antidotes.” (The Daily Targum; 08Nov06; Matt Zegarek)

Study looks at intravenous gene therapy

“U.S. scientists say intravenous gene therapy could be used to protect vital organs and tissues from the effects of a radiological or nuclear bomb. Ionizing radiation can be extremely damaging to cells, tissues, organs and organ systems, said Dr. Joel Greenberger, a professor and chairman of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. ‘In previous studies, we demonstrated gene therapy can be both swallowed in pill form and inhaled through a nebulizer prior to radiation exposure to protect healthy tissues from damage. In this study, we found the same therapy administered intravenously also offers protection during exposure to whole-body irradiation.’” (United Press International [UPI]; 08Nov06)


Nuclear, cyber terrorism mix greatest threat to the world – Russian expert

“The mix of nuclear
terrorism and cyber-terrorism could become the most dangerous type of a terrorist threat, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Valentin Sobolev has said. ‘An interconnection between nuclear terrorism and cyber-terrorism could have a global catastrophic nature. The likelihood of this is not an invention. The hacking of a computer at the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania could have resulted in a disaster similar to that in Chernobyl,’ Sobolev said speaking at the 2nd international conference titled 'Terrorism and Electronic Media' in Ayia Napa in Cyprus. People hacked their way into the computer networks of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the U.S., and there have been thefts of hard discs bearing secret information related to nuclear weapons from the Los Alamos National Laboratory [in New Mexico], Sobolev said.” (Interfax-AVN; 08Nov06)

Video Games Being Used For ER Tests

“Over 30 local and state agencies joined forces on the [San Francisco] Peninsula today to prepare for a chemical and radiological attack. But unlike previous training exercises, this one involved new
technology right out of video games...Now there is a new tool, developed by Menlo Park's SRI International... John Shockley, SRI International Engineer: ‘It does look like a video game... the reason is that we're using technologies from the video game industry, along with the military simulation industry, and geographical information systems, we're blending those together to create the 3D referenced virtual world.’... Incident commanders can determine where they are and whether they're at risk. That's critical for this training session because it's a simulated chemical and radiological attack.” (KGO-TV/DT; 07Nov06; David Louie)

U.S., Russia push for wider enforcement of nonproliferation resolution

“The United States and Russia pushed Wednesday for wider global enforcement of a U.N. resolution meant to choke the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540, adopted in April 2004, requires all U.N. members to pass laws preventing
terrorists and black marketeers from dealing in weapons of mass destruction, the materials to make them and the missiles and other systems to deliver them. Wednesday's mostly closed door meeting is being organized by the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at Vienna's historic Hofburg Palace... ‘I hope every country will leave this conference understanding that every country has a stake in preventing WMD terrorism, every country has a role to play in preventing WMD terrorism,’ [Gregory L. Schulte, the chief U.S. delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency] said... Ulyanov [Mikhail I. Ulyanov, Russia's chief representative at the meeting] said it was important that countries that didn't have the relevant national laws needed to put the resolution in effect should be able to count on others, such as Russia or the United States, for support.” (International Herald Tribune; 07Nov06; AP) http://www.iht.com

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