War on Terrorism

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 2, 2008

Researchers turn anthrax toxin into a cancer killer
“Researchers have developed a mutated anthrax toxin, which may have implications as an effective cancer therapy. Researchers at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology created a mutated antrax toxin, which could kill tumour cells in mice. In the study, Stephen Leppla and colleagues showed that [a]nthrax toxin was fairly selective in targeting melanoma cells, even though the risk of non-cancer toxicity prevents any clinical use.” (DailyIndia.com, 30Dec07, Asian News

Schott Secures Research Funding To Improve Glass Packaging For Vaccines And Drugs “The U.S. Department of Defense, along with Congressman Tim Holden [of Pennsylvania], announced that SCHOTT North America has been awarded an appropriation of $800,000 in federal funding, which Congressman Holden inserted into the Defense Appropriations Bill. The funding will allow SCHOTT to conduct research into the interaction between biotherapeutic drugs and glass packaging. Currently, such interactions can lead to drug loss due to adsorption, aggregation and precipitation, which diminishes the effectiveness of these drugs. One goal of the research is to improve the government's ability to stockpile ready-to-inject vaccines and treatments, and thus speed its response to bioterror attacks and pandemics.” (Glass on Web, 24Dec07) http://www.glassonweb.com/news/index/7093/

Bush surprises Congress with veto of Pentagon operations bill
“President Bush dealt Congress an unexpected setback Friday, announcing he would veto the 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which includes some key amendments affecting the Pueblo Chemical Depot and the
Army's plan to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. The White House and Congress have battled for two months over federal spending bills for 2008, finally settling on a $550 billion ‘omnibus’ budget package that Bush grudgingly signed this week. The president had not signaled any opposition to the Defense Authorization Act, which gives legislative approval - but not dollars - to Pentagon operations next year. Bush surprised lawmakers Friday by saying he would veto the defense measure because the Iraqi government had protested some of its provisions […]” (The Pueblo Chieftain, 29Dec07, Peter Roper)

Depot disposes of final 160-gallon VX spray tank
“The Umatilla Chemical Depot [in Oregon] destroyed the last of 156 VX-filled spray tanks Monday afternoon. The event marked the end of all VX spray tanks not just at the depot but in the whole United States' stockpile. Each tank was 15-and-a-half feet long and contained 160 gallons of VX agent, a terribly toxic oily nerve agent. The spray tanks were significantly larger than other chemical munitions and could mount on
military aircraft for aerial disbursement of the agent. Depot workers Thursday transported the tanks on flatbed trailers from depot storage to the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. Crews there destroyed the final tank at about 2:40 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Depot spokesman Bruce Henrickson said the destruction means ‘another entire category of chemical munitions is now completely gone from America's stockpile.’” (Chemical Weapons Working Group, 27Dec07, The East Oregonian) http://cwwg.org/eo12.27.07.html

India committed to destroying chemical weapons stockpile by 2009
“India has destroyed more than 75 percent of its chemical weapons stockpile and is committed to eliminating the balance by 2009, an authoritative journal says. 'By the end of 2006, India had destroyed more than 75 percent of its chemical weapons/material stockpile. India had asked for and was granted extension for destroying (the remaining stocks by April 2009) and is expected to achieve 100 percent destruction within this timeframe,' CBW Magazine says.” (Earthtimes.org, 30Dec07, IANS) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/166306.html

Radioactive waste: Without action,
Virginia will have to dispose of its own
Virginia may be a net importer of ordinary garbage, but it sends out its own really nasty stuff. […] While Virginia takes in other states' coffee grounds and leftover two-by-fours, it exports its low-level radioactive waste. A lot of it: According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, only eight states disposed of more in the most recent year for which data are available, 2000. Among the sources: hospitals and medical research facilities, labs, nuclear power plants, shipyards that build nuclear vessels. The materials include things like contaminated clothing and rags, carcasses of lab animals, even cast-off smoke alarms. […] But Virginia may not be exporting its radioactive waste much longer. The South Carolina landfill to which much of it has been going will stop taking it as of July 1. […] What will Virginia do with its nuclear leftovers? It doesn't have a landfill licensed to take them. […] And just think of the implications of storing radioactive material on as many as 200 sites, on university campuses, at hospitals, industrial and office complexes in Virginia. It might not be well secured or properly packaged. It might be stuck in a storeroom and forgotten until someone who doesn't know what it is — or how to handle it — encounters it. It might become the target of terrorists looking for material to build a ‘dirty bomb.’” (dailypress.com, 30Dec07) http://www.dailypress.com/news/opinion/dp-ed_nukewaste_edit_1230dec30,0,6481483.story

Survey Reveals Nuclear
Terrorism is America's Top Fear
“The Saga Foundation today announced the results of a survey which revealed the top fear of Americans is nuclear
terrorism. An overwhelming 74 percent of Americans believe that a successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil is likely to happen. Half (49 percent) believe an attack will include some sort of a nuclear device. Those stark findings were revealed by a nationwide survey and in a series of focus group sessions conducted for the Saga Foundation by Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research. […] In fact, nearly 50 percent of Americans fear al Qaeda acquiring a nuclear bomb more than they fear states that already have the bomb, including potential rogue nations with nuclear ambitions such as North Korea and Iran.”
(Earthtimes.org, 02Jan08, The Saga Foundation) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,248695.shtml

What About the Nukes? Despite its claims, Pakistan's nuclear weapons are vulnerable “The assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto reminds us starkly of an unanswered question most of us would prefer to forget: how secure are Pakistan's nuclear weapons? Could Al Qaeda or another
terrorist group acquire a warhead or enough radioactive material to create a dirty bomb? […] A witch's brew that includes political instability, a burgeoning Islamic insurgency, a demoralized army and an intensely anti-American population, puts Pakistan's nuclear weapons at risk. Washington and Islamabad have offered soothing reassurances, suggesting that some technical and procedural safeguard like a ‘kill switch’ separates the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons from the stability of the state. As recently as November, Musharraf told reporters that Pakistan's custodial arrangements for nuclear weapons and material are ‘the best in the world’ and that so long as he is in power ‘Pakistan's nuclear weapons will be safe.’” (Newsweek, 28Dec07, Graham Allison) http://www.newsweek.com/id/82259/output/print

Air Force Materiel Command] wins homeland security challenge “Air Force Materiel Command came out on top in an Air Force-wide competition that tested different commands’ ability to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare threats. In six scenarios — including one in which a vehicle-borne ‘dirty bomb’ detonates and causes mock casualties — teams from eight Air Force major commands were evaluated over one week starting Dec. 10. Another exercise had teams competing to identify chemical and biological samples. Air Force Materiel Command beat out teams from Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Space Command, Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Air Forces in Europe. An Air National Guard team also participated and received a team spirit award.”
(Air Force Times, 29Dec07)

S.J. [San Joaquin County, California] getting $1.5M for emergency response
“The outside of the motor-home conversion that serves as the mobile vehicle for Stockton
Fire Department's hazardous-materials response team gleams red and white like a fire engine. On the inside, instead of a fold-out bed and a mini-fridge stocked with junk food, this RV is full of industrial-sized stoppers to plug up gas leaks, glassware straight out of a chemistry lab and full-body suits designed to keep the wearer safe from dangerous chemicals and - at least for a little while - radiation from a ‘dirty’ bomb. In short, this is not your grandpa's Winnebago. Much of the equipment was bought through federal grants to emergency crews following the 2001 terrorist attacks. And more high- and low-tech equipment is on the way in the latest package of grants - about $1.5 million worth - awarded to bolster emergency response all across San Joaquin County.”
(Stockton Record, 29Dec07, Zachary K. Johnson)

Israel Wins [Hypothetical] ‘Nuke War’
“A doomsday war between nuclear-armed adversaries Iran and Israel would kill up to 28 million Iranians and destroy their nation, but the Jewish state might survive, according to a prestigious US think tank. The nightmare ‘what if?’ scenario concluded that Israel's state-of-the-art missile defense would intercept most of Iran's nuclear-tipped missiles.
That would limit Israel's deaths to as ‘few’ as 200,000 - while its much more numerous and more powerful nukes would obliterate Iran, said the Center for Strategic and International Studies. […] If Syria joined its ally Iran in a wider war, it could attack Israel with mustard gas, nerve agents and anthrax in non-nuclear warheads. That could kill another 800,000 Israelis, but in response, up to 18 million Syrians would die, the study found.” (New York Post, 25Dec07, Andy Soltis) http://www.nypost.com/seven/12252007/news/worldnews/israel_wins_nuke_war_446018.htm

Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.

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