War on Terrorism

Saturday, January 12, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 11, 2008

Facility seeks new anthrax vaccine
“If a large-scale anthrax attack strikes a big U.S. city a decade from now, citizens could be protected because of the work of a local [Newark, Delaware] nonprofit to develop a plant-based vaccine. The Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology is the only facility in the United States using plants that have not been genetically modified to make vaccines to protect people from agents [sic] such as anthrax or the plague. The scientific nonprofit, in Newark's Delaware
Technology Park, is trying to develop the first plant-based vaccine, which would have the advantage of a production time of six to seven weeks. Current vaccine production require[s] six or more months.” (The News Journal, 11Jan08, Hiran Ratnayake) http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/BUSINESS/801110332/1006/NEWS

Marion [County, Florida] health department honored for preparedness
“The Marion County Health Department is well-prepared to protect and help residents if a large-scale disaster strikes, according to a national group. The National Association of County and City Health Officials [NACCHO] gave the health department the ‘Public Health Ready’ recognition, a status similar to an accreditation. The recognition ‘means if something really bad happens, like [pandemic] flu or anthrax, natural or intentional…the county is prepared to address and respond to the event,’ said Donna Brown, senior advisor for public affairs of NACCHO, in Washington, D.C. The county health department is one of 12 Florida health departments to have received this recognition, and one of 151 health departments nationwide.” (Ocala.com, 11Jan08, Naseem D. Miller) http://www.ocala.com/article/20080111/NEWS/801110340/1368/googlesitemapnews

Hospital Launches Landmark Emergency Medicine Project
“Washington Hospital Center took a major step forward today in the federally funded Project ER One initiative as it unveiled innovative technologies and design solutions in its Emergency Department. These advances are meant to improve patient care, and better position the hospital to respond to a mass casualty event in the nation's capital. This marks the first time that many of these ER One concepts, which are designed to improve infection control and increase surge capacity[,] have been used in an emergency care setting. […] ER One, when built, will be a fully scalable, all-risks ready emergency care facility that serves as a hospital emergency department during daily operations and is optimized to handle the medical consequences of acts of
terrorism, national disasters, and epidemics. The ER One concept was developed by a team led by Dr. [Mark S.] Smith [chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Washington Hospital Center and director of the ER One Institute] at the Hospital Center back in 1999. The vision for building the facility took on greater urgency following the events of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks of 2001.”
(Earthtimes.org, 10Jan08, Washington Hospital Center) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,254116.shtml

Water Problem May Delay Bioterrorism Lab Opening
“After spending five years and $5 million, Allegheny County [Pennsylvania] completed its
Bioterrorism Lab in Lawrenceville about a month ago. But officials say that a water problem may delay the building's opening for several more months. The department says they can't get a city occupancy permit because the building doesn't have enough water pressure.”
(KDKA.com, 10Jan08)

Low pay hurts health department, report says
“In the next five years, the Allegheny County [Pennsylvania] Health Department expects more than half its staff to retire and is struggling to find replacements because it doesn't offer competitive salaries, according to a report presented at Wednesday's Board of Health meeting. Unless it attracts and retains qualified employees, the Health Department cannot maintain its services and will be ill-prepared for a public health emergency, said Dr. Bruce Dixon, director.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 10Jan08, Allison M. Heinrichs) http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_546758.html

International Unit is Underappreciated Tool in Fight Against Bio-Terror
“During the past year, the Implementation Support Unit (ISU), established by the Sixth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in December 2006, has provided essential support for international efforts to prevent biological
terrorism. Unlike the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the BTWC lacks the large institutional structure to help administer convention-related activities as well as monitor and enforce compliance with its provisions. The three-person ISU, which started work in April 2007 and became fully operational in August 2007, attempts to help fill that gap from its office at the Geneva branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). The ISU, like the meetings it supports and other BTWC activities, is funded by the state parties to the convention.” (World Politics Review, 11Jan08, Richard Weitz)

Senator praises measure letting states toughen chemical laws
“The federal government won't override New Jersey's chemical
security laws, which are tougher than the national standard, thanks to a provision pushed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Lautenberg was in Jersey City with state Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson and other officials to trumpet the federal government's hands-off provision, which was signed recently by President Bush. […] The American Chemistry Council, which represents the largest producers of chemicals, strongly opposed the Lautenberg language, which was included in the Homeland Security appropriations bill.” (NorthJersey.com, 11Jan08) http://www.northjersey.com/news/njpolitics/13699642.html

MIT [Massachusetts Institute of
Technology] gas sensor is tiny, quick
“Engineers at MIT are developing a tiny sensor that could be used to detect minute quantities of hazardous gases, including toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents, much more quickly than current devices. The researchers have taken the common techniques of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry and shrunk them to fit in a device the size of a
computer mouse. Eventually, the team, led by MIT Professor Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande, plans to build a detector about the size of a matchbox.” (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 10Jan08, Anne Trafton) http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/micro-analyzer-0110.html

Spy case still makes waves in Israel
“On buses and billboards across Jerusalem, a poster depicts three men not commonly associated with each other - US President George Bush, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. But what does George Bush have in common with two men he must regard as arch enemies? The tagline of the poster makes it clear - Bush, free YOUR captive! Hamas has been holding an Israeli soldier captive in Gaza since 2006, while Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. The ‘captive’ that Mr Bush is being asked to set free is Jonathan Pollard. The case of Pollard, a US
Navy intelligence analyst who gave classified material to Israel, is a sore point in otherwise excellent relations between Israel and the US. […] The documents that Pollard leaked have never been made public for intelligence reasons. But they were said to include information on Soviet arm shipments to Syria, Iraqi and Syrian chemical weapons, the Pakistani atomic bomb and Libyan air defences, according to the author and journalist Wolf Blitzer in his book Territory of Lies.” (BBC News, 11Jan08, Martin Patience) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7181277.stm

2005 Use of Gas by Blackwater Leaves Questions
“The helicopter was hovering over a Baghdad checkpoint into the Green Zone, one typically crowded with cars, Iraqi civilians and United States
military personnel. Suddenly, on that May day in 2005, the copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders. An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint. […] Anne Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for Blackwater, said the CS gas had been released by mistake. […] Blackwater says it was permitted to carry CS gas under its contract at the time with the State Department. According to a State Department official, the contract did not specifically authorize Blackwater personnel to carry or use CS, but it did not prohibit it.” (New York Times, 10Jan08, James Risen) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/world/middleeast/10blackwater.html?hp

Kyrgyzstan: Authorities Seize Radioactive Material Bound For Iran
“If the world needed reminding of the ongoing threat posed by nuclear materials left unsecured and scattered across the former Soviet Union, it's got it now. On January 9, Kyrgyz officials announced that they had taken possession of a small load of a radioactive substance discovered aboard a train bound for Iran. The material has been placed in a special area in Kyrgyzstan, but questions are being raised about the nature and quantity of the substance, who was behind its transport, and how the train carrying it crossed three border checkpoints before being detected. While it might simply be a coincidence that the train was bound for Iran, such a destination is also likely to raise eyebrows, given Western concerns over Tehran's nuclear activities and alleged support of terrorism.” (Radio Free Europe, 10Jan08, Bruce Pannier) http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2008/01/460cd9d5-93ea-424a-a68a-316142bcf3e1.html

Congress May Track Threat Reduction More Closely
“An omnibus federal funding bill that U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law late last month includes provisions intended to allow Congress to more closely monitor progress in nuclear threat reduction efforts. […] Co-sponsored by presidential hopeful Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) in the Senate and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in the House, the legislative measure calls on the White House to issue a report on a ‘comprehensive nuclear threat reduction and security plan.’ The document, to be submitted to Congress in both classified and unclassified forms, is due June 23. The new law includes detailed reporting requirements aimed at providing greater executive branch accountability for reducing the risk of nuclear
terrorism.” (Global Security Newswire, 11Jan08, Elaine M. Grossman)

Universal Detection
Technology Receives Purchase Order for Ricin Toxin Detection Kits
“Universal Detection Technology [UDTT], a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies to protect people from bioterrorism and other infectious health threats and provider of counter-terrorism consulting and training services, announced today that it has received a new purchase order from Security Solutions International (SSI) for UDTT's Ricin Toxin detection kits. SSI plans to showcase the kits at upcoming seminars and conferences where SSI professionals provide counter-terrorism training and education to members of law enforcement and representatives from US Army and various other security and emergency response agencies.” (CNNMoney, 10Jan08, Marketwire) http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0346743.htm

Clean white rooms answer post-9/11 threats
“The antiseptic white rooms of Oregon's new public health and environmental labs are designed to handle crises worthy of a Michael Crichton high-tech thriller. The Oregon Department of Human Services' ‘Biosafety Level 3’ area is sealed tight to analyze biological weapons, such as anthrax, or highly infectious diseases -- SARS, tuberculosis and plague, to name a few. […] Nearby, just off shipping and receiving, the Department of Environmental Quality's ‘all hazard’ room is designed to screen for the unlikely event of the use of biological and chemical weapons. […] The new labs were expensive, built with $35 million the state Legislature approved after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But state officials say they should boost productivity and allow the state to take on more work.” (The Oregonian, 11Jan08, Scott Learn)

Influence of cabin conditions on placement and response of contaminant detection sensors in a commercial aircraft

“Potential causalities due to airborne disease transmission and risk of chem-bio
terrorism in commercial airliner cabins can be reduced by fast responses. Fast responses are only possible by using sensors at appropriate locations in the cabins. Cost, size and weight factors restrict the number of sensors that could be installed inside a cabin. Since release locations and seating patterns of passengers can impact airborne contaminant transports, this study first addressed this impact by using a validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program in a four-row mockup of twin-aisle airliner cabin. It was observed that occupancy patterns and release locations have little influence on longitudinal contaminant transports though localized variations of contaminant concentrations may exist. The results show that response time of the sensors is considerably reduced with the increase in number of sensors. If only a single sensor is available across a cabin cross-section then it should be placed at the middle of the ceiling. A cabin model of a fully occupied twin-aisle airliner with 210 seats was also build to study the diverse contaminant distribution trends along cabin length. The results reveal that seating arrangements can make cross-sectional airflow pattern considerably asymmetrical. Similar airflow patterns make the longitudinal contaminant transport in the business and economy classes alike. The presence of galleys greatly affected the longitudinal transport of contaminants in a particular cabin section. The effects due to galleys were less significant if a multipoint sampling system was used. The multipoint sampling system can also reduce the number of sensors required in a cabin.” (Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 11Jan08, Sagnik Mazumdar and Qingyan Chen)

Amaox Battles Bioterrorism [and Chemical Terrorism] with Collaboration Software

“Mustard gas. Phosgene. Chlorine gas. Anthrax. If it's a potential bioterrorist [or chemical terrorist] weapon, chances are that Amaox— a little known biotech company— has a treatment in the works to stop such an outbreak or at least mitigate the effects of an attack before it could kill large numbers of people. Arming itself with cutting-edge visual collaboration software, Amaox is able to share and integrate complex ideas from medical researchers around the country and North America. […] Amaox has received funding from the Department of Defense for its current research programs, and in December its research team applied for an additional $1.5 million grant to investigate chlorine toxicity to see if Amaox technology can be used to treat sufferers of a chlorine gas bomb or accidental spill.” (Baseline, 09Jan08, Doug Bartholomew) http://www.baselinemag.com/article2/0,1540,2247310,00.asp

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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