War on Terrorism

Monday, January 21, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 21, 2008

BWC [Biological Weapons Convention] States Tackle National Implementation
“A Dec. 10-14 meeting of member states of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) offered rhetorical support for stepping up national implementation measures to bring domestic laws, administrative procedures, and regulations into conformity with the bioweapons ban. But the meeting also showcased transatlantic differences that have stymied attempts for more binding measures since the beginning of the Bush administration. Following up on a meeting of experts last August, the final report from the meeting of states-parties agreed on the ‘fundamental importance’ of national measures to implement the BWC. Such measures include controls on transfers of biological agents, biosafety and biosecurity regulations, and penal legislation. However, the meeting did not agree on any joint standards or collective measures. The meeting’s chair, Pakistani Ambassador Masood Khan, pointed out in his opening statement that the task of the meeting was to ‘promote common understanding and effective action,’
not to negotiate binding agreements.” (Arms Control Today, January/February 2008, Oliver Meier) http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2008_01-02/bwc.asp

India claims to have destroyed 93 % of its chemical weapons
India has claimed to destroy its 93 per cent of chemical weapon stockpile and the remaining weapons will be eliminated by April, 2009. Media reports quoting official sources here [in New Dehli] said India had assured the international community [that it will] complete the process of total destruction of chemical weapons by April next year.” (Associated Press of Pakistan, 20Jan08)

Deadly chemicals hidden in war cache
“For more than 60 years RAAF [Royal Australian
Air Force] veterans Geoff Burn and Arthur Lewis kept silent about the terrible secret hidden in a disused railway tunnel at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Thousands of barrels filled with chemical weapons, including mustard gas, were stored in the tunnel at Glenbrook and other sites around Australia during the Second World War. The men were part of a secret unit formed to look after the deadly stockpile, kept for use against Japanese troops - a fact the Defence Department refused to admit until the late 1980s. And for decades successive governments refused to disclose that the Australian wartime command had conducted chemical warfare experiments on its own soldiers. […] Now, after decades of denials, the military is about to recognise the unit's contribution to the war effort. Next month the Defence Department will publish a book - Chemical Warfare In Australia - detailing the unit's story, including how they and army volunteers were used as guinea pigs by their own commanders.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 20Jan08, Frank Walker) http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/deadly-chemicals-hidden-in-war-cache/2008/01/19/1200620272396.html

Guinea pig’ sailor set for pay-out after 50 years
“A former sailor from York [England] who claims he was used as a guinea pig in chemical warfare experiments finally looks set to receive compensation - half a century later. Sam Smith says he has suffered from chest problems and watering eyes ever since he took part in research in the 1950s at the Ministry of Defence's chemical research centre at Porton Down, Wiltshire, after being led to believe he was helping to find a cure for the common cold.” (York Press, 21Jan08, Richard harris) http://www.thisisyork.co.uk/display.var.1980827.0.guinea_pig_sailor_set_for_payout_after_50_years.php

Porton Down veteran awaits compensation
“A war veteran who says he was duped into having chemical weapons tested on him is waiting with bated breath to see if he has been granted a slice of £3 million compensation. When former Royal Marine Jim Booth (63) agreed to take part in a two-week medical trial at Porton Down research centre in Wiltshire in the ’60s, he thought he would be trialling medication to treat the common cold. Instead, the Market Deeping man claims, he was subjected to mustard gas and was injected with unknown drugs before being made to take part in tests to assess his reactions.” (Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 18Jan08, Kirsty Nicolson) http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/Porton-Down-veteran-awaits-compensation.3686704.jp

Plan for chemical
security is delayed
Homeland Security officials have delayed a requirement that farmers register with the agency if they have certain amounts of certain chemicals. Farmers and ranchers had been facing a Tuesday deadline to come up with a security plan and register it. ‘Most producers knew nothing about either the requirements or the deadline; most state agriculture departments had not been told of them,’ said North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, who is president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Homeland Security, in announcing the delay, said the agency is gathering more information on the issue to see if changes to the requirements are warranted, especially in light of a new law that gives the agency authority to regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Johnson said anhydrous ammonia, another popular farm fertilizer in North Dakota, also is included in Homeland Security's list of chemicals. The association Johnson heads brought its worries to Homeland Security, and ‘It appears the problem is at least temporarily resolved,’ he said.” (The Bismark Tribune, 21Jan08, AP) http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/01/21/news/local/147054.txt

N.J. [
New Jersey] security chief says state needs boost in federal funding
“New Jersey's mass transit system remains a potential target for a
terrorist attack and needs additional federal funding to ensure safe passage for thousands of daily commuters, the state's top security official said yesterday. ‘Anything that happens here has implications for New York City,’ said Richard Cañas, director of the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. ‘Yet every year we feel like deadbeats asking for federal handouts to protect ourselves against what we all agree is a national threat.’ Cañas' remarks came during a visit from U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which controls how funds are distributed to states. Thompson visited the State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center in West Trenton before taking a helicopter tour of potential terror targets in North Jersey. Those sites included Newark Liberty International Airport, the Lincoln Tunnel, the chemical facilities and oil refineries along the New Jersey Turnpike and Port Newark.” (The Star-Ledger, 20Jan08, John Holl)

Students learn to be prepared for crises

“About 20 sophomores donned protective mesh vests, each with a piece of paper attached containing the title of an emergency worker. They gathered around a 20-by-6-foot table with a miniature city displayed on it and played roles. Their job was to evaluate a stream that reportedly had a contaminant in it. […] The students were answering […] questions during a
homeland security and emergency preparedness class being piloted at Joppatowne High School [in Maryland] this school year. […] The students take the second part of the program during their junior year, when they select a specialty area of study from one of three topics: homeland security sciences, law enforcement and criminal justice, and information and communications technology. Depending on which area the students select, they study such topics as chemical and biological warfare, research methods, the justice system, law processes, first responders to emergency scenes, and evidence collection and analysis, and even learn how to use a geographic information system.” (Baltimore Sun, 20Jan08, Cassandra A. Fortin) http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/harford/bal-ha.homeland20jan20,0,703936.story

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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