War on Terrorism

Friday, January 25, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 25, 2008

Man indicted for E[ast] Greenwich [Township, New Jersey] anthrax threat
“A truck driver accused of mailing the East Greenwich Township municipal building a package of white powder labeled ‘anthrax’ has been indicted by a Gloucester County grand jury.
Police say Timothy W. Tobiason, 51, in an attempt to get revenge against the township, mailed a box of white powder and a note identifying it as anthrax to the municipal building on Aug. 7. […] It wasn't anthrax. He was indicted by a Gloucester County grand jury on charges of threatening violence.” (nj.com, 25Jan08, Gloucester County Times) http://www.nj.com/news/gloucester/local/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1201245018130040.xml&coll=8

Key Anthrax Virulence Factor Discovered
“Researchers have discovered how the anthrax bacterium protects itself from the immune system's biochemical assault. The results reveal not only a novel aspect of anthrax virulence, they also suggest a new target, known as bacterial nitric oxide synthase (bNOS), for fighting the pathogen, said study leader Evgeny Nudler, a professor of biochemistry at the
New York University School of Medicine. ‘That is the obvious continuation of our work,’ said Nudler, ‘to find small molecule inhibitors of bacterial nitric oxide synthase that would not touch its human counterpart. If we are lucky, we will find this inhibitor that would potentially work as an antibiotic.’" (Washington Post; 24Jan08; Jeffrey Perkel, HealthDay News) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/24/AR2008012402484.html

Food safety’s fiscal influence studied
“After a few spinach and green onion recalls, food safety of produce coming from outside the United States is top of mind – and so is the cost of such recalls. Add in evidence that agricultural bioterrorism is a real threat, and U.S. officials could be facing a fiscal disaster. Five Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness faculty members [at
Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus] recently received funding of more than $262,800 from the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD) to study the potential monetary losses that could arise in the event of an agro-terrorism attack or contamination of imported produce coming through the border between Arizona and Nogales, Mexico, one of the busiest ports at the Southwest border. […] An intended outcome of the project is to provide better data with which the NCFPD can create food safety policies that help diminish incidents of contamination of food as it travels from grower to produce, importer and retailer.” (Arizona State University, 24Jan08, Stephanie Patterson) http://asunews.asu.edu/20080124_foodsafety

Officials doubt lab a danger
“Opponents of a proposed bioresearch lab in Athens are using scare
tactics to fight it, and they're not working, Athens-Clarke [Georgia] Mayor Heidi Davison said Wednesday. Davison supports the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility, but has said she could be persuaded to change her mind. A speech Tuesday by Edward Hammond, a critic of biodefense programs, did nothing to sway her, she said. ‘I've heard a lot of misinformation and hyperbole, but I haven't heard any facts,’ she said.” (Online Athens, 24Jan08, Blake Aued) http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/012408/news_20080124042.shtml

Malaysia invests in biodefence R[esearch &D[evelopment]
“In view of the worldwide bio-terrorism threat, Malaysia is arming itself with bio-defence countermeasures. Director-general of health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the country would invest in biodefence research and development, and the manufacturing and commercialisation of products such as halal vaccines. The biodefence products and services would not only be used locally but also supplied to some member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and other countries within Asia. To start the ball rolling, Emergent BioSolutions Inc and Ninebio […] (9Bio) yesterday announced the formation of a joint venture which would focus on creating critical biologics infrastructure and supplying biodefence countermeasures, including an anthrax vaccine known as BioThrax (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed), and other medical medical and complementary products and services.” (New Straits Times, 25Jan08, Annie Freeda Cruez) http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Friday/National/20080125111658/Article/index_html

Scientists manufacture bacteria DNA
“Taking a significant step toward the creation of synthetic forms of life, researchers reported Thursday that they had manufactured the entire genome of a bacterium by stitching together its chemical components. The feat marks the first time that anyone has made such a large strand of hereditary material from off-the-shelf chemical ingredients. Previous efforts had yielded
DNA strands less than one-twentieth the size, and those pieces lacked many of the key biological programs that tell a cell how to stay alive. On the basis of earlier experiments, the researchers say the synthetic DNA would ‘boot up’ inside a cell, like a downloaded operating system can awaken a computer -- a potentially historic event that would amount to creation of the first truly artificial life-form. Team members emphasized that they have not done that yet but expressed confidence that they would do so before the end of the year. […] Critics, however, [worry] that without better oversight of the fledgling field, synthetic biology is more likely to lead to the creation of potent biological weapons and runaway microbes that could wreak environmental havoc.” (The Detroit News, 25Jan08) http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/LIFESTYLE03/801250374/1040

Chemical weapons destruction at Anniston [Chemical Agent Depot] ahead of schedule
“With chemical weapons destruction at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal [in
Alabama] running ahead of schedule, a company official said safety procedures haven't been ignored. The work is more than 50 days ahead of schedule and the company handling the project could collect $100 million or more in incentive pay for early completion, […].” (al.com, 24Jan08, AP) http://www.al.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-33/120119715870190.xml&storylist=alabamanews

Army Corps to Resume Chemical Munitions Dig
“The U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers plans Thursday to resume digging in Northwest Washington [D.C.] in search of buried chemical weapons. The weapons were left during World War I testing at American University.”
(WJLA.com, 24Jan08)

Chemical warfare detection spray released
“ICx Technologies, based in
Virginia, announced the launch of a new enzyme-based chemical agent detection spray that pinpoints chemical warfare threats. ICx is a developer of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats detection technologies. The company announced the release of ICx Agentase Disclosure Spray that changes color when sprayed on surfaces contaminated with nerve agents.” (UPI, 25Jan08) http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Industry/Briefing/2008/01/25/chemical_warfare_detection_spray_released/7204/

Grant keeps O'Hara [Township, Pennsylvania] ready to sniff out trouble
“O'Hara emergency volunteers soon will be able to detect dangers such as chemical warfare agents, radiation and toxic industrial gases. For the second consecutive year, the township will receive assistance from the federal government to help respond to potential disasters. This year, it's in the form of a $35,000 Chemical Detection Kit. […] O'Hara is one of only 201 municipalities across the country to receive the equipment. In Pennsylvania, there were 11 detection kits doled out.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 24Jan08, Tawnya Panizzi) http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_548908.html

Central African Republic Designates OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] National Authority
“In compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Central African Republic has informed the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that it has designated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as its National Authority. A CWC National Authority is crucial in ensuring the effective implementation of the CWC within each State Party’s national jurisdiction.” (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 25Jan08) http://www.opcw.org/pressreleases/2008/PR02_2008.html

[Paul] Wolfowitz appointed chairman of arms-control advisory panel
“Paul Wolfowitz, the former World Bank president and former deputy secretary of defense who was instrumental in the US decision to invade Iraq in 2003, has been named chairman of a panel that advises the State Department on arms-control issues. Wolfowitz, now a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, will head Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's International Security Advisory Board, the State Department said yesterday in a statement. ‘The ISAB provides the Department of State with a source of independent insight, advice, and innovation on all aspects of arms control, disarmament, nonproliferation, political-
military issues, and international security and related aspects of public diplomacy,’ the State Department said. Wolfowitz was among the senior US officials who warned of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction capabilities, a key justification for invading Iraq and toppling the late dictator Saddam Hussein.” (The Boston Globe; 25Jan08; Janine Zacharia, Bloomberg News) http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/01/25/wolfowitz_appointed_chairman_of_arms_control_advisory_panel/

Bulgaria, U.S. to cooperate in WMD proliferation prevention
“The [g]overnment [of Bulgaria] approved a draft agreement between Bulgaria and the United States on cooperation in the prevention of the proliferation of weapons for mass destruction (WMD), the Government Information Service said on Thursday. The purpose of the agreement is to promote cooperation between the two countries in combating the proliferation of WMD and the related technologies, materials and experience to and from the territory of Bulgaria, and prevent the illegal transfer, including through transiting and transportation, of nuclear, biological chemical and radiological weapons and the related technologies and experience. The agreement will be signed for a term of six years.”
(China View, 25Jan08, Xinhua)

Russia says foreign spies seeking WMD data: RIA [News Agency]
“Russia's domestic security service said on Friday it had foiled several attempts by foreign spies to obtain technology for weapons of mass destruction, RIA news agency reported. The Federal
Security Service (FSB) said Western and Asian spy services had tried to obtain information about nuclear enterprises in Siberia and from scientists working on secret high technology projects.” (Reuters, 25Jan08, Conor Sweeney)

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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