War on Terrorism

Thursday, February 14, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 13, 2008

Return of the Plague
“Like no other disease, plague evokes terror. One of the most lethal illnesses in human history, it killed probably a third of Europe's population in the 14th century. It may also have been one of the first agents of biological warfare: It's said that in the 1340s, invading Mongols catapulted their plague dead over the city wall into Kaffa in the Crimea. Yet the plague is not just a disease of the distant past. While cases tapered off in the mid-20th century, the World Health Organization
(WHO) now classifies plague as ‘re-emerging.’” (TIME, 12Feb08, Laura Blue) http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1712255,00.html

EMS [Emergency Medical Services] learning to combat
weapons of mass destruction
“A planning and operations course focused on the effects of weapons of mass destruction is under way this week at Huntsville [Texas] Fire Station No. 1. Employees in both the medical and public safety organizations are attending the course […] ‘The course covers how specific health care professionals operate and plan around events involving weapons of mass destruction.’” (The Huntsville Item, 13Feb08, Kristin Edwards) http://www.itemonline.com/local/local_story_044003544.html

Tougher anti-riot measures vowed
police will be forced to use more potentially lethal methods to disperse rioters if MPs ban them from using chemicals, the Interior Ministry warned yesterday. All substances currently being used in Bahrain to disperse rioters are internationally approved, military courts director Major Humood Saad told parliament at its weekly session. He said that they were natural substances and that banning police from using them during riots, would mean that they would have to use more potentially lethal and stronger methods, such as rubber bullets. ‘We don't want to use anything more lethal or stronger than what we use at the moment, but if the law bans us from using chemical substances, then we will have to use something else,’ said Major Saad.” (Gulf Daily News, 13Feb08, Mohammed al A’ali) http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=208573&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=30330

Lawrence Livermore Lab Receives Awards for Two Innovations
“Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory won two notable awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for
Technology Transfer for innovations in proton therapy and nuclear detection, as announced by the lab on Friday. The lab, which is partly managed by the University of California, won the awards for successfully decreasing the size and cost of proton therapy and for creating a system to detect neutron sources that could be used in nuclear weaponry. […] One of the advances was made toward proton therapy, a cancer treatment that […] is considered one of the most advanced forms of radiation treatment. There are only six centers for the therapy in the country, and 25 worldwide. […] The other award was for the development of a portable neutron detector that could potentially discover nuclear materials. […] ‘(It) could be used by response teams for the government looking for the possibility of a dirty bomb’ […].” (The Daily Californian, 13Feb08, Rachel Gross) http://www.dailycal.org/article/100369/lawrence_livermore_lab_receives_awards_for_two_inn

Preparing for a
dirty bomb
“A [fictitious] dirty bomb exploded here [Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, Canada] Saturday, killing several people and exposing many others to dangerous radioactive materials that wafted over the community. That was one of the scenarios that more than 190 emergency responders from across the province faced when they took part in a day-long hazardous materials program in Bible Hill. ‘It has never happened here, but a dirty bomb could explode here in Nova Scotia. It may not have been intended for here, but one can imagine someone shipping such a bomb in through the port of Halifax for another destination,’ said Bruce Langille of Truro’s Special Hazardous Response Unit.” (Chronicle Herald, 10Feb08, Tom McCoag) http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1037246.html

Southeast Asia’s Looming Nuclear Power Industry
“The 2005-07 spike in petroleum prices topping out at $100 a barrel has prodded economic planners across the globe to reconsider their energy options in an age of growing concern over global warming and carbon emissions. The Southeast Asian economies, themselves beneficiaries of an oil and gas export bonanza through the 1970s-1990s, also find themselves in an energy crunch as once ample reserves run down and the search is on for new and cleaner energy supplies. Notably, regional
leaders at the 13th ASEAN Summit meeting held in Singapore in November 2007 issued a statement promoting civilian nuclear power, alongside renewable and alternative energy sources. ASEAN--which in 1971 endorsed a nuclear-free zone concept--also sought to ensure that plutonium did not fall into the wrong hands through the creation of a ‘regional nuclear safety regime.’ […] According to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report, Indonesia has largely succeeded in creating an ‘indigenous fuel cycle.” […] While Indonesia operates under IAEA safeguards, SIPRI’s stated concern is that given the questionable security of the management of nuclear waste, ‘it is conceivable that terrorist organizations could utilize its spent waste in a radiological device’ (‘dirty bomb’)." (Japan Focus, 10Feb08, Geoffrey Gunn)

Report Warns of Threat to Campus Reactors
“The risks of a
terrorist attack on a nuclear reactor on a college campus, and the potential consequences, have been underestimated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Congressional auditors say in a report. The report, by the Government Accountability Office [GAO], said the commission had overruled expert contractors who thought differently, and misrepresented what the contractors had said. Security requirements at the reactors have changed little since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to the auditors, even though many of the reactors still run on enriched uranium, which terrorists could convert into an atomic bomb. In contrast, the rules for civilian power plants have become much stricter, the report said.”
(New York Times, 12Feb08, Matthew L. Wald) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/us/12nuclear.html?_r=2&ref=us&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Pakistan nuclear staff go missing
“Two employees of Pakistan's atomic energy agency have been abducted in the country's restive north-western region abutting the Afghan border,
police say. The technicians went missing on the same day as Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin, was reportedly abducted in the same region. Mr Azizuddin had been going overland from the city of Peshawar to Kabul. Pakistan's north-west has witnessed fierce fighting between Islamist militants and government troops.” (BBC News, 12Feb08) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7240414.stm

Security Council [of Ghana] ready to fight against nuclear and chemical weapons
“The National
Security Council has resolved to take appropriate and effective actions against any threat to international peace and security caused by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery. This has become necessary because proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as their means of delivery constituted a threat to the international peace and security. To buttress this decision, Ghana has submitted her report and is preparing to submit response to the queries that were raised on the first report. The National Security Coordinator at the Office of the President Dr Sam George Amoo said these at the opening of a five-day regional training workshop for 18 participants in Advanced Detection Equipment in Accra. The training being attended by participants from Ghana, Sudan and Nigeria is organised by Ghana Atomic Energy Commission in collaboration with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).” (Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, 11Feb08) http://gbcghana.com/news/18358detail.html

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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