War on Terrorism

Saturday, February 16, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 15, 2008

Wastewater Could Help Fight U.S. Drought—and Anthrax
“[…] The first time anyone proved you could wipe out microorganisms using photocatalysis—activating a chemical agent with light—was in 1985. The chemical was titanium dioxide (TiO2) and the light was ultraviolet. But this combination has shortcomings: Interspersed in water, the TiO2 powder is hard to recapture, and ultraviolet light is expensive. Now, by adding nitrogen and a co-doping agent to TiO2, the waterCAMPWS researchers have created TiON, which reacts to light across the spectrum, including sunlight and white lamplight. And they've figured out better ways to apply it, either by imbedding it in filter fibers, turning it into a foam or integrating it into solid surfaces using chemical vapor deposition (the same process semiconductor companies use to make thin films). When light hits TiON, its electrons activate, meaning they jump to a higher orbit. Exposed to water, these energetic electrons oxidize—and neutralize—pathogens quickly and thoroughly. ‘We are going to have an alternative that will be effective in controlling pathogens without adding chemicals to the water,’ says University of Illinois environmental engineering professor Benito Mariñas, co-
leader of the WaterCAMPWS Disinfection Team. TiON could treat naturally occurring microorganisms as well as bioterrorism agents, such as anthrax. Mariñas and his colleagues envision applications in both large municipal water treatment facilities and at the point of use in home filters.” (Popular Mechanics, 14Feb08, Logan Ward) http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4249330.html

Proposed Bush budget cuts would hit hospitals
“As they often do this time of year, things are looking bad for hospitals. The federal government is proposing cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, a huge source of hospital revenue. So hospital organizations are engaging in their annual lobbying ritual - spewing out numbers, warning of cutbacks, and collaring legislators. It all feels familiar, but hospital leaders say things are worse than usual this year. […] [
Delaware Valley Healthcare Council] estimates that hospitals in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania suburbs would lose $230 million in the next year. Of that, he said $170 million would be hard cuts. He said the reductions would affect the ability of hospitals here to improve quality and invest in new equipment, training and bio terrorism preparedness.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer, 13Feb08) http://www.philly.com/inquirer/breaking/business_breaking/20080213_Proposed_Bush_budget_cuts_would_hit_hospitals.html

Scientist gets light sentence for mailing bacteria
“Nearly four years after it started, a legal drama for a genetics researcher at the University of
Pittsburg that at one time involved allegations of bio terrorism has finally ended -- with the minimum fine and unsupervised probation. Dr. Robert E. Ferrell, of Edgewood, was ordered yesterday by a federal judge in New York to pay $500 and serve 12 months of unsupervised probation for helping an art professor friend obtain biological materials for an exhibit.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12Feb08, Paula Reed Ward) http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08043/856735-115.stm

Scientists not prepared for biosecurity threat
“Scientists around the world do not know enough about the threat posed by bio
terrorism to be fully prepared for it, a bio security expert says. Professor Malcolm Dando told the audience at a public lecture in Canberra last night that scientists are unprepared for the bio technology revolution. ‘We’ve got a revolution going on at the moment with life sciences and the question is ‘can we stop that being used for hostile purposes,’ he said. […] Professor Dando said more needed to be done to educate scientists about the risks.” (IBD News, 13Feb08) http://ibnnews.org/localnews/scientists_not_prepared_for_biosecurity_threat_13208_87087805_0000.html

Southwest Research Institute lands $15.6M contract
“Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been awarded a one-year contract by Parsons Infrastructure &
Technology Inc. to perform laboratory operations for the destruction of the U.S. Army chemical stockpile stored at the Newport Chemical Depot in Newport, Ind[iana]. The contract is valued at approximately $15.6 million.” (BizJournals.com, 13Feb08, San Antonio Business Journal) http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2008/02/11/daily21.html

Chlorine poses potentially deadly threat, critical weakness exposed by
NYPD [New York City Police Department]
“Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House
Homeland Security Committee, reacted today to news that New York Police Department investigators were able to easily and anonymously purchase toxic chlorine via the Internet. Rep. Markey has repeatedly expressed concern over potential use of chemicals like chlorine by terrorists and authored a provision, which is part of the 9/11 Commission Recommendation law signed by the president last August (PL 110-53), to require mandatory re-routing of security-sensitive materials such as chlorine to the safest and most secure rail route. In addition he has been a chief proponent of requiring chemical facilities to shift to safer chemicals or processes when feasible.” (Congressman Ed Markey, 13Feb08)

IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Helps Recover Stray Radioactive Sources in Nigeria

“At the request of the Nigerian government, the IAEA deployed a team of nuclear safety experts to secure and transport several potentially hazardous radioactive sources in the country. Staff from the Agency´s Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology department (NEFW) traveled to several different locations within Nigeria to safely recover the radiological sources and ship them in transport containers for return to Canada or processing at a Nigerian waste facility. With widespread application in a variety of medical, industrial, and research applications, keeping people safe from any potential risk from neglected neutron sources is a high priority.” (IAEA, 14Feb08) http://www.iaea.or.at/NewsCenter/News/2008/sources_nigeria.html

[U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice defends her integrity over Iraq
“US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice vehemently defended her integrity when asked about an independent report that found she made 56 false statements on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. At a congressional hearing, Representative Robert Wexler, a Florida Democrat, questioned Rice about a report from the non-partisan Centre for Public Integrity. The report accuses Bush administration officials of making 935 false statements about Iraq, which the United States invaded in March 2003. […] Rice, who was national security adviser at the time of the invasion, squarely blamed the US intelligence community for its erroneous conclusions that Iraq had biological and chemical weapons and was seeking to rebuild a nuclear weapons program.” (The Sydney Morning Herald, 14Feb08, Reuters) http://news.smh.com.au/rice-defends-her-integrity-over-iraq/20080214-1s72.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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