War on Terrorism

Monday, February 18, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 18, 2008

Nebraskans Prepared For Agroterrorism Attack
“Foreign intelligence shows American ag[ricultural] land is vulnerable to a
terrorist attack. The FBI has pinpointed [f]oot and [m]outh disease as a prime method for targeting the food supply and the economy. That's why Saturday, 12 Northeast Nebraska counties participated in a disaster drill to deal with just that. ‘This region of the state has taken a very active approach in preparing for this,’ explains Nikki Weber, of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. The [f]ederal [g]overnment calls it a weapon of mass destruction: [f]oot and [m]outh [d]isease. An outbreak of the disease, which spreads quickly and causes large sores and weakness in hoofed animals, rendering them useless to producers, could shut down highways, and put thousands of family farmers in quarantine.” (KTIV.com, 16Feb08)

Study looks at food
terrorism risks
“Following the September 11 attacks, there has been a heightened awareness that the nation’s food supply could be at risk for possible attacks. With that awareness, there has been increased focus on the need to implement food
security measures – especially at the borders – to protect the food supply. Arizona State University [ASU] Associate Professor William Nganje, along with four other ASU faculty members, recently received a grant for about $263,000 to study the economic impact of what could happen in the event of an agro terrorism attack. The study focuses on the transportation of imported produce coming through the border between Arizona and Nogales, Mexico, which is one of the busiest ports at the Southwest border.” (Land Line Magazine, 11Feb08) http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2008/Feb08/021108/021108-05.htm

Salazars, Udall [members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation] don't want hydrolysate leaving Pueblo
“Three members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation want to make sure the wastes from the destruction of chemical weapons here don’t leave the Pueblo Chemical Depot. Democrats Sen. Ken Salazar and Reps. John Salazar and Mark Udall introduced a bill Friday that would prohibit the secretary of defense from shipping hydrolysate at the Pueblo Chemical Depot off-site for treatment. Mustard agent hydrolysate is the diluted waste from the water neutralization process that will break down the 2,611 tons of the poison stored at the local base. Defense Department officials have indicated a preference for shipping it off-site for treatment, claiming it will save $150 million. However, a Colorado citizens advisory panel supports treating it at Pueblo Chemical Depot, claiming that the Pentagon is not considering other costs. […] The citizens advisory commission favors building a small sewer plant that would use bacteria to break down the caustic waste and then recycle the water back through the neutralization facility.” (The Pueblo Chieftain, 16Feb08, John Norton)

Credit-card-sized platform for volatile compound analysis CAREER [Faculty Early Career Development Program] project goal
“Developing a credit-card-sized gas chromatography platform that can analyze volatile compounds within seconds is the next step for Virginia Tech College of Engineering researcher Masoud Agah, who has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early
Career Development Program (CAREER) Award to support his research. Agah, an assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and an affiliate member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty, recently secured a five-year CAREER grant worth $400,000. This is the NSF’s most prestigious award for creative junior faculty who are considered to be future leaders in their academic fields. Gas chromatography is the primary technique used in a number of scientific, medical, and industrial settings to separate and analyze volatile compounds in gases, liquids, and solids.” (PhysOrg.com, 18Feb08, Virginia Tech)

Mock drills at [Delhi] Metro stations expose chinks in
“A car and motorcycle exploded, some men opened fire and tossed grenades and a 'chemical attack' took place - these were part of mock drills carried out at four stations of Delhi Metro Thursday morning to check preparedness of the agencies involved in security. The drills were carried out simultaneously at the Rajiv Chowk, Chawri Bazar, Rithala and Shastri Park stations around 6.15 a.m. under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to evaluate the performance of the agencies deployed there. […] At the Chawri Bazar underground Metro station, which is one of the deepest in the city, a mock 'chemical attack' with poisonous gases was carried out to check the efficiency with which passengers were escorted out of the building.” (Yahoo! News India, 14Feb08, IANS) http://in.news.yahoo.com/indiaabroad/20080214/r_t_ians_nl_general/tnl-mock-drills-at-metro-stations-expose-b9e311f.html

Soldiers sue over nerve gas guinea pigs
“A group of former Israeli
army recruits are suing the government for compensation after it allegedly made them unwitting guinea pigs by testing them for nerve gas antidotes, a newspaper reported. The army claims the testing was carried out by volunteers. ‘We were laboratory rats for the army,’ Avi Yogev, 55, referring to a case dating back to 1971, told Yediot Aharonot newspaper. ‘We were guinea pigs for Tsahal (the army) and today we are paying the price. They told us we were participating in a secret project,’ Mr Yogev said, explaining that the soldiers were told during training that they had to participate or would not be allowed to serve in a combat unit. ‘They had us swallow pills. We suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea. It was not until years later that we discovered that they had given us medicine against nerve gas after having tested it on animals.’”
(The Daily Telegraph, 18Feb08, AAP)

Europe takes box scanning fight to US Congress
“Brussels will present a breakdown of costs the European Union will have to shoulder if the US implements its 100% container scanning law to the US Congress next month. The European commission is preparing what is expected to be a ‘massive’ estimate of the burden European companies will have to bear if the US insists all inbound boxes be scanned for radiation by 2012, as legislation foresees.” (Lloyd’s List, 18Feb08, Justin Stares)

US/UK fight against nuclear threats
“Energy minister Malcolm Wicks has announced a new collaboration between the UK and the US that will address nuclear and radiological
security threats. As part of the programme, an initial £2m will be invested in initiatives designed to secure high-risk nuclear and other radioactive materials and combat their illegal trafficking. ‘Our first joint initiative will be a new project to enhance long-term security of highly active spent radioactive sources in Ukraine and we are already in discussion with Ukrainian and the US about how best to move this forward,’ said Wicks.” (The Engineer Online, 18Feb08) http://www.theengineer.co.uk/Articles/304647/USUK+fight+against+nuclear+threats.htm

Scientists expanding ways to trace lost or stolen nuclear materials
“Like CSI [
Crime Scene Investigation] detectives, scientists around the world are combining their skills in a new field of ‘nuclear forensic’ to combat the threat of atomic terrorism. ‘Nuclear terrorism is a global threat, not local or regional,’ said Anita Nilsson, director of the office of nuclear safety at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria. […] Today, some 30 countries participate in the Nuclear Smuggling International Technical Working Group, which designs scientific techniques and processes for tracking down and tracing radioactive materials, said David Smith of the global security directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The threat has changed from past years, Smith explained. Gross retaliation may not work with terrorists, so attention must turn to the supply of materials and keeping it in control.” (San Diego Union Tribune; 16Feb08; Randolph E. Schmid, AP) http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20080216-1348-nuclearsleuths.html

Study: Reactors pose terror risk; But others sharply disagree with conclusions of the Government Accounting [sic] Office
“A new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office warns that on-campus nuclear research reactors — such as one at Oregon State University [OSU] — may be the target of sophisticated
terrorists. The weaknesses of the facilities and consequences of an attack have been underestimated, the report says. […] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which governs 33 of America’s 37 research reactors, bristled at the report. And OSU officials insist that the university’s reactor […] is equipped with security safeguards that far exceed federal requirements. […] Eliot Brenner, director of public affairs for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, blasted the Government Accountability Office report. ‘This is a poor effort, and they ought to be embarrassed. It is unbalanced, misrepresents and excludes facts, and fails to acknowledge experts who disagree,’ he said.” (Corvallis Gazette-Times, 16Feb08, Kyle Odegard) http://www.dhonline.com/articles/2008/02/17/news/local/1aaa04_reax.txt

Bush Policies Undermine Science, Group Says
“The Bush administration’s persistent interference in the work of federal scientists has cut experts out of top-level discussions of bio
terrorism and served to punish researchers who questioned one White House nuclear weapon initiative, a science watchdog organization said yesterday. During the first day of a major science conference here, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report accusing the executive branch of committing a host of abuses over the last seven years. Included among 17 distinct charges are allegations that federal officials misrepresented or simply fabricated scientific data, suppressed certain findings, and pressured scientists to change reports in favor of administration positions. ‘This interference in science threatens our nation’s ability to respond to complex challenges to public health, the environment and national security,’ states the report, Federal Science and the Public Good.” (Global Security Newswire, 15Feb08, Chris Schneidmiller) http://www.nti.org/d_newswire/issues/2008_2_15.html#091DB6EC
An introduction to the Union of Concerned Scientists report is available at http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/restoring/federal-science.html

military steps up counter-terrorism preparations for Olympics
“Chinese troops are to step up anti-
terrorism training to ensure the security of Beijing's Olympic Games in August, a senior military officer has said. ‘This year poses a challenging test. We have scheduled massive training programs before the Olympics to better prepare against any possible threat,’ an officer from the General Staff Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was quoted as saying. The officer, who refused to be identified, said the troops participating in Olympics security were focusing on biochemical and nuclear threats, as well as emergency rescue operations.” (China View, 18Feb08, Xinhua) http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-02/18/content_7622174.htm

UK government forced to publish Iraq dossier draft
“An early version of a British dossier of prewar intelligence on Iraq did not include a key claim about weapons of mass destruction that became vital to Tony Blair's case for war, the newly published document showed Monday. The 2002 document insisted Saddam Hussein's regime had acquired uranium and had equipment necessary for chemical weapons, but does not contain a claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes -- an allegation crucial to Blair's push to back the 2004 U.S.-led invasion that later was discredited. Campaigners allege that the 45-minute claim was inserted into later drafts of the document on the orders of Blair's press advisers, who were seeking to strengthen the case for invasion -- a claim the government has strongly denied.” (CNN International, 18Feb08, AP) http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/18/iraq.dossier.ap/

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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