War on Terrorism

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 20, 2008

US dismisses bird flu claims
“The United States has rejected the Indonesian Health Minister's claims that it is using bird flu samples to produce biological weapons and World Health Organisation [WHO] officials have condemned allegations of conspiring to profit from bird flu vaccines. The Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is understood to have ordered the minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, to recall copies of her book on avian influenza, which alleges the US and the WHO are conspiring against developing countries by seizing control of bird flu samples.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 21Feb08, Mark Forbes) http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/us-dismisses-bird-flu-claims/2008/02/20/1203467183624.html

US involved in bird flu conspiracy: Indonesia
“Indonesia’s Health Minister has suggested that the United States may be involved in a conspiracy to use the bird flu virus to develop biological weapons. The extraordinary allegation is included in a new book, endorsed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which describes Indonesia’s fight to assert its ownership of its virulent strains of avian influenza. Concerns over that issue prompted Indonesia last year to stop sharing virus samples with the World Health Organization […].” (ABC News [Australia], 20Feb08, Geoff Thompson) http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2008/s2167325.htm

Reporter Held in Contempt in Anthrax Case
“A federal judge found a former reporter for USA Today in contempt of court on Tuesday for refusing to name her confidential sources who had discussed a former
Army scientist’s possible role in the 2001 anthrax attacks. The reporter, Toni Locy, now faces fines of up to $5,000 a day for refusing to comply with an earlier order issued by the judge, Reggie B. Walton. Judge Walton said he would decide in coming days whether a second former reporter, Jim Stewart, should also be held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal the sources for his accounts on the anthrax inquiry, broadcast on CBS News. The two journalists are being pressed to reveal their sources by Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, a onetime bio terrorism expert for the Army, who is suing the federal government, saying his reputation was ruined by leaks to the news media from law enforcement officials linking him to the attacks. In 2002, the F.B.I. [Federal Bureau of Investigation] and John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, described Dr. Hatfill as a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation into the attacks, which killed five people and remain unsolved.” (New York Times, 20Feb08, Eric Lichtblau) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/20/us/20anthrax.html

US better prepared for health disaster, CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] says
“U.S. states are better prepared than in 2001 for a pandemic or biological attack, but still lack trained staff and specialized facilities, according to a federal report released on Wednesday. All the state health departments are now ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to examine urgent health threat reports -- compared to just 12 states in 1999, the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. And there are many more labs that can detect and process chemical and biological agents.” (Reuters, 20Feb08, Maggie Fox) http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN20591510

Lab backers tout defense role
“A laboratory that may study incurable animal diseases in Athens [
Georgia] would be far less dangerous than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to federal officials and scientists. Officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Agriculture returned to the University of Georgia on Tuesday to defend the proposed National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility in the wake of growing local opposition. They covered little new ground, but provided more detailed information and answered dozens of questions from concerned residents. They touted the lab as essential to protecting the United States' food supply against a biological terrorist attack or the accidental introduction of livestock diseases like foot-and-mouth, and new zoonotic diseases that killed thousands when animals transmitted the illness to humans.” (Online Athens, 19Feb08, Blake Aued) http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/022008/news_20080220066.shtml

Health Ministry to supervise
army medical experiments
“Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) on Tuesday welcomed measures taken recently by the [Israeli]
army to protect soldiers who participate in medical experiments, the organization said in response to a brief presented by the state to the High Court of Justice. The brief came in reply to petitions by PHR and by a group of soldiers who participated in immunization experiments against anthrax. The petitioners charged that the experiments had been carried out without proper supervision and that the army had withheld information from the soldiers when it asked them to participate. ‘By agreeing to subordinate itself to the Health Ministry, the army has shown great progress in protecting the rights of soldiers,’ said PHR director-general Hadas Ziv.” (The Jerusalem Post, 20Feb08, Dan Izenberg)

Soldiers sue government over harmful anthrax tests
“The state [Israel] informed the High Court of
Justice yesterday that it assumes full responsibility for the treatment of soldiers harmed during the testing of drugs countering the anthrax bacteria. The state was responding to a petition brought against senior officials last month by 34 soldiers who had been part of a biological weapons research project code named Omer-2. In its response, the state insists that the tests were carried out by the military authorities in line with accepted medical and ethical standards, through the application of strict safeguards, and with the authorization of all relevant parties. The state also said that there were no mistakes in the experiment. […] In a parallel petition filed by the organizations Physicians for Human Rights, the court is asked to ban all trials on humans in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] until the necessary legislation is passed - already approved in a first reading by the Knesset last year - on controlling and supervising such trials.” (Haaretz, 18Feb08, Avirama Golan)

Asian cops here [Manila, Philippines] to train on bio-terror
“Delegations from China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam will join their Filipino counterparts at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila for the five-day training to be conducted by Adrian Baciu, bioterrorism program coordinator of the International
Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), PNP Director General Avelino Razon Jr., said in a statement.” (Asian Journal Online, 18Feb08) http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=186&a=26190

Russia set to destroy chemical weapons by 2012
“Russia should be able to destroy all its stockpiles of chemical weapons by 2012, a first deputy prime minister said on Tuesday. ‘The most important deadline for us is 2012, when we must complete the destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles in line with our [international] obligations,’ Sergei Ivanov said at a meeting of a commission on export controls. Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical arms in 1993 and ratified it in 1997. The country is to destroy all its declared arsenal of 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons by 2012.” (RIA Novosti, 19Feb08) http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080219/99616359.html

Dutch did nerve gas experiments
“Researchers from the TNO laboratories carried out experiments using chemical weapons in the 1950s, according to news magazine HP/DeTijd. […] The nerve agents involved included sarin, tuban [sic], soman and one known simply as Stof (compound) X.” (DutchNews.nl, 20Feb08) http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2008/02/dutch_did_nerve_gas_experiment.php

Indonesia: Agrees [to endorse] death sentence against chemical weapons use
“The Indonesian House of Representatives has endorsed a bill that threatens the death sentence to individuals who develop, produce and possess chemical weapons, local press said Wednesday. The bill says the use, transfer and acts to facilitate the use of chemical weapons will be punishable by sentences ranging from four years' imprisonment to capital punishment. Endorsed at a plenary season Tuesday, the bill also bans individuals from involvement in the use of chemical weapons for
military purposes, reported The Jakarta Post newspaper.” (SomaliNet, 20Feb08, Zainab Osman) http://www.somalinet.com/news/world/World/14670

Report: Gas mask collection to be halted
“The Defense Ministry has halted efforts to collect and refurbish close to seven million gas masks from the public due to insufficient funds […]. According to the report, 4.5 million masks have already been collected, but the ministry is missing NIS 40 million needed to complete the operation, as well as funds required to refurbish the masks. The ministry has notified manpower companies involved in the project to prepare to stop collecting masks […].” (The Jerusalem Post, 19Feb08) http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1203343706713&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

U.S. urged to curb use of ‘
dirty bomb’ ingredient
“Radioactive cesium chloride found in medical and research equipment can be used as a deadly ingredient in a ‘
dirty bomb,’ and U.S. leaders should try to curb its use, the National Research Council said on Wednesday. About 1,000 machines at U.S. hospitals and universities used for irradiating blood for transplant patients and other purposes contain cesium chloride, the council said. The concern is that individuals or groups eager to detonate a dirty bomb in a U.S. city could steal this cesium chloride and combine it with conventional explosives such as dynamite into a ‘dirty bomb’ or radiological dispersal device.” (Scientific American; 20Feb08; Will Dunham, Reuters) http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=us-urged-to-curb-use-of-d

Is [sic] India’s Nuclear Weapons And Materials In Safe Hands [?] Enriched Uranium Seized At India Nepal Border
police on February 18 seized four kg of low-grade uranium and arrested six persons in Supaul district along the Indo-Nepal border. A police official on February 19 said acting on an intelligence tip-off, four kg of low-grade uranium was seized near Virpur bus stand in Supaul late on February 18 night.” (Unique Pakistan, 19Feb08)

New manual on
terrorism prevention
“Interpol, Europol, the World Customs Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have produced a reference manual that details how to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear
terrorism. Combating Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material [italics added] has been written for law enforcement, intelligence, emergency workers and the nuclear industry.” (Nuclear Engineering International,

Iran has renounced WMDs in practice
“Iran's Ambassador to Tajikistan Ali-Asghar She'rdoust said here [in Dushanbe] Tuesday that Iran […] renounced weapons of mass destruction in practice when the US-backed Saddam's regime sprayed Iranian soldiers with chemical weapons in 1980-1988. He told reporters that when the Iraqi dictator sprayed Iranian soldiers and the civilians in the border areas with chemical weapons supplied by the Western governments, Iran did never think even for the moment to reciprocate, because WMDs [are] forbidden in Islam.” (IRNA, 19Feb08) http://www2.irna.com/en/news/view/line-22/0802192122215035.htm

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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