War on Terrorism

Saturday, February 23, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 22, 2008

Biolab officials face skeptics
“Four officials of the Department of
Homeland Security and the U.S.Department of Agriculture faced a demonstrative crowd of about 250 people Thursday night, many of whom waved signs protesting the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. The officials had come to Creedmoor [North Carolina] to answer local questions about the facility, intended to study and develop countermeasures for foreign diseases such as hoof-and-mouth or swine fever that could enter the U.S. and infect agricultural animals.”
(The News & Observer, 22Feb08, Jim Wise) http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/959021.html

Texas A&M to pay $1 million fine to end ban on biodefense research
“Texas A&M University will pay a $1 million fine to resume biodefense research on campus – the long-awaited federal penalty for failing to report illnesses and infection in its labs last year. In a conference call Wednesday, top university officials said the payment, which is 100 times larger than the fine A&M originally proposed, should put an end to nine months of uncertainty around the research program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspended biodefense research at A&M in June.”
(Dallas Morning News, 21Feb08, Emily Ramshaw) http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-biodefense_21tex.ART.State.Edition1.45e1a02.html

[Washington] State preparing for the worst as 2010 Winter Olympics approach
“With the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., just around the corner, Washington state is using its partnership with British Columbia to prepare for bio
terrorist attacks and other public-health emergencies. That cross-country partnership, which has already led to sharing of information on severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and a salmonella pet-food problem, was noted in a new federal report on health-emergency preparedness. [….] State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said Washington and Canadian labs and epidemiologists are in constant contact.” (The Seattle Times; 21Feb08; Rachel La Corte, AP) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004193011_emergency21m.html

Amtrak contracts for explosives detection
New Jersey-based Smiths Detection has been contracted by Amtrak for the recently announced planned upgrade of passenger screening procedures. Under the contract Smiths Detection will supply Amtrak the company's Sabre 4000 detection systems for the quick detection of explosives, narcotics, chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals among other threats.” (UPI, 21Feb08) http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Industry/Briefing/2008/02/21/amtrak_contracts_for_explosives_detection/1496/

Federal Funding Helps Prepare Students For BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure]
Maryland will need space for new students under the military's Base Realignment and Closure [BRAC] program, but there's also a need for more specialized educational programs. Sen[ator] Barbara Mikulski announced Wednesday that schools will get more than $300,000 in federal dollars to develop programs to help prepare for BRAC. At Aberdeen High School's Science and Mathematics Academy, students work alongside mentors from the Department of Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground […] Some of Aberdeen's 12th graders shared with Mikulski parts of their projects that were made possible with the federal dollars secured by the senator. ‘What I'm looking at is the decontamination of chemical warfare against warfare agents,’ said student Jacob Burlin. ‘We are studying levels of ketamines and how it affects the heart when you are exposed to a nerve agent,’ said student Ashley Larsen.” (WBAL TV, 20Feb08) http://www.wbaltv.com/news/15358983/detail.html

Salt Plains [
Oklahoma] digging area remains closed to the public
“The crystal site at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge will not open for its usual digging period until more than 400 sites within the area can be searched for chemicals, officials said. Last April, about 134 vials of blistering solutions used in
military chemical warfare training kits were unearthed about a mile from the public entrance to the crystal digging site after a Bartlesville Boy Scout found a vial on April 21. The crystal digging area has been closed to the public since.” (Enid News, 20Feb08, Cass Rains) http://www.enidnews.com/localnews/local_story_051003224.html

Court upholds dismissal of ‘agent orange’ suit
“A federal appeals
court on Friday upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a civil lawsuit against major U.S. chemical companies brought by Vietnamese plaintiffs over the use of dioxin, or ‘agent orange,’ during the Vietnam War. The decision was handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York involving a suit brought against Dow Chemical Co, Monsanto Co and nearly 30 other companies that had earlier been dismissed by a U.S. district court.” (Reuters, 22Feb08, Martha

Canadian firm cited as potential source for
dirty bomb material
“Canada's leading nuclear medicine company has been identified by a U.S. scientific panel as a major source of potential ‘
dirty bomb’ materials at American hospitals and research labs, prompting a call to end the use of devices requiring radioactive cesium-137 as soon as possible. The U.S. National Research Council, commissioned by Congress to assess the terrorism risks posed by radioactive substances used for medical and scientific purposes, released a report Wednesday in Washington that highlighted blood irradiators and other machines - hundreds of them supplied to U.S. institutions by Ottawa-based MDS Nordion - as vulnerable to terrorists.” (Canada.com; 21Feb08; Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service)

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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