War on Terrorism

Thursday, April 24, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- April 23, 2008

Elusys' Anthim™ Dramatically Improves Survival of Animals Treated After Active Anthrax Infection
“Elusys Therapeutics, Inc. (Elusys), a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing antibody-based therapies for the treatment of life-threatening infectious diseases, today announced pivotal animal efficacy results of Anthim™, a high-affinity humanized and deimmunized monoclonal antibody targeting the anthrax toxin protective antigen. Elusys' Anthim is designed as a ‘just in time’ anthrax therapeutic that can be administered by a single, rapid intramuscular injection and has the potential to provide quick protection against the lethal effects of anthrax toxin.” (The Earth Times; 22Apr08; Elusys Therapeutics) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/elusys-anthimtm-dramatically-improves-survival,362212.shtml

UB [University of
Buffalo] art professor Steven Kurtz cleared of federal charges
“For the first time in four years, since his wife died of heart failure in their Allentown home, setting off a government investigation into whether he was a
terrorist because of the bacteria he kept for his artwork, Steven J. Kurtz is finally free of federal charges. […] ‘Kurtz and Ferrell never dreamed that anybody would claim they were violating some law by basically acquiring Level One — which is harmless — bacteria and trying to create an art project,’ Cambria said after learning of the dismissal. ‘They never thought in their wildest dreams that someone would think that was a crime.’ […] Hope Kurtz suffered heart failure and died in the couple’s College Street home in Allentown. Emergency responders, including Buffalo firefighters and Buffalo police, said they found aluminum foil covering the windows and petri dishes with growing cultures in them. Soon there were FBI agents from a terrorism task force in white biohazard suits, who searched the house for eight hours as stunned neighbors tried to figure out what was going on. The next thing that happened, after prosecutors talked of a bioterrorism threat, was a federal grand jury indictment of Kurtz on felony mail fraud and wire fraud charges in June 2004.” (The Buffalo News; 22Apr08; Michael Beebe & Dan Herbeck) http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/328874.html

Busy Bees [Honey Bees as Bio-detectors]
“Honeybees are active biological indicators, as they are known to exhibit the chemical impairment of environment. Several ecological, ethological and morphological characteristics have made the honeybee a reliable ecological detector. They sample most of the environmental sectors like vegetation, water, soil and air. They supply a suitable amount of biological material to be easily sampled and analysed throughout the year. […] Honeybees are extremely sensitive to various odours and have the ability to detect and discriminate different odoriferous substances as biosensors. […] In addition, bees can be trained to detect not only natural odours but also those of explosives, chemical and biological warfare agents.” (Deccan Herald; 22Apr08; N Nagaraja) http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Apr222008/environmet2008042163933.asp

Boston-Based BioDefense Corp. Announces New UK Partnership to Expand Markets for Biohazard Protection
“BioDefense Corp., the only company in the world to develop and deploy
technology that can neutralize and destroy a biohazardous substance while maintaining the integrity of the tainted materials, today announced it has partnered with General Lord Guthrie, former chief of the British Defense Staff, to establish new security markets for the BioDefense MailDefender® in the United Kingdom.” (Bio-Defense Corp.; 22Apr08) http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/04-22-2008/0004797310&EDATE

Universal Detection
Technology [UDTT] Receives Purchase Order for Hand Held Assays From Israeli Company
“Universal Detection
Technology […] a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies to protect people from bioterrorism and a provider of counter terrorism training and solutions, announced today that it has received a purchase order from an Israeli company for [the] Company's Hand Held Assays (HHA). […] UDTT's anthrax detection HHAs have provided accurate results to users in the field in as little as three minutes. The assays have been purchased by first responders throughout the country as well as the U.S. Army. The kits are able to detect anthrax spores well below the threshold for an infectious dose.” (Market Wire; 22Apr08; Jacques Tizabi) http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=847140

Board of Animal Health confirms Becker County [
Minnesota board of Animal health confirmed Tuesday that two cows on a Becker county farm died last week of anthrax, the first anthrax cases in 2008. The herd will remain under quarantine for 30 days from the day the last death occurs from anthrax. After the dead cows were discovered on pasture, a blood sample was collected and sent to the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fargo. Tests confirmed the samples were positive for anthrax. The herd was not vaccinated for anthrax this year.” (Park Rapkis Enterprise; 22Apr08) http://www.parkrapidsenterprise.com/articles/index.cfm?id=11717&section=News

Federal indictment over ricin found in Las Vegas motel room
“Roger Bergendorff and his lawyer, Paul Riddle, did not appear when U.S. District Court Magistrate Peggy Leen unsealed the indictment and scheduled Bergendorff for an arraignment and plea May 2, federal prosecutor Gregory Damm said. […] Among the objects seized from Bergendorff's were a .22-caliber Browning semiautomatic handgun with a silencer and a .22-caliber silencer with no serial number, according to the indictment. The charges against Bergendorff carry a possible penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a $750,000 fine. […] Vials containing about 4 grams of ‘crude’ powdered ricin were found in Bergendorff's extended-stay motel room several blocks off the Las Vegas Strip about two weeks after he was admitted to the hospital.” (Associated Press; 22Apr08; Ken Ritter) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jHS90ne-2-wjkHu_N158TrQ_wJpwD9077N280

Detecting Dangerous Chemicals with Lasers, Exploring the Brain's Circuitry with Light and the World's Largest Laser System Featured at CLEO/QELS [Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics and the Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference] Meeting in San Jose
“Nearly 6,000 researchers from around the world will present the latest breakthroughs in electro-optics, lasers and the application of light waves at the 2008 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (CLEO/QELS) May 4-9 at the
San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. […] Infrared spectroscopy can detect even trace amounts of a wide range of chemicals, including toxic components of hazardous waste or chemical weapons, because many chemicals absorb light in the mid-infrared band. Now Federico Capasso, and his colleagues at Harvard University are developing a new type of infrared spectrometer that could be just as powerful as these bulky instruments yet fit inside a shoe box.” (Business Wire; 22Apr08; Colleen Morrison of CLEO/QELS & PhAST) http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20080422006560&newsLang=en

Ahura Scientific FirstDefender Part of
Security Preparations for Pope's Recent U.S. Visit
“Ahura Scientific, Inc., a leader in rugged, ultra-compact handheld instruments for chemical identification, announced today that the Yonkers, New York Fire Department included its FirstDefender® instrument among the security response tools assembled in preparation for the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the city. […] ‘In order to make the Pope's visit a successful and, more importantly, an uneventful one, we had to have the right tools in the rare chance our city needed to respond,’ said William Fitzpatrick, Chief of Operations, Yonkers Fire Department.” (Market Wire; 22Apr08; Jenny Viscarolasaga)

'Chemical Ali' is hospitalized in Iraq after hunger strike
“Ali Hassan al-Majid [‘Chemical Ali’] […] and co-defendant Abdul-Ghani Abdul-Ghafour were admitted to a U.S. medical facility Sunday after they passed out […] Defense lawyer Badee Izzat Aref said al-Majid, Abdul-Ghafour and 13 other co-defendants in the trial started a hunger strike Friday to protest being forced to stay in cramped quarters at the courthouse instead of their cells at the U.S. detention facility Camp Cropper.” (Associated Press; 21Apr08; Sameer N. Yacoub) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jaHIVpCag-miqvDBJsHnW_xk60yQD906FLS00

'Chemical Ali' released from hospital
“A cousin and top deputy of Saddam Hussein, whose execution has been delayed for months, was returned to a U.S. detention facility on Tuesday after being hospitalized for a heart attack, U.S. officials said. […] Al-Majid and six other defendants had been returned to Camp Cropper on Tuesday and the rest were to be returned on Wednesday, he said.” (Associated Press; 22Apr08; Sameer N. Yacoub) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jaHIVpCag-miqvDBJsHnW_xk60yQD907633O0

Have Magic, Will Travel: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons
“OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) has admitted that its original (1997) deadlines for destroying the worlds chemical weapons stocks were too optimistic, and has extended that 2007 deadline, by five years (to 2012.) The OPCW treaty has 183 nations signed on. But several (Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and seven others) have not.”
(Strategy Page; 22Apr08)

Homeland Security Update
“Kip Hawley, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), told lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week that the
Homeland Security Department plans to begin a controversial airline passenger screening program as early as January 2009, taking over the responsibility for screening passengers against government terrorist watch lists. […] The hearing was held to examine the government’s ability to prepare for and respond to an act of nuclear terrorism, with Senators discussing the plausibility of a bomb constructed by terrorists being smuggled into a seaport as cargo, flown over a city in a private plane, or driven into a city in a truck.~ With experts stating the possibility of such an attack is higher than ever, Senators noted it would be important for residents in outlying areas of a city to know they do not have to rush to the highways.” (Helicopter Association International; 21Apr08)

U.S.-United Arab Emirates Memorandum of Understanding on Nuclear Energy Cooperation
“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al-Nahyan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy on April 21, 2008 in Bahrain. […] Secretary Rice also received from Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah a diplomatic note endorsing the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear
Terrorism. The United Arab Emirates is the 68th nation to join the Initiative, which is an action-oriented, flexible network of partner nations working to address all aspects of the nuclear terrorism threat, including deterrence, denial, detection, material confiscation, and response.” (U.S. Department of State; 21Apr08) http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/apr/103859.htm

New Approaches for
Firefighter Protection – CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear] Protection Update
Firefighters like other first responders are reliant on their usual duty gear — in this case, their turnout clothing. […] turnout clothing cannot protect firefighters in an environment where there has been a release of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) agents. In recognition of these needs, the federal government has supported protective ensemble developments that are aimed at firefighters being provided with protection during structural fire, but also permitting protection for the types of hazards that can occur during terrorism events. […] According to the feedback from firefighters, they didn't want to tradeoff the additional CBRN protection for ease of use in their everyday calls. As a result, the CB Ready design was based on allowing firefighters to deploy added protection without assistance when needed, but then have it disappear when they didn't. The CB.Ready™ design incorporates user-deployable closures at the waist of both the jacket and pants, cinches at the wrist and ankles, and a special hood built into the collar that can seal around the SCBA mask to protect the face, neck, and head.” (Fire Rescue 1; 21Apr08; Jeffrey O. Stull) http://www.firerescue1.com/firefightersafety/articles/397722-New-Approaches-for-Firefighter-Protection-CBRN-Protection-Update/

Gas mask worthy of James Bond designed
“Visitors at the Directorate of
Homeland Security made a seemingly impossible demand - an emergency escape~hood weighing less than a pound and foldable in a thin DVD case, something seen in James Bond movies. […] Homeland Security assigned Avon Protection Systems in Britain to develop and~produce a mask with similar specifications, called EH-15 (Escape Hood-15 minutes). After successfully passing stringent tests in October 2007, ten prototypes were made. The first lot of EH-15s is to be~produced soon.” (Daily News & Analysis; 22Apr08)

Contracting Out Emergency Response
“Over the last 20 years the hazardous materials and environmental emergency response field has seen many changes; among the most significant of these has been a move by industry from maintaining in-house capabilities to contracting out emergency response services. Even the traditional providers within the chemical manufacturing and oil sectors have adopted this strategy. This transformation has not happened without challenges in terms of adequacy of environmental protection, response times and worker protection. […] This transformation has lead [sic] to a reduced in-house capability, in particular, a reduction of trained staff and reduced equipment has lead [sic] to a higher risk of exposure when responding to releases.” (HazMat Magazine; 22Apr08; John Hosty)

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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