War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- May 5, 2008

Panel call for biolab safety study that could delay project
“An elite panel of scientists is urging the federal government to take a deeper look at the safety of a proposed biolab that would study the world's most dangerous germs. The recommendation comes from the National Research Council. If the government takes the advice, the lab's opening would be delayed, though officials were uncertain how long.” (WHDH;03May08)

Fungi have a hand in depleted uranium's environmental fate
“Fungi may have an important role to play in the fate of potentially dangerous depleted uranium left in the environment after recent war campaigns, according to a new report in the May 6th issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. The researchers found evidence that fungi can ‘lock’ depleted uranium into a mineral form that may be less likely to find its way into plants, animals, or the water supply.”
(EurekAlert; 05May08; Cathleen Genova)

Fla. court to hear anthrax lawsuit
“The Florida Supreme Court is taking up key issues in a lawsuit over the anthrax death of a photo editor for a supermarket tabloid publisher. Robert Stevens died Oct. 5, 2001 after being exposed to the deadly substance. It was in an envelope mailed to the offices of
American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, Sun and Globe newspapers.” (USA Today; 05May08)

Rockville Biotech Buys Rival's Anthrax Vaccine
“The effort to protect the country from another anthrax attack will take an unexpected turn today when Rockville firm Emergent BioSolutions plans to announce that it has bought for $2 million an anthrax vaccine from a California company that federal health officials dropped in 2006. VaxGen of South
San Francisco has struggled to survive since losing its $877.5 million contract for a next-generation anthrax vaccine. Having accumulated a $254 million deficit, VaxGen has struck an unlikely deal with Emergent, its once-bitter competitor still eager to compete for millions of dollars under the Bush administration's $5.6 billion Project BioShield program.” (Washington Post; 05May08; Michael S. Rosenwald) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/04/AR2008050401771.html

Ore. man admits sending fake anthrax to feds
“A Tillamook County man has admitted sending numerous threatening letters containing fake anthrax powder to state and federal government offices over a period of nearly three years, federal court papers released Friday show. The documents say David Albert Groves, 48, of Bay City, admitted sending numerous letters containing a powdery substance as well as threats to government agencies, private businesses and at least one individual. He is charged with mailing threatening communications. U.S. Magistrate Judge John Acosta assigned him a public defender and released him, setting an arraignment May 30.” (The World; 05May08; Joseph B. Frazier) http://www.theworldlink.com/articles/2008/05/05/news/doc481dce29a91a7493148593.tx

Man pleads not guilty to federal charges in Vegas ricin case
“A man authorities suspect was poisoned by ricin found in his motel room pleaded not guilty Friday to possession of a biological toxin and weapons charges. A June 17 trial was scheduled for Roger Bergendorff, who has been in federal custody since his April 16 arrest. The charges carry a possible penalty of 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.” (Yahoo News; 02May08; Ken Ritter)

Robotic bugs set to invade the battlefield
“A swarm of robotic insects is being developed for the military to hunt down enemy fighters in buildings and caves, carry mini bombs and identify chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. They look as though they have crawled from the set of a science fiction film, but the bugs are based on the design and size of real insects, including spiders and dragonflies. They are to be fitted with cameras, as well as sensors to identify different types of weapon, and can be kitted out with a small payload of explosives.” (Telegraph; 04May08; Jasper Copping) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/frontline/1924773/Robotic-bugs-set-to-invade-the-battlefield.html

Pine Bluff Arsenal [
Arkansas] Destroys First VX-Filled Landmine
“The Pine Bluff Arsenal has begun destroying VX nerve-agent landmines as it continues disposing of the post's stockpile of chemical weapons. The arsenal destroyed its first landmine Saturday. The destruction of the landmine is the third of four stages in disposing of the chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with an international treaty. The arsenal began destroying GB nerve-agent filled rockets in March 2005, and when that was completed, it destroyed a stockpile of VX-filled rockets.” (Today’s THV;

[Congressman Denny] Rehberg [R-Mont.] presses for aid to veterans
“On Thursday, Congressmen Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to provide health care to veterans involved, without their knowledge, in biological and chemical weapons tests in the 1960s and 70s. According to a press statement by Rehberg’s office, the existence of the tests, known as Project 112, was denied by the Department of Defense despite reports from participating veterans that they were being stricken with unusual diseases. The department now acknowledges that the tests took place, but the Veterans Administration will not provide these veterans with health benefits and compensation for their diseases, Rehberg stated.” (Ravalli Republic; 05May08; Joel Gallob) http://www.ravallirepublic.com/articles/2008/05/02/news/news41.txt

British Government refuses to help 'torture flight' victim
“The Government is refusing to help a man prove he was taken to Morocco aboard a CIA torture flight and brutally interrogated. Britain says it will not help Binyam Mohammed - who is facing trial by US authorities - because it has ‘no obligation under international law’ to provide information that might prevent someone being convicted outside the UK on evidence obtained through torture. […] Mohammed, 29, has been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2004 over an alleged plot to detonate a radioactive 'dirty bomb' in New York.” (Daily Mail; 04May08; David Rose) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=563858&in_page_id=1766&ito=1490

Lost' NHS [National Health Service] equipment sparks
dirty bomb fear
“Nine items that could be used to build a
dirty bomb are missing from British hospitals, fuelling fears that Al Qaeda terrorists are trying to steal material to build a radioactive device. The revelation comes as a new US State Department intelligence report highlights fears over terror suspects working in the NHS and reveals Britain has launched an urgent operation to track down all radiological material used in its hospitals.” (Daily Mail; 04May08; Jason Lewis)

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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