War on Terrorism

Thursday, May 08, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News-May 7, 2008

BU [
Boston University] Biolab Safety Study 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.” (WCVB; 05May08; Associated Press) http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/16159355/detail.html

Annual Conference on Vaccine Research to Highlight Not Only Health Benefits But Also Economic Gains
“[A]ccording to Dr. David E. Bloom, a labor economist at the Harvard School of Public Health. […] ‘A healthier population is a cornerstone of a vibrant and growing economy,’ […] The three-day conference is the world's largest scientific meeting devoted exclusively to research on vaccines and related technologies for disease prevention and treatment. This year, scientists will present findings about the efficacy of a high-dose influenza vaccine for the elderly as well as advances on novel vaccines to combat everything from smoking to bio-
terrorism to the spread of avian influenza (H5N1) on poultry farms. […] U.S. Army researchers will also report success in mouse experiments with a four-in-one vaccine to protect against anthrax, botulism, plague and staphylococcus -- all of which might be used as bioterrorism agents.” (The Earth Times; 05May08; Jennifer Corrigan)

New Schools, Jail To Raise County Budget [Dunn, North Carolina]
“Harnett County Manager Neil Emory submitted a proposed county budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year during the board of commissioners meeting Monday. […] Requests were approved from Emergency Services to accept Bioterrorism Development grants for equipment upgrades and a heating and air conditioning system. The commissioners also approved requests to accept a grant for the Dunn
Police Department Communications Center to upgrade its emergency medical dispatch system […]. ” (Daily Record; 06May08; Brian Haney)

Albemarle Optimizes Smallpox Drug Candidate For SIGA
“Two American companies are teaming up for second-round test-phase production of a FDA-designated ‘fast track’ drug candidate to treat smallpox, a deadly virus that is feared to be able to reach people through acts of bio-warfare or bio-
terrorism. Albemarle Corporation […] was selected by SIGA Technologies […] to provide scale-up and manufacturing services for ST-246, SIGA's leading smallpox antiviral candidate.”
(Medical News Today; 06May08; Albemarle Corporation) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/106344.php

Florida] Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Anthrax Death Lawsuit
“The federal government and a private laboratory have no duty under state law to protect the public from lethal materials, their lawyers argued Monday in a lawsuit over the anthrax death of a supermarket tabloid staffer in 2001. […] Robert Stevens, a photo editor for publisher
American Media Inc., died Oct. 5, 2001, after being exposed to anthrax […] His wife, Maureen Stevens, sued the government and Battelle Memorial Institute, a research company in Columbus, Ohio, alleging they were also the source of the anthrax strain that killed her husband.” (National Broadcasting Company; 05May08; Associated Press) http://www.nbc4.com/news/16166595/detail.html

VaxGen sells vaccine for anthrax to rival [Emergent BioSolutions]
“VaxGen, the South
San Francisco company that has been reduced to a shadow of its former self after losing an $877.5 million federal contract to develop an anthrax vaccine, announced Monday that it has sold the experimental vaccine to its chief rival. Emergent BioSolutions of Rockville, Md.” (Mercury News; 06May08; Steve Johnson)

Joint efforts to minimise [sic] biological risks sought
“Dr David Heyman, former senior adviser at the White House and the US Secretary of Energy, [gave] a lecture [in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.] titled ‘Managing Biological Risks: A Comprehensive, Interdisciplinary and International Approach’. […] Dr. [Gerald L.] Epstein stated, ‘The deliberate misuse of biology for harm challenges the existing mechanism for the international cooperation and international governance. In the past, the principal cause of concern was the threat of state-of-the-art biological weapons programmes but today, concern about deliberate biological threats has broadened to include the bioterrorism.’ ‘So, unitedly we need to lower this threat.’ He emphasised on the need for cooperation among all local and government bodies and communities of the world to reduce the biological threats.” (Khaleej Times; 06May08; Anwar Ahmad)

CWC Review Conference Avoids Difficult Issues
“The second review conference for the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) only barely avoided failure. The meeting, which took place April 7-18 in The Hague, had to be suspended at midnight of the last day, and diplomats worked until the early morning of April 19 to reach agreement. […] Several diplomats contacted by Arms Control Today agreed that, given the procedural difficulties, finding consensus on the final document was a success in itself but conceded that agreement was only possible at the price of avoiding contentious issues and copying large sections from the final document of the first CWC review conference in 2003.” (Arms control Today; 06May08; Oliver Meier) http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2008_05/CWC.asp

Should Israel Close Dimona? The Radiological Consequences of a
Military Strike on Israel’s Plutonium-Production Reactor
“Today, multiple factors may drive Israel’s adversaries to hit the plant: its perceived centrality to Israel’s nuclear weapons program, revenge for Israeli strikes on neighboring states, Dimona’s symbolic significance as one of the Jewish state’s most valued assets, and, most disturbingly, an attack to intentionally release the radioactive contents of the plant as a weapon of war or
terrorism. […] An accord, defenses, or mutual vulnerability acting as a deterrent to attack would not provide a guarantee that plants will be immune from military or even terrorist strikes in such an unstable part of the world. This ought to raise the question whether the planned growth of plants, many orders of magnitude larger than Dimona, should go forward. Until the region resolves its political differences, nuclear energy planners ought to take a second look. In the meantime, Israel would do well to reflect whether, given its own reactor vulnerability, keeping Dimona operating is worth the risk.” (Arms Control Association; 05May08; Bennet Ramburg) http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2008_05/Dimona.asp

Would they? Could~they?
“The ‘Would they? Could they?’ debate in regard to nuclear
terrorism is an old one. There has been a lot written about whether terrorists want to use nuclear weapons and, if they do, whether they have the technological capability to ‘make it so.’ […] A PhD student at King’s, Simen Ellingsen, has come up with what I think is a rather clever way of summarising this debate: in the form of a graph […] Generally, authors who think terrorists could, think they would […].” (Arms Control Wonk; 06May08; James Acton) http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1877/would-they-could-they

China's PLA says ready to handle any emergency during Olympics
“China's People's Liberation
Army (PLA) has said it is fully gearing itself up to handle any emergency during the Beijing Olympics with its plans that included preventing potential nuclear, biological or chemical attacks. [… ] ‘Helicopters, combat aircraft, ships, surface-to-air missiles and anti-chemical weapons will be used’, Tian Yixiang, Director of the Team, was quoted as saying by the PLA Daily. Terrorism has been identified by China as the ‘biggest threat’ to the Olympics and it said recently that it had uncovered terror plots targeting the Games.” (Chennai Online; 06May08; Raghavendra) http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B1A2C3221-28E0-440A-9558-3210C565E2BA%7D&CATEGORYNAME=INTER

More than 150 States have reported on moves to keep WMDs from
terrorists – UN
“As of the end of April, more than half of United Nations Member States have submitted assessments to the
Security Council regarding efforts to keep nuclear, chemical and biological weapons out of the hands of terrorists and black marketeers, it was announced today. Over 150 nations have fulfilled their reporting responsibilities, Ambassador Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica, the chair of the Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) by non-State actors, particularly terrorists, told the Council today.” (UN News Centre; 06May08) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26586&Cr=&C1=

CNS ChemBio-WMD 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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