Wednesday, May 14, 2008
CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- May 14, 2008
NBACC [National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center] director says they will not create threats at lab
“The laboratory director of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), Dr. Patrick Fitch, said yesterday that research at the laboratory will not ‘create threats in order to study them’. This statement is a welcome change from previous presentations about the lab’s mission. The controversy about the research goals of the NBACC emerged after Lt. Colonel George Korch, Jr., PhD, gave a powerpoint presentation about the facility in February 2004. According to this talk (the slides are available here), part of the NBACC threat assessment mission would include acquiring, growing, modifying, storing, stabilizing, packaging, and dispersing biological threat agents to determine various properties and capabilities.” (FAS; 13May08; Nate Hafer).
Drill preps responders for bioterrorism disaster [Chicago, Illinois]
“Crowds lined up outside the Sears Centre Arena mid-day Tuesday to take part in a large-scale disaster drill. The purpose was to simulate biological terrorism or disease outbreak, helping government employees from numerous departments and municipalities to learn their roles in case of a major emergency. […] Although Tuesday's drill involved handing out placebo pharmaceuticals, Christensen said the greatest local disaster risk is severe weather. The next most likely large-scale problem would be a hazardous materials, followed by chances of a biological or other terrorism in one of the venues with large populations in a small space.” (Hoffman Estates Review; 13May08; Josh Singer).
Ground Broken on New Public Health Lab in Taylorsville [Utah]
“The Utah Department of Health broke ground in Taylorsville today on a new Unified State Lab. Lab Director Patrick Luedtke says the new facility will greatly enhance the state's ability to fight chemical and bioterrorism. ‘We have been significantly limited in terms of our ability to provide equipment for chemical response and bioterrorism response simply because of the size of the [current] facility,’ says Luedtke. ‘The secondary issue is the quality of the science. Our existing building has single pane windowns [sic] that are very leaky and drafty. We can pick up the toxic chemicals when someone is smoking outside with our very sophisticated instruments inside. That contamination causes problems.’ Luedtke says the new facility will also be safer for those working in the lab because it will have more defined escape routes and cleaner, filtered air.” (KPCW; 13May08; Eric Ray).
AVMA [American Veterinary Medical Association] Declares Preliminary Victory on Farm Bill Provisions
“The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) declared a preliminary victory on several key provisions included in the Farm Bill, applauding Congress and pledging to continue working toward the implementation of unresolved initiatives. Reaching final negotiation in a joint U.S. House of Representatives and Senate conference committee, the Farm Bill includes legislation on human and animal health that ranges from food safety protection and bioterrorism prevention to the importation of healthy puppies.” (PR Newswire; 14May08).
Levaquin Approved for Pediatric Anthrax Exposure
“The FDA [Food & Drug Administration] has approved Ortho-McNeil’s antibiotic Levaquin to treat pediatric patients exposed to inhaled anthrax. Levaquin (levofloxacin) tablets in 250-mg, 500-mg and 750-mg strengths, as well as 5-mg injection and 25-mg oral solution, are approved for this indication in patients older than 6 months, the FDA said. The drug previously was approved to treat adults after exposure to inhaled anthrax.” (FDA News; 14May08).
5 company officials arrested in Japan's scandal over WWII weapons removal in China
“Five Japanese company officials were arrested Tuesday for alleged fraud in a widening scandal over a government project to remove chemical weapons abandoned in China at the end of World War II. The five from consulting firm Pacific Consultants International and its affiliate, Abandoned Chemical Weapons Disposal Corp., are accused of swindling about $1.1 million from the Japanese government, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office said in a statement.” (International Herald Tribune; 13May08; Associated Press).
Vice FM [Foreign Minister]: China hopes to destroy Japanese abandoned chemical weapon soon
“The Chinese government hopes to destroy abandoned wartime Japanese chemical weapons very soon, said Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi here on Tuesday. Wang made the remarks while meeting with Rogelio Pfirter, director-general of the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Wang said considering the risk to lives, property and the environment, the Chinese government was greatly concerned about chemical weapons left by Japanese troops in World War II.”
Country Reports on Terrorism 2007: Georgia
“The Georgian government improved border security operations and worked to eliminate corruption at border checkpoints, focusing its efforts on stopping the smuggling of contraband, including money, illegal drugs, and all types of weapons (chemical, nuclear and biological) that could support terrorism. There were significant improvements in infrastructure at the major border crossing checkpoints: new facilities were opened at Sadakhlo, an important land border crossing between Georgia and Armenia, which greatly enhanced controls at that port of entry.” (The Journal of Turkish Weekly; 13May08). http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=55304
Police arsenals add radiation detectors
“Artificial radiation, intones a female voice over the electronic squeal of an alarm. The cell phone-sized device in the state trooper's hand gave the warning as a Chevy Blazer with a trace amount of radioactive material inside drove by. The scene was part of a demonstration of the latest defense against terrorism Tuesday at the state fairgrounds in Geddes [New York]. Artificial radiation, a trooper explained, is the kind that does not appear in nature but rather is man-made, such as plutonium. It's the kind of material that could show up in a terrorist's improvised nuclear device, or ‘dirty bomb.’”(Syracuse Online; 14May08; Robert A. Baker).
Games For Health: Why You Should Care About Virtual Worlds
“After [Tim] Holt's [Oregon State University] introduction to the topic, Patricia Youngblood of Stanford University's Medical Media & Information Technologies (SUMMIT) spoke on her group's experiments with virtual world simulation programs in medical training applications. Youngblood has been interested in virtual worlds since 2004, experimenting with the now-defunct Adobe Atmosphere software. The group's simulation trains people to treat victims of radiological weapons (‘dirty bombs’), nerve agents such as sarin, trauma, mass casualties, and other disasters. In the simulation, invisible instructors watch trainees interact with victim avatars and later review performance alongside recorded gameplay footage.”
(GamaSutra; 13May08; Kyle Orland).
South Africa: Chemical Attack 'Threat to 2010'
“Easily available industrial compounds made SA vulnerable to a chemical and biological weapons attack during the Soccer World Cup. Philip Coleman, the executive manager of Protechnik, a subsidiary of the state-owned arms manufacturer Armscor, said chemical substances from the Cold War were no longer a major threat. Many had been destroyed since the adoption of the chemical weapons convention almost 10 years ago. ‘Where we see a greater threat is from toxic industrial chemicals,’ Coleman said yesterday. These substances, such as chlorine, were easier to get hold of and were already widely transported in SA .” (All Africa; 14May08; Wilson Johwa).
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.