War on Terrorism

Monday, May 19, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- May 19, 2008

Anthrax scare forces evacuation of
FBI building
“About 9:45 a.m., an employee was opening mail in a contained area. […] Inside [one] envelope, the employee noticed a white powder. […] All 120 employees of the FBI plus all the other businesses in the 13-story building at 257 E. 200 South were evacuated. Hazmat crews from the Salt Lake Fire Department collected the powdery substance into a sealed container and took it away for testing. […] The area where the mail was sorted was then sterilized before employees were allowed to return. The FBI was allowed back into the building about 12:35 p.m.” (Deseret News; 17May08)

Asleep at the Switch: It's an Emergency. We're Not Prepared.
“Even after Sept. 11, 2001, even after Hurricane Katrina, a Red Cross survey last year found that 93 percent of Americans aren't prepared for a major calamity -- a natural disaster, a pandemic or a
terrorist attack. […] Readying the public for the likely emergencies of the 21st century may be one of the most complex social-education challenges the nation has faced. Americans have to prepare for a range of threats, many of which the government can neither describe nor predict.” (Washington Post; 18May08; John D. Solomon) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/16/AR2008051603735.html

County officials and volunteers drill with emergency equipment [Sierra Vista,
“About 20 local volunteers learned how to turn 700 pounds of canvas, metal and plastic into an emergency shelter Saturday. […] County workers also practiced using new radio and other communications equipment while volunteers learned how to set up and take down the Base-X tent at the Fry
Fire District on Saturday. […] A group of six volunteers, along with two Base-X trainers from Tucson, completed the full tent setup and breakdown in about one and a half hours. With enough practice, a well coordinated group could set it up in about 6 minutes, Myers said.” (The Sierra Vista Herald; 18May08; Laura Ory) http://www.svherald.com/articles/2008/05/18/news/doc482fcaab4a89f827217395.txt

Bioterror in Context

“William R. Clark, professor and chair emeritus of immunology at the University of California,
Los Angeles, has been a research scientist for 30 years and has written a string of books for the general public. His latest, Bracing for Armageddon?, published by Oxford University Press in May, examines the science and politics of bioterrorism in the United States. […] His conclusion: We shouldn't be so worried. Although the United States will have spent $50 billion on defense against a bioterrorism attack by the end of 2008, Clark argues that we have much more to fear from natural pandemic outbreaks, such as the viruses causing SARS and H5N1 avian flu.” (Miller-McCune Magazine; 19May08; Matt Palmquist)

Agent Orange town in QLD [Innisfail, Queensland]
“The Australian
Army tested chemical weapons on a town which now has deaths from cancer 10 times the state average. […] Agent Orange was sprayed extensively in Vietnam to defoliate the jungle and remove cover for North Vietnamese troops. It contains chemicals including the dioxin TCDD, which causes forms of cancer, birth defects and other health problems. Researcher Jean Williams found details of the secret Innisfail tests in the Australian War Memorial archives. […] Val Robertson, 74, said a high number of local people aged in their 40s were dying from cancer, about one a month for the last 12 months.” (Brisbane Times; 18May08; Matthew Benns & Frank Walker)

Australian state government to probe Agent Orange claims [Innisfail, Queensland]
“The government of Australia's Queensland state on Sunday said it will investigate claims that chemical weapons such as Agent Orange were tested there in the 1960s. Reports said that forest near Innisfail, a town on the country's far northeastern coastline, had been a testing ground for the defoliant at the start of the
Vietnam War. […] The Sun-Herald reported that Australian defence scientists sprayed the toxic defoliant in rainforest near Innisfail in 1966. Foliage in the area, which is about 100 metres from the town's water supply, has never properly regrown, the paper said.” (Associated Foreign Press; 19May08) http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gStD_z96nL1krIceavbbOB3qkzqQ

Seeing Molecules Change Shape
“A faster, more powerful way to observe molecular shape changes over time has been developed by a team of spectroscopists. The microwave spectroscopy technique, devised by Brooks H. Pate and coworkers at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and reported in Science (2008, 320, 924), should be applicable to studies of reaction dynamics in ‘radical intermediates, molecular complexes, and conformationally flexible molecules of biological interest,’ the researchers note. Such reactions are currently difficult or impossible to observe experimentally by any other way. […] Pate now hopes to develop CP-FTMW for other applications, such as detecting low-level chemical warfare agents in air. His group is also working on a version of a CP-FTMW instrument ‘that is less expensive, more compact, and doesn't require vacuum pumps,’ he says.” (Chemical & Engineering News; 19May08; Stu Borman) http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/86/i20/8620notw1.html

Oldham [Kentucky] Fire Department gets new equipment
“The South
Oldham Fire Department has new equipment to help quickly identify chemicals including explosives, narcotics and chemical warfare agents. The department received the handheld instrument as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program […].” (Courier Journal; 19May08)

China steps up battle against epidemics in quake zone: official
“The fight against contagious diseases is now a top priority after China's massive earthquake, with the rotting carcasses of millions of dead animals adding to the dangers, officials said Saturday. ‘Combating epidemics is the most urgent and the biggest task facing us right now,’ Wei Chao'an, vice minister of agriculture, told a press conference. […] China's top veterinarian, Li Jingxing […] said contaminated carcasses could trigger the spread of diseases like avian influenza, encephalitis B and rabies, while the earthquake may also heighten the risk of infection of anthrax or tetanus.” (France 24; 17May08; Charles Whelan) http://www.france24.com/en/20080517-china-steps-battle-against-epidemics-quake-zone-official

US unveils deals with Saudi on nuclear power, oil protection
“The White House announced major new co-operation agreements with Saudi Arabia yesterday as US President George W Bush made his second visit to the oil superpower this year. […] The White House said Saudi Arabia had also agreed to two global initiatives, one to combat nuclear terrorism and another to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction.” (Gulf Times; 17May08)

New [Congressional] commission to study WMDs announced
“Over the next six months, a congressionally mandated commission will look at the government's myriad WMD programs to counter nuclear, biological and chemical arms capable of killing great numbers of people and make recommendations on how to coordinate them. The commission was created by a 2007 law in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” (Arizona Daily Star; 17May08; Associated Press)

Navy's Monterey [California] school is lab for terror war
“One of the school's joint projects with Lawrence Livermore lab involves work on establishing a wireless network around San Francisco Bay, enabling
Coast Guard boarding teams to transmit sensor data to scientists at the lab who can analyze spectrographs to determine whether ship cargo poses a threat. They are also experimenting with ‘drive-by detection’ methods to determine from a distance whether a vessel is carrying a nuclear device. Similar work is being done to deploy radiation detectors on the U.S.-Mexico border.” (San Francisco Chronicle; 18May08; Jim Doyle) http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/05/18/MN5K10HEKM.DTL

Guard team responds to mock emergency [Midwest City, Oklahoma]
“Men in Level A hazmat suits entered the former Target building on Midwest Boulevard and Reno on Thursday. They were accompanied by a machine courtesy of the Norman bomb squad that took X-rays, specifically to examine a backpack lying in one area of the former department store. But the men, members of a Norman-based Oklahoma National Guard unit, were not wearing the suits for their protection. They were training under the watch of United States
Army North employees to prepare for an evaluation in June.” (The Sun, Oklahoma; 17May08; Eric Bradshaw) http://www.mwcsun.com/local/local_story_138230337.html

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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