War on Terrorism

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- May 28, 2008

Countries ill-equipped to ensure global biosafety
“A two-year UN study of internationally funded training programmes in biotechnology and biosafety warns that as many as 100 developing countries are unprepared to effectively manage and monitor the use of modern biotechnologies, leaving the world community open to serious biosafety threats. […] they cite the lack of technical, policy and enforcement capacities in developing countries as ‘a potentially contributing factor to the spread of bioterrorism’ -- the deliberate release of naturally-occurring or human-modified bacteria, viruses, toxins or other biological agents.” (One World; 26May08) http://uk.oneworld.net/article/view/160556/1/

Summit town [Toyakocho, Hokkaido, Japan] fire dept to use new alert system
fire department responsible for Toyakocho, Hokkaido, where the Group of Eight summit meeting is to be held in July, has introduced a monitoring system intended to provide early warning of disease outbreaks, be they natural epidemics or the result of bioterrorism. […] The system analyzes the frequency of reported symptoms such as fever and diarrhea, which are possible indicators of an outbreak of new strains of influenza, bioterrorist attacks or food poisoning, by comparing it with past dispatch records.” (The Yomiuri Shimbun; 26May08) http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080526TDY02303.htm

India not enforcing safety norms for GM crops: UN study
“India faces a huge risk because safety norms on genetically modified crops are not being enforced, says a UN study, adding that it also makes the country vulnerable to bioterrorism attacks. The study’s Melbourne-based lead author Sam Johnston told IANS from Bonn: ‘India still has a huge problem of biosafety enforcement. Many farmers are using genetically modified crops without government approval. For example, it was recently reported in The Hindu Business Line that 28 percent of area in Gujarat was planted with illegal GM crops.’ Citing the lack of technical, policy and enforcement capacities in developing countries as ‘a potentially contributing factor to the spread of bioterrorism’ - the deliberate release of naturally-occurring or human-modified bacteria, viruses, toxins or other biological agents - Johnston said: ‘If you don’t have the ability to monitor technology, the technology can be used for bioterrorism as you are not bio-secure.’” (Thaindian News; 28May08; Neena

MAF Biosecurity endorses UK animal health officials
“UK animal health officials have received a ringing endorsement from Barry O'Neil, deputy director general of MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and president of the World Organisation for Animal Health OIE. Answering a question about the risk of malicious release of animal diseases, he said it was an issue for countries with significant agricultural production and such ‘bioterrorism’ needed to be guarded against. ‘We do need to have disease surveillance in place to detect the unexpected, and I think the UK is very well placed on that.’" (Farmers Weekly Interactive; 27May08) http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/2008/05/26/110617/maf-biosecurity-endorses-uk-animal-health-officials.html

Bioterrorist Attack: Fact or Fiction?
“While the potential devastation (in human lives) from an attack with a biological agent like Ebola virus or anthrax bacillus is much greater again there is no evidence of any effort to undertake such an attack in this or any other country. […] The point to all this is that by the end of the 2008 fiscal year the US Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) will have spent $50 billion on defense against bioterrorism attacks. Let's assume for the moment that the biological weapons threat is more fantasy then fact, how much law enforcement and emergency response equipment would State and local police department have bought with that amount of your tax payer dollars? Need updated cruisers, computer, commutations systems and centers, or weapons and ammo for use on your beat? Fifty billion will buy a bunch of that stuff.” (Officer.com; 26May08; Doug Hanson)

Army aims to finish destruction of agent VX shells in Anniston [Alabama] today
Army expects to finish destroying 139,581 artillery shells containing the deadly chemical agent VX this afternoon at the chemical weapons incinerator at Anniston Army Depot, a spokesman said today.” (The Birmingham Times; 24May08; Katherine Bouma) http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2008/05/army_finishing_destruction_of.html

Searching for Project SHAD [Shipboard Hazard and Defense]: Vet's efforts lead to investigation, legislation
“Years after he left the
military, Jack Alderson began asking questions about chemical testing he was involved in and its effects on his health and the health of others. Those efforts led to the introduction of a bill earlier this month that would offer health benefits to veterans exposed to chemical agents during two classified government projects in the 1960s and 1970s. North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) and Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg of Montana introduced HR 5954 on May 1. If passed, the bill will provide Veterans Affairs health benefits to veterans who were exposed to biological, chemical or other toxic agents as part of Project 112 and Project SHAD.” (Lake County News; 26May08; Elizabeth

Cornell fiber scientist receives federal grants to create fabrics to render toxic chemicals harmless

“[…] Juan Hinestroza is working with the U.S. government to create fabrics made of functional nanofibers that would decompose toxic industrial chemicals into harmless byproducts. Potential applications include safety gear for U.S. soldiers and filtration systems for buildings and vehicles. Hinestroza, assistant professor of fiber science in the College of Human Ecology, is a member of two teams that secured more than $2.2 million from the U.S. Department of Defense; about $875,000 will go directly to Hinestoza's work. Both grants are multi-university collaborative efforts funded through the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.” (Nano-Tech Wire;

China Quake also an Environmental Catastrophe
“Eleven days after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck western China, vice environment minister Wu Xiaoqing first revealed Friday, May 23, that 50 hazardous radioactive sources have been located – 35 recovered and controlled; ‘three more buried in rubble and 12 in dangerous buildings. At present, tests show no accidental release of radiation,’ he reported as the death toll climbed past 55,000. Two of the most badly damaged cities housed China’s secret nuclear weapons design facility - at Mianyang - and a plutonium processing facility - in Guangyuan – both close to the quake’s epicenter. Soon after the quake struck, Chinese soldiers were sent to protect nuclear sites and preparations made for an environmental emergency.” (St Louis Today; 24May08; Tim Kusky) http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/mother-nature-watch/mother-nature-watch/2008/05/china-quake-also-an-environmental-catastrophe/

High stakes in tale of a ‘contract killing that backfired'
“On August 2, 2006, Sharon Collins set up a Yahoo Mail account in the name of lyingeyes98@yahoo.ie. She sent an email from her own Eircom address to Lyingeyes the day it was created. Lyingeyes98 searched the net for contract killers and on August 8 sent an email to hitmanforhire@yahoo.com. Hitman was also visited by someone using the computer at Downes and Howard. […] She said she had ‘no conscience’ about ordering her husband's death […] She suggested an accident for the two boys or poisoning their drinks in the local pub near their holiday home in Kilkee. […] It is alleged that at one stage the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] passed some information to gardai [An Garda Síochána, Republic of Ireland
Police Force] which led them to search Essam Eid's cell. In that search, traces of the deadly poison, Ricin, were discovered in a contact lens case.” (Irish Independent; 25May08; Abigail Rieley) http://www.independent.ie/national-news/high-stakes-in-tale-of-a-contract-killing-that-backfired-1386457.html

When is a
terrorist a terrorist?
“The definition of what constitutes a
terrorist has exercised some of the best minds in history, but in answer to the question ‘When is a terrorist a terrorist?’ the current US President replies, ‘When I say so…’ Ok, he didn’t actually use those exact words, at least not in public, but he did say this about Saddam Hussein in 2006: ‘He was a state sponsor of terror. In other words, the (US) government had declared, you are a state sponsor of terror.’ […] Perhaps the most edifying example is the sale of WMD to Saddam by the US under Ronald Reagan to support his ambitions and keep Iranian fundamentalism at bay. Exports included biological agents such as anthrax, vital ingredients for chemical weapons, and cluster bombs - all delivered by a CIA front organisation in Chile… Obviously this was all well before Iraq’s psychopathic tyrant fell out of favour by invading Kuwait.” (Pakistan Daily; 24May08) http://www.daily.pk/world/europe/81-europe/3918-when-is-a-terrorist-a-terrorist-terrorist.html

Al-Qa'eda to urge biological warfare in new video message
“Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda
terrorist network is to post a new video in the next 24 hours urging jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons against the West, the FBI has warned. The FBI has alerted 1,800 American law enforcement agencies about the expected video calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction, Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman, said. ‘We got information the tape is coming,’ said Mr Kolko. ‘We sent out an alert to law enforcement (agencies) to let them know.’” (Telegraph; 28May08; Tom Peterkin) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uncertain-world/2041499/Al-Qa'eda-urges-biological-warfare-in-new-video-message.html

EPA tests plans to protect water
“The pilot program ordered by the Department of
Homeland Security in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks uses continuous monitoring of public water for contaminants that could sicken or kill millions of people. Some utilities only do spot checks now for such germs, pesticides or radioactive materials. […] ‘Water supplies are very, very accessible targets for biological or chemical weapons,’ said Donna Schlagheck, a Wright State University political scientist who specializes in American foreign policy and international terrorism. ‘There are so many potential targets - whether you are taking water from the ground or a river or a lake - and the vulnerability there is enormous.’” (Mojave Daily News; 25May08; Lisa Cornwell, Associated Press) http://www.mohavedailynews.com/articles/2008/05/25/news/nation/nation3.txt

Kiss American security goodbye
police department from Arkansas to Ohio would be in desperate need of anti-terror funding. And why not, when the terrorists loomed so monstrously large, were so apocalyptically capable, and wanted so very badly to destroy our way of life? No wonder that, in the 2006 National Asset Database, compiled by the Department of Homeland Security, the state of Indiana, ‘with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.’” (Al-Jazeera; 26May08; Tom Engelhardt)

McCain Pledges to Work With Russians on Arms Control (Update1)
“Republican John McCain extended an olive branch to Russia today by pledging to work toward the elimination of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and to negotiate a new accord limiting strategic arms. McCain, who previously has warned of ‘Russian revanchism’ and called for the country's expulsion from the Group of Eight, said there are numerous areas where America can ‘work in partnership with Russia’ to halt the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.” (Bloomberg; 27May08; Hans

Israelis to receive new non-conventional warfare kits
“Gas-masks and other protective gear that has been collected from the public over the last few years and is being updated will be made available for collection starting January 2009. […] IDF officials that disclosed this information to The Jerusalem Post were careful to explain that the decision to begin handing out the equipment has not been affected by any threat of imminent war. […] At present, the Israeli public is virtually unprotected from any chemical or biological agents[…].” (Jerusalem Newswire; 25May08; Stan Goodenough)

Bomb disposal unit opened [New Zealand]
“The stars of the show are a dozen new robots considered the Ferarris of bomb disposal. They can be fitted with a shotgun to blow off door hinges, water cannons to destroy a bombs circuitry, a sniffer to detect chemical weapons and cameras to let the team know just what they are up against.”
(One News; 26May08)

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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