War on Terrorism

Friday, June 06, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- June 6, 2008

Bush Overstated Iraq Evidence, Senators Report
“The report was released Thursday after years of partisan squabbling, and it represented the close of five years of investigations by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence into the use, abuse and faulty assessments of intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. That some Bush administration claims about the Iraqi threat turned out to be false is hardly new. But the report, based on a detailed review of public statements by Mr. Bush and other officials, was the most comprehensive effort to date to assess whether policy makers systematically painted a more dire picture about Iraq than was justified by the available intelligence.” (New York Times; 06Jun08; Mark Mazzetti & Scott Shane) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/world/middleeast/06intel.html?hp

Grand exploits of a China scholar [Joseph Needham]
“A committed socialist and Communist sympathizer, Needham lent his authority to a dubiously documented investigation whose report, issued in 1952, concluded that the United States had used biological weapons in Manchuria and North~Korea. Blacklisted by the Americans well into the 1970s and denounced for his political naïveté by the British establishment, Needham retreated into the scholarly realm, where his accomplishments did much to restore his good~name.” (International Herald Tribune; 05Jun08; Alida Becker) http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/07/arts/IDLEDE7.php

Fake disaster helps agencies to prepare [
Lumberton, North Carolina]
“During the drill, some ‘victims’ moaned in pain while others begged for help as members of the Environmental Hydrogeological Consultants Inc. Hazardous Waste team from Red Springs walked among bodies. […] Only supervisors from agencies that handle emergency situations were made aware of Wednesday’s exercise. Organizers said they wanted the event to be as real as possible. […] Each victim had a card listing injuries and any other health issues.” (The Fayetteville Observer; 05Jun08; Venita Jenkins) http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=295870

Bioterrorism: Smallpox and Biotech Companies
“In order to encourage companies to develop drugs against Smallpox and other biological weapons, Congress passed the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act), which President Bush signed into law June 12, 2002. Thereafter, Project Bioshield Act of 2005 was passed into law. These two acts undertook measures to induce the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry to come up with new drugs to combat bioterrorism and biological warfare.” (Seeking Alpha; 05Jun08; Ketan Desai) http://seekingalpha.com/article/80152-bioterrorism-smallpox-and-biotech-companies

Nation’s First Public Health Ready State Enhances Incident Command and Critical Resource Visibility [
Idaho Public Health District has implemented the Previstar Continual Preparedness System (CPS) to enhance their preparedness and response capabilities. […] The district installed Previstar’s latest software release, CPS 5.1. The new release includes CPS 5.0 current suite of planning, response, and recovery capabilities, but now users can customize their user interface based on organizational and ICS roles, enable CPS server-to-server information sharing, utilize CAP [Common Alerting Protocol] messaging, and have more streamlined resource management. Tammy Cox, Director, Health Preparedness, Promotion, and Surveillance, was part of a team that studied a range of software offerings before determining that Previstar was the partner of choice. ‘It took us two years to find the right software. […]’” (Previstar; 05Jun08; Joe Gordon) http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20080605005700&newsLang=en

Brucella abortus S19 genome sequenced; points toward virulence genes
“Researchers at the
Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech and the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, and collaborators at 454 Life Sciences of Branford, Conn., have sequenced the genome of Brucella abortus strain S19. […] Scientists have long wanted to know what genetic features make strain S19 suitable for use as a vaccine in cattle because it may hold the secret as to why other Brucella strains cause disease and trigger the abortion of developing embryos in livestock. The researchers have discovered a group of 24 genes that are linked to virulence by making comparisons of the newly available S19 genome sequence to previously sequenced genomes of two virulent strains of B. abortus. The paper ‘Genome sequence of Brucella abortus vaccine strain S19 compared to virulent strains yields candidate virulence genes’ was published recently in PLoS One (May 2008, Volume 3, Issue 5, e2193).” (Eureka Alert; 05Jun08; Barry Whyte)

AlphaVax Continues to Expand the Use of Its [smallpox] Vaccine Platform
“AlphaVax, Inc. recently received notification from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the granting institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that it has been awarded a second grant to continue development of a smallpox vaccine based on AlphaVax's proprietary vector platform. The grant will support additional studies in rodents and non-human primates to further characterize the high-level protection observed previously in these species.” (The Earth Times; 06Jun08) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/alphavax-continues-to-expand-the-use-of-its-vaccine-platform,423527.shtml

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Annual Conference Begins June 8 In
Denver [Colorado]
“The top epidemiologists in the nation and U.S. territories are set to gather in
Denver, Colorado June 8-12 for the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) 2008 Annual Conference. […] This year's conference theme is ‘Public Health Epidemiology: Adapting to a Changing World.’” (The Earth Times; 06Jun08) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/council-of-state-and-territorial,423151.shtml

[Computer Sciences Corporation] CSC's DynPort Vaccine Company to Continue Plague Vaccine Development
“DynPort Vaccine Company LLC (DVC), a CSC company, has been notified by the Department of Defense (DoD) that all future funding for advanced development of plague vaccine will be allocated to the existing DVC contract […] According to the decision, DVC will continue development of a recombinant plague vaccine candidate, rF1V, up to and including possible licensure by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccine candidate is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials.” (The Earth Times;

India to test vaccine against anthrax
“Around 20 vials of the vaccine Biothrax has just reached Central Drug Laboratory (Kasauli) which will test the vaccine's potency and sterility. Each vile contains 10 doses of the vaccine. […]’The vaccine can't be injected to all civilians but only to the first responders to reach the spot of attack, like the
military and laboratory workers who may enter or re-enter contaminated areas. Countries are now preparing such battalions and vaccinating them in advance so that they develop complete immunity against anthrax before such an attack occurs. Inhalation anthrax is the most lethal form with fatality rates reaching up to 90%,’ [Joseph Chettiar of the Hyderabad-based distributor] added.” (The Times of India; 05Jun08; Kounteya Sinha) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/India_to_test_vaccine_against_anthrax/articleshow/3100835.cms

Bioterrorism conference held [Brussels, Belgium]
“A bioterrorism countermeasures conference was held Thursday in Brussels that was designed to elevate threat awareness among officials in Europe. […] The conference was designed as an effort to reduce the threat of biological terrorism through opening a dialogue about effective biodefense measures. Presenters included Tom Waytes, Emergent BioSolutions vice president of medical affairs, among others. Emergent manufactures the only anthrax vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” (United Press International; 06Jun08)

Gas leak in China contained phosgene - Russian ministry

“A recent gas leak in northeast China near the Russian border that killed three people contained phosgene, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday citing environmental experts. ‘An expert evaluation confirmed that the leak contained phosgene gas,’ Andrei Nesterenko said, adding that eight people had been poisoned as a result of the leak. […] Earlier Friday, a Russian emergencies ministry spokeswoman quoted Chinese authorities as saying the chemical leak in the town of Qiqihar in the Heilongjiang province was no threat to the environment. Irina Andrianova quoted the Chinese general consulate in the Russian Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk as saying that on June 5 a cylinder containing unidentified gas ‘disintegrated’ causing a gas leak. […] The official quoted the Chinese side as saying that air, water and soil samples taken immediately after the accident contained no contaminants.” (RIA Novosti; 06Jun08) http://en.rian.ru/world/20080606/109426611.html

Pakistan: New wave of violence a bid to undermine president
“According to political analysts, the violence suddenly flared up after former Prime Minister and party
leader, Nawaz Sharif, called for Musharraf to be accountable for his so-called ‘crimes’ including what is known as the Lal Masjid Massacre, or the Red Mosque Massacre. The Red Mosque Massacre was a bloody conflict between Pakistani security forces and students who barricaded themselves inside the Red Mosque and demanded Sharia law in July 2007. At least 100 people died when security forces stormed the mosque in a bid to end the siege and flush out pro-Taliban militants from the complex. Retired general Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani then demanded Musharraf's execution for using chemical weapons (phosphorous grenades) during the Lal Masjid operation and supporting the Bush Administration in its War on Terror.” (AND Kronos; 06Jun08; Syed Saleem Shahzad)

Army: U.S. chemical weapons incineration on track [Anniston, Alabama]
“[…] now, more than half the nation's aging cache of 31,500 tons of nerve agents and mustard gas has been burned or chemically neutralized at seven sites with no major accidents in the 18 years since the program began. […] Officials say the most deadly chemicals were destroyed first and almost all the risk to residents has been eliminated. […] Critics still challenge the safety of the program, arguing the incinerators scattered across the United States belch unknown amounts of deadly chemicals on an unsuspecting public. The incinerators heat the agents and their containers at thousands of degrees, then run the exhaust through pollution-removing filters and afterburners.” (Post-Bulletin; 05Jun08; Jay Reeves, AP)

New detector uses nanotubes to sense deadly gases
“Using carbon nanotubes, MIT chemical engineers have built the most sensitive electronic detector yet for sensing deadly gases such as the nerve agent sarin. […] The technology, which could also detect mustard gas, ammonia and VX nerve agents, has potential to be used as a low-cost, low-energy device that could be carried in a pocket or deployed inside a building to monitor hazardous chemicals. […] The nanotube sensors require very little power--about 0.0003 watts. One sensor could run essentially forever on a regular battery. ‘It's something that could sit in the corner of a room and you could just forget about it,’ Strano said. […] The lead author of the paper is Chang Young Lee, a graduate student in chemical engineering. Richa Sharma, another MIT graduate student in chemical engineering, is also an author of the paper. Adarsh Radadia and Richard Masel at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed the microcolumn technology.” (Physorg; 06Jun08) http://www.physorg.com/news131977245.html

Emergency Drill Tests Response [Pueblo, Colorado]
“An explosion of weapons containing half-century-old mustard agent sending a plume of deadly gas across the prairie. That was the scenario presented Wednesday morning to just about every emergency agency in Pueblo County. Fortunately, the mustard agent accident was mostly virtual but the school bus-tanker truck accident involved a more realistic setup on the grounds of an airport industrial park plant where such an accident could really happen. It was the annual Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program exercise, giving local agencies a chance to test their ability to work together and respond to an emergency. Federal funds are provided to communities like Pueblo that have chemical weapons stockpiles to set up response systems. As Wednesday's exercise showed, that preparedness extends beyond just accidents at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.” (Red Orbit; 05Jun08; John Norton) http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1418596/emergency_drill_tests_response/

'Poison cloud from chemical plant could've been prevented'

“On April 14, a white cloud of azinphos methyl, an organophosphorus pesticide related to chemical warfare agents devoloped during
World War Two, swept out of the Machteshim factory, over the regional council's office and into the surrounding area. The regional council workers were rushed into protective shelters after the cloud passed through and were sent home later in the day, many of them feeling ill. […] According to the committee's report, the factory lost electrical power at around 10:30 in the morning, at which time the management decided to destroy the Azinphos Methyl being prepared, because without proper temperature and pressure conditions the compound becomes a toxic gas. […] the management attempted to deal with the problem internally. Rigging a makeshift procedure took so long that the compound in two of the containers being transferred to the neutralizing machine underwent a phase change, thus causing the cloud, as well as a stream of pollutants into the surrounding area, discovered by the committee during an inspection.” (The Jerusalem Post; 04Jun08; Ehud Zion Waldoks) http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1212041481558&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

terrorists talked about making homemade chemical weapons:

“The alleged ringleaders of a suspected terror plot to attack Canadian targets talked about making homemade chemical weapons from a ‘mujahed cookbook’ and worried about being ‘sitting ducks’ for police, wiretaps played in a courtroom Friday suggested. While going through a Tim Hortons drive-thru, the wiretapped conversations of the alleged ringleaders of the so-called ‘Toronto 18’ talk about Arabic books that give step-by-step instructions on making homemade weapons. […] Eighteen men and youth were arrested two years ago in Canada's largest anti-
terrorism operation since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Defence lawyers have since questioned the strength of the case after charges against seven of the accused men were stayed, whittling the Toronto 18 down to 11. Defence lawyer Mitchell Chernovsky has said the alleged plot was nothing more than a fantasy.” (Canadian Press; 06Jun08) http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jA3I0FFw4RmF3cY593VtRAuWibDg

Radioactive material devices to be installed at Port of Hueneme [California]
“Devices intended to detect dangerous radioactive material in cargo containers coming into the United States will be installed at the Port of Hueneme by February or March of next year, a federal official in charge of the project said. […] The toll booth-like devices already have been installed at the 22 largest seaports in the United States, accounting for
98 percent of all containerized cargo coming into the country, [Todd Hoffman, director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the
Los Angeles-Long Beach Seaport] said.” (Ventura County Star; 05Jun08; José L.
Sánchez Jr.)

Ethiopian to be charged with war crimes
“A Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee will be charged with war crimes for allegedly participating in a plot to detonate a ‘dirty bomb,’ the Pentagon said. Binyam Mohammed, 29, of Ethiopia, allegedly was part of an al-Qaida plot to use the bomb and blow up apartment buildings in the United States, the
Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. […] His attorneys say Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and taken by the CIA to Morocco where he was beaten, hung from poles during long interrogation sessions and cut in his genitals by a scalpel, the Times reported.” (United Press International; 04Jun08) http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/06/04/Ethiopian_to_be_charged_with_war_crimes/UPI-98461212582141/

Kazakhstan holds exercise to hone response to nuclear
terrorism threat [Almaty]

“Kazakhstan's army held a large-scale military exercise Friday as part of a U.S.-backed program to prevent the use of radioactive materials by terrorists. More than 900 troops and emergency personnel took part in organizing the mock terrorist siege at a nuclear research facility near the Central Asian country's largest city, Almaty.” (The Union Tribune;

Botox - man's new best friend
“It's one of the world's most popular cosmetic treatments, the ‘no scalpel’ anti-aging cosmetic treatment that smoothes the foreheads of everyone from stressed executives to youth-obsessed celebrities. It is, of course, Botox, a type of botulinum toxin first developed in 1946 as a tool of biological warfare, and later used to treat cerebral palsy in children. […] Although national figures don't exist, anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of Kiwi men using Botox is steadily increasing. Not as much as in the UK, however, where Botox for men is such big business (one-fifth of all patients are now men) […] Men, however, often need a higher dose of Botox than women, as they generally have stronger and larger facial muscles.” (New Zealand Herald; 07Jun08; Sharon Stephenson)

Local responders brush up on skills:
Military conducts hazmat training
“Boyle and the 21 other members of the Seventh WMD Civil Response Team from Fort Leonard Wood were in Columbia this week for a four-day training class that ended yesterday. The Civil Response Team, a full-time National Guard unit in existence since 1999, is capable of responding across the state to potential chemical, biological and nuclear threats. The sessions offered an opportunity for the military unit to train and pass tips along to first responders, who would be first on the scene of a possible threat.
Firefighters from across the state, including three from Columbia, participated in the training run by Army contractor Dugway Proving Ground of Utah.” (Columbia Tribune; 06Jun08; Joe Meyer) http://www.columbiatribune.com/2008/Jun/20080606News004.asp

Terrorism's Two Front War
“The main question: is al-Qaeda still a disciplined organization with a central command or a loose network of self-directed amateurs? […] The dispute isn't purely academic -- al-Qaeda's current form and function will determine the course of future American counter-
terrorism policy. If al-Qaeda has morphed into a virtual organization of amateur homegrown jihadis, quelling them becomes a largely internal matter best left to law enforcement. But if al-Qaeda still has a central command and a robust global network, they are capable of attacks that match -- and may surpass -- the horror of September 11th. Overcoming this threat means bringing the diverse instruments of American military, economic, and political power to bear. As each perspective warrants a vastly different strategic approach, the question of al-Qaeda's present state has provoked fierce debate.[…] Al-Qaeda's affiliate organizations have also wreaked havoc in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia. It is important to emphasize that these organizations have only an ideological connection to their supposed patron -- but are just as dangerous. While never a major player in Iraq's factional game, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) seized the world's attention through a slew of bombings, massacres, and even low-grade chemical warfare employing chlorine.” (Huffington Post; 04Jun08; Adam

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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