War on Terrorism

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- June 11, 2008

Synthetic biology’ may be misused for ‘bioterrorism’, warn experts
“Scientists at the University of Nottingham have warned that ‘synthetic biology’ — a technique popular for its ability to create artificial life by engineering organisms — is at risk of damaging the ecosystem and being abused by
terrorists. In a report, commissioned by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the university researchers stress the need for new control and regulations on the use of synthetic biology, highlighting ethical and social concerns over the issue. They fear that synthetic biology may be misused to spread ‘bioterrorism,’ designing new organisms to be hostile to humans.” (Topnews.in; 10June08; Mohit Joshi)

HMS [Health Monitoring Systems] launches a software tool to track epidemiological data nationwide, hiring 10
“When 20 people arrived at a
New Jersey emergency room one by one last May, doctors had no way of immediately knowing that their gastrointestinal symptoms were all related to an E.coli outbreak at a local restaurant. Fortunately, the patients in this scenario were volunteer actors from a local high school who were helping the hospital and Pittsburgh-based Health Monitoring Systems test the company's health disaster tool. EpiCenter 2.0 is a pioneering community health surveillance system that empowers health agencies to prepare for a health crisis, everything from an epidemic of flu or botulism to an unusual crime pattern or bioterrorism.” (Pop City Media; 11June08; Debra Smit) http://www.popcitymedia.com/timnews/HMS0611.aspx

Universal Detection
Technology Receives Repeat Order for Bio-Detection Kits by Leading Retailer of Athletic Apparel
“Universal Detection
Technology, a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies to protect people from bioterrorism and other infectious health threats and provider of counter-terrorism consulting and training services, reported today that is has received a repeat order for its 5-agent bio-detection kits by a leading retailer of Athletic Apparel. Due to confidentiality concerns UDTT cannot reveal the purchasers name.” (CNN Money; 11June08) http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0405702.htm

Visicu, Millennial Media among companies winning incubator honors
“Millennial Media Inc. has been named one of the top business incubator companies in the state. The mobile-device advertising developer based in Baltimore's Emerging
Technology Center was named information technology company of the year at the eighth annual Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards, held Tuesday night. […] PharmAthene was named graduate company of the year after leaving the Annapolis homeland security-focused Chesapeake Innovation Center. The company develops treatments for victims of chemical and biological weapons.” (Baltimore Business Journal; 11June08; Scott Dance) http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2008/06/09/daily28.html

Germany to Help Russia Destroy Chemical Weapon Stockpile
“The Russian town of Pochep is home to a massive stockpile of chemical weapons, some decades old. Too dangerous to move, Germany is helping build a facility in the town which will destroy the arsenal.” (Deutsche Welle; 11June08; Dirk Eckert) http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3401229,00.html

Ukraine concerned over Russia's chemical disposal plant
“Ukraine is concerned over a Russian chemical weapons disposal plant currently being constructed 70 km (43 miles) away from its borders, the country's foreign minister said on Wednesday. Volodymyr Ohryzko said Ukraine has sent two protest notes to the Russian Foreign Ministry requesting detailed information on the facility, but has not received any response so far.” (RIA Novosti; 11June08) http://en.rian.ru/world/20080611/110198696.html

Victims of AUM [Aum Shinrikyo]
crime to get compensation from government
“A bill aimed at paying compensation to victims of serious
crime committed by the AUM Shinrikyo cult was passed into law on Wednesday. The House of Councilors unanimously passed the bill at a plenary session Wednesday morning. It had earlier cleared a full House of Representatives.” (Mainichi Daily News; 11June08) http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080611p2a00m0na021000c.html

Iraq: UN weapons inspectors submit final report
“United Nations inspectors monitoring weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq have submitted a final report after the shutdown of their operations last year, nearly two decades after they first started work on the issue. The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, (UNMOVIC), which carried out inspections in Iraq until March 2003, shortly before armed action began in the country, said that it had created a unique monitoring mechanism for weapons of mass destruction and long-range delivery systems.” (UN News Centre; 10June08)

Neil Doyle: Our rulers prepare for the
terrorists' nightmare scenario
“The Prime Minister's determination to plough on with plans to hold
terrorism suspects without charge for up to 42 days has puzzled many and divided opinion. MPs and the public are, in effect, being asked to take a leap of faith based on intelligence reports. For some, that idea again raises the spectre of the Iraq war.” (Yorkshire Post; 11June08; Neil Doyle) http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/opinion/Neil-Doyle-Our-rulers-prepare.4172053.jp

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.

1 comment:

John Maszka said...

When the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) was passed in 1975, it was the first to prohibit the “development, production, stockpiling and transfer of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.” Realistically, however, since neither the United States nor the Soviet Union was willing to allow inspections, the BWC lacked any real measures for accountability. Article V of the Treaty simply requires states parties to “consult one another and to cooperate in solving any problems.” Although Article VI allowed member states to “lodge a complaint with the Security Council of the United Nations,” the five permanent members of the Security Council could veto any investigation, so none were ever requested. Review conferences have been held every five years since inception of the BWC, and efforts to increase transparency and accountability culminated in the BWC Protocol, developed between 1995 and 2001 by the Ad Hoc Group (AHG) of member states. The BWC Protocol mandated, among other things, disclosure of biodefense programs and facilities, and site inspections. While the Clinton administration supported the BWC Protocol, the Bush administration refused to consider it (Tucker, 2004:26). This move by the Bush administration has been widely criticized as making very little practical sense in terms of a broader agenda of nonproliferation.
Critics often cite two famous biological attacks here in America. In 1984, a small cult in Oregon attempted to sway a local election by tainting a salad bar with salmonella. While 751 people became ill, fortunately no one died. Later, in 1994-5, four members of the Patriots Council became the first to be convicted for possession of a biological agent for use as a weapon under the Biological Weapons Antiterrorism Act of 1989 (Pate, 2001).
Nearly twenty years ago, Falkenrath, Newman & Thayer (2008) drew our attention to America’s vulnerability to nuclear, biological and chemical attacks (NBC), calling it America’s Achilles heel. Likewise, in the Preface to an article published by Jonathan Adiri (2005:3), Boaz Ganor writes: “in the event that a biological terror attack involving the smallpox virus was to be deployed in London, the effect would spread rapidly to Paris, and even to Johannesburg,” making it clear just how vulnerable the entire world is to biological terrorism.