War on Terrorism

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- June 23, 2008

How Smallpox Changed the World
“Smallpox epidemics continued through the 20th century until vaccination programs were regulated and implemented around the world. In 1980, the World Health Organization declared smallpox completely eradicated, but samples of the virus remain in two laboratories in the United States and Russia, prompting fears of biological warfare should the virus land in the wrong hands.” (Live Science; 23Jun08; Heather Whipps) http://www.livescience.com/history/080623-hs-smallpox.html

Enzymes made to order
“‘For the first time, we have been able to computationally design [and create] enzymes from scratch,’ says team member Daniela Röthlisberger, a biochemist at the University of Washington in
Seattle. These enzymes are capable of dealing with substances for which no naturally occurring enzymes have evolved, she says. And in principle, the technique could be used to produce enzymes capable of ‘accelerating any desired reaction at all.’ The possibilities, the researchers agree, are vast and intriguing. […] Whichever industry they're used in – be it pharmaceutical, agricultural or chemical – Brown says the synthetic enzymes ‘have great potential to be used in … reducing the use of solvents and heavy metals, or degrading harmful chemicals such as pesticides and toxins.’” (Cosmos; 19Jun08; Lauren Monaghan) http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/online/2053/enzymes-made-order

CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] action at germ lab questioned [
Atlanta, Georgia]
“At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new $214 million infectious disease laboratory in
Atlanta, scientists are conducting experiments on bioterror bacteria in a room with a containment door sealed with duct tape. […] The tape was applied around the edges of the door a year ago after the building's ventilation system malfunctioned and pulled potentially contaminated air out of the lab and into a ‘clean’ hallway.
Nine CDC workers were tested in May 2007 for potential exposure to the Q fever bacteria being studied in the lab […] agency officials said; the lab is safe and poses no risk to workers. The public was never at any risk because numerous
security layers were in place between the lab and the outdoors, they said. Yet the duct tape remains in place. ‘It's an enhancement,’ said Patrick Stockton, CDC safety and occupational health manager, as he and four other agency officials took a reporter to see the door Wednesday. ‘We could take it off.’” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; 22Jun08; Alison Young) http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2008/06/21/cdclab_0622.html

Norman Regional to host decontamination exercises [Norman, Oklahoma]
“Norman will be the site next week for exercises to help emergency personnel deal with accidents involving hazardous materials or bioterrorism situations that would require decontamination. […] Dozens of central Oklahoma hospital employees are expected to be in town to observe when Norman Regional Health System employees participate in decontamination training exercises Tuesday with the Norman
Fire Department.
NRHS employees will be in level C suits and the fire department personnel will be in level A suits -- full decontamination gear, including head gear and a SCBA or self contained breathing apparatus in exercises at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.” (The Norman Transcript; 20Jun08; Carol Cole-Frowe)

Flora Industrial Park site [Madison County Mississippi]
“The Gulf States Bio and Agro-Defense Consortium is a coalition of public and private entities working collectively to attract the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) to Mississippi. The Consortium is comprised of the State of Mississippi, the University of Mississippi (UM), the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Mississippi State University (MSU), Jackson State University (JSU), Tulane University, the Tulane National Primate Research Center, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Tougaloo College, and Battelle Memorial Institute. […] Proposed NBAF Site Location [:] The proposed site is located in the Flora Industrial Park in Madison County, Mississippi. […] The portion under consideration for the NBAF currently has no tenants or physical structures and is approximately 150 acres.” (The Clarion Ledger; 20Jun08; DHS) http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080620/NEWS/80620050

Exercise prepares county for outbreak [Van Wert County, Ohio]
“The northwest region of Ohio, which is comprised of 18 counties, was involved in tabletop and functional exercises in preparation for an instance of pandemic flu. All 18 county health departments, emergency management agencies and almost all of the hospitals and in those counties participated. […] ‘This would be during a pandemic influenza, lets say if the bird flu would mutate - a type of flu that we do not have a vaccine for,’ said Hoffman of this year's focus. ‘We probably wouldn't have a vaccine for at least six months. It would be a very grand scale - a lot of death, a lot of illness. Any health care facility would breach their surge capacity.’ […] In such a situation, gravely ill patients or those needing emergency medical attention might be seen in the emergency department, but Hoffman said they could expect to wait six to eight hours.” (Times Bulletin; 21Jun08; Jill Dewert)

Here’s to your health! Open house at new facility [Pittsburgh County, Pennsylvania]
“It’s a year late, one contractor defaulted and another had to scramble to get the job finished, but the new Pittsburg County Health Department was the center of attention Friday as more than 200 people attended an open house. The 31,000 square foot structure, located across the street from the McAlester Regional Health Center on Strong Boulevard, is designed to offer a wide range of services. Dignitaries and just regular folks were given the grand tour during the event.” (McAlester News-Capital; 21Jun08; John Yates) http://www.mcalesternews.com/local/local_story_173153103.html

Mock Emergency Drill Tested Many Agencies' Response [Sebring, Florida]
“Wednesday's emergency preparedness drill at the Agri-Civic Center was only practice, but almost 200 volunteers and county employees acted like the mock exercise was real. […] Orange cards describing their roles were given to some volunteers who became belligerent or non-compliant, while others were unable to speak English, and some had special needs and many had mobility issues and trouble walking. […] The drill spilled over into the Emergency Operations Center, the county administration building and Florida Hospital Heartland Division campus in Sebring, Lake Placid and Wauchula. Several scenarios were created to give county workers a chance to put long-practiced plans into action.
Terrorists were supposed to have planted anthrax poison at the local car race track in the water misting system used to cool race fans. Florida Hospital Heartland Division had an unbelievable string of bad luck: A fire broke out, a bomb was discovered, a tornado touched down, the flow of oxygen and gas was turned off and the morgue filled up during the exercise at the Sebring hospital.” (Red Orbit; 19Jun08; Bill Rettew Jr) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1441595/mock_emergency_drill_tested_many_agencies_response/

Elk Grove man sentenced for toxic threats
“A former nuclear engineer and attorney who sent threatening letters containing fake poisons to local political officials and businesses was sentenced Friday to 51 months in federal prison. Michael Lee Braun, 53, of Elk Grove was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Garcia, and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $43,715 in reimbursement for
law enforcement and hazardous material cleanup efforts. Braun sent letters that contained threats and a white powder, which he asserted was ‘poison’and a ‘death powder’ and recipients feared might contain anthrax or some other weapon of mass destruction. Laboratory analysis showed it to be baking soda. He pleaded guilty to four counts on April 11.” (Sacramento Business Journal; 20Jun08; Mark Anderson) http://sacramento.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2008/06/16/daily71.html?jst=b_ln_hl

Staged protest at biolab site not much of a hit with
police [Boston, Massachusetts]
“Maryann Colella, 21, and Leeanne McHugh, 22, were placed in a
police vehicle at 609 Albany St., the site of the proposed biolab, after officers charged them with disturbing the peace and damage to property via graffiti. Police said they responded to a complaint about a small group of females throwing dummy bodies into the street. According to the report, one young woman at the scene, wearing white and red makeup on her face to simulate blood, lay on the sidewalk while a second female outlined her body in chalk. Meanwhile, police said, passing pedestrians and motorists slowed to rubberneck.”(Boston Globe; 22Jun08; Marc Larocque) http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/06/22/staged_protest_at_biolab_site_not_much_of_a_hit_with_police/

ECU professor receives federal grant for research
“An East Carolina University professor, in collaboration with the Walter Reed
Army Institute of Research in Silver Springs, Md., has been awarded more than $400,000 by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense to study antibacterial activity. […] Due to their improved drug-like properties and increased stability, the peptides may be used to treat infections that are the result of bacterial, biological warfare agents – an area of research being examined by the WRAIR [Walter Reed Army Institute of Research].” (The Daily Reflector; 23Jun08) http://www.reflector.com/local/content/news/stories/2008/06/23/ecunotes.html

Academy grad's glow points way to award
“Myrtle Beach's Leah Baker, a 2008 graduate of the Academy of the Arts Science and
Technology in Carolina Forest, won a national award for her Public Health DVD entry. The 18-year-old environmental science major simulated the theoretical spread of disease for her senior mastery project that recently earned a $2,500 award in the Labs Are Vital Scholarship contest promoted on Facebook. […] Early one morning before her classmates arrived, Baker dusted a door handle at the academy with some harmless fluorescent powder that glows under black light. A few hours later, she checked every student's hands to see how far the pseudo germ had traveled. ‘Based on the schoolwide experiment, if the disease were real, all of Horry County would be infected in 14 days,’ said Baker.” (Myrtle Beach Online; 22Jun08; Jan A. Igoe) http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/123/story/494972.html

Syria, North Korea helped Iran nuclear programme: report
“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is having second thoughts about helping Iran with its controversial nuclear programme, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday, quoting unspecified intelligence reports. […] Der Spiegel, which did not elaborate on al-Assad's reported change of heart, also said Iran, Syria and North Korea had apparently been cooperating in the production of chemical weapons. It cited an explosion near the Syrian city of Aleppo in July 2007, during which many were reported to have died when quantities of mustard gas and the nerve agent Sarin escaped. In addition to 15 Syrian
military officials, dozens of Iranian ‘rocket scientists’ and three North Koreans were among those killed, the magazine said.” (The Earth Times; 21Jun08) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/213997,syria-north-korea-helped-iran-nuclear-programme-report.html

State [Colorado] sets own deadline for mustard destruction
“Colorado officials told the Department of Defense this week to get rid of its mustard agent stockpile in Pueblo County by 2017, the same deadline set in recent legislation authored by some members of the state’s congressional delegation. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a compliance order on Wednesday requiring the Defense Department to destroy its entire stockpile at the Pueblo Chemical Depot by 2017, six years earlier than the current target date of 2023.” (The Pueblo Chieftan; 21Jun08; John Norton) http://www.chieftain.com/articles/2008/06/21/news/local/doc485cb7926a528215719979.txt

Chemicals Blamed for Gulf War Ills
“An academic report released in March cites chemicals in pesticides, weapons and drugs used to counter nerve gas as causes of a wide variety of ailments reported by Persian Gulf War veterans. ‘Enough studies have been conducted and the results shared to be able to say with considerable confidence that there is a link between chemical exposure [and the ailments],’ Dr. Beatrice Golomb told the (San Diego) Union-Tribune. Golomb, an associate professor at the University of California- San Diego, wrote the report, which was published March 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She analyzed findings from more than two dozen studies of U.S., Australian and European Persian Gulf War vets exposed to chemicals such as the nerve agent sarin.” (Red Orbit; 19Jun08; Tim Dyhouse) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1440444/chemicals_blamed_for_gulf_war_ills/

Are we ready? Simulated chemical attack tests response [Gaylord, Michigan]
“The voice from Otsego County 9-1-1 Central Dispatch came crackling through at 1000 hours with a message over the scanner beginning and ending with ‘THIS IS AN EXERCISE.’ The message, for emergency responders, was all part of a disaster drill informing them of a
terrorist incident in which the nerve gas Sarin had been released during preparations for a concert at the Otsego County Fairgrounds. ‘THIS IS AN EXERCISE.’ With the dispatch delivered, emergency personnel from across the county sprang into action beginning a three-hour, full-scale exercise Monday morning to gauge emergency response plans and procedures in the face of a chemical terrorism threat.” (Gaylord Herald Times; 18Jun08; Michael Jones) http://www.gaylordheraldtimes.com/articles/2008/06/18/news/top_stories/doc48590511789aa161728186.txt

Hill AFB [Utah] conducting readiness exercises
Air Force Base will conduct readiness exercises today through Friday. Airmen of the 388th Fighter Wing, 419th Fighter Wing, 75th Air Base Wing and Ogden Air Logistics Center will participate in an Operational Readiness Exercise. It will test the base's ability to deploy quickly and operate in a chemical combat environment.” (Deseret News;23Jun08)

Police squads in chemical boiler suits have raided a suspected crystal meth factory in Paddington.
“Originally cops thought the man was making a chemical weapon, or 'dirty bomb' - using the house as a bomb factory. José Eduardo Vieira, 29, will appear before Westminster Magistrates charged with producing a class A drug.” (The London Daily News; 20Jun08) http://www.thelondondailynews.com/police-raid-paddington-crystal-meth-factory-p-836.html

This is only a test: Are we prepared? [West Virginia]
“Mineral County was one of 25 counties that participated in this statewide emergency drill.~ Officials from the 911 Center, Emergency Operation Center, RACEY, CERT out of Piedmont ( a community emergency response team), Mineral County Sheriff, West
Virginia State Police, Keyser Fire Department and EMS, Health Department, Department of Highways (DOH), the Medical Reserve Corps and Animal Control were on hand for two days to discuss and plan for this type of emergency.~ The Mineral County Board of Education and the National Guard were on hand for telephone communications. In this particular scenario Red Cross was unavailable. ‘This is our first time doing a statewide drill and I think everyone involved did pretty well,’ said Andrew Root, Mineral County Health Department R.S., administrator.” (Mineral Daily News-Tribune; 23Jun08; Elaine Blaisdell) http://www.newstribune.info/news/x1003971963/This-is-only-a-test-Are-we-prepared

Britain Sends Information on Suspect to the U.S.
“The government of Britain has turned over classified material to American
military prosecutors at Guantánamo Bay about a British prisoner’s allegations that he was interrogated and tortured in Morocco after secretly being taken there by the C.I.A., according to the British Foreign Office. […] Binyam Mohamed, was charged by American military prosecutors last month with conspiracy and material support for terrorism, and the Foreign Office said in a letter to his lawyer that the evidence it gave to the Pentagon could be ‘exculpatory and relevant.’ […] In the charges filed against Mr. Mohamed, prosecutors said that he underwent training at several camps run by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001, in preparation for terrorist attacks in the United States, including the detonation of a so-called dirty bomb.” (The New York Times; 21Jun08; Raymond Bonner) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/21/world/europe/21gitmo.html

FBR, PNRA to jointly combat nuclear trafficking
“The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Un-derstanding (MoU) to promote cooperation against illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials. Member Customs, FBR, Mahmood Alam, and Member Executive, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Shakil-ur-Rehman, singed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations. The MoU explains that the world today is facing a growing international threat of illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials, which present a grave hazard to national and international security.” (The News-International; 23Jun08; Mehtab Haider) http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=119932

Bush fails to appoint a nuclear terror czar
“Ten months after Congress passed a law establishing a White House coordinator for preventing nuclear
terrorism, President Bush has no plans to create the high-level post any time soon, according to the National Security Council.” (Boston Globe; 22Jun08; Bryan Bender) http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/06/22/bush_fails_to_appoint_a_nuclear_terror_czar/

Security lacking at nuclear weapons sites in Europe: US report
“Most European air force bases that house US nuclear bombs are failing to meet security requirements to protect the weapons, according to an internal US
Air Force investigation. The air bases often fall short of US Defense Department (DOD) standards, with fencing, lighting and buildings in need of repair and security guards lacking sufficient training and experience, said the document, obtained by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). The 30-member air force team looking at the safety of nuclear weapons said that ‘inconsistencies in personnel, facilities, and equipment provided to the security mission by the host nation were evident as the team traveled from site to site’ in Europe. ‘A consistently noted theme throughout the visits was that most sites require significant additional resources to meet DOD security requirements,’ said the report, titled ‘Air Force Blue Ribbon Review of Nuclear Weapons Policies and Procedures.’ At some bases, military conscripts with less than a year of active duty experience were assigned the task of guarding the weapons against theft, the report said.” (Agence France Presse; 21Jun08) http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ilTADjyg56JIknjap6wfjSEdHNTQ

Britain re-investigating umbrella killing
police are taking a new look at one of their most notorious Cold War cases -- the 1978 killing of a Bulgarian dissident with a poisoned umbrella. A group of senior detectives from the Metropolitan Police flew to Bulgaria last month to interview witnesses and examine documents in archives, The Independent reported. Dnevnik, a Bulgarian newspaper, reported that one of those they sought to interview was Vladimir Todorov, a former head of the Secret Police.” (United Press International; 20Jun08) http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/06/20/Britain_re-investigating_umbrella_killing/UPI-55311213992113/

OPCW Director-General Addresses Seminar on Middle East Security and WMD Non-Proliferation/Disarmament
“The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, visited Paris, France on 19 June 2008 to address a seminar organised by the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) entitled ‘Middle East Security and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Non-Proliferation/Disarmament.’ Addressing the issue of ‘Confidence Building Measures (CBMs): Benefiting from Previous Experiences,’ […] he stressed that prompt accession to the Convention would contribute to the goal of establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East and add a strong building block to the edifice of regional peace and mutual
security.” (OPCW News; 20Jun08; Johan de Wittlaan)

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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