Still an anthrax mystery [2001 ‘Amerithrax’ attacks]
“It took the Justice Department six years, endless bad publicity and $4.6 million to concede that it had no case against Steven Hatfill, the most famous ‘person of interest’ in the nation's history. Last week, the former Army germ warfare scientist collected close to $3 million in cash and a $150,000-a-year annuity to settle his lawsuit against the federal government. Mr. Hatfill accused FBI agents and Justice Department officials of violating his privacy and recklessly accusing him of involvement in the spate of anthrax letters that killed five - the first victim in Boca Raton - and sickened at least 17 others just after 9/11.
[…] In her 2003 suit, Ms. [Maureen] Stevens accused the government of lax security in safeguarding anthrax samples at the Fort Detrick Army research facility in Maryland. The theory is that the anthrax came from there. Mr. Hatfill once worked at Fort Detrick.” (Palm Beach Post; 05Jul08) http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/content/opinion/epaper/2008/07/05/a10a_hatfill_edit_0705.html
Germ warfare’ fear over African monkeys taken to Iran
“The revelation will fuel speculation that the monkeys may be used for research involving biological weapons. Primates are typically used by scientists wishing to test both the effectiveness of germ warfare agents and defences against them. […] According to US intelligence, the pharmaceutical industry in Iran has long been used as a cover for developing a germ warfare capability. […] America, Russia, China and Iran are among the countries still using wild monkeys.” (The Sunday Times; 06Jul08; Daniel Foggo) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article4276460.ece
What’s going on with Ebola? I thought it was going to kill us all.
“Since 2000, there has been an Ebola outbreak every year. In late 2007, Ebola was diagnosed in nearly 100 people in Uganda, killing 25 percent. Ebola is unlikely to cause an epidemic because it is too effective a killer. For a virus to really be successful, its host has to stay alive long enough to find a new host. […] Eventually, the current human volunteers will need to be tested for immunity. Just as it would be unethical to inject people with a weakened Ebola virus, it would be unthinkable to knowingly give anyone the real virus to see if a vaccine is effective. Instead, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has created an exception known as the animal rule for just this situation. The FDA will approve vaccines for highly virulent agents such as Ebola and anthrax if the same immunity can be shown in two different animal species. And if the current National Institutes of Health trial were successful, it would be the first vaccine to invoke the animal rule for approval.” (Science Line; 07Jul08; Katherine Tweed) http://scienceline.org/2008/07/07/ask-tweed-ebola/
Indonesia seeks to shut [U.S.] Navy lab researching avian flu [in Jakarta]
“Indonesia suspended negotiations with the United States over the fate of Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 last month after senior politicians said it didn't benefit Indonesia and could be a cover for spying. The U.S. Embassy firmly denied that the facility is used to gather intelligence, and said most of the lab's staff members are Indonesians helping with research carried out in cooperation with local health officials. The biomedical research lab opened in Jakarta in 1970 and is used to study tropical diseases, including malaria, dengue fever and avian flu, according to an embassy fact sheet.” (Los Angeles Times; 05Jul08; Paul Watson)
Mimic molecules to protect against~plague
“Now, scientists have discovered a way to protect against death following infection with plague bacteria, by using molecules that can mimic the pathogens. According to research published in the July issue of Microbiology, these molecules make antibiotics more effective and can even be used to protect against other diseases. […] The results of this study suggest that synthetic modified lipid A compounds may provide a new therapeutic tool against plague infection. In a control group that did not receive the treatment, only 23% of mice survived for 3 days. When given the mimic molecules, up to 93% of mice survived for 3 days, 70% for 4 days and 34% recovered completely.” (E! Science News; 04Jul08) http://esciencenews.com/articles/2008/07/04/mimic.molecules.protect.against.plague
US medical intelligence center expanding to track health threats at home, abroad
“A U.S. military intelligence unit that had tracked medical threats to troops worldwide is expanding its mission to include civilians at home. The National Center for Medical Intelligence at Fort Detrick had previously been known as the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center and focused on protecting military personnel. The center will now be the ‘premier producer and coordinator of all-source medical intelligence,’ the Defense Intelligence Agency announced. […] A ribbon-cutting ceremony was scheduled Wednesday for the renamed center and the base plans to break ground in December on a 15,000 square-foot addition to the center's headquarters. The center's budget is not being released, but it will have less than 200 employees, DIA spokeswoman Paige Parham said.” (Foster’s Daily Democrat; 07Jul08; AP) http://www.citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080707/GJLIFESTYLES/954526536/-1/CITNEWS
The Last Ghost of War broadcasts today
“The spine-chilling documentary Bong Ma Cuoi Cung Cua Chien Tranh (The Last Ghost of War), about the corrosive effects of Agent Orange (the toxic defoliant used by the Americans during the war in Viet Nam), will be aired for the first time on Vietnamese television today. […] ‘Thirty years after the end of the Viet Nam War there are several million people diagnosed by the Vietnamese [health services] as victims of Agent Orange,’ says the Gardner Documentary Group’s website […] ‘These Vietnamese victims are seeking compensation and justice. The question is: were these dioxin-laden herbicides chemical weapons? And if so, who should be held accountable in the wake of what was allegedly the largest chemical warfare operation in history?’” (Vietnam News; 05Jul08)
[Pine Bluff, Arkansas] Arsenal May Get More Weapons
“The Pine Bluff Arsenal has been so efficient at eliminating stockpiled chemical weapons that the facility is on a Department of Defense list for consideration to receive chemical weapons from other facilities, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., told the Pine Bluff Commercial last week. […] The lawmaker emphasized during an interview that the report is classified as ‘tentative.’ […] Congress ordered the military to destroy all chemical weapons by the 2017 deadline imposed in a 1997 treaty banning the weapons. The U.S. has already acknowledged it can't meet a 2012 deadline established by the international Chemical Weapons Convention. Destruction facilities are currently under construction at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. Options to accelerate ‘destruction of the remaining chemical weapons stockpile’ include incentives to ensure destruction is completed by 2012 at all Army Chemical Materials Agency sites and transporting portions of the stockpile to operational facilities like Pine Bluff.” (The Morning News; 05Jul08; Larry Fugate)
Tainted PCI [Pacific Consultants International] to return ¥300 million
“Scandal-tainted construction consultancy Pacific Consultants International has decided to return about ¥300 million in suspected illegal profits to the government in an apparent bid to avoid being sued for fraud, sources close to the matter said. Prosecutors indicted former PCI President Masayoshi Taga, 62, and three others in June on charges of swindling the Cabinet Office by overcharging the government on a project.
The project was aimed at disposing of chemical weapons abandoned by the former Imperial Japanese Army in China at the end of World War Two.” (The Japan Times; 06Jul08) http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080706a5.html
US wanted to test lethal gas on [Australian Troops]
“Newly declassified Defence and Prime Minister's office files show the US was strongly pushing then prime minister Harold Holt's government in the 1960s to allow tests of two of the deadliest chemical weapons ever developed -- VX and GB, better known as Sarin nerve gas. It says the top-secret plan involved allowing 200 mainly Australian combat troops to be aerially bombed and sprayed with the chemical weapons.” (Mercury News; 07Jul08; AAP) http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,23980051-921,00.html
Japan, U.S. launch joint cargo screening project against nuclear terrorism
“Japan and the United States announced Thursday that they will introduce a nuclear screening project to detect nuclear and other radioactive materials in cargoes at Yokohama port against nuclear terrorism. […] The Megaports Initiative, which has included 27 countries and regions, is part of U.S. efforts to intensify cargo screening inspections to prevent inflows of nuclear materials at the ports of exporter countries.”
Analysis: Will terrorists go nuclear?
“From a financial and cost-effective perspective, biological agents remain most likely the cheapest and, in all probability, the most likely agent of mass destruction to become available to terror groups. […] A nuclear device, on the other hand, would completely devastate the immediate area […] but the damage would be confined to the immediate area of detonation, plus the fallout zone […] But psychologically the image of a nuclear blast carries greater impact.” (United Press International; 07Jul08; Claude Salhani)
Accused Vegas poker dealer is just a 'patsy', hitman trial told
“A former Las Vegas poker dealer accused of conspiring with a Clare [county] woman to murder her partner and his two sons is a ‘patsy’ that the prosecution is using to secure the conviction of his co-accused, the Central Criminal Court was told yesterday. […] He said the main evidence that the prosecution had of Mr Eid being involved in a murder plot was the finding of an empty contact lens case in his cell in Limerick Prison that had tested positive for the deadly toxin Ricin. He told the jury that they were not being told that Mr Eid was actually in possession of Ricin powder and had made it in his home in Las Vegas.” (Irish Independent; 05Jul08; Abigail Rieley) http://www.independent.ie/national-news/accused-vegas-poker-dealer-is--just-a-patsy--hitman-trial-told-1428097.html
NYPD [New York Police Department] Unveils Super Anti-Terror Patrol Boats
“Just in time for the Fourth of July, the NYPD is dramatically stepping up its war against seaborne terrorist threats. […] It's called a ‘TRACS’ boat. Because of security purposes, WCBS-TV can't reveal all of the equipment on board, but it has the unique capacity to detect even the most minute traces of radiation to prevent one of the city's top security nightmares – the smuggling of radioactive material that could be used to make a dirty bomb. […] Ultimately the city will have 10 TRACS boats. They were custom made after lengthy consultations between scientists and the NYPD Counter terrorism Unit.” (CBS News; 03Jul08) http://cbs4denver.com/watercooler/tracs.boat.nypd.2.763645.html
Japan, Russia plan treaty on Criminal probes
“The Japanese and Russian governments agreed Saturday to conclude a bilateral treaty on criminal investigation cooperation by the end of this year, according to sources. The agreement was reached for the purpose of smoothly and swiftly conducting probes of criminal cases involving parties in the two countries, the sources said. […] Investigative cooperation with Russia is also expected to be helpful in the field of terrorism. After the sarin nerve gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 carried out by the Aum Supreme Truth cult, the Russian government said it might have been possible to prevent the incidents if the Russian and Japanese governments had engaged in closer cooperation on antiterrorism measures. At the time, Aum had a base of activities in Russia. It is said Russian intelligence had obtained information that might have helped the Japanese government prevent the cult's terrorist activities.” (Yomiuri Shimbun; 06Jul08) http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080706TDY01304.htm
Call for Arthington professor [honoured at Leeds University] to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
“Arthington [West Yorkshire, England] professor Alastair Hay spent many years working to bring about an international ban on the use of chemical weapons. […] Shirley Beardsworth is calling for the professor to be nominated for the prize which has been awarded to 95 individuals and 20 organisations since 1901.” (Wharfedale & Airedale Observer; 04Jul08; Annette McIntyre) http://www.wharfedaleobserver.co.uk/news/newsroundup/display.var.2377305.0.call_for_arthington_professor_to_be_nominated_for_nobel_peace_prize.php
CNS ChemBio-WMD 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.