War on Terrorism

Saturday, July 12, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- July 11, 2008

SLU [Saint Louis University] Studies Experimental Smallpox Vaccine for Eczema Patients
“Researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine are preparing to test a new, experimental smallpox vaccine on people with atopic dermatitis (eczema), whose skin disorder may put them at higher risk for vaccine related side effects. […] The new study in which SLU is taking part will involve more than 500 patients at up to 30 centers in the U.S. and Mexico.” (Saint Louis University; 07Jul08; Carrie Bebermeyer) http://www.slu.edu/x24035.xml

Anthrax case settlement costly and embarrassing [Opinion]
“The administration recently agreed to a lawsuit settlement that will pay germ warfare scientist Steven Hatfill $5.8 million. […] Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly declared Hatfill a ‘person of interest,’ despite
Justice Department policy that very clearly states the necessity to keep under wraps the names of suspects. Hatfill lost his job, was publicly trailed by investigators and his home was searched twice.” (Denver Post;
09Jul08) http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_9831825

Legislators, Emergency Directors to Review, Revise Wis[consin’s] Disaster Laws
“A new panel of state lawmakers, relief workers and emergency directors will start meeting this month to streamline
Wisconsin's disaster statutes and clarify how the state legislature should work if a crisis forces it to meet outside Madison. Wisconsin's emergency statutes haven't undergone a comprehensive review since the late 1980s, said Randi Milsap, a state Department of Military Affairs attorney.” (Insurance Journal; 09Jul08; AP) http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/midwest/2008/07/09/91749.htm

Gary [Indiana] seeks emergency test volunteers

“The Gary Department of Health and Human Services is seeking 100 volunteers to help test the city’s emergency preparedness system. The exercise, a staged fictional bioterrorism/anthrax attack occurring in the city, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Genesis Convention Center’s Lake Room in downtown Gary.” (The Times North West Indiana; 09Jul08) http://www.thetimesonline.com/articles/2008/07/09/updates/breaking_news/doc4874f9ca4c990076920106.txt

As [Salmonella] Outbreak Affects 1,000, Experts See Flaws in Law
“More than 1,000 people in 41 states and the District of Columbia have now been sickened in the nation’s salmonella outbreak, in what officials said Wednesday was the largest food-borne outbreak in the last decade. And some food safety experts this week tied problems in tracing the source of the contamination to what they say are shortcomings in the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. […] The rule requires only that produce handlers keep track of food one step back and one step forward in the supply chain and does not apply to retailers or growers. Because the rule does not specify the format for records, investigators are sifting through a hodgepodge of paper trails to identify the source of the contaminated produce.” (New York Times; 10Jul08; Bina Venkataraman) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/health/policy/10tomato.html?ref=us

Ventilation problems delay $4 million county lab opening [Allegheny County,
“Allegheny County's $4 million public health laboratory in Lawrenceville has been built for seven months. But disease samples are still being sent to an
Oakland lab that hasn't been updated in a half-century. At Wednesday's county Board of Health meeting, Dr. Bruce Dixon, director of the Health Department, said issues with the ventilation system would delay the opening for another five weeks.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; 10Jul08; Allison M. Heinrichs) http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_576813.html

Corgenix Announces Expansion of Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Product Development Program
“Corgenix Medical Corporation, a worldwide developer and marketer of diagnostic test kits, has announced an expansion of the collaborative effort for developing test kits for viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) detection.” (Market Watch; 10Jul08) http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/corgenix-announces-expansion-hemorrhagic-fever/story.aspx?guid=%7BBD01F5B5-0947-41A6-A6AE-D8B9D8EA469C%7D&dist=hppr

Emergency personnel stay prepared [Tahlequah,
“The entire month of July has been set aside as Bioterrorism and Disaster Education and Awareness Month. […] The county also has a written emergency operations plan that various entities have worked for months to refine. Dotson and Assistant EM Director Mike Underwood are the county’s only paid emergency management personnel. Several others work with the agency on a volunteer basis. Dotson said EM, in turn, works with
law enforcement – the Cherokee County Health Department, emergency medical service personnel, school officials and others – so all can be ready to move into action when called. The purpose of the special month is to raise awareness for emergency preparedness in case a disaster was to occur.” (Tahlequah Daily Press; 10Jul08; Bob Gibbins) http://www.tahlequahdailypress.com/features/local_story_192100754.html?keyword=secondarystory

[University of] Calgary researcher wins $1.7M grant to study bioterrorism
“A scientist at the University of Calgary has been awarded $1.7 million to find vaccines for two diseases that have been used as biological weapons. Donald Woods is using the grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health's Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for his research on preventing glanders and melioidosis, the university said Thursday.” (AOL News Canada; 10Jul08; CBC News) http://news.aol.ca/article/glanders-vaccine/280049/

Patch of Contaminated Soil Found at R.M. [Rocky Mountain] Arsenal
“Workers at Rocky Mountain Arsenal have found an area of contaminated soil in a section of the property once used to dispose of hazardous waste. […] The area is about a mile away from where another area of contaminated soil was discovered last fall. […] Scharmann said officials must decide whether to remove the soil or extend the cap to cover the area. The arsenal's two landfills are full so, if the soil is removed, it will have to be taken somewhere else.” (CBS 4 Denver; 09Jul08; AP) http://cbs4denver.com/green/Contaminated.Soil.Found.2.767547.html

Lawmakers fight chemical weapons plan [transport]
“Lawmakers from both parties are challenging a Pentagon plan to study whether to transport deadly chemical weapons across state lines to speed their destruction. […] Members of Congress and watchdog groups say the plan exposes the public to unnecessary risks and violates a 2005 law making it illegal for the Department of Defense to study the possibility of transporting chemical weapons across state lines.” (Daily Mail; 09Jul08; Matthew Daly) http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/272651/

US weapons research is raising a stink
"XM1063 is the code name for the US
army's new secret weapon which will 'suppress' people without harming them, as well as stopping vehicles in an area 100m square. But is it a violation of chemical weapons treaties, or a welcome move towards less destructive warfare using non-lethal weapons? Exactly how it works is classified, but we have established some details. The first part of the weapon is an artillery round - or as the army puts it, 'a non-lethal personal suppression projectile' - fired from a 155mm howitzer, with a range of 28km. […] Experts suggest three possible payloads: an existing riot-control agent, malodorants or a new chemical agent. Existing agents include CS gas and a form of pepper spray. But these seem unlikely choices, because their effects only last minutes, and could wear off before friendly forces arrive. They could also face a legal challenge: the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of riot control agents in warfare.” (The Guardian; 10Jul08; David Hambling) http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jul/10/weaponstechnology.research

Wisconsin Researchers Use Proteomics to Hunt Biomarkers Tied to Radiation Damage
“Despite the ongoing risk of radioactive dirty bombs set off by
terrorists, as well as run-of-the-mill nuclear disasters, there are currently no protein biomarkers that could help detect early signs of injury brought on by radiation exposure. With this in mind, researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin have been studying changes in rat protein levels after radiation exposure, and in an article published in the June
18 online edition of Proteomics – Clinical Applications, they used proteomic
technology to detect those changes in rat urine.” (Proteo Monitor; 10Jul08; Mukut Sharma) http://www.proteomonitor.com/issues/8_28/pioneer/148107-1.html

Firefighters seek 100 volunteers to strip [for decontamination]
Fire and Rescue Service is urging volunteers to swap their daywear for bikinis and swimshorts in a mock-up of a terrorist attack. They will then undergo the same decontamination procedure that would be used in the event of a suspected anthrax attack or a dirty bomb being dropped. Men and women will enter separate areas and shower with a mild, soapy liquid and dry using hot air driers before putting on a fresh suit. In reality people affected would be rushed to hospital for checks after being decontaminated. However, on this occasion volunteers will be allowed to get changed and collect their possessions before lunch. About 30 firefighters will be involved in the operation – the largest of its kind to be carried out in Hampshire. They hope to get everyone through the unit in an hour.” (The Portsmouth News; 09Jul08; Clare Semke) http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/Firefighters-seek-100-volunteers-to.4271825.jp

Penitentiary Scare Passes: Mystery Powder Non-Toxic
“A third test has determined that the substance found last Tuesday in the USP McCreary mailroom was not toxic. But what the white powdery paste actually was remains a mystery. Twelve employees of the federal penitentiary were decontaminated and observed for symptoms of poisoning, with two ultimately being transported to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital Tuesday evening. Those individuals -- both guards at the prison according to Special Response Team Chief Doug Baker -- had experienced tightness in their chests and shortness of breath. Officials were quick to note that those symptoms could be due to heat or stress rather than the unknown substance. By Wednesday afternoon, the employees had been released from the hospital and were doing 'fine' according to Kentucky Division of Emergency Management public information officer Buddy Rogers.” (Red Orbit; 09Jul08; Source: McCreary County Record) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1470790/penitentiary_scare_passes_mystery_powder_nontoxic/

Little to separate deadly serious from the bizarre
Las Vegas, there was the FBI special agent who raided the home of Eid and Engle and, confronted with a possible find of ricin, the third deadliest poison, etc, in one of the world's most paranoid nations, she does not evacuate the area, have the coffee grinder analysed or advise the hapless Lisa Eid to get the hell out of there - she hands her camera to Lisa and asks her to take pictures for the Irish media. […] A similar imbalance is noted in Limerick Prison, where Army ordnance men get kitted out like spacemen in chemical warfare suits to take apart Eid's cell; they find a contact lens container with suspected ricin (which he'd been contentedly sleeping beside, apparently), and bear it gingerly to their commandant, whose own protection, sensationally, consists of - um - rubber gloves.” (The Irish Times; 10Jul08; Kathy Sheridan) http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0710/1215537706109.html

China: 5 'Olympic terror groups' smashed
“China says it has destroyed five
terrorist groups in a mainly Muslim autonomous region on suspicion of plotting to attack the Olympic Games, which start in less than a month. […] [Nicholas] Bequelin [a Human Rights Watch analyst] said those jihadist training camps described in Xinhua are most likely unsanctioned mosques. […] The terrorist leader planned to target hotels in Beijing and Shanghai that were frequented by foreigners, as well as government buildings and military bases, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security. The terrorist cell inside China, led by Aji Mai Mai Ti, carried out tests on poisonous meat, poisonous gas and remote explosive devices as part of their plans, the ministry said.” (CNN; 10Jul08) http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/07/10/china.terror/index.html

Las Vegas [Nevada] Safety Derailed Part 1
“Tons of deadly cargo passes through
Las Vegas every day aboard Union Pacific rail cars. Although rail is statistically the safest transport system in the country, accidents do happen […]. For one thing, they know that while railroads are statistically safe, accidents, collisions and derailments happen all the time. When they do, they are spectacular. Local leaders also have to worry that an accident might take them out first. The Union Pacific tracks run through the heart of the valley. In the downtown area, they pass within yards of the headquarters of nearly all of the key agencies […] Local agencies find out after the fact that a deadly shipment has passed through town. Why is it so hard for Union Pacific to give a heads up? It just is, a California spokesperson told us, ‘The reason it would be so difficult is because, again, it's logistically -- it would be very, very difficult because we go through so many different communities that notification would be, again, logistically,’ said Zoe Richmond with Union Pacific. ‘We don't know exactly what time it would be coming through.’ As bad as potential accidents might be, a greater threat might be terrorism. The I-Team infiltrated the rail yards and found security all but non-existent. Tuesday [15Jul08], we'll show you how real the terror threat might be.” (Las Vegas Now; 08Jul08; George Knapp)

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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