War on Terrorism

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- July 23, 2008

Georgia reports two cases of anthrax
“Two cases of anthrax have been registered in western Georgia's Imereti Region, the national disease control center said on Wednesday. Two villagers from the region's Zestaponi District became infected after contact with a sick cow. ‘After putting the cow down, they discovered signs of the disease and buried the animal,’ the center's chief, Paata Imnadze, said. ‘Several days after, they were admitted to hospital with anthrax.’ Both patients are currently in a stable condition.” (RIA Novosti; 23July08) http://en.rian.ru/world/20080723/114765125.html

Bioterrorism Threat Is Disputed
“William R. Clark, the chair emeritus of immunology at the University of
California, doesn't think that bioterrorism is a serious threat, right now. He just wrote a book on the politics of bioterrorism called Bracing for Armegeddon? In an interview with Matt Palmquist in May, Professor Clark explained how he really feels about reports of a bioterrorism threat […].” (About.com; 23July08; Amy Zalman, Ph.D.) http://terrorism.about.com/b/2008/07/23/bioterror-threat-is-hotly-debated.htm

FDA [Food & Drug Administration] Finds Salmonella Strain on Jalapeno Pepper

“More than 1,200 Americans have gotten sick and two people have died after eating produce contaminated with Salmonella Saintpaul. With an investigation spanning many weeks, food safety regulators have had a challenging time trying to track suspected tomatoes and peppers up or down the supply chain, hampered by paper records and repacking practices that effectively hide the identity of produce in the distribution chain. Today FDA announced an important breakthrough in the case: A Jalapeno pepper from a Mexican farm -- repacked at a Texas distribution facility -- has been found with the identical strain fingerprint of Salmonella as the human victims.” (CSPI Newsroom; 21July08) http://cspinet.org/new/200807213.html

Testimony of Jeffrey W. Runge, MD before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on
Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology
“Good morning Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee on this important and timely issue. My colleagues and I have testified before your Subcommittee on several occasions on this topic, and I appreciate your continued interest in ensuring that an outbreak of a disease, intentional or natural in origin, does not threaten our Homeland Security, economic stability, and our Nation's critical infrastructures and key resources. I am thus pleased to have the opportunity to share our views with you and your constituents through this hearing in Providence, RI.” (Homeland Security; 22July08) http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/testimony/testimony_1216677175660.shtm

Dr. Jeffrey W.] Runge [of the Department of
Homeland Security] Stresses Threat of Anthrax Attack
“Al Qaeda continues to plot terror attacks that would include biological agents, and the terror group has focused specifically on the use of anthrax as a weapon, the chief medical officer at the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) told a congressional panel during a field hearing in Rhode Island Tuesday.” (HS Today; 23July08; Mickey McCarter) http://hstoday.us/content/view/4375/128/

Pentagon Slices and Dices DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] Budget
“The Pentagon's storied research and development arm turned 50 years old this year, and its birthday present appears to be another $100 million in budget cuts, according to a Defense Department document provided to DANGER ROOM [Wired Magazine Blog Network]. Cognitive computing systems, which has previously been hit by congressional cuts, will lose another $13 million, while Network Centric
Technology is sliced by $19 million. Another $18 million is being diced from biological warfare defense, and a big cut is taken out of DARPA's Electronics Technology program, which loses $26 million.” (Wired; 22July08; Sharon Weinberger) http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/07/pentagon-slices.html

Foreign-born TB [Tuberculosis] cases need better control, US says
“Tuberculosis cases continue to fall in the United States, but some immigrants have disturbingly high rates of the disease, according to a study released Tuesday that called for more aggressive action. TB rates were highest among residents from lower Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Most drug-resistant TB cases also were from foreign-born residents, the study noted. The researchers called for wider testing, including efforts to seek out latent cases of TB from long-term immigrant residents in certain populations.” (FindLaw; 23July08; Lindsey Tanner) http://news.lp.findlaw.com/ap/o/1500/07-23-2008/20080723002006_17.html

Biofilms use chemical weapons
“Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig have now identified one of the fundamental mechanisms used by the bacteria in biofilms to protect themselves against the attacking phagocytes. The scientists are now publishing their findings in the renowned specialist publication PLoS ONE, together with colleagues from Australia, Great Britain and the USA – the discovery being that biofilm bacteria use chemical weapons to defend themselves.” (Nanowerk News; 23July08) http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=6491.php

EMA [Emergency Management Agency] official loses $8,300 weapons detector
Delaware County Emergency Management official lost a chemical weapon detector worth $8,300 last month, reporting that it fell out his truck. Delaware County sheriff's investigators reported no leads recently in the case where Jeff Evans, EMA deputy director, reported the device lost while be was driving home to Anderson. […] The device detects chemical agents such as weaponized Sarin and VX nerve gases, and also has civilian uses to detect chemical spills.” (The Star Press; 22July08)

Court rejects appeal by bomb plotters
“Five men jailed last year for plotting an Al-Qaeda-linked bombing campaign lost an appeal against their convictions Wednesday.Omar Khyam, Waheed Mahmood, Jawad Akbar, Anthony Garcia and Salahuddin Amin were found guilty last April and jailed for a minimum of between 35 and 40 years for plotting to cause ‘indiscriminate death and suffering.’ […] One of the five also discussed trying to buy a radioactive ‘dirty bomb’ from the Russian mafia to be ‘bigger than 9/11’, but nothing appeared to have come from his enquiries, the trial was told.” (AFP; 23July2008) http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g9D5Cxun1qXFG-qyVcoAOKWFaCNw

Is Bioterrorism Threat Credible?
terrorists play pranks on WMD use these days! Late May 2008 a purported terrorist video caught media attention and some serious coverage. As per the reports, the Al Qaeda video message urged Islamic jihadists to use ‘biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West.’ Experts suspecting the authenticity of the video message dismissed the threat as a prank and not ‘Qaedaesque’ enough to get scared. The big question is whether the threat of biological weapon use is real or a product of fearful future thinking? As far as terrorist groups are concerned, they not only wish to survive, but endeavor to thrive with continuous innovation and improvisation. The paucity of empirical data on terrorist use of biological weapons does not limit their future planning concerning biological weapon.” (Counterterrorism Blog; 22July08; Animesh

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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