War on Terrorism

Thursday, August 14, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- August 13, 2008

Special report: War has always been a dirty 'biological' battle
“The earliest known application goes as far back as 600BC, when Assyrians poisoned enemy wells with Ergot. In 400BC, Scythian archers used to dip their arrows into a mixture of blood and manure. […] It comes therefore as little surprise that the English word ‘toxin’ is derived from the Greek word ‘toxikon’, meaning ‘arrow’. The ancient Roman and Greek armies threw dead bodies into the wells of their enemies to compromise their water supply. […] An enduring problem is that they are difficult to eradicate afterward; Gruinard Island, for example, is still heavily contaminated despite repeated attempts to clean it up. Nevertheless, after four millennia there is persistent interest in their application. They have developed from arrows to catapults to long-range missiles. Prohibitions placed upon their use have not hindered their development. We should be in no doubt that we will see them used again in conflicts around the world.”
(Irish Medical News; 11Aug08; Robert O'Sullivan) http://www.imt.ie/news/2008/08/war_has_always_been_a_dirty_bi.html

Man [Thomas Tholen] Pleads Guilty In Ricin Case
Utah man has pleaded guilty to charges he knew his cousin was making the deadly toxin ricin, but did not tell authorities. The ‘Salt Lake Tribune’ says 54-year-old Thomas Tholen pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of knowing a biological agent had been illegally produced, and a count of making an untruthful statement to hide the fact. Tholen faces up to three years in prison and a 250-thousand-dollar fine when he's sentenced October 22nd. Federal prosecutors charge Tholen knew his cousin, Roger Bergendorff, was making ricin while he was staying in the basement of Tholen's Utah home.” (KXNT; 12Aug08)

Homeland Security rates possible sites for biolab; Manhattan among finalists
Homeland Security Department gave evaluation scores for 17 sites that were competing for a new laboratory to study human and animal diseases, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press. The scores from the five finalist locations are: 1. Granville County, N.C., 94[.] 2. San Antonio, 91[.] 3. Manhattan, Kan. 91[.] 4. Athens, Ga. 90[.] 5. Flora, Miss., 81.” (Topeka Capital Journal; 12Aug08) http://cjonline.com/stories/081208/kan_317613314.shtml

Advanced Life Sciences Awarded U.S. Department of Defense Biodefense Contract Valued at up to $3.8 Million
“Advanced Life Sciences Holdings […] today announced that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded the Company a two-year contract worth up to $3.8 million to further study cethromycin as a potential broad-spectrum medical countermeasure.” (PR Newswire; 13Aug08) http://sev.prnewswire.com/health-care-hospitals/20080813/AQW04813082008-1.html

Better check on bio-labs
“The FBI spent $10 million on new genome
technology to link the anthrax used in the mailings to the Fort Detrick biological weapons lab, where Ivins worked. That technology is good to have because of the complicated world we live in and the potential danger and hysteria that a mentally unstable worker with access to biological weapons could cause in our society. We also need tighter security at government labs.” (Muskogee Phoenix; 12Aug08) http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/opinion/local_story_225163332.html

Boston University] BU wants to start training at biolab
Boston University has asked the city for permission to start conducting training exercises at a laboratory being built to study some of the world's most dangerous germs. Construction of the $198 million National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories in the South End is scheduled to end this summer. But actual research into Ebola, plague, anthrax and other deadly biological agents is not expected to start until next year.”
(Nashua Telegraph; 13Aug08)

Universal Detection
technology Receives Purchase Order for Anthrax Detection Equipment from the State of Hawaii Emergency Medical Services
“Universal Detection
technology (www.udetection.com) (OTCBB: UNDT), 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 it has received a purchase order from the state of Hawaii Emergency Medical Services for its handheld bio-detection equipment. The purchase order is for handheld devices that test for Anthrax, Ricin Toxin, Botulinum Toxin, Y. Pestis (Plague), and Staphylococcal Entertoxin B (SEB).” (Trading Markets; 12Aug08) http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1821871/

PanThera awarded $5.1M contract: the STI Industries subsidiary will develop an anti-anthrax drug
“PanThera Biopharma said yesterday it has won a $5.1 million contract for bioterrorism research. The Honolulu-based subsidiary of
technology company STI Industries has been awarded a five-year contract from the National Institutes of Health, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to develop a therapeutic drug for weaponized anthrax exposure.”
(Star Bulletin; 12Aug08; Jennifer Sudick) http://starbulletin.com/2008/08/12/business/story03.html

What if the FBI is Right, about Bruce Ivins? [Editorial]
“If the FBI theory on the man responsible for the anthrax attacks of 2001 is correct, then the threat of bioterrorism is far more troubling than we have imagined. […] ‘If the Unabomber had been a biologist instead of a mathematician, could he have produced a sophisticated bioweapon?’ The answer has always been ‘No: That would require a team of individuals.’ However, if the FBI is right about Ivins, such a lone individual can produce such a weapon.” (Wall Street Journal; 12Aug08; Randall Larsen) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121850430521931913.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Our own worst bioenemy [Editorial]
“According to the CDC, infections caused by methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, kill 19,000 people a year. […] Only one of 40 staph toxins is on the priority list. There's another problem created by the priority-pathogens list. The ballooning of the biodefense program, according to Ebright, means that about 14,000 individuals are now considered qualified to work with priority pathogens. It hasn't always been easy to find qualified people for this research. In the days when the FBI was pursuing former ‘person of interest’ -- and now exonerated -- Steven J. Hatfill, one senior government scientist said of Hatfill's background, ‘You take what you can get -- not many people with his abilities show up very often.’ So where do 14,000 suddenly qualified biodefense experts come from? ‘[…] that's many more possibilities of another bizarre individual doing illicit work.’” (Los Angeles Times; 13Aug08; Wendy Orent) http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-orent13-2008aug13,0,1045104.story

Laser Energetics Successfully Completes Defense Contract With ITT
“Laser Energetics […] announced today that the Company has successfully completed the Proof-of-Concept contract worth $481,268 with ITT Corporation […] This contract supports the U.S.
Army's initiative to develop an all solid-state laser for the next generation of chemical warfare agent sensor. This contract provided LEI the opportunity to design and demonstrate a high power all solid state Alexandrite pumping concept which is now part of the Laser Energetics' BrightStar(TM) product line.”
(Sun Herald; 12Aug08)

Smiths Detection and Torion Technologies Partner to Develop Highly Portable, Advanced
Military & Emergency Response Chemical Threat Assessment technology “The use of Torion's proprietary toroidal technology (developed for its GUARDION-7(TM)) allows a well-established analytical technology, GC-MS (gas chromatography mass spectroscopy), to be used in a lighter and faster way than ever before. The unique size and weight of the new instrument do not compromise its ability to achieve the same high accuracy, sensitivity and selectivity of standard GC-MS technology.This technology is designed to identify a variety of substances such as Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs), Volatile and Semi Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs & SVOCs) in air and liquid samples.” (Centre Dailty; 12Aug08; David Olsen) http://www.centredaily.com/business/technology/story/771525.html

Former Sri Lankan rebel commander says LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] may use chemical weapons as last resort
“Former leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Eastern Province and the current leader of the political party TMVP, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman yesterday said that
Military defeat is inevitable for the LTTE as it does not have a proper commander. […] During the briefing, he also warned that the Tigers may use chemical weapons as their last resort. He confirmed that the Tigers have the weapons but said he was not aware about the exact substance used. He confidently said that Prabhakaran would choose to use the chemical weapons as the last measure to avoid defeat.” (Sri Lankan Colombo Page; 12Aug08) http://www.colombopage.com/archive_08/August12171914JR.html

Bizarre Death of the Man Who Talked Too Much [Book Review]
“In ‘The Terminal Spy’ Alan S. Cowell, a veteran foreign correspondent for The
New York Times, gives an absorbing account of Mr. Litvinenko’s life and bizarre murder. Along the way he explains how Russia lost and got back its tremendous energy resources after the fall of the Soviet Union, describes how wealthy Russians have turned London into ‘Moscow-on-the-Thames’ and tries to determine if the Litvinenko murder is the harbinger of a new and especially dangerous kind of terrorism.” (New York Times; 11Aug08; Joseph Weisberg) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/books/12weisberg.html?ref=arts

New Terror Security Plan Would Photograph License Plates [
New York]
NYPD is considering taking photographs of every license plate and scanning the information. An NYPD official tells Fox 5 News that the focus of Operation Sentinel is primarily for dirty bomb detection. The official also says there will be a way for drivers to register their cars so they won't be screened all the time.” (Fox News; 12Aug08; Kathy Carvajal)

Seeking ban on highly enriched uranium in research
“Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) and
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo are calling on the federal government to ban researchers from working with highly enriched uranium - saying they don't want it fall into the hands of terrorists. Taking the substance out of civilian laboratories will diminish the chances it could be used to make a so-called dirty bomb, they said yesterday. […] Seven research centers around the country use the substance, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, which asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to institute the ban as soon as December 2009.” (Newsday; 13Aug08; Janie Lorber)

Iraqi Kurdistan: Mass Grave Discovered with 500 Dead
“The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) has been informed that a new mass grave with 500 dead has been discovered in Iraq. […] They were either murdered during the so-called Anfal offensive under Saddam Hussein in 1987/88 or they were victims of the Barzan massacre of 1983 […] The Anfal Offensive was carried out under the leadership of Saddam Hussein’s cousin Ali Hassan Al Majid (better known under the name ‘Chemical Ali’). […] Chemical and biological weapons were also used here. The murders were aimed specifically at men of working age and boys aged between eleven and fifty years old to prevent active counter-attacks or later acts of revenge.” (Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization; 12Aug08) http://www.unpo.org/content/view/8508/116/

Using live fish, new tool a sentinel for environmental contamination
“Researchers have harnessed the sensitivity of days-old fish embryos to create a tool capable of detecting a range of harmful chemicals. By measuring rates of oxygen use in developing fish, which are sensitive to contaminants and stressful conditions, the
technology could reveal the presence of minute levels of toxic substances before they cause more obvious and substantial harm. It could be used as an early warning system against environmental contamination or even biological weapons, said Purdue University researcher Marshall Porterfield, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering.” (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News; 13Aug08; Douglas M. Main)

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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