War on Terrorism

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- September 17, 2008

Biological Warfare
“Recently it has been observed that a sharp rise in chronic kidney disease
(CKD) among farming communities in the North Central province of Sri Lanka. Local medical researchers have come up with several possible risk factors for the disease, including high groundwater fluoride content in some affected areas, leaching of heavy metals such as cadmium from agricultural chemicals into water sources, exposure to inorganic pesticides and fertilizers, and usage of aluminum vessels to store drinking water. […] Dr. Channa Jayasumana of Rajarata University has put forward a rather different hypothesis for CKD. Dr. Jayasumana and his team has observed a higher number of chronic kidney disease patients from villages located adjacent to so called Eelam territory in Sri Lanka. Furthermore he claims that bioterrorism could be the causative factor for CKD in the North central and Eastern regions.” (Lanka Web; 16Sep08; Akila

FBI Director to testify on Anthrax Case
“During congressional testimony today, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said evidence collected in the agency's investigation of former
Army scientist Bruce E. Ivins is strong and backs up their theory that he is the lone culprit behind the 2001 anthrax attacks. ‘There was a clear identification of the anthrax in the letters back to […] the vial in Dr. Ivins' laboratory,’ Mueller said [he went on to say] ‘[…] we traced all of that anthrax and eliminated any other persons who may have had access or utilized that access as a suspect.’ Mueller also said the FBI is in discussions with the National Academy of Science to conduct an independent review of the government's investigation into Ivins.” (Washington Post; 16Sep08; Derek Kravitz) http://voices.washingtonpost.com/washingtonpostinvestigations/2008/09/fbi_director_set_to_testify_ab.html

Collaborative software initiative releases citizen-centric public health application and community

“Collaborative Software Initiative, the company that brings like-minded organizations together to work collaboratively on software at a fraction of the cost, announces the launch of TriSano(TM), a public health application and community. TriSano(TM) is an open source, citizen-focused surveillance system for infectious disease management. It is designed so that it can be expanded to cover environmental hazards, bioterrorism, and outbreak management. TriSano(TM) allows local, state and federal entities to track, control and ultimately prevent illness and death.” (PR Newswire; 16Sep08)

[$3.8 million federal] Bioterror grant [for Advanced Life Sciences Holdings Inc.]
“A $3.8 million federal grant to Advanced Life Sciences Holdings Inc. will help finance the Woodridge-based firm's efforts to extend the uses of a new antibiotic to find bioterrorism. The funding from the Department of Defense will enable the biotech firm to test its antibiotic, cethromycin, against tularemia, plague and melioidosis, three pathologies thought to be likely bioterror weapons. Advanced Life Sciences has moved cethromycin into late-stage development for treating community-acquired pneumonia and has had some success in testing the antibiotic as a treatment for people who have inhaled anthrax spores. The federal government is looking for antibiotics that are effective against multiple potential bioterror weapons […] The company hopes that cethromycin can fill that role.”
(Chicago Tribune; 15Sep08)

GE Security to provide next-gen chemical-biological identifier to first responders
“GE Security, Inc. […] today announced its recently introduced StreetLab Mobile device will soon be capable of identifying biological as well as chemical substances. The biological identification upgrade will be available in the fourth quarter 2008. StreetLab Mobile is a portable, user-friendly, handheld device that reliably identifies a broad range of substances in liquid, powder and solid forms. Using Raman spectroscopy for data capture and analysis, StreetLab Mobile consumes little or no substance sample and makes it easy for the operator to understand and share results.” (Earth Times; 15Sep08) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/ge-security-to-provide-next-gen-chemical-biological-identifier-to-first-responders,539658.shtml

Anthrax suspect [Bruce Ivins] made unusual requests in will
“Some unusual requests have been found in the last will and testament of Dr. Bruce Ivins, the man suspected of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and made 17 others sick. In his will signed and dated in March 2007, Ivins states he has ‘strong wishes’ to be cremated and to have his ashes scattered or spread on the ground. If his family does not follow his wishes, Ivins writes he will give $50,000 to Planned Parenthood of
Maryland. […] The Justice Department now believes he is the ‘only’ person responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Federal officials say the most striking evidence is the flask where the anthrax spores came from. They say Ivins was the only one who had access to that flask.” (Your 4 State; 15Sep08; Kaitlin McCarthy)

Afghans free son of Pakistani Al-Qaeda suspect [Aafia Siddiqui]
“The 12-year-old son of an American-educated Pakistani woman whom U.S. authorities have linked to al-Qaeda has been handed over to Pakistani authorities in Afghanistan and is soon to be reunited with family in Pakistan, Afghan and Pakistani officials said Monday. […] According to a biography of high-value detainees released by the office of the U.S. National Director of Intelligence, Siddiqui married top al-Qaeda operative Ammar al-Baluchi shortly before he was arrested in Pakistan in April 2003 in connection with helping to plot the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. U.S. officials have alleged that Baluchi was a key assistant and relative of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, said to have been the central planner of the 9/11 attacks. Baluchi allegedly asked Siddiqui to assist another al-Qaeda plotter, Majid Khan, with gaining entry into the United States in 2002.”
(Washington Post; 16Sep08; Candace Rondeaux) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/15/AR2008091503011.html

Smiths Detection introduces advanced air monitoring system to detect and mitigate chemical threats
“Smiths Detection today announces the introduction of its next-generation Sabre Centurion II, air monitoring system designed to detect and identify Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) and Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) in critical infrastructures. […] Centurion II uses Smiths Detection’s proven Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) technology and can be networked with up to 70 other detectors to provide a comprehensive threat detection system that is then programmed to control air handling systems to isolate and contain a potential threat.” (Earth Times; 15Sep08) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/smiths-detection-introduces-advanced-air,540748.shtml

Smiths Detection announces hardened hand-held, simultaneous, trimode, threat detector “Smiths Detection, part of the global technology business Smiths Group, today announces the launch of the Multi-Mode Threat Detector (MMTD), a portable device that can detect a range of explosives including the materials most commonly used in homemade bombs. The MMTD, a rugged, hand-held detector for explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals and narcotics, also features an optimized detection capability for peroxides, commonly used in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The simultaneous dual-mode capability of the MMTD allows operators to detect a broad range of explosives and offers simultaneous one-sample analysis detection of explosives and
narcotics.” (PR Inside; 15Sep08; David Olsen) http://www.pr-inside.com/smiths-detection-announces-hardened-hand-held-r807445.htm

[Sri Lankan] Govt. prepares for LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] chemical attack
“The government has put in place contingency plans for a possible chemical attack by the LTTE against the security forces fighting in the North. Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, yesterday, instructed officials to immediately dispatch extra health staff, medicines and equipment to the North to face any contingencies that may arise in the event of a chemical attack on the security forces, said ministry spokesman W.M.D. Wanninayaka. […] Mr. Wanninayaka said that Prof. [Ravindra] Fernando [University of Colombo] had been tasked with giving a special training to medical and nursing staff on chemical and unconventional weapons attacks and medical emergencies arising from such attacks.” (Daily Mirror; 17Sep08; Sandun A Jayasekera)

Namibia: Parliament resumes work [including implementation of the CWC]
“The National Assembly resumes its session today after a nine-week winter break […] An Anti-
Terrorism Bill is […] in the pipeline, while the legal drafters also prepared a Chemical Weapons Convention Bill.” (All Africa; 16Sep08; Brigitte Weidlich) http://allafrica.com/stories/200809160720.html

[Department of
Homeland Security] give[s] $29 million to NYC for nuke security
Homeland Security officials are giving $29.5 million to the NYPD to develop a system to prevent a radiological or nuclear attack on New York City. The Department of Homeland Security is announcing the funding Tuesday as part of an experimental effort called Secure the Cities. […] [Rep. Peter] King [NY-R] says the program will put radiological detectors at roads leading into major cities.” (News Day; 16Sep08) http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--nuclearsecurity0916sep16,0,6367582.story

U.S. and Romania agree to equip border crossings to help prevent nuclear smuggling

“The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Romanian Frontier Police (FP) today announced an agreement to coordinate efforts to prevent nuclear smuggling by installing radiation detection equipment at multiple border crossings in Romania. The agreement signed today provides the framework for the two countries to work together to detect illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. […] The agreement will pave the way for NNSA to work collaboratively with the FP to install modern radiation detection systems at multiple border crossings, airports and seaports in Romania, as well as to provide related training on the use of this equipment.” (Financiarul; 15Sep08) http://www.financiarul.ro/2008/09/15/us-and-romania-agree-to-equip-border-crossings-to-help-prevent-nuclear-smugglins/

Shivraj Patil Stresses need for intelligence sharing between countries
“Union Home Minister, Shri Shivraj V. Patil, inaugurated an International Seminar on
Terrorism organised by the Asia Pacific Chapter of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today. […] The Home Minister also stressed upon putting an end to the open sale of weapons and explosives in some countries and pointed out that training of Police personnel and development of innovative technologies were critical to combating Terrorism and threats from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. […] Stressing on zero tolerance against Terrorism, the National Security Adviser [Shri M.K. Narayanan] emphasized that liberal democracy was the strongest answer to Terrorism.”
(Press Information Bureau, India; 15Sep08)

Defence to move to countering terror: [Attorney General] Robert McClelland
“In a speech to be delivered to the annual security in government conference in Canberra yesterday, Mr. McClelland said both the pace of technological change and emerging threats such as climate change pose formidable challenges for national security planners. ‘[…] I think we are seeing a further evolution and broadening of the national security agenda,’ Mr. McClelland said. ‘This is sometimes referred to as the all-hazards approach and is driven by the realisation that threats can come from directions that have not tended to be the focus of traditional national security.’ […] The nature of possible terrorist attacks had become wider and more unpredictable ranging from conventional explosives to radiological or biological weapons. […] Mr. McClelland said Australia needed to invest more in countering extremism in local communities as part of a broad national counter-
Terrorism strategy.” (Australian; 16Sep08; Patrick Walters) http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24352261-5013871,00.html

Position paper of the People’s Republic of China at the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
“China has consistently placed importance on and supported international arms control and disarmament efforts and stood for comprehensive prohibition and thorough destruction of all weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) such as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. […] China supports the purposes and objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention. China has fully and strictly fulfilled the obligations under the two Conventions, supported the enhancement of their universality, and called on countries that own or possess chemical weapons and countries that have abandoned chemical weapons in other countries to further intensify their work and speed up destruction of chemical weapons.” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China; 16Sep08)

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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