War on Terrorism

Friday, September 19, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News-September 19, 2008

Fourth mystery package for [Representative Tom] Feeney [R-FL]
“A suspicious envelope addressed to the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney was found last Thursday by U.S. House officials, a spokeswoman said. This is the fourth suspicious envelope addressed to Feeney offices, all similar in appearance, since Sept. 8 [2008]. One envelope arrived at each of his Florida offices, in Port Orange, Orlando near the University of Central Florida, and Titusville. The first three were deemed to contain baking flour by inspectors. The FBI's Joint
Terrorism Task Force is investigating.” (Seminole Voice; 19Sep08; Jenny Andreasson)

FDA proposes label requirements for refused imported foods
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a proposed rule designed to reduce a practice known as ‘port shopping’ which puts the safety of imported food at risk. […] When FDA refuses to admit a food into the United States, the food must be exported or destroyed. But some persons attempt to bring the refused food back into the United States in the same condition by shipping it to another U.S. port in hopes that the food will be admitted there. The proposed regulation would require that shipping containers of food barred from entry, and any accompanying documents, be labeled as refused. The label would make it easier for FDA to detect previously-refused food. The proposed rule implements a provision of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 […].” (U.S. FDA; 18Sep08; Michael Herndon) http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01888.html

Homeland Security and Sesame Street team up to indoctrinate the nation's youth
“Today's youngsters will be adequately trained in emergency preparedness by the likes of Grover. The partnership is aimed at children, and seeks to encourage family preparedness plans in the case of emergencies, such as terrorist attacks, biological warfare, and maybe even a devastating hurricane.” (Cleveland Leader; 18Sep08)

SIGA Technologies [Inc.] receives additional $20 million from NIH [National Institutes of Health] for ST-246 antiviral therapeutic development
“SIGA Technologies, Inc. […] today announced that it has received an additional $20 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health […]. The Office of the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has provided this funding to NIAID to advance research and development of biodefense products such as ST-246. […] Dr. Eric Rose, SIGA's Chief Executive Officer, continued, ‘We have made considerable achievements thus far in our R&D efforts with ST-246, and are confident that we are on the right path to bring this drug to market to help prevent or contain the effects of any biological warfare attack using the smallpox virus in the United States or around the world, should the need arise.’” (Trading Markets; 18Sep08) http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1891238/

[Senator] Leahy [D-VT]: Suspect [Bruce Ivins] had help in anthrax attacks
“The chairman of the of Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday he does not believe that Dr. Bruce Ivins acted alone in the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks. Sen. Patrick Leahy was one of the targets of the lethal anthrax-laced letters that killed five and sickened 17 in fall 2001. […] Leahy did not say why he believed Ivins had help and he also cast doubt that the Army scientist was the attacker in the first place. […] Republicans shared Leahy's doubts surrounding the case. Sen. Arlen Specter of
Pennsylvania, the top GOP member of the panel, said he had problems with some of the evidence against Ivins that has been made public. In a testy exchange with [FBI Director Robert] Mueller, he also demanded to have a say in selecting scientists who will be performing an independent review […].” (Associated Press; 17Sep08; Lara Jakes Jordan) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gBlAAdzjtMryYGvNIIVF1k02ZFMwD938MQA80

Scientist concedes 'honest mistake' about weaponized anthrax [assessment from ‘Amerithrax’ investigation]
“An acclaimed government scientist who assisted the federal investigation of the 2001 anthrax mailings said Tuesday that he erred seven years ago when he told top Bush administration officials that material he examined probably had been altered to make it more deadly. The scientist, Peter B. Jahrling, had observed anthrax spores with the aid of an electron microscope at the government's biological warfare research facility at Ft. Detrick, Md. […] Jahrling […] believed […] that silicon had been added to anthrax recovered from a letter addressed to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). The presence of silicon was viewed with alarm because the material, if artificially added to the anthrax, would make it more buoyant in air and more capable of penetrating deeply into the lungs. […] Jahrling said […] that he had been ‘overly impressed’ by what he thought he saw under the microscope.” (
Los Angeles Times; 17Sep08; David Willman) http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-anthrax17-2008sep17,0,1753550.story

Midwest public health workers prepare for bioterrorism, other threats with Meridian LMS [learning management system]
“Meridian Knowledge Solutions, LLC is implementing the software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of its learning management system (LMS)for ‘Prepare
Iowa,’ which is a partnership of the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Institute for Public Health Practice at the University of Iowa's College of Public Health. […] To access the Prepare Iowa LMS, public health professionals log in online and establish an account. From there, they can find training on subjects ranging from bioterrorism to program evaluation.” (PR Canada; 17Sep08)

Australia boosts bio-security defenses
“Australia has opened a new National Center for Bio-Security to build its defenses against infectious diseases and biological weapons. Medical experts say it will help protect the country from threats such as SARS and bird flu as well as attacks by terrorists or rogue scientists. […] Its researchers will look at ways to combat biological warfare, naturally occurring diseases and the theft or misuse of sensitive research on micro-organisms. In addition, they will study the dangers posed by synthetic biology […].” (VOA News; 16Sep08; Phil Mercer) http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-09-16-voa8.cfm

EnWave Corporation announces major advancement in pharmaceutical dehydration
“EnWave Corporation today announced that it has made a major innovation in its Radiant Energy Vacuum (‘REV’) pharmaceutical dehydration
technology to allow for a significant reduction in the moisture content of dried vaccine products. […] Production of dried live pharmaceuticals, such as vaccines, storable at room temperatures would be considered a major industry breakthrough. Dried vaccines with long shelf-life could be shipped worldwide, stored without the need for expensive, constant refrigeration, and stockpiled to protect against pandemic diseases and bioterrorism. The current ‘gold standard’ for dehydrating many liquid pharmaceuticals is freeze drying (‘lyophilization’). This process is expensive, time consuming and often results in significant loss of bioactivity during dehydration.” (Trading Markets; 18Sep08; Source: EnWave Corporation) http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1890416/

[Sri Lankan]
Military: Navy sinks 10 rebel boats, killing 25
“The Sri Lankan
Military says naval forces have sunk 10 Tamil Tiger boats and killed at least 25 rebel sailors in a major sea battle off the country's northwest. The Military says the battle started about 11 a.m. Thursday off the coast at Nachchikuda and lasted for four hours. Military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara says naval forces sank seven small boats belonging to the Tamil Tigers' naval wing and three medium-sized boats. […] The Sri Lankan authorities on Thursday ordered tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils living in Colombo to register with police as fighting in the country's civil war with Tamil separatists grew fiercer. Fresh fighting along the northern front lines killed 25 rebels and one soldier, the Military said Thursday, while brushing off reports the Tamil Tigers had unleashed deadly chemical weapons against advancing troops. As the fighting intensified in recent months, the rebels have been blamed for a series of deadly attacks on buses, trains and other targets in the capital and other towns that have killed scores of civilians far from the war zone. Authorities established a maze of roadblocks and checkpoints and continuously changed traffic patterns in Colombo in an effort to prevent new attacks.” (Associated Press; 18Sep08; Ravi Nessman) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gVoaDFmbCYS-Usz9ACDRIengj21QD9393IT00

In Short LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] has no chemical weapons capability – [according to]
Military spokesman [Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara]
Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara vehemently denied that the LTTE has the capability of using chemical weapons on the battlefield. […] He affirmed that the LTTE had used CS [Corson & Stoughton’s] gas during the clash in Akkaraynkulam [11Sep08]. ‘The LTTE used the CS gas to resist the Security Forces advancing in Akkarayankulam. Six soldiers who suffered breathing difficulties were admitted to hospital and were discharged,’ he added. Brigadier Nanayakkara said the CS gas was used by the LTTE in the current battlefield at an experimental level. ‘According to intelligence information the LTTE is at an experimental level of using CS gas,’ he added. He elaborated that the CS gas generally used for anti-hijack or hostage operations. ‘The Security Forces are capable of facing such situation and are provided with masks,’ he added.” (Daily News; 19Sep08; Rafik Jalaldeen) http://www.dailynews.lk/2008/09/19/news61.asp

U.S. and Canadian agencies respond to simulated WMD [Sweetgrass, Montana]
“A simulated attempt to smuggle a dirty bomb into the U.S. using the railroad drew a massive cross-border response here Thursday […]. Six months in the planning and at an estimated cost of about $20,000, the exercise involved eight Canadian agencies, seven federal agencies, seven state agencies, and the Montana National Guard. Several local
law enforcement agencies from the Sweetgrass area also participated, along with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and the Rocky Mountain Integrated Border Enforcement Team.” (Helena Independent Record; 18Sep08; Martin J. Kidston) http://www.helenair.com/articles/2008/09/18/top/42lo_080918_wmd.txt

Emergency exercise will test our readiness
“Plymouth-Canton staff and students will be put to the test this morning with a hazardous material incident at Plymouth High School that will trigger an evacuation. All Plymouth High, students will actually participate in the exercise and be removed from the school. At the same time, students and staff at all the other schools in the district will be holding ‘shelter in place’ exercises during the course of the day. […] Other mock exercises today will include a live burn at the massive Marathon Oil facility in Detroit and several terrorist attacks, including a radiological dirty bomb, in Oakland County. Put together, it is being billed as one of the most comprehensive disaster training exercises ever performed in this country […].” (Hometown Life; 18Sep08)

Fears of US-Russia breakdown on WMD dismantlement
“The authors of a U.S. program designed to secure weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union say they worry that deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia could undermine efforts to keep the weapons out of the hands of terrorists. Sen. Richard Lugar [R-IN] and former Sen. Sam Nunn [D-GA] say the two countries have continued working together to secure nuclear, chemical and biological weapons despite growing hostility after Russia's invasion of Georgia last month. […] The current concern comes as Russia and the United States have begun to draw down cooperation on many fronts. The United States already has suspended joint
Military programs and withdrawn an agreement for civilian nuclear cooperation that it had hailed previously as a breakthrough. It has promised further action. Russia, in turn, has hinted that it could halt cooperation on efforts to rein in Iran's nuclear program.” (Associated Press; 18Sep08; Desmond Butler) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jttDn6BPh7apBLSIhN9th0IC1udgD9393RC00

PharmAthene to present data for Protexia(R) and Valortim(R) at HHS [Department of Health & Human Services] PHEMCE [Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise] Stakeholders Workshop 2008 “PharmAthene, Inc. […] announced today that the Company will present two poster presentations and an oral presentation on its Protexia(R) and Valortim(R) medical countermeasures programs at the upcoming HHS Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Stakeholders Workshop […]. Protexia(R), a recombinant version of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), is being developed as a pre-and post-exposure therapy for casualties on the battlefield or civilian victims of nerve agent attacks. Valortim(R), in co-development with Medarex, Inc., is a fully human monoclonal antibody designed to treat and protect against inhalational anthrax.” (PR Newswire; 18Sep08) http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/09-18-2008/0004888089&EDATE

Keep Israel and Syria talking

“The indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel that began last May have gone as far as they can. Their purpose --to break the ice between the two states after eight years of not talking, and to test one another's resolve over certain issues --has been achieved. Now, Syrian President Bashar Assad wants to move forward, as evidenced in his proposal to Israel for direct peace talks at a recent four-way summit in Damascus involving Syria, Turkey, France and Qatar. […] While Israel may have no big concerns about a conventional
Military confrontation with Syria, it does worry about the latter's stockpile of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) and its surface-to-surface missiles. Syria has been developing its CBW capability since the 1980s and has gained the capacity in recent years to launch large numbers of medium and long-range rockets. If tipped with chemical or biological warheads, these rockets could cause significant damage and terror in Israel. Do these Military considerations rule out any chance of war, then? Not necessarily. Conflict between the two countries could still occur […].” (Middle East Times; 18Sep08; Bilal Y. Saab & Bruce O. Riedel, Brookings Institute) http://www.metimes.com/Opinion/2008/09/17/keep_israel_and_syria_talking/8362/

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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