War on Terrorism

Thursday, October 16, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- October 15, 2008

Merlin [International] secures contract with Battelle National Biodefense Institute to support national biodefense analysis and countermeasures center
“Merlin International, one of the fastest growing public sector systems integrators in the United States, announced it has secured a contract with Battelle National Biodefense Institute (BNBI) to procure, install, and develop a content management system. Merlin will […] manage the risk of bioterror and bio
crime in the United States. The Battelle National Biodefense Institute manages and operates the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), based in Maryland, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).” (Epicos; 15Oct08; Source: Business Wire) http://www.epicos.com/epicos/portal/media-type/html/user/anon/page/default.psml/js_panename/News+Information+Article+View;jsessionid=8AFD8A4E2F1F1483FBEAC2A296F6177F.tomcat4?articleid=121845&showfull=false

Albany [NY] scientist receives $1.6M to fight bioterrorism
“A professor at Albany Medical College has received a $1.6 million federal grant to fight bioterrorism. Timothy Sellati, an associate professor in the Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease, will use the grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to study whether changing the immune response to a deadly form of bacteria could prevent death. Tularemia is a naturally occurring bacteria that has been weaponized in the past by the U.S. and former Soviet Union. Sellati will try to lessen the inflammation triggered by the human immune system when exposed to tularemia. The inflammation in some cases is more deadly than the tularemia infection. The four-year study will involve human clinical trials.” (Times Union; 15Oct08; Cathleen F. Crowley)

Detecting diseases
“There's a new way to screen for diseases. Scientists say during a major disease outbreak or even a bioterrorism attack, one of the biggest enemies could be time. […] Now, scientists have a device that could one day screen you for disease. Researchers say all the rapid response system needs is a nasal swab and one minute. […] Analytical Chemist, Dr. Jeremy Driskell says these are fingerprints of individual viruses. Chemists say the technique is so powerful, it can detect even a single virus particle . And it can identify countless mutations like flu or rotavirus. They're already developing a laptop-sized testing station for airport screening.” (Bay News 9; 15Oct08; Source: Ivanhoe Broadcast News) www.baynews9.com/content/8/2008/10/15/389801.html?title=Detecting%20diseases#

Vaccine for Bubonic Plague
“It caused one of the deadliest pandemics in human history and has killed more than 200 million people worldwide. The bubonic plague may be something you've read about in history books, but today, the threat of another outbreak is as real as ever. Soon, researchers say a pill could be your best protection. […] Experts say with no vaccine and antibiotics as the only treatment, an outbreak is very real. The Centers for Disease Control lists the bubonic plague as one of the top bioterrorism threats. […] Dr. Daniell created a vaccine by injecting genes from yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes the bubonic plague, into plant cells, which are then put into capsules. The hope is that the body will develop immunity to the plague. ‘So this is a very sophisticated way of delivering a vaccine, where you could never get the disease,’ Dr. Daniell said.”
(News4Jax; 14Oct08; Source: Ivanhoe Broadcast News) http://www.news4jax.com/news/17709537/detail.html

Black & Veatch wins $175M federal contract
“Black & Veatch has won a five-year federal contract worth at least $175 million to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity in Ukraine. […] ‘Our Ukraine task order will enhance the safety and well-being of the country as well as globally,’ Bill Van Dyke, president of Black & Veatch’s Federal Services Division, said in a release Tuesday. The contract calls for Black & Veatch to help strengthen Ukraine’s biosafety and biosecurity measures to combat bioterrorism and prevent the proliferation of biological weapons-related
Technology, pathogens and expertise while enhancing the Ukrainian government’s existing disease surveillance systems to detect and report bioterror attacks, epidemics and potential pandemics.” (Kansas City Business Journal; 14Oct08)

Spokane [WA] 'anthrax' letter contains only flour
“Investigators say bleach flour was the substance in a letter mailed to a North
Spokane homeowner which claimed to contain anthrax. […] The homeowner told authorities he received a letter from Illinois, claiming it was laced with the toxin anthrax. Tests later […] found the substance was household flour.” (Washington News; 14Oct08; Othello Richards; Source:
KREM2 News)

U.S. official has new evidence of Iranian meddling in Iraq
“The United States has new intelligence indicating Iran is reorganizing in an effort to assert its influence inside Iraq and may be behind several recent attacks, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke with CNN Monday. […] The senior official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the intelligence, said the U.S.
military had recently arrested an Iraqi general […] at the Iranian border carrying large sums of cash, […] . The man has known ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the U.S. official said. The United States believes the IRGC has ties to terrorist operations and Iran's programs to develop chemical and biological weapons.” (Trend News; 15Oct08; Source: CNN) http://news.trendaz.com/print.shtml?newsid=1319802&lang=EN

Toxic pellets found in car of Russian lawyer [Karinna Moskalenko]
“The French
police are investigating how toxic mercury pellets ended up in the car of a human rights lawyer [Karinna Moskalenko] who fell ill in Strasbourg on Tuesday, a day before pretrial hearings in Moscow into the killing of one of her best-known clients, the journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya. […] Politkovskaya, who had chronicled allegations of abuse in Russia's wars in Chechnya, was shot and killed in her apartment in Moscow […]. On Wednesday, pretrial hearings into the killing of Politkovskaya began behind closed doors in a military court in Moscow. But her lawyer, Karinna Moskalenko […] was not there. The Strasbourg police said Moskalenko's husband, a chemist, had discovered ‘about 10 little pellets of liquid metal’ in the family car on Sunday.”
(International Herald Tribune; 15Oct08; Michael Schwirtz and Alan Cowel)

SAIC to develop explosives sensor for DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency]
“Science Applications International Corp. will develop a sensor to help troops in the battlefield detect explosives and chemical or biological weapons under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract potentially worth $18 million. The award from the agency’s Defense Sciences Office calls for SAIC to design and develop a sensor inspired by a canine’s olfactory system, or sense of smell. SAIC will model, design and develop the sensor, which will include subsystems for air and odor intake, detection using olfactory receptors, signal transduction, and pattern recognition to identify odors. The sensor could help protect U.S. forces in war zones by detecting explosives and chemical or biological weapons.” (Washington
Technology; 15Oct08; David Hubler)

Labs on a chip: spinning a good tale “Quantum mechanics may hold the key to a hand-held biology laboratory.
Biotechnologists have long dreamed of creating a ‘lab on a chip.’ […] Such a device might detect biological weapons, run genetic tests or sniff out contaminants. Staff at clinics could use it to screen people for infectious diseases.
police could perform on-the-spot drug tests; paramedics, [and] roadside diagnoses. […] [The latest design] uses a quantum-mechanical effect called giant magnetoresistance (GMR), which is also the basis of a computer’s hard drive. And prototypes made in laboratories in Europe and America have indeed been able to detect everything from deadly toxins to illegal drugs and markers of disease.” (The Economist; 15Oct08)

Goodrich selects TeraView
Technology [UK] for use in airborne chemical agent detection in defence and Homeland Security applications
“TeraView signs commercial agreement with Goodrich to support Goodrich’s terahertz product deployment plans over the next several years. TeraView, the pioneer and leader in terahertz solutions and
Technology for the pharmaceutical and defense industries, has been chosen by Goodrich to supply its proprietary continuous wave (cw) terahertz Technology platform for Goodrich’s chemical agent detection system. Additionally, TeraView and Goodrich have entered into an agreement for TeraView to provide cw photomixers for the US security market place.” (Cambridge Network; 15Oct08)

America's most toxic business
Army's plan to destroy the nation's Cold War nerve gas stocks has grown into a $36 billion headache. […] How could a project once budgeted at about $2 billion and slated for completion in 1994 now cost a projected $36 billion and be forecast to drag on for another decade? […] The short answer: The project, called the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program, involves destruction of America's estimated 31,500 tons of Cold War chemical weapons stocks—among them VX and sarin nerve agents, among the deadliest substances on earth. […] Indeed, the program, now entering its third decade, bogged down in delays, now [has] mushroomed into the largest non-weapons outlay in the Pentagon budget.” (Conde Nast Portfolio; 15Oct08; David Levine) http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/top-5/2008/10/15/The-Business-of-Destroying-Nerve-Gas

PharmAthene obtains $1.6M Congressional appropriation for nerve agent treatment
“PharmAthene reports that the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009, which includes the 2009 appropriations for the DoD, includes $1.6 million to support ongoing development of the firm’s broad-spectrum chemical nerve agent countermeasure, Protexia®. Protexia is a recombinant pegylated version of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). It is being developed as a pre-exposure prophylactic and postexposure therapy for
military and civilian victims of nerve agent attacks.” (GEN; 15Oct08)

Chemical [and biological] arms bigger threat to Czechs, world than nuclear attacks
“Terrorist and extremist groups' attacks with chemical and biological weapons are a much greater threat to the Czech Republic and the world than a nuclear war, Josef Proks, Czech
military deputy chief of staff, said. Proks is attending a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) conference on protection against mass destruction weapons. […] William Puttmann, from NATO's supreme command, said terrorists might choose as their targets industrial capacities from which harmful substances could spread after the attack.” (Czeske Noviny; 14Oct08)

Defense gets extension in LITH [Lake in the Hills] toxin case [IL]
“Court proceedings have been delayed a month and a half in the case of a Lake in the Hills man accused of having more than 60 vials of a lethal neurotoxin. Federal investigators said [Edward F.] Bachner posed as a medical researcher and tried to order 98 milligrams of the toxin, called TTX. An FBI agent later posed as an employee at the Algonquin UPS store where he had the TTX delivered and gave him the package. Bachner was arrested while leaving the store and has been in federal custody since June 30.When searching his home, prosecutors said investigators found fake CIA credentials, a 9 mm Glock handgun, more than 50 knives, and books with topics such as lock-picking and how to make silencers. […] Bachner's next scheduled court date is Nov. 25.” (Northwest Herald, 14Oct08; Sarah

Assistant Professor, International Security

George Mason University, Department of Public and International Affairs invites applicants for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position with expertise in biosecurity for the fall of 2009.

Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in political science, public policy, Public health or other relevant degree. Candidates should have excellent teaching and advising skills, as well as demonstrated potential for excellence in research, and an ability to seek outside research funding. The department is especially interested in candidates who can conduct research and teach graduate-level courses in the fields of biosecurity, biosurveillance, dual-use research oversight, global health security, and/or the security implications of infectious disease. Other interests in international law and organization, research methodology, globalization,
Homeland Security or comparative politics are a plus. ABDs will be considered, but Ph.D. is strongly preferred.

The Department of Public and International Affairs has a core faculty of 42 and offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biodefense; bachelor's, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science; and a master's of public administration. The candidate will be based in the department's Biodefense Graduate Program. The department is located on the Fairfax campus in Northern Virginia, 15 miles west of Washington, D.C., and offers classes at the Arlington and Prince William campuses as well. For more information, visit http://pia.gmu.edu.

Applicants must apply online and attach their letter of interest and a CV on the Web at http://jobs.gmu.edu/ for position F8845z. Additionally, applicants should also mail examples of research publications, an official university transcript, teaching evaluations or other evidence of teaching effectiveness, and three letters of recommendation. Review of applications will begin on October 20, 2008.

Submit applications to Robert Dudley,
Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University, 3300 University Drive-MSN 3F4, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444.

George Mason University is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

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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