War on Terrorism

Friday, October 17, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- October 17, 2008

Universal Detection Technology receives purchase order from the United States Army Corps of Engineers
“Universal Detection
Technology, 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 for its anthrax detection equipment from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The detection equipment is designed to check for anthrax and can return results in as little as 3 minutes.” (CNN; 17Oct08; Source:
Globe Newswire)

[U.S.] Government lacks security at biodefense laboratories
“A new government report warns that intruders could easily break into U.S. biodefense labs because there is an apparent lack of security. Citizens and lawmakers are now asking if it’s time for the Bush administration's Biowarfare defense program to be put on halt, saying the program has expanded too fast and security measures have not caught up. […] The most recent government study suggests that intruders could easily break into two laboratories handling organisms that could cause illnesses with no cure. The two vulnerable lab locations are
Atlanta and San Antonio. The labs were not identified by the Government Accountability Office, except that they were Biosafety [Level] [BSL] -4 facilities.[…] BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories are those handling the most dangerous germs and toxins and requiring the most stringent security. The BSL-4 labs handle organisms that cause diseases without a cure. They include ebola, marburg, junin and lassa viruses.” (RedOrbit; 17Oct08) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1589622/government_lacks_security_at_biodefense_laboratories/#

Bugs in the System [TX]
“As Hurricane Ike bore down on Texas last month, employees of the University of Texas Medical Branch [UTMB] –Galveston moved to secure a complex of laboratories containing some of the most dangerous germs on the planet, including Ebola, anthrax, and hantaviruses. Workers disinfected research spaces, destroyed active cultures, and locked the remaining bugs in freezers. […] ‘To my knowledge this is the only BSL [Biosafety Level] -4 that is situated in such an environmentally unstable area,’ says Edward Hammond, a biodefense watchdog. UTMB–Galveston has two Biosafety Level Four (the highest such designation) laboratories and eight BSL-3s. A third, much larger, BSL-4, part of the new Galveston National Laboratory, is slated to open in November. ‘Even if you believe in the biodefense program, you’ve got to be looking at [Hurricane Ike] and saying, what ... did we do building all this BSL-4 space in a place that you have to shut down once every year,’ Hammond says. ‘There’s a huge scientific and economic price to that.’” (Texas Observer; 17Oct08; Forrest Wilder) http://www.texasobserver.org/article.php?aid=2868&print=true

Report: Georgia State’s germ lab a serious security threat
“A Georgia State University laboratory building that contains some of the world’s deadliest germs has insufficient security to prevent an intruder from breaking into the facility, according to a report by congressional investigators released today. The GSU lab building lacks security barriers, sufficient camera monitoring and security at entrances, said the report by the Government Accountability Office. […] ‘Today’s report shows a lack of minimum standards for perimeter security at research labs handling the most dangerous agents and diseases, including some that are incurable,’ said U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce that requested the inquiry into several labs around the nation. The report also criticized the
Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for approving the facility’s security plan despite the weaknesses.” (The Atlanta Journal Constitution; 16Oct08; Craig

UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] procurements high on India's defense needs
“Jane's Information Group is reporting that India is planning to significantly upgrade its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capability over the next decade in order to enhance situational awareness along its land and maritime borders. Official sources said the army was planning to procure a large number of manportable mini- and nano-UAVs with short-range intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and laser-designation capabilities, as well as the ability to detect nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons inside enemy territory.” (SatNews; 17Oct08; Source:
Jane’s Information Group)

Mustard gas check at ex-
military site [U.K.]
“It was a top secret
military site that was used to create mustard gas bombs more than 60 years ago. But Ministry of Defence officials were back at a former chemical warfare factory on the Norfolk-Suffolk border yesterday as experts began an investigation into potential ground and water contamination. The Little Heath area of Barnham, near Thetford, was used as a depot to fill mustard gas shells during the second world war and was later used to decommission the deadly weapons and destroy the toxic gas. military officials yesterday confirmed that they had begun a four- to six-week operation at the former military site, which forms part of the East England military Museum.” (Thetford and Brandon Times; 17Oct08)

Gas mask handout delayed to late 2009 [Israel]
“Due to budget disputes with the Treasury, the [Israeli] Defense Ministry has been forced to postpone the distribution of gas masks to the public by at least six months to late 2009, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Last year, the Defense Ministry finished collecting gas masks from the public and in the past few weeks completed refurbishing a majority of the kits. The initial plan, a senior defense official said Wednesday, was to return the masks to the public in January. […] The gas masks are an essential component of the public's ‘protective envelope’ in the event of a chemical attack, according to [an] official. When in the hands of the public, the masks also play a role in deterring enemies from using such weapons.” (The Jerusalem Post; 16Oct08; Yaakov Katz) http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017545320&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

ER staffs: gaps exist in hospital preparedness for dirty bombs

“Emergency room doctors and nurses around the nation worry that hospitals are not adequately prepared to handle casualties from a radioactive 'dirty bomb,' said researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). […] In focus groups, doctors and nurses working in emergency departments (EDs) in the Southeast, Northeast and West expressed a powerful commitment to caring for patients in the wake of a terrorist attack. But they were deeply concerned about hospital preparedness and whether ED personnel, in a dirty bomb scenario, could protect themselves and give appropriate care to contaminated patients, the researchers said. […] [P]atients would likely be a mix of contaminated, injured and contaminated and those fearful of contamination.” (Science Daily; 17Oct08; Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081016162236.htm

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.

No comments: