War on Terrorism

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- October 29, 2008

New report finds rising risk of infectious diseases in America
“Trust for America's Health (TFAH) released a new report today, Germs Go
Global: Why Emerging Infectious Diseases Are a Threat to America; which finds that at least 170,000 Americans die annually from newly emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, a number that could increase dramatically during a severe flu pandemic or yet-unknown disease outbreak. Factors including globalization, increased antimicrobial (drug) resistance, and climate and weather changes are contributing to the increased threat. […] While the U.S. government has invested significantly in treatments that could counter an intentional biological attack, new drugs to treat emerging diseases and new antibiotics to address growing antimicrobial resistance have received far less attention. The development of new, improved therapies to treat drug resistant bacterial infections, as well as influenza and other viruses, is essential.” (PR Newswire; 29Oct08) http://www.ibtimes.com/prnews/20081029/tfah-disease-study.htm

Reuters evacuates NY newsroom in powder scare
Police told staff to evacuate the 19th-floor Times Square [Reuters] newsroom after Brian Rhoads, the company's managing editor for the Americas, opened an envelope and a ‘puff of powder’ came out of it, Hunt said. Police isolated the envelope, and Rhoads, and then told the 140 members of staff to leave as a precautionary measure while they investigated. Staff made arrangements to ensure the company could put out a news file from other offices. Nearly three hours later, Hunt said authorities told Reuters the powder was harmless and workers returned to the desk.” (Stuff; 28Oct08; Source: Reuters) http://www.stuff.co.nz/print/4741918a6418.html

Sarin Vapor Leak Found At Blue Grass Depot
“Blue Grass
Army Depot says chemical weapons inspectors have found an M55 rocket leaking GB, or sarin, vapor. The depot, near Richmond in central Kentucky, says the vapor was confined to an airtight tube and considered low-level. The Lexington Herald-Leader [KY] reports the rocket will be packed in another leakproof container Tuesday and later moved to another [storage] igloo. County and state emergency management agencies were notified, but the depot says there was no danger to people nearby the facility. No vapor was detected in the storage igloo's atmosphere. The discovery was made by toxic chemical crews inspecting the chemical weapons stockpile.” (Lexington Herald-Leader; 29Oct08) http://www.kypost.com/content/news/commonwealth/story.aspx?content_id=8760321e-d61b-4697-8454-7c0bd6fb170c

Cuts in
military intelligence risks UK's national security
“The UK 's
military intelligence service is facing severe cuts that will reduce its ability to foresee future threats to national security and dangers to British forces abroad, a confidential Whitehall document shows. British analysis of Russia's military capabilities and activities will be reduced as the Ministry of Defence slashes the size and budget of the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS), a senior officer has warned. The agency is losing more than one in five of its Whitehall staff and having its budget cut by nearly seven million pound as the Ministry of Defence cuts costs. […] The DIS analyses foreign countries' military capabilities, monitoring both conventional weapons like aircraft and missiles and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons proliferation.” (Britain News; 28Oct08; Source: ANI)

OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] Director-General Visits Bulgaria for High-Level Meetings
“The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, paid an official visit to Sofia, Bulgaria from 21 to 23 October 2008 where he met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Ivailo Kalfin, and other high-level Government officials. […] The Director-General provided an update on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), including the progress being made towards eliminating global chemical weapons stockpiles. Director-General Pfirter commended Bulgaria for its implementation of the Convention and its close cooperation with the OPCW. For his part, Deputy Prime Minister Kalfin reaffirmed Bulgaria’s firm commitment to the goals of the CWC […]” (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; 29Oct08) http://www.opcw.org/news/news/article/opcw-director-general-visits-bulgaria-for-high-level-meetings/

Utah gives NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] update on wishes for low-level nuke waste
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission now knows what path Utah wants it to follow as the NRC considers present and future license applications to dispose of any foreign generated low-level radioactive waste at EnergySolutions' Clive facility in Tooele County. […] The need for that clarity arose after state and regional regulators learned this past year that the NRC had already allowed the Clive site to accept small amounts of radioactive waste that originated in Canada, France, Germany and Mexico. […] Now […] the company wants to store up to 1,600 tons of low-level radioactive waste that would come from decommissioned nuclear power plants in Italy. That proposal prompted opposition last May from the Northwest Compact and an assertion to the NRC that the regional eight-member compact has authority over the Clive site.” (Deseret News; 29Oct08; Stephen Speckman)

[U.S. Secretary of Defense] Gates: nuclear weapons and deterrence in the 21st century
“We also still face the problem of weapons passing from nation states into the hands of terrorists. After September 11th, the president announced that we would make no distinction between terrorists and the states that sponsor or harbor them. Indeed, the United States has made it clear for many years that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our people, our forces and our friends and allies. Today we also make clear that the United States will hold any state, terrorist group or other non-state actor or individual fully accountable for supporting or enabling terrorist efforts to obtain or use weapons of mass destruction, whether by facilitating, financing or providing expertise or safe haven for such efforts. To add teeth to the deterrent goal of this policy, we are pursuing new technologies to identify the forensic signatures of any nuclear material used in an attack, to trace it back to the source.” (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; 28Oct08; see link below for full transcript) http://carnegieendowment.org/events/index.cfm?fa=eventDetail&id=1202&&prog=zgp,zru&proj=znpp,zusr

UN atomic energy chief warns of nuclear theft
“Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, asserts that the number of reports of nuclear or radioactive material stolen around the world last year was ‘disturbingly high.’ ElBaradei, in his annual report to the General Assembly, said Monday that nearly 250 thefts were reported in the year ending in June. ‘The possibility of terrorists obtaining nuclear or other radioactive material remains a grave threat,’ he said. ‘Equally troubling is the fact that much of this material is not subsequently recovered.’ […] If all the stolen material were lumped together, it would not be enough to build even one nuclear device, [ElBaradei’s staff] said. It was unclear if the rising number of reports of stolen material stemmed from a growing market for radioactive goods or more vigilant reporting of thefts by member states.” (International Herald Tribune; 28Oct08; Neil MacFarquhar)

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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