War on Terrorism

Friday, November 07, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- November 7, 2008

Government contractors now in defensive posture
“Northern Virginia’s hordes of federal contractors have a simple question:Will the new president still show them the money? […] Today they are bracing for expected cuts in defense spending […]. Spending shifts under Obama might not be as dramatic as some people think because domestic programs already have been taking a bigger share of the budget. […] ‘There have been huge expenditures [at Fort Detrick] under the guise of the National Institutes of Health … but it’s been spent specifically to help combat bioterrorism or immunization problems, or things to that effect,’ said the head of a construction company, who asked to remain anonymous because the company does top-secret work on federal projects. ‘We haven’t seen a significant amount of activity at NIH, but there’s been a huge amount — more than anybody knows — up at Fort Detrick.’ Lockheed Martin expects that an Obama administration also will embrace funding for a ‘strong national security posture.’”(Washington Business Journal; 07Nov08; Melissa Castro) http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2008/11/10/story17.html?b=1226293200^1728750&t=printable

New law regulates civilian biological pathogen research (Israel)
“The Knesset plenum on Tuesday passed the first law regulating the supervision of civilian research on dangerous bacteria and viruses that could be used as biological weapons. The new law is aimed at preventing the unsupervised development of dangerous diseases, as well as the publication of scientific articles containing sensitive information on biological warfare. The bill was sponsored by MKs (Knesset Members) Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and Yuval Steinitz (Likud). The legislation process was delayed for several months so that the conclusions of a joint committee of the National Security Council and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities could be incorporated into the bill.” (Haaretz; 06Nov08; Shahar Ilan & Ofri Ilani)

Umatilla [OR] depot eliminates all VX weapons
“The Umatilla Chemical Depot in
Oregon yesterday finished destroying its entire stockpile of munitions filled with VX nerve agent, the Hermiston Herald reported. ‘We plan to complete the VX land mines disposal campaign today, which means the end of land mines, all VX agent, all nerve agent, and all munitions with explosive or energetic components here in Oregon,’ said Mike Strong, site project manager disposal at Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (Hermiston Herald, Nov. 5). The U.S. Army has now eliminated 95 percent of its original arsenal of VX; the nerve agent remains in storage at only two U.S. locations.” (Global Security Newswire; 06Nov08; Annette Cary; Source: Hermiston Herald) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20081106_5360.php

U.S. boosts funding for last two CW disposal sites
“The U.S. Defense Department has received its highest-ever budget for preparing two chemical weapons disposal sites that hold the key to meeting the congressional demand to eliminate the entire U.S. stockpile by 2017. The $427.5 million provided to the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program for fiscal 2009 is a step in the right direction toward providing the money that will be needed to meet the deadline, one longtime observer said.” (Global Security Newswire; 06Nov08; Chris Schneidmiller)

Bethesda [MD] terror [gas and bomb] attack drill tests emergency resources
“Hundreds of emergency personnel descended on the National Naval Medical Center last week trying to save 76 victims of a [mock] terrorist attack. […] The Bethesda Hospital’s Emergency Preparedness Drill on Oct. 30 […] simulated a Sarin gas and bomb attack outside
Navy Med's Uniformed Services University [USU] to test the readiness of local, federal and military personnel […]. After a truck loaded with Sarin nerve gas crashed into USU students waiting at a bus stop, the first responders to the scene, two firemen and two policemen, were killed when an improvised explosive device thrown out of the truck just before it crashed was detonated nearby. […] A bit of the real world intruded into the exercise when military helicopters intended to simulate a medical evacuation of victims to NIH and Suburban Hospital were called back by the Marines.”
(Bethesda Gazette, 05Nov08; Andrew Ujifusa) http://www.gazette.net/stories/11052008/bethnew224745_32472.shtml

Irish woman sentenced for hiring ricin killer
“A 45-year-old Irish woman was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for a 2006 plot to kill her partner and the man’s two sons, the Irish News reported. Sharon Collins intended to inherit her wealthy partner’s fortune until Essam Eid, the would-be contract killer, exposed the plot by attempting to blackmail one of the targets, the News reported. Hours after Eid was jailed, ricin was discovered inside a contact lens container in his cell. He was later convicted on extortion charges and sentenced to six years in prison.” (Global Security Newswire; 05Nov08; Source: Irish News) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20081105_8700.php

Exercise planned to prepare for radioactive attack [Israel]
“Next year,
civil defense units will carry out its first exercise for dealing with a radioactive attack on civilians as part of the defense establishment's preparations for a radiological terror attack, security officials said. However, a senior defense official told Haaretz [Magazine] that there is no specific intelligence indicating that terror organizations intend to carry out such an attack. ‘There is no concrete threat of a radiological attack,’ he said. Nevertheless, since terror groups are interested in obtaining radioactive materials and the scenario is considered reasonable, the defense establishment must prepare for it,’ the official added. […] Despite precautions, radioactive materials are relatively easy to obtain due to their widespread use in medicine and industry. However, only some of these materials are suitable for attacks, depending on the radiation level. […] The planned exercise will simulate a radiological terror attack. It will include forces on the ground, hospitals and the Home Front.” (Haaretz; 07Nov08; Amos Harel) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035187.html

D.C. hospital installs radiation detectors
“The largest private hospital in the nation's capital on Tuesday began installing sophisticated new radiation detectors in an effort to better prepare for a terrorist attack with a radiological ‘dirty bomb.’ The sensors, which will be placed out of public view at the 926-bed Washington Hospital Center, will immediately let doctors, nurses and other hospital staff know if someone contaminated with dangerous radiation enters the emergency room or other areas of the hospital. The goal is to prevent victims of an attack from compounding the disaster by contaminating the hospitals and emergency workers who are there to treat them.” (Red Orbit; 05Nov08; Mimi Hall) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1597366/dc_hospital_installs_radiation_detectors/#

U.S. offers Russia fresh proposals on US missile defense plan
“The United States has given Russia fresh proposals to try to ease its concerns over U.S. missile shield plans and hopes the row can still be resolved, US negotiator John Rood said Thursday. The United States has also submitted to Russia its proposal for a ‘legally binding treaty’ to replace the
Cold War-era Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) when it expires in December 2009, Rood said. […] Rood planned to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Ryabkov in the coming weeks, probably in Moscow, to discuss the proposals as well as other issues, including cooperation on avoiding nuclear terrorism.” (Agence-France Presse; 07Nov08) http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jGomnoFccat7TOTj9dEAXG5lU_GA

Report warns of ‘future
military failure’
“The Defense Science Board released on Tuesday a sobering report that called for the incoming Obama administration to focus on a small but complex set of defense issues, with protection of the country against weapons of mass destruction as the top priority of the new secretary of defense. Weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and biological armaments, imperil both the safety of the United States and its
military forces, according to the report, ‘Defense Imperatives for New Administration.’ The board urged the new defense leadership ‘to do everything possible to prevent the worst people from acquiring and using the worst weapons.’ This must include a strongly stated and unambiguous policy of retaliation to punish any nation or group that launches a weapon of mass destruction attack against the United States, according to the report, whose lead author is Craig Fields, chairman of the Defense Science Board and former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the late 1980s.” (Global Security Newswire; 06Nov08; Bob Brewin) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20081106_7308.php

Beijing spurns U.S. effort to prepare in event of Korean leader's demise
“The Chinese government has largely rebuffed Bush administration attempts to discuss contingency planning should North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il die or be unable to rule, according to current and former U.S. officials. […] U.S. officials worry a messy power shift in North Korea could send hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing over its borders and leave Pyongyang's nuclear and biological weapons unsecured. In the worst-case scenario, the Chinese and American militaries might be on opposing sides of efforts to stabilize North Korea.” (Wall Street Journal; 07Nov08; Jay Solomon & Jason Leow) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122599607084505499.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Multi-force takes part in EU anti-terror exercise in France
“A multi-force Portuguese team is participating in an EU anti-terrorist exercise in southern France this week to test response to simulated attacks with chemical and biological weapons. The 17-member Portuguese team has been drawn from the National Authority of
civil Defence (ANPC), the Air Force and the National Institute of Emergency Medicine (INEM), the group’s chief, ANPC commander José Codeco, told Lusa [News]. Dubbed EU Terror Attack, the exercise, which involves the participation of other EU member countries, started on Wednesday and ends this weekend in the French cities of Toulon and Canjeurs.” (Portugal News Online; 07Nov08; Source:

Anthrax scare shuts down busy El Cerrito (
San Francisco) street
“A bucket containing a white powder labeled anthrax was found in the basement of an El Cerrito business Thursday, triggering a two-hour shutdown of a portion of one of the city's busiest thoroughfares. The substance was determined not to be hazardous. The incident began when the owner of a Farmers Insurance office at 11457 San Pablo Ave., who was cleaning the basement, found a gallon pail with four smaller containers inside labeled anthrax.”(
San Francisco Chronicle; 07Nov08; Elizabeth Fernandez)

Milwaukee [WI] paper receives packet labeled ‘anthrax’
“The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says it has received a package that appears to be part of an anthrax hoax. A worker discovered a packet Wednesday morning labeled ‘anthrax’ taped to a CD inside a small padded envelope. The paper's security director, Ed Majkowski, says the packet appears to be a sugar packet. Security workers sealed it in a hazardous-materials box and put it in a locked area. The newspaper's offices remained open as investigators from the Postal Inspectors office, FBI and
Milwaukee Police Department examined the package. A similar package was delivered to the Indianapolis Star on Monday. The return address and writing tied it to Marc Keyser, a 66-year-old who was charged last week with three counts of sending anthrax hoaxes.” (Star Tribune; 05Nov08; Source: Milwaukee Journal) http://www.startribune.com/local/33907609.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU7EaDiaMDCiUZ

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies releases
‘Trafficking Networks for Chemical Weapons Precursors,’ by Jonathan Tucker. The study, available in PDF format at http://www.cns.miis.edu/, analyzes new information on the illicit 1980s sale of chemical-weapons materials to Iran and Iraq, the operation of international trafficking networks, and practical steps for countering them.

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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