War on Terrorism

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- December 10, 2008

Cutbacks affecting U.S. health preparedness: report
“Previous progress made in preparing to deal with disease outbreaks, natural disasters and bioterrorism in the United States is being threatened by the economic crisis and budget cuts, a new report contends. The sixth annual ‘Ready or Not?’ report, released Tuesday by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also found that major gaps remain in many critical areas of emergency preparedness, including food safety and rapid disease detection, MarketWatch reported. Ten key indicators were used to score states on their health preparedness. […] Twenty-four states and D.C. don't have the capacity to deliver and receive lab specimens, such as suspected bioterror agents or new disease outbreak samples, on a 24/7 basis, the report added.” (U.S. News & World Report; 10Dec08; Source: MarketWatch) http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2008/12/10/health-highlights-dec-10--2008.html

Chemical waste to be sent to
“Approximately 8,000 gallons of GB (Sarin) neutralized waste will be sent from the Blue Grass Army Depot [Kentucky] to Port Arthur, Texas, in late January or February following a recent federal ruling in favor of the Army. ‘The situation in Kentucky is that there are leaking containers of GB (Sarin) agent contaminated liquid that must be destroyed immediately and there is no capacity to deal with the resultant liquids at this site,’ said Craig Williams, director of the Berea-based Chemical Weapons Working Group. The coalition is focused on safe elimination of the nation’s chemical weapons stockpiles that fought successfully to prevent chemical agent VX hydrolysate from being shipped to Ohio and New Jersey from an Army facility in Indiana. […] [The] disposal plant [in Texas] will include a separate treatment capability to handle the neutralized materials from their stores of GB, VX and Mustard agent when operations begin.” (Richmond Register; 09Dec08) http://www.richmondregister.com/localnews/local_story_344082221.html

Fire dept raises elite force to combat terror attacks [India]
“The terror attack in Mumbai has prompted the state government to make security arrangements for dealing with a similar situation. The state
fire department is raising a 180-member strong Search and Rescue Team (SRT), which will be pressed into service in case of a terror attack such as a shooting spree, a bomb blast or unleashing poisonous gas for mass annihilation […], P S Katiresan, Principal Secretary, fire department told The Indian Express. ‘The force will be prepared to deal not just with terror attacks but also situations like a biological warfare or even an ordinary building collapse,’ the official said.” (The Indian Express; 10Dec08; Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay) http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Fire-dept-raises-elite-force-to-combat-terror-attacks/396537/

[International Herald Tribune columnist] Roger Cohen: A U.S.-Iranian conversation [about chemical weapons]
“The United States and Iran are talking to each other about the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. […] The discussions […] are proceeding within the framework of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. […] Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, an Iranian deputy foreign minister, […] said: ‘As the last victim of chemical weapons, the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly believes that promoting international peace and security is subject to the realization of a world free from the threat and existence of weapons of mass destruction.’ […] The Middle East has been the one area where the OPCW has had limited success precisely because of mistrust over weapons of mass destruction. Israel, Egypt and Syria have not joined the treaty.”
(International Herald Tribune; 10Dec08; Roger Cohen) http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/10/opinion/edcohen.php

OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] Director-General Visits the Geneva Centre for Security Policy
“On 9 December 2008 the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, visited the Geneva Centre for Security Policy to address participants in the International Training Course in Security Policy on ‘The Chemical Weapons Convention: A Case of Effective Multilateralism.’ […] In his address, the Director-General outlined the role of the States Parties, which is based on equal rights and obligations. He noted that possessor States are destroying their declared stockpiles of chemical weapons according to the stipulated deadlines of the Convention, and underscored that States Parties are required to ensure that with their jurisdiction chemistry is only used for peaceful purposes. Director-General Pfirter also provided details on the commitment of States Parties to provide assistance in the event any other State Party is threatened or attacked with chemical weapons.” (OPCW website; 09Dec08) http://www.opcw.org/news/news/article/opcw-director-general-visits-the-geneva-centre-for-security-policy/

National Guard [FL] takes part in
terrorism drill
“Members of the National Guard spent the Tuesday doing a major drill to prepare for a possible terrorist attack. The drill was part of a two-day conference on national preparedness put on by Florida Tech. Members of the guard said the recent terror attacks in Mumbai, India show they need to be ready for any possible attack in America.
The attack simulated the explosion of a dirty bomb.” (Central Florida News; 10Dec08) http://www.cfnews13.com/News/Local/2008/12/9/national_guard_takes_part_in_terrorism_drill.html

Obama to face nuclear weapons decision
“The Bush administration wants to build the first U.S. nuclear warheads since the
Cold War, but Congress demanded the decision wait until an assessment of U.S. nuclear weapons is completed in 2009, USA Today reported Tuesday. The outcome will determine whether eight nuclear research and manufacturing facilities nationwide focus on maintaining existing warheads or gear up for new production, the newspaper said. ‘This is not just a decision about the future of U.S. nuclear weapons, but about how the United States will address the challenges of ... nuclear terrorism, nuclear proliferation and our entire 21st-century nuclear strategy,’ said Clark Murdock, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The challenges of nuclear warhead production have percolated for some time, Murdoch said, ‘and the Obama administration is going to have to deal with them.’” (United Press International; 09Dec08) http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/12/09/UPI_NewsTrack_TopNews/UPI-58301228842223/

[Sarah] Palin, other U.S. governors [were] sent suspicious powder: FBI
“Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, and seven other U.S. governors have received letters with a suspicious white powder, according to the FBI. Since Monday, ‘at least eight letters containing a suspicious white powder have been received by the offices of governors around the country,’ Robert Casey, special agent in charge for the FBI in Dallas, […]. ‘The white powder substance has been field screened and the tests have met with negative results. The white powder substance has been forwarded to local laboratories for further testing,’ the statement said. The letters, all postmarked from Dallas,
Texas, were sent to governors' offices in Rhode Island, Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri as well as Alaska, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.” (Agence France-Presse; 10Dec08) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gH6bcWz0kF42BScx1TmeGCt_kzIQ

Police: powder sent to Hagerstown [MD] law office of former judge brought back memories of bombing
“An envelope containing white powder was delivered to the downtown Hagerstown law office of attorney John Corderman, a former judge who was injured in a bombing incident nearly 20 years ago, Lt. Mike King said Wednesday. King said the powder was tested and came up negative for anthrax and was found to be harmless. […] King said Police believe the powder was sent to Corderman by an inmate at North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland, Md.” (The Herald Mail; 10Dec08; Dan Dearth) http://www.herald-mail.com/?cmd=displaystory&story_id=211959&format=html

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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