War on Terrorism

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- December 17, 2008

F.D.A. Commissioner and other top health officials plan to step down
“The Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, said Tuesday that he would resign on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, part of a parade of expected departures at the nation’s crucial public health agencies. Leaders of these agencies have sometimes straddled administrations, but the Obama administration is expected to make a clean sweep in part because of repeated assertions that the Bush administration allowed politics to play an unusually forceful role in science policy […] Dr. Elias Zerhouni has already left his post as director of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a November e-mail message to her staff that she expects to leave ‘after the administration changes.’ And Dr. John E. Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute, is expected to surrender his leadership job, although he may remain at the institute.” (New York Times; 16Dec08; Gardiner Harris) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/health/17FDA.html?ref=us

[Indian] Gov't to set up six more bird flu testing labs
“As part of measures to check bird flu, the Centre will set up six more laboratories in different parts of the country to detect the avian influenza virus, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday. […] While bird flu outbreak was often being reported from various parts of the country, there is only one laboratory located at Bhopal for detecting the virus in samples. […] The Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Bill, 2005 passed by the House, is aimed at providing a uniform legislation throughout the country to monitor and control infectious animal diseases.” (Times of India; 16Dec08) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Govt_to_set_up_six_more_bird_flu_testing_labs_/articleshow/3847564.cms

Veolia [Environmental Services in Port Arthur,
Texas] wraps it up
[VX byproduct hydrolosate incineration] “A year and a half ago, the first shipments of deactivated VX nerve agent, known as hydrolosate, arrived at Veolia Environmental Services to be incinerated in compliance with international treaties mandating the destruction of the nation’s chemical weapons arsenal. This past week, the final shipment — 2 million gallons or so — was destroyed. The program was part of a $49 million contract entered into between Port Arthur’s Veolia and the U.S.
Army’s Chemical Materials Agency.” (Texas Examiner; 15Dec08; Jerry Jordan)

Years later, Gulf [War, 1991] ills linger
“For more than a decade, federal officials have denied that sick veterans of the
Gulf War share a distinct illness. But a 452-page federal report by an independent committee of scientists and veterans, released last month by the Boston University School of Public Health, found that at least 174,000 veterans, or 1 in 4 people deployed by the US military to the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991, have Gulf War illness, manifesting in a range of symptoms, probably caused by pesticide exposure and an experimental drug that hundreds of thousands were ordered to take as a precaution against chemical attack. The drug, pyridostigmine bromide, and certain pesticides […] affect the central nervous system, the report found, and are associated with memory and focus problems, persistent headaches, respiratory and digestion problems, and ‘widespread pain.’ The report concludes that there are no effective treatments […].” (Boston Globe; 15Dec08; Bina Venkataraman) http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/12/15/years_later_gulf_ills_linger/

Rule OK’s chemical tankers through cities
“Federal security officials have long considered railroad tankers full of such chemicals as chlorine or anhydrous ammonia to be potential weapons of mass destruction. If attacked by a terrorist or disturbed individual in the middle of a city they could cause thousands of deaths. The finalization of the rail routing rule is one of the latest ‘midnight rule changes’ pushed through by the outgoing administration […] the regulation leaves the decision of which route to take with deadly chemicals primarily in the hands of the railroads. Critics contend that this leaves too many communities vulnerable to a serious security threat and that state, local, and federal officials should have more input to ensure the chemicals are transported along the shortest, safest, and most secure routes.” (Christian Science Monitor; 15Dec08; Alexandra Marks) http://features.csmonitor.com/politics/2008/12/15/rule-ok’s-chemical-tankers-through-cities/

US-Jordan agreement seeks to prevent smuggling of nuclear, radioactive material
“The United States and Jordan on Tuesday agreed to begin a cooperative effort to detect, deter and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. […] The agreement provides a foundation for the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to cooperate with the JNRC and other government agencies, in order to install radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure at the Port of Aqaba and selected land border crossings. In addition, the NNSA will train Jordanian officials on the use of such equipment and provide maintenance services for a specified period, the statement said.” (Mid-East North Africa Financial Network; 17Dec08)

Quarantined employee ‘livid’ after Friday's anthrax scare [Carson City,
“The 15 employees quarantined in Friday's anthrax scare in Carson City are now questioning the response of the officials to the incident and why they were left in the dark following final test results. […] Not long after her arrival, the News 4 reporter was taken into custody when officials told her she wandered to [sic] close to the contaminated area. It was an area that she says, gave no indication of a threat. […] An anonymous mailroom employee says she was never notified when officials received word that the powder that had her isolated in the cold for more than seven hours was actually cooking flour. […] Another anthrax scare that left a business in Carson City on edge Monday morning turned out to be a hoax after onsite testing revealed the suspicious substance was actually crushed aspirin.”
(News 4, Carson City; 15Dec08; Sami Davies)

Washington latest state to get suspicious powder
“A suspicious white powder that was sent in a letter to Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire […] has been declared harmless. State Patrol Sgt. Ted DeHart says the powder was tested Monday. […] Two people were decontaminated as a precaution. Mailings with powders found to be harmless have been received at governors' offices in 39 states and two U.S. territories since last week.” (Associated Press; 16Dec08) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5giqzbHkY5aUtwYUxwihgAvCtsZLwD953G4SG0

Harmless white powder mailed to US embassies [throughout Europe]
“Eight U.S. embassies in Europe have received suspicious letters of white powder, the FBI said Tuesday in what the agency called a hoax. […] which also contain an unspecified note, FBI spokesman Rich Kolko said. […] ‘The FBI has contacted the governors' offices and State Department to be on the lookout for additional letters,’ Kolko said.” (Associated Press; 16Dec08) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hRXPAI74ls3KjW2x2uc_l-UtBfhwD9543OVG0

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: