War on Terrorism

Monday, January 26, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 26, 2009

[Opinion: Dewaal]: close gaps in FDA’s oversight
“Since the fall, six consumers have died and nearly 500 have been sickened in a nationwide outbreak linked to peanut butter […]. Outbreaks […] have become an all-too-common part of our nation’s diet […]. Pet food containing melamine […] caused the deaths of thousands of pets. That episode clearly illustrated the vulnerability of our food supply to bioterrorism. […] Yet, after each food-safety scare, consumers are stunned to find new gaps in FDA’s programs […] about 75 [people] a day prematurely perish each year because of unsafe food. […] Improving state and local surveillance is essential for identifying when sporadic illness reports are part of a nationwide outbreak.” (Albany Times Union; 26Jan09; Caroline Smith Dewaal) http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=763594&category=OPINION

[Opinion] O’Hanlon: Homeland Security agenda
“Hospitals are not ready to treat victims of chemical or biological attack for the most part. While more antidote has been procured for some specific biological threats, methods for developing, producing, stockpiling and above all distributing vaccines against biological agents are wanting to date. The nation's food supply is not particularly well secured.
Biological weapons detectors are being developed, but they would usually pick up an agent only four hours after dispersal - and as of now even this capability is still in the development and testing stage.” (Washington Times; 26Jan09; Michael O’Hanlon) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/26/homeland-security-agenda/

Building a [bio]defensive strategy
“Fort Detrick Army Base [MD] has a fence to keep civilians out. Inside the base, another fence surrounds the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center. Inside this Department of Homeland Security lab, safety and security systems; supplies of air, water and power; blistering-hot waste incinerators; and much more have one, two or sometimes three or more backups to protect secrets as well as the scientists who will work with deadly biological agents. The high-security center, […] scheduled to open in May, will be used by intelligence agencies and will house a staff of 150.” (Columbus Dispatch; 26Jan09; Kevin Mayhood)

University of Buffalo [NY] to test biological agent [anthrax] detection system
“The University of Buffalo will soon begin testing an airborne anthrax monitor developed by Universal Detection Technology. […] ‘The testing at the University of Buffalo will give us the opportunity to test the BSM-2000 [monitor] at a building’s two most vulnerable areas to a bioterror attack: the mail room and the HVAC [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] system,’ said Mr. Jacques Tizabi, UDT's chief executive officer. […] The system is capable of detecting abnormal levels of bacterial spores in the air and the technology has been featured in several peer reviewed scientific journals and has been evaluated by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).” (Government Technology; 23Jan09) http://www.govtech.com/gt/594916?topic=117680

[U.K.] Ministry of Defence wastes more than £300m of taxpayers' money
“Under the heading ‘Losses and Special Payment’ in the thick volume of MoD accounts for the financial year ending in 2008 a series of book-keeping bungles, contract wrangles and payroll errors have emerged. At a time when money is needed to fund front-line equipment and poor accommodation, the MoD wasted £26 million after it decided to ‘scale back’ a contract for a biological warfare detection system. The Government's decision to commit to the Oslo Declaration on banning cluster bombs meant that £112 million was lost on equipment and contracts.” (Telegraph; 26Jan09; Thomas Harding) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/4346744/Ministry-of-Defence-wastes-more-than-300m-of-taxpayers-money-through-errors.html

China urges Japan: Fulfill pledge to destroy abandoned WWII chemical

“China on Friday urged Japan to abide by a commitment to destroy chemical weapons abandoned in China during World War II. […] In 1999, the two countries signed the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons and […] Japan promised to properly handle the related problems. […] However, the number of weapons removed, and the time spent doing so, has not been publicized. According to Chinese data, Japan abandoned at least 2 million tons of chemical weapons at about 40 sites […].” (China View; 23Jan09) http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-01/23/content_10708995.htm

[Rock] County [WI] better prepared with hazmat team
“[…] Rock County hazardous materials response team […] will celebrate its fourth anniversary in March. ‘It’s like an insurance policy you pay for, thinking it’s a waste until you need it,’ said Jim Jensen, deputy chief at the Janesville Fire Department. ‘We were vulnerable before, when we had a couple suspicious powder calls. Thankfully, they were not real terrorism incidents,’ he said. […] Since its inception March 19, 2005, the team has responded to 13 incidents. ‘I hope we never have to use the team to respond to a terrorism incident. But if we do, we are better prepared today than 10 years ago,’ Jensen said.” (Janesville Gazette; 25Jan09; Shelly Birkelo) http://gazettextra.com/news/2009/jan/25/county-better-prepared-hazmat-team/

DHS [Department of Homeland Security] awards nuke research deal to Dynasil [NJ]
“The Homeland Security Department has awarded Dynasil Corp. of America a research contract for the development of nuclear radiation detection technologies. New Jersey-based Dynasil says its Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc. [RMD] subsidiary was awarded the contract from the Homeland Security Department's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. Under the more than $5.6 million award, RMD will research, along with partners Raytheon and the University of Michigan, and develop a new high-performance dirty-bomb detection technology made from semiconductor crystals.” (United Press International; 23Jan09) http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2009/01/23/DHS_awards_nuke_research_deal_to_Dynasil/UPI-43331232728802/

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts [U.K.]
“An [Ayrshire, Scotland] office was sealed off in an anthrax scare - caused by a box of doughnuts. It happened after sugar spilled from the box on to a letter. Staff at a debt collection agency were worried the white powder might be suspicious. And that turned to panic after a woman who had handled the powder began to bleed from the nose. The office block was sealed off for six hours to let police check the building for anthrax - leaving 50 terrified workers trapped inside. They were finally given the all-clear at 7pm.” (The Daily Record; 24Jan09; Billy Paterson) http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2009/01/24/anthrax-alert-at-debt-collectors-caused-by-box-of-doughnuts-86908-21065861/

CNS ChemBio-WMD 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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