War on Terrorism

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 28, 2009

Al-Qa’idah Maghreb in Algeria denies testing biological weapons
“Algerian Intelligence reports noting that the Al-Qa’idah tested a biological weapon that caused the death of scores of its members were denied yesterday by Al-Qa’idah in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb [AQLIM], saying the reports were fabricated and baseless. […] Leaked reports have noted that the death of some of the Salafi organization members was a consequence of the plague disease. Meanwhile, The Washington Times, according to what it said was US intelligence information, noted that the death was caused by a chemical or biological weapon manufactured in the mountains. This was ruled out by observers on the basis that the organization always uses deception methods to win foreign support.” (Individual.com; 26Jan09; Source: BBC Monitoring)

Biotechnical research on the most deadly pathogens: challenges for risk governance and safety management [Academic paper]
“Biotechnological research on the deadliest pathogens has rapidly grown into a vast enterprise in the United States. […] This paper describes this enterprise, defines several risk scenarios unrelated to terrorism which threaten lab workers and the public with lethal and contagious pathogenic disease, and evaluates the official policy framework for decision-making with regard to preventing and responding to the risk scenarios. It finds that the [security] framework […] fails to sufficiently address prevention of lab mishaps, accidental releases, and other incidents […]. Recommendations are made regarding these inadequacies of the federal framework [to] urge application of lessons learned […] where increasing attention is being given to safety culture initiatives.” (Safety Science Journal; December 2008; Professor Michael Baram, Boston University) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2008.10.010

Feds: company at heart of salmonella probe knew plant was contaminated
“The Georgia peanut butter processing plant at the heart of a nationwide salmonella outbreak investigation shipped products in 2007 and 2008 after internal testing turned up positive for bacterial contamination, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. […] Stephen Sundlof, of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said his agency had to use special federal powers granted under the Bioterrorism Act to gain full access to company records. The law was enacted in response to the 9/11 terror attacks. […] [He] would not say whether Peanut Corp.’s actions were
criminal.” (All Headline News; 28Jan09; David Goodhue)

[Defense Secretary Robert] Gates sees ‘hard choices’ on [weapons] spending [and disposal of chemical weapons]
“Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Obama administration must make ‘hard choices’ on weapons spending that could include targeting specific programs, according to a draft of his testimony today to the Senate Armed Services Committee. […] ‘Five programs account for half of total cost growth in weapons spending,’ Gates said. These programs are Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; Boeing Co.’s Future Combat Systems; Virginia Class attack submarines built by General Dynamics Corp.
and Northrop Grumman Corp.; the Pentagon’s primary satellite-launch program, a joint effort of Lockheed and Boeing; and a program to destroy the US stockpile of chemical weapons which includes a number of defense contractors.” (Boston Globe; 27Jan09; Source: Bloomberg News) http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2009/01/27/gates_sees_hard_choices_on_spending/

Obama administration to review disputed radiological cleanup guide
“The Obama administration plans to re-evaluate a controversial Environmental Protection Agency draft guide that could significantly relax requirements for decontaminating sites affected by radiological incidents such as a ‘dirty bomb’ attack […]. After the review, the agency would have the option of publishing the document in the Federal Register for public feedback. […] Some activists also expressed concern that even a published draft of the document could help federal agencies and private firms make a case for loosening radiological decontamination requirements at Energy Department nuclear sites and elsewhere.” (Global Security Newswire; 28Jan08; Source: Risk Policy Report, Douglas Guarino) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090128_9515.php

G8 cash not enough for [WMD] arms disposal, says Russia
“Russia said on Wednesday it might have to slow down destruction of its huge Soviet-era stocks of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction because its G8 partners were not providing enough funds to carry out the work. The Group of Eight industrialized nations clinched a $20 billion deal in 2002 to help Russia get rid of chemical, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and stop them falling into the wrong hands. […] ‘The problem is, while Russia meets its obligations in full, the rest of the G8 nations which made this commitment up to now have met these obligations by 40-45 percent,’ said Andrei Bokarev, a senior finance ministry official and one of Russia's G8 point men.” (Reuters, 28Jan09)

Obama factor already affecting [Canadian] foreign policy [on WMD]
“Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Wilson listed […] nuclear proliferation […] as among the Conservative government’s top priorities. […] Canada’s foreign policy is being looked upon as a pre-emptive move to ensure [Canadian Prime Minister] Mr. Harper’s politics better reflect those of Mr. Obama. […] On Jan. 22, two days after Mr. Obama’s inauguration, the government issued a press release stating Canada would be contributing $10 million ‘toward U.S. efforts to detect and secure dangerous nuclear and radiological materials in Russia and Ukraine.’ […] It’s perhaps no surprise that one of Mr. Obama’s major priorities is eliminating nuclear terrorism and tracking nuclear material.” (Embassy Magazine; 28Jan09; Michelle Collins)

Inmate convicted of anthrax threat [TN]
“A federal prison inmate in Tennessee has been convicted of sending a threat to a federal judge -- a letter with white powder that proved to be Sweet ‘N’ Low. Marshall DeWayne Williams, 46, faces up to 10 years more in prison for the hoax, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported. […] Williams signed his name to a letter to U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen, claiming the powder was ‘powerful crystal anthrax.’ He reportedly told his mother after he sent the letter that it was an effort to draw attention to his bid to be paroled from the federal prison in Memphis.”(United Press International; 27Jan09)

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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