War on Terrorism

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 18, 2009

United States Navy selects the Previstar Continual Preparedness Solution [to network response activities]
“The United States Navy has officially designated the Previstar Continual Preparedness System (CPS) as the Navy Emergency Management Incident Management System (Navy EM-IMS). […] The system […] will be used by Navy Emergency Management personnel for all phases of an All Hazards approach to emergency. […] Organizations have used Previstar's products to develop exercise and emergency plans, prepare for bioterrorism attacks, recover from hurricanes, and enhance nursing home preparedness. Web-based and easy-to-use, these integrated products enhance unified planning, situational awareness, strategic decision support, and tactical execution for users located horizontally and vertically across organizational boundaries.” (Centre Daily Times; 17Feb09; Source: Previstar press release) http://www.centredaily.com/business/technology/story/1123141.html

[University of Texas, Galveston] Scientists uncover secrets of potential bioterror virus [which causes Rift Valley fever]

“Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a key tactic that the Rift Valley fever virus uses to disarm the defenses of infected cells.The mosquito-borne African virus causes fever in humans, inflicting liver damage, blindness and even death on a small percentage of the people it infects. Rift Valley fever also afflicts cattle, goats and sheep, resulting in a nearly 100 percent abortion rate in these animals. Its outbreaks periodically cause economic devastation in parts of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, and bioterrorism experts warn that its introduction to the United States would cripple the North American beef industry.” (Examiner; 17Feb09; Trina Hoaks) http://www.examiner.com/x-2430-Science-Examiner~y2009m2d17-Scientists-uncover-secrets-of-potential-bioterror-virus

Universal Detection Technology working with the US Department of Commerce to market its anthrax [sic] detection equipment in Iraq.
“Universal Detection Technology, a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies to protect people from bioterrorism and other infectious health threats and provider of counter-terrorism consulting and training services, announced today that through its deal with US Department of Commerce's Commercial Service, it is promoting the Company's handheld assays, used for detection of up to five bioterrorism agents. […] Testing of the kits by the U.S. DOD as well as the United Kingdom military show that the kits demonstrate no cross-reactivity with near neighbor species and no false positives with commonly encountered ‘white powders.’ The kits are designed to test for anthrax [sic], botulinum toxin, Ricin, plague (Y.
Pestis) and SEBs [staphylococcal enterotoxin B] in as little as 3 minutes.” (MSNBC; 17Feb09; Source: Universal Detection Technology press

City of Lubbock [TX] introducing special needs registry [for bioterrorism response]
“Public Health Preparedness, a division of the City of Lubbock Health Department, and the Special Needs Alliance are introducing the Special Needs Registry to better serve the special needs population of Lubbock County. The Special Needs Registry is a free voluntary program that was created to provide assistance to people with special needs during times of emergency such as during a natural disaster or terrorist incident. The information collected is important to first responder efforts and assists the Fire and Police Department during search and rescue operations. It may also be used in the event of a bioterrorism attack when people may require special medications.” (KBCD News; 16Feb09)

[NC] study raises hopes of anthrax [sic] vaccine pill
“An oral vaccine packed into bacteria found in dairy products like milk and cheese protected mice from the anthrax bacteria [sic], suggesting a pill could replace injections for humans, researchers said on Monday.‘Normally, you can't eat vaccines because the digestive process in the stomach destroys them, so vaccines are administered by needle,’ Todd Klaenhammer, a researcher at North Carolina State University in the United States who co-led the study, said in a statement. ‘Using 'food grade'lactic acid bacteria as a vehicle provides a safe way of getting the vaccine into the small intestine without losing any of the drug's efficacy,’ he said. The study, which included scientists from the U.S. Army Medical Research of Infectious Diseases, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” (Reuters; 16Feb09)

Chemical romance - Syria's unconventional affair develops
“Iraq became the 186th country to become a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention on 14 January 2009. This may assuage regional concerns over unconventional weapons, but developments elsewhere in the Middle East suggest prevention of chemical weapons development is failing. Satellite images from several commercial sources gathered from 2005 to 2008 have shed light on activity at the chemical weapons facility identified as Al Safir in northwest Syria. Imagery obtained by Digital Globe's WorldView-1 satellite indicates that the site contains not only a number of the defining features of a chemical weapons facility, but that significant levels of construction have taken place at the facility's production plant and adjacent missile base.” (Jane’s Information Group; 17Feb09; Bhupendra

Virginia-Maryland veterinary college works to protect people from nerve gas
“A veterinary pharmaco-toxicologist in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech is leading a team that has been awarded almost $1 million from the National Institutes of Health to explore the development of a nanotechnology-based approach for protecting people from the deadly effects of nerve gases like Sarin, VX, and others that can be used as agents of terror. Marion Ehrich, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology and co-director of the Laboratory for Neurotoxicity Studies, will spend three years developing novel methods for delivering chemical antidotes that can mitigate the devastating effect of organophosphate-based neurotoxicants.” (Virginia Tech; 17Feb09) http://www.wsls.com/sls/lifestyles/health_med_fit/article/virginia-maryland_veterinary_college_works_to_protect_people_from_nerve_gas/28009/

Obama moving on nuclear arms control pledges, expert [Joseph Cirincione] says
“U.S. President Barack Obama is converting his campaign promises on nuclear nonproliferation into policy and is beginning to move to meet those pledges, one nonproliferation expert said yesterday. […] Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund […] acknowledged that he had served as a nonproliferation adviser to the Obama campaign. […] ‘[President Obama] came into office with the most comprehensive, integrated, detailed nuclear policy of any candidate ever to assume the presidency,’ [Cirincione] said during a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Among the key points of the platform were the prevention of nuclear terrorism; negotiation of significant cuts in the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia; taking all U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger status, which enables them to be fired within 15 minutes; ratification of the treaty banning all nuclear test blasts; and a halt to development and production of new nuclear weapons. ‘Finally, he agreed to campaign toward the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons,’ Cirincione said.” (Global Security Newswire; 17Feb09; Chris Schneidmiller) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/ts_20090217_6185.php

A unique [nuclear disarmament] opportunity [statement by Norway’s Deputy Minister of Defense]
“We are at a pivotal time for international [nuclear] disarmament. In the last weeks and months, we have seen a remarkable trend towards a renewed focus on international cooperation in general, and disarmament in particular. […] First, we have President Obama’s expressed commitment to seek multilateral solutions to common threats and challenges. […] This emphasis was forcefully reconfirmed by vice president Joe Biden at the Security Conference in Munich ten days ago, which I myself attended. […] The most efficient way to combat the spectre of nuclear terrorism would be the full implementation of an effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), combined with a CTBT with robust verification mechanisms, and irreversible, verifiable disarmament. A non-discriminatory, verifiable FMCT will bolster both the disarmament and non-proliferation pillars of the NPT.” (Defence Professionals; 17Feb09;
Source: Conference on Disarmament, Geneva) http://www.defpro.com/news/details/5633/

[Senator Joe] Lieberman [I-CT] joins [Senate] anti-terrorist caucus
“Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman [I-CT] has joined a newly-formed ‘Senate Caucus on WMD Terrorism’ that will focus on ways for the government to respond to the potential threat of weapons of mass destruction. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Lieberman plans to seek input from the Caucus as he develops legislation to implement recommendations made last year in the Graham-Talent WMD Commission report. ‘Senator Lieberman has a longstanding interest in WMD attacks on the homeland, on U.S. assets abroad, and on how the U.S. is working to prevent such attacks,’ said Leslie Phillips, a committee spokeswoman for Lieberman. Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA., and Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, last week announced the formation of the bipartisan caucus to focus on the serious threat posed by terrorist acts employing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.” (Connecticut Post; 17Feb09; Peter Urban)

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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