War on Terrorism

Monday, February 23, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News-February 23, 2009

Training exercises to test Arlington’s ability to handle emergencies at new Cowboys stadium [TX]
“A catastrophe is about to strike at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. It could be natural or man-made — officials haven’t decided yet. What matters is how emergency crews respond. […] The City Council approved a plan this month to hire the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center to develop the exercises and draft an evaluation report afterward. […] In 2005, the center oversaw an exercise that tested seven North Texas counties’ ability to respond to a bioterrorism attack.” (Star-Telegram; 22Feb09; Kate Gorman) http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1218567.html

Working to prevent agricultural disaster in the new century
Finding new ways to deter both natural and terroristic threats to U.S. crops is a way of life for plant pathologist Bill Schneider. […] His third area of responsibility lies in pathogen diagnostics. Fort Detrick [MD] is the hub for bioterrorism research — both human and plant. […] The researchers investigating biologic threats to humans are far more heavily funded than their counterparts working on crop protection. […] ‘If we’re going to, as a country, spend this kind of money to prevent somebody from using anthrax [sic] as a weapon, we can use those same technologies to prevent somebody from introducing wheat rust as a weapon.’ He says this may be one of the best things to come out of the 2001 terrorist attacks. ‘We spent a ton of money, but at least we got organized on the bioterrorism end of things,’ he says. (AgWeek; 23Feb09; Matt Bewley)

Expecting the unexpected [biological attacks]
“The 72nd Air Base Wing’s Exercise Program Office wants to ensure Tinker [Air Force base, OK] Airmen are prepared for the hectic, challenging environment they could face. Over the past nine days, hundreds of Airmen participated in […] a three-part exercise that trains Airmen in threatening situations. […] The third [part of the exercise] was a disease containment exercise where installation personnel were tested on their ability to respond and protect people from a biological attack. […] Together they simulated a scenario involving contaminated yogurt. Because the medical equipment used on base and during deployments is expensive, the Airmen practice[d] without the machinery, talking their way through the exercise.” (Tinker Takeoff; 20Feb09; Brandice J. Armstrong)

Simple elixir called a ‘miracle liquid’
“It has been approved by U.S. regulators. And it's starting to replace the toxic chemicals Americans use at home and on the job. The stuff is a simple mixture of table salt and tap water whose ions have been scrambled with an electric current. Researchers have dubbed it electrolyzed water -- hardly as catchy as Mr. Clean. But at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica [CA], some hotel workers are calling it el liquido milagroso -- the miracle liquid. That's as good a name as any for a substance that scientists say is powerful enough to kill anthrax [sic] spores without harming people or the environment. […] Used as a sanitizer for decades in Russia and Japan, it's slowly winning acceptance in the United States.”
(Los Angeles Times; 23Feb09; Marla Dickerson) http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fi-magicwater23-2009feb23,0,1620173.story

*Status of chemical demilitarisation as of February 2009
“Following are the paragraphs related to chemical demilitarisation contained in the opening statement by the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] Director-General to the Executive Council at its 55th session. States Parties that have declared chemical weapons are moving steadily towards the goal of complete destruction of their stockpiles. In this respect, as at 31 January 2009, OPCW inspectors had verified the destruction of 29,741 metric tonnes of Category 1 chemical weapons, or 42.76%, of the total stockpiles declared by six possessor States. The amount of Category 2 chemical weapons destroyed remained unchanged at 915 metric tonnes (or 51.8% of the total declared).” (OPCW;

Post 26/11, [Indian] hotels go shopping for hi-tech security gadgets, up demand
“From gadgets to keep your security guard awake through the night to high-end baggage scanners, the security industry post Mumbai attack is growing at a breakneck rate of nearly 35 per cent, estimate those in the market. […] After the November attack, all the branches of the Taj Hotel — Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Jodhpur and Goa — have purchased X-ray baggage inspection systems. […] Hotels are also buying explosives detection systems, hand-held narcotics detectors and chemical warfare detection systems. Hyatt Regency, Shangri-La and Le Meridien in Delhi have equipped themselves with the latest in this line. DHL Worldwide Express, Mumbai branch, has installed such detection systems.” (Express India; 23Feb09; Sobhana K) http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/post-26-11-hotels-go-shopping-for-hitech-security-gadgets-up-demand/426833/

U.K. resident Binyam Mohamed released from [U.S. prison in] Guantanamo [Bay, Cuba]
“Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years, returned to Britain on Monday. […] He has been accused of undergoing al Qaeda training in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and of conspiring to detonate a ‘dirty bomb’ on the United States transport network, but all formal charges brought against him were later dropped. He has never been tried.” (Reuters; 23Feb09)

Radiation research in comeback since 9/11
“[E. John] Ainsworth's pioneering work in Dublin [CA], and also in San Francisco, helped in the development of the handful of approved drugs for treating those exposed to the damaging [gamma] rays. It also deepened understanding of radiation's effects on tissue, blood and DNA. And his insistence that the nuclear threat hadn't ended with the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall kept alive the military's largest radiation-health-effects research program, based in Maryland. Experts now consider the program critical to national security. […] The lab [in MD] is now regaining its prominence and employs a staff of 150. ‘It's growing by leaps and bounds,’ said Terry Pellmar, who retired last month as the institute's scientific director.” (Contra Costa Times; 22Feb09; Source: Arizona Star)

Florida company [American Media, Inc.] target of anthrax [sic] hoax
“A Boca Raton company at the center of a deadly 2001 anthrax [sic] attack was evacuated again after a letter containing white powder arrived at its office. Tabloid publisher American Media Inc. evacuated [its offices] for about 45 minutes Friday until police determined the powder was harmless. AMI publishes the National Enquirer, Star magazine and numerous other titles. A photo editor at the company died after inhaling anthrax more than seven years ago.” (WPBF News; 22Feb09) http://www.wpbf.com/news/18769648/detail.html

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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