War on Terrorism

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- March 16, 2009

Anthrax’s [sic] movement throughout history
“Scientists are suggesting that the deadly bacteria anthrax [sic] has ancient links to North America. […] ‘The dispersal of Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and human RNA viruses often reflect short term human movement frequently associated with trading contaminated animal products or inadvertently transporting primary vectors or hosts,’ researchers wrote in the journal PloS One. ‘The history of B. anthracis in North America has certainly been affected by recent trade, and livestock movement, however here we present evidence that the introduction of this pathogen can be traced to much more ancient human migrations. We believe this to be an example of an opportunistic human pathogen reflecting ancient human dispersal patterns.’” (Red Orbit; 16Mar09) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1654864/anthraxs_movement_throughout_history/

Obama opens secret laboratories to Germany
“It was a productive start to the week for US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and German Research Minister Annette Schavan. The two women met […] to discuss one of the most explosive issues in the era of international terrorism: How can the population and infrastructure be protected against catastrophic attacks without Western democracies being turned into Orwellian regimes? […] [I]t is even more surprising just how far-reaching the objectives of the new German-American agreement are. […] German researchers will get access to the top-secret [biological] laboratories where the Americans test their latest anti-terrorism technologies, and vice versa. Such openness would have previously been unimaginable.” (Spiegel; 16Mar09; Christian Schwagerl) http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,613532,00.html

Science groups counter WMD panel’s prescription for stemming biological threats “The congressionally mandated Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism late last year said the United States should strengthen [biolab] security […] to more effectively prevent terrorists from accessing disease substances that could be used in a weapon. However, several representatives from these [biolab] communities this week argued that expanding federal regulations could increase costs for institutions without significantly improving already tight security. Accommodating additional federal inspections, for example, would magnify financial strains facing laboratories in the midst of an international economic downturn, they said. At a briefing for reporters, laboratory administrators also said the burdens of increased monitoring could stifle research and drive scientific talent away from existing efforts that strengthen national security.” (Global Security Newswire; 13Mar09; Elaine M. Grossman) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090313_1111.php

Report says Iowa ranks 34th in health funding
“A report finds Iowa gets fewer federal dollars for public health than the national average, ranking the state 34th in terms of funding. Rich Hamburg, spokesman for the non-profit, non-partisan group Trust for America's Health, says the national per-capita average last year for federal health spending was $17.90, while Iowans averaged $16.37. […] Hamburg says, ‘We’re talking about funding for programs like diabetes control, cancer, food and water safety, bioterrorism and emergency preparedness, so cutting those programs further will have a negative impact on the health of individuals.’ He says the Midwestern and Southern states got less federal support for public health programs than Northeastern and Western states in fiscal year 2008.” (Radio Iowa; 16Mar09; Matt Kelley)

Following MEMRI [Middle East Media Research Institute] TV clip, Arab liberals denounce Kuwaiti Islamist Abdallah Al-Nafisi
“MEMRI TV recently translated and released a clip of a speech by the prominent Kuwaiti Islamist Dr. Abdallah Al-Nafisi. In his speech, Al-Nafisi suggested a method for carrying out an anthrax [sic] attack in the U.S., lavishly praised Mullah Omar, and expressed the hope that ‘white militias’ would succeed in their alleged plans to bomb a nuclear facility in the U.S. (see http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2027.htm). Al-Nafisi's speech garnered sharp responses from a number of prominent liberals:
Kuwait University professor Ahmad Al-Baghdadi and columnist Ahmad Al-Sarraf, both of whom are Kuwaiti, and the Jordanian-American author Shaker Al-Nabulsi.” (Middle East Media Research Institute; 16Mar09)

Emergency preparedness in Ammon [ID]
“It's not something most of us like to think about, but when the time comes you can never be too prepared in case of a disaster. That's why local law enforcement and fire agencies from across eastern Idaho participated in a free course this past weekend sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. A tanker truck parked in front of City Hall has started leaking chlorine, making many people sick. Luckily this is just a scenario, but it's one local law enforcement agencies and fire departments take very seriously.” (KPVI News; 16Mar09; Ty Brennan)

Federal disaster relief needs to be faster
“Federal disaster relief legislation is dangerously out of date and reform is needed to achieve rapid relief, a U.S. researcher said. New York University professor Mitchell Moss said […] the federal government still lacks the legal authority to provide rapid financial assistance […] following a major disaster […] such as chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological attacks or accidents […]. The findings are published in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. (United Press International; 16May09) http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2009/03/16/Federal_disaster_relief_needs_to_be_faster/UPI-16121237180973/

1st BCT [Brigade Combat Team] trains for homeland emergencies
“Fort Stewart’s [FL] 1st Heavy Brigade Combat team has just been alerted that several chemical and radiological attacks were launched near Orlando, Fla. State officials have requested federal help and FEMA has called on the Joint Task Force Civil Support’s emergency response team CCMRF, (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive consequence management response force.) Twelve hundred men and women of the Raider brigade must have their bags packed, ready to head down to Camp Blanding, Fla., within the next 24-hours.” (Coastal Courier; 14Mar09; Frenchi Jones) http://www.coastalcourier.com/news/article/12441/

Forensics key to preventing nuclear terror, expert says
“The field of nuclear forensics is crucial to deterring rogue nations such as North Korea from providing nuclear weapons material to terrorists, nonproliferation expert Graham Allison said Saturday in a Newsweek magazine commentary. Nuclear forensics would use radiochemical analysis to identify the source of nuclear material seized in transit or used in an act of terrorism. Knowing that they might be found out could persuade leaders of a nuclear nation to forgo such assistance to extremists. […] Work is under way on a database that would allow for comparison of nuclear material or debris against the uranium or plutonium held by no less than 40 nations, according to Allison. However, the effort remains unfinished and gaps remain in the overall forensics infrastructure.” (Newsweek; 14Mar09; Graham Allison) http://www.newsweek.com/id/189260

Czech military chemical team to help protect Obama in Prague
‘Czech military experts in fighting mass destruction weapons will help protect U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders during the Prague EU-USA summit in early April,’ Miroslav Knopp, head of the 31st brigade of radiation, chemical and biological protection, said today. ‘The plan of security measures to accompany the EU-USA summit reckons with us. However, I must not disclose any details as the [plan] is secret. Our role will be similar to our assistance in the protection of then U.S. President George Bush during his visit to Prague, and at the NATO summits in Istanbul and Riga,’ Knopp, whose brigade is based in Liberec, told reporters.” (Czech Happenings; 16Mar09; Elena Herbert)

WA [Western Australia] hospital aims to stop nuclear terrorists
Fremantle Hospital will quadruple its surveillance cameras to stop potential terrorists attacking nuclear waste stored on site. A Department of Health (DoH) document obtained by WAtoday.com.au reveals the hospital on South Terrace will add 46 colour security cameras to the nine cameras whose lenses currently patrol the site. In addition, a new 106cm colour Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) television will be placed in the hospital's security office. The DoH document said cameras would be positioned at the hospital's nuclear waste storage area and its pharmacy, and at building entries and exits. A DoH spokesperson said the cameras and LCD TV were being installed to enhance preparedness and health response measures for a range of potential disasters, including terrorism.” (Western Australia News; 16Mar09; Chris Thomson) http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/wa-hospital-aims-to-stop-nuclear-terrorists-20090312-8vyq.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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