War on Terrorism

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- March 23, 2009

Tooele County [UT] tests strategy for pandemic
"Jessica Newkirk […] was on her way to Heritage West Credit Union to get her 'prescription' filled, and she anticipated a wait of at least an hour at the drive-up window. As she neared the credit union, she could see emergency vehicles, lights flashing and police officers directing long lines of traffic coming from all directions. […] Preparation was the name of the game at this emergency drill, and Jessica and her children did not have to wait long. […] That was good news for the Tooele County Health Department, which set up the exercise. Health officials were trying to test the use of bank and credit-union drive-through windows to disseminate anti-viral medications to the public in the event of a flu pandemic, bioterrorism attack or other disaster." (Deseret News; 21Mar09; Kristy Kuhn)

Lakeland [FL] postal proposal
"On Feb. 11, representatives of the [Lakeland, FL] Postal Service met with interested public parties to inform them of plans to remove canceling machines from the local processing and distribution […] The real problem for Lakeland is that no biodetection at all will be done in Lakeland with this plan, even though the mail is first handled in Lakeland. Potentially hazardous anthrax [sic] contaminated mail would travel about 45 miles over Interstate 4, after having been handled by Lakeland Postal employees […]."
(Ledger; 22Mar09; Stephen Carman)

More than 1,700 take part in mock anthrax [sic] attack across RI
"More than 750 public employees and 1,000 volunteers participated yesterday in a statewide response to a mock anthrax [sic] attack that ultimately brought 250,000 doses of anthrax medication (in empty bottles) into Rhode Island under state police escort. […] The Health Department coordinated the response to the fake incident with the National Guard and state Emergency Management Agency, establishing response teams at 11 points across the state, from Burrillville to Wakefield. They hoped to distribute the necessary medication within 48 hours." (Providence Journal; 22Mar09; Steve Peoples).

Genetically engineered bacteria to measure water quality
"Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a laboratory the size of a microchip that can be used to measure water quality. Using genetically engineered bacteria that light up when in contact with pre-determined pollutants, this water quality lab will detect and communicate 'contact' with monitoring systems. […] Other potential uses of this micro-scale monitoring system include almost any biological process that can affect or be affected by purpose-designed bacteria, including stem cell and cancer investigations. Even the United States Department of Defense Projects Agency (DARPA) is interested, as these nanotechnology labs may become a defense against future biological warfare attacks."
(Clean Technica; 20Mar09; Amiel Blajchman) http://cleantechnica.com/2009/03/20/genetically-engineered-bacteria-to-measure-water-quality/

[Indonesian Health] Minister [Siti Fadillah Supari] wary of foreign 'attack'
"Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari on Friday called [for] the country's medical institutions to carry out their own virus and DNA research free of foreign funding so as to avoid exploitation […] and the possibility of a future biological attack against the nation. 'I'm truly afraid the world will use our viruses or DNAs [sic] to create a mass biological weapon that may be used to attack us,' she said. Supari surprised the world when she abruptly stopped sending bird flu virus samples to the World Health Organization in 2007. […] [S]he issued [a decree] in 2008 governing the use of biological substances, including viruses or DNA samples […] to reduce Indonesia's dependency on foreign funding […]. 'Trust me on this one, there is no such thing as free help. When people offer big money to help you, they undoubtedly expect to benefit from it,' Supari said."(Jakarta Globe; 21Mar09; Dessy Sagita)

Abbott Furnace Company [PA] ships munition treatment unit
"Abbott Furnace Company, a private Pennsylvania corporation, announced today that it has shipped the first of two Munitions Treatment Units for a chemical demilitarization project in Pueblo, Colorado. The Pueblo plant, which is under construction, will destroy a stockpile of chemical weapons containing mustard agent. The munitions treatment unit will destroy any trace amounts of mustard agent that may remain on the munitions after they have been drained and the agent has been neutralized." (PR Newswire; 20Mar09; Source: News Tribune) http://www.thenewstribune.com/business/prnewswire/story/680887.html

Bloodied by history, Kurds fret over an uncertain future
"Under the placid veneer of Kurdistan's modern cities and mountain villages, Kurds are racked with fear […] and an uncertain future […]. Most Kurds are quick to point out how different Kurdistan is from the rest of Iraq. […] They also have a uniquely blood-soaked recent history that has left many Kurds constantly worried of a repeat of past atrocities. Up to 180,000 Kurds were killed in Saddam Hussein's genocidal Anfal campaign in 1988, which included chemical weapons, and stories of imprisonment and torture are rampant among Kurds. Unlike most of Iraq, […] many Kurds […] want the United States to stay […] With an American presence, they say, no one will dare repeat the abuses of the past." (Stars and Stripes; 22Mar09; Heath Druzin)

Gas analysis can aid in [chemical weapon] diagnosis.
"[Xudong 'Sherman'] Fan is a researcher and assistant professor of biological engineering [at the University of Missouri] who is making breakthroughs in gas molecule analysis. The work has possible applications in medicine […] and on the battlefield as soldiers test for airborne chemicals. The device being perfected by Fan […] is a thin capillary tube that can be hooked up to a computer detection device. Vapor molecules are directed inside the tiny tube, which is lined with polymer and ringed with a diode laser. Because each molecule interacts differently with the polymer and laser, they are separated one by one and noted on the computer." (Columbia Daily Tribune; 22Mar09; T.J. Greaney) http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2009/mar/22/researcher-catches-breath-for-study-gas-analysis/

Gulf War veterans display abnormal brain response to specific chemicals
"A new study by UT [University of Texas] Southwestern Medical Center researchers is the first to pinpoint damage inside the brains of veterans suffering from Gulf War syndrome - a finding that links the illness to chemical exposures and may lead to diagnostic tests and treatments. Dr.
Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, said the research uncovers and locates areas of the brain that function abnormally. Recent studies had shown evidence of chemical abnormalities and shrinkage of white matter in the brains of veterans exposed to certain toxic chemicals, such as sarin gas during the 1991 Persian Gulf War." (News Medical; 22Mar09; Source: University of Texas

U.S. missile strikes take heavy toll on Al Qaeda, officials say
"An intense, six-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda that militants have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust, U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say. […] The stepped-up Predator campaign has killed at least nine senior Al Qaeda leaders and dozens of lower-ranking operatives, in what U.S. officials described as the most serious disruption of the terrorist network since 2001. Among those killed since August are Rashid Rauf, the suspected mastermind of an alleged 2006 transatlantic airliner plot; [and] Abu Khabab Masri, who was described as the leader of Al Qaeda's chemical and biological weapons efforts […]." (Los Angeles Times; 22Mar09; Greg Miller) http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan-predator22-2009mar22,3,2806605.story

CDP [Center for Domestic Preparedness] helps prepare area for disaster
"The forefront of the nation's disaster preparedness is [at Fort McClellan] in Northeast Alabama. That's where the Center for Domestic Preparedness is located. […] Some of the agencies that have trained with the CDP are emergency management, emergency medical services, fire service, hazardous materials, health care, law enforcement, public health, public safety communications and public works. […] The CDP even has begun training U.S. allies in the fight against terror. Working with the private sector, as well as national units, the agency has provided training for Canada, Great Britain and Israel. But make no mistake, the CDP's priority is to train state and local disaster teams in the United States." (Gadsden Times; 22Mar09; Matthew Martin)

Weapons of mass destruction training held [NC]
"Rescuers, doctors and nurses all took part in a grand-scale training event held Saturday at Surry Community College [NC] which was geared to teach how to handle a rescue situation involving weapons of mass destruction.[…] As part of the training, rescuers had to treat multiple victims who were exposed to a nerve agent called Sarin nerve gas. During the exercise, another 20 pretend victims were injured by a bomb blast. Victims were transported through decontamination tents, then moved to a mobile field hospital. State Medical Assistance Teams (SMAT) from the Triad area were on hand for the event." (Mount Airy News; 23Mar09; Mondee Tilley) http://www.mtairynews.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home_top_stories_news&article-Weapons%20of%20mass%20destruction%20training%20held%20=&id=2122992-Weapons+of+mass+destruction+training+held&widget=push&instance=secondary_news_left_column&open=&

British PM [Prime Minister Gordon Brown] still waging war on terror
"We must remain vigilant at all times. On Tuesday, we will publish our updated counterterrorism strategy, showing why this vigilance remains so vital […]. [O]ur response must be international, national and local. At the national level, we have built the strongest-ever counterterrorist framework, with investment rising from £1bn in 2001 to £3.5bn in 2011. At our borders, we have brought in improved electronic checks, excluded more than 150 people from Britain on national security grounds since 2005 and toughened our approach to refusing entry to extremists. We have better protection of crowded places, major buildings and our transport system and we are setting out a new approach to the risk that terrorists will abuse modern technology to mount chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks." (Birmingham Star; 22Mar09; Gordon Brown) http://story.birminghamstar.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/480767/cs/1/

[London] Police 'not ready' for dirty bomb
"Just a 'handful' of frontline police have the protective hoods needed to rescue civilians from a deadly dirty bomb attack […] The Metropolitan Police has admitted [that] its team to deal with a chemical or biological attack by terrorists is tiny. By contrast, Scotland has enough masks, which protect against a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attack, for all officers. The revelation comes just 11 days before the G20 summit of world leaders in the capital's Docklands, when Londoners will face a massive £10million security operation to deal with a terror threat said to be at the 'severe end of severe.'" (Sunday Express; 22Mar09; Ted Jeory) http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/90414/Police-not-ready-for-dirty-bomb

White powder found in envelope sent to [U.S. Representative Rosa] DeLauro [D-CT]
"Members of the FBI and the New Haven police and fire departments were called to the New Haven office of Rep. Rosa DeLauro after an envelope containing white powder was found Friday. Officials said a member of DeLauro's staff was going through the mail when an envelope containing a white substance was discovered. The staff member contacted authorities.[…] The FBI seized the envelope and its contents will be tested. Officials said Friday evening that test results should be available within 48 hours." (Eyewitness News 3; 20Mar09) http://www.wfsb.com/politics/18980592/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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