War on Terrorism

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- April 1, 2009

[U.S. District] Judge [Paul Friedman] dismisses lawsuit over anthrax [sic] letter
"A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a $12 million lawsuit brought by a former State Department mailroom worker who was hospitalized after handling an anthrax-laced [sic] letter. David Hose was exposed to anthrax [sic] spores in October 2001 while working as a contract supervisor in a State Department mail facility in Sterling, Va., and he spent more than two weeks in intensive care. […] U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman agreed with the government that Hose could not sue because Virginia's Workers' Compensation Act prohibited a lawsuit over his injuries." (Associated Press; 31Mar09; Nedra Pickler)

Texas spends for bioterrorism center
"Texas will spend $50 million to develop a new center to protect against bioterrorism attacks. […] The facility is 'designed to incorporate any new technology that comes down the pike,' said Brett Giroir, a physician and vice chancellor for research in the A&M system. 'We tried to design it to be very modular' to accommodate multiple technologies that can be implemented simultaneously and in a replaceable manner, from large to small scale, Giroir said." (Government Computer News; 31Mar09; Kathleen Hickey)

Wis. plan would build labs, support Bradley Center
"Gov. Jim Doyle is proposing a $1.4 billion spending plan for state buildings that includes construction of several new research laboratories and a first-time state subsidy for the Bradley Center. Doyle's plan includes a major expansion at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, new energy and medical research buildings at UW-Madison and a new state public health laboratory in Madison. His plan also would spend $5 million over 10 years on maintenance at the Bradley Center […] Doyle has proposed building a $28.5 million public health and agricultural laboratory to replace outdated facilities in Madison. The lab would study bioterrorism, food-borne disease outbreaks and other safety threats." (Chippewa; 31Mar09; Ryan J. Foley; Source: Associated Press) http://www.chippewa.com/articles/2009/03/31/ap-state-wi/d9797ggg0.txt

Universal Detection Technology to supply anthrax [sic] and ricin detection equipment to Miami-Dade Police Department
"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, reported today that it is to supply the Miami-Dade Police Department with anthrax [sic] and ricin detection equipment. The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) is the largest police department in the Southeastern United States, with approximately 4,500 employees. The MDPD has a dedicated anti-terror unit with officers specializing in biological and chemical warfare detection methods." (CNNMoney; 31Mar09; Source: Global Newswire)

One-stop-shop for detecting disease [CO]
"A local biotech company is developing a revolutionary device that has the ability to perform more than 100 tests from a single drop of blood, with quick results. […] Based in Aurora [CO], Beacon Biotechnology is developing the BrightSPOT Reader, a small diagnostic testing device that can provide doctors with more than 100 test results in just 10 minutes. …] A drop of blood, urine or saliva is placed on a tiny chip at the center of the BrightSPOT Reader. The chip contains 112 microscopic sensors which are programmed to detect viruses, bacteria, proteins and amino acids associated with disease. A positive result generates light at that sensor, using bio-luminescent molecules from the deep ocean. […] Beacon is planning specialized readers for respiratory, allergy, and even biological warfare uses among others." (Denver Channel; 31Mar09) http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/19049604/detail.html

Gen. Weightman retires from Fort Detrick command
"Maj. Gen. George Weightman has retired as commander of Fort Detrick and the Army's biological weapons defense program. Weightman's change-of-command ceremony Tuesday in Frederick marked the end of a military career that included his firing from Walter Reed Army Medical Center amid revelations about shoddy treatment of wounded soldiers. Weightman was named commander of Fort Detrick and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in November 2007." (Baltimore Sun; 31Mar09; Source: Associated Press)

Tufts [University] [MA] dedicates regional bio lab
Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine [MA] dedicated its $33.7 million New England Regional Biosafety Laboratory this morning […] Susan Windham-Bannister, the center's president and CEO, said the grant will cover all equipment for the lab's insectary, where live insects will be studied so new ways can be found to prevent and treat diseases that insects spread to humans. The regional labs are the federal government's answer to the 2001 anthrax [sic] scares, which led to the creation of a national biodefense program." (Worcester Business Journal; 31Mar09; Eileen Kennedy) http://www.wbjournal.com/news43104.html

[Blue Grass Army] Depot's weapons disposal plant a work in progress [KY]
"The construction of the chemical weapons disposal plant at the Blue Grass Army Depot has come a long way, but still has a long way to go, according to acting site project manager Ralph Collins. […] 'We're only about 10 or 15 percent finished with construction,' he said. […] The facilities included in the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant are being constructed to destroy the 500 tons of blister agent in projectiles and nerve agent in projectiles and M55 rockets." (Richmond Register; 26Mar09; Ronica Shannon) http://www.richmondregister.com/archivesearch/local_story_085073253.html

Department of Energy sends $468 million to clean up nuclear waste in Idaho
"Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Tuesday he was releasing $468 million for cleaning up past nuclear waste at the Idaho National Laboratory. The funding, part of $6 billion in new funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is designed to accelerate environmental cleanup work and create thousands of jobs across 12 states. At the INL, the money will go to demolish old nuclear and radiological facilities. It also will be used to retrieve nuclear waste and accelerate the shipment of it off-site for disposal." (Idaho Statesman; 31Mar09; Rocky Barker) http://www.idahostatesman.com/localnews/story/716163.html

Court rejects NJ nuke plant terrorist concerns

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was right in rejecting a challenge to the way it evaluates the dangers of a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant, according to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, the court ruled against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and its contention that the NRC should have examined the potential environmental impacts of a hypothetical terrorist attack on the plant during the relicensing process of Oyster Creek nuclear generating station. The New Jersey DEP contended that the NRC should have considered the effects of a terrorist attack during the relicensing review. But the NRC responded that it had already addressed those effects in its generic environmental impact statement related to Oyster Creek."
(Brattleboro Reformer; 01Apr09; Bob Audette)

University of Pennsylvania is first civilian site in nation to complete radiological security program
"The University of Pennsylvania has been recognized, along with the City of Philadelphia, for national security leadership. The announcement was made by the National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA] today during a forum on campus. NNSA honored Penn for completing all of the voluntary radiological security upgrades offered by NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative [GTRI]. Under the GTRI, the NNSA, with its federal partners, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Homeland Security, installs voluntary security upgrades at civilian sites in the United States to reduce the potential for theft or misuse of radiological materials that could be used in a dirty bomb. These voluntary upgrades are in addition to security enhancements required by the NRC and state governments since 2006." (University of Pennsylvania; 27Mar09; Julie McWilliams)

Text of US-Russia statement on nuclear arms
"Text of a joint statement by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama, as released by the White House on Wednesday: […] We are resolved to work together to strengthen strategic stability, international security, and jointly meet contemporary global challenges, while also addressing disagreements openly and honestly in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgment of each others perspective. […] We will deepen cooperation to combat nuclear terrorism. We will seek to further promote the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, […] We also support international negotiations for a verifiable treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons […] and we seek to continue bilateral collaboration to improve and sustain nuclear security." (Associated Press; 01Apr09)

Bolingbrook hospital [IL] gets mobile decontamination trailer
"Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital [IL] officials have a new 22-foot-long, $62,000 decontamination trailer they hope they never have to use. Even so, it's a comfort knowing the trailer is parked right outside the hospital's emergency room in case of a biological, chemical or radiological terrorist attack, they said. The hospital already has a decontamination unit in its emergency room, but that allows only one person to be cleaned at a time.
'The mobile unit can decontaminate 120 people in one hour,' said Sue Smith, director of emergency services at the hospital. Hospital officials bought the trailer last month with money from a Department of Homeland Security grant." (Chicago Tribune; 01Apr09; Joseph Ruzich) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-decon-trailer-sw-zone-01apr01,0,6929801.story

NYPD [New York City Police Department] moves to cloak midtown with camera license plate readers, and radiation and bio scanners
"The NYPD wants to cloak midtown with the same security blanket it rolled out for lower Manhattan: camera license plate readers, and radiation and bio scanners. Those measures covering Manhattan south of Canal St. will slowly be applied to midtown, from 34th to 59th Sts., river to river, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the City Council Public Safety Committee. […] The NYPD is also looking to install permanent license plate scanners at each of the 20 crossings into Manhattan as part of an elaborate new safety scheme. Police also want to install sensors to detect biological and radiological weapons." (Daily News; 01Apr09; Alison Gendar) http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/04/01/2009-04-01_nypd_moves_to_cloak_midtown_with_camera_.html

Nation's Laboratory Response Network marks first decade of protecting public health
"The Laboratory Response Network [LRN], the national laboratory system charged with protecting the public in health emergencies, will mark its first decade […] Founded in 1999 by the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to test for agents of bioterrorism, the Laboratory Response Network has evolved to become the nation's laboratory resource for response to emerging infectious diseases, toxic spills, natural disasters, chemical terrorism and other public health threats." (Fox Business; 31Mar09)

Bill Maher: the God botherer
"An average day in Los Angeles, and Bill Maher is dealing with yet another death threat. A personally addressed hate package, containing sinister powder, potentially anthrax [sic], has been discovered at the Palm Springs auditorium where the 53-year-old comedian, chat show host and scourge of America's Right and Left was to perform his stand-up routine. The venue has, naturally, been shut down […] while the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating. And yet Maher remains surprisingly phlegmatic. 'Americans always panic,' he says with a sigh. '[…] You can't worry about that stuff. I assume there are bigger fish to fry than a comedian.'"
(Times Online; 01Apr09; Kevin Maher)

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Conference Announcement: Nuclear Energy and Proliferation in the Middle East An international meeting on nuclear energy and proliferation in the Middle East will take place from June 22-24, 2009 in Amman, Jordan. The conference will address issues such as nuclear security and safeguarding, nuclear loss prevention, nuclear terrorism, creating dialogue and establish security confidence building measures, etc. More information is available at www.acsis.org

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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