War on Terrorism

Friday, April 10, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- April 10, 2009

Bird rehab center ready to open [KS]
"A central Kansas avian rehabilitation center that is scheduled to open to the public next week will care for the state's many species of birds and eventually may help with national security efforts. The Kansas Raptor Center in Great Bend, set to open April 18, is one of six state-of-the-art, federally-funded centers. The staff is already working to rehabilitate birds along the Central Flyway, a migratory route drawing millions of birds annually. [...] But the focus could eventually be on national safety and security. That's because studying birds of prey could help researchers detect hazards including influenza, bioterrorism and crystal meth labs." (Associated Press; 09Apr09) http://www.arkcity.net/stories/040909/com_0006.shtml

Heath Construction earns state awards for municipal and [Colorado State] university [bioterrorism] projects
"A panel of Colorado construction experts presented Heath Construction statewide awards recognizing construction excellence for a $7.6 million, 48-acre park in Loveland, Colo., and the $7.1 million Bioenvironmental Research Building for Colorado State University. [...] AGC [Association of General Contractors] honored Heath with a Bronze Award for the company's innovative techniques in constructing a 22,000-square-foot, completely airtight addition to the Bioenvironmental Research Building at Colorado State University. The facility meets all biocontainment and safety standards to ensure safety for the surrounding community and scientists researching bioterrorism threats and deadly diseases." (Market Watch; 09Apr09; Source: Heath Construction)

Anthrax safety drill planners seeking volunteers [GA]
"The South Central Health District [GA] needs volunteers to get treated for anthrax, as part of a practice drill. According to Mark Harden, director of environmental health and emergency preparedness for South Central Health District, every three years all health districts are required to conduct a test of their emergency preparedness for using supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. Harden explained the Strategic National Stockpile is a cache of antibiotics and other medical supplies that the Center[s] for Disease Control has stored at numerous locations throughout the country for use in case of an emergency." (Courier Herald; 08Apr09; Stephanie Miller) http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=909&NewsID=957063&CategoryID=19667&on=0

Novel method predicts impact of a covert anthrax [sic] release
"A new statistical method that can estimate the origin and time of an aerosolized release of the pathogen causing anthrax, following detection of the first few cases has been developed by researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency's Microbial Risk Assessment group. The method, described in an article published April 10 in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, predicts where the most critically affected areas will be following the release of this highly pathogenic agent, which may enable preventative treatment of individuals at risk and protection from the disease." (EurekAlert; 09Apr09; Judith Legrand) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-04/plos-nmp040709.php

BSI [British Standards Institution] publishes benchmark document on postal security
"BSI [British Standards Institution] has published PAS 97 - a specification for mail screening to help organisations reduce the risk of harm to operations and staff from malicious attacks and other security-related incidents. [...] Attacks may be intended to cause physical damage to property, harm to individuals, create fear or merely to cause disruption. It's also quite possible for perfectly benign objects to appear suspicious, causing disruption through emergency responses that prove unnecessary. [...] It's very much hoped that PAS 97: Specification for Mail Screening and Security will help to mitigate the risk and impact of attacks such as those mentioned." (Info 4 Security; 09Apr09; Brian Sims)

ESR [Environmental Science and Research] says identifying bad bugs and bad buggers best done in-house [New Zealand]
"Environmental Science and Research [ESR] chief executive John Hay has a simple job description for his crown science institute's work: 'We identify bad bugs and bad buggers. [...] In our view, ESR's optimal strategic fit for NZ [New Zealand] is as a CRI,' [Crown Research Institute] said Dr Hay, who noted the company's performance was dependent on both the quality of its scientific staff and the quality of its underpinning research, because it was the main end-user of its own research. Its environmental health work ranged from food safety, and water quality management, through disease surveillance, population health and land-based sewage issues, to biosecurity and emerging diseases." (New Zealand Press Association; 08Apr09; Kent Atkinson)

Sri Lanka denies using chemical weapons against LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam]
"The Sri Lankan Army Thursday denied its troops 'extensively used chemical weapons' against the Tamil Tigers. The army called the allegation by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) another effort by the 'pro-Tiger mouthpieces worldwide ... unable to digest the humiliating defeat at the hands of security forces. The army categorically denies LTTE's baseless allegations and strongly affirms that the army has no need to use such weapons when they were so close to the last leg of the war. Had that been used as alleged, neither army troops in Puthukkudiyiruppu (in Mullaitivu district) nor trapped civilians in the no-fire-zone would have escaped unhurt,' it said in a statement." (Sri Lankan News; 09Apr09)

Lawsuit: [U.S.] sold poison gas ingredients to Iraq
"Three companies illegally sold materials to Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s for making chemical weapons that were used to carry out attacks against thousands of Iraqi Kurds and ultimately caused scores of chronic ailments, according to a federal lawsuit. The complaint filed Tuesday in Baltimore [MD] by five Iraqi expatriates and the Nashville, Tenn. based Kurdish National Congress seeks class certification for an estimated 100,000 Kurds. The Republic of Iraq is also named as a defendant. The lawsuit alleges that as a result of the attacks, thousands of Kurds suffered chronic disabilities including respiratory ailments, fatigue, joint pain, rashes, vision problems and sleep disorders, making it difficult for them to hold steady jobs." (Associated Press; 09Apr09; David Dishneau)

New robot smells [chemicals] like a winner
"A robot that can sniff out the source of smoke or toxic gas and track down a chemical weapon before it explodes is being developed by engineers at the University of Adelaide [Australia]. The simple, compact robot is programmed to act like a bee in search of a flower. It is not distracted by wind or natural disturbances and can negotiate its way around obstacles. The next step is to get a group of robots working together, creator and PhD student Zhenzhang Liu said. 'The final scenario is we develop several mobile robots like this and we just stow them away somewhere in the city,' he said." (Adelaide Now; 10Apr09; Clare Peddie) http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25319074-2682,00.html

Al-Qaeda, Taliban acquired chemical-weapon formula, says Pakistani police official
"Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have acquired a formula that could help the militant groups to develop chemical weapons, a top Pakistani police official told lawmakers in his country last week. Pakistani authorities have obtained 'information' suggesting that the organizations could produce deadly chemical agents, Malik Naveed, police inspector general in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, told the London Telegraph. Pakistani journalists learned of his report after it was delivered to lawmakers. 'It was an in-house report, it was not supposed to reach the press,' Naveed said. 'It was based on information we have received.'" (Global Security Newswire; 08Apr09; Isambard Wilkinson, London Telegraph) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20090408_5645.php

New Zealand to fund non-proliferation work
"New Zealand announced plans to partner with the United States on preventing nuclear terrorism through funding non-proliferation work in Kazakhstan. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA] said New Zealand has agreed to provide $350,000 to expand its role in the NNSA's Second Line of Defense program, which operates in the former Soviet Union. Officials said the new funding from New Zealand, which marks the second time the country has contributed to the NNSA program, will go to support nuclear non-proliferation efforts in Kazakhstan, the NNSA reported." (United Press International; 10Apr09) http://www.upi.com/Emerging_Threats/2009/04/10/New-Zealand-to-fund-non-proliferation-work/UPI-30171239377064/

Nuke watchdogs seek U.S. weapon lab consolidation
"Nuclear watchdog groups are proposing that the U.S. reduce its nuclear weapons complex to just three sites as a step toward the nuclear weapons-free world that President Barack Obama envisioned [...] The report also made recommendations beyond the weapons complex. It wants the U.S. to [...] declare that it won't be the first nation to use nuclear weapons in future conflicts and eliminate any reference to retaliatory use of nuclear weapons in response to other nations using chemical or biological weapons. [...] The NNSA [National Nuclear Security Association]'s statement Wednesday said the plan 'reflects the needs of a reduced stockpile as well as an expanding nuclear security mission in areas like nuclear nonproliferation, emergency response, counterterrorism, and nuclear forensics.'" (Star-Telegram; 09Apr09; Sue Major Holmes, AP) http://www.star-telegram.com/448/story/1307296.html

Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations to attend NATO exercise in Kazakhstan
"Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations will attend 'Zhetysu 2009' exercise that will be organized by NATO in co-operation with Kazakhstan in September, 2009, Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations, Major-General Etibar Mirzayev said [...] 30-40 officers, as well as modern rescue equipment would represent Azerbaijan in the exercise. [...] Etibar Mirzayev said the Ministry of Emergency Situations was interested in holding discussions with NATO's related bodies on protecting people from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, bringing legal-normative base to the international level." (Azeri Press Agency; 09Apr09)

Fort Detrick [MD] goes Superfund
"Better known as the Superfund list, [the Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List] targets the Army base in Frederick [MD] for federal attention in dealing with stubborn ground-water contamination there that has tainted the wells of nearby homes. [...] Area B, an undeveloped portion of Fort Detrick, was used long ago as a germ-warfare testing ground, though officials say no harmful biological agents were ever tested in the open there. The Army also dumped chemical, biological, and radiological material in pits there from the 1940s until 1970, according to EPA. [...] With the installation now home to biodefense labs and civilian research facilities, the Army has made efforts to find and remove the buried wastes over the years." (Baltimore Sun; 10Apr09; Tim Wheeler)

Emergency response was impressive for anthrax [sic] scare [FL]
"It's been a week since our local EMS [Emergency Medical Service], law enforcement and local hospitals swung into action during an anthrax [sic] powder scare. Now that the excitement, fear and anger has died down, it's time to reflect on the situation and how it was handled. All in all, it's clear that that our local emergency response was extraordinary. [...] The hospital was quick with information, which is critical, and set up phone lines for people to call and check on patients and family members who were locked into the hospital. [...] What we also learned was that the public has more to learn about dealing with these kinds of emergencies. The biggest issue was finding, and then bringing suspicious materials into public places, which potentially could harm many more people." (Highlands Today; 10Apr09) http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2009/apr/10/la-emergency-response-was-impressive-for-anthrax-s/

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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