War on Terrorism

Monday, April 27, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News-April 24, 2009

Local firms tackle biological warfare
"With everyone's mind on the all-too-gloomy economy, [...] maybe it's time to change the subject to biological terrorism. Biological warfare - whether it's an anthrax-laden [sic] letter or something more elaborate delivered via our water supply or air - is still a constant threat, according to experts at an event last week sponsored by Boston-based BioDefense Corp. The firm manufactures devices that clean mail of biological agents. The company last week was celebrating the delivery of its next-generation machine to a 'major government-backed financial institution,' according to a statement." (Journal of New England Technology; 24Apr09; Marc Songini) http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2009/04/20/newscolumn2-Local-firms-tackle-biological-warfare.html

Smiths Detection unveils new handheld bio warfare detection device
"Smiths Detection has unveiled a handheld biological testing unit designed for military and emergency response applications. Bio-Seeq Plus provides on-site identification of biological warfare agents (BWAs) such as Anthrax [sic] (pX01 & pX02), Tularemia, Plague [sic] and Pan Orthopox [sic] 'With suspicious powder incidents increasing over the past decade, we are committed to introducing new products that meet the varied needs of emergency responders around the globe,' said a Smiths Detection spokesperson. 'Bio-Seeq Plus has the ability to provide lab-quality results in the field, which will enable appropriate responses to potential biological agent attacks.'" (TG Daily, 23Apr09; Aharon Etengoff) http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/42145/108/

Inside DHS [Department of Homeland Security] bioterror storm
"Lawmakers from Texas, Georgia and Kansas are fighting over the location of a Department of Homeland Security bioterrorism facility - even as some critics of DHS's chosen site contend that it could expose people and animals to foot-and-mouth disease and other dreaded ailments. Earlier this year, the department announced plans to build its $720 million bioterrorism research facility in Manhattan, Kan. - in or at least on the edge of Tornado Alley, a region of the Central Plains notorious for the violence and frequency of its tornadoes. A consortium of Texas biological and agro-defense interests will argue in a lawsuit to be filed Thursday that DHS has ignored studies showing that its building could not withstand some of the twisters that blast through the area." (Politico; 23Apr09; Erika Lovley) http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21615.html

UNC-CH-[University of North Carolina Chapel Hill] based biodefense consortium lands $35.5 million in federal research funds
"The National Institutes of Health will fund five more years of research into infectious diseases and biodefense by a group based at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense won a renewal of funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the NIH. The center includes staff from UNC-CH's School of Medicine, Duke University, Emory University, and several other universities and research institutes. Dr. P. Frederick Sparling, a professor of medicine at UNC-CH, heads the center. According to UNC-CH, the money will support a staff of more than 50 investigators and support personnel." (Local Tech Wire; 23Apr09) http://localtechwire.com/business/local_tech_wire/biotech/story/5011113/

Wanted: anthrax victims
"Victims are being sought to participate in a local disaster. Not real victims, of course, but volunteers to portray victims during the Wednesday, April 29 Biohazard Preparedness District 3 disaster drill at Wabash Middle School [IN]. The health department is seeking at least 50 people willing to take part in the 11-county exercise, spearheaded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and led by local health department officials. The drill will create a 'worst case anthrax scenario,' [sic] FEMA instructor Bill Feldheiser said in an earlier meeting of the health board." (Wabash Plain Dealer; 22Apr09; Sheila Rhoades)

Washington [IN] students exposed to mock anthrax [sic]
"A grant from the state has given 10 counties in southern Indiana money to simulate disaster drills. Wednesday, volunteers and students participated in a drill at Washington High School. [...] to see how well health officials would respond to an outbreak. 'What we are doing today is a mass disaster to test our preparedness to make sure we're ready to accommodate anything that happens,' Dr. Merle Holsopple with the Daviess Co. Health Dept. said." (22Apr09; Becky Graham)

Army: 3 missing disease samples likely destroyed
"An investigation of three disease samples missing from a Fort Detrick lab found that the samples were likely destroyed, according to Army officials. [...] Samples of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis were discovered missing last year in an inventory of a group of samples left by a departing researcher, said Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. [...] An extensive investigation found no evidence of criminal activity, said U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman Chris Grey. Vander Linden said the the samples were likely among those destroyed when a freezer malfunctioned." (Associated Press; 23Apr09)

$40 million unit may be needed for [chemical weapons] incinerator
"Problems expected with certain aging mustard-armed weapons could require the Army to build an additional unit at the Anniston Chemical Disposal Facility [AL] that could cost as much as $40 million. ANCDF officials said Tuesday they plan to add a detonation chamber to destroy an estimated 2 percent of the total mustard stockpile they expect may have deteriorated over the years. Estimates of the number of problematic mustard weapons are based in part on disposal operations at Tooele, Utah." (Anniston Star; 22Apr09; Nick Cenegy) http://nl.newsbank.com/nlsearch/we/Archives?p_product=ANSB&p_theme=ansb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&s_dispstring=chemical%20disposal&p_field_advanced0=&p_text_advanced0=("chemical%20disposal")&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_use

Statement to the Executive Council Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
"Madame Chairperson, for its part, the United States warmly congratulates India on becoming the third state to destroy completely its entire stockpile of chemical weapons, and doing so within its deadline. [...] The United States has now destroyed over 59 percent of its chemical weapons, including over 96 percent of our entire nerve agent stockpile. I want to emphasize that we have destroyed over 96 percent of our entire nerve agent stockpile. We understand our obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we are fully committed to the complete destruction of our stockpiles as rapidly and as safely as possible." (U.S. Department of State; 24Apr09; Robert P. Mikulak) http://www.state.gov/t/isn/rls/rm/122072.htm

Seven nations still shunning chemical weapons pact
"Only seven countries still refuse to sign a pact outlawing chemical weapons after Bahamas became the 188th state to do so, the organization overseeing the treaty said Friday. Those shunning the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention include Israel, Egypt and Syria, as well as North Korea. The Bahamas deposited its instrument of ratification on April 21, [...] OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] director general Rogelio Pfirter added: 'We call upon those states that have not yet adhered to the convention to do so without delay.'" (NASDAQ; 042409; Source: Dow Jones Newswires)

Radiation Injury Treatment Network to host conference on nuclear terrorism
"The Radiation Injury Treatment Network will host a conference next month on nuclear terrorism preparedness. The event, which will be held May 18 in Bethesda, Md., will include discussions on how to provide medical care in mass casualty scenarios involving radiological terrorism. In 2008, AABB [American Association of Blood Banks] and the National Marrow Donor Program formally agreed to collaboratively work to help treat victims of radiation exposure or other marrow-toxic injuries due to acts of nuclear terrorism by sharing information, promoting a clear and consistent message regarding the status of blood, and participating in preparatory radiological event simulations." (Smart Brief; 24Apr09) http://www.smartbrief.com/news/aabb/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=CF9F2B90-2657-4086-BBF2-CBA0FD764707&copyid=8BFC2021-BB59-4072-BBF7-BB6CC7CF5EF0

Report warns of future chemical, biological threats
"The United States is likely to face a growing threat in coming years from biological and chemical weapons that are increasingly lethal and easy to manufacture, the Defense Department said in a report published this month. While some countries continue to seek out 'traditional' chemical weapons, others might attempt to produce new materials that are 'more difficult to detect, easier to disseminate, resistant to available medical countermeasures or have increased lethality,' states the Pentagon's 2009 report on its Chemical and Biological Defense Program. 'The increased availability of related technologies, coupled with the relative ease of producing some chemical agents, has increased concern that CW production and employment may become more attractive to states or terrorist groups,' the report says, according to Inside Missile Defense." (Global Security Newswire; 23Apr09; Source: Inside Missile Defense; Fawzia Sheikh) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090423_2260.php

Explosives expert seeks up to 4,000 acres for training facility
"A Franklin [TN] entrepreneur and explosives expert is working to build an anti-terrorism training complex at an undisclosed Middle Tennessee location. Steve Cassidy is founder and managing partner of SGC Group, which manufactures mock Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and weapons of mass destruction for use in military, law enforcement and first responder training programs. [...] [Cassidy] plans to purchase up to 4,000 acres south of Nashville for a facility to educate and train military and law enforcement in terrorism countermeasures - not just IEDs, but other threats including landmines, hand grenades, bombs of all sorts, rockets and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons." (Nashville Business Journal; 23Apr09; Jeannie Naujeck)

Bermuda, U.S. sign aviation agreement
"A bilateral agreement that will enhance homeland security for the United States (U.S.) and increase Bermuda's attractiveness as a tourist destination and international business centre was signed yesterday in Washington DC. US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the agreement will not only help facilitate travel to the US from Bermuda for private aircraft, but it will also enhance security. 'Under the agreement, Customs and Border Protection will expand its pre-clearance operations at the Bermuda airport. As part of this expansion, CBP will check general aviation passengers and aircraft for potential radiological and nuclear threats. This will ensure that private aircraft are not used to smuggle dangerous weapons into the United States,' he said." (Caribbean 360;

Niagara health complex set to break ground in St. Catharines, Ontario [Canada]
"Construction is scheduled to get under way in May on the Niagara Health System's (NHS) new health-care complex in St. Catharines, Ont. [Canada] [...]The hospital of up to 375 beds will offer acute and critical inpatient services, surgical, emergency and ambulatory services available under one roof for residents of St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the-Lake and area. Other project features include: CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) containment capability to deal with infectious outbreaks and disasters; and state-of-the-art operating suites designed to take advantage of sophisticated image-guided and laparoscopic surgery." (Daily Commercial News; 24Apr09; Patricia Williams)

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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