War on Terrorism

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- April 29, 2009

More than just a drill [IN]
"It was only a drill but those involved were taking Tuesday's event very serious at Crawfordsville High School [IN]. Montgomery County was one of eight counties to take part in a Mass Prophylaxis Plan exercise at Crawfordsville High School Tuesday. The high school was set up as a Point of Distribution site to deal with a mock anthrax exposure. 'What we are dealing with is an anthrax exposure drill," Tippecanoe County Health Department Public Information Officer Ron Cripe said. "This is our Point of Distribution and today's goal is to see where we can improve. We have been doing one or two exercises like this over the past few years so we will be ready if there ever is an emergency.'" (Paper of Montgomery County; 29Apr09; Barry Lewis)

Agencies participate in disaster preparedness exercises
"On Monday, April 27, several government agencies and the four area hospitals in Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland [IL] participated in a full-day exercise, 'Cascadia Peril,' involving simulated emergency response to a 9.0-magnitude earthquake. […] Public health agencies first became involved in disaster preparations after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States prompted the federal government to provide funds to local governments to combat bioterrorism, [Belle] Shepherd [Josephine County Public Health director] said. […] Public Health handles water, food, air, and vaccinations; and shares mass sheltering duties with the American Red Cross." (Illinois Valley News; 29Apr09; Scott

College of American Pathologists Is confident in U.S. Laboratories' ability to respond to influenza outbreak
"Long regarded as the gold standard in monitoring medical laboratory performance, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) believes that the nation's laboratories will be able to adequately process and handle influenza cases and adapt to evolving guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Their readiness is demonstrated through the CAP's Proficiency Testing (PT) program. […] In addition, after 9/11, the College […] create[d] a Laboratory Preparedness Exercise which tests the strength of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN). The LRN is a system of designated laboratories established to enhance early detection and surveillance activities, as well as increase laboratory response capacity associated with a potential pandemic or bioterrorism threat." (Red Orbit; 28Apr09)

Unpredictablility is the predictable part of viruses
"For all that scientists have learned about influenza since the catastrophic pandemic of 1917-19, one thing has not changed: the predictably unpredictable nature of the viruses that cause it. […] Although health officials have held exercises to prepare for pandemics and outbreaks caused by bioterrorism, they have yet to master the necessary communications skills. They are in a 'damned if they do, damned if they don't' situation. A decision about travel restrictions or advisories, for example, could affect trade and finances at a time of economic chaos. If the public health emergency declared by the WHO and the Obama administration turns out to be a false alarm, officials will be ridiculed for unnecessarily worrying millions of people -- perhaps even for creating fear to justify their budgets." (New York Times; 28Apr09; Lawrence K.

CDC [Centers for Disease Control] lacks chief, but can handle flu epidemic, White House says
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta lacks a permanent chief and the appointed secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services isn't on the job yet [Listserv editor: Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has since been confirmed]. But Americans shouldn't be worried about the government's handling of the still-growing swine flu outbreak, a senior White House adviser said Tuesday. […] 'The great thing about our preparedness, whether it's for biological warfare or what's going on with the swine flu, is that post 9-11 we put in a seamless response system' that crosses over different federal agencies, Isakson said. Isakson is on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee." (AJC; 28Apr09; Bob Keefe) http://www.ajc.com/services/content/health/stories/2009/04/28/cdc_swine_flu_leader.html

Army destroys 60 Percent of U.S. chemical weapons
"Today, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) officials announced the destruction of 60 percent of the U.S. declared stockpile under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This milestone was achieved Saturday, April 25. CMA reached the 50 percent milestone in December 2007 and is poised to destroy its two-millionth munition in the coming months. 'We have increased our efficiency at destroying the nation's chemical weapons stockpile while maintaining the highest safety and environmental compliance standards,' said Conrad Whyne, CMA Director. 'This accomplishment is the result of a true team effort between our storage and destruction staff consisting of both government and contractor personnel, and I commend the dedication of the members of our highly skilled work force,' he added." (Red Orbit; 28Apr09; Source: PR Newswire/US Newswire) http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1678527/army_destroys_60_percent_of_us_chemical_weapons/

Bolstered efforts needed to combat chemical weapons - [U.N.] Secretary-General [Ban Ki-Moon]
"Observing the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for greater efforts [to] prevent the deadly weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. The Day coincides with the 22nd anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention
- which provides for the eradication of these instruments of mass destruction - entering into force. To date, 188 States have [become] members of the pact." (UN News; 29Apr09)

UAE signs immunities and privileges agreement with OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]
"Under mandate from Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE Ambassador to Belgium Ali Thani Al Suwaidi signed here today, on behalf of the government of the UAE, an agreement with the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on immunities and privileges. The agreement was signed on OPCW's behalf by its Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter." (WAM; 27Apr09) http://www.wam.org.ae/servlet/Satellite?c=WamLocEnews&cid=1238851282424&p=1135099400124&pagename=WAM%2FWamLocEnews%2FW-T-LEN-FullNews

Legislators demand better cleanup plans for a radioactive shipyard dump
"[California] Assembly Member Tom Ammiano's legislative aide Quentin Mecke says [that] the April 1 letter that Ammiano and fellow Assembly Members Fiona Ma and state Sen. Leland Yee sent [San Francisco] Mayor Gavin Newsom urging him not to support a proposal to bury a radiologically-contaminated dump beneath a concrete cap on the Hunters Point Shipyard was dead serious. […] A 1999 ordinance passed by San Francisco voters as Proposition P 'recognized that the U.S. Navy had for decades negligently polluted the seismically-active shipyard, and that the city should not accept early transfer of the shipyard to San Francisco's jurisdiction, unless and until it is cleaned up to the highest standards,' the legislators wrote." (San Francisco Bay Guardian; 29Apr09; Sarah Phelan)

Local company sells millions of 'nukepills' to Kuwait
"[Nukepills.com is] a very different Mooresville [NC] business -- one with connections to the Middle Eastern country of Kuwait. But why Kuwait? And why now? Does the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health know something about nuclear security in the Middle East that we don't? Troy Jones founded Nukepills.com to sell potassium iodide. The pills and liquid potassium iodide obviously couldn't protect against a nuclear blast. But they can protect against certain types of cancer caused by radioactive fallout. 'It protects the thyroid from radioactive iodine in the event of a nuclear blast or fallout from a nuclear reactor,' said Jones. But recently Nukepills.com sold more than five million doses of the drug to Kuwait."
(WCNC; 28Apr09; Stuart Watson)

Does Pakistan's Taliban surge raise a nuclear threat?
"Army General Michael Maples, chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month […] [about] the threat posed by al-Qaeda, which, along with the Taliban, is sowing unrest in Pakistan. 'Al-Qaeda continues efforts to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials,' he said, 'and would not hesitate to use such weapons if the group develops sufficient capabilities.' The concern in Washington is less that al-Qaeda or the Taliban would manage to actually seize Pakistan's nuclear weapons, but instead that increasingly-radicalized younger Pakistanis are finding their way into military and research circles where they may begin to play a growing role in the nation's nuclear-weapons program. Pakistani officials insist their personnel safeguards are stringent, but a sleeper cell could cause big trouble, U.S. officials say."

Block Engineering wins $3,300,000 in development contracts for infrared spectrometers for chemical detection and analysis
"Block Engineering announced today that it has been awarded a total of $3,300,000 in contracts from several DoD [Department of Defense] agencies to develop next generation, ultra-miniaturized infrared spectrometers [….] Block Engineering is a leading developer of high performance FT-IR spectrometers for chemical detection and analysis to military, government, commercial, and industrial customers. Its Mobile Chemical Agent Detector (MCAD) system, in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corporation, and, PORTHOS(TM), a portable FT-IR spectrometer system, remotely detect chemical threats as far as 3 miles and protect against chemical warfare agents and weapons of mass destruction. Block's systems are currently used to protect critical infrastructure in the Washington Capital region." (PR Newswire; 28Apr09) http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1678776/block_engineering_wins_3300000_in_development_contracts_for_infrared_spectrometers/

White powder in Maine called safe
"Police say a white powder that led to the shutdown of a bank processing center last week was nothing more than baking powder and sugar. About 100 employees were evacuated from the TD Banknorth center in Lewiston for several hours after a worker opened an envelope containing the suspicious powder. Police told the Sun Journal in Lewiston that state crime laboratory analysts determined the contents of the envelope, which had a blank sheet of paper in it, no return address and a New Jersey postmark. Police said they have turned over their investigation to the FBI." (Bangor Daily News; 28Apr09; Source: Associated Press) http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/104748.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.

No comments: