War on Terrorism

Monday, May 04, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- May 4, 2009

Meet Santa Clara County [CA]'s chief flu-fighter
"Meet Dr. Marty Fenstersheib and his dark companions: anthrax and bioterrorism. West Nile virus and cryptosporidium. SARS, HIV and TB. As Santa Clara County [CA]'s public health officer since 1994, the small-statured, 59-year-old former pediatrician and marathon runner from Pittsburgh is accustomed to finding himself at the center of Silicon Valley's scariest public health threats. […] As drained as he was by the end of the week, Fenstersheib said these are the times he loves most in his job. 'All the training we've done and all the planning and the exercising,' the San Jose resident said, 'it really tells me it's all been for a good cause.'" (San Jose Mercury News; 03May09; Mike Swift)

Sen. [Mark] Udall [D-CO] tours CSU [Colorado State University] disease center
"Sen. Mark Udall [D-CO] toured Colorado State University's infectious disease research complex in Fort Collins Saturday. He wanted to get a better idea about what kind of research is being done there. […] The facility is one of 10 centers in the United States for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. It houses some of the leading scientists in the world. They study diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, plague, yellow fever, dengue and similar diseases that […] could potentially be used as biological weapons during war. 'This is also key to our national security,' said Udall." (CBS4Denver; 03May09; Andrea Lopez) http://cbs4denver.com/seenon/udall.csu.lab.2.1000336.html

Mobile food-safety labs get FDA [Food and Drug Agency] up to speed
"A month ago, three gleaming white trailers - the Food and Drug Administration's $3 million mobile food-safety lab - rolled into this major port of entry [Nogales, Arizona] for people and goods coming from Mexico. They joined an alphabet soup of federal agencies sifting through millions of tons of goods in search of drugs, guns, invasive plants and tainted foods. The lab represents a new era for the agency in keeping the food supply safe, says Michael Chappell, FDA acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. It is a tool that can be suited up and rolled out to anyplace in the country facing the danger of contaminated food, whether at the hand of terrorists or Mother Nature." (USA Today; 03May09; Elizabeth Weise) http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-05-03-fda-mobile_N.htm

Preparing America for mandatory vaccination
"Time Magazine's coverage of the swine flu scare has a noticeable subplot - preparing Americans for draconian measures to combat a future pandemic as well as forcing them to accept the idea of mandatory vaccinations. […] [T]he article still introduces the notion that officials 'may soon have to consider whether to institute draconian measures to combat the disease.' Later we discover exactly what this will entail, namely 'when to institute mass vaccination programs,' according to Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and a historical consultant to the CDC on flu pandemics."(Global Research; 02Mar09; Paul Joseph Watson)

New York's lab (don't ask where it is) readies its own tests for the new strain
"This is swine flu central, the real-life, top-secret laboratory where New York City technicians have been working almost around the clock tracking the progression of the virus, now officially influenza A(H1N1), through the populace. Before a tour of the biothreat response testing laboratory on Sunday, visitors had to promise not to reveal its location. 'We don't want somebody to put it in Google Maps,' said Sara T. Beatrice, the lab's director and an assistant commissioner for the city's health department. Unspoken was the thought that such a 'somebody' might turn out to be a mischief-maker or worse, a terrorist." (New York Times; 03May09; Anemona

[Chicago, IL] hospitals see high traffic due to flu concern
"As the number of probable cases grows and hospitals try to keep up with the demand for testing, top scientists now say this flu strain may not be as dangerous as first thought. But health officials are still taking it seriously. […] The tents are intended for a major emergency situation such as biological warfare. They're set up in the parking lot of St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital right now, however, to screen patients for the H1N1 flu. The hospital has been inundated with about twice the normal number of patients concerned about the flu since the early part of the week." (ABC News; 01May09; John Garcia) http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6792230

Hospitals get tech-savvy to fight viruses
"As the Influenza A (H1N1) infection spreads across the globe, technology is being used to tackle the crisis. Health updates from international agencies can be accessed on the internet through Twitter and AiroCide, a technology first developed by Nasa, is being used in city hospitals to destroy viruses. The Union health ministry also has put up its rules for treatment online. The Nasa-developed technology is used to kill all pathogens, including anthrax, Sars, Influenza A and other viruses [sic]. The technology is widely used abroad to destroy viruses in hospitals, institutions and points of entry into countries, like airports. It is being used in a few city hospitals, including Wockhardt Hospital in Mulund." (Times of India; 04May09; Ashley D'Mello) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Hospitals-get-tech-savvy-to-fight-viruses/articleshow/4479943.cms

Scientists, FDA [Food and Drug Administration] at odds over benefits of marijuana
"Biology professor Robert Melamede […] spews scientific jargon as he discusses the 'thousands' of studies that prove it's one of the greatest drugs in modern medicine. […] On the other side is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which declared in 2006 that 'no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana treatment in the United States.' […] Physicians and scientists familiar with marijuana's medicinal uses generally agree that the drug has at least some benefits for some patients. […] Melamede, who teaches at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, […] says the drug has the potential to benefit almost everyone: […] possibly even soldiers exposed to chemical warfare. […] And he notes one claim in which marijuana reversed some of the effects of Sarin, a deadly nerve gas, in mice." (Colorado Daily; 04May09; Source: Associated Press)

Easy to forget about homegrown terrorism
"According to the [Seattle] Times, a Swedish jihadist named Oussama Kassir and Muslim convert James Ujaama (the former Jim Thompson, of Seattle), went to the small hamlet of Bly, Ore., 10 years ago to set up a terrorist training camp on U.S. territory. They were allegedly following orders from Hamza al-Masri, a radical Islamic preacher and purported al-Qaida recruiter in London. Ujaama will be the key witness against Kassir when the latter goes to trial on 12 felony counts of offering material support to terrorists, conspiring to kill innocent civilians and providing information about chemical weapons to potential terrorists." (Nevada Appeal; 03May09; Guy W. Farmer; Source: Seattle Times)

2nd indictment suggests [terrorist network] Ergenekon funded via illegal sources
"'Tracing the funding will lead you to the criminals' is one of the basic rules of criminology. One of the least examined aspects of Ergenekon, a shadowy network nested within the [Turkish] state aiming to create chaos to incite an eventual military takeover, is the financing of the organization. Ergenekon secures its funding through robbery, trade in drugs and chemical weapons, money laundering, racketeering and blackmailing, in addition to voluntary contributions made to the organization." (Today's Zaman; 03May09; Ercan Yavuz)

Marine Corps systems command awards $96 million contract to SAIC
"Science Applications International Corporation [SAIC] today announced it has been awarded a prime contract by U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) to provide chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) and incident response program support. […] Under the contract, SAIC will provide support services and equipment procurement to the family of incident response systems (FIRS) section of Marine Corps Systems Command. The FIRS team provides leading edge consequence management and technologies to incident response and operating forces from Federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Marine Corps." (RedOrbit; 04May09; Source:PR Newswire/First Call)

WMD terrorism threat persists, report says
"The threat that extremists might acquire and use an unconventional weapon remains a significant danger to the United States, the U.S. State Department said yesterday in its annual report on terrorism. 'The nexus of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and terrorism poses one of the gravest risks to the national security of the United States and its global partners,'according to the Country Reports on Terrorism 2008. 'A successful major WMD terrorist attack could result in mass casualties and produce far-reaching economic and political consequences.' The report addresses four 'material threats' -- chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear." (Global Security Newswire; 01May09; Source: U.S. Department of State) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090501_3145.php

Islamist terrorism threat for at least a generation
"Islamist terrorism is likely to remain a direct threat to Australia for at least a generation, according to a white paper. The paper says Afghanistan will be 'a potential source of ongoing instability in the region' and will require international help for at least a decade. […] The Bali attacks and the attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta were perpetuated by people with links to the training grounds in Afghanistan.[…] The paper says that despite its potential to cause mass casualties and catastrophic attacks on infrastructure, Islamist terrorism would continue to have limitations as a strategic threat. They would keep trying to get or develop chemical, biological radiological or even nuclear weapons."

Pakistan nuclear projects raise U.S. fears
"Pakistan is continuing to expand its nuclear bomb-making facilities despite growing international concern that advancing Islamist extremists could overrun one or more of its atomic weapons plants or seize sufficient radioactive material to make a dirty bomb, US nuclear experts and former officials say.David Albright, previously a senior weapons inspector for the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency in Iraq […] warned that the continuing development of Pakistan's atomic weapons programme could trigger a renewed nuclear arms race with India. But he suggested a more immediate threat to nuclear security arose from recent territorial advances in north-west Pakistan by indigenous Taliban and foreign jihadi forces opposed to the Pakistani government and its American and British allies." (Guardian; 03May09; Simon Tisdall).

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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