War on Terrorism

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- May 6, 2009

NABP [National Association of Boards of Pharmacy] position paper calls for action against proliferation of rogue internet drug outlets
"The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) released a position paper on May 5, 2009, examining the flagrant lawlessness of Web sites selling prescription medicine over the Internet.[…] In the document, NABP revisits the call to action of its 2003 'Position Paper on the Importation of Foreign Prescription Drugs,' which states that '[p]urchasing medications from unknown and illegal sources via the Internet and other means is compromising the US medication distribution system and making US citizens vulnerable to bioterrorism attacks.' The 2009 position paper notes that, '[i]n the six years since NABP called attention to this situation, little has changed.'" (Earthtimes; 06May09; Source: PR Newswire/USNewswire)

[Dallas] county [TX] fears loss of federal funding
"After a 2006 public health preparedness drill showed that the Richardson Independent School District was not ready for a pandemic, Dallas County's chief medical officer wrote a detailed, step-by-step protocol to help them. […] Such emergency health drills have helped everyone […] prepare for the possibility of a pandemic, but now health officials say federal budget cuts are threatening to end or curtail such training exercises. […] A surge of federal support for public health emergency planning that followed bioterrorism fears in 2001 and the bird flu outbreak of 2004 ended last August. Now Dallas County health officials say they are struggling to prepare for unpredictable new bugs for which there's no vaccine, not nearly enough medicine, and a chance that throngs of patients could overwhelm hospitals." (Texarkana Gazette; 04May09; Source: Associated Press)

Raynham [MA] health official readies for possible flu outbreak
"Earlier in the year, Raynham Health Agent Alan Perry met with public health officials to review pandemic preparedness of a theoretical kind: how to protect the masses against a bio-terrorist attack. Last week, they prepared for a more concrete problem: swine flu. With the worldwide declaration last week of a Phase 5 public health emergency over the newly erupted flu strain, local officials need to know what to do if illness breaks out in their communities. A bio-terrorism incident would require a mass distribution of prophylactics to prevent disease." (Wicked Local; 05May09; Susan Parkou Weinstein) http://www.wickedlocal.com/raynham/news/x2133270076/Raynham-health-official-readies-for-possible-flu-outbreak

Outbreak focuses states' flu plans
"The swine flu outbreak of the last two weeks gave states' pandemic preparation plans their biggest test yet, and by most accounts, response was good. But officials now anticipate tweaking their plans, particularly in dealing with when to close schools and how to control the spread of the disease by undocumented and migrant workers. States last updated their pandemic response plans in anticipation of an avian flu outbreak from Asia. The proximity of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and its quick jump into the U.S. gave officials less time to assess the situation and react to the illness, said Paul Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials." (Stateline; 06May09; Daniel C. Vock)

Critics question self-inspections for flu in pigs

"Kenny Brinker is on the front lines of the national drive to prevent an outbreak of swine flu on U.S. hog farms. But he's not a public health worker. He's a hog farmer in central Missouri. […] Critics question how effective this system of voluntary self-regulation can be. […]To contain outbreaks, the livestock industry hopes to speed communication once a virus is detected, Greiner said. Companies identify flu viruses by sending tissue or mucus samples to regional labs. After bioterrorism fears rose in 2002, the Agriculture Department linked those labs in a communications network. The labs alert each other of any outbreaks, through the USDA-administered National Animal Health Laboratory Network. USDA staffers inspect live pigs and carcasses for disease at slaughterhouses. But they don't visit farms." (Associated Press; 05May09; Christopher Leonard)

UK sensor company Stratophase demonstrates reliable refractive index based compositional measurements at [trade show] ACHEMA 2009
"UK chemical measurement and biodetection expert Stratophase will be demonstrating its recently launched technology based on principles which measure changes in the refractive index of liquids. Capable of detecting even the most minute changes in the chemical composition of liquids SpectroSens offers chemical manufacturers a cost effective inline option for multipoint concentration tracking. […] Stratophase has developed the SpectroSens technology based on proven science from telecoms, optics and biotech. The sensor chips are customisable for specific applications and Stratophase is currently working with customers to develop bespoke and cost effective systems to suit industry specific highly specialized requirements. The technology also has applications in counter bioterrorism, pharmaceutical manufacturing and food and drink manufacturing." (Process and Control Today; 05May09)

Canadians invent surgical mask that protects against airborne viruses
"Viral Defender Inc. today announced the worldwide launch of Triosyn disposable and self decontaminating surgical masks designed to provide increased protection against airborne viruses which includes Swine flu. This innovative respirator is a new and improved disposable facemask with a novel microbial filter that stops airborne diseases and viral threats. The technology, developed by Triosyn Research Laboratories of Quebec, designed to protect individuals against dangerous and deadly diseases in order to preserve health and safety and ensure the continuity of business and essential services in the event of pandemics, bioterrorism and environmental disasters." (Marketwire; 05May09) http://www.live-pr.com/en/canadians-invent-surgical-mask-that-protects-r1048274418.htm

[Op-Ed]: Getting chemical weapons destruction back on track
"One of the many arms-control challenges facing the Obama administration is to revitalize the sagging effort to destroy the vast U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons left over from the Cold War. […] U.S. efforts to dispose of its chemical weapons stockpile have been under way for more than two decades, yet as of April 2009 some 12,600 tons (40 percent) of the original 31,500 tons of blister and nerve agents remain to be destroyed and the program continues to lag far behind schedule. […] Finally, the United States should be more prompt in paying its $20 million annual dues to the CWC's international implementing body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, the Netherlands. Although U.S. funding covers only about 20 percent of the OPCW budget, Washington was 10 months late in paying its 2007 and 2008 dues, impairing the organization's effectiveness, and it has yet to pay any of its 2009 assessment." (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; 27Apr09; Jonathan B. Tucker and Paul F. Walker)

Chemical weapons disposal on fast track
"The Pentagon plans to speed the destruction of its aging chemical weapons by more than three years with a $1.2 billion acceleration of construction at two new disposal plants, budget documents show. The proposal represents a 60% increase in projected spending through 2015 to build the plants at the Pueblo (Colo.) Chemical Depot and the Blue Grass (Ky.) Army Depot, totaling more than $3.2 billion over that period, according to the documents, obtained by USA TODAY. Those sites will be the last to eliminate their stockpiles - and the only ones to use chemical neutralization instead of incinerators. Despite the acceleration, the Pentagon doesn't expect to eliminate all of its chemical weapons until 2021, well past the 2012 deadline set by the international Chemical Weapons Convention. To date, the military has destroyed 60% of the stockpile, which includes VX, GB and mustard gas produced before the weapons program was ended in 1969." (USA Today; 05May09; Peter Eisler) http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-05-05-chemicalweapons_N.htm

[Editorial]: Moving like molasses on chemical weapons cache
"For decades, Pueblo has waited for the Department of Defense to keep its promise and get rid of a huge cache of obsolete, leaky chemical weapons stored just 15 miles outside town. A recent leak of mustard agent vapor at the Pueblo Chemical Weapons depot, even though it was a minor event, underscores the need for the Pentagon to inject some urgency into solving what has long been a worrisome problem for southern Coloradans. We hope the Defense Department budgets the money necessary to safely dispose of the hazardous materials at the site by 2017, a date set by Congress." (Denver Post; 05May09) http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_12293380

Money needed for Russian chemical weapons disposal site, official says
"The president of Udmurtia, an internal republic within Russia, said yesterday that additional funding is needed for construction of a chemical weapons disposal plant there, Interfax reported. The storage depot at Kizner holds more than 14 percent of Russia's stockpile of chemical warfare materials, which once stood at 40,000 metric tons. Demilitarization operations are scheduled to begin there next year. […] Moscow has pledged to meet its April 2012 deadline for full elimination of materials banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention."
(Global Security Newswire; 05May09; Source: Interfax) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090505_4709.php

Homeland Security summit finds need for comprehensive radiological threat reduction policy
"Today, the Radiological Threat Awareness Coalition held its Homeland Security Policy Summit in Washington D.C. In attendance were a wide-range of top homeland security specialists, government officials, members of the private sector, first responders, and policy experts. The Radiological Threat Awareness Coalition (R-TAC) was formed in 2008 to lessen the gap in preparedness through education and awareness campaigns. Today's Summit was the second in a series of conferences meant to bring together key stakeholders and policymakers in the national security field and discuss what is needed to make America safer." (PR Newswire/US Newswire; 05May09) http://sev.prnewswire.com/homeland-security/20090505/DC1157505052009-1.html

Smiths Detection rolls-out handheld chemical and biological agent detectors
"It may be a sad reflection of the times we live in, but there's a growing worldwide demand for devices capable of detecting chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats. […] Bio-Seeq PLUS is a handheld biological testing unit designed for global military and emergency response applications to biological threats. The system provides on-site detection and identification of trace amounts of biological warfare agents such as Anthrax (pX01 & pX02), Tularemia, Plague and Pan Orthopox [sic]. The units were not only designed for portability, but also for ease of use by those who may have little to no biological testing experience. An interface guided by easy-to-follow software prompts makes the Bio-Seeq PLUS easy to use with one hand, even when wearing protective gear." (Gizmag; 05May09)

Threat convergence: subversion, destabilization and insecurity [Excerpt from speech delivered by David M. Luna at George Mason University, School of Public Policy, Washington, D.C.]
"President Barack Obama in remarks at the National Defense University (NDU) discussed many of the challenges facing the country and international community alike - from terrorism to violent extremism to the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) [said David M. Luna]. […] Regional insecurity respects no borders and its spillover effects ripple across many regions. We are under a threat from a growing wave of crime and transnational illicit activities that, if not contained, has the potential to destroy our cities and subvert governments. […] Finally, increasing terrorist-criminal ventures are also of particular concern to the international community, especially because some of these criminal syndicates may facilitate for terrorists the acquisition of radioactive materials, chemical and biological weapons, or technologies used for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)." (Department of State; 05May09; David M. Luna, Director for Anticrime Programs, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs) http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/rm/122662.htm

Indian army conclude[s] military games in Punjab amidst nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare environment
"The Indian Army's Strike Corps conducted a three day exercise named 'Hindi Shakti' [Indian Power] in the plains of Punjab to validate the capability in the network centric warfare, as also in a nuclear biological chemical warfare environment. The Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and GOC in C Western Command Lt Gen T.K. Sapru witnessed the games. The Kharga Corps supported by tanks and other heavy equipment conducted maneuvers near Barnala and Jagraon in the Punjab plains, a defence spokesman said." (Associated Press of Pakistan; 05May09)

Obama helping reduce Indo-Pak tension
"A top Obama Administration official advocated the need to build 'strategic partnership' with both India and Pakistan and at the same time working to reduce the tension between the two South Asian neighbours.'We must forge strong strategic partnerships with both India and Pakistan, while striving to reduce the tensions between the two,' the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy, said addressing a meeting of the Army Leader Forum. Commenting on the global security challenges, Flournoy said in this globalized world, there is increased risk that non-state actors will find ways to obtain nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction. Al Qaeda, she said continues to morph and is now regaining strength in Pakistan's tribal areas and spreading elsewhere." (Rising Kashmir; 06May09)

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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