War on Terrorism

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- May 20, 2009

Soon after the first anthrax [bacteria] letters were mailed in 2001, Iowa State University destroyed its entire collection of anthrax [bacterium] strains. Nobody seems to know why.
"Marcia Chambers was a student at Iowa State University in the 1990s. She observed some strange and ultimately suspicious events on November 29, 1990 and in the weeks which followed. She has been troubled by these events ever since, and has done considerable research to try to determine the meaning of what she saw and its possible connection to the anthrax [bacteria] attacks of 2001. It is Marcia's theory that the anthrax powder [sic] used in the 2001 mailings originated from a 1990 theft of anthrax from the laboratories at Iowa State University. […] Frustrated by the lack of attention paid to the questions she has raised, she has decided to present her story in a series of postings on this blog. It is a fascinating story, part observation, part conjecture, and possibly not, in the end, relevant to the 2001 anthrax [bacteria] attacks." (Web Wire; 19May09)

Thomson Reuters examines highly cited research in bioterrorism
"The Healthcare and Science business of Thomson Reuters announced yesterday the results of a study assessing influential research in bioterrorism from 1999 to 2008. The findings appear in the May/June issue of Science Watch […] Science Watch ranked the top 25 institutions by both total citations and citation impact (average citations per paper). The United States accounts for 23 of the top 25 institutions in both total citations and citation impact. […] The most cited bioterrorism paper was published in 2001, regarding the causative agent of plague, Yersinia pestis; this paper has been cited nearly 500 times. The second most cited paper, entitled 'Anthrax,' was published two years before anthrax-tainted mail [sic] killed five people in 2001 […]." (Exchange Magazine; 19May09) http://www.exchangemagazine.com/morningpost/2009/week21/Tuesday/051931.htm

Milford officials ratchet up readiness for disasters [CT]
"Simulating a local exposure to deadly anthrax [bacteria], Milford health workers swung into action Tuesday to the potential emergency with a carefully crafted plan. A tractor-trailer Monday night brought 'antibiotics' to the Department of Public Works yard on Ford Street, and emergency personnel such as police, fire, education, health, transit and other local responders were inoculated right there. Other critical staff, including representatives from all city departments and area media outlets, was given anti-anthrax medication over three hours Tuesday morning at the Milford Senior Center on Jepson Drive. None of it was real. […] 'This exercise is really our first step to see if we can medicate our critical staff and first responders,' [Preparedness Coordinator Tara Mustakos] said, adding that another drill is planned next year. 'It's really good training to help adjust to the location. I think it went really well.'" (Connecticut Post; 20May09; Noelle Frampton)

Senate confirms Obama's pick for FDA chief [Margaret Hamburg]
"The Senate on Monday confirmed President Barack Obama's pick to oversee food and drug safety, two areas that are vital to consumers and widely seen as in critical need of improvement. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, a bioterrorism expert, will be sworn in as the 21st commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and only the second woman to hold the post in 100 years of agency history. The Senate confirmed her nomination by voice vote. […] Hamburg, 53, told senators at her confirmation hearing that she wants to restore public confidence in the agency by putting science first and running an open and accountable operation." (Associated Press; 19May09; Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar)

Public can participate in preparedness exercise [Louisville, KY]
"The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness plans an emergency preparedness exercise today to test its ability to deliver medicines during a public health emergency using drive-through windows at banks. […] The exercise, which tests the delivery of medications from the Strategic National Stockpile, is part of the Cities Readiness Initiative of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and will simulate a response to a bioterrorism attack." (Courier-Journal; 20May09) http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090520/NEWS01/905200430/1008/NEWS01/Public+can+participate+in+preparedness+exercise

New anthrax vaccine candidate may be superior to BioThrax
"PharmAthene, Inc., a biodefense company developing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical threats, announced that results from a second Phase 2 study of SparVax were presented at the 12th Annual Conference on Vaccine Research, held in Baltimore, MD on April 27-29, 2009. The conference was sponsored by the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases. […] SparVax is a novel second generation recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine that is being developed for pre and post exposure protection against anthrax infection." (Drug Discovery & Development; 18May09; Source: Pharmathene) http://www.dddmag.com/news-New-Anthrax-Vaccine-Candidate-May-Be-Superior-to-BioThrax-051809.aspx

Are we safe yet? [from terrorism]
"On the face of it, we should be safer. After 9/11, the federal government rushed the Anti-terrorism Act into law, giving police and intelligence agencies broad new powers […] All told, we're now spending $25 billion a year on national security […] Not included in that estimate is the value of the time spent by air travellers lining up to empty their pockets and take off their shoes at security checkpoints. Slowdowns because of increased security at the US land border are costing individuals and businesses millions more. […] According to Matthew Bunn, co-principal investigator of the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard's Belfer Center, the ingredients for nuclear weapons exist in hundreds of buildings in forty countries. Some sites are secure, he says, but others 'have little more than a night watchman and a chain-link fence.'" (Walrus Magazine; 18May09; Daniel Stoffman) http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2009.05-security-are-we-safe-yet//?ref=2009.06-security-are-we-safe-yet&page=

Disaster training in Carbon County [PA]
" The threat of a chemical or biological attack is very much on the minds of state and federal officials. Emergency responders were preparing for the worst Tuesday in Carbon County. Experts in biological and chemical warfare were training at Beltzville State Park. They are members of the Army National Guard's Civil Support Team. It's their job to protect us in the event of a chemical or biological attack. […] 'It gives us a lot of peace of mind knowing that there are teams like this across the country,' said Mark Nalesnik of Carbon County Emergency Management. […] In the exercise some suspected chemicals were found in drums in the lake area. Some dead fish were also found. The fish used were actually bought at a store. The drill had experts in moon suits bring them to a special lab where they were tested. It takes special training to do this kind of work." (WNEP 16; 19May09; Bob Reynolds) http://www.wnep.com/wnep-carb-disaster-training,0,455371.story

KMW to supply German Army with new MUNGO NC Recce [support vehicle]
"The Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) has commissioned Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) to supply a light, air-portable reconnaissance vehicle for nuclear and chemical threats, in the form of the new MUNGO NC Recce. To this end, KMW will initially produce a reconnaissance vehicle which will start trials at the start of 2010. There are plans for a total of 25 of the MUNGO NC Recce in series production.
[…] When the crew detects a threat from nuclear or chemical warfare agents they attach markers to the ground by means of another system, thus warning following troop formations of the danger in question. The crew can also use their systems to collect all the relevant meteorological data." (Defense Professionals; 19May09)

Second suspect arrested in Sebring anthrax [bacteria] hoax [FL]
"Cele Pete Carmona, 20, of 4125 Capri St., was arrested Monday on a warrant charging 76 counts of possession of a hoax weapon of mass destruction. He remains in the Highlands County Jail with bail set at $380,000 and is set for a June 15 court appearance. On April 2, nearly 80 envelopes containing white powder were found at Florida Hospital Heartland Division and in the Sun 'n Lake area. The hospital and the Sun 'n Lake town hall were put on lockdown for several hours, and officials throughout the county were on high alert throughout the day." (Tampa Tribune; 20May09; Brad Dickerson) http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/may/19/191047/second-suspect-arrested-anthrax-hoax/news-breaking/

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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