War on Terrorism

Monday, June 08, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- June 8, 2009

A Marine's hard fight: leukemia and a smallpox vaccine infection
"[Lance Cpl. Cory] Belken, a 20-year-old Marine, had been dealing with two potentially life-threatening conditions at once -- a recent onset of acute leukemia and a blooming infection from a smallpox vaccination. He was that unlucky one-in-a-million case, his doctors said, but one they hoped would end well. [...] Belken was the victim of bad timing, said Lt. Cmdr. Edith Lederman, an infectious diseases specialist at the naval hospital. [...] Belken got the smallpox shot, which delivers a live form of the virus vaccinia, a milder cousin of the smallpox virus variola. Had the cancerous cells built up faster, officials would have seen the symptoms of leukemia and exempted him from getting the vaccine, Lederman said. Or, if he had gotten the vaccine several months earlier, she said, his immune system probably could have cleared the vaccinia without much trouble. [...] More than 1.7 million service members have been vaccinated against smallpox since 2002 because of fears of a bioterrorism attack. [...] About 200 service members have developed complications associated with the smallpox vaccination that were serious enough to require hospitalization or absence from work, according to Lt. Col. Patrick Garman of the Military Vaccine Agency. Problems included inflammations of the brain and parts of the heart." (Los Angeles Times; 07Jun09; Jia-Rui Chong) http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-smallpox7-2009jun07,0,6952606.story

Bristol terror[ism] suspect had 'concerning interest in germ warfare'
"Winchester Crown Court heard AS level student Isa Ibrahim questioned microbiologist Dr Sarah Maddocks when she gave a lecture into how science could be fun at City of Bristol College in November 2007. Dr Maddocks told the court that afterwards a student (Ibrahim) approached her [...] 'He asked which were the best sorts of bacteria and where they might be found and how they might be used. He used Anthrax [sic] as an example and I answered his questions in the broadest terms I could.' [...] After fobbing the persistent student off she discussed the matter with her lecturer husband Robert Hawkins, and he reported it to college authorities. [...] When police raided [Ibrahim's] one-bedroom flat at Comb Paddock, Westbury-on-Trym, in April 2008, in a fridge they found a family-sized biscuit tin containing a home made explosive, an electrical circuit with button detonator and, hanging on the back of a bedroom door, a white cotton vest with panels at the front and back similar to those worn by suicide bombers." (Evening Post; 08Jun09) http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/homepage/Bristol-terror-suspect-concerning-germ-warfare/article-1059206-detail/article.html

[Republic of the Philippines] to co-host with US bioterrorism event [a workshop]
"The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) Workshop on Biological Threat Reduction […] will be attended by those concerned with biosecurity. […] The workshop is the first activity under the ARF counter-terrorism and transnational crime Work Plan in the area of biosafety and bioterrorism. It aims to discuss global security issues, particularly national and international efforts to mitigate biological threats. […] Aside from forming measures to deal with bioterrorism, the workshop will also seek to establish a biosecurity network. […] All 27 ARF countries, the ASEAN secretariat, World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, Interpol, and the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs have been invited to send delegates to the workshop." (Business World; 08Jun09)

Transfer of mustard blister agent begins [to Umatilla Chemical Depot, OR]
"The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency announced it has begun the transfer of mustard blister agent to the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. The CMA says the delivery of blister agent HD mustard-filled containers to the UMCDF is a significant milestone for the destruction of the volatile munitions. [...] Despite the success of previous disposal campaigns, officials say the delivery will require special care in order for the operation to remain safe. 'Our experienced crews are dedicated to safe and secure munitions movement and delivery to the disposal plant,' Lt. Col. Bob Stein, Umatilla Chemical Depot commander, said in a statement." (Middle East Times; 05Jun09; Source: United Press International)

Alabama CST [Civil Support Team] trains with Coast Guard
"Soldiers with the Alabama National Guard's 46th Civil Support Team (CST) recently worked [...] a threat scenario with the 41st CST from Kentucky, the 43rd CST from South Carolina, the Alabama National Guard's Aviation Security and Support Detachment, the U.S. Coast Guard out of Mobile, Ala., and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). [...] The scenario, Operation Flying Dutchman, was drafted and monitored by U.S. Army North Command's Civil Support Readiness Group-East. The scenario overview stated that an international terrorist group boarded and seized control of the cruise liner, the State of Maine, which was heading to dry-dock for renovations and repairs. After losing contact with the cruise liner, the U.S. Coast Guard located the missing ship about two miles from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile. The Coast Guard personnel were fired upon as they approached the ship to investigate. The FBI had been monitoring correspondence from a domestic group with links to international terrorist over the past year. The FBI reported the group bragging about their acquisition of precursor for chemical warfare groups. [...] The 46th's objectives were to conduct ship boarding operations safely and define standards, to establish ship boarding tactics, techniques and procedures, to build a working relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard Strike team, and to conduct deliberate relief-in-place operations safely and define standards. [Lt. Col. Rick] Pelham said he was very pleased with the outcome of the training." (National Guard; 08Jun09) http://www.ngb.army.mil/news/archives/2009/06/060809-CST.aspx

New York National Guard trains for dirty bomb attack
"Four hundred New York National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and New York Guard volunteers converged on Albany (NY) June 5-7 to hone their skills in responding to a dirty bomb attack on an American city. [...] The joint exercise provides all elements of the CERFP, which stands for CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive) Enhanced Response Force Package. [...] It was a good opportunity to exercise the 109th's role in receiving emergency responders and supplies into the Capitol Region, [Air Guard Major Ty] Randall said. [...] Training with the National Guard gives the civilian responders a sense of how the military operates and a chance to share their skills. [...] New York Guard Sgt. First Class Emil Mejia, said the New York CERFP has come a long way since 2003 when it was a New York Guard mission only. There is more and more training, and more manpower dedicated to the mission now, Mejia said." (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs; 07Jun09)

Everett [WA] wife feared husband planned to kill her with toxin ricin
"An Everett woman who found what is believed to be the deadly toxin ricin in her husband's home office on Wednesday was granted an order of protection after saying that she feared her husband had been planning to poison her. The FBI, which is investigating in conjunction with Everett police, said the suspected ricin has been contained and will be sent to an East Coast laboratory that specializes in forensic testing of contaminated materials. FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs said the suspected ricin poses no danger to the neighborhood or community. [...] Everett Police Department spokesman Sgt. Robert Goetz said the man has been notified that once he's released from the hospital, police intend to book him into Snohomish County Jail on investigation of domestic-violence assault and investigation of unlawful imprisonment. Goetz said police believe the man kept his wife captive in the house for several hours during the alleged assault on Monday." (Seattle Times; 06Jun09; Christine Clarridge) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009307058_ricin06m0.html

Police smash white supremacist['s] terror[ist] plot to poison ethnic minorities with ricin
"They discovered the lethal toxin in a sealed jam jar after a six month investigation ended with dawn raids on two properties in County Durham. Two men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 and were yesterday being quizzed by officers over their involvement in a worldwide plot. [...] It is feared they planned to use it [ricin] as part of a biological weapon against ethnic minorities in the UK. Officers discovered traces of ricin in a kitchen cupboard of a terraced home in the former mining village of Burnopfield and believe it may have been stored there for up to two years. The two men held by officers - former lorry driver Ian Davidson, 41 and his 18 year old son Nicky - are being held at a secure location in West Yorkshire. Since the former pub DJ's arrest forensic officers have been examining Davidson's property. Nicky was held on suspicion of inciting racial hatred following a swoop at his home in Grampian Court, Annfield Plain. However, he has since been re-arrested and is also now detained under the Terrorism Act in West Yorkshire." (Daily Mail; 06Jun09; Paul Sims) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1191148/Police-smash-global-plot-poison-non-whites-lethal-toxin.html

Computer model can boost preparation for health emergencies
"A new computer modeling system could help cities prepare medical responses for disasters and public health emergencies, United Press International reports. [...] Researchers from New York University School of Medicine's emergency medicine department developed the platform, called Planning with Large Agent Networks Against Catastrophes, or PLAN C. For the study, researchers modeled the effects of releasing poisonous sarin gas in public transportation centers in Manhattan. [...] The report found that releasing sarin gas could expose 22,000 people to harmful effects and cause 178 intensive care unit admissions. The report also found that executing disaster plans within 30 minutes instead of two hours reduced wait times, mortality and the number of affected individuals. The investigators said the model also could be used to simulate public scenarios in Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco." (Health Beat; 05Jun09; Source: UPI) http://www.ihealthbeat.org/Articles/2009/6/5/Study-Computer-Model-Can-Boost-Preparation-for-Health-Emergencies.aspx

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