Monday, June 29, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- June 29, 2009

Honeywell purchases EcaFlo [bioterrorism defense] equipment [Little River, SC]
"Honeywell [Technology Solutions] has purchased equipment from Integrated Environmental Technologies [IET] to support a biological remediation project. [IET] announced Honeywell […] has purchased its EcaFlo Excelyte equipment as the purchasing agent engaged by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Honeywell made the purchase of EcaFlo Excelyte equipment as part of an effort to support the Interagency Biological Remediation Demonstration project. The EcaFlo equipment is designed to produce a 'powerful, environmentally friendly disease control agent,' a news release said. 'We are dedicated to making certain that the threat of bioterrorism to our nation is greatly reduced by offering Defense Threat Reduction Agency and other federal agencies EcaFlo equipment,' William Prince, [IET] president and chief executive officer, said." (United Press International; 26Jun09)

[Advanced] Diamond [Technologies] targets biological threats [Romeoville, IL]
"A firm in the US is drawing up plans for a badge-sized, wearable sensor that can detect in real time the presence of E. coli, anthrax [spores], salmonella [bacteria] and other biological threats. The sensor, which contains tiny diamond cantilevers, is being developed by Advanced Diamond Technologies (ADT) in Illinois. The company is currently six months into a three-year research programme and hopes to have prototype devices available by the end of 2011. Diamond […] has […] properties that make it useful as a biosensor. In particular, the surface of diamond is covered with strong hydrogen-carbon bonds. […] The hydrogen atoms can be stripped off and replaced with antibody molecules that can bond […] with a target biomolecule. […] The new device consists of diving-board-shaped cantilevers […] mounted on a semiconductor chip. […] Any biomolecule landing on the surface of the cantilever changes the device's vibrational frequency, which can be converted into an electrical signal through the […] cantilever. […] One challenge will be to concentrate the pathogenic agents so that even tiny amounts can be detected - the initial target is to detect 100 cells in 100 ul of fluid. […] 'We want to miniaturize the sensor so that it can be worn as a badge or around the neck,' says lead investigator John Carlisle. The final device will also […] communicate its signal wirelessly. […] The sensor could have non-military applications such as determining whether […] water is safe to drink. Carlisle even wants to adapt the sensor so that it can detect not just water-based biomolecules but those that are air-borne." (Physics World; 29Jun09; Matin Durrani)

DCGI [Drugs Controller General of India] nod for marketing biothrax in India to prevent anthrax infection
"Biological E Ltd announced that the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has issued a registration certificate for BioThrax (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed), which enables the marketing and sale of the vaccine in India to help prevent anthrax infection. Emergent BioSolutions has signed a marketing agreement with Biological E. Limited for the marketing of BioThrax in India. BioThrax is the only vaccine for the prevention of anthrax infection licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The BioThrax market authorization for India follows the publication in July 2008 of the National Disaster Management Guidelines on Biological Disaster by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which is the government body that oversees disaster management. In that document, the government of India provided guidance with respect to the management of biological disasters and stated that there is a need to have a supply of readily available anthrax vaccines to be administered rapidly in the event of an outbreak. […] [BioThrax] is licensed by the FDA as a pre-exposure prophylaxis for use in adults who are at high risk of exposure to anthrax spores." (PharmaBiz; 29Jun09)

Rocky mountain arsenal gets $7.4M wildlife center [Commerce City, CO]
"Once a Superfund site that was the U.S. military's biggest chemical weapons factory, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is getting a 'green' visitor's center that will be an urban showpiece for the American West's wildlife system. […] Arsenal construction began in 1942 as the U.S. Army scrambled to match a chemical weapons threat from the Axis powers during World War II. It produced mustard gas, lewisite, chlorine gas and more than 100,000 tons of incendiary bombs. […] The Army produced incendiary cluster bombs, nerve gas and rocket propellant at the facility. Production stopped in 1982, and the arsenal was declared a priority under the federal Superfund hazardous waste cleanup program." (Vail Daily; 18Jun09; Source: Judith Kohler, AP)

Marketing new chemical weapons [Op-Ed]
"Penn State University won a $250,000 contract to conduct further research into new incapacitating chemical weapons […] for police use in the [U.S.]. […] To market these weapons as somehow separate from the chemical and biological weapons that are banned by international treaties, they are being given new, obfuscating names. In this intentional narrative, chemical weapons become 'calmatives' or 'advanced riot control agents.' And they are promoted as part of a group of so-called 'nonlethal' weapons. […] These weapons aren't really weapons at all but 'capabilities,' 'technologies,' and 'techniques.' […] These semantic strategies are intimately and dangerously linked to efforts to push the legal boundaries of what is acceptable under the CWC. Not only have weapon developers and promoters sought to squeeze incapacitating agents into the riot control agent category, but they have sought to widen the use of riot control agents to warfare, which is clearly prohibited by the CWC. U.S. military officials have gone so far as to say that research and development of incapacitating chemical weapons will continue. […] Furthermore, these officials suggest that if there are technologies that the Defense Department is banned from pursuing, they will subcontract the work to the Justice or Energy departments. Meanwhile, Defense is busy working on a variety of chemical delivery systems, including airburst munitions and long-range 155-millimeter mortar rounds, but no one will say what they're going to put in them." (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; 29Jun09; Neil Davison)

Iran urges punishment of 1987 chemical attack elements
"Iran's Foreign Ministry called for the international community to help prosecution and punishment of the elements involved in chemical bombardment of Iranian western border cities during the 8-year Iran-Iraq war. In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry to mark the 22nd anniversary […] the organization said violent attacks of the former Iraqi regime against Iran claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and left a large number with physical and mental difficulties. Bombardment of these towns as well as Halabcheh city in northern Iraq were outcomes of hostile policies adopted by the US and other super-powers which provided Iraq with these destructive weapons. Iran actively attended the [CWC] disarmament conference to help prevent such hostile chemical attacks in the world. The conference sought preparing a convention to prevent development, production and stockpile of chemical weapons. […] Iran also named June 29 the national day to fight against chemical and bacterial weapons." (Iranian Students News Agency; 29Jun09)

Russia boosts security at chemical weapons sites
"Russia has placed additional security personnel at its chemical weapons storage and destruction sites, Interfax reported Friday. 'Military guards and paramilitary security units with special gear and guard dogs will be in charge of our facilities,' said Russian chemical weapons official Nikolai Khlebnikov. 'Antiterror[ist] forces, armed with automatic weapons, grenade launchers and sniper rifles, have been formed to tighten the defense in line with the General Staff's instruction.' The sites are also to be placed under continuous watch through use of security technology. […] The nation holds its remaining chemical arsenal in six facilities across its Bryansk, Kirov, Kurgan, Penza and Udmurtia regions. […] Russia plans to destroy 6,054 metric tons of chemical warfare material this year, according to the announcement. […] Russia has already destroyed 12,000 metric tons of the deadly chemicals in its stockpile, and it is obligated to increase that total to 18,000 tons […] by the end of the year." (Global Security Newswire; 29Jun09)

Emergency services treat 'explosion casualties' [Dover, England]
"A mock-up exercise [was] used to test how emergency services would respond to a radiological explosion. More than 1,000 members of the emergency services and partner agencies from Kent and Essex [England] took part in the live training scenario at a fictional college near Dover Castle on Friday and Saturday. Police, fire and ambulance teams had to deal with a number of 'casualties' who required decontamination and other treatment. Members of the public volunteered to act as the injured people. […] The exercise […] involved Kent Police, Essex Police, fire and ambulance services in both counties, as well as the Home Office, Cabinet Office, Department of Health and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Kent County Council and Dover District Council were also involved. The Health Protection Agency delivered the […] exercise to test the NHS at all relevant levels on behalf of the Department of Health and in conjunction with the Strategic Health Authority. Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Leppard
said: 'Every agency has the opportunity to test themselves […] but it is only when you bring all the agencies together that you can really develop the learning necessary about how we would all respond to a real incident on the ground.' (Kent Online; 29Jun09)

Retired national guard officer takes charge of New York guard unit
"George DeSimone, an Astoria, Queens resident and retired New York Army National Guard officer, has assumed command of the 88th Brigade of the New York Guard, the state force which augments the National Guard. […] The 88th Brigade of the New York Guard, which is headquartered in the historic Harlem Armory on Fifth Avenue, assists the National Guard with training, administrating, legal and medical assistance. The brigade also provides volunteers trained in hazardous materials remediation who augment National Guard team assigned to rescue victims from buildings destroyed by chemical, radiological, or biological weapons. [sic] […] DeSimone is also a former firefighter who retired from the Fire Department New York in 2003 as a Lieutenant and is currently an Adjutant Professor at New York University, specializing in teaching of emergency management, terrorism and homeland security related areas." (Read Media Newswire; 28Jun09;
Source: New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs)

Study on keeping nuclear bombs away from U.S. shows misplaced fear over cost of 100% overseas cargo scanning
"A two-tiered scanning-protocol for inspecting all containers at international ports could be the most affordable approach to ensuring containers moving through the global transportation system are not carrying nuclear bombs, according to a paper [Estimating the Operational Impact of Container Inspections at International Ports] being presented at a services special interest group meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences [INFORMS]. The authors [Nitin Bakshi, Stephen E. Flynn, and Noah Gans] challenge the federal scheme now in place that relies on targeting only a small number of containers that U.S.
authorities identify as 'high-risk' for inspection. Based on detailed data […] they found that there is a serious risk of large bottlenecks in international shipping should a raised security alert or actual terrorist incident require that the current inspection protocol be ramped up. 'We find that the current inspection regime being advanced by the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security and widely supported by the international community can only handle a small percentage of the total load,' the authors maintain. 'An alternate inspection protocol that emphasizes screening (a rapid primary scan of all containers, followed by a more careful secondary scan of only a few containers that fail the primary
test) holds promise as a feasible solution for meeting the 100% scanning requirement.'" (Institute For Operations Research and the Management Sciences; 24Jun09)

Uncertain future awaits man [Rafid Ahmed Alwan] whose lies backed war [Baghdad, Iraq]
"When the Iraqi who could be considered more responsible than any other for the US invasion six years ago quietly returned in March to the land his lies helped shape, Iraq was entering one of its most stable and promising phases in six years of turmoil. Rafid Ahmed Alwan - otherwise known as Curveball - slipped back into Baghdad after 10 years of exile in Germany. Before the invasion, Curveball had become the CIA's most valuable source on Iraq's fictitious chemical and biological weapons program. […] Curveball was a trained chemical engineer, who had been taken straight from university to work in a division of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's intelligence services. […] Two months after Baghdad fell, [he] was approached by his boss who told him a group of Americans wanted to meet him. At the time, the US military was scanning Iraq intensively, looking for proof of a chemical and biological weapons program. They were building their case on the word of Iraqi collaborators. […] 'They were expecting to find information about fermentation projects for bacterial weapons. I was the chief of the fermentation section of the company at the time,' he said." (Taipei Times; 30Jun09; Source: The Guardian, Baghdad)

No comments: