War on Terrorism

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, September 2, 2009

SIGA Technologies receives a $3 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health
"SIGA Technologies, Inc. [...] a company specializing in the development of pharmaceutical agents to fight bio-warfare pathogens, today announced that it has received a Phase II grant of approximately $3 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to continue exploring the use of ST-246(r) as an adjunct to the current smallpox vaccine for prevention of smallpox vaccine-related adverse events. SIGA will evaluate the efficacy of ST-246 in preventing smallpox vaccine-related adverse events in non-human primate models of immunodeficiency and evaluate the impact of concurrent ST-246 administration on ACAM2000 vaccination efficacy in a monkeypox challenge in non-human primate models of immunodeficiency. [...] SIGA continues its active pursuit of a contract in response to [Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority] BARDA's Request for Proposals to supply the Strategic National Stockpile with a therapeutic smallpox anti-viral drug." (Trading Market; 02Sep09) http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2508286/

City unveils new bio safety lab [Laredo, TX]
"It's a 4-thousand square foot facility designed to do clinical and environmental testing. Technicians will be able to detect harmful bacteria and viruses with the lab's state of the art equipment. Kayla Castillon\epidemiologist 'This lab is designed to respond to any emergency or bio terrorist attack, so its directed to detect anthrax, H1N1, things that would be [a] public health emergency.'" (KGNS, Channel 8, Laredo; 01Sep09)

Bioterrorism: Obama's strategy relies on prevention, says expert [Brian Finlay]
"A research expert says a recent meeting between scientists, researchers, and the Obama administration indicates the administration has chosen a preventive strategy to combat the threat of bioterrorism, reports the Global Security Newswire (GSN). [...] One expert that attended the meeting, Brian Finlay, a biological weapons expert at the Henry L. Stimson Center, a nonpartisan international peace and security think tank, told GSN that the Obama administration's emphasis on prevention differs from the previous administration, as does its open-mindedness to strengthening international law regarding biological weapons, another anonymous international analyst said. 'The focus of the conversation was on the prevention of biothreats, so I believe that is their general strategy,' according to the research expert. The White House 'may have an expansive definition, but their emphasis was on prevention instead of crisis management.'" (Security Management; 01Sep09; Matthew Harwood)

Health officials taking stock of hospital ventilators
"Local, state and federal health officials will know this month precisely how many mechanical ventilators - machines that pump oxygen into ailing lungs - are at every hospital in case the swine flu becomes a moderate to severe outbreak. Inventories of the machines are being counted at hospitals on Long Island [NY] and nationwide in a survey conducted by the American Association for Respiratory Care. [...] Two years ago, at the height of the bird flu scare, federal pandemic planners worried too few ventilators were available. [Alan] Schwalberg's [director of emergency medical services for the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System] predecessor estimated then there were 50,000 ventilators in New York and 5,000 on Long Island. State health officials now decline to disclose the number of machines. They say the information is considered sensitive, as ventilators may be needed during an act of bioterrorism, and officials don't want the nation's enemies to know what would be available during a crisis." (Newsday; 01Sep09; Delthia Ricks)

Northrop Grumman's biohazard detection system nocks 8 million tests
"Northrop Grumman Corp.'s [...] Security Systems LLC [limited liability company] unit said its automated Biohazard Detection System [BDS], in use nationwide with the U.S. Postal Service, recently performed its eight millionth test without a false positive test result. [...] Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor and systems integrator of the BDS, which has screened tens of billions of pieces of mail for anthrax [spores] over the past five years. It is the only network of autonomous bio-detectors deployed nationwide. The BDS has full turn-key logistics and is integrated into a mature central monitoring system. More than 1,000 systems have been delivered to hundreds of postal mail processing facilities." (Trading Markets; 31Aug09) http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2504265/

EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]: chemical disposal plant properly closed [Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System facility, HI]
"An Army chemical weapons disposal plant that handled nerve gas and other deadly agents has been properly cleaned and closed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday. The dismantling of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System [JACADS] facility on the now-uninhabited Pacific island about 890 miles west-southwest of Honolulu took about three years, ending in 2004. Sarin nerve gas, mustard gas and blister agent dating back to World War II were incinerated at the facility, known as JACADS, along with more than 400,000 rockets, projectiles, bombs and mortars containing chemical agents, including the deadly nerve agent VX, officials said. [...] The EPA said its closure approval 'assures protection from impact of JACADS for not only human health, but also for the ecology and environment.' The Army was required to decommission JACADS after the facility in 2000 destroyed the last of over 400,000 obsolete chemical weapons collected from Okinawa, Japan, and other U.S. military bases in the Pacific Basin and West Germany between 1971 and 1991." (Associated Press; 31Aug09)

Pakistan to pay for lawyers of Qaeda suspect [Aafia Siddiqui] in U.S.
"A U.S.-trained Pakistani neuroscientist who faces trial for the attempted murder of U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan will be represented by lawyers paid for by Pakistan, a U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday. In an unusual step, Pakistan sought to send in a team of lawyers to help represent Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with grabbing a U.S. warrant officer's rifle in mid-2008 while she was detained for questioning in Afghanistan and firing it at FBI agents and military personnel who were not hit. [...] According to her U.S. indictment, items found in Siddiqui's handbag at the time of her arrest included notes on making explosives and chemical weapons as well as descriptions of a 'mass casualty attack' that listed various New York City landmarks. While the U.S. government has previously linked Siddiqui to al Qaeda, the charges against her do not mention the group and prosecutors have not said whether they intend to make any connection a part of the case." (Reuters; 02Sep09; Christine Kearney)

Albuquerque airport testing bio-hazard sensors [NM]
"The international airport in Albuquerque, N.M., is halfway through a two-year test of a new technology designed to 'sniff out' chemical and biological threats in the air. The ThreatSense system developed by ICx Technologies may not look like much [...] but the company claims it can help avert catastrophe." (Smart Brief; 02Sep09)

U.S.-South Africa nonproliferation and disarmament dialogue
"U.S. and South African senior officials discussed a broad range of nonproliferation and disarmament issues August 26 - 28 in Pretoria, South Africa. State Department Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Robert J. Einhorn led the U.S. interagency delegation. The meeting followed President Obama's and President Zuma's decision at the July 8-10 G-8 summit to expand our bilateral dialogue on these issues. [...] The United States looks forward to expanded consultations and cooperation as we work together to promote disarmament and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation. We will also increase our efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, which includes securing all vulnerable nuclear material and is the focus of the President's Nuclear Security Summit in March 2010." (PR Canada; 31Aug09)

PharmAthene to present at the Rodman and Renshaw Annual Global Investment Conference

"PharmAthene, Inc. [...] a biodefense company developing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical threats, announced today that management will present at the Rodman & Renshaw Annual Global Investment Conference 2009. The Company is scheduled to present on Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. E.T. in the Hubbard Salon (5th Floor) at the New York Palace Hotel, New York. The presentation will be webcast and can be accessed at [...] PharmAthene's lead product development programs include: [...] Valortim(R) -- a fully human monoclonal antibody for the prevention and treatment of anthrax infection -- Protexia(R) -- a novel bioscavenger for the prevention and treatment of morbidity and mortality associated with exposure to chemical nerve agents --RypVax(TM) -- a recombinant dual antigen vaccine for plague [...]." (Reuters; 01Sep09)

Suspicious package likely birthday prank [Carson City, NV]
"A practical joke on an employee that recently celebrated a birthday prompted a call to police to report a suspicious package at a glass shop on Highway 50 East today. An employee of Great Basin Glass called police after finding an envelope at the business which read: 'Open in an enclosed space such as a bathroom. Might be anthrax. Might be letter bomb.' [...] An examination of the envelope revealed it contained wires and a speaker. After further investigation, it was believed to be a musical birthday card." (Nevada Appeal; 01Sep09; F.T. Norton)

Federal judge dismisses Lafayettte [IN] threat case: new trial for [Stephen Michael Long] accused anthrax hoaxer [sic] is uncertain
"In 2004, a federal jury convicted Stephen Michael Long on charges of threatening to use weapons of mass destruction, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April overturned his conviction and 30-year prison sentence. Prosecutors were pushing to bring the case back to trial this year, but those plans could be frustrated by the dismissal from U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi, which comes after a hearing last week. Though the case has been dismissed, the judge has not yet ruled whether prosecutors will be allowed to begin the criminal process anew against Long or whether the man will be allowed to go free. [...] Long's letters were mailed in April 2002 to government offices, politicians, doctors, prominent community members, law enforcement agencies, media outlets and businesses throughout south Louisiana. The letters cryptically worded and attributed to 'The Brothers' led [to] the closure of several businesses and government offices. [...] Some letters contained baby powder, and many people who received the letters testified at Long's trial that they feared the substance was anthrax [bacteria] because the letter referenced drugs used to treat for anthrax [bacteria] exposure." (Daily Advertiser; 01Sep09) http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20090901/NEWS01/90901016/Federal+judge+dismisses+Lafayettte+threat+case

Ex-BNP [British National Party] man [Matthew Single] fined for leaking details of thousands of party members [names and contact information]
"A former member of the British National party was today fined £200 [pounds sterling] today after he admitted leaking the names and details of thousands of party members online. Matthew Single, appearing before Nottingham magistrates, admitted revealing the names, addresses and occupations of around 12,000 members in a blog. Charges against his wife, Sadie Graham-Single, were dropped. [...] Police officers, teachers, church figures and lawyers were among those revealed to be BNP members, with some complaining the leaks exposed them to the risk of dismissal or disciplinary action. More than 160 complaints were made to police following attacks on BNP members and their property, it was revealed in court. White powder, purported to be anthrax, was put through people's letterboxes, swastikas were daubed on doors and there was an arson attack on one member's vehicle, officers said. Speaking outside the court, Detective Sergeant Chris Reynolds said he was disappointed with the outcome of the investigation, believed to have cost about £50,000 [pounds sterling]. 'It's taken a great deal of work to get the case to court,' he said. 'There was pretty serious stuff after what happened. People were fearful for their safety.' The list of names, which identified thousands of people linked to the far-right party, was leaked on the web in November 2008." (Guardian; 01Sep09) http://u.tv/News/Ex-BNP-man-fined-for-leaking-details-of-thousands-of-party-members/7fbc7f2b-68b0-44ea-b01e-fddde08bbf1

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