War on Terrorism

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, September 16, 2009

Cipro[floxacin] side effects are remembered in wake of September 11 anniversary
"The anniversary of September 11, 2001 has led some to recall the mass hysteria that ensued at that time over the threat of an anthrax outbreak, and the subsequent increase in demand for the antibiotic, Cipro. The current hysteria over projections of a potential swine flu pandemic this year have some feeling like it's deja vu. To date, there have been no reported adverse reactions from the swine flu vaccine that is being tested, but Cipro side effects have led to several lawsuits against Bayer Pharmaceuticals. [...] Thousands of citizens were taking Cipro amidst fears of an anthrax outbreak when envelopes of powder were mailed to several public agencies, notes the Pensacola News Journal. Users may not have known then of Cipro tendon issues -and it's that upfront uncertainty about a drug's potential adverse effects that, in a state of frenzy, some fear may play out again with the swine flu vaccine." (Lawyers and Settlements; 16Sep09) http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/12774/cipro-side-effects.html

Abbott [Laboratories] wins top honor in Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards
"Abbott announced today it has been named the overall Gold winner of the 2009 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards for its Ibis T5000 Biosensor system, which is designed to detect and characterize a broad range of infectious agents in a given sample, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. [...] Abbott's Ibis system (now marketed under the PLEX-ID trade name) was singled out for the top honor, in part, because it promises to alert health officials to new disease strains, and may also guard against bioterrorism and enable hospitals to identify antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its environment. The Wall Street Journal reports that since the first system was completed in 2005, the technology has 'been deployed in 20 sites around the U.S., including the Centers for Disease Control. This spring, the device helped the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego to identify the first two cases of the H1N1 swine flu in the U.S.'" (Reuters; 15Sep09)

ST-246 used to treat complications from exposure to recombinant vaccinia virus
"SIGA Technologies Inc. [...] announced that its smallpox antiviral drug, ST-246, has been used to treat a Pennsylvania patient suffering from complications due to exposure to a live vaccinia-vectored rabies vaccine. [...] In an effort to control wildlife rabies, bait sachets containing recombinant vaccinia virus expressing rabies antigens are distributed in the rural areas of the Eastern United States. The intent is to allow wildlife to self-vaccinate by ingesting the vaccine-laden bait sachets. [...] In this particular case, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, an individual acquired an infection through direct contact with a bait sachet. [...] 'This case illustrates the potential of ST-246 to treat orthopoxvirus-related infections, to treat vaccine complications and to diminish the threat posed by poxvirus bioweapons,' said Dr. Eric A. Rose, SIGA's Chief Executive Officer." (iStock Analyst; 15Sep09)

Improving vaccines to trigger t-cell as well as antibody response
"Killed [sic] or disabled viruses have proven safe and effective for vaccinating billions worldwide against smallpox, polio, measles, influenza and many other diseases. But killed or severely 'attenuated' vaccines, which are safer than 'live' vaccines, have been largely unsuccessful for many non-viral diseases, including illnesses like tuberculosis and malaria. [...] A new study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Berkeley-based Aduro BioTech provides clues why killed and severely attenuated vaccines don't always work. It also suggests ways to engineer an attenuated vaccine to make it as potent as a live vaccine but as safe as a killed vaccine. 'It's not only that these killed or attenuated vaccines can't immunize, it's that they also suppress immunity,' said co-author Daniel Portnoy, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and of public health, and associate director of the Berkeley Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases. 'What this says is that the immune system knows the difference between a live bug that's virulent and a dead one that is harmless.' The study, which appears in the Sept. 4 online edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens, suggests that for killed or severely attenuated non-viral vaccines to work – and for viral vaccines to work better – it's necessary to make the microbes act as if they're alive." (Red Orbit; 15Sep09; Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1753169/improving_vaccines_to_trigger_t_cell_as_well_as_antibody

Hazardous chemicals at Vieques: is the government accountable?
"When Hermogenes Marrero was in Marine boot camp, he recalls being the only recruit who didn't panic during simulated-chemical-warfare drills. [...] But his composure caught the eyes of Marine instructors — and the next year, he says, he was at Camp Garcia on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, helping guard for 18 months chemical agents being tested by the U.S. Navy. [...] Today Marrero, at 57, believes he was too poised around those hazardous materials for his own good. In an affidavit filed last month in the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico, where Marrero now lives, he says he is legally blind, uses a wheelchair, has battled colon cancer and chronic pulmonary illnesses, and was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, among other ailments. 'I've been sick in some form or another since I was 25,' says Marrero. [...] Most Vieques residents — who, as Puerto Ricans, are all U.S. citizens — would agree with Marrero. In 2007, more than 7,000 of them filed a federal suit, Sanchez v. United States, claiming that in the nearly 60 years after World War II that the Navy used a portion of the island as a firing range and weapons-testing ground it negligently exposed Vieques' population of 10,000 to dangerous levels of toxins. [...] Marrero says his job at Camp Garcia from 1970 to 1972 often entailed helping Navy officers test hazardous airborne chemicals on animals like goats. Many of the canisters he handled, he says, were labeled '112' for Project 112, a top-secret Cold War U.S. military program conducted between 1962 and 1973 that involved experiments with chemical and biological weapons. [...] Protests erupted after a stray bomb fired during a Navy training exercise killed a local security guard in 1999; a few years later, the Navy closed Camp Garcia and left for good in 2003. By then it was already conceding things it had long denied — such as its use of toxic materials like Agent Orange and depleted uranium. It also admitted that on at least one occasion, during a chemical-warfare drill in 1969 for a project called SHAD — for Shipboard Hazard & Defense, which was part of Project 112 — it had sprayed trioctyl phosphate, a chemical compound known to cause cancer in animals, as a simulant for nerve agents." (Time; 16Sep09; Tim Padgett) http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1924101,00.html

Saddam [Hussein]'s WMD chemist serves Polish military
"A defecting expert on alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was welcomed into the bosom of the Polish military which is now privy to his information, a report says. Following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the Polish military intelligence service helped the scientist naturalize [...] It claimed that the scientist knew about Iraq's 'secret research facilities' and 'reserves of chemical material.' [He] had allegedly contributed to the chemical weapons project of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, was commissioned into the Polish military. He then shared the supposed information with his new higher-ups. [...] the scientist had previously studied his way to a doctoral degree in Poland." (Press TV, Iran; 15Sep09)

No chemical weapons in hands of N[orth] E[astern] rebels: NACWC [National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention]
"The National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention today ruled out the possibility of North East militant groups possessing chemical weapons. 'There was concern over the possibility of chemical weapons reaching militant groups in northeast...The NACWC and the International Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has a proper monitoring mechanism. So far we have not come across any such incident,' NACWC chairman Prajapati Trivedi said. [...] NACWC was set up in May 5, 1997 to fulfil the obligations enunciated in the Chemical Weapons Convention." (Zee News, India ed.; 16Sep09) http://www.zeenews.com/news564061.html

NNSA [National Nuclear Security Administration] signs nuclear-security pacts with Iceland, Morocco
"The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration yesterday inked deals to work with Iceland and Morocco in combating radiological and nuclear terrorism and advancing nuclear-security priorities, the agency announced yesterday [...] The statements of intent, signed at the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference in Vienna, Austria, by the Iceland Radiation Safety Authority and the Moroccan National Center for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technologies, obligate signatories to work to prevent or minimize radiation damage to property, individuals and the environment in the aftermath of a radiological or nuclear attack or other incident." (Global Security Newswire; 16Sep09) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090916_2056.php

Intel official: US safer from al-Qaida
"The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would not have happened had U.S. intelligence agencies been organized then the way they are now, the top U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday. [...] He said the government's 16 intelligence agencies are foiling planned terror[ist] attacks now with less information than they had at their disposal before 9/11. The difference is the offices now cooperate and share information more readily, he said. [...] The intelligence agencies' worries are largely the same as they were eight years ago after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: terror[ist] groups seeking nuclear weapons; militants and insurgents exploiting failed states, and Iran and North Korea growing nuclear and ballistic missile programs. [...] Those concerns are outlined in a new four-year strategy released Tuesday that will be used to guide the 16 agencies that conduct intelligence for the U.S. government. [...] The plan sets out six objectives for the agencies under Blair's leadership: combating violent extremism, countering the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, providing warning about impending crises and intelligence insight to guide policy; improving counterintelligence; protecting computer networks from cyber threats; and providing intelligence to support current operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico and elsewhere." (Associated Press; 15Sep09; Pamela Hess) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5haufQKpUZaWEzN4PuhhJuyjN4tjAD9AO4T780

Recovery from dirty bomb would fall on feds but they aren't ready
"The Government Accountability Office (GAO) surveyed 13 major US cities and their states and related FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] regional offices, discovering that each quickly would require assistance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for analysis and cleanup activities, which would significantly mitigate the impact of [any response to] a radiological dispersal device (RDD) or an improvised nuclear device (IND), Gene Aloise, GAO director of Natural Resources and Environment, testified before the House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology. [...] Aloise stated, 'For example, FEMA has not issued a national disaster recovery strategy or plans for RDD and IND incidents as required by law. Existing federal guidance provides only limited direction for federal agencies to develop their own recovery plans and conduct exercises to test preparedness. Out of over 70 RDD and IND exercises conducted in the last five years, only three have included interagency recovery discussions following a response exercise.' [...] Most of the cities and states surveyed confirmed that a national disaster recovery strategy would provide significant assistance if it filled gaps and resolved conflicts in federal guidance, Aloise said. Ten of the cities specifically cited a need for guidance on monitoring radiation levels, cleanup standards, and management of radioactive waste." (Homeland Security Today; 15Sep09; Mickey McCarter) http://www.hstoday.us/content/view/10223/128/

Watchdog role not enough for IAEA: new chief [Yukiya] Amano
"The International Atomic Energy Agency's next head Yukiya Amano Monday stressed that the IAEA must balance its dual role in nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear energy.' Merely being a 'nuclear watchdog' does not suffice,' the Japanese diplomat said at the annual IAEA general conference shortly after he was appointed to succeed Mohamed ElBaradei from December. [...] 'The spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism is an increasing threat for the international community,' owing to the ease with which technology advances and knowledge spreads, Amano said. The [...] diplomat who until recently served as ambassador to the IAEA called on countries to fully cooperate with the IAEA's inspection regime. [...] he also intended to focus on promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the fields of electricity, medicine, food production and other areas. [...] Amano expressed hope that the IAEA would one day play a role in verifying nuclear disarmament." (Mangalorean; 14 Sep09; Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

Iraqi lawmakers receive WMD nonproliferation legislation
"Iraqi lawmakers have received legislation intended to help the country prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported yesterday [...] The Iraqi Cabinet signed off on the bill before submitting it for consideration by parliament. 'The approval comes in response to the need to establish a national entity to fulfill Iraq's commitments to international and regional treaties and agreements concerning the nonproliferation of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons, as well as WMD-related material and equipment,' government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a prepared statement." (Global Security Newswire; 15Sep09) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090915_3391.php

Serbian spent nuclear fuel to move to Russia
"During the 53rd IAEA General Conference, delegates from the Russian Federation and Serbia signed a trade contract, laying the groundwork for the final repatriation of spent nuclear fuel from the Serbian Institute for Nuclear Sciences at Vinca to the Russian Federation. The Foreign Trade Contract (FTC) is a pre-condition for the spent fuel's envisioned repatriation to Russia, setting out provisions for the safe and secure transport, reprocessing, storage and subsequent disposal of the high-level waste at Russian facilities. The FTC was signed by Mr. Sergey Kazakov, Director of the Russian Federal Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety and Mr. Radojica Pesic, General Director of the Serbian Public Company Nuclear Facilities. [...] In his comments prior to the signing the FTC, Serbian Deputy Minister Bozidar Djelic welcomed the project's benefits, neutralizing Vinca's vulnerability to nuclear terrorism, while also addressing serious environmental concerns." (IAEA; 16Sep09) http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2009/vincaftc.html

Bag containing suspicious residue found at lottery commission, being tested [Oklahoma City, OK]
"A plastic bag containing a suspicious white residue created a stir at the Oklahoma Lottery Commission's office. [...] an employee found the bag on the floor under a table in the mailroom [...] the hazardous materials unit was eventually brought in to transport the material to the Health Department to determine whether the substance was [a] dangerous [substance], such as anthrax spores. [...] the bag contained a small amount of a crystal-like white residue. [...] three workers who came in contact with the material were examined and are fine." (KFSM, Channel 5; 14Sep09; Source: AP) http://www.kfsm.com/news/sns-ap-ok--lottery-powder,0,6708948.story

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