War on Terrorism

Saturday, November 14, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, November 13, 2009

Mysterious flu in Ukraine continues to intensify
"Digital Journal reported at the end of October that more than 40,000 Ukrainians contracted a serious virus but now more than three quarters (478,456) of Ukrainians have contracted the flu-like symptoms, according to Radio Netherlands. As Recombinomics notes, the total number of deaths has been reported to be between 81 and 100 with more than 25,000 hospitalized. The mysterious flu strain has caused a variety of theories such as biological warfare. Jose Mosse, who is a former microbiologist for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, […] warn[ed] about a biological weapon that would [be dispersed] in Ukraine by Baxter International. Other theories reported have been stories of people seeing light aircrafts spraying an unidentified substance over Kiev. […] However, this specific theory has been denied by the government of Ukraine." (Digital Journal; 11Nov09; Andrew Moran)

[Ygiene] disinfectant that quickly wipes out swine flu, anthrax spores, is being tested at NJIT [New Jersey Institute of Technology]
"A disinfectant [Ygiene] that quickly eradicates organisms from the swine flu [sic] to deadly anthrax spores is being tested by scientists at the New Jersey Institute of Technology [NJIT] in Newark, a report in NorthJersey.com said. A scientist told the newspaper that Ygiene wiped out the H1N1 virus from surfaces in 20 seconds. BioNeutral, the chemical specialty company based at NJIT, is submitting Ygiene to the federal Environmental Protection Agency for final testing against at least 12 microbes, including those that cause tuberculosis." (New Jersey Star Ledger; 13Nov09) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/11/disinfectant_that_quickly_wipe.html

Scientists announce possible treatment for deadly virus
"A team of Australian and U.S. scientists believe they have found an antibody that could protect humans from the deadly Hendra virus, Australia's Northern Miner reported yesterday. Researchers with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization have developed a treatment that appears to block infection in people who have come into contact with the virus. The U.S. Homeland Security Department has been reported to consider Hendra a possible bioterrorism agent, due to the disease's lethality. In the seven known occurrences of human Hendra infection, there has been a 57 percent fatality rate. Transmissions of the virus thus far have only been known to occur from bats to horses and from horses to humans. All cases have reportedly occurred in Queensland, Australia. 'The idea is to eventually take people ... who've been potentially exposed to a horse that's infected with Hendra virus and to provide therapy to those people,' said lead researcher Deborah Middleton. She said the Hendra antibody would be given to people during the virus' initial replication process when it is still trying to establish a presence in the body." (Global Security Newswire; 11Nov09; Source: Northern Minor) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20091111_1242.php

[Biological] research firm opens in Harrisonburg [VA]
"Governor Tim Kaine helped cut the ribbon today on the nearly $20 million dollar headquarters for SRI International. Inside the facility near Harrisonburg, two dozen of scientists from all over the world fight tuberculosis, West Nile virus, even bioterrorism. […] It's […] aggressive bioscience. It translates to developing vaccines, more quickly diagnosing infections, and developing new treatments. 'Some of these are rare and neglected diseases,' said [SRI Vice president Walter] Moos. […] The Governor welcomed SRI into its new 40,000 square foot headquarters, and predicts more employers will want to be nearby. 'SRI is a global brand of innovation that has touched virtually every area of life in this country, and in this world,' said Kaine. 'How proud we are to have them here.'" (NBC Channel 29; 09Nov09; Ken Slack)

UN inspectors to examine munitions found in Australia
"A stockpile of apparently forgotten munitions found near Columboola, Australia, are not expected to be moved until they have been examined and cleared for disposal by U.N. weapons inspectors, the Toowoomba Chronicle reported yesterday. Australian Defense Department officials talked with Western Downs Regional Council representatives and emergency personnel Tuesday on the process for dealing with the 144 undetonated 105mm shells. The munitions, at least three filled with mustard H blister agent, were discovered […] by specially trained workers [of a mining company]. […] Australian Defense Department official Colin Trinder said the munitions did not have any fuses and so could not be accidentally set off. […] Defense officials are now figuring out how to destroy the shells. Australia has never before carried out a chemical weapons destruction program of this sort. One avenue being considered is transporting U.S. disposal technology to Australia. It is believed that the munitions would be eliminated by June 2010." (Global Security Newswire; 12Nov09) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20091112_7351.php

Leaking mustard projectiles found, sealed; back in storage [Pueblo Chemical Depot, CO]
"Chemical Crews closed out a mustard leaker operation that began more than two months ago, when monitoring crews were alerted to a mustard agent leak inside a munitions storage structure at Pueblo Chemical Depot. The agent vapor was detected on August 24 by mobile monitoring equipment. […] Chemical crews […] began a deliberate systematic operation to cover and isolate individual stacked pallets of more than 17,000 projectiles stored inside the igloo. On […] September 2nd a stack of pallets […] was monitored and found to contain the agent vapor. Crews then separated the stack into individual pallets to find the specific leaking pallet, and then continued monitoring until two individual projectiles [leaking mustard…] were discovered. Chemical crews transferred the munitions into larger sealed containers and moved them to another storage igloo on November 5 for continued storage. County and state officials were given updates on this operation from the start to today's completion of operations." (U.S. Chemical Materials Agency; 09Nov09)

House oks broader chemical security bill
"House Democrats on Friday pushed through a bill that would place new security requirements on facilities across the country that use or store dangerous chemicals. […] The bill […] would renew and broaden the authority of the Homeland Security Department to require chemical facilities to use safer technologies and processes as one of several ways to enforce chemical security regulations. […] The bill also would codify the authority of the government to regulate security at public water treatment facilities. […] The ultimate fate of the bill is uncertain, as there is not yet companion legislation in the Senate." (Global Security Newswire; 09Nov09; Chris Strohm, Congress Daily) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20091109_7949.php

Three more illnesses added to Agent Orange list
"Veterans Administration officials are alerting Vietnam War veterans that they've added three illnesses to those associated with the chemical weapon Agent Orange. Cell B leukemias, Parkinson's disease and ischemic heart disease have been added to the list of presumed illnesses associated with those veterans exposed to sprayed Agent Orange, said Rock Larson, Wood County Veterans Service officer. The presumption simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits. Any veteran who stepped foot in Vietnam during the war is presumed to have exposure to Agent Orange, Larson said. […] 'If they were there and have these diseases, we should talk,' he said. […] Vietnam War veterans have been guaranteed enrollment to Veteran Affairs health care because of the presumed exposure to Agent Orange." (Wisconsin Rapids Tribune; 05Nov09)

Ark[ansas]: chem[ical] weapons gone in 1 year [Pine Bluff, AR]
"The Army's chemical-weapons destruction operation at the Pine Bluff Arsenal should finish its work in about a year, a top official says. Lt. Col. Nathaniel Farmer, commander of Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, said he and other officials at the arsenal are working on ways to help workers find new jobs when the operation shuts down. […] 'If everything goes well and the plant continues to operate at the same level of efficiency, we're looking at delivering that last ton (container of mustard agent) around November or December of next year,' Farmer said. […] Farmer said the work force of about 170 people would be reduced to about 71 by July 2011, and the program should be wrapped up by June 2012. Early retirement will be available to some employees, Farmer said, and others will be compensated for the end to their jobs. […] In the meantime, he said, employees can take advantage of transition help available to them." (USA Today; 08Nov09) http://content.usatoday.net/dist/custom/gci/InsidePage.aspx?cId=baxterbulletin&sParam=32008577.story

Lithuania will chair the fourteenth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention
"According to the decision of the Eastern European Group of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Lithuania will chair the Fourteenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) from 30 November 2009 to 1 December 2010. Lithuania's goals are to strengthen the potential of the international community to react to the incidents related to chemical weapons [and] to prevent various threats, including threat[s] to the environment. […] The OPCW budget is discussed and endorsed, and guidelines for the next year's policy of the organisation are outlined, possibilities of the international cooperation envisaging terms for the destruction of chemical weapons are discussed, aspects of the CWC are adjusted, opinions on the issues of disarmament are exchanged during the Conference of the States Parties. The Fourteenth Session will endorse the budget of the OPCW for 2010 and will make a decision regarding the new candidature of the OPCW Director General. The Conference will also discuss and endorse the plans and terms for the destruction of chemical weapons." (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Lithuania; 12Nov09) http://www.urm.lt/index.php?-195572170

NNSA [National Nuclear Security Agency] participates in WOC's [World Customs Organization] first technology and innovation forum [Brussels, Belgium]
"The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) participated in the World Customs Organization's (WCO) First Technology and Innovation Forum this week. NNSA's International Nonproliferation Export Control Program (INECP) presented technologies developed by the U.S. National Laboratories and deployed globally by NNSA to prevent the illicit transfer of materials, equipment and technology related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). […] Over the course of the two-day forum, experts from customs organizations, the business community and other government agencies participated in panel discussions and highlighted a wide range of inspections technologies used by front line inspectors to ensure safe and secure trade. Secretary General of the World Customs Organization Kunio Mikuriya said, […] 'Securing global trade from nuclear and other threats, particularly at borders, is paramount, and using technology and innovative solutions to do so underscores its importance to government agencies charged with ensuring the integrity and safety of our borders.'" (NNSA; 06Nov09) http://nnsa.energy.gov/news/2700.htm

Ind[iana] base hosts nuclear terrorist attack training
"Thousands of military personnel, first responders and emergency workers are experiencing the ultimate test at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center. They are participants in a joint exercise [called Vibrant Response] that simulates a terrorist nuclear attack in a US city. […] Over 4,000 military and civilian personnel from around the country are taking part in the exercise. Vibrant Response involves urban and aerial search-and-rescue missions, nuclear, biological and radiological decontamination, as well as airlift and medical training. General Victor Renuart, the four-star Air Force general in charge of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) […] said the nation is ready to respond to a real nuclear attack but needs to grow the capability further. […] The field training exercise lasts seven days. >From the ground to the air, military and civilian crews learn to work together. The team running and evaluating the exercise gives the Urban Training Center high marks." (Wish TV 8, IN; 09Nov09; Jay Hermacinski)

Carleton [University] partners with industry [AMITA Corporation] and [Canadian] government to combat terrorism and protect Canadians in the event of a disaster
"Ground-breaking software applications to combat terrorism and protect Canadians in the event of a disaster have been developed by Carleton University and AMITA Corporation. […] The Casualty Care Continuum (CCC), a unique joint project of Carleton's Human Oriented Technology Lab (HOT Lab) and AMITA Corporation, is a casualty management system targeted for use by the British Columbia Ambulance Service that allows first responders to quickly identify and track victim injuries in the event of a major disaster. […] Says Carleton President Roseann O'Reilly Runte, 'By combining the knowledge of our faculty, the assessed needs of the community and the capability of business, we can positively impact the lives of Canadians.' The casualty tracking system provides a method of transmitting data on victim injuries to health care and emergency co-ordination agencies so they can provide fast and effective emergency response. Hospitals would know exactly what is wrong with victims the moment they arrive and decision-makers could have access to real-time information on the size and scope of the unfolding incident. […] The information can be shared with a large community of responders, including military and civilian, in Canada or beyond its borders. […] 'Our partnership on these vital systems will protect the lives of Canadians and give law enforcement agencies the upper hand in combating global terrorism.'" (Exchange Magazine; 09Nov09) http://www.exchangemagazine.com/morningpost/2009/week46/Monday/110917.htm

Ricin antidote to be produced [Wiltshire, England]
"An anti-toxin that protects against ricin poisoning is to move into production for the first time.It is the result of eight years of work by researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory [DSTL] based at Porton Down in Wiltshire. The antidote can protect against death up to 24 hours after exposure, according to Dr Jane Holley from DSTL. […] Dr Holley told BBC News: 'In the past there has been lots of research carried out using different methods. But this is the first [anti-toxin] that has been moved into production.' […Holley] added: 'It is anticipated that a product will be available for use in the next couple of years.' […] Although the anti-toxin developed at Porton Down was initially intended for use by the military, DSTL scientists are investigating its potential use in a civilian environment. […] Dr Holley said that although the anti-toxin is ready to be manufactured, full licensing is likely to take about five years." (BBC; 11Nov09; Paul Rincon) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8351666.stm

A must take course for HAZMAT [Hazardous Materials] responders [UT]
"The U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground, the site of one of the best chemical and biological agent response training courses available, […] offers the five-day Advanced Chemical/Biological Integrated Response Course (ACBIRC). The course expands emergency first responders' knowledge of chemical and biological agents. Designed and operated with firefighters in mind, the ACBIRC reinforces the knowledge learned in the classroom with realistic training scenarios that help to develop hands-on skills, which is the bulk of the training. […] The ACBIRC provides hazmat emergency first responders with advanced-level hands-on training on chemical and biological agents in classroom and field settings. A significant amount of training focuses on agent identification, recognition, production, detection, monitoring, and sampling and evidence collection. […] Since the course is designed for technician or higher level hazardous materials emergency first responders, students are assumed to have preexisting hazmat training and skills to ensure comprehension. They must be proficient in hazmat scene team operations and qualified to make a Level-A entry. Training focuses on advanced-level instruction in the chemical and biological disciplines. […] To attend, the participant must be certified at the hazardous materials technician level or higher." (Fire Engineering; 09Nov09) http://www.fireengineering.com/index/articles/display/5529869966/articles/fire-engineering/volume-162/issue-110/features/a-must-take_course.html

New device may minimize loss of life in disaster zones
"Researchers have developed a device that could become a godsend for paramedics and may help save many lives in disaster zones. The very first task of paramedics at the site of a terror[ist] attack or a collision is to assess who needs immediate care. […] LifeFlow, a technology being developed by Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers is based on a cutting-edge algorithm which, when applied to a computer-controlled I.V. drip, can accurately assess how much blood the victim has been left with. The device then administers the proper amount and type of I.V. fluid, permitting the paramedic to move on to the next disaster victim with fewer worries - and more confidence that the first victim will remain stable before arriving at the emergency room."
(Indo Asian News Service; 09Nov09)

Atterbury MPs [Military Police] on alert for military exercise [response to Fort Hood massacre, Indianapolis, IN]
"Camp Atterbury is hosting thousands of soldiers from all over the country for a disaster exercise. Soldiers started arriving today, putting the military police on alert in light of Fort Hood's mass shooting Thursday. […] During the next seven days […] soldiers participating in the exercise are getting plenty of instructions so they can learn how to tackle any type of natural or manmade disaster, including chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological agents. It's the largest exercise of its kind in the military." (Channel 13 News; 06Nov09)

The sum of all fears [discusses WMD exercise, GA]
"Health care professional students had to treat patients from a bomb explosion, a possible Ebola infection, a building collapse and a chemical weapon attack Wednesday. […] The scenarios were part of training exercises held at the Moultrie Technical College Veterans Parkway campus. […] Twenty-seven students from across Georgia took part in the course, including six paramedics from Colquitt County EMS, [Greene] Shepherd [of Advanced Disaster Life Support and a professor at the University of Georgia] said. […] At the mass triage, Chris Heath of ADLS said emergency responders searched for victims following a bomb explosion and determined the severity of their injuries. […] Shepherd said the disaster drills allowed the students to apply the knowledge they had received after two days of lectures and small groups. […] 'The National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) training program was established to better prepare health care professionals and emergency response personnel for mass casualty events ranging from natural disasters to acts of terrorism,' said Southwest Health District Emergency Preparedness Training and Exercise Coordinator Sue Clifton." (Moultrie Observer; 04Nov09; John Oxford) http://www.moultrieobserver.com/local/local_story_308224138.html?keyword=topstory

DeconGel [hydrogel technology for decontamination] 1 of 3 finalist for homeland security award
"DeconGel, a polymeric hydrogel technology for containing and decontaminating radiological waste and potential nuclear threats as well as chemical and other toxic wastes, has been recognized as one of three finalists for the Christopher Columbus Foundation Homeland Security Award for 2009. The Polymers Division of Cellular Bioengineering, Inc. (CBI), a Hawaii-based technology accelerator, developed the technology. The award is the result of a year-long national competition to identify the individual or company that is making 'a measurable and constructive contribution related to basic and/or advanced research in the area of homeland security which will result in a significant and positive benefit to society.' […] Kimberly Owens, chair of the Board of Trustees for the Christopher Columbus Foundation, congratulated CBI for its development of DeconGelTM. 'This hydrogel is a powerful tool in the remediation of radioactive waste and nuclear threats, and future uses are sure to be discovered,' she said." (Environmental Prtoection; 10Nov09) http://eponline.com/articles/2009/11/10/decongel-1-of-3-finalists-for-homeland-security-award.aspx

China conducts nuclear emergency exercise
"China has conducted an extensive exercise to evaluate emergency response to a nuclear radiation leak, Xinhua reported. The National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee organised the exercise, codenamed Sacred Shield-2009, in Beijing, Nanjing and Lianyungang. The exercise aimed at enhancing the preparation and coordination in case of a nuclear emergency, China Daily reported Tuesday. The exercise simulated a radiation leak from a nuclear facility in the Lianyungang-based Tianwan Nuclear Power Station." (Gaea Times; 11Nov09; Ians) http://blog.taragana.com/n/china-conducts-nuclear-emergency-exercise-225879/

European states press to make chem, bio weapons usage war crimes
"The Netherlands is expected to request that the International Criminal Court expand its definition of what actions constitute war crimes to include the use of chemical and biological weapons, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported Friday. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Ballin told lawmakers by letter that they back a Belgian measure that would change the Rome Statute to address biological and chemical weapons. […] The Rome Statute is due to be revisited later this month by its 110 signatory states during a meeting in The Hague. The ministers told the Dutch parliament that they did not intend to back a Mexican proposal that would classify the use of nuclear weapons as a war crime. Designating the use of such weapons as a war crime might dissuade nonsignatory nations from recognizing the authority of the court in the future, the ministers advised." (Global Security Newswire; 09Nov09) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20091109_7039.php

Army looks for advanced armoured personnel carriers
"Dazzled by American eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicles during last month's `Yudh Abhyas' Indo-US wargames, the Army has launched its own hunt for armoured personal carriers (APCs). A global RFI (request for information) has been issued by Army's additional directorate general of weapons and equipment for procuring the wheeled APCs. The plan is to acquire at least 100 APCs, to be followed by indigenous production after transfer of technology to an Indian firm. [The Indian Army] wants the new APCs to be air-portable in IAF's heavy-lift aircraft and sea-portable in Navy's amphibious landing ship tanks, apart from having advanced weaponry, night-fighting capabilities and NBC (nuclear, chemical and biological) protection. […] Costing around $1.5 million apiece, the Strykers come equipped with advanced weapons, CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) [sic] protection and C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) systems." (Times of India; 11Nov09) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Army-looks-for-advanced-armoured-personnel-carriers-/articleshow/5216524.cms

Japan receives U.S. funds to study bomb radiation in the elderly
"A Japanese study that seeks to examine the effects of nuclear-weapon radiation in the aging human body has received […$9.7 million from] the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID…] to be released over a five-year period for the Japanese Radiation Effects Research Foundation. As part of the study, scientists from the United States and Japan are expected to study biological samples taken from elderly Japanese survivors of the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. […] 'We will gain valuable information that will benefit not only the general public but also patients undergoing radiation for cancer treatment and those who could be exposed to radiation from an industrial accident or even a terrorist attack,' said NIAID Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation Division Director Daniel Rotrosen in a press release. 'This collaboration complements NIAID's program to develop medical countermeasures against radiological and nuclear threats.'" (Global Security Newswire; 13Nov09) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20091113_2775.php

Improving radioactive material transport in Africa [discusses IAEA security training]
"An IAEA regional training course on the security of radioactive materials during transport, highlighting problems and effective security measures, takes place in Dakar, Senegal, 9 to 11 November 2009. Organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the Government of Senegal, the training course is intended for participants coming from French-speaking Member States of the IAEA-supported African Regional Cooperative Agreement (AFRA). The participants will represent operating or regulatory agencies, government departments with responsibilities related to the transport of radioactive material, and the shipping industry. They will learn about and apply new measures and technologies in a series of lectures and workshops. Radioactive material transport is a matter of particular interest to Member States, according to Ms. Ann-Margreth Eriksson Eklund, a senior nuclear security officer at the IAEA. 'Transport of radioactive material has so far focused on safety. In recent years a need has emerged to also look at security issues for radioactive material' […] she said. […] The rising threat of terrorism and sabotage makes transport a particularly vulnerable part of the nuclear and radioactive material supply chain. Improved national regulations will encourage transparency, enhance security, and make denials of shipments less frequent." (IAEA; 10Nov09) http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2009/radtransportafrica.html

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