War on Terrorism

Friday, March 12, 2010

Terrorism News, March 12, 2010

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, March 12, 2010

BNL [Brookhaven National Laboratory] and SBU [Stony Brook University] scientists seek anti-botulism drugs
"Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers at Stony Brook University's Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, were selected to receive up to $1.4 million in applied research funds from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at the U.S. Department of Defense to develop drugs that block the paralytic and deadly effects of botulinum neurotoxins. 'There are currently no reliable treatments for botulinum toxin exposure,' said BNL biologist Subramanyam Swaminathan, who leads the collaborative effort. 'It is important to develop a drug that combats the neurotoxic effects to mitigate fears associated with this deadly poison, including the fear of its potential use in bioterrorism attacks.'" (Times Beacon Record; 08Mar10) http://www.northshoreoflongisland.com/Articles-i-2010-03-04-83265.112114-sub_BNL_and_SBU_scientists_seek_antibotulism_drugs.html

Teledyne receives DOD contract to aid nation's CBRN responders
"Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., has been awarded a contract by the Department of Defense to aid the nation's front line performers in defense against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive weapons of mass destruction. The contract, awarded under a multiple award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, is to provide acquisition program and engineering support, research and technology, and program and integration support. Nine other contract winners were announced along with Teledyne Brown, a subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated, to provide as much as $485 million in support services over the next five years." (Bio Prep Watch; 08Mar10; Tina Redlup)


Emergency responders should be immunized against anthrax
"Emergency responders arrived at Sen. Tom Daschle's Capitol Hill office on Oct. 15, 2001 suited in personal protective equipment (PPE). One of Daschle's staffers had opened an anthrax[ spore]-laced letter, yet another in a string of bioterrorist attacks that tormented the U.S. psyche in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Nasal swabs taken of those first responders as they exited the building revealed that some had been exposed to anthrax [spores], despite their PPEs and the miniscule amount of spores contained in that letter. Thus, the question was raised: How can first responders provide necessary medical treatment following an anthrax [spore] attack while preserving their own health and safety? Last Friday at the annual EMS Today Conference in Baltimore, Dr. Thomas Waytes added to the continuing discussion, addressing an audience of EMS [emergency medical service] personnel on what specific medical countermeasures are available for protecting emergency responders against anthrax [outbreaks, resulting from] bioterrorism." (Bio Prep Watch; 08Mar10; Andrew Zaleski) http://www.bioprepwatch.com/news/212257

CDC speech addresses both bioterrorism, viral pandemics "
Director of the Center for Disease Control and Environmental Health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department Paul Biedrzycki examined current methods of disease pandemic control, and also addressed bio-terrorism issues. [...] Closing his speech, Biedrzycki turned to the possibility to bio-terrorism. An image flashed on the wall, which indicated threats on a chart, measuring likelihood of occurrence alongside potential impact. For example, while a nuclear bomb has a high potential impact, it has a low likelihood of occurrence. Bio-terrorism has both a high likelihood of occurrence as well as a high likelihood of impact. Anthrax was used as an illustrative point by Biedrzycki. 'Think of a thimble kind of spreading evenly in this room, infecting most of you within 96 hours with about 80 percent of you dying,' Biedrzycki said." (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Post; 08Mar10; Tom Swieciak) http://www.uwmpost.com/2010/03/08/cdc-speech-addresses-both-bioterrorism-and-viral-pandemics/

DOD has not made decision about [chemical] weapons
"Contrary to an Associated Press news story published by the Richmond Register and many other newspapers around the county, the defense department has made no final decision to destroy problematic mustard agent artillery projectiles stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot, said Jeff Brubaker, the government's site manager for the project to destroy the chemical weapons stored there. He spoke during a break in the quarterly meeting Tuesday of the Chemical Destruction Citizens Advisory Board at Eastern Kentucky University. Given the problems that other depots have encountered with destroying similar mustard weapons, some from the same production lot as those stored here, destroying them in detonation chambers, a long-proven technology, likely will be the most practical alternative, Brubaker said." (Richmond Register; 10Mar10; Bill Robinson) http://richmondregister.com/localnews/x1897232173/DOD-has-not-made-decision-about-weapons

Chemical weapons destruction plant plans aired [Richmond, KY]
"Two panels will meet Tuesday in Richmond, and an update on construction of a plant where chemical weapons will be destroyed is expected. The Citizens' Advisory Commission and the Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board meet at 1:30 p.m. EST at Eastern Kentucky University's Carl D. Perkins Building. The plant will destroy chemical weapons stored at Blue Grass Army Depot. The public will be able to comment during the meeting Tuesday." (Associated Press; 09Mar10)

Depot's mustard stockpile inspected
"Five inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in the Netherlands, conducted an annual inspection last week of the mustard agent stockpile at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. [...] Over four days, the inspectors took a physical inventory of every igloo at the depot. Inspectors represented South Korea, Spain, Romania and Russia, as well as the United States. Lisabeth Wachutka, depot treaty compliance officer, said afterward, 'This operation was a smooth and professional endeavor. All parties involved worked together to execute a highly successful inspection.'" (Pueblo Chieftain; 09Mar10; John Norton) http://www.chieftain.com/articles/2010/03/09/news/local/doc4b95e7b989720303527655.txt

UK white supremacist admits poison terror[ism] charge
"A British white supremacist has pleaded guilty to producing the deadly poison ricin and preparing for acts of terrorism. Truck driver Ian Davison and his teenage son Nicky were arrested in June in northern England. Police say traces of ricin were found in a jam jar at Davison's home. [...] Davison pleaded guilty Monday at Newcastle Crown Court to producing a chemical weapon -- ricin -- and preparing for acts of terrorism. Details of his targets were not released." (Boston Herald; 08Mar10) http://www.bostonherald.com/news/international/europe/view/

Race on to sniff out dirty bombs
"Dr [David] Boardman, a physicist at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in Sydney, is working to reduce false alarms in detectors deployed at ports and airports to scan cargo for radioactive isotopes. The work is part of an international effort to prevent [the transport of] dirty bombs, devices that would use conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material stolen from civil sites. He is one of 160 scientists in Canberra this week for the annual Science Meets Parliament forum. Organised by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, the event is aimed at giving scientists more political clout. The scientists will brief politicians at Parliament House. Dr Boardman's work comes amid fears that radioactive isotopes, such as caesium-137, a source of highly penetrative gamma radiation used in industry, could be stolen, winding up in terrorist 'weapons of mass disruption'. Dirty bombs would not be nearly as powerful as ordinary [sic] nuclear weapons but would cause chaos and fear, and contaminate large areas." (Australian; 10Mar10; Cheryl Jones)

China's nuclear warhead storage and handling system
"Transparency and accountability are fundamental enablers for arms control and nuclear weapon safety and security. As noted in a United Nations-supported Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission report, 'increased transparency of nuclear-weapons-related information is an indispensable prerequisite for more progress in nuclear disarmament and its verification.' Among the least understood elements of the world's nuclear weapon arsenal is the People's Republic of China's (PRC) system for storing and maintaining its nuclear warhead stockpile. The dearth of information is in part purposeful – its nuclear warhead stockpile naturally is among China's most closely guarded secrets." (Project 2049 Institute; 12Mar10; Mark A. Stokes) http://project2049.net/documents/chinas_nuclear_warhead_storage_and_handling_system.pdf

How N. Korea goes about exporting arms
"Curbing North Korea's illicit arms trade is difficult since the renegade country launders containers carrying weapons three or four times, a defector who was in charge of illicit arms deals told the Chosun Ilbo on Monday. The defector revealed that a factory in Jagang Province, which is believed to produce tractors, is the center of the communist country's weapons production, including chemical warheads. [...] North Korea's main weapons production base is Kanggye General Tractor Plant No. 26. Before the Korean War, the plant was based in Pyongyang and made Soviet-designed PPSh 41 submachine guns but has since been relocated. Over 10,000 workers there manufacture ammunition and even chemical weapons. The People's Armed Forces is in charge of chemical weapons production. 'The Bio-chemical research center affiliated with the military is located next to the Kanggye plant,' the defector said. 'The toxic gases produced at the research center are loaded onto warheads manufactured at the plant.'" (Chosun Ilbo; 13Mar10) http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2010/03/10/2010031000953.html

Agni-V to be test-fired within a year [discusses CBRN detection]
"[...] [Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist Dr. W] Selvamurthy further said that the DRDO has also taken major steps to combat NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) Warfare. 'The DRDO has invented a 'Portable Gas Chromatograph' which can detect chemical warfare agents. This has been converted into a three chemical paper which will be placed on the uniform and any change in colour will enable the soldiers to detect chemical contamination,' he added. On the threat of biological warfare, he said that DRDO has invented an antigen-based diagnostic kit that would help diagnosis of typhoid, leptospirosis, dengue, H1N1, malaria, plague, anthrax and other diseases. 'DRDO has developed a H1N1 kit which is much superior to the existing kits used worldwide. The kits used across the world cost Rs 8,000, while the kit invented by DRDO would cost only Rs 1,000. Using these kits, the detection of the H1N1 virus can be done within 1 hour while the normal kit would take around 10-12 hours,' he added. Besides, the invention of Recce Vehicles and Remotely Operated Vehicle Daksh would also help in identifying chemically contaminated areas. Remote Operate Vehicles have also been helping in the removal of radiation source which can be a problem for the soldiers. DRDO has also come out with mobile decontamination vehicles,' said Selvamurthy." (Express Buzz; 12Mar10)

Additional death counted in Tokyo sarin attack
"Japanese authorities have identified an additional fatality in the 1995 terrorist attack in which sarin nerve agent was released inside the Tokyo subway system, Jiji Press reported Saturday. The person has become the 13th confirmed death in the strike by the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult. The identification follows enactment of 2008 legislation on compensation for the incident. The newly recognized victim was in the area of the attacks and afterward showed signs of exposure to sarin. The unidentified person died in a bathtub two days after the incident." (Global Security Newswire; 09Mar10) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100308_6468.php

U.S. anti-WMD troops join military drills in S. Korea
"U.S. troops who would be tasked with eliminating North Korea's weapons of mass destruction in the event of armed conflict are participating in military drills with South Korea, the top U.S. commander in the country said Thursday. 'They are here for this exercise and if we ever went to war, they would naturally come also,' Army Gen. Walter Sharp told reporters at Yongsan Garrison, the main U.S. military headquarters in central Seoul. Sharp said that the troops are carrying out daily exercises with South Korean troops to practice locating, securing and eliminating the North's weapons of mass destruction. The North, believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least a half-dozen bombs, quit international disarmament-for-aid negotiations and conducted a second nuclear test last year, drawing tightened U.N. sanctions. Pyongyang also has been developing a long-range missile designed to strike the U.S., and has stockpiled between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical agents and is believed to be capable of producing biological weapons, according to South Korea's Defense Ministry." (Associated Press; 11Mar10; Kwang-tae Kim)

Smart phones to the rescue
"Is your smart phone smart enough to save your life? Future cellphones may be tricked out with James Bond-like technology capable of alerting users to fires, carbon monoxide or toxic chemicals, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The genius phones will likely hit stores in a year or two, with as many as 40 prototypes ready for testing by next year, said Stephen Dennis, program manager for the DHS-sponsored project. Phones doubling as biological or radiological detectors may be a few years down the pike, he said, and they'll detect the presence of radiation, anthrax [bacteria] and other threats." (New York Post; 12Mar10) http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/smart_phones_to_the_rescue_91pEZN6ZMeLHsmRjm2VjIO

UPMC [University of Pittsburgh Medical Center] gets new partners in plan for vaccine factory [PA]
"An ambitious plan to build a vaccine factory in the Pittsburgh area is gaining momentum with the announcement Thursday of three new partners in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center project. Battelle, IBM and Merck & Co. Inc. are partnering with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in the development of a first of its kind vaccine factory, the hospital network announced. The new partners join GE Healthcare in pursuing construction of the facility, which UPMC wants to operate in partnership with the federal government as a way to respond quickly to chemical, biological or radiological threats such as a bioterrorist attack. The plant would be funded by the federal government and operate as a nonprofit UPMC subsidiary. Last year, UPMC President and CEO Jeffrey Romoff said he favored a site near the old Pittsburgh International Airport for the factory. The cost of the plan had been estimated at $900 million, but recent estimates were lower. An exact figure was not available." (Pittsburgh Business Times; 11Mar10; Kris B. Mamula) http://pittsburgh.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/stories/2010/03/08/daily37.html

New bioscience grant awarded to K[ansas]-State [University]
"K-State was recently awarded a $12 million grant to partner with the Department of Homeland Security and create a Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases. The grant will be split up over six years with K-State's Center receiving $2 million every year. [...] [Dr. Juergen Richt] indicated the national government was uneasy with its capacity to handle biological warfare. 'Several Senators in Washington were looking at how the U.S. was prepared for future biological attacks, weapons of mass destruction and biological terrorism, and they concluded that the federal government is ill-prepared for such an attack,' Richt said. The grant will try to address threats to America's food supply, public health and agricultural systems. Richt said his team will be performing several different types of projects including vaccines, detection, epidemiology surveillance and education. Some of the diseases they will be exploring include avian flu, rift valley fever and foot and mouth disease." (Kansas State Collegian; 10Mar10; Austin Enns)

Agroterrorism awareness elevated at workshop
"Two experts in the field of Agroterrorism conducted a workshop Tuesday for a diverse mix of students. The focus was how to identify acts of agroterrorism and how to react if such an act is suspected. The five-hour workshop is designed to 'raise awareness regarding the impact of agroterrorism on the food system, animal and plant heath, the public's physical and mental health, and financial well-being of communities.' It was organized by Nick Marino, a homeland security specialist who plans and executes emergency preparedness for Berkeley County. [...] Some 50 students attended the workshop held at Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner. Many were employees of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Others who attended were professors from the College of Charleston, American Red Cross workers, Clemson Extension agents, and members of various police, fire, sheriff and rescue squad departments. One group of attendees was several home-schooled teenagers from Beaufort whose instructors include emergency preparedness in their curriculum. The course, which awarded certificates of completion if a written test given at the end was passed, included information about food supply infrastructure, agroterrorism response roles and training resources." (Myrtle Beach Restaurant News; 10Mar10; Becky Billingsley)

Study: federal funds support health depts., but leadership is key
"The surge of funds for bioterrorism preparedness over the past decade does not appear to be improving local public health resources in general, according to research from Purdue University. However, the funding increase to health departments does spur epidemiologic activity that is key in detecting infectious disease risks, such as a surge in communicable disease like influenza or tuberculosis, at the local level, says George Avery, an assistant professor of health and kinesiology. [...] Avery and co-author Tim Wright, senior lecturer of health education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, published their findings this month in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The research is based on 1,798 health departments' responses to the 2005 National Association of City and County Health Officers Survey of Local Health Departments. The researchers compared sources and amounts of funding to leadership and program outcomes. They found that leadership and the existence of directors and boards of health in the local health departments made a difference in supporting programs and activities." (Eureka! Science News; 09Mar10) http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/03/09/study.federal.funds.support.health.depts.leadership.key

Play2Train program named federal virtual worlds challenge finalist
"The U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center named the Idaho State University 'Play2Train' Second Life application produced by Rameshsharma Ramloll as a finalist for the inaugural Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge. [...] 'Play2Train' is a 3D virtual place where geographically separated learners, subject-matter experts and content builders meet as avatars to create collaboratively immersive learning experiences for the health care, emergency preparedness and educational services industry. The program's objective is to enhance the knowledge and skills of health care professionals to meet the public health preparedness and emergency response demands resulting from acts of bioterrorism and other incidents. More information on Play2Train is available at http://www.play2train.org." (Idaho State University; 09Mar10)

CNS ChemBio-WMD Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.

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