War on Terrorism

Friday, April 09, 2010

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, April 9, 2010

An elite team of sleuths, saving lives in obscurity
“Millions of people know what C.D.C. and F.D.A. stand for. Far fewer recognize E.I.S., though they may owe their lives to it. The E.I.S. is the Epidemic Intelligence Service, an arm of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its cadre of 160 elite medical detectives -- many of them young doctors at the start of their careers -- serve two-year hitches that are part adventure, part drudgery. Suitcases packed, they are poised to fly anywhere on short notice to investigate outbreaks of pneumonia, diarrhea, high fevers, mysterious rashes and many other health threats. Borrowing a term from news reporting, E.I.S. detectives like to call themselves ‘shoe-leather epidemiologists;’ they also like to wear ties and lapel pins displaying their logo -- a hole in the well-worn sole of a shoe over a map of the world. Since its creation in 1951, the service has become a bulwark in the nation’s defense system against disease, often acting as the public’s emergency room. Its doctors have helped identify Legionnaires’ disease, Lyme disease, and toxic shock syndrome from superabsorbent tampons; stop outbreaks of diphtheria and other diseases before they could spread uncontrollably; discover the deadly Ebola and Lassa viruses; and trace paralyzing cases of polio to defective batches of the Salk vaccine. Other E.I.S. investigations have led the Food and Drug Administration to remove potentially lethal products from the market.” (New York Times; 05Apr10; Lawrence K. Altman) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/health/06docs.html?src=me

Biodefense rivals face common woes, competition
“Internecine squabbling in Maryland’s anthrax vaccine industry is ‘really inappropriate,’ says one major player, who calls for a more united front to deal with federal inconsistencies and delays. In February, a federal biodefense agency added up to $78.4 million to its contract with PharmAthene of Annapolis to develop a next-generation anthrax vaccine. The contract runs through 2012. A rival objected. Emergent BioSolutions of Rockville filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, saying the additional money was outside the scope of the original contract, said John M. Clerici, Emergent’s consultant and a principal with Tiber Creek Partners of Washington, D.C. The GAO will determine if the PharmAthene contract modification is legal, Clerici said. The protest must be decided by June 11. Clerici, with 10 years of experience negotiating with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and its predecessor, called such protests ‘enormously common.’ [...] Currently, Emergent makes the only federally approved anthrax vaccine, which it sells to the government. Both Emergent and PharmAthene are developing new vaccines to work with fewer injections given during a shorter period of time. The companies are members of a small, elite group of biodefense contractors, whom Cook, Clerici and other experts say are nervously awaiting imminent changes in how the government handles anthrax and other biodefense contracts. Even as the competition heats up, some say the companies also must band together to deal with frustrating inconsistencies on the part of federal officials.” (Gazette [MD]; 09Apr10; Stephen Berberich) http://www.gazette.net/stories/04092010/businew165715_32553.php

Bond commission oks funding for state lab in Rocky Hill [CT]
“In a continuing political battle, the State Bond Commission approved a new, $70 million public health laboratory Wednesday despite sharp opposition from neighboring property owners in Rocky Hill. The 7-3 vote came after a 5-5 tie last month when the five Democrats on the commission banded together because the neighbors said they had not had enough time to analyze the plans. After the vote, opponents said they were unsure of their next move because the bond commission’s vote was the final approval for the project. The state-of-the-art facility would test for anthrax [bacteria] and other biohazardous materials, which has raised fears among neighbors. But state officials say the tests would be no different from those conducted at the current 45-year-old lab, which is in a congested area within walking distance of the state Capitol, the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and Bushnell Park. Thousands of people walk and work near the laboratory on a daily basis, and many are not aware of its location in a nondescript building near the state Department of Environmental Protection.” (Hartford Courant; 08Apr10; Christoper Keating) http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-rocky-hill-lab-approved-0408.artapr08,0,2342203.story

Are you ready for an agriculture emergency?
“The 2007 Ag Census from the USDA indicated that there were 656,475 operations specializing in beef cattle ranching and farming, and 31,065 cattle feedlots, for a total of 687,540 beef operations. In 2007, there also were 57,318 farms in the United States that specialized in dairy cattle and milk production. Now add in the swine, poultry and small ruminant operations, and you can see there are a lot of livestock operations that could potentially be under threat from natural disasters/emergencies or agroterrorism. [...] There is a growing volume of information on handling livestock in emergencies or in an agroterrorism situation, and many hands on-learning opportunities. Take, for example, recent agrosecurity workshops in Kansas for producers, emergency managers, veterinarians, law enforcement, Extension agents and others. ‘Many counties in states across the country have a plan that includes agriculture, but many more don´t,’ said Billy Dictson, director of the Office of Biosecurity in the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center at New Mexico State University, in a Kansas State University press release. ‘One of the things that really concerned us was that in 3,000-some counties across the country, most of them are silent on agriculture.’ The workshops were presented by the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), a collaborative multi-state effort by Extension services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. The workshops were designed to build capacity to handle agricultural issues during an emergency or disaster, to improve networking among stakeholders who can plan for and respond to emergencies, and to develop community agrosecurity planning (CAP) teams who will establish or enhance agrosecurity components within existing local emergency operations plans.” (Cattle Network; 08Apr10; Geni Wren)

Bacteria detection is anti-terror[ism] effort
“The detector that picked up a higher-than-normal level of the bacteria tularemia in Columbus this week is part of a nationwide air-monitoring program called BioWatch, which is designed to alert officials to biological terrorist attacks. BioWatch includes monitors in more than 30 high-threat metropolitan areas. Until now, few people knew there were monitors in Columbus. Local and national government agencies involved in the program would not reveal where the monitors are in central Ohio or elsewhere in the state, nor would they say where the tularemia was detected this week. ‘We want to be accountable and transparent,’ said a Department of Homeland Security official who spoke on the condition that his name not be used. ‘The conflict for us is we really don’t want our adversaries to know any of the details about how we protect ourselves.’ Columbus Public Health officials continued to emphasize yesterday that people aren’t at risk and there’s no suspicion that bioterrorism was attempted here. Tularemia is found in rabbits, rodents and ticks, but it was unclear yesterday what prompted the elevated level of the bacteria this week, spokesman Jose Rodriguez said. The federal official said the sensors collect and filter air, and the filters are tested at least once a day to look for biological agents that could be used to intentionally harm people. Anthrax, plague, botulism and smallpox are among the [disease] threats most often named. The program has been in place since 2003, and this is not the first time a monitor has detected elevated levels of a toxin [or bacteria] that turned out to be no cause for concern. Similar tularemia alerts have been made in Washington, D.C., Houston, St. Louis and Philadelphia. BioWatch, which is a partnership among several federal and local agencies, has not yet detected a biological attack.” (Columbus Dispatch; 03Apr10; Misti Crane)http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/04/03/copy/bacteria-detection-is-anti-terror-effort.html?sid=101

Message: farmers are the first line of defense [VA]
“Michael Morehart, special agent in charge at the FBI’s Richmond office, did not mince words. ‘Our adversaries -- no, our enemies -- have but one goal: to kill us,’ he said, in his opening remarks at the second annual Virginia Agroterrorism Conference. And though bombings and hijackings are the events most commonly associated with terrorism, Morehart continued, Virginia’s farmers should not consider themselves immune. A rogue crop duster, someone tossing an infected rag over the loafing lot fence or an upset employee with access to a food processing facility could conceivably commit an act of agroterror[ism] with widespread and dramatic consequences for anybody who produces -- or, much more broadly, consumes -- food. Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore followed Morehart with some quick facts. Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry. It generates $55 billion in revenue each year. It provides more than 350,000 jobs and would be a catastrophic loss for the state if compromised by a terrorist act. ‘Please take this very seriously today,’ Haymore said. The rest of the conference was filled with presentations by about a dozen speakers from several state and federal agencies with enforcement or regulatory power over agriculture and food processing. Karen Gruszynski, a veterinary epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health, gave several examples of agroterrorism, including German plots to infect American horses with anthrax and glanders during World War I and the Rajneeshee cult in Oregon, which poisoned [more than] 750 people in 1984 by infecting salad bars with salmonella [typhimurium]. After the conference, Don Butts, emergency services manager for VDACS, told Lancaster Farming that he is unaware of any act of agroterrorism within Virginia. But, he continued, that doesn’t mean it’s not an important issue for farmers to consider.” (Lancaster Farming; 02Apr10; Andrew Jenner)

Health board seeks demil[itarization] details [regarding destruction of chemical weapons] [CO]
“Pueblo’s Board of Health plans to join a citizens commission that oversees chemical weapons destruction here in calling for more details on the environmental impact, a plan to destroy some chemical weapons with explosive technologies. At issue is the Pentagon’s study of a program to get rid of 125,000 of the 780,000 mustard agent weapons stored in Pueblo through an explosive process rather than the water neutralization plant that will handle the rest of the stockpile. At a meeting last week of the Pueblo City-County Board of Health, members agreed to send their own letters to Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Rep. John Salazar, all Democrats, asking them to intervene and to comment on the Defense Department’s environmental assessment that has declared there is no significant impact from the plan. Pentagon officials were in Pueblo last week to ask for comments on the assessment document and explain the alternatives they were looking at. The public has until April 27 to comment. They said the concern was that from the time the last incinerators are finished destroying chemical weapons at other locations, Pueblo’s water neutralization plant still will not come on line for more than two years, leaving a gap in the nation’s efforts to meet its treaty obligations. Irene Kornelly, chairwoman of the Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Committee and a consultant on the weapons destruction program to the health department, gave the board copies of the letters the commission sent to the Defense Department and the congressmen.” (Pueblo Chieftain ; 30Mar10; John Norton) http://chieftain.com/news/local/article_5d2579ee-3bb2-11df-b9a8-001cc4c002e0.html

Crews use new robot to dismantle weapons
“A new operation at the Anniston Army Depot’s chemical agent disposal facility could speed along closure of the site when it shuts down operations in 2012. Using a remotely controlled, one-armed robot known as a linear projectile mortar disassembly machine (LPMD), employees contracted through Westinghouse can now separate mustard agent-filled mortars from their inner explosives, or bursters. The $25 million project, paid for by the Army, is three years in the making. Data collected throughout the process will aid in planning the Pueblo, Colo., chemical agent disposal facility currently under construction, said project manager Steve Bragg. Operations for the project in Anniston began at the end of March. [...] The LPMD essentially allows for a back-up plan, should the deactivation furnace at the incinerator facility need maintenance. Currently, mortars pass through three different furnaces, and the removal of explosives prior to incineration allows mortars to go directly into the metal parts furnace, according to Terry Sholin, public affairs officer for Westinghouse Anniston’s operations at the facility. The explosives removed from the mustard-filled mortars in Anniston will be destroyed on-site at the depot in the future, while the munitions from which they are removed will go back into storage igloos until their incineration. The LPMD does not involve removing the mustard agent from the mortars.” (Anniston Star; 08Apr10; Rebecca Walker) http://annistonstar.com/view/full_story/6986187/article-Crews-use-new-robot-to-dismantle-weapons?instance=top_center_featured

Plant worker sat on chemical weapon [OR]
“A test has confirmed that a worker who sat on a weight used to calibrate equipment for destroying mustard agent in Eastern Oregon was burned by a drop of the chemical weapon, officials said. The worker suffered a blister about an inch in diameter March 17 but didn’t miss a day of work, said Greg Mahall, chief spokesman for the U.S. Army’s Chemical Materials Agency. ‘So far, no problem,’ Mahall said. ‘We’re expecting full recovery.’ The worker, who hasn’t been identified, was wearing cotton coveralls. The chemical weapon has the consistency of molasses and seeped through the coveralls. The worker’s buttock developed a red spot, then the blister, Mahall said. Based on an examination of videotapes and other evidence, Mahall said, the agency believes the mustard agent was on a ‘wand’ used to puncture the one-ton chemical containers. A small amount of the agent apparently was missed in a cleanup procedure and dripped on a large metal weight used in testing a scale, and the worker sat on the weight. ‘It’s about the only explanation,’ Mahall said. Umatilla workers are getting reminders about safety, he said, including being watchful for what might be grease or oil. Full-scale incineration of the mustard agent has yet to begin at Umatilla. Mahall said the worker is the third to be exposed in a program at nine sites to destroy 31,000 tons of aging chemical weapons under terms of a treaty the U.S. Senate ratified in 1997.” (Chem Info; 06Apr10; Tim Fought) http://www.chem.info/News/2010/04/Safety-Plant-Worker-Sat-on-Chemical-Weapon/

Army confirms worker exposed to mustard agent at Umatilla Depot [OR]
“The U.S. Army said Monday that a worker at the Umatilla Chemical Depot was exposed to mustard agent last month, and it pledged to retrain workers and make other improvements. A review by the Army’s Chemical Materials Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the March 17 exposure through urine samples. The exposure, which gave the worker a small blister, is the third nationwide since the Army began destruction of chemical weapons in 1990, using eight depots in the continental United States. [...] The 19,728-acre depot 11 miles west of Hermiston has served since 1941 as a repository for weapons and chemical agents. It’s in the midst of its startup period of incinerating mustard gas. But incineration has stopped in light of the exposure until workers are retrained in safety procedures, said Hal McCune, protocol manager for URS Corp., the Army contractor processing the waste. Immediate steps include better cleanup of the nozzle and a requirement that workers alert the control room and evacuate the area if they find liquids they can’t identify. The two maintenance workers, both back at work, were wearing less intensive protective clothing in the incineration staging area, including gas masks, gloves, boots and cotton coveralls, when the incident occurred. Until an event review board completes its review of the incident, Mahall said workers will wear the highest level of protection throughout the incineration facility.” (Oregon Live; 05Apr10; Scott Learn) http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/04/army_confirms_worker_exposed_t.html

[U.S. Energy Secretary Steven] Chu vows to move on Yucca plan [NV]
“U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu pledged yesterday to proceed with the termination of Nevada’s Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository despite mounting resistance in Congress. ‘We believe we do have the legal authority to do this,’ Chu said following an address at an energy conference. ‘There are members of Congress who don’t, so we’ve agreed to have our lawyers get together with their lawyers to hash that out.’ Earlier this year, Chu appointed a blue-ribbon commission to explore alternatives to the Yucca Mountain facility. Chu has insisted that the commission’s mandate is to reconsider all aspects of the ‘backend fuel question,’ not just relocate the waste repository elsewhere. But some lawmakers are wary of the decision because several states might not approve new plants without a permanent solution to waste storage.” (Global Security Newswire; 07Apr10) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100407_3803.php

Shooter, sirens prep Minot airmen [for terrorist attack] [ND]
“Minot Air Force Base Airmen responded to a mock attack during a massive accident response exercise at the McAdoo Sports and Fitness Center March 26 here. More than 50 evaluators and exercise planners, including officials from local and state emergency management staffs, the FBI, Minot Police Department and Trinity Hospital, as well as more than 50 volunteers came together to create a realistic simulation of an attack by an active shooter assault at the base fitness center. The exercise consisted of teams of security forces whose mission was to neutralize a gunman in the fitness center, rescue those trapped in the facility and secure the scene, said P.J. Pallotta, a 5th Bomb Wing antiterrorism officer. Follow-on emergency responders, to include fire and medical forces, then dealt with multiple casualties as a result of the shootings and from a low-grade dirty bomb that had been detonated by the gunman. ‘Simultaneously, the rest of the base went into lockdown and all major control centers were activated,’ he said. ‘Even our elementary schools on base practiced lockdown procedures. It was a very plausible scenario.’ All these activities were done under the watchful eyes of exercise evaluation teams. These base evaluators watched to see how responders reacted to different situations.” (U.S. Air Force Public Affairs; 05Apr10; TSgt. Thomas Dow)

Emergency preparedness focus turns from H1N1 to “dirty bomb” attacks
“HANYS [Healthcare Association of New York State] recently participated in the quarterly meeting for New York’s emergency preparedness Regional Resource Centers (RRCs), allied associations, and the Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Health Emergency Preparedness, where workgroups began the process of creating deliverables for the upcoming grant year. The current year’s deliverables focused primarily on responding to the H1N1 virus, while next year’s deliverables will re-focus on creating capacity for managing an influx of trauma and burn patients resulting from a ‘dirty bomb’ attack. The meeting, hosted by Albany Medical Center, brought together the eight designated RRCs in New York State: Erie County Medical Center, Strong Memorial Hospital, Albany Medical Center Hospital, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center, Westchester Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, Stony Brook University Hospital, and Upstate Medical University. The meeting included presentations and discussions on the Learning Management System created by DOH to facilitate preparedness training, progress on developing a health care facility evacuation decision support tool for facilities to use when deciding to evacuate or to shelter in place during an emergency, and the status on the DOH burn project.” (Healthcare Association of New York State; 02Apr10)

Nuke summit `recognition` more security needed: IAEA
“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday praised next week’s nuclear terrorism summit in Washington as a ‘recognition’ that nuclear security needed more attention. ‘I would look at this summit... as a recognition that the security field has to be given more attention,’ the IAEA’s director of nuclear security Anita Nilsson told journalists. ‘As long as there is material for (attacks) and as long as there is an interest by different groups of using the material, there is a risk and a threat.’ Whether in nuclear research facilities, power plants or medical centres, nuclear security measures had to be implemented to prevent material falling into the wrong hands, she insisted. ‘I think this summit will help tremendously in that regard,’ added Nilsson, who will attend the Washington summit as an observer, alongside IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano. ‘There is also a catch-up to do when it comes to these measures because all the recognition wasn’t there some 10 years ago,’ she added. The 151-member International Atomic Energy Agency provides assistance to member states on nuclear security issues, such as training, technical measures and security assessment.” (Zee News; 09Apr10) http://www.zeenews.com/news617329.html

India to flag nuke-terror concern at U.S. summit
“India will seek to establish itself as a responsible nuclear power at the forthcoming nuclear security summit in Washington next week. India will flag its core concern of nuclear terrorism with no prizes for guessing the subject of its international lobbying efforts. Briefing journalists before the summit, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said, ‘Nuclear terrorism is a global challenge and we see the summit and its associated preparatory process as important elements in strengthening international resolve to cooperate on nuclear security and supporting the expanded use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. This will be to India’s benefit given our concerns on terrorism as well as our interest in the expansion of civil nuclear energy.’ PM Manmohan Singh is likely to have a separate ‘pull-aside’ meeting with US President Barack Obama. But there are no plans of meeting Pakistani PM Yousaf Gilani, who will also be present. India will also propose to host and house a brand new nuclear security centre. It’s not yet clear what the centre will do apart from collating national practices, but it’s an attempt to boost India’s credentials in a world where horizontal proliferation of nuclear technology and material is being seen as a growing threat.” (Times Of India; 08Apr10) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-to-flag-nuke-terror-concern-at-US-summit/articleshow/5760466.cms

Nuclear security in Pakistan--what to worry about
“Pakistan, the country with the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, knows it has a nuclear weapons security problem. In February 2000, it created the Strategic Plans Division [SPD] of its National Command Authority to protect Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the infrastructure that produces them from hostile efforts to steal a bomb. The SPD has some 10,000 soldiers at its command to defend nuclear sites, it conducts extensive screenings to ensure the most loyal personnel are guarding the facilities and it makes every effort to conceal the locations of sensitive infrastructure from all outsiders. Pakistani leaders quite rightly note that they take their responsibility to ensure the security of their arsenal seriously. [...] Ironically, the greatest threat to Pakistan’s nuclear security comes from the one part of the Frankenstein Pakistan is not fighting, the terror[ist] group Lashkar e Tayyiba [LeT] that attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008 just after Barack Obama’s election victory. In the months since, Mumbai LeT has continued to flourish in Pakistan. What makes it so dangerous is that, unlike the mostly Pashtun Taliban, it recruits its followers in the Punjab, the same place where the Pakistani army recruits its officer corps. As one senior Pakistani general once told me, the relationship between the army and the LeT is a family affair. That gives the LeT the possibility of access to the arsenal through insider connections that other terror[ist] groups lack.” (Brookings Institution; 09Apr10; Bruce Riedel) http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0408_pakistan_riedel.aspx

Obama calls nuke terrorism the top threat to U.S.
“Rewriting America’s nuclear strategy, the White House on Tuesday announced a fundamental shift that calls the spread of atomic weapons to rogue states or terrorists a worse threat than the nuclear Armageddon feared during the Cold War. [...] [President Obama’s] defense secretary, Robert Gates, said the focus would now be on terror[ist] groups such as al-Qaida as well as North Korea’s nuclear buildup and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. ‘‘For the first time, preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is now at the top of America’s nuclear agenda,’’ Obama said, distancing his administration from the decades-long U.S. focus on arms competition with Russia and on the threat posed by nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert. ‘‘The greatest threat to U.S. and global security is no longer a nuclear exchange between nations, but nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to an increasing number of states,’’ he said, spelling out the core theme of the new strategy. Obama’s announcement set the stage for his trip to Prague Thursday to sign a new arms reduction agreement with Russia. And it precedes a gathering in Washington next Monday of government leaders from more than 40 countries to discuss improving safeguards against terrorists acquiring nuclear bombs.” (New York Times; 09Apr10)


U.S. recovers Chile’s last weapons-grade uranium, a model [U.S. President Barack] Obama can show the world
“With President Barack Obama shifting his nuclear nonproliferation strategy to rogue states and terrorists, Chile has become an example of how small countries can play a big part in making the world safer. Vast amounts of highly enriched uranium, or HEU, is being stored in relatively insecure locations around the world. Just 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of it -- the size of a grapefruit -- could create a mushroom cloud of radioactivity and devastate an entire city if detonated. At a nonproliferation summit Monday in Washington, Obama will encourage leaders from 47 countries to work with the U.S. to secure and remove this weapons-grade HEU from reactors, as Chile finally did last month. [...] Even as aftershocks from last month’s magnitude 8.8 earthquake shook their equipment, U.S. and Chilean engineers worked together to carefully extract Chile’s last HEU. It was no simple operation -- the radioactive material was carefully loaded into specially designed casks and then lowered into two huge shipping containers for the ocean voyage. All told, 60 tons of metal were needed to keep just 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of HEU from leaking radioactivity. After two and a half weeks at sea, including passage through the Panama Canal, a specially outfitted double-hulled ship arrived under U.S. Coast Guard escort at the Charleston Weapons Station in South Carolina last month. Customs agents and nuclear inspectors made radiation checks as the containers were loaded onto flatbed trucks and then driven to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where much of it will be converted to safer fuel and resold for nuclear power.” (Los Angeles Time; 08Apr10; Meg Kinnard And Michael Warren) http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-lt-nuclear-terror,0,4033849.story

Anti-terrorism drill in Malacca
“The historical city is in crisis. Several group of terrorists have taken over a resort, an airport and a merchant ship. Negotiations to release hostages have failed to produce any results. Fearing a blood-bath, the authorities ordered a combined team of Malaysian and Indonesian Counter Terrorist (CT) teams to conduct hostage rescue operations. Making the operations more hazardous is the threat of chemical weapons which forced the evacuation of surrounding areas, and the deployment of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) troops. [...] Fortunately, the situation described above was just a scenario scripted for the Combined Joint Terrorism Exercise between Malaysian and Indonesian armed forces. The Malay Mail was informed that the scenario was based on the Mumbai attacks in 2008 with the addition of chemical weapons as an additional threat. Malindo Latgabma Darsasa (Malaysia-Indonesia, Combined Joint- Force Exercise, Land-Sea and Air) was held from March 30 until this Saturday in Malacca. Some 50 Malaysian and Indonesian CT ‘stormed’ the Everly Resort in Tanjung Keling this morning as the culmination of the two-week exercise. Meanwhile, naval commandos ‘attacked’ a barge anchored just off-shore to complete the maritime part of the training exercise. Tonight, CT teams will target a hangar near Sepang, Selangor, which represents the Batu Berendam airport. The commandos will use live ammunition during the training scenarios, a routine practice among the Special Forces community. Some 1,800 personnel from Malaysia and Indonesia armed forces are taking part in the exercise, the seventh since 1981. This is the first time that the exercise is concentrating on combined operations on counter-terrorism. The exercise is aimed to allow interoperability between both countr[ies] in dealing with the threat of terrorism.” (Malay Mail Online; 08Apr10; Marhalim Abas) http://www.mmail.com.my/content/32821-antiterrorism-drill-malacca

Parliament: strategic trade bill to prevent Malaysia from being used as weapons den
“The perception that Malaysia is a dumping ground for weapons will be removed when the Strategic Trade Bill 2010, aimed at preventing Malaysia from becoming centre for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is passed later. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, when tabling the bill for second reading at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, said the implementation of the law would at the same time protect Malaysian exporters from being used as the channel for supplying illegal strategic goods. The Strategic Trade Bill 2010 had a provision on the control of exports, transferring, transiting and brokering of strategic goods, including arms and related materials, and other activities that would or could facilitate the designing, development and production of WMD and its delivery, and other things related to them, he said. WMD refers to biological weapons, biological agents, chemical weapons, toxins, and nuclear weapons while strategic goods refer to goods and technology which could be used to produce arms and related materials. Mohamed Nazri said Malaysia currently did not have any specific law on the control of strategic goods which took into account specific elements and the potentials for the abuse of such weapons by irresponsible groups.” (Bernama; 05Apr10)


Uranium-mining nations flout UN on nuclear terror[ism]
“Years after a six-month deadline passed, dozens of nations, including uranium producers, remain potential weak links in the global defense against nuclear terrorism, ignoring a U.N. mandate [Security Council Resolution 1540] on laws and controls to foil this ultimate threat. [...] Twenty-nine nations have failed to report they have taken action on nuclear security as required by the 2004 resolution. Among the more than 160 governments that have reported, the information supplied is often sketchy. Resolution 1540, which set a reporting deadline of October 2004, ‘imposes strict reporting requirements on states, but few have fully met them,’ the International Commission on Nonproliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, a prestigious study group, concluded in its final report last December. [...] Almost all the non-reporting states are in Africa, including uranium producers Zambia, Malawi and the Central African Republic. [...] Although they might manage to fashion relatively simple ‘dirty bombs,’ al-Qaida and other terror groups wouldn’t have the expertise or large infrastructure needed to build nuclear weapons from raw African uranium. Experts fear, however, that ‘non-state actors,’ including financially motivated smugglers, might deliver ore, technology or other material to a state with an illicit weapons program.” (Washington Post; 04Apr10; Charles J. Hanley) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/03/AR2010040301250.html


Tactical course ends with live exercise [Guam]
“A man who is suspected of having an affiliation with terrorists ‘arrived’ on Guam a few days ago. Carrying a pretend ‘weapon of mass destruction,’ he didn’t get to board a departing flight yesterday. Before he could leave the bus on which he was traveling and enter the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, a group of special response personnel stopped him in his tracks. The response team safely escorted all passengers off the bus, leaving the ‘suspect’ with the simulated destructive device on board. Though the scenario described above wasn’t real, should it occur on Guam, the different public safety officials will be ready. Airport Police, the Guam Police Department SWAT team, the Navy Special Response Team, and Air Force security forces participated in a simulated bus assault exercise yesterday that would better prepare them for addressing threats. The live exercise was a conclusion of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Advanced Tactical Operations Course, which began Monday. The course was hosted by Louisiana State University. It is designed to give response personnel the knowledge, skills and abilities to command, plan, equip, train and exercise tactical teams for implementing safe and effective response to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents, according to the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training Web site.” (Pacific Daily News; 10Apr10; Laura Matthews)

Review provides deterrence, arms reduction roadmap
“The Nuclear Posture Review is a roadmap for reducing America’s nuclear arsenal while maintaining an effective deterrent, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said at the Pentagon today. [...] New declaratory policies have taken the place of intentionally vague policies of the past, Gates said. For example, if a state that does not have nuclear weapons is in compliance with the nonproliferation treaty and its obligations, the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against that state. If such a state were to use chemical or biological weapons against the United States or its allies or partners, however, ‘it would face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response,’ the secretary said. Gates said the United States will adjust its policy if circumstances dictate the need. ‘Given the catastrophic potential of biological weapons and the rapid pace of biotechnology development,’ he said, ‘the United States reserves the right to make any adjustment to this policy that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation of biological weapons.’ [...] Officials said this is the most comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear strategy since the end of the Cold War, and that it places the prevention of nuclear terrorism and proliferation at the top of the U.S. nuclear policy agenda. ‘Given al-Qaida’s continued quest for nuclear weapons, Iran’s on-going nuclear efforts and North Korea’s proliferation, this focus is appropriate, and indeed,... an essential change from previous reviews,’ Gates said.” (U.S. Department of Defense; 06Apr10; Jim Garamone)

Duke team creating anti-terrorism tool
“It is a worst-case scenario that worries politicians and public health officials: Terrorists detonate a nuclear weapon or a ‘dirty bomb’ in a major city, exposing tens of thousands of victims to the harmful effects of radiation. A new device is under development by scientists at Duke University to help first responders tackle the pandemonium that could result. The technology helps quickly identify who needs to be treated for radiation poisoning. The device uses genomic technology to capture molecular snapshots of genes or patterns of genes that are ‘turned on’ or ‘turned off’ in the body’s response to radiation. These patterns - called genomic signatures - reflect the dose of radiation a person has been exposed to, said one of the test’s developers, Dr. John Chute, a member of the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. ‘Currently there is no rapid test that could be used to diagnose radiation exposure in the event of a mass casualty, and that is a priority for the government,’ Chute said. He and colleagues have recently received a $3.7 million federal contract to develop the device. The contract could grow to as much as $43.6 million over the next five years.” (News Observer; 05Apr10; Marla Vacek Broadfoot) http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/04/05/421589/duke-team-creating-anti-terrorism.html

First responders get postage-stamp size radiation monitors
“Most emergency responders in the U.S. are completely unprepared for a nuclear bomb or a ‘dirty’ bomb. They have no suitable instruments, and no training. Stephen Jones, a volunteer one-man army, is on a mission to change this. He is Special Projects Director for Physicians for Civil Defense. He uses some unconventional methods--like standing in front of a police station with a poster that reads ‘Don’t Be A Canary.’ In the winter of 2009, Jones visited nearly all 143 Arizona Fire Districts, training them with life-saving knowledge and delivering a yellow package labeled ‘Nuclear Attack Kit’ to place on a shelf. This contains the U.S. government Nuclear War Survival Skills manual along with two radiation measuring instruments. A report is published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, posted at: www.jpands.org/vol14no1/jones.pdf. SIRAD technology developed in response to 9/11 by the U.S. Department of Defense Technical Support Working Group (TSWG.gov) now makes it financially possible to equip all police, firefighters, and their families with a radiation monitor the size and thickness of a postage stamp. This can be stuck to a card and carried in a wallet. It costs a few cents to make.” (Fox Business; 05Apr10) http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/responders-postage-stamp-size-radiation-monitors/

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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