War on Terrorism

Friday, May 14, 2010

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, May 14, 2010

UW [University of Wisconsin]-Madison professor barred from lab for potentially dangerous experiments
"A UW-Madison professor who studies an infectious disease lost his laboratory privileges for five years after conducting unauthorized experiments with a potentially dangerous drug-resistant germ. One person who worked in professor Gary Splitter's lab got brucellosis but university officials don't know if that individual, who has since recovered, caught the strain used in the unauthorized experiments. Brucellosis is a disease that is usually found in farm animals but can spread to humans and cause flu-like symptoms or worse. 'These are extremely dangerous compounds,' UW-Madison Provost Paul DeLuca said. 'They are very highly regulated and we want to be in full compliance with federal laws.' The 2007 experiments, which the National Institutes of Health calls a 'major action violation,' in part prompted the university to beef up its biological safety oversight. The university was also fined $40,000. The university on Tuesday released some 500 pages of documents related to the investigation, which took more than two years to complete, in response to a State Journal records request." (Wisconsin State Journal; 11May10; Deborah Ziff and Ron Seely) http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/university/article_bc095ae8-5d4a-11df-8e83-001cc4c03286.html

Expert confirms 3,000 victims at Japan’s Unit 731
"An expert confirmed that he and his fellow researchers have uncovered new archives proving at least 3,000 people died from human experiments carried out more than 60 years ago by Japan's infamous Unit 731, china.com.cn reported Friday. Jin Chengmin, an expert on Unit 731 from the Harbin Academy of Social Sciences in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, said they have gotten the names of the more than 3,000 victims who died from biological experiments at Unit 731 in the Pingfang district of Harbin during China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression from 1937 to 1945. Besides the victims' names, the files also include their ages, occupations, places of birth, education levels, and some even contain their photographs. The list of the victims' names will be displayed in a museum that shows the evidences of crimes of Unit 731." (China Daily; 14May10; Zhang Jiawei) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-05/14/content_9849909.htm

U.S. laws raise costs for 'sensitive' research
"Laboratory studies of live anthrax bacteria and Ebola viruses have become more expensive after legal requirements were imposed on US facilities handling dangerous pathogens nine years ago, suggests a study published this week. 'The most striking effect observed... was a loss of efficiency, with an approximate 2- to 5-fold increase in the cost of doing select agent research as measured by the number of research papers published per millions of US research dollars awarded,' write the authors in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. But the impact of biosafety rules has been mostly positive, reports the team, led by Elizabeth Casman from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. The study comes as the US government is considering proposals to enforce additional safety procedures for high-containment laboratories to boost biosafety and tighten security. This has raised concerns over negative impacts on research and on cooperation between scientists working with dangerous pathogens in the USA and internationally. In 2001, weeks after the September 11th terrorist attacks, then US President George Bush sought to strengthen the country's defences against the malicious use of biological science by signing the USA PATRIOT Act. This was followed by the 2002 Bioterrorism Preparedness Act. Both laws outlined rules that scientists and research facilities would be required to follow when handling 'select agents' -- disease-causing organisms that could pose a serious threat to public health." (Emerging Health Threats Forum; 13May10)

Workshop at UF [University of Florida] to address threat of insect-based terrorism
"A workshop at the University of Florida May 20-22 will look at the possibility of an unusual but potentially massive form of insect-based terrorism that could be launched in Florida. This workshop, titled 'Counteracting Bioterrorist Introduction of Pathogen-Infected Vector Mosquitoes,' deals with the use of pathogen-laced mosquitoes to spread a deadly disease. Former Gov. Bob Graham, co-author of one of the most authoritative studies of terrorist threats against the United States, 'World at Risk,' will give the plenary address at the event, discussing the overall bioterrorism threat. Though attendance at the workshop itself is by invitation only, the public is invited to attend Graham's address at 7 p.m. May 20 in Pugh Hall's MacKay Auditorium, Room 170. How real is the threat? Many of the world's most dangerous pathogens already are transmitted by arthropods, the animal phylum that includes mosquitoes. But so far the United States has not been exposed to a large-scale spread of vector-borne diseases like Rift Valley, chikungunya fever or Japanese encephalitis." (Article Ant; 12May10) http://www.articleant.com/gen/79126-workshop-at-uf-to-address-threat-of-insect-based-terrorism---uni.html

Utah company develops way to kill anthrax [spores]
"A Utah company has developed a way to kill deadly anthrax spores -- in record time -- without damaging humans, animals or the environment. Over the past few years, anthrax threats, real or not, have targeted all 50 governors' offices, 100 U.S. embassies, 52 banks, 36 news organizations, Disneyland, Latter-day Saint temples, town halls, a sheriff's office, a day care center, private homes and even a funeral parlor. More than 1,000 'white powder events,' as they're called, have plagued the FBI over the past three years. That's why this new product could be a welcomed weapon. Developed by Utah-based sBioMed, the sterile killed anthrax spores in a laboratory in less than 30 seconds. In real-world fogging tests of large interior areas, conducted by Zimek Systems, the stuff was equally impressive. sBioMed president Brian Larson says, 'It can totally destroy spores in a fully-sterilized setting within 30 minutes, which is really record breaking in the industry.'" (KSL Newsradio; 11May10; Ed Yeates)

Asian training course on chemical weapons begins in S. Korea
"South Korea on Monday began an annual anti-chemical weapons training program for officials from 18 Asian nations, the defense ministry said Monday. South Korea has been offering the training course to Asian countries every year since 2005, jointly with an international anti-chemical weapons body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), formed to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). South Korea is the only Asian nation to host such a program, the ministry said in a press release. This year's five-day program will draw 23 officials from 18 countries, including Jordan, Malaysia and Uzbekistan, the ministry said. The course includes dealing with terror attacks involving chemical weapons, detecting chemical-warfare agents and decontaminating them." (Yonhap News; 10May10; Chang Jae-soon) http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2010/05/10/8/0301000000AEN20100510001600315F.HTML

Smiths detection launches portable, high performance chemical detector
"Smiths Detection today launched the LCD-NEXUS, a highly selective and sensitive Chemical Warfare Agent (CWA) and Toxic Industrial Chemical (TIC) detector suitable for harsh environments. The portable system is capable of detecting harmful agents down to miosis levels, greatly increasing critical information needed by emergency responders and military personnel. Based on technology originally developed for the U.S. Department of Defense's Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) program, the largest chemical protection program in the world, the LCD-NEXUS is an extension of Smiths Detection's LCD product which uses advanced Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) technology. Tim Picciotti, Vice President, Smiths Detection, said: 'The LCD-NEXUS represents the next evolution of our highly successful LCD technology. We are committed to continuing to invest in developing the best and most useful tools needed by civilian and military personnel as threats evolve.'" (Defence Professionals; 13May10) http://www.defpro.com/news/details/15184/

Facility being built to destroy chemical weapons [Richmond, KY]
"After years of delay, it's finally full speed ahead on construction of a facility to destroy the 523 tons of aging chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot. ABC 36 News was given a tour of the 50 acre construction site Monday. Two years into construction some of the steel for the 87,000 square foot munitions demilitarization building is up. 'This is really a unique, one of a kind facility,' said Jeff Brubaker, the Army's site project manager. The facility will have 25 inch thick walls and 43 inch deep foundation, safeguards against the outside chance of a blast or earthquake. There is six more years of construction remaining, then two years of testing and three years of work to destroy the chemical weapons, which contain mustard, a blister agent, or nerve agent. After years of delays, including a shortage of funds to do the job, the project is now moving along with a commitment of more than a half billion dollars a year from the Pentagon over the next five years. 'We have sustained momentum and I believe that momentum will continue,' said Brubaker." (American Broadcasting Company; 10May10; Greg Stotelmyer) http://www.wtvq.com/news/3521-depot-chemical-plant

Trace amounts of HD mustard vapor detected today [Umatilla, OR]
"Trace amounts of HD mustard chemical agent vapor were detected today inside a storage structure or 'igloo' that houses bulk containers. The leaking container will be identified, inspected, repaired as necessary, and decontaminated. There is no danger to the public or environment. The igloos have a passive filtration system that prevents chemical agent vapor from escaping outside the structures. Depot officials routinely notify the public when such incidents occur. Army officials also notify off-post emergency operations centers in Umatilla and Morrow counties, Ore.; Benton County, Wash.; those in Oregon and Washington states; the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality." (U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency; 13May10)

Chad accedes to additional nuclear safeguards: IAEA official
"The United Nations atomic watchdog on Thursday announced that Chad has acceded to additional safeguards, bringing the number of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members that have yet to come into force from 20 to 19. A representative from the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA) made the announcement here during a meeting on non-proliferation at the NPT Review Conference, which ends on May 28. The comprehensive safeguards agreement, the modified small quantities protocol, and the Additional Protocol for Chad entered into force, the representative said. The IAEA Additional Protocol imposes wide-reaching safeguards on NPT members and is generally agreed to be a confidence-building measure. The legal agreement grants IAEA inspectors expanded rights of access to information and sites and improves both the administrative procedures between NPT signatories and the IAEA. With provisional implementation of the Additional Protocol by Iraq, there are 101 additional protocols that are currently being implemented, the IAEA representative noted. The United States director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety and Security, Richard J.K. Stratford, welcomed the move by Chad, which has chosen to incorporate the IAEA's Additional Protocol into its national non-proliferation approach." (Xinhua; 13May10) http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-05/14/c_13293430.htm

Radiation death sparks Indian safety enquiry
"The Indian government is scrambling to tighten rules on scientists' use of radioactive materials, following the death of a metal dealer who handled a radioactive source that had been sold for scrap by the University of Delhi. The incident has highlighted the poor enforcement of waste-disposal laws in India at a time when the country is aiming to expand its nuclear-power programme, and when the prospect of nuclear terrorism continues to be a concern. The radioactive cell, containing cobalt-60, had been imported from Atomic Energy Canada in 1968 by the university's chemistry department, and had not been used since 1985. Cobalt-60 is a y-ray (gamma) source that is used for industrial radiography, medical radiotherapy and in various laboratory experiments." (Nature; 08May10; K.S. Jayaraman) http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100508/full/news.2010.230.html

U.S. and South Africa cooperate on nuclear emergency response efforts "
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the completion of cooperative nuclear emergency response training with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA). The week-long effort included training in radiological assistance for emergency response, major public event venue searches, geographic information systems, and medical responses to nuclear and radiological emergencies. This training is part of the preparation for upcoming World Cup games, hosted by South Africa in June 2010. 'NNSA's work with South Africa is part of our broader effort to build and enhance the global capacity to prevent and respond to nuclear and radiological emergencies,' said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. 'NNSA's cooperation with South Africa will help ensure the nuclear security of major events like the World Cup games.' As part its emergency operations mission, NNSA provides support for major public events by training officials in nuclear incident search and response." (National Nuclear Security Administration; 03May10) http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/southafrica050310

House panel approves $15 billion for DOE [Department of Energy] nuclear operations
"A key House panel yesterday approved $15 billion for the U.S. Energy Department's atomic operations for the coming fiscal year. That dollar figure includes $7 billion for 'nuclear weapons activities,' a 10-percent increase from the present budget, according to House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman James Langevin (D-R.I.), whose panel has the first input on the president's requested nuclear budget. Those efforts ensure the safety and performance of the nation's nuclear arsenal. The funding also provides $5.6 billion for environmental and other defense activities, including disposal of nuclear waste. [...] The panel's plan addresses the 'gravest threats we face, includes measures to reduce the danger that nuclear weapons might spread to terrorists or to countries hostile to the United States,' the Rhode Island lawmaker said. [...] The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous branch of the Energy Department, is slated to receive a 13.4-percent funding hike to $11.2 billion in the budget cycle that begins Oct. 1. That is a greater percentage increase than planned for any other government agency. The agency would be responsible for most if not all of $7 billion in weapons activities the subcommittee approved yesterday. Yesterday, the subcommittee added $11 million to the administration's original $393 million request for directed stockpile work at the Pantex Plant in Texas to 'ensure that the [warhead] life extension programs, stockpile surveillance and critical weapons dismantlements stay on schedule,' according to Langevin." (Global Security Newswire; 13May10; Martin Matishak) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100513_2057.php

Lawrence Livermore National Lab and VeriTainer Corp. sign cooperative research and development agreement
"Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and VeriTainer Corporation have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). The CRADA will be used to refine and enhance VeriTainer's patented crane mounted scanning (CMS) technology. The CRADA will be in place for three-and-a-half years and require approximately $4 million in funding. LLNL will work in cooperation with VeriTainer's scientists and engineers to enhance both gamma and neutron detection sensitivity, while maintaining the capabilities of VeriTainer's CMS. The system has been operated for the past four years in field tests run at three ports and in five different terminals. 'This agreement with an entity as accomplished and respected as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is obviously a big step forward for our firm, the CMS technology and the overall security of the global supply chain,' said John Alioto, CEO of VeriTainer. 'Together, we will optimize the existing technology and continue to develop the overall CMS solution.'" (Earth Times; 12May10) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/lawrence-livermore-national-lab-and,1295444.shtml

Second human safety study of ARCS vaccine underway
"According to a news release from MarketWire, a second human safety study of a Cleveland BioLabs, Inc., drug used to treat Acute Radiation Syndrome is underway. The May 10 release states that healthy volunteers were dosed with CBLB502, a drug that was created to protect against radiation poisoning in the event of a nuclear accident or bioterrorism attack, such as a nuclear or radiological weapon attack. The drug has proven safe in earlier testing on animals, the release states. A Phase I study on human testers showed that the CBLB502 was 'well tolerated and that normalized biomaker results corresponded to previously demonstrated activity in animal models of Acute Radiation Syndrome,' according to the release. The second study is being conducted on 100 volunteers who have received one of four randomized dosing regimens of CBLB502, according to the release. The $1.3 million study is being funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Analysis of the data is ongoing." (Vaccine News Daily; 12May10; Ted Purlain) http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/news/213031-second-human-safety-study-of-arcs-vaccine-underway

FDNY [Fire Department City of New York] invests in radiological, nuclear PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] [NY]
"The New York City Fire Department recently purchased Demron personal-protection armor from Radiation Shield Technologies. RST President Ronald DeMeo said FDNY will incorporate the PPE in its chemical protective clothing upgrade program. [...] DeMeo said FDNY's Hazmat Company No. 1 was one of the teams to deploy Demron, specifically the product line's two-ply Radiation Torso Vest, W High Energy Nuclear/Ballistic IED RDD RED Shield and Crew Protection Blanket. The vest is worn under hazmat suits to protect vital organs and shields users from X-ray and low-energy Gamma emissions and high- and low-energy Beta and Alpha particles, he said. The nuclear/ballistic shield is a flame- and acid-resistant blanket that helps contain high-energy radiation and meets NFPA Class 2 certification for the 1994–2007 Standard on Protective Ensembles for First Responders to CBRN Terrorism Incidents. In addition, the blanket was custom-created for FDNY to provide nuclear shielding protection for first responders who transport radiation victims." (Fire Chief; 11May10; Mary Rose Roberts) http://firechief.com/hazmat/ar/fdny-radiological-ppe-20100511/

Nuclear waste site a target for terrorists, expert warns
"A British nuclear risk expert has warned that terrorists could target radioactive waste being transported thousands of kilometres across Australia to a proposed waste dump in the Northern Territory. John Large, who advises governments, companies and non-government agencies, said the waste that will be taken to the remote site on the disused Muckaty cattle station is suitable for use in a 'dirty' radioactive bomb that could be built with limited technology or knowledge. Experts acknowledge a home-made radioactive bomb is the most likely terrorist nuclear threat, he said. Mr Large told the Herald that transporting waste by land routes is prone to accident, open to a malicious act and requires additional packaging and handling for transportation. He said it would be a major target for terrorists. Mr Large made the comments after a Labor-led Senate committee last Friday upheld a move by the federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, to build Australia's first national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek." (Sydney Morning Herald; 11May10; Lindsay Murdoch Darwin) http://www.smh.com.au/national/nuclear-waste-site-a-target-for-terrorists-expert-warns-20100510-uor7.html

White supremacist [Ian Davison] who manufactured ricin jailed
A white supremacist who became the first person to be sentenced for producing a chemical weapon has been jailed for 10 years. Ian Davison, 42, manufactured enough ricin to kill nine people and kept it in a jar in his kitchen for two years. He was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court alongside his teenage son Nicky, who was a fellow member of a group known as the Aryan Strike Force. Davison Jnr was sentenced to two years in a young offenders' institution. Davison Snr, of Burnopfield, County Durham, previously admitted producing a chemical weapon, preparing acts of terrorism, three counts of possessing material useful to commit acts of terror and one count of possessing a prohibited weapon. His 19-year-old son, of Annfield Plain, County Durham, was convicted of three counts of possessing material useful for acts of terror following a trial a fortnight ago. The charges related to downloading copies of the Anarchist's Cookbook and The Poor Man's James Bond on two computers." (Telegraph; 14May10) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7724848/White-supremacist-who-manufactured-ricin-jailed.html

MfD [Mlada fronta Dnes]: anti-terrorism shield to make Prague metro one of world's safest
"The Prague metro will become one of the world's safest thanks to a special anti-terrorist protection system to be launched in a fortnight, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday. The City Public Transport Company (DPP) has worked for many years on developing the system that would protect passengers if terrorists waged an attack with poisonous gases in the metro. The DPP started working on the project after the attack on the Tokyo metro in 1995 when members of the local Aum Shinrikyo sect released deadly nerve agent sarin in the underground, killing 12 people and injuring hundreds, MfD writes. The Prague metro will put into operation a system of sensors that can immediately detect leaking poisonous substances, assess the danger, and send the information to the operative centre and to the police, MfD says. Afterwards, instructions for passengers will be automatically activated in the afflicted stations to organise their evacuation. The trains will pass the stations without stopping and escalators in the stations will move only upwards, MfD writes. The DPP and the City Hall have invested tens of millions of crowns in the new system, the paper says." (Prague Daily Monitor; 13May10) http://praguemonitor.com/2010/05/14/mfd-anti-terrorist-shield-make-prague-metro-one-worlds-safest

College of Dupage to offer homeland security training [Dupage, IL]
"The largest community college in Illinois is building a state of the art facility to train students for careers in homeland security. A new education center at College of DuPage will include an emergency operations command center, cyber-crime lab, and a mock courtroom. Ground will be broken for the $25 million Homeland Security Education Center next month. Officials say it will be the only complex of its size and scope within 1,200 miles. Students will be offered courses on terrorism methodology, cyberterrorism, bioterrorism, and emergency urban response." (WGN, Tribune Company; 14May10) http://www.wgntv.com/wgntv-dupage-homeland-security-center-may14,0,6267705.story

Guam Guard's WMD unit tests readiness
"The Guam National Guard's Weapons of Mass Destruction Team is being evaluated this week. Every state and territory has one of them, and for Guam it's the Guam National Guard's 94th Civil Support Team that's in charge of keeping the island safe from any weapons of mass destruction, either biological or chemical. Guam Guard Spokesperson Captain Ken Ola said, 'They have to go through an evaluation every eighteen months; they were certified last year in June, so it's their turn now to get evaluated.' With the help of other men in green, the team used their knowledge and various tools and equipment to measure the situation if the island were to come under a chemical attack. 'People involved here are the 196th Infantry Brigade, that's their higher level trainers. Also involved are the 45th CST from the Tennessee National Guard that are helping us out and evaluating all of our tasks,' CPT Ola continued." (KUAM, Guam; 13May10; Nick Delgado)

[Department of Homeland Security] Secretary [Janet] Napolitano announces nearly $790 million in critical infrastructure and preparedness grants
"Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the fiscal year 2010 Preparedness Grants for nine federal programs--including critical infrastructure-related grants--totaling nearly $790 million to assist state, local and tribal governments and the private sector in strengthening preparedness for acts of terrorism, major disasters and other emergencies. 'These grants play a major role in our efforts to work with our state, local, tribal and territorial and private sector partners to build a national culture of readiness and resilience,' said Secretary Napolitano. 'We continue to focus on maximizing efficiency and value while prioritizing risk in awarding grants to strengthen our nation's security.' The critical infrastructure and preparedness grants announced today include specific steps undertaken by DHS to improve the ability of grant applicants to maximize funding and also incorporate input from state, local, tribal and territorial and private sector partners." (Department of Homeland Security; 13May10) http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1273760215810.shtm

Bombing-related surge would swamp most U.S. trauma centers
"Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, millions of dollars have gone into stockpiling drugs, masks and equipment to combat biological weapons such as anthrax [spores]. But after a decade of gearing up for headline-grabbing germ warfare, U.S. trauma centers aren't much better equipped to handle a surge of victims from a far more likely bomb attack, reports the Wall Street Journal. Although trauma care tends to be expensive due to 24/7 staffing requirements and poorly compensated because it disproportionately affects the young and uninsured, most states have a system of designated facilities to handle the most severe injuries. But even with trauma surgeons and operating rooms available 24 hours a day, most big-city hospitals already have to re-route ambulances during the course of a typical, terror-free day." (Fierce Healthcare; 12May10; Debra Beaulieu)

White house to slash terror[ism] funding for NYC
"It's been just 11 days since the Times Square terror[ist] attack, but on Wednesday afternoon the White House announced plans to slash millions of dollars used to fight similar plots. [...] The city will take a $42 million cut for mass transit security -- down 27 percent from last year. Officials said measures like extra patrols on trains and chemical and biological weapons detection systems may have to wait. Port security will also take a big hit. New York will lose $11.2 million in port security funds, down 25 percent from last year, jeopardizing more security initiatives. 'At the port, same thing -- anti-nuclear detection devices are very, very important because God forbid a nuclear device would be placed in a container on a ship and exploded in our harbor, it's the worst nightmare imaginable,' Sen. Charles Schumer said." (Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) News; 12May10; Rob Morrison) http://wcbstv.com/topstories/terror.funding.nyc.2.1690664.html

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.

No comments: