War on Terrorism

Friday, June 11, 2010

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, June 11, 2010

Did the U.S. wage germ warfare in Korea?
"[The United States of] America denies using biological weapons in the Korean War. But North Koreans still claim the US dropped bombs containing disease-carrying insects and food. [...] Masataka Mori, a professor of history at Shizuoka University in Japan, who has studied the activities for Unit 731 for many years, believes that Japan's biological warfare programme was not fully investigated for good reason: Unit 731's scientists, he says, were granted immunity in return for sharing the fruits of their research with the Americans. [...] Prof Mori first visited North Korea in 1990 and has returned three times since to carry on his research. He has visited nine sites that reported germ weapon attacks by American forces during the war and interviewed more than 30 survivors. He says there are striking similarities between the diseases and weapons used by the Japanese military in China and those said to have been deployed by the United States against targets in northern Korea. [...] The US military has not changed its stance over allegations that it used biological weapons in Korea. In response to a list of questions submitted to the Pentagon for this article, Major Maureen Schumann issued a brief statement: 'The long-standing US position is that allegations of biological weapons use in the Korean war is 'the disinformation campaign that refuses to die'. Our position has not changed. The allegations have proven baseless time and time again.' [...] Prof Mori shrugs his shoulders. 'The use of germ weapons in war is a breach of the Geneva Convention and I think that is why they are refusing to admit the allegations. The criterion for my judgment is not whether North Korea's claim is correct or the American claim is right; the criterion is whether the incidents actually happened or not. I went to North Korea and met people who had suffered the effects of germ warfare. They told me their stories, shedding tears and grimacing with anger. They told me what actually happened and I cannot question that." (History News Network; 10Jun10; Julian Ryall) http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/127849.html

Armour of defence [showcase of defense products from India]
"Going by the products showcased at the Bangalore India Bio 2010, it is clear the country is well-prepared for any kind of warfare, including biological, chemical or nuclear. In this direction, DRDO [Defence Research and Development Organisation] Gwalior displayed its 100 per cent 'Made in India' products, meant for the defence forces at the two-day show that began on Wednesday. We give you a peek into some of these. [...] These are clothing for medical responders for rescue operations in nuclear, biological or chemical warfare emergencies. [...] To find out whether a solution has ricin in it or not, the DRDO has developed a test kit. A drop of the liquid suspected to have ricin into the kit will indicate through colours whether it has ricin or not." (Bangalore Mirror; 03Jun10; Renuka Phadnis) http://bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?Page=article§name=News%20-%20City§id=10&contentid=201006032010060305293513175c7ec8c

Agency to study lessons learned from H1N1 experience [Franklin County, OH]
"Public fear of the H1N1 virus has largely dissipated over the last few months, and now the Franklin County Board of Health is hoping to learn from its experience with the pandemic. The H1N1 vaccination program presented a unique challenge, [County Health Commissioner Susan] Tilgner said, and the board of health had to deal with it using what it already knew. That included use of some plans that will be adjusted should similar situations arise in the future, she said. For instance, the board has for some time had a plan to hand out pills in case of an anthrax [spore] attack, including mobile kits to set up clinics. But clinics to give shots presented some challenges entirely different from those presented by clinics to distribute pills, Tilgner said. 'When we did the H1N1 vaccination, we used those (anthrax) kits, but we realized there were some different things we needed to do when we use those kits,' she said. Better methods for setting up the clinics, notifying the public of them and choosing locations for them all will be considered as the board moves forward, Tilgner said." (Columbus Local News; 11Jun10; Garth Bishop) http://www.snponline.com/articles/2010/06/11/multiple_papers/news/allh1n1les_20100611_0909am_2.txt

Army sensors research leads to soldier protection advances
"Just months after the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory launched an aggressive, innovative research project that has been instrumental to the development of low-cost, lightweight sensors capable of providing novel approaches to the detection of manmade threats to Soldiers, including biological agents, small arms fire, and missile plumes. The Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center's [ECBC] Tactical Biological Detector, an ultraviolet, light-emission diode - based bioaerosol detection device, can trace its heritage to the intellectual capital in wide bandgap semiconductors built from ARL's nearly decade-old research initiative. This device emerged after combined efforts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and ARL under the Semiconductor Ultraviolet Optical Sources program. [...] Researchers at ECBC had begun to think about a lower-cost version of this sensor and had become interested in the possibility of replacing the expensive laser with cheap LEDs having wavelengths that could be tuned to maximize bioagent detection, while reducing false positives from common battlefield interferents such as diesel emissions. 'But everything changed after 9/11 and what followed immediately thereafter at the Brentwood Post Office with the anthrax [bacteria] contamination in mail that resulted in two deaths,' Wraback recalled. 'The possibility of asymmetric threat concentration in a small area existed even though the hazardous agent might not be a high quality product. That drove the need to make a less expensive sensor - one that could be deployed en masse and networked to talk to each other to define threat locations.'" (U.S. Army; 10Jun10; T'jae Gibson) http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/06/10/40663-army-sensors-research-leads-to-soldier-protection-advances/

George Mason University dedicates new biomedical research lab [Manassas, VA]
"George Mason University formally dedicates the university's new biomedical research laboratory (BRL) at its Prince William County campus today. George Mason's BRL is the newest of only 13 regional biocontainment laboratories that are being built with grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The grants are part of a nationwide effort to advance the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. [...] The BRL is managed by Mason's National Center for Biodefense and Infections Diseases, whose mission is to address the threats of bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases. It includes biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories where George Mason researchers will research new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to protect individuals against bioterrorism and infectious diseases. Research will focus on newly emerging diseases such as Rift Valley Fever and influenza viruses, as well as on pathogens [causing diseases] such as anthrax, plague and tularemia considered by the U.S. government to be potential bioterror[ism] threats." (Virginia Business; 10Jun10) http://www.virginiabusiness.com/index.php/news/article/george-mason-university-dedicates-new-biomedical-research-lab/220222/

The U.S. hand sanitizers market to cross US$402 million by 2015, according to new report by Global Industry Analysts, inc.
"Hand sanitizer gels marked their evolution during the 1980s, with many scientists and research institutes channeling vital resources and efforts for the development of these products. Global threats in the past such as SARS, avian flu, and the more recent H1N1 influenza or swine flu, led to a surge in demand for hand sanitizers. [...] Military demand for hand sanitizers is also on the rise, given their inaccessibility to soap and water in most scenarios. Further, the threat of 'bioterrorism' has spurred growth in restaurants, fast food chains, and food processing plants. [...] In terms of format, gel-style sanitizers are more popular in the US. World over, touch-free dispensing systems with alcohol-based hand sanitizer are being used more frequently than manual-type dispensers." (PR Web; 10Jun10) http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/06/prweb4113014.htm

Pharmathene: $78.4m contract modification upheld
"PharmAthene Inc. said Wednesday the federal government denied a rival's challenge to an anthrax vaccine contract that could yield up to $78.4 million for the biotechnology company. PharmAthene, which is based in Annapolis, Md., said the U.S. Government Accountability Office denied a competitor's protest of the contract modification, which was announced in December, for the development of its SparVax vaccine. Under the modification, PharmAthene could receive up to $61 million plus an additional $17.4 million if the government exercises all of its options. PharmAthene said the modification will support advanced development of the vaccine through 2012. SparVax is a second-generation vaccine being developed for protection against an anthrax infection both before and after exposure." (Bloomberg Businessweek; 09Jun10) http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9G7SPS80.htm

USAMRIID [U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases] implementing study recommendations [Fort Detrick, MD]
"Army officials are making good on their promise to implement safety and security recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences. Col. John Skvorak, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, briefed Fort Detrick and local leaders Monday night on a variety of changes that have been made or are in the works on post. An academy panel reviewed USAMRIID's operating procedures and safety records, as well as the Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] on its lab under construction at Detrick. The panel released its final report in March, which included findings and recommendations in four main categories: assessment of the EIS itself; operating procedures for the new lab; emergency management; and communication with the public. Skvorak said the Institute has made several improvements to its operating procedures, even though the academy complimented its safety record. 'The first recommendation they make is my favorite one, continue to set the high standards for safety, security and biosurety,' Skvorak said. 'That had to be our goal all along, and it is ... I've said from day one as commander, the most important responsibility I have is the safety and security of the folks that work at USAMRIID.'" (Frederick News-Post; 09Jun10; Megan Eckstein)

CET [Clean Earth Tech, LLC] demos decontaminant during exercise [Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA]"CET says its anthrax spores decontaminant was successfully demonstrated while supporting a biological terrorist attack simulation in Washington state. U.S. company CET was selected to participate in the recent Interagency Biological Restoration Decontamination Device Demonstration exercise, which took place at the U.S. military's Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The exercise was part of an effort to practice emergency response preparedness in the event of a bioterrorist attack. CET says its Peridox was deployed during the exercise with an Electrostatic Decontamination System to evaluate the technology for applications in a realistic urban terrain." (United Press International; 08Jun10) http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2010/06/08/CET-demos-decontaminant-during-exercise/UPI-25251276010506/

Mustard gas shells to be destroyed [Columboola]
Official approval has been granted for the destruction of 144 mustard-gas shells found at a former World War II US military base at Columboola, between Chinchilla and Miles. A specific method has not yet been chosen but a Department of Defence spokesman said most of the possibilities involved destruction of the shells inside specially designed chambers to ensure no harmful gases could escape. The 155mm shells were uncovered by mining company Syntech Resources who owned the site and were checking for unexploded weapons. Further surveys will be conducted on the site in the coming months to ensure no other discarded munitions remain." (The Chronicle: Australia; 09Jun10; Stuart Cumming) http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2010/06/09/mustard-gas-shells-to-be-destroyed/

Weapons dump in Utah west desert is a deadly 'cache' 22 [Tooele, UT]
"In April, the Army announced it had destroyed all of the 'non-stockpile,' or non-functioning, weapons it had declared nationwide when the United States entered into a treaty known as the Chemical Weapons Convention. Last week, officials at Utah's Deseret Chemical Depot said they had destroyed the last mustard agent-filled munitions in their arsenal. But in both cases, the Army left out a big, dirty and dangerous part of the picture: Thousands of munitions -- many of which still hold the remnants of deadly chemical agents -- have been left, poorly protected and broadly unaccounted for, in Utah's vast west desert. [...] Such weapons have met widespread international condemnation. And the U.S. military spent decades denying the extent of its testing of mustard and other weapons of mass destruction in Utah. But since entering into the treaty, the military has been remarkably candid about the Deseret disaster, known as the East Demilitarization Area, where the Army dumped and burned its weapons from 1945 to 1978. Army officials speak openly about the so-called 'solid waste management unit' at public meetings in nearby Tooele. They have invited some members of the public to tour the site, where the mustard-filled mortar shells have rested in plain sight since being discarded during the Cold War. The dump is spread out across thousands of acres -- and protected by little more than a cattle fence." (Salt Lake Tribune; 06Jun10; Matthew D. Laplante)

Coast guard searches for military shells [Boston, MA]
"State and federal officials worked Tuesday to decontaminate a clam boat anchored in isolation off Massachusetts after it dredged up old munitions containing mustard gas, severely sickening a crewman. The Coast Guard was trying to locate the two military shells, which the crew tossed overboard in about 60 feet of water about 45 miles south of Long Island, said Coast Guard Petty Officer James Rhodes. He acknowledged finding the shells will be difficult. The military used the ocean as a dumping ground for munitions from after World War II through 1970. While the tons of old chemical weapons in offshore waters present a danger to fishermen, experts don't believe they are a possible source of weapons for terrorists. [...] On Tuesday, a National Guard team boarded the vessel, the ESS Pursuit, to test for contamination, while the Coast Guard worked to secure the ship in waters off New Bedford so that it can be moored and decontaminated." (Daily Journal: Vineland, NJ; 09Jun10; Jay Lindsay)

Training for a disaster [Madison County, KY]
"The Madison County Emergency Management Agency and Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (EMA/CSEPP) will conduct their annual emergency preparedness exercise on Wednesday. The exercise start time will be a surprise, said Carl Richards, EMA director. 'We know it will be some time after 8 a.m.,' he said. 'It makes it more realistic.' The county-wide emergency sirens must be sounded within eight minutes of the official disaster notification, Richards said. 'We have to have our protective action decisions made for the entire county, and that all has to be done in less than eight minutes,' he said. [...] The exercise will be observed and evaluated by federal officials and will test the readiness of Madison County to respond quickly and effectively to a chemical weapons emergency. Exercise planners will create a mock scenario at the Blue Grass Army Depot to which groups involved in the exercise will respond." (Richmond Register; 07Jun10; Ronica Shannon) http://richmondregister.com/localnews/x1996916373/Training-for-a-disaster

U.S. and Croatia to cooperate in preventing the illicit trafficking of radioactive materials
"The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Croatia. The MOU will allow NNSA to help equip Croatia's strategic points of entry--such as border crossings, airports, and seaports--with new radiation detection systems and train Croatian Customs in the use and maintenance of this equipment. The cooperation will strengthen the capability of Croatia to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials in the Balkan region. 'This agreement with Croatia is the latest example of NNSA's commitment to work with our international partners to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear and radiological material,' NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Ken Baker said. 'Croatia is an important partner in preventing proliferation and we look forward to continuing to work with them to improve border security and combat nuclear terrorism.' NNSA's Second Line of Defense (SLD) program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports, and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment, plays a critical role in the U.S. effort to implement President Obama's nuclear security agenda." (National Nuclear Security Administration; 09Jun10) http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/uscroatia

At laboratory outside of Las Vegas [NV], U.S. officials prepare for response to nuclear terror[ism]
"In an unremarkable building a short drive from the Las Vegas strip, government analysts hover over computer monitors, watching waves of color sweep over a map of a city. The city is Washington, D.C. The hues represent the fallout from an imagined nuclear bomb. It is from here, in a laboratory on the edge of the vast Nevada desert, that U.S. officials would gather some of the first critical information that could affect the lives of millions in the aftermath of a nuclear terrorist attack in an American city. Normally concealed from the world within the high fences of Nellis Air Force Base, the doors were opened last month to provide rare tours for officials from 26 countries. A reporter from The Associated Press was also invited along. The tours were part of efforts by the National Nuclear Safety Administration to coordinate international responses to nuclear or radiological catastrophes in the United States or abroad. The visiting countries included China, Russia and Israel." (Los Angeles Times; 08Jun10; Desmond Butler) http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-us-nuclear-control-room,0,3832585.story

[U.S. Representatives] Pascrell, King introduce WMD bill
"Today, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, introduced H.R. 5498, The WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2010. This legislation will make progress toward implementing the recommendations of the WMD Commission and will improve U.S. efforts to prevent, deter, detect, and respond to an attack by a weapon of mass destruction. Calling the legislation a 'comprehensive approach to improving America's biodefense capabilities,' WMD Commission Chair, Sen. Bob Graham, and Vice-Chair, Sen. Jim Talent, have both endorsed the bill. [...] Rep. King said: 'The WMD Commission has offered the sobering finding that a WMD attack is 'likely' to occur somewhere in the world by 2013, something that Senators Graham and Talent reiterated in April when they testified before the Homeland Security Committee. Public reports from former intelligence community officials indicate that Al-Qaeda is seeking to acquire or develop WMDs, which they surely would seek to use against the U.S. This legislation will enhance America's capabilities to protect American lives from such a WMD attack. I am happy to have partnered with Bill Pascrell on this legislation.'" (PR Newswire; 10Jun10) http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pascrell-king-introduce-wmd-bill-96092554.html

Ready to face disaster [New Health and Decontamination Facility in Williamsport, PA]
"'You hope you never need it.' When Steven P. Johnson, president of Susquehanna Health, made that comment during the ribbon-cutting ceremony last week for Susquehanna Health's Ambulance Service Center and Decontamination Facility, one could easily imagine what the crowd was thinking. Deadly chemical outbreaks, anthrax [bacteria], chemical spills, attacks by terrorists or a host of other natural and man-made contaminations; each one capable of threatening life as we know it in the Susquehanna Valley. Located on the campus of the Williamsport Regional Medical Center, the $750,000 facility has the ability to provide emergency decontamination to 110 persons an hour." (Daily Item; 08Jun10; Jeffrey Allen Federowicz) http://dailyitem.com/0100_news/x371475251/Ready-to-face-disaster

National Guard trains newest civil support team hopefuls at Indian River State College [FL]
"The Treasure Coast hosted the Florida Army and Air National Guard as they conducted their final training Tuesday to become the nation's newest Civil Support Team. Held at Indian River State College's Public Safety Training Complex, trainees donning orange HAZMAT suits responded to a hypothetical terrorist group known to have access to chemical and biological agents, among other exercises. [...] Weapon of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams deploy rapidly to assist local first responders and the FBI in determining the nature and extent of an attack or incident. The federally funded teams aid in identifying and containing WMD's and help provide expertise and skills to keep citizens safe at high-profile public events and during emergencies that threaten the nation's security. They are a vital element of the Department of Defense's overall mission to provide civil authorities with support in the event of an occurrence involving weapons of mass destruction in the United States." (Treasure Coast Palm; 08Jun10; Nicole Rodriguez) http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2010/jun/08/national-guard-trains-newest-civil-support-team/

$16.5 million armory to be built at Heartland Community College [Normal, IL]
"A $16.5 million armory will be built at Heartland Community College's Normal campus to house a National Guard unit being transferred from Chicago. Under a plan approved Monday by the college's board, the U.S. Department of Defense will cover about 75 percent of the cost and the state will pay the rest, said Maj. Brad Leighton, public affairs director for the Illinois National Guard. [...] The 404th is being reorganized into a broad support unit for other brigades. Until now, it has focused on decontamination associated with biohazards and chemical warfare, said the Illinois National Guard commander, Maj. Gen. William Enyart. The brigade is shifting to a logistics approach, including military police, firefighting, engineering, and communications. It will have units capable of handling emergency missions ranging from searches to dealing with mass-casualty incidents and chemical, nuclear and biological decontamination. [...] The 50,000-square-foot facility will sit on 20 acres in the middle of Heartland's property along Raab Road. It will be south of the Astroth Community Center and west of the campus pond. Nearly 12,000 square feet of the site will be shared space." (Bloomington Pantagraph; 07Jun10; Michele Steinbacher) http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/article_9c1f607e-725d-11df-8add-001cc4c03286.html

Hazmat teams test response plans [Rocky Mount, NC]
"A menial task such as opening the mail at work gets dicey when the contents of the package include a white powder substance. [...] That is why emergency management departments around the country developed hazardous material response plans, and many local agencies worked together Wednesday to test their response to a full-scale exercise. 'The exercise was based on experiences and actual calls we've had in the past in Rocky Mount and in the county, which prompted us to develop this plan,' Nash County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Brent Fisher said. 'Now that plan is in place, if something happened, we'd have something universal that all responding agencies can use as a guide. We know how to get the ball rolling and even have a checklist to make sure everything is done.' Fisher organized the activity as part of series of exercises funded through a $35,000 Department of Crime Control and Public Safety grant. The exercise was designed to establish a learning environment for response agencies to exercise response plans, policies and procedures as they pertain to suspicious packages,' he said. 'The exercise consisted of a suspicious package being delivered to the Rocky Mount Water Treatment Plant where employees opened the package and were covered with an unknown powdery substance.'" (Rocky Mount Telegram; 04Jun10; Brie Handgraaf)

US National Security: Key challenges and solutions to strenghten interagency collaboration
"'Recent terrorist events such as the attempted bomb attacks in New York's Times Square and aboard an airliner on Christmas Day 2009 are reminders that national security challenges have expanded beyond the traditional threats of the Cold War Era to include unconventional threats from nonstate actors. Today's threats are diffuse and ambiguous, making it difficult--if not impossible--for any single federal agency to address them alone. Effective collaboration among multiple agencies and across federal, state, and local governments is critical. [...] GAO has recommended that federal agencies incorporate desirable characteristics of national strategies; take actions to create collaborative organizations; address human capital issues such as staffing shortages, training, and strategic planning; and establish or clarify guidelines for sharing national security information. Agencies have generally concurred with GAO's recommendations and have taken some actions to enhance interagency collaboration, but much work remains.'" (U.S. Government Accountability Office ; 09Jun10; John H. Pendleton) http://gao.gov/products/GAO-10-822T

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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