War on Terrorism

Friday, June 18, 2010

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, June 18, 2010

Vaccine to protect against deadly Marburg virus may work 2+ days after exposure
"A Canadian-made experimental vaccine against the Marburg virus may work even when given several days after exposure to the deadly pathogen, a new study suggests. The work, done in macaque monkeys, showed the vaccine aided survival in some even when given 48 hours after the monkeys received what would have been a lethal dose of Marburg virus. The scientists involved in the work believe the treatment window would be even larger in humans, who would be unlikely to get as big a dose of virus as was administered to the animals and who take longer to die from the disease than monkeys do. 'I think we almost have at least 1.5 times the time or maybe even close to two times the time. But that's a guess, of course,' said Dr. Heinz Feldmann, who led work on the vaccine while working at Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg several years ago. 'We actually believe the vaccine might be more potent in humans. But there's no proof for it.' Feldmann, an expert in viral hemorrhagic fevers, is now chief of the laboratory of virology at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a branch of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases located in Hamilton, Mont. Feldmann is the senior author of the article, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. His co-authors are scientists from the Winnipeg lab and from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md." (Metro News: Canada; 16Jun10; Helen Branswell) http://www.metronews.ca/ottawa/live/article/553658--vaccine-to-protect-against-deadly-marburg-virus-may-work-2-days-after-exposure--page0

2009 H1N1 vaccine protects against 1918 influenza virus; cross-protection helps alleviate bioterrorism concerns
"Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have determined people who were vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus may also be protected against the lethal 1918 Spanish influenza virus, which killed more than 50 million people worldwide. The new findings are published in the current issue of Nature Communications. 'While the reconstruction of the formerly extinct Spanish influenza virus was important in helping study other pandemic viruses, it raised some concerns about an accidental lab release or its use as a bioterrorist agent,' said Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, PhD, Professor, Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, lead investigator on the study. 'Our research shows that the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine protects against the Spanish influenza virus, an important breakthrough in preventing another devastating pandemic like 1918.'" (Medical News Today; 16Jun10) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/191853.php

Chicago area tests emergency response
"The Illinois Prairie North 2010 Emergency Response Exercise conducted a variety of simulations over the past few days including building collapses, mass decontaminations, bioterrorism attacks and others. More than 50 agencies were involved in the exercises that took place at different locations in the Chicago area June 13 through Thursday. Major Brad Leighton of the Illinois National Guard said the total cost of the exercises was around $700,000. 'I think we learned a lot; I think we increased the relationships with those civilian agencies,' Leighton said. He said the National Guard serves as support to local agencies in such situations. Other groups involved included the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, Chicago Fire Department and the Salvation Army. At the Bensenville site, there were various simulated terrorist attacks on Wednesday. Other sites of exercises included the Rush University Medical Center, Soldier Field and there was a mock CTA derailment at 15th and Clark streets in Chicago." (Daily Herald: Chicago; 17Jun10; Daniel Hamilton)

[U.S. Senator] Lugar welcomes first bio-safety lab in Ukraine
"U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar today welcomed the opening of the Interim Central Reference Laboratory in Odessa, Ukraine. The level-3 bio-safety laboratory is the first built under the expanded authority of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. In partnership with the Nunn-Lugar program, the laboratory will be used to facilitate research on anthrax, tularemia, Q fever, and other dangerous pathogens [and diseases] of mutual concern to the U.S. and Ukraine. 'The continuing cooperation of Nunn-Lugar partners has improved safety for all people against weapons of mass destruction and potential terrorist use, in addition to advancements in the prevention of pandemics and public health consequences,' Lugar said. Lugar and former Sen. Sam Nunn visited Odessa in 2007 and were briefed on the laboratory development, as well as border security and interdiction." (United States Senate: Offices of Senator Richard G. Lugar; 15Jun10)

New tool for chemical weapons incineration [ND]
"Research at the University of North Dakota shows new technology is 99-percent effective at removing mercury during chemical weapon incineration, scientists say. Research conducted at the university in a partnership with the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency [CMA] and Science Applications International Corp. shows mercury pollution control technology for chemical weapons incinerators is near perfect in capturing mercury. [...] Scientists at the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota said results gathered from 5,000 hours of testing shows the CMA can use the technology immediately. 'The results from our testing will allow the CMA incineration sites to proceed immediately with implementation of this mercury control approach when processing mercury-contaminated mustard agent,' said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold." (United Press International; 18Jun10) http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2010/06/18/New-tool-for-chemical-weapons-incineration/UPI-46191276875531/

Army deactivates western Indiana chemical depot
"The Army has officially deactivated the Newport Chemical Depot in western Indiana that for decades produced and stored the deadly VX nerve agent. Current and past depot employees joined military officials in a ceremony Thursday marking the end of military use of the 7,100-acre site that began in 1941. Depot commander Lt. Col. William Hibner said safety with its projects will be the depot's lasting legacy. Destruction of the 275,000 gallons of VX stored at Newport was completed in 2008. The Pentagon designated the depot for closure in 2005, and the site about 25 miles north of Terre Haute is to be turned over this year to a local reuse authority." (Chicago Tribune; 17Jun10) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-in-newportdepot,0,568164.story

EPA proposes removal of more than 2,500 acres at Rocky Mountain Arsenal from Superfund list
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposal to delete portions of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) from the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a list of the nation's most contaminated sites, known as Superfund sites. EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have determined that all required cleanup activities are complete in the areas proposed for deletion. EPA is accepting public comments on the Notice of Intent to Delete for 30 days, from June 17 to July 19, 2010. EPA is proposing to delete 2,500 acres of soil, sediment, surface water and structures from the central and eastern surface areas within the RMA boundaries. EPA is also proposing to delete the entire surface area just north of the RMA boundary. Groundwater underlying these areas is not included in this deletion and will remain on the NPL. All areas at RMA deleted from the NPL will continue to be subject to regular EPA review to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. [...] RMA is located in Commerce City, approximately ten miles northeast of Denver, Colo., in Adams County. RMA was established in 1942 by the U.S. Army to manufacture chemical warfare agents and munitions for use in World War II. Beginning in 1946, some facilities were leased to private companies to manufacture industrial and agricultural chemicals. Shell Oil Company, the principal lessee, manufactured pesticides at the site from 1952 to 1982. Industrial and waste disposal practices resulted in contamination of structures, soil, surface water and groundwater. EPA placed RMA on the NPL in 1987. Since that time, the site has been undergoing extensive environmental investigation and cleanup." (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; 17Jun10) http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/7fcda58e36a96814852577450069335e?OpenDocument

Feds argue for chemical depot control [Pueblo, CO]
"Federal officials recently explained to an appeals court why they can't comply with a state health department order setting a 2017 deadline for them to get rid of mustard agent weapons at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The officials say federal law requires the Army to store the weapons, containing 2,600 tons of mustard gas, at the depot until they are destroyed. 'It would be impossible for the Army to comply simultaneously with Congress' storage instructions and any state-law storage prohibition,' the officials told the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The state based its order on the Colorado Hazardous Waste Management Act, which the department says forbids storing the chemical weapons." (Pueblo Chieftain ; 16Jun10; Robert Boczkiewicz) http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/article_79625468-7903-11df-b684-001cc4c002e0.html

Chemical security advocates see new opening to rework Bush-era rules
"'The BP spill in the Gulf shows undeniably that worst-case scenarios can and do happen, and they can and do overwhelm any emergency response capacity,' said Center for American Progress consultant Paul Orum, who has researched high-risk chemical facilities for nearly two decades. 'Oil in the water is really bad. Chemicals in a big city could be even worse.' U.S. PIRG public health advocate Elizabeth Hitchcock, noting that BP opposed last year's House-passed chemical security bill through its membership in the American Petroleum Institute (API), described the company's stance as 'ill-advised, tragic and holding up progress' in light of the fatal 2005 explosion at its refinery in Texas City, Texas. 'One of the most dangerous types of facilities is an oil refinery' using hydrofluoric acid, Hitchcock added. An ingredient in the alkylation that turns crude oil into gasoline, the acid can be highly toxic to humans and is deemed a chemical terrorism risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hydrofluoric acid stored at BP's Texas City facility could put as many as 550,000 people at risk within a 25-mile vulnerability zone in the event of a chemical release, according to the company's most recent federal disclosures." (New York Times; 16Jun10; Elana Schor) http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/06/16/16greenwire-chemical-security-advocates-see-new-opening-to-2345.html

U.S. and the Republic of Malta sign megaports initiative agreement aimed at preventing nuclear smuggling
"The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that the United States and the Republic of Malta have signed an agreement to begin a cooperative effort to detect, deter, and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. The agreement, signed by U.S. Ambassador Douglas Kmiec and Malta's Director General of Customs Joseph Brincat, paves the way for the NNSA to work with the Maltese Customs Administration and other government agencies in Malta to install radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure at the port of Marsaxlokk. This cooperative framework also will train Maltese officials on the use of the equipment and provide for maintenance of the equipment for a specified period. 'This agreement represents a major step forward in NNSA's efforts to fulfill President Obama's commitment to securing vulnerable nuclear material and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists and smugglers,' said Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Kenneth Baker. 'Malta plays a critical role in the region's maritime shipping and the United States appreciates its partnership in this important mission.'" (National Nuclear Security Administration; 15Jun10) http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/malta061510

City of Greeley conducts disaster response exercise [CO]
"It could be the explosion of a so-called 'dirty bomb' or a radiation spill - but regardless of the event response teams in Greeley will get a chance to practice in a real-world simulation on Wednesday. A $37-thousand dollar Homeland Security Grant is paying for the training exercise that brings together hazmat teams from Greeley, Ft. Collins and Loveland as well as the FBI and EPA. Greeley spokesman John Pantaleo says the radiation training is 18 months in the making - and will focus on communication as well as mitigation techniques. 'What we'd like to do and what we are planning to do is get together with those agencies and have that multi-agency practice exercise in response to a radiological type of incident.' That event was chosen over say a biological scenario because the Front Range is a major transportation route for shipping radioactive materials." (KUNC: Greeley, CO; 15Jun10; Brian Larson) http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kunc/news.newsmain/article

Radiological material found in ABQ [Albuquerque] home
"FBI spokesperson Darrin Jones tells News 13 that a handful of residents in the immediate area of the hazardous material call will be asked to voluntarily evacuate. The evacuation is only until the Albuquerque Fire Department can safely remove the radiological material. No time was given on when the voluntary evacuations will be lifted. An Albuquerque Fire Department Hazmat Team is cleaning up radiological material at a home on the 6500 block of Prairie. Someone helping a retired scientist move to another home found the radiological material. The Albuquerque FBI spokesperson Darrin Jones tells News 13 that the material can be dangerous but at this time does not pose a risk to nearby residents. 'There are no indicators that anything inside the home is criminal or for criminal use' said Jones. The FBI official went on to say that they are still investigating." (KRQE: Albuquerque, NM; 15Jun10; Johnny Chandler) http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/health/fbi-involved-in-hazardous-materials-jc

Terrorism report warns of 'dirty bomb' risks, says Italy's nuclear waste deposits vulnerable
"Italy's dumps of nuclear waste and other radioactive material are vulnerable to terrorists and should be kept under strict security, a terrorism report released Monday said. The report by a private Italian foundation [ICSA] looks at the causes of Islamic terrorism and the evolution of al-Qaida and other terror[ist] groups since 9/11, with a particular eye to Italy. Analyzing the dangers of an attack with nuclear weapons or radioactive 'dirty bombs,' the report says the fight for non-proliferation is bound to have a central role in anti-terror[ism] efforts and will require stricter co-operation among nations. Italy has a dozen sites where radioactive material is temporarily stocked, according to the report. These sites, the stocked material and their transfers 'are vulnerable to terror attacks' and require measures to protect them from any terror[ism] risks. The report did not elaborate on the security measures currently in place." (Associated Press; 14Jun10) http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5

Croatia to host United Nations workshop on implementing Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) in Split, 14-17 June
"A regional United Nations workshop on implementing United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) will be held from 14 to 17 June in Split, Croatia. Hosted by the Government of Croatia, the workshop is organized by the Office for Disarmament Affairs with financial support from the European Union and the Governments of Norway and the United States. Officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey have been invited to participate, as have representatives from a number of international, regional and subregional organizations. Consistent with the objectives of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), the workshop aims to enhance national capacities for the practical management of export-control processes and to improve the sharing of information and experiences by participating countries. The workshop is also expected to facilitate assistance relating to the resolution's implementation." (United Nations: Department of Public Information; 10Jun10) http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/dc3246.doc.htm

S[outh] Korea holds civil defense drill amid tension
"Air raid sirens blared as hundreds of thousands of South Koreans donned gas masks Tuesday in a nationwide civil defense drill, as Seoul's defense chief said North Korea has bolstered its military readiness amid tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship. Although both Koreas have exchanged harsh rhetoric and increased their military vigilance in recent weeks, Seoul officials have said it is unlikely renewed tension would lead to all-out war. The defense drill was the first on a nationwide scale for possible chemical, biological and radiological attacks since 1989, the National Emergency Management Agency said. It said the exercise was resumed in the aftermath of the ship sinking in March that South Korea blamed on North Korea. 'Now, North Korea is maintaining a considerably strengthened vigilance posture and as you know it's been issuing many threats and statements through various channels,' South Korean Defense Minster Kim Tae-young told the National Assembly on Tuesday. 'But there have been no serious military activities at the border and in rear areas.'" (Associated Press; 15Jun10; Hyung-jin Kim) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jQydsIWmNQZpwR

ICx Technologies wins Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) awards valued at up to $9.1 million
"ICx Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq GM: ICXT), has recently been awarded two advanced technology demonstration (ATD) contracts by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) -- the Hazard Mitigation Material and Equipment Restoration (HaMMER) and Rapid Area Sensitive Site Reconnaissance (RASR) programs. HaMMER is aimed at developing an integrated system of decontaminants, applications and processes that provide a means to mitigate chemical and biological hazards. As part of the program, ICx will further develop its Agentase Disclosure Spray and its 'smart' strippable coatings which will detect the presence of chemical warfare agents on a surface and identify their location. With this information, first responders can focus their decontamination efforts and are able to immediately tell if their efforts were effective. Under RASR, ICx will develop a semi-autonomous standoff detection system to provide rapid reconnaissance for hazardous chemicals, homemade-explosives and radioactive materials. As part of this project, ICx will integrate standoff detection and identification technologies with semi-autonomous mapping capability for the clearing of potentially hazardous areas." (Earth Times News; 17Jun10) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/valued-91-million,1349629.html

911 building in Opelousas [LA]
"The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office has been awarded a 2010 Polaris Ranger 500 4x4 and utility trailer through the parish homeland security grant program. The purpose of 4 x 4 all terrain vehicle will be to survey and secure a incident scene, transport first responder personnel to and from hazmat zones, and conduct rescue operations in a hazardous environment. The total cost of the equipment purchased was $11,550.00. The vehicle will be available 24/7 for parish wide response to all Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosive incidents involving acts of terrorism. 'The grant the parish receives is a big help to our first responders because they are able to get much needed equipment that may otherwise not be purchased due to budget shortfalls, said Parish President Don Menard. Since 2003, the parish has received approximately $1,677,475.29 in homeland security grant funds." (KATC: Lafayette, LA; 17Jun10; Melissa Canone) http://www.katc.com/news/911-building-in-opelousas/

Defense Threat Reduction Agency awards sole source ID/IQ contract to IntelliScience corporation for intelligent image analysis system
"IntelliScience Corporation, a developer of intelligent multi-modal image analysis systems and software, today announced that it has received a five year contract award from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract has a potential value of approximately $16.6M and will provide DTRA with IntelliScience systems and services that aid operators in detecting known and unknown threats in any type of digital imagery. 'The US military has invested significantly in image sensor devices and the capture of digital imagery to produce vast amounts of image files,' said Matthew Holm, DTRA Director of Innovation. 'With IntelliScience technology we will provide operators and analysts with enhanced visualization and intelligent analysis to react more quickly and confidently.'" (PR Newswire; 16Jun10) http://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele

Clark County institutes emergency notification system
"Clark County has intituted the WARN (Wide Area Rapid Notification System), an ultra-high speed telephone communicatiion service for emergency notifications. The system allows local officials to telephone all, or only targeted areas, of the County in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts. Examples include evacuation notices, bioterrorism alerts, boil water notices, chemical spills or missing child reports. All traditional landline phones have already been entered into the system, but addresses of cell phone users are not. Many homes now have cellular service as their primary means of communication. Cell phones must be entered into the system in order to be notified of emergency situations." (New Carlisle News; 13Jun10) http://www.newcarlislenews.net/index.php/news/1-latest-news/812-cl

NJIT [New Jersey Institute of Technology] homeland security center studies groundbreaking anti-terrorism technology
"On this particular day at NJIT, the focus of one of the top technological minds in the country is on cork. It is a single cork, from Portugal, where 320 million pounds of bottle stoppers are produced every year. The billion-dollar cork industry is in trouble from a chemical that ruins the taste of wine. That is why physicist John Federici is bombarding the cork with terahertz rays, which can detect minute traces of the chemical. But to Federici and other researchers at NJIT, these X-ray-like waves also may offer a first line of defense against suicide bombers and biological terrorists. Bad corks, terrorism, natural disasters -- it is all one to the scientists at NJIT, one of the top homeland security research universities in the country, where $100 million a year in anti-terrorism research translates into products with a vast range of applications. Since 2004, when the Newark-based university was designated as the site of the New Jersey Homeland Security Technology Systems Center, researchers have applied an 'all-hazards' approach to making life in the U.S. a little safer. [...] There are the terahertz, or THz, rays that can leap from detecting bad corks to identifying people who are attempting to smuggle explosives or smallpox into a crowded room. And pattern recognition programs, equally capable of detecting someone lying to immigration officers, buying unusual amounts of suspicious chemicals or casing cars in a mall parking lot. The research ranges from software for tracing the phone- and internet-usage patterns of home-grown terrorists -- which recently helped police track down Faisal Shahzad, charged as the would-be Times Square bomber -- to massive blimps designed to hover 12 miles above the Earth, sending back detailed scans of grids covering 500,000 square miles." (New Jersey On-Line; 12Jun10; Judy Peet) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/06/njit_scientists_homeland_secur.html

Army researchers explore laser detection techniques
"As the need for chemical, biological and explosive detection becomes more relevant in today's world, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory is leading the effort in laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, which is capable of highly advanced materials analysis. The technology has shown significant advancements since its inception in the 1980's. Today, LIBS technology is used for multiple purposes, including the 2011 mission to Mars, detection of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive material, and materials matching in forensic cases. Dr. Andrzej Miziolek and his collaborators in ARL's Advanced Weapons Concepts Branch are at the forefront of standoff detection pertaining to trace amounts of hazardous materials using the LIBS technology. Their work is an important example of applying spectroscopy to difficult problems in chemical analysis. 'One of the many reasons LIBS is so successful is because it combines laser ablation with sample excitation, all in a single laser shot,' said Miziolek. 'We have the capability to remove nanograms of material from the surface, whether the material is bulk or a residue. The resultant microplasma emits light which is analyzed by a spectrometer. 'ARL has led the evolution of a new generation of LIBS where we combine single shot spectrum capture with advanced signal processing to identify the material,' he added." (U.S. Army: Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs; 04Jun10) http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/06/04/40387-army-researchers-explore-laser-detection-techniques/

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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