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CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- July 28, 2006

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  • Raymond E. Foster
    Bioterrorism drill to be held at school A bioterrorism exercise will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon today at Helix Charter High School, San Diego. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 29, 2006
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      Bioterrorism drill to be held at school


      "A bioterrorism exercise will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon today at Helix Charter High School , San Diego . The exercise will feature a Point of Dispensing site in the high school's gymnasium, where volunteers portraying members of the public will receive simulated medications necessary to counteract exposure to a biological agent. The medication will be dispensed from Medical Reserve Corps volunteers. The event, presented by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Public Health Services, as well as the local health care community, is designed to test the county and community's preparedness and response to a biological incident. It will help evaluate current capabilities and identify areas of improvement. The drill is funded by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant." (SignOnSanDiego.com, 28Jul06, Union




      [ Colorado Springs ] company receives EPA (Environmental Protection

      Agency) bioterrorism grant


      "With a simple device that fits onto heating ducts, a Colorado Springs company has created a method of protecting businesses from biological and chemical weapons, as well as from other environmental hazards. Directed Energy Solutions received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to finish work on the prototype that will kill all bacteria and viruses in the air. `It will clean the air, literally,' said Dave Neuman, CEO of the company that is best known for making laser devices for the military and other governmental agencies. `It will kill anthrax in the air, and takes out volatile organic compounds like turpentine or formaldehyde.' Heard of `sick building syndrome'? The device will take all the dangerous chemicals out of the air—including things that people are allergic to. `It filters out the particles and take them out of the air,' he said. `It also can get rid of VX gas, something the military is concerned about.' The new device is still being tested, but Neuman said they hope to take it to commercial markets if funding is available to cover manufacturing costs. The company is exploring overseas options to manufacture the device." ( Colorado Springs Business Journal, 28Jul06, Amy Gillentine)



      China Tightens Exports of Biological Weapons Agents


      " China has strengthened its management over exports of biological agents that could have military uses in response to international threats of terrorism and proliferation, the Foreign Ministry said on July 28. Fourteen types of viruses, toxins, germs and related items, including the SARS virus, were added to 2002 regulations on `dual use biological agents and related equipment and technologies.' `This is an important and practical move of the Chinese government to continuously strengthen prevention of proliferation and management of exports,' spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement on the Foreign Ministry's Web site. China blamed a 2004 resurgence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome on a laboratory leak. It has also been criticized for its lack of ability to enforce export controls on technology used to produce weapons of mass destruction and stop proliferation of weapons to countries such as Iran , which is under international scrutiny over its atomic programs. The United States has several times imposed sanctions against Chinese companies for alleged proliferation; punishments China has said were not backed by evidence." (Reuters, 28Jul06, Defense News) http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=1984862&C=asiapac


      Persistent Homeland Security Problems at Agriculture


      "The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has failed two straight audits over its unsafe handling of highly toxic agents at the same time the agency is distributing a detailed Homeland Security `checklist' to farmers, ranchers and dairy operators, according to agency documents released today by Sinapu [a Boulder, CO based wildlife-advocacy group] and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The audits, conducted by the Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General in

      2005 and 2006, concern a branch of the agency, ironically named Wildlife Services, which exterminates wildlife at the request of farmers and ranchers. In 2004, the last year for which figures are available, Wildlife Services killed 2.7 million animals, principally birds, using an array of lethal chemical agents ranging from sodium cyanide to aluminum phosphate, deployed across the country as bait, in fumigants, sprays and gases. The Inspector General repeatedly found the agency in violation of the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act for failing to secure `dangerous biological agents and toxins,' including not keeping accurate inventories whereby theft, unauthorized sale or other losses of these toxins could be detected. Other violations included regular access to toxins by unauthorized persons, distribution of chemical agents to untrained individuals and inadequate security plans. All ten of the Wildlife Services sites audited by the Inspector General were found to be out of compliance with bioterrorism regulations." (Common Dreams New Wire, 27Jul06)




      Keeping tabs on research labs


      " U.S. investment in bioterrorism research has exploded in the wake of 9/11 and the anthrax scare that shortly followed the attacks. But a new federal report shows that these efforts to make Americans safer could backfire because of lapses in lab security. Independent analyses have found that funding for civilian research on biodefense has increased by more than $14 billion since 2001 - growth that has led dozens of scientists to enter the field. The expansion has strained the oversight capacity of many universities, as evidenced in a recent compliance review. The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services found problems at 11 of 15 universities that use `select agents' - biological agents or toxins that pose a serious health risk. Eight institutions demonstrated poor inventory or access tracking; six had problems controlling access to the dangerous materials. The findings - collected from November 2003 to November 2004 - echo some of the results of an earlier analysis released two years ago." (The Plain Dealer, 27Jul06)



      CDC approves revised DuPont plan for VX: Critics unmoved by development


      "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave a green light Thursday to a revised plan to truck wastes from a government nerve agent disposal plant in Indiana to DuPont's treatment plant in Deepwater, N.J., near the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

      The agency concluded that the revised Army and DuPont Co. proposal `sufficiently addresses critical issues related to the environmental impact of the treatment, as well as those related to potential toxicity to humans and concerns about transportation safety.'

      Opponents quickly rejected the conclusions as overly optimistic, and pointed out that New Jersey and Delaware still must review the findings and rule on permits for the project. `We won't be rushing to judgment,' Delaware 's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said in a statement. VX is one of the nation's deadliest chemical weapons, with as little as a pinhead-size droplet capable of causing death on contact with human skin. Army contractors already have neutralized about 20 percent of a 1,269-ton stockpile of VX in Newport , Ind. , with wastes kept in storage pending final approval for transfer to DuPont's commercial wastewater plant." ( Delaware Online, 28Jul06, Jeff Montgomery)



      VX wastewater not a risk to humans or environment, CDC says


      "Dumping treated wastewater from the destruction of the Cold War nerve agent VX into the Delaware River won't harm people or the environment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The U.S. Army, neutralizing more than 250,000 gallons of VX at its Newport Chemical Depot in western Indiana , wants to ship 4 million gallons of wastewater to a DuPont plant in New Jersey for final treatment. But the plan has met resistance from residents, activists and lawmakers in New Jersey , Delaware and Indiana, who want the wastewater treated in Newport instead. The CDC report, a follow-up to one released last year that raised questions about the wastewater's effect on the environment, comes five months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said its initial concerns about the Army's plan had been resolved. `Having the CDC independently ensure that our proposal is safe for the workers, the public and the environment is extremely important,' the Army's project manager, Col. Jesse L. Barber, said in a written statement. An Army contractor has been destroying VX since May 2005 and storing the wastewater in tanks in Newport until a decision is made about what to do with it." (Indystar.com, 28Jul06, Tammy Webber)



      Chemical Weapons Convention National Authorities Meet in Madrid


      "A ten-day course for personnel of Spanish-speaking National Authorities was held in Madrid , Spain from 3 to 13 July 2006. A total of sixteen States Parties that are actively engaged in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention attended the course, including representatives from Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. This course provided government officials, serving in their respective CWC National Authorities, an in-depth understanding of how the chemical weapons ban is implemented nationally and how their National Authority can effectively manage this task. A wide range of subjects were introduced and discussed. The National Authorities must be familiar with chemicals listed under the Convention, how international technical and legal cooperation can be requested and offered, the rights and obligations of the countries that join the Convention, as well as legislative and administrative measures to ensure that the chemical weapons ban is enforced nationally. During the workshop, working groups dealt with scenarios to gain experience in identifying and declaring relevant industrial activity, and monitoring the production and trade in chemicals. These exercises also included scenarios that allowed the government officials to work through all aspects of an on-site, routine industrial inspection." (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 28Jul06) http://www.opcw.org/pressreleases/2006/PR44_2006.html


      US sanctions two India firms for transfers to Iran


      "The Bush administration has decided to impose sanctions on two Indian firms for missile-related transactions with Iran , U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday. The disclosure came after the U.S. House of Representatives late on Wednesday overwhelmingly agreed the United States should sell nuclear technology to India and rejected a move by critics to delay the vote over concerns New Delhi had not sufficiently helped the United States to contain Iran . Congressional critics have accused the administration of withholding conclusive word on sanctions against Indian firms until after the vote to avoid endangering its passage. The United States considers Iran -- patron of the Hizbollah Islamic militant group fighting Israel in Lebanon -- a major international threat, accusing it of building nuclear weapons under cover of an energy program. Tehran denies the charge. Previous sanctions included Indian firms that sold chemicals, controlled by the Australia Group of nations seeking to limit the spread of chemical and biological weapons, to Iran 's missile-production industry." (Reuters, 27Jul06, Carol Giacomo) http://today.reuters.com/news/ArticleNews.aspx?type=newsOne&storyID=2006-07-27T234429Z_01_WAT006127_RTRUKOC_0_US-NUCLEAR-INDIA-USA.xml


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