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Blog posts tagged with 'terrorism'

Sinking Teeth Into The Mysteries of Plague

Two plague victims in Aschheim-Bajuwarenring cemetery in Bavaria, Germany who died some 1500 years ago have been unearthed and are able to help provide an international team of scientists with a better understanding the type of virus that was responsible for their deaths sometime between 541 and 543. Thanks to the dental remains of these two unearthed plague victims, researchers using very sophisticated methods were able to extract DNA fragments of plague from the teeth from the skeletal remains and reconstruct the genome of what is now the oldest pathogen obtained to date. Yersinia Pestis or Y. Pestis is also known as plague. This bacterium was found to be responsible for the Justinian outbreak and the results showed that this was unique and distinct from various other strains that would later become the Black Death and other plague pandemics that would follow.

“This study raises intriguing questions about why a pathogen that was both so successful and so deadly suddenly died out. One testable possibility is that human populations evolved to become less susceptible,” says Edward Holmes, an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney.

Up until now little has been known about the exact cause of the Justinian epidemic’s origins or cause. The Justinian plague is thought to have been instrumental in bringing about the end of the Roman Empire and was, until the recent findings were too discover, responsible for the Black Death. The Justinian Plague is believed to have killed 30 to 50 million people, estimated to have been at least half of the world’s population at that time. Later the Black Death would emerge to ravage the medieval population killing 50 million Europeans between 1347 and 1351 some 800 years later. These recent findings now show that the Justinian plague was a unrelated strain from the plague that caused the Black Death.

The new results that are published in online edition of The Lancet Infectious Disease, show that the Justinian Plague was a distinct and separate genome of the same Pathogen know as Yersinia Pestis and not an evolutionary forefather or related to the same Yersinia Pestis strains responsible for the Black Death. Another pandemic that had taken hold in Hong Kong and spread across the globe is now more likely to be considered the precursor to the Black Death.

These findings would suggest that the Justinian pandemic strain also originated in Asia and not in Africa as some scientist originally thought. This would lead them to theorize that earlier epidemics, such as the Plague of Athens (430 BC) and the Antoine Plague (165 – 180 AD) may have also been unique and distinct emergence of related Yersinia Pestis strains.

“We know the bacterium Y. Pestis has jumped from rodents into humans throughout history and rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in many parts of the world. If the Justinian plague could erupt in the human population, cause a massive pandemic, and then die out, it suggest it could happen again. Fortunately we now have antibiotics that could be used to effectively treat plague, which lessens the chances of another large scale human pandemic” says Dave Wagner, an associate professor in the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University.

These studies would suggest that the threat of an outbreak of Yersinia Pestis can occur at any time now, or in the future, is quite possible. Add to this, the possibility of some individual or person intent to using the pathogen as a weapon to wreck terror on an unsuspecting population raises the stakes even higher. New technologies are now available to health and safety teams in the early detection of such possible natural outbreaks and first responders now have the capabilities to be able to equip themselves with the latest tools required to easily and reliably detect not only Yersinia Pestis, but other possible pathogens that could be used as weapons against humanity. This ability to provide early detection is essential in containing and maintaining control of a terrorist planned outbreak and is crucial to preventing another full scale global population pandemic such as those seen in the past.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in rapid and reliable early detection of pathogens that can be utilized against terrorist is the BADD line of bio-warfare detection tests produced by AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC. Developed in response to the white powder incidents that occurred after 9/11, the tests were used in the detection of bio-warfare pathogens during the Iraq War. This line of tests gave first responders the ability to arrive at a possible bio-threat scene and test for powders and liquids left by suspected terrorist and ascertain within 15-minutes or less if the material held the potential of becoming a cause of wide spread contamination. This rapid testing with their on-the-scene detection capabilities helped to open windows of opportunities for immediate containment and control of a possible pandemic. AdVnt Biotechnologies was also the first to revolutionize the hand held assays when they were the first to develop a testing platform that allows for the collection of one suspicious sample of unknown origin to be tested against multiple targets on one detection test cassette. In the not too distant past, responders would have to collect up to 5 samples and run 5 tests one at a time to discover what active agent provided the danger of contamination. If there was very little or sparse material left behind, the residue would have to be sent off site to be examined while the clock was ticking. With the invention of AdVnt Biotechnologies ground breaking PS-5T Pro-Strip multi-agent rapid screening system, for the first time, responders have the ability to hit five different targets from one collected bio-threat sample. Saving time, saving resources, saving lives.

Return of the Black Death

It may sound like a campy title to a old Hammer Film Horror Movie but unfortunately it’s real and it’s more common then you may think.

According to a article posted by Reuters on July 25, a Squirrel was found at the Angeles National Forest in California that was infected with the Plague. This has been the sixth squirrel located in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains since 1995 to test positive for the disease.

Authorities have shut down the park for at least a week while they have a chance to dust the burrows for fleas, which carry the bacteria and test more squirrels in the area. The most recent squirrel was trapped on July 16 during a routine check in the park and was confirmed to be carrying the disease on July 23.

Called the “Black Death” in history books due to the disease ravaging the European continent during the Middle Ages. Yersina Pestis (aka Y. Pestis) also known as Plague was responsible for killing more the 25 million people.

There on on average 7 cases a year that are reported in the United States and if discovered within a timely manner can be treated with antibiotics. According to the Center Disease for Control, almost all cases have been found in the Western United States and fortunately at this time none of these cases have been fatal.

Y. Pestis, Anthrax, Botulinum, Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and Tularemia along with Ricin Toxin among others are currently under the Dept. of Homeland Security radar since they are all good candidates for being developed into a weapon that can be used by terrorist. As a result several protocols have been put into place to rapidly detect and deter such a horrific act form happening and putting plans in to play to dramatically minimize the event should one occur.

AdVnt Biotechnologies has been helping First Responders throughout the globe by offering a reliable, rapid and portable solution to the early detection of a bio-terror event with our line of BADD Single Agent Detection Test and Pro-Strip Rapid Screening System. Thanks to advancements in the area of Immunoassay Bio-Technology, Safety Professionals responding to a Bio-Terror threat event will have the tools they need to rapidly and accurately detect if the suspected agent involved is real emergency or a badly planned hoax, allowing them to put into place all the necessary safeguards that will be needed in order to contain and control such an event.

 

FBI Investigates Newest Anthrax Inhalation Exposure Case in US.

Government health officials have investigated a case of anthrax exposure after tests confirmed that a hospitalized individual had been infected with the dangerous bacteria; due to the deadly nature of anthrax and its feared use as a biological weapon back in 2001-02, the FBI joined Minnesota health officials in the investigation.

At least fourteen people died in 2002 in the last instances of undeniable anthrax terrorism in the USA.

Officials have concluded that the hospitalized individual became infected naturally after encountering the “non-weaponized” bacteria during his travels. The individual had travelled through several western states before becoming admitted for treatment in Minnesota.

An epidemiologist with the state, concluded that “Evidence points to this case of anthrax being caused by exposure to naturally occurring anthrax in the environment.”

What kind of a generalized, non-descriptive statement is this? Yes, it seems re-assuring in some sense, however, if the hearer had any understanding of how difficult this in fact is to occur, that being inhalation infection, you would be scratching your head, as we are.

I suppose this statement is made in hopes of assuring us that this was not a successful domestic terrorist attack utilizing highly concentrated weaponized anthrax. In such an instance there would be a large amount of suspicious white powder and some broadcast by a radicalized group taking responsibility for the terror evoking event.

In this instance, the individual had been exposed to soil and animal remains where the anthrax bacteria can easily be grown. The bacteria is known to develop in hooved animal carcasses each year in certain areas around the world.

The FBI determined that there was no evidence to suggest that the individual was infected as part of a criminal or terrorist act and the agency is no longer actively investigating the incident.

Health officials were careful to note that the public need not worry about potential anthrax exposure as these cases are extremely rare, unless you come in contact with the infectious source.

Health officials stressed that the case does not represent an increased risk of anthrax for the public. “Anthrax is not spread from person to person, and it is extremely rare for humans to become sickened with anthrax, especially through inhalation,” an official reported.

Only in rare cases do individuals become infected with anthrax by handling infected animal carcasses or ingest contaminated soil or meat from infected animals. People can also become infected by handling contaminated wool or hides from infected animals.

If this un-suspecting victim would have known about the world’s most effective hand-held anthrax detection device, AdVnt Biotechnologies’ “BADD” Anthrax environmental detection screening device, they would have known in less than fifteen (15) minutes that they were exposed to an infectious dose of the deadly bacteria. They could have saved their own life!

So consider, for your own personal safety and security, if you are going to be placed in harm’s way maybe being prepared and ready to screen for this deadly bacteria or a deadly toxin, like Botulinum or Ricin the technology exists today for less than $300. USD.

For a clear and concise understanding of the significance of this one event, I would draw attention to an article of some importance. “Pathogenic Ecology: Where have all the pathogens gone? Anthrax: A Classic Case.”

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Agri-Terror/Biothreat or Just a Killer E.coli Out Break???

Does the answer really matter?

I suppose it does to somebody, not to any of the dead or their families.

The “Health officials” are still not to sure where the nasty little killer came from. More importantly, they do not know how to keep this from happening the next time.

Health officials have mistakenly identified the source of the deadly E. coli outbreak more than once.; All they really know is an outbreak has killed at least twenty-two people and left more than 600 in critical condition.

Authorities have tested eighteen sprout mixtures, but their results showed that they were not the source of the outbreak. A few weeks ago authorities pointed to Spanish cucumbers, only to have to admit they were wrong. Yet the big news continues to be that the food guys are losing as much as $290 million a week. Spain is left holding the bag and their reputation is sullied.

Authorities have tested eighteen sprout mixtures including beans, peas, garlic, and radishes, but results showed that they were not the source of the outbreak. The sprouts in question originated from an organic farm in a region near Hamburg.

Further tests have revealed that the E.coli found in the cucumbers contained a different strain of bacteria than the current outbreak.

The bogus identification has greatly impacted the Spanish economy with officials estimating that Spain’s fruit and vegetable exporters are losing nearly $300 million a week.

Despite the German government’s findings that Spanish cucumbers were not the cause of the outbreak, wary consumers across Europe have stayed away from all of Spain’s produce. Russia and Qatar have even gone so far as to halt all fresh-produce imports from Europe.

Are you getting a feeling about how huge this mess really is? And how powerless the “Authorities” really are to stop it?

The current outbreak plaguing Germany is from a particularly rare and deadly strain of E. coli that has affected more than 1,700 people.

The infection results in bloody diarrhea, sever cramps, and fevers, but more than 500 patients are suffering from a deadly complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), where the bacteria begins producing toxins that attack the kidney and nervous system.

According to the World Health Organization, 103 people in twelve countries have been affected by the outbreak. All but one were found to have recently travelled to Germany.

American health officials have reported four suspected cases of the infection from people who recently travelled to Hamburg, Germany.

I’ve recounted all this to just ask a very simple question, “Is relying on the “Authorities” to solve all our problems serving us well?

All one needs to do is look at the record. Then start to figure out, “how can I be a bit more self reliant to protect myself and my family?”

Advnt’s product’s are focused on being simple to use, yet very robust, specific and sensitive to detecting the biological targets which can make you dead.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to bring more articles for your interest.

Please share your thoughts about my perspective.

My Best to You and Yours,

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UK Reports: WMD Terror Strike on Major City ‘More Realistic’

May 2009

Terrorists attacking a major city with nuclear or biological weapons is “more realistic” than ever, British officials warned as they lifted the secrecy from six years of counter-terrorism efforts.

Called “Contest,” the U.K. anti-terror strategy contends that new technologies and lawless nations boost the odds of a WMD attack leading to massive death and destruction.

Titled “Pursue, Protect, Prevent, Prepare: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering International Terrorism,” the 176-page report presents an updated British strategy for combating terrorism.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith describes Contest as “one of the most comprehensive and wide-ranging approaches to tackling terrorism anywhere in the world.”

Dr. Marvin Cetron, the futurist and founder of Forecasting International, a firm that advises U.S. counter-terrorism agencies, reports that British authorities have every reason to be concerned.

“The terrorists are getting better qualified, more technically trained people as we’ve seen in Britain,” Cetron says. “And they’re trying to get the capability. They’re still working on getting nuclear fissionable material. That’s a low probability, but it is a high-impact event.”

Since 2001, the report reveals, British authorities have thwarted over a dozen terrorist attacks. One measure of officials’ concern: U.K authorities have trained and equipped over 7,000 police officers to respond to WMD incidents. They have also built facilities for mass decontamination’s, should a WMD attack occur.

“Contemporary terrorist organizations aspire to use chemical, biological, radiological and even nuclear weapons,” the report states. “Changing technology and the theft and smuggling of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) materials make this aspiration more realistic than it may have been in the recent past.”

A letter from Prime Minister Gordon Brown accompanying the Contest report states: “This new form of terrorism is different in scale and nature from the terrorist threats we have had to deal with in recent decades. It is intent on inflicting mass casualties without warning, motivated by a violent extremist ideology, and exploits modern travel and communications to spread through a loose and dangerous global network.”

One question counter-terror experts will no doubt be asking: Why after six years is the British government lifting the veil of secrecy over its counter-terrorism strategy and assessments?

Smith said the government seeks to “provide the people of the UK and our partners overseas with as full and as open an account as possible of why and how we are tackling this threat.”

The new report lists four main terror threats facing the U.K., all of them linked to al Qaida:

  • The current al-Qaida organization.
  • Al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist organizations.
  • “Self-starting” terror groups, or individuals, seeking to emulate an al-Qaida style attack.
  • Groups unaffiliated with al-Qaida, that, broadly speaking, have a similar agenda.According to the report, al-Qaida is under such intense pressure around the globe that it is unlikely to survive in its current form, and will likely splinter into many smaller groups. But like a hydra that sprouts multiple cells for each one killed, U.K. counterintelligence predicts the evolution of many smaller organizations — sharing a similar ideology and working toward goals similar to al-Qaida’s.The report attributes the growing danger in part to development of technologies that enable small cells of violent fundamentalists to communicate and plan.Cetron agrees that al-Qaida is breaking into smaller parts, and concurs that in many ways this complicates matters.“Al-Qaida is finding out they can do better with small groups, people who are raised in the country itself, not people who are coming from Islamic lands.” Such “home-grown” terrorists are better able to fit in, and can move freely among the local population, Cetron says.

    Also highlighting the very real danger of terrorists using WMD was the July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate stating that al-Qaida “will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks, and would not hesitate to use them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability.”

    The British report cites several factors it says contribute to an unprecedented level of danger from a WMD terrorist attack:

  • Unresolved regional disputes in Afghanistan, Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Lebanon, and Kashmir.
  • Extremists associated with al-Qaida who tout violence as the “religious duty” of all Muslims.
  • Radicalization, or the recruitment of disaffected citizens who join terrorist groups to carry out attacks.
  • The phenomenon of failed states, which is expected to continue indefinitely.
  • The evolution of technologies “which facilitate terrorist propaganda, communications, and terrorist organizations.” Innovations by terrorists quickly spread around the globe.As an example of how terrorists are learning from other terrorists, the Contest report cites the evolution of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which were employed with brutal effect against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.The report states IED technology “evolved rapidly in a series of conflicts over the past 15 years,” adding, “Al-Qaida, its affiliates, and groups inspired by al-Qaida have demonstrated intent to experiment with novel explosives to maximize their capabilities and, in some cases, to deliberately circumvent protective security measures.”Cetron also reports the United Kingdom is No. 1 on al-Qaida’s list of targets. “It is the prime target. France is next, Europe in general is third, and the United States is fourth on that list.”The reason England is more vulnerable? I say, consider this: They have many people, in country, who are trained and angry. This is facilitated by the zealous nature of the far left liberal version/ideology of diversity, over-the-top tolerance and political correctness which will, in the end, be the undoing of western civilizations as our enemies understand how to take advantage of this soft underbelly of our freedoms and play us like a fine Stradivarius violin. Their only chance at victory is to steal technology, use it against us and divide us on political arguments that polarize our politicans. They will need our unwitting assistance.

    Non the less, we say be prepared for the potential of a biological attak in your community. Visit Advnt.org to see how!

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    The World's Finest Five-Agent BioAgent Screening Device.

    Universal Detection Technology (UNDT.OB), a developer of monitoring technologies, including bioterrorism detection devices, announced that the company is working with the U.S. Department of Commerce to promote its anthrax and other bioterrorism detection equipment in China. Universal Detection Technology is a reseller of handheld assays used for detection of five bioterrorism agents, radiation detection systems and antimicrobial products.

    The company’s five-agent bioterrorism detection kits have been extensively used by first responders and private industries throughout the United States. In fact, testing by the U.S. Department of Defense shows that the kits demonstrate no cross-reactivity or false positives with commonly encountered “white powders.”

    Universal Detection Technology is now listed as a featured U.S. exporter on Commercial Service’s China website. Jacques Tizabi, Universal Detection Technology’s chairman and chief executive officer, stated, “We were suppliers of both radiological and biological weapon detection equipment for the Beijing Olympics and the Department of Commerce listing gives us the opportunity to further penetrate the Chinese market.”

    See the special hand-held devices sold by UDT to their valued customers at AdVnt‘s website.

    Thanks to you UDT, one of Advnt’s valued resellers.

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    THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPON "PLAGUE" (Y. PESTIS) KILLS 40 AL-QAEDIANS

    40 al-Qaeda terrorists dead after failed experiment with plague weapon

    Published 22 January 2009

    40 al-Qaeda members died after being exposed to the plague during a biological weapons test; test took place in cave hideouts in Tizi Ouzou province, 150 kilometres east of the Algerian capital Algiers.

    Last month (23 December 2008 HS Daily Wire) we reported that leaders of the U.S. Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism said that the Obama administration must do more, much more, to prevent a terrorist attack on the United States. The most urgent task:

    Focus on bioterrorism. The united States must raise the priority of the most likely form of attack — bioterrorism — by mobilizing the life sciences community to develop protocols that prevent misuse of scientific research; tightening oversight of U.S. high-containment laboratories and the security of those around the world; improving U.S. response time in the event of an attack; and educating the American people in order to prevent panic. “We must lead the international community in the development of an action plan for universal adherence to and compliance with the anemic 36-year-old Biological Weapons Convention.”

    The commission, led by former senators Bob Graham (D-Florida) and Jim Talent (R-Missouri), is apparently correct in its assessment. Peter Goodspeed writes in the National Post that the very day Barack Obama was sworn in as president, warning Americans “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred,” there were reports an al-Qaeda affiliate recently abandoned a training camp in Algeria after forty terrorists died from being exposed to the plague during a biological weapons test. The report, which first surfaced in the British tabloid The Sun, says members of al-Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb (AQLIM) hurriedly abandoned their cave hideouts in Tizi Ouzou province, 150 kilometres east of the Algerian capital Algiers, after being exposed to plague bacteria.

    The newspaper said they apparently became infected while experimenting with biological weapons. Algerian security forces discovered the body of a dead terrorist alongside a road near the abandoned hideout.

    U.S. intelligence officials, speaking anonymously with Eli Lake of the Washington Times on Tuesday, could only confirm the sudden base closure after an unconventional weapons test went wrong. The officials said they intercepted an urgent communication in early January between the AQLIM leadership and al-Qaeda’s top leaders in the tribal region of Pakistan. The Algerian terrorists said they were abandoning and sealing off a training area after a leak of a chemical or biological substance.

    AQLIM, once known as the Salfist Group of Call & Combat, is one of the most radical and violent Islamist groups operating in North Africa. It has ties to Moroccan terrorists who carried out the 2004 Madrid train bombings and bombed the UN headquarters in Algiers in 2007, killing 41 people.

    Plague comes in two types of plague. Bubonic plague, which is spread by bites from infected rat fleas, killed a third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century but can now be treated with antibiotics. Pneumonic plague is less common but more deadly. It is spread, like the flu, by airborne bacteria, and can be inhaled and transmitted between humans without the involvement of animals or fleas.

    Goodspeed reports that for years, U.S. Defense Department officials have warned al-Qaeda operatives have been actively pursuing sophisticated biological weapons research.

    News of the latest al-Qaeda threat broke four days after Mike McConnell, U.S. director of national intelligence, said Osama bin Laden’s third-eldest son and heir apparent, Saad, has been released from house arrest in Iran. The 27-year-old, who was groomed by his father to assume a leadership role in al-Qaeda, had been detained since after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. U.S. intelligence says that during his detention, Saad bin Laden was allowed to continue to operate. He played a prominent role in ordering a 2002 suicide bombing of a Jewish synagogue in Tunisia, commanded a series of bombings that killed 45 people in Casablanca, Morocco, in May 2003, and sent suicide car bombers who killed 35 people in Riyadh, also in May 2003.

    During his final news briefing of the Bush administration, McConnell said Saad bin Laden is now “probably in Pakistan.” His departure could signal a new relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda, but it might also suggest al-Qaeda is moving to consolidate its leadership in territory under its control in Pakistan.

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    Agra-Terror Could Be Just Around The Corner for US.

    Terrorists may use insects in bio-attack

    Published January 2009

    A new book highlights the possibility of terrorist using insects to spread deadly diseases; the author says that “It would be a relatively easy and simple process … A few hundred dollars and a plane ticket and you could have a pretty good stab at it”

    As if we did not have enough to worry about. Terrorists could easily contrive an “insect-based” weapon to import an exotic disease according to University of Wyoming Entomologist Jeffery lockwood. Wired‘s Nathan Hodge writes that Lockwood is now promoting his new book, Six-legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War. He told BBC Radio 4′s Today’s program that planning a bio-terror attack using insects would “probably be much easier” than developing nuclear or chemical weapons. Today does not post the transcript, but the U.K. Daily Telegraph quotes: “It would be a relatively easy and simple process … A few hundred dollars and a plane ticket and you could have a pretty good stab at it.”

    There are those who are skeptical of such claims. Military historian Max Hastings was less-than-enthusiastic about Lockwood’s book in his review of it in this weekend Sunday Times. He did note, though:

    The last section of Lockwood’s book is the most plausible and interesting, because it addresses the risks of biological terrorism in our own times. In particular, the author speculates about the consequences if terrorists were to broadcast Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries the yellow fever virus. The consequences of a yellow fever epidemic in America, where scarcely anyone is inoculated against the disease, could be devastating.

    Hodge notes that U.S. biodefense labs have soaked up massive amounts of funding in recent years to deal with precisely this kind of theoretical threat. As New York Times‘s Eric Lipton and Scott Shane point out, though, the real question remains whether the boom in biodefense technology has made the US safer.

    Let’s face the fact that if our enemies are experimenting with y. Pestis (Plague) then everything is in play!

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    US to Face Biological Attack within Five Years

    WASHINGTON – The terrorism threat to the United States during the next five years will be driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa, persistent challenges to border security, and increasing Internet savvy, says a new intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press.

    Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats that could be carried out against the U.S. But those threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaida and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots, according to the internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013.

    As a Bioweapons industry participant for the past five years it is reassuring to see the increasing momentum and some very significant changes to “policy initiatives” by two of the leading Federal Agencies responsible for validating leading edge detection technologies becoming available in the US marketplace in 2008. These “policy changes” are actually allowing the First-Responder communities to move forward in acquiring new technologies which are expanding our country’s capabilities in preparing for the seemingly inevitable CBRNe attack that “reportably” is headed our way sometime in the next five years.

    My next post will be focused on an increasing threat, “The Coming Threat of Agri-Terrorism”.

    Thank you in advance for your interest in our country’s coming fight on our own soil. Be strong. Be prepared. Be vigilant.

    The Shadow Warrior.

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