Friday, September 28, 2007

AgroTerrorism?, TOPOFF 4 update, + Drills

Drill focuses on farm terrorism

Washington state deputy veterinarian Dr. Paul Kohrs walks past cattle in his protective suit Thursday on a farm near Monroe. Kohrs was participating with multiple agencies in a drill.

MONROE -- It starts with a sick cow. It continues with specially trained FBI agents walking through cow patties searching for evidence of a terrorism attack on a Monroe dairy farm.It is what the FBI calls agroterrorism -- when bad guys use viruses to attack the food supply instead of crashing airplanes into skyscrapers. It is a real threat and needs to taken seriously, experts said Thursday."We don't want to get caught unprepared," FBI Special Agent Peter de laCuesta said.FBI agents joined National Guard troops, officials from the state Department of Agriculture and others Thursday for the first agroterrorism training exercise in the United States.It happened on the Werkhoven Dairy Farm south of Monroe.The drill was meant to bring officials from different government agencies together on a working farm to practice for a real attack."We need to help people know what to look for," said Mark Kinsel, a state epidemiologist.Biological agents, such as those that cause foot-and-mouth disease, are highly contagious, easily portable and could potentially devastate the economy, de laCuesta said.From field to fork, one in six American jobs are tied to the food business, he said. The beef industry alone contributes more than $182 billion to the U.S. economy, $3.6 billion in Washington, officials said."Bioterror is a major risk. As a cattleman, I'm extremely sensitive," said Dale Reiner, a board member of the Snohomish County Farm Bureau. "All it takes is one cow."Thursday's drill started with a simulated report of a Monroe cow infected with foot-and-mouth disease. In keeping with the scenario, state veterinarians started sounding the alarm while anti-terror experts in Washington, D.C., began gathering intelligence about a possible attack near Seattle.As the training exercise played out, two men were arrested in a Seattle warehouse and teams were deployed throughout the region, including Monroe.On Thursday, a SWAT team entered the Seattle warehouse, bomb-sniffing dogs searched Seattle's Qwest Field and agents dressed in hazardous material outfits collected evidence at the Monroe farm."When I look around and see how susceptible we are to that kind of terrorism, I can't imagine why (a drill) hasn't happened sooner," Reiner said. (Cont..)

"Urban Shield"

250 Participate In Anti-Terrorist Drill In Dublin

DUBLIN, Calif., Sep. 28, 2007 (KGO) - A first of its kind anti-terrorist drill is getting underway in Alameda County. 250 members of law enforcement from across the state are involved in a Homeland Security operation called Urban Shield.
There will be helicopter drills at a base camp in Dublin and they will get to practice their fire arms training at a gun range there. However, most of the activities will take place far away from Dublin and you might even see them in your community (cont..)

TOPOFF 4 (update)

Huge homeland security exercise to be staged in Chandler

Federal authorities will descend on Chandler's historic Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort in October to stage one of the largest homeland security exercises in the country, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials announced this week. Top Officials 4, or TOPOFF 4, will run Oct.15-19 and involve various federal agencies along with representatives from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, officials said. "San Marcos was a facility that could accommodate the needs of the exercise," said Michael Murphy, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Health Services, who is assisting in communications for the exercise
The hotel offered the government discounted per diem rates, Murphy said. All the rooms will be occupied by participants of the exercise. The exercise will also take place in Oregon and Guam, and combined will involve more than 15,000 participants, including the Chandler Fire Department, in a full-scale, simulated response to radiological dispersal-device attacks, FEMA authorities said in a statement. The devices are unconventional weapons that a terrorist might use to destabilize a community. A "dirty bomb" is one example. The operation will focus on mass decontamination, long-term recovery, prevention and intelligence.

Russia promises retaliation if weapons deployed in space

MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to take appropriate measures if weapons are deployed in space, the commander of the Russian Space Forces said Thursday.
"Should any country deploy weapons in space, then the laws of armed warfare are such that retaliatory weapons are certain to appear," Col. Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said.
He said Russia and China have drafted an international declaration on the non-deployment of weapons in space and sent it to the UN.
"It is necessary to establish the rules of the game in space," he said, adding that the deployment of weapons in space could have unpredictable consequences, since such weapons are "very complex systems."
"A sizable war could break out," the commander said.
He said space must not be the sphere of interests of any one country.
"We do not want to fight in space, and we do not want to call the shots there either, but we will not permit any other country to do so," he said.
Popovkin also said that Russia has an integrated missile attack warning system, covering the country's entire territory.

Russia to carry out 308 counter-terrorism drills this year

Alabama City Reopening Fallout Shelters

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - In an age of al-Qaida, sleeper cells and the threat of nuclear terrorism, Huntsville is dusting off its Cold War manual to create the nation's most ambitious fallout-shelter plan, featuring an abandoned mine big enough for 20,000 people to take cover underground.
Others would hunker down in college dorms, churches, libraries and research halls that planners hope will bring the community's shelter capacity to 300,000, or space for every man, woman and child in Huntsville and the surrounding county.
Emergency planners in Huntsville - an out-of-the-way city best known as the home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center - say the idea makes sense because radioactive fallout could be scattered for hundreds of miles if terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb.(cont..)

US Video Shows Simulated Hacker Attack

A government video shows the potential destruction caused by hackers seizing control of a crucial part of the U.S. electrical grid: an industrial turbine spinning wildly out of control until it becomes a smoking hulk and power shuts down. (Cont..)

Governor criticizes firefighters' planned terror drill protest

Excerpt: "The drill is funded by a $50,000 federal grant and involves a hypothetical terrorist attack at the Rhode Island Convention Center."

UIC Plays Host To City's Emergency Drill

Former 8th Air Force head outlines space, cyberspace needs

US-RP Phiblex and Talon Vision exercises

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