ASA 09-2, Issue No. 131, April 30, 2009

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Alleged Production of the Etiological Agent of Plague

René Pita, Spain; Rohan Gunaratna, Singapore; and Philip Henika, US

          On January 19, 2009, the British tabloid Sun published that at least 40 members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had died of plague in a training camp located in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria. The origin of the Sun's report seems to be a previous one published on January 6 in the online edition of the Algerian newspaper Echorouk, which mentioned that the affected AQIM camp was located in the mountainous region between Tizi Ouzou and Bejaia. The Sun story stated that AQIM's leader Abdelmalek Droukdel was forced to shut down the camp and evacuate its occupants to Bejaia and Jijel. The tabloid speculated that this incident could be the result of an accident linked to the production of the etiological agent of plague, Yersinia pestis, in the training camp. The information published by the British tabloid would have passed unnoticed among the intelligence and CBRN defense community were it not for some more information in an article by Eli Lake in the Washington Times of January 20.

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The December 2008 Meeting of the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

by Graham S. Pearson

          As reported in the ASA Newsletter 07-1 (January 2007), the Sixth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in November/December 2006 agreed an intersessional programme of annual meetings to be held each year from 2008 up to the Seventh Review Conference in 2011. The second of these annual Meetings of States Parties was held in Geneva under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Georgi Avramchev of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia on 1 to 5 December 2008 to discuss, and promote common understanding and effective action on:

(iii) National, regional and international measures to improve biosafety and biosecurity, including laboratory safety and security of pathogens and toxins.

(iv) Oversight, education, awareness raising, and adoption and/or development of codes of conduct with the aim to prevent misuse in the context of advances in bio-science and bio-technology research with the potential of use for purposes prohibited by the Convention.

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          The below summarizes 66 presentations from podium and poster provided in 5 Sectors containing 14 Sessions. Formatting for each summary was at the discretion of each Sector Chair. It took many professionals working many, many "volunteer" hours to make this 16th meeting the success that it was. In addition to the Sector Chairs/Co-Chairs, other "volunteers" are listed following the summaries. Our most sincere CBMTS thanks to all of them.

The CBMTS Industry VI and the 5th World Congress CBR and Terrorism; 5-10 April 2009, Cavtat, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Executive Summary

SECTOR 1: Chemical Threats
Chair: Prof. Stephen Borron M.D., U.S.
Co-Chair: Dr. Walter Aue, Switzerland
Co-Chair: Prof. Filiz Hincal, Turkey

The Chemical Threats Sector was comprised of 4 Sessions, #s 1, 2, 5, 9.

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an inside look at ASA 09-2

The Professional Library
Preliminary Announcement CBMTS VIII
Book Review: Influenza virus A/H5N1 Atlas
by E.I. Ryabchikova


The Future Of Emerging Infectious Disease
by R.M. DeBell
What about the Animals? by G. Eifried 24
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