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Archive for the ‘terrorism’ category

Mar 27, 2020

Immunization against Potential Biological Warfare Agents

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, law enforcement, military, terrorism

Circa 2000


The intentional release of biological agents by belligerents or terrorists is a possibility that has recently attracted increased attention. Law enforcement agencies, military planners, public health officials, and clinicians are gaining an increasing awareness of this potential threat. From a military perspective, an important component of the protective pre-exposure armamentarium against this threat is immunization. In addition, certain vaccines are an accepted component of postexposure prophylaxis against potential bioterrorist threat agents. These vaccines might, therefore, be used to respond to a terrorist attack against civilians. We review the development of vaccines against 10 of the most credible biological threats.

Mar 27, 2020

Passive Antibody as Defense Against Biological Weapons

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military, surveillance, terrorism

The potential threat of biological warfare with a specific agent is proportional to the susceptibility of the population to that agent. Preventing disease after exposure to a biological agent is partially a function of the immunity of the exposed individual. The only available countermeasure that can provide immediate immunity against a biological agent is passive antibody. Unlike vaccines, which require time to induce protective immunity and depend on the host’s ability to mount an immune response, passive antibody can theoretically confer protection regardless of the immune status of the host. Passive antibody therapy has substantial advantages over antimicrobial agents and other measures for postexposure prophylaxis, including low toxicity and high specific activity. Specific antibodies are active against the major agents of bioterrorism, including anthrax, smallpox, botulinum toxin, tularemia, and plague. This article proposes a biological defense initiative based on developing, producing, and stockpiling specific antibody reagents that can be used to protect the population against biological warfare threats.

Defense strategies against biological weapons include such measures as enhanced epidemiologic surveillance, vaccination, and use of antimicrobial agents, with the important caveat that the final line of defense is the immune system of the exposed individual. The potential threat of biological warfare and bioterrorism is inversely proportional to the number of immune persons in the targeted population. Thus, biological agents are potential weapons only against populations with a substantial proportion of susceptible persons. For example, smallpox virus would not be considered a useful biological weapon against a population universally immunized with vaccinia.

Vaccination can reduce the susceptibility of a population against specific threats provided that a safe vaccine exists that can induce a protective response. Unfortunately, inducing a protective response by vaccination may take longer than the time between exposure and onset of disease. Moreover, many vaccines require multiple doses to achieve a protective immune response, which would limit their usefulness in an emergency vaccination program to provide rapid prophylaxis after an attack. In fact, not all vaccine recipients mount a protective response, even after receiving the recommended immunization schedule. Persons with impaired immunity are often unable to generate effective response to vaccination, and certain vaccines may be contraindicated for them.

Mar 24, 2020

$20 trillion lawsuit against China! US group says coronavirus is bioweapon

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, terrorism

The plaintiffs have sought $20 trillion, which is a bigger amount than China’s GDP, claiming coronavirus is the result of a biological weapon prepared by the Chinese authorities.

They have accused China of aiding and abetting death, provision of material support to terrorists, conspiracy to cause injury and death of US citizens, negligence, wrongful death, and assault and battery.

Also read: Coronavirus impact: India to produce hazmat suits locally as global suppliers say no.

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Mar 22, 2020

Army Developing Tech to ID Terrorists in the Dark From .5 KM Away

Posted by in categories: government, military, robotics/AI, terrorism

The super-charged face scanning tech is costing the military at least $4.3 million.


The United States Army is currently building a super-charged facial recognition system — tech that could be ready for action as soon as next year.

The system, as described in a new One Zero story, analyzes infrared images of a person’s face to see if they’re a match for anyone on a government watchlist, such as a known terrorist. Not only will the finished system reportedly work in the dark, through car windshields, and even in less-than-clear weather conditions — but it’ll also be able to ID individuals from up to 500 meters away.

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Mar 19, 2020

Making Sense with Sam Harris #191 — Early Thoughts On a Pandemic (with Amesh Adalja)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, security, terrorism

Sam Harris discusses the coronavirus withAmesh Adalja.


In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Amesh Adalja about the spreading coronavirus pandemic. They discuss the contagiousness of the virus and the severity of the resultant illness, the mortality rate and risk factors, vectors of transmission, how long coronavirus can live on surfaces, the importance of social distancing, possible anti-viral treatments, the timeline for a vaccine, the importance of pandemic preparedness, and other topics.

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Mar 6, 2020

Treatment of Neuroterrorism

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military, terrorism

Bioterrorism is defined as the intentional use of biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological agents to cause disease, death, or environmental damage. Early recognition of a bioterrorist attack is of utmost importance to minimize casualties and initiate appropriate therapy. The range of agents that could potentially be used as weapons is wide, however, only a few of these agents have all the characteristics making them ideal for that purpose. Many of the chemical and biological weapons can cause neurological symptoms and damage the nervous system in varying degrees. Therefore, preparedness among neurologists is important. The main challenge is to be cognizant of the clinical syndromes and to be able to differentiate diseases caused by bioterrorism from naturally occurring disorders. This review provides an overview of the biological and chemical warfare agents, with a focus on neurological manifestation and an approach to treatment from a perspective of neurological critical care.

The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-011‑0097-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Keywords: Neuroterrorism, Bioterrorism, Warfare Agents.

Feb 18, 2020

We cannot predict with any precision where technology will lead us

Posted by in categories: government, military, particle physics, privacy, robotics/AI, terrorism

Superb piece.

“But, I say we should pursue science and technology because, like Prometheus, the fires of invention burn bright, and although we may not always know where it leads us, a world darkened by the fear of treading upon the unknown, is unimaginable.”

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Feb 18, 2020

Exclusive: FBI document reveals local and state police are collecting intelligence to expand terrorism watch list

Posted by in categories: finance, government, law enforcement, terrorism

Despite a federal judge’s ruling last September that the U.S. government’s terror watch list violates constitutional rights, an FBI report obtained by Yahoo News shows local and state law enforcement agencies are being used to gather intelligence on individuals to collect information about those already in the database.

Law enforcement “encounters of watchlisted individuals almost certainly yield increased opportunities for intelligence collection,” says the FBI document, dated more than a month after the federal court ruling. The FBI says such encounters could include traffic stops or domestic disputes, which gives law enforcement “the opportunity to acquire additional biographic identifiers, fraudulent identification documents, financial information and associates of watchlisted individuals,” which might assist in thwarting terrorist acts.

The Terrorism Screening Database, widely known as the watch list, was created in 2003 and consists of names of people suspected of being involved with terrorism. Over the years, the list has grown to include the names of 1.1 million people, raising concerns that many of those on the list have no involvement in terrorism but have little or no legal resources with which to challenge the designation.

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Feb 14, 2020

Biologists Are Already Printing the Deadly COVID-19 Virus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, terrorism

Still, the fact that many labs worldwide are capable of printing viruses is worrisome.

A few years ago, for instance, Canadian researchers alarmed the scientific community when they assembled synthetic horsepox in a lab — a virus closely related to smallpox, which killed hundreds of millions before researchers developed a vaccine.

The same technique, the researchers said at the time, could be be used to bring back smallpox, giving terrorists tools to set off a deadly pandemic.

Jan 28, 2020

Facing Up to Facial Recognition

Posted by in categories: education, robotics/AI, terrorism, transportation

I’m excited to share my new opinion piece on AI facial recognition and privacy for IEEE Spectrum:


The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

Many people seem to regard facial-recognition software in much the same way they would a nest of spiders: They recognize, in some abstract way, that it probably has some benefits. But it still gives them the creeps.

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