Wednesday, March 19, 2008

9/11 PMC Insiders Reap Rewards, Anthrax, Drills + News

Gunning for profits from Iraq, Afghan wars
NEW DELHI: The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 came as manna from heaven for the aerospace and defence industry based in the US and Europe. After the 9/11 attacks, this sector was in the doldrums, with aircraft orders plummeting and an uncertain security atmosphere. However, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have become a period of super-profits for those involved in manufacture and sale of armaments and air-fighters.
The world's top five armament and aircraft companies based in the US — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics — have seen their profits zoom up by anything between 100% and over 600%. Boeing, the biggest of them all, had revenues of over $66 billion in 2007, and a profit of over $4 billion. The top five weapons and aircraft makers sold over $188 billion worth of weaponry between them, making combined profits of over $13 billion last year.......

Russian Bear bombers to hold exercises in Far East

MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers will conduct exercises in Russia's Far East on March 20-22, the Air Force said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Crews of an air regiment, equipped with Tu-95MS bombers, will participate in planned flight drills and long-range patrols over the Pacific," the statement said.

Military exercises begin in Russia region
YEKATERNINBURG, March 19 (Itar-Tass) - Joint exercises of aviation and air defence troops of the Volga-Urals Military District and the Urals air force and air defence formations began in the Volga and Urals regions on Monday.
The military district’s spokesman Konstantin Lazutkin told Itar-Tass that the commander of the Volga-Urals Military District, General Vladimir Boldyrev, supervises the exercises.
The goal of the manoeuvres is improvement of the teamwork during control of aviation and air defence troops on the Central Asian track, Lazutkin said.
The two-stage exercises will continue until the middle of April.

Three-Minute Anthrax Sensor
A new detector uses living cells that light up in the presence of airborne bioterror agents, such as anthrax and smallpox.

Living sensors: At the heart of a new system for detecting airborne bioterror agents is a CD-size disc with 16 chambers at its perimeter. Particles from the air are collected in the chambers, where they’re exposed to immune cells with antibodies specific to particular agents. If the target agents are present, the cells emit blue light. The light in this image is a simulation; light emitted by cells in the chambers is too faint to be picked up by conventional photography, but it is picked up by light meters in the device. Credit: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

A sensor system that can rapidly detect six potential airborne bioterror agents, including anthrax, is now on the market. The detector relies on living immune-system cells genetically engineered to emit light when exposed to a particular contaminant. From sampling the air to getting a readout from the cells, the detection process takes only three minutes. The company selling the sensor, Innovative Biosensors, of Rockville, MD, is marketing it for use in airports and other buildings, including laboratories where research on dangerous pathogens is performed.
Time is of the essence when detecting bioterror agents. Bacteria like anthrax are infective within two to three minutes of exposure, so the faster a building can be evacuated and the agent contained, the better. "We're harnessing the fastest pathogen identification system there is," says James Harper, a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where the technology was developed by Todd Rider beginning in the late 1990s. "In the body, B cells bind to pathogens and respond in a second," says Harper......
University tests disaster readiness with faux anthrax attack (MO)
University administrators, St. Louis Department of Health officials and more than 200 campus volunteers collaborated in a public health drill Tuesday that simulated the distribution of medication at Mallinckrodt in the event of a terrorist anthrax attack, and tested the University's emergency text-message system.

HHS includes online services in pandemic communication drill
"The session was held on Mar 17 at HHS headquarters in Washington, DC. Representatives from online avian-flu information services such as Avian Flu Diary, FluTrackers, FluWiki, WebMD, and CIDRAP News participated in the exercise along with those from several national media organizations, including ABC News, National Public Radio, and Reuters."
Emergency personnel practice for bioterror attack (CA)
VANCOUVER - At 6:30 a.m. Monday morning a radiation signature was detected in a shipping container at the Port Vancouver. Just after noon an improvised bomb containing radioactive material exploded leaving a dozen people injured and contaminated.
This scenario was cooked up by the federal Centre fo Security Science to let federal and local emergency personnel practice for a real bioterror attack....

Pentagon's Cyborg Insects All Grown Up

For years, now, Pentagon-backed researchers have been trying to create cyborg insects that could serve as living, remote-controlled spies. The problem is, those modified bugs never survived long enough to be useful. Now, Georgia Tech professor Robert Michelson says he's managed to get the bug 'borgs to live into adulthood.
DARPA's Hi-MEMS program aims to implant place micro-mechanical systems [MEMS] "inside the insects during the early stages of metamorphosis," the agency explains. That way, as the bugs get older, tissues grow around -- and fuse together with -- the tiny machines.

PressMediaWire) SUNNYVALE, Calif., , March 19, 2008 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] announced today that the first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO-1) spacecraft is progressing through a series of key tests that will demonstrate the integrated satellite's readiness to enter the critical environmental test phase in preparation for launch in late 2009.
SBIRS is designed to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace characterization. The test phase, known as Baseline Integrated System Test (BIST), is conducted at Lockheed Martin's Space Systems facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif. and is designed to characterize the overall performance of the GEO-1 satellite and establish a performance baseline prior to entering environmental testing

General Dynamics awards contract to ICx Technologies
ICx Technologies Inc. said Tuesday it won a contract from General Dynamics Robotic Systems to install radars in five vehicular robots that conduct random patrols around Department of Defense warehouses, airfields, ammunition supply depots and port facilities.
Westminster, Md.-based General Dynamics Robotics Systems has been developing vehicles under an Army program called mobile detection assessment and response system intruder detection radar sensor.

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