Wednesday, March 5, 2008

TOPOFF 5 Announced /SPP, China + "Terror" News

Three amigos at 2010 Winter Olympics?

Could Canada's Games be secured with help from Americans and Mexicans?
Canada, U.S. and Mexico are planning a massive joint military exercise in April 2009 "to focus on terrorist events that could affect [the] 2010 Olympics," according to Public Safety Canada documents released to 2010 Watch via access to information.
The rehearsal, led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is code-named TOPOFF 5. Canadian troops were among the 15,000 participants involved in last October's TOPOFF 4 in Portland, Ore., Phoenix, Ariz. and Guam.
"Exercises provide unique training opportunities to strengthen our ability to deal with potential emergencies," said Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day in an e-mail statement responding to 24 hours' interview request. "They are important tools to strengthen Canada's ability to deal with real incidents."
An undated Public Safety Canada report said up to $22.8 million was needed to fund emergency management, counter-terrorism, cyber security and critical infrastructure protection exercises, "leading to a trilateral full-scale exercise prior to the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010, as outlined under the Security and Prosperity Partnership."

SPP was founded in 2005 to promote economic growth and enhanced security in North America.
"Does it mean that if the American forces are training with Canadian forces that they are going to be positioned here in Canada during the period of the Olympic Games?" said 2010 Watch's Chris Shaw. "And, if so, under whose command?"

The China Syndrome

On February 4, President Bush announced a baseline military budget of $515.4 billion for the next fiscal year, not including funds for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the largest one-year Pentagon request in real, uninflated dollars since World War II. This Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 figure represents a 7.5% increase over the 2008 appropriation of $479.5 billion and is expected to be the first of many rising requests supposedly needed to replace equipment lost and damaged in Iraq and to gear up for the security threats to come. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen explained last October, “we’re just going to have to devote more resources to national security in the world we’re living in right now.”

At first glance, all these additional funds will be used to sustain the Global War on Terror (GWOT, in Pentagon shorthand) and replace equipment destroyed or rendered inoperable in the wars now under way. “The Fiscal Year 2009 Defense budget request sustains the President’s commitment to growing U.S. ground forces that are needed to prevail in the current conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan,” a Pentagon press release notes. Additional funds are allocated for “Operations, Readiness, and Support” – troop training, replacement parts and equipment, combat supplies, and so on.
But a close examination of the FY 2009 request indicates that the principal sources of future budget growth are not the GWOT or other such low-intensity contingencies but rather preparation for all-out combat with a future superpower. Probe a little deeper into Pentagon thinking, and only one potential superpower emerges to justify all this vast spending: The People’s Republic of China.

Chinese military spending rises sharply

BEIJING: China announced a further sharp increase in military spending on Tuesday, a day after the United States renewed its warning that a lack of openness surrounding the rapid buildup of the Chinese armed forces posed a threat to stability in Asia.
China's military budget for 2008 will increase by 17.6 percent to 417.77 billion yuan, or about $58.8 billion, Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the National People's Congress, China's legislature, told a news conference.
This follows a 17.8 percent increase in 2007

Color-coded map identifies US cities at risk from bioterrorism
Washington, March 5 : Researchers have developed a new system that identifies American cities most at risk from the threat of bioterrorism, using a color-coded map.
Developed by Walter W. Piegorsch, a University of Arizona researcher, the system has placed 132 major US cities – from Albany, New York, to Youngstown, Ohio – on a color-coded map that identifies their level of risk based on factors including critical industries, ports, railroads, population, natural environment and other factors.
The model employs what risk experts call a benchmark vulnerability metric, which shows risk managers each city’s level of risk for urban terrorism.

Flu Pandemic: Is the U.S. Ready?

ST. LOUIS, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- If history is any guide, a modern-day influenza pandemic in the United States would likely hit city dwellers and non-whites the hardest, based on an economic analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Thomas A. Garrett, an economist with the St. Louis Fed, wrote the analysis for the March/April issue of Review, the Reserve Bank's bi-monthly journal of economic and business issues. The publication is also available online at the St. Louis Fed's web site:
Researchers at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that deaths from a flu pandemic could total more than 200,000, with an initial cost to the U.S. economy of $166 billion, or about 1.5 percent of GDP. Moreover, the long-run costs could be even greater....
Los Angeles Officials Say Community Groups Can Help in Pandemics, Other Disasters

Officials in Los Angeles say they cannot tell when, but some type of a major disaster is bound to come to the area. Mike O'Sullivan reports, the officials urged leaders of religious and community groups in the city to be prepared for catastrophes, including pandemics, terrorist attacks, and earthquakes.
More than 50 community organizations took part in a recent forum that focused on a possible flu pandemic. But Dr. Jonathan Fielding, public health director for Los Angeles County, says preparations are much the same for natural disasters and terrorism.
"We're quite susceptible to earthquakes. We've just had wildfires. We just did a tsunami exercise, even though that's less likely. A pandemic will occur - we just don't know when. We are concerned about man-made disasters. Unfortunately, we have to worry about bioterrorism, chemical, radiological terrorism. So the good news is that being prepared for all of them requires the same basic ingredients, which is an emergency communication plan, emergency preparedness kit, and understanding in communities what you'll do in the event of a problem," he said.....
Ky. Guard units train in natural disaster drill Largest emergency exercise ever done
The Kentucky National Guard is involved in the largest disaster emergency drill it has ever conducted, working with federal, state and local emergency response agencies. ....

GP contracted for security exercises

ELKRIDGE, Md., March 4 (UPI) -- General Physics Corp. announced it has been awarded a contract from Tennessee's Department of Safety to facilitate homeland security exercises.The Homeland Security Exercise Program contract, valued at $1.24 million, is from Tennessee's Department of Safety's Office of Homeland Security. Under the deal, GP will plan, conduct and report the results of 11 homeland security exercises over a 17-month period. Officials say the full-scale exercises will "focus on the preparations for, response to, and recovery from pandemic influenza occurrences; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive incidents; and catastrophic events, the release said. ...


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