Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch
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How a drone IR-equipped for agricultural use (e.g. high-throughput crop phenotyping) can lead to a diplomatic incident [between Russia, US and Israel].

How a drone IR-equipped for agricultural use (e.g. high-throughput crop phenotyping) can lead to a diplomatic incident [between Russia, US and Israel]. | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
Israel's Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel thought it would be a nice going-away present for visiting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: an unmanned helicopter used for agricultural research. Now it emerges that Israel may run into trouble with the United States for handing over the aircraft, if it is proved that it has been developed with American technology. Moreover, a diplomatic tiff may be brewing as well with Moscow, since the helicopter was given to the Russians without some of its technological features (...).
It seems that the unmanned aircraft wasn’t actually Ariel’s to give – it belongs to Volcani, not the Agriculture Ministry – and its value exceeds by a factor of more than 60 the sum that government officials are allowed to spend on official presents. When Russian officials came to collect the helicopter, they were left waiting impatiently until the flustered Volcani staff received permission from an unnamed official to release it (...).
Apparently the staff refused to hand over the remote-control equipment and a thermal camera, costing an estimated 100,000 shekels ($26,000), which the institute had installed on the aircraft. The Russians have already asked Volcani for these parts and if they do not receive them, the newly inked agricultural deal with Israel may be at risk. At the same time, there could be trouble if the aircraft is found to be equipped with American technology that has not been approved for export to Russia by Israel's Defense Ministry. Equipment that is considered to be "dual use" – that is, to have both civilian and military applications – must be approved for exports in advance by the ministry (...).
Such approval is intended to prevent advanced technology developed by America and other countries from reaching unfriendly nations, and/or from being re-exported in some fashion in another product without formal permission. In the past such violations have led to the dismissal of senior Israeli officials, including a Defense Ministry director general. “This is a completely ridiculous story,” said an Israeli official, who asked not to be named. After news of the affair leaked, the Agriculture Ministry agreed to buy the institute a new drone – that is, at the Israeli taxpayers’ expense.
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Émergence de l’écoterrorisme en France ?

Émergence de l’écoterrorisme en France ? | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

Les groupes animalistes sont considérés par Éric Denécé comme des écoterroristes : Lors de l’assemblée générale de l’Ameb, il est revenu sur l’évolution de ces mouvements contestataires.

« Écoterrorisme, animalisme, zadisme, altermondialisme… Depuis une vingtaine d’années, des mouvements contestant la société de consommation et le libéralisme sont apparus. Ils agissent au nom de « l’éthique » et remettent en cause, parfois violemment, l’évolution des sociétés développées », lance Éric Denécé, directeur du centre français de recherche sur le renseignement lors de l’assemblée générale de l’Ameb (Association pour le maintien de l’élevage en Bretagne), le 29 septembre à Plérin. Ces nouvelles idéologies contestataires montent en puissance. « Ces entités ont toutes pris naissance outre-Manche ou outre-Atlantique, ou en raison de leurs actions criminelles (sabotages, attentats, meurtres), elles figurent sur la liste noire des organisations terroristes au même titre que Daesh ou Al-Quaïda. Elles ont conduit le FBI et Scotland Yard à créer des unités spécialisées afin de lutter contre elles. »

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The threat of agroterrorism and zoonotic diseases in the US (GA Flory, NCT CBRNe USA 2016 Conference)

The threat of agroterrorism and zoonotic diseases in the US (GA Flory, NCT CBRNe USA 2016 Conference) | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
The threat of agroterrorism and naturally occurring disease outbreaks in the United States continues to expand as new diseases emerge and existing diseases become endemic in many parts of the world. This paper and the associated presentation at NCT CBRNe US 2016 will discusses the risk of an agroterrorism attack, steps to safeguard the food supply, strategies for controlling disease outbreaks and the significance of the human/animal interface.
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Farming, food and fallibility: Tackling the risk of agroterrorism (UK)

Farming, food and fallibility: Tackling the risk of agroterrorism (UK) | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
While nobody's suggesting that agroterrorism is about to replace cyber threats or the 'active shotter' scenario as arguably the biggest security risk facing the UK today, neither should the possibility of deliberate and targeted attacks on our food chain be dismissed. Stephen Green describes why that's the case.
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Focus on "Risk analysis of plant pathogen use as anti-crop weapons" (3rd EBRF meeting, Biosecurity Office/NVWA, NL, 15th April 2016)

Focus on "Risk analysis of plant pathogen use as anti-crop weapons" (3rd EBRF meeting, Biosecurity Office/NVWA, NL, 15th April 2016) | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
An analysis specific for Europe of the risk of plant pathogens being used as anti-crop bioweapons, taking into account both the biological and human dimensions of the threat, was given by Dr. Frédéric Suffert (researcher at INRA, F; participant to the EU PlantFoodSec project), invited speaker at the 3rd European Biosecurity Regulators Forum meeting (organized the NVWA, Wageningen, NL). An historical review of anti-crop bioweapons was exposed as the starting point of the characterization and contextualizes the threat in Europe. Four types of threat provided a structure for the analysis: (1) from military state programs to allegations of attacks; (2) from 'rogue state' hidden programs to claimed terror attacks; (3) biocrime, sabotage, private allegations and conspiracy theories on social media; (4) from the overzealous application of phytosanitary measures to the deliberate introduction of a regulated pest to justify trade protectionism. A database consisting of important target crops and of potentially dangerous pests was also presented to quantify the risk of agroterrorism in Europe.
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Geopolitics and cropbiosecurity (5). China's tightening of quarantine specifications: 'no coincidence' according to grain industry leader

Geopolitics and cropbiosecurity (5). China's tightening of quarantine specifications: 'no coincidence' according to grain industry leader | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

A key grain industry representative says China's tightening of quarantine specifications could have little to do with food security and plenty to do with its struggle to sell a large stockpile of aging grain. It has been 12 months since the Australian Government formally agreed to a quarantine protocol for wheat and barley going into China, designed to reduce the spread of pests and diseases. At the time the protocol was lauded by Australian authorities as a means of securing the lucrative market. But industry body Grains Industry Market Access Forum said the goal posts could be moved at any time and China's requirements had become increasingly difficult to meet (...).

Tony Russell, Grains Industry Market Access Forum executive manager "We are trying to set up new arrangements to make sure that we meet China's requirements going forward." According to Mr Russell, is that Australia's wins through the Free Trade Agreement with China - including eventual removal of a 3 per cent tariff on barley - are largely irrelevant. "It's very close to the comments I continue to make to Government; that it's all very well to remove tariffs under these free trade agreements, but the reality is tariffs aren't the barrier," he said. "It's quarantine barriers and other non-tariff barriers that countries use to restrict trade." Mr Russell conceded Australia could improve quarantine standards, particularly in relation to snails, but rejected China's level of scrutiny. "You do need to back it up with good science," he said. "Quarantine can get used as a tool to manage these things in a way that we think is slightly inappropriate."

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Egypte: Saad Moussa subit son intransigeance sur l’ergot

Egypte: Saad Moussa subit son intransigeance sur l’ergot | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
L’Egypte vient de remplacer le numéro un de son autorité de gestion de la mise en quarantaine de produits agricoles (AQA). Reuters indique que Saad Moussa vient de laisser sa place à Ibrahim Ahmed Imbabi précédemment à la tête de l’Institut de recherche en pathologies végétales (PPRI) rapporte Ecofin dans sa livraison d’hier. 
Ce mouvement est la conséquence d’une controverse qui a secoué le secteur agricole du pays, il y a quelques semaines. En effet, M. Moussa avait alors mis en place une politique de tolérance zéro à l’ergot dans les importations de blé alors que le ministère de l’agriculture tolère généralement des niveaux résiduels de ce champignon commun aux céréales. Résultat, le pays a perdu de son attractivité auprès des négociants qui ne soumissionnent plus aux appels d’offre du gouvernement égyptien car, disent-ils, assurer un niveau zéro d’ergot dans les chargements est impossible.
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Biodefense, bioterrorism, agroterrorism. Homeland Security

Biodefense, bioterrorism, agroterrorism. Homeland Security | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security are developing a system which lets epidemiologists scan the planet for anomalies in human and animal disease prevalence, warn of coming pandemics, and protect soldiers and others worldwide.
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Top U.S. intelligence official calls gene editing a WMD [weapon of mass destruction] threat

Top U.S. intelligence official calls gene editing a WMD [weapon of mass destruction] threat | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

That’s according to James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence, who on Tuesday, in the annual worldwide threat assessment report of the U.S. intelligence community, added gene editing to a list of threats posed by “weapons of mass destruction and proliferation. Gene editing refers to several novel ways to alter the DNA inside living cells. The most popular method, CRISPR, has been revolutionizing scientific research, leading to novel animals and crops, and is likely to power a new generation of gene treatments for serious diseases. Easy to use. Hard to control. The intelligence community now sees CRISPR as a threat to national safety.

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National security can begin in the chicken house and the processing plant [the ISIS threat for US]

National security can begin in the chicken house and the processing plant [the ISIS threat for US] | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

The news is not good out of the Middle East. The Islamic State (IS), otherwise known as “ISIS” or “ISIL,” has not been defeated by a U.S.-led coalition of nations. Their particular strain of apocalyptic Salafi Islamism, which evolved out of al Qaeda, continues to spread as new followers throughout the world are recruited. This problem may seem distant from our nation or the food production and processing systems, but the days of “Fortress America” are long gone in this age of multinational globalization and instantaneous communications.


Agroterrorism first became a major concern after the 2001 anthrax attacks but has gradually faded from the public mind as other events moved center stage. This is unfortunate, given the times in which we live. I spent years investigating how al Qaeda dabbled in agroterrorism, and fortunately, their capability to deliver attacks has degraded. ISIS is, however, in many ways a very different adversary—smarter, more skillful and, yes, actually meaner than al Qaeda ever was. Attacking a food corporation hurts Americans directly by causing loss of life, but also potentially causes them to lose confidence in the safety and security of our food system. That would be a huge propaganda win, which ISIS regularly seeks.  

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Diffusion of Xylella in Italian olive trees: Italian newspaper leaks details of Lecce prosecutor's report

Diffusion of Xylella in Italian olive trees: Italian newspaper leaks details of Lecce prosecutor's report | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

A national newspaper in Italy has leaked details of the scientific analysis behind the Lecce Prosecutor's decision to suspend the European Union's quarantine plan to halt the spread of the Xylella bacteria. 
Il fatto quotidiano has released information about the conclusions expressed by technical experts retained by the Lecce Prosecutor to evaluate research on the subspecies ofXylella which has been identified in olive trees in the Salento region. 
The court experts, Giuseppe Surico, a plant pathologist, and Francesco Ranaldi, a biochemist, both of the University of Florence, have drawn conclusions different from those of the scientists in Bari who the Lecce prosecutors have made the object of criminal investigation. 
The Bari scientists thus far have concluded that only one subspecies, Xylella fastidiosa, called pauca, is present in Italian olive trees. Surico and Ranaldi instead hypothesize the presence of other Xylellapopulations in Puglian olive trees. According to the court experts, in addition to the CoDiRO strain of the subspecies Xylella fastidiosa pauca, there may be other strains. 
The newspaper states that the genetic characteristic of the CoDiRO strain is a sequence of seven genes identical to the Xylella subspecies found in Costa Rica. According to the Bari researchers, this is the sequence found in all isolates of Xyella studied up to now in the Salento. But Surico and Ranaldi mentionXylella populations that present mutations within the seven-gene sequence. They reference a publication of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB), in 2014, which mentions the discovery of traces of different populations of Xylella. Surico and Ranaldi point out that despite this important data, the conclusions reached by the IAMB researchers at the end of the same article "inexplicably" make no further reference to these possible other strains. The court experts assert that the Bari researchers had found mutations even within the seven-gene sequence. These mutations, however, disappear from Genbank, the international database where the Bari researchers had deposited the genetic sequences they had obtained. 
On the basis of the presence of these mutations, which appear to have been either ignored or suppressed by the Bari scientists, Surico and Ranaldi speculate that various forms of Xylella may have been in circulation in the Salento for so long as to be considered endemic to the region. If the bacteria is endemic rather than invasive, then there would be no reason for the EU quarantine plan.

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Biosicurezza: contrasto alla diffusione dei patogeni - PlantFoosSec meeting (3)

Agricoltura Oggi, portale Abruzzese, dedicato al mondo dell'agricoltura, del turismo verde e dell'ambiente
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Expertos estudian cómo responder al bioterrorismo agrícola - PlantFoosSec meeting (1)

Expertos estudian cómo responder al bioterrorismo agrícola - PlantFoosSec meeting (1) | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

Un grupo de expertos internacionales ha debatido en Bruselas la respuesta a eventuales amenazas de bioterrorismo en la agricultura.

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"Maman V'la les Ecoterroristes !"

"Maman V'la les Ecoterroristes !" | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
"Un expert en renseignement sème la terreur chez les éleveurs de cochons" : la perception du Canard Enchaîné (2 novembre 2016).
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Major Italian daily "La Stampa" rehashes Xylella noise as scoop

Major Italian daily "La Stampa" rehashes Xylella noise as scoop | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

The Italian press, which, instead of making a sustained effort to get to the bottom of the question, has dedicated only scattershot, distracted attention to the epidemic, trumpeting sensational accusations rather than providing the sustained attention that separates substance from static. A disheartening but representative example of this approach to the Xylella phenomenon appeared on October 9 in La Stampa, an historic Italian national daily based in the northern city of Turin, a city renowned as a cradle of the Enlightenment. The article by Paolo Crecchi, is entitled "The War of the Olive Trees: Xylella, Manna for the Olive Lobbies". See here: http://www.lastampa.it/2016/10/09/italia/cronache/la-guerra-degli-ulivi-xylella-una-manna-per-le-lobby-dellolio-kwuyB1itKLTjFGgDwTxLPN/pagina.html

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Geopolitics and cropbiosecurity (6). How a fungus can ignite a trade war: Russia is banning fruit and vegetable imports from Egypt after it’s erratic « zero ergot » policies

Geopolitics and cropbiosecurity (6). How a fungus can ignite a trade war: Russia is banning fruit and vegetable imports from Egypt after it’s erratic « zero ergot » policies | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
Russia may ban Egyptian citrus amid wheat dispute (by Polina Devitt and Eric Knecht).

Russia threatened to ban Egyptian citrus imports on Tuesday, a move that could escalate a trade dispute over exports of Russian wheat to the world's largest importer of the grain. Moscow said this week it hopes to hold talks with Egypt, its top buyer, over Cairo's failure to approve Russian wheat shipments since tightening its regulations on ergot, a common grains fungus, in late August. Several cargoes suspected of containing trace levels of the fungus have since been held at Russian ports, awaiting a decision from Cairo over whether to allow them to pass under the old rule, traders said. Zero tolerance on ergot could halt Russian wheat exports to Egypt at a time when the country has its largest wheat crop in post-Soviet history. Egypt's state grain buyer GASC purchased 540,000 tonnes of the grain from Russia since July before tightening its import restrictions on ergot, banning the fungus entirely and saying the new rule would apply retroactively, affecting hundreds of thousands of tonnes yet to be shipped. The sales were originally agreed to under a rule allowing 0.05 percent ergot, a common international standard. Russian wheat export prices fell last week, partly due to delayed supplies to Egypt, and are expected to remain under pressure until the situation is resolved, traders said. Egypt bought 6 million tonnes of Russian wheat in the 2015-16 marketing year, which ended on June 30, a quarter of Moscow's total wheat exports for the period.
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Indian River County (Florida, USA) officials learn about agricultural terror threat

Indian River County (Florida, USA) officials learn about agricultural terror threat | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
Most talk about terror targets during the years has revolved around large gatherings of people or heavily used modes of transportation. But as the United States uncovered more about al-Qaida's plans after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, explicit plans were found that involved attacks on food and water supplies, federal officials said. That's why the Department of Homeland Security created a group called the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which provides free instruction to rural law enforcement agencies on a plethora of topics. One of the courses is agroterrorism, which is taught by Tracey Stevens, a member of the University of California-Davis' Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. "People aren't aware of it, but the U.S. is one of the largest food exporters in the world," Stevens said. "We talk about terrorism and think about people first, but forget about food and agriculture."
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Don alerts to growing threat of agroterrorism to Nigerian security [buzz or argued threat?]

Don alerts to growing threat of agroterrorism to Nigerian security [buzz or argued threat?] | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
A professor of botany at the University of Lagos, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, in a recent study titled “Agro-terrorism and Biological Crimes: Threats To National Security and Sustainable Development” warned that there is potential use of agro-terrorism in Nigeria, which is malicious use of plant or animal pathogens to cause disease in the agriculture sector (...). He said although there are relatively few cases of agro-terrorism recently, but with current upsurge in terrorism, it is imperative to study these few incidents to better understand the modus operandi and motivations that different actors may have for using biological agents against the agricultural sector, and also to develop and effective countermeasures and strategies (...). If such attacks were not foiled, what would have being the fate of Nigerians on agricultural produces and its confidence on the economy? However, it can be seen that we are at risk of terrorist attacks on our food chains; it will be justifiable to spend resources to deal with this risk. “ Ogundipe said combating agro-terrorism entails the usual appeals for alertness by the citizens and the officials, control of borders and resident aliens better coordination among law enforcement and intelligent gathering agencies, and an end to senseless policies that invite terrorism” he said.
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Périls sur l'alimentation des Égyptiens : l’imbroglio de l’ergot du blé [problème d’ergot ou bataille d’egos ?]

Périls sur l'alimentation des Égyptiens : l’imbroglio de l’ergot du blé [problème d’ergot ou bataille d’egos ?] | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

Problème d’ergot ou bataille d’egos ? Depuis la fin de l’année 2015, une querelle interministérielle sur l’interprétation d’un obscur règlement sanitaire à propos d’un champignon microscopique menace les importations du plus important acheteur de blé du monde, l’Égypte, et ses 90 millions d’habitants.

Décembre 2015 : deux cargaisons de blé français vendues par le grand négociant américain Bunge, soit 63 000 tonnes, sont refusées par l’Autorité de quarantaine (Agriculture Quarantine Authority, AQA), un bureau du ministère de l’agriculture égyptien. Motif, la présence de l’ergot1. Ce petit champignon qui se développe sur les grains de céréales peut provoquer des catastrophes et affole — à juste titre — l’opinion publique, et pas seulement en Égypte. L’ergotisme entraîne chez ses victimes des vomissements, de violents maux de tête, voire des convulsions dites « démoniaques » et divers troubles du comportement, pouvant aller jusqu’à la psychose. Steven Kaplan, dans Le Pain maudit. Retour sur la France des années oubliées, 1945-1958 (Fayard, 2008) raconte par exemple qu’en 1951, à Pont-Saint-Esprit, un village des bords du Rhône, une intoxication à l’ergot a frappé trois cents personnes, provoqué sept décès et obligé à interner d’office en asile psychiatrique cinquante malades ! Mais depuis plus d’un demi-siècle l’ergotisme, qui avait été virulent jusqu’au XVIIIe siècle, a disparu et les rares cas connus aujourd’hui sont d’origine médicamenteuse. Il faut d’ailleurs consommer des quantités considérables de farine contaminée pour ressentir les symptômes de l’ergotisme.

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Rarely reported fungal spores and structures: an overlooked source of probative trace evidence in criminal investigations (Hawksworth et al., 2016)

Rarely reported fungal spores and structures: an overlooked source of probative trace evidence in criminal investigations (Hawksworth et al., 2016) | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
The value of pollen and plant spores as trace evidence has long been established, but it is only in the last eight years that fungal spores have been analysed routinely from the same palynological samples. They have greatly enhanced the specificity of links between people, objects, and places. Most fungal species occupy restricted ecological niches and their distributions can be limited both spatially and geographically. Spores may be dispersed over very short distances from the fungal sporophore1, and their presence in any palynological assemblage may indicate a restricted area of ground, or the presence of particular plants (even specific dead plant material). Fungal spores can represent primary, secondary, or even tertiary proxy evidence of a location, and can indicate the presence of a plant even though the plant is not obvious at a crime scene. In some cases, spores from fungi which have rarely been reported, and are considered to be rare, have been of particular value in providing intelligence or evidence of contact. Ten examples are given from case work in which rarely reported or unusual fungi have proved to be important in criminal investigations.
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Closing the barn door: Interagency approaches to reduce agroterrorism threats (Grieco, 2015)

Closing the barn door: Interagency approaches to reduce agroterrorism threats (Grieco, 2015) | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

What has been started within the U.S., both government-initiated and non-government initiated, to combat agroterrorism is unevenly distributed at best or dangerously chaotic at worst. That which becomes overly complex unfortunately becomes avoided and disregarded—the exact opposite of what the interagency should be doing with respect to agroterrorism. An underlying idea of “out of sight, out of mind” possibly contributes to this effort, with many leadership decisions vested in organizations far removed from agricultural communities. The likely result is that agroterrorism defense will not receive the attention it appropriately deserves until after a critical asset has been struck. Until the current approach of interagency coordination for addressing agricultural threats is righted, the U.S. is poised on a very dangerous path, as the existing flaws appear ripe for exploitation. Only through substantial reworking and retooling can the system be remedied to provide adequate defenses before it is too late.

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CDC investigation of Chipotle further supports corporate sabotage (bioterrorism) as likely source of E. coli contamination [allegations !]

CDC investigation of Chipotle further supports corporate sabotage (bioterrorism) as likely source of E. coli contamination [allegations !] | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it
CDC investigation of Chipotle further supports corporate sabotage (bioterrorism) as likely source of E. coli contamination
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Diffusion of Xylella in Italian olive trees: Defense lawyers for Xylella scientists identify errors in court technical expert findings

Diffusion of Xylella in Italian olive trees: Defense lawyers for Xylella scientists identify errors in court technical expert findings | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

Lawyers for the five National Research Center (CNR Bari) scientists under criminal investigation by the Lecce Prosecutor's Office held a press conference on Feb 1st 2015 to present their claim that there is in fact no conflict between the scientific conclusions of their client and those of the expert consultants used by Lecce prosecutors.
An important point of contention that led to the announcement of criminal charges against the 5 scientists concerned the number of strains of the Xylella bacteria subspecies present in the infected zones of Puglia. According to the 5 scientists, the subspecies Xylella fastidiosa pauca, with a strain identified as CoDiRO, is the common factor identified in all infected trees in Puglia. The technical experts for the Lecce magistrates, on the other hand, stated that the data reveals as many as nine different strains of the subspecies, a fact that led the technical experts, in their report to magistrates, to speculate that Xylella may have been present in Puglian olive trees much longer than supposed. A long duration of Xylella in Puglia would imply that the disease syndrome should be considered endemic to the region, rather than a recent invader (...).
If, as the lawyers state, both accused scientists and the technical experts for the Lecce magistrates come to the same conclusion based on the same data, it becomes much harder for the magistrates to sustain their charges that the CNR scientists were motivated by any criminal intent.

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Diffusion of Xylella in Italian olive trees: How many strains in the Salento?

Diffusion of Xylella in Italian olive trees: How many strains in the Salento? | Cropbiosecurity and Agroterrorism Watch | Scoop.it

How many strains of the subspecies pauca of Xylella fastidiosa are in circulation in Puglia? The question is critical, both for the survival of olive trees and for the liberty of Italian scientists who have led research and now find themselves subject of criminal investigation. The question pits  scientific researchers in Bari against attorneys in the Lecce Prosecutor's Office, who have their own team of scientific experts (...). 

In contrast to this, the Lecce Prosecutor's Office refers to hypotheses proposed by the two members of their Technical Committee, Professor Giuseppe Surico and Dr. Francesco Ranaldi, of the University of Florence. The Prosecutor's decree cites a report by Surico and Ranaldi that surmises that the population of Xylella fastidiosa pauca found in the Salento is not homogeneous. A non-homogeneous population of Xylella, with as many as 9 diverse strains of Xf pauca in circulation, could mean that the bacteria did not arrive in Puglia only, and relatively recently, from a single strain of Xf pauca in Costa Rica. On the contrary, it may have been present for a long time, for so many years that it may have developed various genetic modifications (...).

A mystery remains in the Prosecutor's remarks, however, because the fragment of text by Surico and Ranaldi cited in the Prosecutor's own decree, does not express certainty that there are multiple strains of Xf pauca in the Salento. On the contrary, the Florence scientists take pains to express the conjectural nature of their remarks (...). There is a striking difference between conclusions which the Prosecutor described as confirmed, and the observations of his Technical Committee, which stresses that their hypotheses are highly conjectural.

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Expertos debaten la respuesta a ataques de tipo biológico en la agricultura - PlantFoosSec meeting (2)

Bruselas, 19 ene (EFE).- Un grupo de expertos internacionales debatió hoy en Bruselas la respuesta a eventuales amenazas de tipo biológico, tanto involuntarias como intencionadas, a la agricultura, la...
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