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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Press ReleaseSource: Canadian Union of Public Employees American government notified of request to inspect U.S. weapons facilities Monday February 17, 8:01 am ET INTERNATIONAL COALITION OF WEAPONS INSPECTORS TO VISIT EDGEWOOD FACILITY IN MARYLAND TORONTO, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ - Rooting Out Evil formally served notice today to the U.S. government that it will be sending an international team of weapons inspectors to Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland on Sunday, February 23, 2003 to investigate U.S. involvement in the development and storage of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. The international Inspection Team is composed of prominent Canadian, British, American Danish and Italian parliamentarians, scientists, academics, faith and union leaders. The delegation includes: Libby Davies, Member of Parliament (Canada - NDP Party); Christy Ferguson, Organizer and Spokesperson, Rooting Out Evil; David Langille, Director of Public Affairs, Centre for Social Justice; Alan Simpson, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom -- Labour Party) and head of Labour Against the War; Edward Hammond, Director, Sunshine Project; Peter Shorett, Director of Programmes, Council for Responsible Genetics; Samaa Elibyari, Representative, Canadian Islamic Congress; Deborah Bourque, National President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers; Steven Staples, Defense Analyst, Polaris Institute; Mel Watkins, Professor Emeritus - Economics and Political Science, University of Toronto; Francesco Martone, Italian Green Party Senator; Graziella Mascia, Member of Parliament (Italy - Rifondazione Communista); Pernille Rosenkrantz, Member of Parliament (Denmark - - Red-Green Alliance). In addition to the formal Inspection Team, Rooting Out Evil has recruited over 20,000 honorary inspectors through its website, www.rootingoutevil.org. According to the letter, which was addressed to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Edgewood facility may be engaged in chemical and biological weapons activities that contravene both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). The letter further expresses concerns about U.S. contravention of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, one of the same treaties the U.S. claims Iraq is contravening. In its inspections, Rooting Out Evil expects a level of assistance comparable to that which the United States expects of other nations suspected of harboring weapons of mass destruction. However, Inspection Team member and Rooting Out Evil organizer Christy Ferguson is dubious about the likelihood of a positive response to the request for cooperation with the Edgewood inspections. "While we have sent the letter of request in good faith, the United States has demonstrated a troubling history of refusal to meet its obligations and allow weapons inspections," Ferguson commented. Rooting Out Evil is a Canadian-based coalition of international citizens opposed to the development, storage, and use of weapons of mass destruction by any nation. This effort is supported by a broad coalition of Canadian and international groups including Greenpeace Canada, the Centre for Social Justice, the Canadian and American sections of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the National Network to End the War Against Iraq, Global Exchange, and International A.N.S.W.E.R. February 17, 2003 Donald Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense U.S. Department of Defense 1000 Defense Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301 Via Fax: (703) 697-9080 Cc: Colin Powell, Secretary of State - (202) 647-7120 Major General John Doesburg, Aberdeen Proving Ground Installation Commander -(410) 436-6529 Dear Mr. Rumsfeld: I am writing on behalf of Rooting Out Evil, a Canadian-based coalition of international citizens who oppose the development, storage and use of weapons of mass destruction by any nation. The coalition is supported by international organizations including Greenpeace Canada, the Centre for Social Justice, the Canadian and American sections of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the National Network to End the War Against Iraq, Global Exchange, and International A.N.S.W.E.R. Rooting Out Evil will be sending an international team of citizen weapons inspectors to the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center on Sunday, February 23, 2003 and we are writing to request your full cooperation. The team is composed of parliamentarians from Canada, Great Britain, Italy and Denmark, as well as scientists, bio-weapons experts, academics, faith and union leaders. Further, we have the support of over 20,000 honorary inspectors from 52 nations. Having ratified the Geneva Protocol of 1925, the U.S. has agreed to the prohibition of the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and bacteriological methods of warfare. As a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force on April 29, 1997, the United States has agreed not to develop or use chemical weapons and to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles. As a party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), entered into force on March 26, 1975, the United States has agreed to prohibit the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and bacteriological methods of warfare. The U.S. is further obligated to actively pursue the total eradication of chemical weapons and non-defensive biological agents through universally applied international mechanisms. Rooting Out Evil is focusing our inspection on the Edgewood site because our research reveals that the facility may be developing and stockpiling weapons that contravene the above stated conventions. We believe that all weapons of mass destruction must be subject to a comprehensive multilateral declaration, inspection and verification regime. Contrary to the commitments acknowledged by all members to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the United States has not fully complied with the declaration and inspection stipulations of the CWC. Although the CWC contains thorough safeguards for the protection of confidential information, the U.S. has limited the facilities open to inspection, prohibited removal of samples and conferred upon the President the right to refuse inspections for national security reasons. In addition to chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, we have further concerns about U.S. nuclear proliferation activities. The United States signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which commits all parties to move unequivocally toward "total nuclear disarmament." The U.S. has firmly stated its commitment to maintain a stockpile of 15,000 nuclear warheads -- stored in bunkers and submarines throughout the world -- into the indefinite future. According to the Bush Administration's Nuclear Posture Review, presented to Congress on January 8, 2002, the United States government officially established an aggressive nuclear policy, including the right to use nuclear capabilities in the absence of a nuclear threat. On November 8, 2002, under the threat of unilateral military action by the United States, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, which affords Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" through the establishment of "an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completions the disarmament process". We support the return of inspectors to Iraq and call upon the U.S. and all other nations possessing, or suspected of possessing, weapons of mass destruction to submit their facilities to a similar United Nations inspection regime. We therefore respectfully request assistance for our peaceful inspection of the chemical and biological weapons facilities at Edgewood at a level comparable to that which the United States expects of other nations suspected of harboring weapons of mass destruction. We commend the on-record commitments the U.S. has made to disarmament and would like to encourage the Bush Administration to meet all of the obligations that the U.S. is legally bound to honour through treaties to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support of this inspection. Sincerely, Christy Ferguson on behalf of the Inspections Team Rooting Out Evil Coordinator and Inspections Team Member Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees Email this story - Set a News Alert _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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