An Email From the "Rooting Out Evil" Coordination Team Dear Friends,
On February 23, a 13-member delegation of parliamentarians, scientists, academics, faith and union leaders from Canada, the U.K., Italy, Denmark, and the United States helped draw attention to the hypocrisy of the Bush administration's current foreign policy with their attempt to inspect the Edgewood Chemical Biological Centre in Maryland. The U.S. Army site at Edgewood has long been suspected of engaging in research and development that violates international chemical and biological conventions.
Upon arrival at the main gate, the Inspections Team was met by heavily-armed security and a spokesman from the facility. The Inspections Team was informed that, despite a formal request to the Department of Defense issued the week before, they lacked the appropriate credentials to be admitted onto base property. Several inspectors expressed concern about the lack of American cooperation and accentuated the need for a universally applied framework of international mechanisms to eliminate chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The team stated that they support the work of U.N. inspectors, and stressed that inspections are the first step toward the eradication of weapons of mass destruction everywhere.
Alan Simpson, a UK Member of Parliament and leader of Labour Against the War, articulated the group's intentions in a statement to base personnel, spectators and media. Simpson emphasized the group's concerns about biological and chemical weapons being developed and stored at the Edgewood facility.
Inspections Team member Edward Hammond, Director of the Sunshine Project and an American biological weapons expert, stated that Edgewood has all of the facilities and expertise for the development of biological and chemical weapons. The base also has stocks of biological and chemical agents, such as ricin and anthrax. Edgewood's research program to develop so-called "non-lethal" biochemical weapons program contravenes international agreements ratified by the United States.
After being asked to leave the base, Alan Simpson remarked, "Had this inspection taken place in Iraq, and had we been denied access to such a site, President Bush would have declared material breach of Resolution 1441 and authorized war on Iraq. This is the scale of double standard the disarmament movement has to address."
The inspection captured media attention in the United States and around the world. We even received this endorsement from Susan Sarandon:
"As an American, I support this initiative by Rooting Out Evil to expose the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration and I think that all nations with weapons of mass destruction should be transparent and work toward disarmament."
As we reflect back on this action and consider how to move forward, we wish to thank each of our 25,000 honorary inspectors for your tremendous support - we couldn't have done it without you!
The Rooting Out Evil coordinating team
Deborah Cook, Christy Ferguson, Larry Gordon, Elizabeth Dove, Kim Kerridge, David Langille, Peter Tabuns, Stephen Kerr, Sarah Treleaven, and Ritch Whyman
For those interested, the group of inspectors was composed of the following people: 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); 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) and head of Labour Party 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 Senator; Graziella Mascia, Member of Parliament (Italy); Pernille Rosenkrantz, Member of Parliament (!
Many thanks to Undecided on Megaten forums.
Weston at 12:58 PM