Weapons inspectors visit Edgewood facility in Maryland
TORONTO, Ontario, Feb. 17--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.
[The inspectors were not allowed entry.]
For further information and updates: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.rootingoutevil.org.
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