THE BIOWEAPONS TREATY IS IN DANGER! U.S. DISARM has participated in a WILPF seminar for national delegates on November 27 at the Sixth Bioweapons Convention Review Conference (BWC). The Sixth Review Conference occurred between November 20 to December 8 at the UN in Geneva. (Note that Convention is the official UN designation for what we in the U.S. usually call UN treaties on disarmament and human rights.) Delegates seek ways to save the treaty endangered by U.S. refusal to support an Inspection Protocol in 2001, followed by a vast expansion of U.S. "Biodefense" programs. Read the final document of the conference here.

Read U.S. WILPF DISARM reports by Disarm Co-chair Carol Urner in Geneva for the Review Conference. Shorter versions appear on the WILPF Blog. Also read both national government and NGO statements delivered at the BWC Review Conference on the Geneva WILPF web site. And read the weekly summaries of the BWC Conference written by our Geneva DISARM staff.

At the WILPF seminar November 27 for official delegates Joan Ecklein of Boston WILPF told the story of Boston's resistance to a new Biosafety Level 4 (BSL 4) "Bio-defense" research lab there. Read the paper prepared by Joan Ecklein and Claire Gosslein of the Boston DISARM committee. The Seminar included a 28 minute video on the Boston "fightback," including strong comments by four scientists opposed to the BSL 4 Lab. View a fifteen minute version of the video on resistance to the BSL 4 Lab co-produced by Boston WILPF. A list of NGO web sites monitoring the BIodefense program vastly expanded since John Bolton rejected the Inspection Protocol in 2001 (with $44 billion advocated since then) was provided to delegates and also shown on the screen by Carol Urner. Also shown and distributed were the map and key of BSL 4 and BSL 3 "Biodefense." To access this information click on the links high lighted below.

For efforts of Boston ACE (Alternatives for Community and Environment) to stop location of the BSL 4 lab in a densely populated Afro-American neighborhood there.

For efforts to stop the lab construction through legislative action explore the Boston Mobilization web site.

For the new BARDA legislation (signed by the President on December 19). It is embedded in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act as Section 401. It sets up a new Authority which gives new protections and incentives to Pharmaceuticals to gain their participation in Homeland Security's Project Bioshield, and makes the program more secretive than ever. See a wide ranging collection of comments on the BARDA legislation compiled on the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in December 2005. The Bill took two years to pass because the House objected to some provisions. Budget is over 1 billion dollars with much of it going to the Department of Health and Human Services which, like NIH, is controlled in part by Homeland Security.

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is another bioweapons monitor and has an extensive list of related web sites on Biodefense matters.

For information on monitoring civilian and military "Biodefense" programs check the Sunshine Project. We believe the project is committed to both transparency and adherence to truth, and is the best source for ongoing information reports on U.S. biodefense programs nationwide. A map and list of BSL 3 and 4 labs in the U.S. that are part of the new (since 2001) bio-defense program is available here.

For efforts of Tri-Valley Cares to stop collocation of BSL 3 and 4 labs at Lawrence Livermore nuclear labs.

For the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation breakdown of the 44 billion dollars in US government allocations to the "Biodefense" program since 2001 and for their list of web links to other NGOs monitoring the US "Biodefense" programs.

Essential background information on the Biological Weapons Convention is on the Reaching Critical Will web site. You will find there also a copy of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention which is the subject of this Review Conference. The BWC has been ratified by 155 national governments, including the United States.

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Lots more background information on saving the Bioweapons Treaty for WILPF Branches and members below:

The U.S., in the person of John Bolton, torpedoed the Bioweapons inspection protocol in 2001. During the same period U.S. "bio-defense research was vastly expanded. Explore the WILPF DISARM web pages for information on Biodefense and suspected Bio warfare projects of which most US citizens are unaware. Some of it is pretty scary stuff. If you become seriously interested visit the Sunshine Project web site and subscribe to Edward Hammond's list serve. He is our most committed and savvy watch dog, and you can follow genetic engineering that is creating new forms of small pox for which there is no vaccine, and reconstructing the 1918 flu virus that killed millions. Learn why and how communities like Boston are resisting university labs that are bringing dangerous pathogens into local neighborhoods. If you want to get involved, let DISARM know. We need you!

Susan Gracey (left, with Medea Benjamin to the right) presents the story of Boston WILPF's participation in resistance to a Homeland Security Bio shield Level-4 Lab in a Boston Afro-American community. The women are speaking at a Bio-Democracy event co-sponsored by WILPF in Philadelphia in June, 2005.

The DISARM resolution on bio-weapons was accepted by the U.S. Board and the WILPF International Executive Committee. It gives us a foundation on which to build as we approach the meetings of the Bio-Weapons Convention Committee in Geneva in December, and the 2006 Review Conference. The place to begin, of course, is in our own communities where questionable U.S. bio-weapons research projects are taking place. WILPF DISARM also submitted an introduction giving context to the resolution, including a summary of previous WILPF resolutions on Bio-weapons.

Help us survey and report on bio-weapons research in your own community. If the US won't let the UN do it, who will? Find other groups and local officials, as Boston WILPF has, with which to work. The Administration claims the research is purely defensive, but watchdogs have already found evidence of treaty violation. Check your 2005 version Mil Corp Manual Section VI page 123 for basic information on investigating local university and military bio-defense laboratories. Explore the Sunshine Project web site for more information. Click on the Bio-weapons tab for the most recent versions of the map and key to university and military bio-defense research labs, reprinted in our 2005 and 2006 Mil-Corp manuals which appear here. Serious monitors should subscribe to the Sunshine Project list serve.

Click here for links to additional resources on bio-defense and bio-weapons research.

Examine the US Bio-defense Budget since rejecting the UN Biodefense inspection protocol in 2001

Go to the Reaching Critical Will page on the Bio- weapons treaty for WILPF background information. Some has not been updated since before the 2000 Fifth Review Conference, but you will still find some useful information here. And updating is in progress.


Boston WILPF Branch has joined local efforts to keep a dangerous Level-4 BioShield Lab out of an Afro-American community there -- and to keep such labs out of Massachusetts everywhere. Community resistance is based on the knowledge that experiments will be with the most dangerous known pathogens and that accidents do happen in these high security labs. Boston University, host for the proposed lab, has had accidents in labs of lesser security which it has sought to hide from public knowledge.

Susan Gracey and a team of WILPF members from the DISARM committee are also aware of far reaching dangers in the entire multi-billion dollar Homeland Security Bio-Shield project which appears to be defying the provisions of the UN Bioweapons Treaty. They are working with local groups like ACE (Alternatives for Community and Environment) to stop the lab altogether if possible. Other WILPF Branches can explore the ACE web site for insight into the problems posed by such university hosted labs, and into organizing resistance to them.

Another group in the coalition, Boston Mobilization, is spear heading the campaign to at least mandate local and state supervision of this and any other Bio-Shield lab proposed for Massachusetts. At present there is no real oversight of these labs by any body, federal or local. WILPFers who wish to join in resistance to, and/or regulation of such labs in their own communities should explore the Boston Mobilization web site which outlines the campaign for state supervision in Massachusetts. Such supervision, of course, may prove unacceptable to Homeland Security -- and if so that will be another argument for ending the program entirely.


WILPF joined United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink and other organizations in co-sponsoring a lively Bio--Democracy event in Philadelphia June 18 to 21. It coincided with the annual high level bio-tech conference for pharmaceutical companies and bio-engineering firms in search of government and other contracts. The lively Bio-Democracy events hi-lighted citizen resistance to genetic engineering of seeds, private patents on human genes, and the "bio-defense" research that has, in the organizer's words "frightening offensive capabilities."

Photo to left: The U.S. is certainly stockpiling nuclear weapons, but we cannot be certain there is any stockpiling of biological weapons at this point as this banner seems to imply. However, the current vastly expanded program seems to be pointing in that direction. We believe the U.S. Administration must return to strict adherence to the Bioweapons Convention and lead the way toward the transparency and universality that is necessary for an enforceable inspection regime.

Susan Gracey represented WILPF at the "biodefense" teach-ins, and effectively told the story of Boston's citizen resistance to the proposed Level 4 Bio-Shield research laboratory there. She also led a workshop on resistance to Bio-Shield labs around the country.

Barry Kissin shared his article on Fort Detrick and the U.S. military bio weapons research which describes the huge expansions underway there and gives an overview of the research and its dangers. (Barry is convinced this is not a defensive program and in 2006 ran for Congress in order to raise the issues with the public.)

Philadelphia Branch members of the DISARM committee joined in the teach-ins and rallies, one of them decked out as a huge red genetically engineered tomato gone haywire. Carol Urner also participated for WILPF and was interviewed by both ABC news and the Philadelphia Inquirer, bringing both a plea for sanity and some added publicity for WILPF.

The event included marches, giant puppets, and rallies. The Philadelphia police were out in full force to contain the demonstrations. About a thousand skate boarders joined the demonstrations in an action which took the police by surprise. Unfortunately a policeman became over excited when confronting the demonstrators, and died of a heart attack. The demonstrators, who were admittedly rambunctious but also peaceful, called off the rest of their rally, and joined in expressions of sorrow for the loss of life. The action was also a surprise to WILPF which generally does not support "surprise" actions of this sort, but believes all demonstrations should be both non-violent and transparent in relationship to authorities and all parties involved.