LET'S SAVE THE BIOWEAPONS CONVENTION, NOVEMBER 20 TO DECEMBER 8 AT THE UNITED NATIONS IN GENEVA.

THE BIOWEAPONS TREATY IS IN DANGER! U.S. WILPF DISARM joined international WILPF staff at the Sixth Bioweapons Convention Review Conference (BWC) in Geneva where 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 report of the Geneva office on the WILPF seminar presented by U.S. Section WILPF DISARM. Also see details below.

FLASH: A final document was approved by concensus on December 8 that actually was far better than we had dared hope. Read the final document of the Review Conference here. Now our task is to help the U.S. Congress investigate the current rapidly expanding "biodefense program" and bring all such research under legislative controls as required under this final statement. That should mean significant cutbacks in the program as well as much increased transparency and insurance that no research will be used for bioweapons development.

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. Daily reports from the Bioweapons Prevention Project are here as well as on the Geneva WILPF web site.

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. Boston WILPF believes there are strong indications that the lab will feed into a secret biowarfare program instituted by the current Administration. 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.

Susi Snyder, WILPF Secretary General, moderated the discussion and pointed out that WILPF has long called for an end to both biodefense and biowarfare research, since all such research can be used for the same aggressive purposes. She also repeated the need to develop inspection mechanisms as declared in the official WILPF statement to the Conference on November 21.

Carol Urner commended the delegates and NGOs for creative efforts to develop the transparency and universal acceptance of the treaty necessary if inspection mechanisms are to succeed. She especially commended the VERTIC publication Verification Matters on strengthening the treaty through modular mechanisms. She wants WILPF to take the publication to new Committee chairs in the 110th Congress. She also provided a list of NGO web sites monitoring the U.S. Biodefense program (vastly expanded since John Bolton rejected the Inspection Protocol in 2001, with $44 billion advocated since then). To access the information presented click on the links high lighted below.

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Lots more background information 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 DISARM TEAM CONFRONTS LOCAL BIO-SHIELD LAB

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.

PHILADELPHIA JUNE BIO-DEMOCRACY EVENT

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.