Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation revealed the details of a 1/2 hour conversation he had with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) urging the Senator not to support ratification of the Chemical Weapons Treaty. "I must tell you that it was one of the most troubling conversations I've had in a long time," said Weyrich. The treaty is opposed for several reasons, including: 1) treaty ratification would permit other nations to inspect U.S. businesses and homes at will, thereby essentially negating 4th Amendment Constitutional search-and-seizure protections; 2) treaty ratification would harm U.S. security by forcing the U.S. to give away its chemical weapons technology -- including technology designed for defense against chemical attacks (which would help other nations to figure out how to get around our defenses); 3) the treaty is not verifiable; 4) the U.S. has already signed an agreement with Russia to get rid of chemical weapons, but only the U.S. has so far adhered to it; 5) technology-sharing aspects of the treaty may actually facilitate transfer of chemical weapons and chemical weapons technology to rogue states like Iran and Libya. Said Weyrich of urging Lott not to bring up the treaty for a vote: "I was as tough as I have ever been. It made absolutely no difference." Weyrich said that Lott spoke as if Lott was no longer part of the conservative movement: "If your movement is so great, you can't come up with 34 votes against this treaty?" "Right now," said Weyrich," [Lott] thinks [the conservative movement] is absolutely worthless." Added Weyrich: "I am not interested in ceding the sovereignty of the United States. I don't want to share this country's superior technology with Cuba, with Syria, with Russia, with Libya and with all kinds of rogue states... When you hear the case against this you have to ask yourself how anyone who calls themselves an American can vote for this... Had you been on the phone [with Lott] with me your stomach would have been in knots by the end of the conversation." Weyrich concluded by noting that Lott said that he may vote against the treaty himself after arranging for it to get through the Senate. "He may 'do a Bob Dole'," said Weyrich, "Greasing the skids for it and then voting against it in order to satisfy constituents." Contact Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000 or netmail@fcref@org.
Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy continued the discussion of the Chemical Weapons Treaty, comparing ratification of it with the ratification of the Panama Canal Treaty during the Carter Administration. Referring to the different stances then-future presidential candidates Ronald Reagan and Howard Baker took on the Panama Canal Treaty, and noting that Trent Lott wants someday to be president, Gaffney noted: "Trent Lott has to figure out whether he's going to run as Ronald Reagan or Howard Baker." Gaffney reported that one reason the treaty may be ratified now after having insufficient support for ratification in the 103rd and 104th Congresses is that the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) is strongly for ratification, because they think it will increase chemical sales. The CMA, he said, has been effective by hiring former conservative senators, such as Steve Symms (R-ID), to lobby for the treaty. Being lobbied by conservatives has had an impact on conservative senators, Gaffney said, many of whom are now undecided while at least nine Republicans are in favor of the treaty. On the positive side, Gaffney said, four former Secretaries of Defense (Cheney, Weinberger, Rumsfeld and Schlesinger) are opposed to the treaty (none are known to support it). Gaffney distributed a one-page sheet "The Case Against the Chemical Weapons Convention" and several editorials about the treaty. Gaffney urged p[articipants and the public to communication their views on the treaty to Senators Lott and Helms and ot all other Senators (Senator Lott can be reached at [email protected] and Senator Helms at [email protected], a list of all Senate e-mail addresses is available at http://www.senate.gov/senator/membmail.html, and all Senators can be reached by phone at 202/224-3121). Contact Frank Gaffney at 202/466-0515 or [email protected] (http://www.security-policy.org). Handouts are also available at http://www.nationalcenter.org under "Hot Topics.")
Marshall Billingsley of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee added to the Chemical Weapons Treaty conversation by noting the protections Senator Helms believes must be added to the treaty before ratification. These include changing it so that 1) all countries with chemical weapons are included; 2) our soldiers in the field are permitted to use tear gas for rescue operations (currently prohibited by the treaty); 3) Americans and protected from unconstitutional search and seizure; 4) the treaty is made verifiable. Billingsley also went into some detail on the way the treaty would disrupt Americans' 4th Amendment protections, saying that businesses making and selling soaps, detergents, cosmetics, oil and gas, ceramics, chemicals and others would be subject to inspection. He noted that this would make it difficult to protect trade secrets since "trade secrets often consist of things that can be determined by visual inspection alone." Billingsley also explained that international inspectors could even visit other businesses and even homes under the treaty's "challenge inspection" provision which would allow international inspectors to visit any site in the U.S. at will: "That treaty will allow inspections of any site in the U.S. Your office, your house... all that is required is five days' notice... [These] are big 4th Amendment issues... [Under the treaty international inspectors] have the ability to take samples of anything they want." Billingsley noted that the 5th Amendment bans the federal government taking private property, but he noted that the Founding Fathers never contemplated foreign countries coming in to take private property. Contact Marshall Billingsley at 202/224-4651.
Janine Esperne of the staff of Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) discussed an alternative to the Chemical Weapons Treaty, Senate bill S. 495 sponsored by Senators Kyl and Lott. S. 495 includes stronger sanctions against the use of chemical weapons than does the Chemical Weapons Treaty but does not include the provisions disrupting Americans' civil rights and those posing a risk to national security. Esperne also said that opponents of the Chemical Weapons Treaty would do well to lobby all Senate Republicans, as only a few (including James Inhofe [R-OK], John Kyl [R-AZ], Bob Smith [R-NH], Lauch Faircloth [R-NC], Larry Craig [R-ID] and Don Nickles [R-OK]) are firmly opposed to the treaty at this point. Contact Janine Esperne at 202/224-4521 or [email protected].
Steve Forbes of Americans for Hope Growth and Opportunity has
released two more open memos asking the GOP to show more leadership.
Says one: "Voters can rightly ask: For what purpose did we
elect a Republican Congress?... Republicans must now take the
initiative on the Budget, Tax Simplification, Social Security,
Health care, Medicare, Education, Crime and Foreign Policy."
The other asks: "Why do Congressional Republicans fear Clinton-Gore
more than the Democrats do? Why are Republicans so afraid to take
their case to the American people? Voters will rightly ask, 'If
you're unwilling to advocate your principles and policies, why
does the Republican Party exist?'" Contact Joel Rosenberg
at 703/925-9281 or [email protected]
of the memos are also available at http://www.nationalcenter.org
under "Hot Topics." *