No. 41, May 2003
OO Facing the failures of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty regime
David Krieger and Devon Chaffee
OO Towards a Convention on Knowledge, ISIS-SGR-TWN discussion paper
Mae-Wan Ho, Eva Novotny, Philip Webber , E.E. Daniels
REPORTS FROM THE INES PROJECT GROUPS
OO Major activities in 2002 and 2003 of the INES project group INESAP
OO The project group on biological weapons
OO INESPE, the INES working group to promote and protect ethical engagement
OO A letter from Egypt
OO A Letter from The Netherlands
OO International whistleblower conference announcement
OO The new INES office
Facing the Failures of the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Regime
By David Krieger and Devon Chaffee
Each year the future of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Regime becomes more uncertain. In the past year alone:
North Korea has become the first country ever to withdraw from the treaty.
There has been virtually no progress and considerable regression on the thirteen practical steps for nuclear disarmament agreed to at the 2000 NPT Review Conference.
The US has reasserted policies of nuclear weapons use that undermine the negative security assurances promised to non-nuclear weapon states parties (NNWS) to the NPT in 1978 and again at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.
The doctrine of preemption, pursued by the United States and adopted by other states with nuclear weapons, threatens to accelerate nuclear weapons proliferation in the face of the threat of aggressive use of force.
Bilateral policies of the nuclear weapon states parties (NWS) to the NPT are increasingly integrating those nuclear weapons states outside of the NPT regime: India, Pakistan and Israel’s legitimate nuclear powers, through the elimination of sanctions and technology exchanges.
The NPT regime obligations are having less and less success in restraining the irresponsible behavior of nations, especially the treaty’s NWS, and the United States in particular. As NWS move further away from their obligations under the treaty, they are simultaneously weakening incentives for non-nuclear weapon state parties to the treaty to remain within the NPT regime. If such regressions continue, they will inevitably lead to an abandonment of disarmament goals and the gradual lack of interest by non-nuclear weapons states parties to remain within the regime’s boundaries. It is time for members of the NPT regime to issue a clear statement outlining how the treaty is being undermined and by whom.
The NPT 13 Practical Steps Towards Disarmament Ignored
When the United States ambassador stated at the 2002 NPT Review Conference Preparatory Committee that Washington no longer supported many of the conclusions from the 2000 NPT Review Conference he was clearly alluding to the 13 Practical Steps to achieve complete disarmament under Article VI of the treaty. In the past year not only has no progress been made in fulfilling these steps but NWS, the United States in particular, have pursued policies that demonstrate significant regression from fulfillment of their Article VI obligations.
In the past year there have been no further ratifications of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by nuclear capable states, including NWS parties to the NPT. There has been no progress in moving towards a fissile material treaty. The principles of irreversibility and verification have been undermined by the United States and Russia in the Moscow Treaty, which lays out reversible offensive reductions without providing for any verification methods. The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and the START II arms reduction efforts have been entirely abandoned as has progress towards START III. There has been no effort to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, and in fact the United States is conducting studies on new nuclear weapon designs. The only area where some progress in meeting the 13 Practical Steps has been made is that some states submitted reports with regard to their Article VI obligations at the 2002 PrepCom, a process that is still being resisted by many NWS, including the United States.
At the NPT’s inception, disarmament obligations under Article VI played a key role in convincing NNWS that it was in their best interest to sign the treaty, though it restricted their ability to develop nuclear weapons. As these disarmament obligations continue to be ignored by the NWS, they eliminate a significant incentive for NNWS to keep their side of the bargain.
Negative Security Assurances Undermined
The US has reiterated its policy to use "overwhelming force" against chemical or biological attacks. This policy was reiterated in the recent US National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction issued in December 2002, which states, "The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force including through resort to all of our options to the use of WMD against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies."
Such policies undermine the negative security assurances promised by the United States in 1978 and reaffirmed at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. These assurances are supposed to reassure NNWS that they need not worry about becoming the target of a nuclear weapons attack. Though the United States has reserved the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a chemical or biological weapon attack for some years, the continued emphasis on this first strike policy undermines non-proliferation goals. When the United States, despite its overwhelming conventional military superiority, takes up a policy that requires nuclear weapons to carry out a strike against a potential chemical or biological weapons threat, other states are likely to conclude that nuclear weapons are also necessary for their protection.
In addition, as the United States continues to fund studies for new tactical weapons designs, such as the Robust Nuclear Earth Penatrator, it further erodes the confidence building effect of the negative security assurances. These new nuclear weapon designs are not strategic, to be used to deter a nuclear strike upon the United States, but would most likely be used against the chemical or biological facilities or in other tactical battlefield maneuvers in a first strike, most likely against a NNWS. By eroding its won negative security assurances, the United States is diminishing another important incentive for NNWS to remain within the NPT regime.
Preemption Doctrine Pursued
The United States government is pursuing a doctrine of preemptive use of force, both in policy and military action, which ultimately threatens to undermine non-proliferation goals. The Bush administration’s National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction states: "US military forces and appropriate civilian agencies must have the capability to defend against WMD-armed adversaries, including in appropriate cases through preemptive measures.
This requires capabilities to detect and destroy an adversary’s WMD assets before these weapons are used."
This US preemption doctrine, which was drafted largely in response to the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 and which was used in justifying the recent invasion of Iraq, is likely to have serious negative effects on the NPT regime.
First, it is setting a dangerous precedent for other nuclear powers to justify using aggressive preventative force to settle international disputes. Some countries have already begun echoing the new US doctrine as a possible approach to solving long-standing regional conflicts. Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha stated recently, "There were three reasons which drove the Anglo-US forces to attack Iraq possession of weapons of mass destruction, export of terrorism and an absence of democracy all of which exist in Pakistan." On April 11, 2003, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said he endorsed Sinha’s recent comments that India had "a much better case to go for pre-emptive action against Pakistan than the United States has in Iraq." Such a doctrine of preemption pursued by India towards Pakistan is extremely dangerous, particularly given Pakistan’s conventional weakness. In the face of an Indian policy of preemption, Pakistan is likely to approach its own nuclear arsenal with an even higher alert status, bringing these two countries a step closer to intentional or accidental nuclear war, as well as accelerate the regional arms race.
Second, the US policy of preemption is heightening the level of threat felt by potential nuclear weapons states by adding to the perceived need to possess nuclear weapons in order to ward off an aggressive offensive attack. Instead of warning or discouraging nuclear threshold states such as Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear arsenals, the lesson that these countries are most likely to learn from the Iraq example is that they must accelerate their nuclear weapons programs in order avoid to the fate of the Ba’th regime.
Israel, India and Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenals Accepted
In addition to the many regressions from fulfilling obligations under the NPT, NWS policies toward countries with nuclear arsenals outside of the NPT regime are also having a damaging effect on the treaty. Through their evolving bilateral policies, NWS parties to the NPT are increasingly integrating Israel, India and Pakistan into the international community as legitimate nuclear powers outside of the NPT regime, undermining incentives for NNWS to remain within the treaty.
There has long been a double standard in calling for the adherence to UN resolutions relevant to the elimination of nuclear weapons within the Middle East that puts little pressure on Israel to eliminate its arsenal. While NWS have put increased pressure on countries such as Iraq and Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, Israel has never faced significant consequences for having a nuclear arsenal of some 200 weapons outside of the NPT regime. In fact, by continuing to aid Israel in developing its missile defense technology, the United States is helping Israel create a protective shield from which it may, at some point, be able to launch a nuclear weapon, without perceiving itself to be vulnerable to a reciprocal missile strike. Not only is Israel developing this potentially destabilizing anti-missile technology, but it is also considering selling this technology, if it is given US approval, to India, another nuclear power that is not a member of the NPT regime.
The United States lifted sanctions against the sale of dual-use technologies to Pakistan in 2001 in order to gain Pakistan’s cooperation in the post-September 11 war on terror. Such sanctions against India, which were partially lifted when India also became part of the US-led "coalition against terrorism" in 2001, were repealed in their entirety in February of this year. The United States Congress is also examining ways to expand the co-operative non-proliferation efforts from states of the former Soviet Union to include countries such as India, aiding them in advancing their nuclear security technology and protocol.
Reports from a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in December 2002 also indicated that negotiations are moving forward for India to lease at least one Russian-made Akula-11 class nuclear-powered submarine, capable of carrying a payload of nuclear cruise missiles. Though the head of India’s navy, Admiral Madhvendra Singh, refused to confirm or deny assertions concerning the possible lease, if such a lease is undertaken it would significantly alter the balance of nuclear capability between India and Pakistan. Prior to the summit, Russia announced its intention to allow India to become an associated member of the United Nuclear Research Institute, one of the top nuclear research institutes in Russia. India was previously denied access to the facilities of this prestigious institute, where nearly half of all Russian nuclear advances have occurred, because it is not a member of the NPT. But India’s NPT status is a factor that appears to be of decreasing concern to the Russian government when considering weapons, science and technology exchanges.
The increasing exchange of dual-use and missile defense technology to Israel, Pakistan and India continues despite the fact that these countries are not restrained by the NPT regulations from sharing this technology with NNWS, even in the case of Pakistan, a country that likely aided North Korea in developing its uranium-based nuclear weapons program. Such policies clearly undermine the goals of the NPT, sending NNWS a clear message: remaining outside of the NPT regime has many benefits and few costs.
A Time To Speak
The NPT was to be the cornerstone for disarmament, arms control and the peaceful prevention of the further proliferation of nuclear weapons, a role that the treaty is clearly failing to fulfill. It is no longer fruitful to wait and hope that the political will appears to make the NPT a workable and effective regime. It is time, instead, to realize how and why the regime is not working and what countries bear responsibility for the treaty’s ineffectiveness. The NNWS members of the NPT should unite in motioning for a type of censure, a statement that clearly lays out the reasons for the NPT’s failures holding specific countries responsible for their part in the regime’s degradation. Such a motion would not pass the NPT PrepCom’s procedure of consensus, but it would send a strong message that the majority of NPT members are not complacent in the face of continuing disregard for treaty obligations by the NWS.
In particular, the United States’ persistent role in undermining the goals of the NPT should be clearly outlined by the other parties to the treaty. If the United States is not going to take its obligations under the NPT seriously, which it shows no intention of doing in either the near or distant future, and if the United States continues to pursue policies that directly undermine the treaty regime, then this behavior must be recognized and forthrightly condemned by the other members of NPT regime. Such a statement is not likely to be effective in changing US policy it could possibly affect the sentiment of the American public. Given that the NPT regime is hardly benefiting from US symbolic membership, there is little to lose by members of the NPT formally voicing a strong opposition to the United States’ many transgressions.
As the United States government is becoming more and more frank in its disregard for multilateral diplomatic solutions to security issues, so must the international community be frank in its rejection of the aggressive and dangerous policies of the United States that threaten to draw the world into an unending arms race and a state of perpetual war.
David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and can be contacted by e-mail at . He is also the co-author of Choose Hope, Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age (Middle way Press, 2002) and editor of Hope in a Dark Time, Reflections on Humanity’s Future (Capri Press, 2003).
Devon Chaffee is the Research and Advocacy Coordinator of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and can be contacted at .
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan international education and advocacy organization that works to advance initiatives to eliminate the nuclear weapons threat to all life, to foster the global rule of law, and to build an enduring legacy of peace through education and advocacy. To learn more about the Foundation visit our web site at www.wagingpeace.org .
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Towards A Convention on Knowledge
ISIS-SGR-TWN Discussion Paper
By Mae-Wan Ho (Institute of Science in Society), Eva Novotny, Philip Webber (Scientists for Global Responsibility), E.E. Daniels (Science for Peace)
The Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and the Trans World Network (TWN) produced a document ‘Towards a Convention on Knowledge.’ Both ISIS and SGR are INES member organisations. The document was established with the help of many contributions of the members of the organisations and is still under discussion.
Most of the issues covered by the document have been discussed separately or in context at INES seminars and conferences and in the INES Newsletter. The present ‘Convention’ gives a coherent compilation of arguments and opinions. It presents a view both on science and technology themselves and their relation and on their applications in the human society. It elaborates on the consequences of this application and formulates conditions that science and technology should satisfy in a sustainable world.
By publishing this Convention in the INES Newsletter, we hope to inspire INES members to formulate their own ideas and opinion and thus contribute to the discussion.
Remarks and contributions may be sent directly to Mae-Wan Ho: ,
or to the editor of the INES Newsletter: .
A full text of the document, including an introduction and the names of the contributors can be found
on the INTERNET: www.i-sis.org.uk
What Does A "Convention" Imply?
"Convention" is to be taken in the most general sense of a ‘coming together.’ It is the coming together both of civil society and of issues on knowledge that will have major impacts on the agenda for global sustainability. This "Convention" is intended solely as a civil society document, with no legal binding status. It expresses a commitment of civil society to develop and use knowledge for the good of all.
‘Knowledge’ is to read in the widest sense to include all knowledge systems that exist in the world today, to underscore the holistic nature of knowledge systems and their independent and equal status. Thus, ‘knowledge’ in the west will include science and other ways of knowing, whereas for indigenous communities, ‘knowledge’ might be synonymous with ‘indigenous science.’ Focusing on knowledge also stresses the important point that knowledge is not independent of technology, or the application of science. Knowledge inspires and guides and misguides technology. This is as true for western science as it is for holistic indigenous knowledge systems.
Why We Need It
Developments since September 11 have brought biological weapons and nuclear weapons back on the global agenda, raising real prospects of the misuse of science and scientists to military ends. At the same time, the US and UK governments are introducing ‘emergency’ legislation and measures that pose further threats to the free exchange of scientific information and knowledge, already compromised by the rampant commercialisation of science in recent years. The commercialisation of science and the increasing intimate relationship between universities and industry have undermined public trust in science and scientists. More seriously, independent science and scientists working for the public good are becoming things of the past. This is coming at a time when technologies are getting more powerful and uncontrollable, both as weapons of mass destruction and in terms of destroying the social and moral fabric of human societies. The new trade-related intellectual properties regime in industrialised nations is an unprecedented privatisation of knowledge, which has also encouraged the biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and resources on a global scale. This regime is being imposed on the rest of the world through the World Trade Organisation, as part of a relentless drive towards economic globalisation.
Economic globalisation is widely acknowledged to be the major cause of poverty, social disintegration and environmental degradation over the past decades. At the same time, it is obstructing any attempt to reverse the trends and to implement a global agenda for sustainability.
Fifty thousand gathered in Porto Alegre in February at the Second World Social Forum to voice unanimous opposition to economic globalisation and to call for alternative models of world governance and finance.
Almost no one is targeting the predominant, reductionist knowledge system of the west, that has provided the intellectual impetus for globalisation as well as the instruments of destruction and oppression. It has also marginalised indigenous knowledge systems and driven countless of these to extinction.
But western science itself is undergoing a profound paradigm change towards an organic perspective that has deep affinities with indigenous knowledge systems around the world. We have all the means to bring a truly sustainable and equitable world into being, only the political will is missing. We need a collective vision that could underpin a new model of world governance and finance. Towards that end, we have drafted some elements towards a ‘convention on knowledge’ that could also serve as the focus of a concerted campaign to reclaim all knowledge systems to the service of public good.
Proposed Elements for A ‘Convention on Knowledge’
‘Knowledge’ is to be understood in the most general sense that includes science and all other disciplines in the west, as well as holistic, indigenous knowledge of diverse communities around the world.
The predominant model has failed
The advancement of science – the predominant knowledge system of the West – has been linked historically with progress and civilisation, and general improvement of the lives of the masses, at least up to the beginning of the twentieth century. World War II and the atom bomb shocked the world into recognising that science and technology can be instruments of mass destruction. Still, the idea lingered that science is beyond reproach, and it is technology that has to be controlled. And so the atom bomb, explosives and nerve gases were turned into nuclear reactors, fertilisers and pesticides respectively, all regarded as beneficial peacetime uses. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring sounded the first warnings that the earth and all its inhabitants were being poisoned, and will be, for decades to come, unless those uses were discontinued.
Science, ethics and precaution
But the scientific experts consulted by successive governments insisted "there is no evidence of harm," and continued to set permissive standards for corporations to pollute our life-support system with impunity. Holes developed in the ozone layer, and global warming was fast proceeding towards the point of no return.
One thousand six hundred scientists eventually sounded their dire "Warning to Humanity" after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course, they said. The sum of our human impacts is considerably larger than the impact of all the other species on it, and we are already affecting the global ecosystem in terms of the oceans, the global mean temperature and chemical balance. The developed nations are the largest polluters, and must "greatly reduce their overconsumption." Developing nations, on the other hand, will be "overwhelmed if their populations go unchecked." They called for "a new ethic," "a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth."
But the scientists did not seem to see that science too, had to have a new ethic. The predominant attitude among scientists is that science is ethically neutral. So they keep bringing more powerful and uncontrollable means of destruction to the fray.
Since the anthrax attacks in the United States, there is a growing realisation that genetic engineering and biological weapons may be worse than nuclear weapons. Furthermore, together with the new reproductive technologies, genetic engineering could place both production (of food and commodities) and human reproduction under corporate control, subject to global market forces. Market dictates have seduced our scientists to turn life into commodities, still under the delusion that all scientific research is desirable and ethically neutral.
Living organisms, cell lines and genes are being patented, including those from human beings. Databases of genomes and genes, as well as archives of scientific publications, have come under corporate ownership. Scientists are busy patenting discoveries made at public expense, plagiarising knowledge and stealing genetic resources from indigenous communities, including the cell lines and genes of indigenous peoples.
Corporate science endangers lives
For nearly a century, funding for scientific research has been dominated by military interests, and increasingly, by the interests of industry. Since the 1980s, biotechnology has forged a new partnership between the public and the private that has led to the commercialisation of science and the corruption of all the traditional ideals of science.
The commercialisation of science has reached crisis proportions in the new biotechnology ‘goldrush.’ Top scientists take money to have their names appear on scientific papers ghost written by drug companies. Biomedical researchers have been caught peddling fraudulent cures and even killing patients while profiting from stock-market hype of spin-off companies created at public expense.
In 2001, British physicians proposed a national panel to investigate misconduct in biomedical research, and the top biomedical journals joined up to insist on scientific independence. Some journals have proposed a signed declaration that the papers submitted by scientists are their own.
An editorial in The Lancet sums up the situation: "Governments, nationally and regionally, have consistently failed to put their people before profit. By contrast, academic institutions could intervene to support scientists when financial conflicts threaten to do harm. But these institutions have become businesses in their own right, seeking to commercialise for themselves research discoveries rather than preserve their independent scholarly status."
Independent science and scientists becoming extinct
Meanwhile, independent science and scientists are being driven to extinction. Instead of protecting the endangered species and fostering open debate on matters ranging from declining academic standards to the safety to GM foods and medicine, academic institutions are actively persecuting independent scientists who try to tell the truth.
Our public finance is being diverted to support research that benefits the corporations at the expense of public good, while promising approaches are receiving little or no funding.
The crisis in science is having serious repercussions. As technologies are becoming more powerful and uncontrollable, we need scientists to acknowledge their responsibility to society, we need scientists who can warn us of the dangers, to solve existing problems and to help create another sustainable world.
Destruction of indigenous knowledge
All over the world, indigenous peoples have been suffering from the dominant knowledge system of the west. People were forced to change their traditions for Western models. Not only do the new, inappropriate practices lead to poverty, they also destroy the environment and undermine the health of human beings. Modern monoculture techniques have, in many places, led to lower yields and nutritional deficiencies, turning formerly productive land into wasteland.
Fortunately, things have been changing since the 1980s. All across Asia, Africa and Latin America, people are rediscovering and reinstating traditional farming methods and crop varieties, improving productivity and regenerating the land. Along the edges of the Sahara, in Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Kenya, African farmers are working miracles, pushing back the desert, and turning the hills green, not by using genetic engineering, or any western aid programme. But simply by integrating crops and livestock to enhance nutrient recycling, by mix-
cropping to increase system diversity, and reintroducing traditional water-conservation methods to overcome drought. Yields of many crops have tripled and doubled, keeping well ahead of population increases.
Globalisation and biopiracy
Oronto Douglas (Environmental Rights Action) from Nigeria points out that globalisation is nothing new. The first wave of globalisation was slavery. With the rise of eugenic ideas in Europe and America, slaves and indigenous peoples were considered sub-human. This served to justify genocide and destruction of indigenous cultures everywhere. The second wave of globalisation was the invasion of indigenous homelands by oil, mining and timber companies, which led to massive destruction of life-support systems. Twenty thousand Ogonies were killed after peaceful, non-violent demonstrations against the Shell oil company. The third current wave of globalisation will deprive indigenous peoples of the last shreds of self-determination and livelihood.
At the end of 2001, shamans from 20 indigenous groups in Brazil gathered to denounce biopiracy and demand equal status for indigenous knowledge. The Brazilian government estimates that 97% of the 4000 patents taken out on natural products in the country between 1995 and 2000 were by foreigners. Biopiracy is rampant, taking advantage of weak laws, hiding behind the mask of ‘scientific cooperation’ and ‘ecotourism.’
In February, 2002, twelve countries – Mexico, China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, Peru, Venezuela, and South Africa - formed an historic alliance in Cancun, Mexico, to fight biopiracy and to press for rules protecting indigenous genetic resources. Between them they possess 70 percent of the world’s biodiversity, and many centres of diversity for the world’s food crops.
Maize originated in Mexico 4,000 years ago. Recently, Mexican farmers were dismayed to find their indigenous landraces widely contaminated
by genetically modified corn. They were even more outraged to hear that companies might want to charge them for using the contaminated strains as they now contain patented transgenes.
Another imminent danger is the flood of rice gene patents that may affect farmers’ rights to use and sell existing varieties or to develop new ones, now that the rice genome has been sequenced. China’s Beijing Genome Institute has scored an impressive victory for the developing countries by joining the sequencing race late and coming out ahead. The Beijing Genome Institute has deposited the rice genome sequence in the public database, while Syngenta is hording its data on its own website. This has dramatically changed the power politics of agriculture, hitherto under the predominant control of the rich developed world. It remains to be seen, however, whether China can put a stop to the rampant gene-patenting that has occurred when the human genome sequence was announced in 2001.
Mechanistic science and big business share the same ideology
The increasingly intimate alliance between science and big business has deep roots. The predominant framework of western science is mechanistic and reductionist. The machine metaphor in biology dates back to Descartes’ concept of the body as machine, separate from mind. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection proposed that species evolve and improve over time due to the all-pervasive competition of one against all and all against nature. Darwin was inspired by the laissez-faire economic theory of Adam Smith, in which competition and the ‘free’ market – expanding under the military might of the British Empire – was seen to be the key to economic success. Darwinism, and neo-Darwinism, in turn inspired the present day neo-liberal economic theory, a more extreme version of Adam Smith’s, as it involves unfettered competition, not tempered by moral restraint.
The system of economic regulation and agreements set up after the second world war allow companies to operate without responsibility or accountability. This same ideology is currently driving economic globalisation that will have devastating consequences on the livelihood of the poorest and the survival of the global ecosystem.
This two-way connection between science and society is the clearest demonstration that science is not neutral or value free as has been widely assumed. It also opens the way to changing society through another kind of science.
Holistic, organic sciences emerging
It was the failings of the dominant knowledge system that brought fifty thousand to the streets at the World Trade Organisation conference in Seattle in November 1999, which galvanised the anti-globalisation movement. The dominant paradigm has also failed within science. Across the disciplines, from the study of complexity in mathematics and co-operative phenomena in physics to the ‘fluid genome’ in molecular genetics, the mechanistic conception of nature has been found thoroughly inadequate.
Western science is facing its greatest challenge, to transcend the ruling paradigm to holistic, ecological perspectives that can foster the necessary shift to sustainable ways of life.
Many individuals and local communities are already changing their own lives and the world around them for the better. They do so by learning from nature, and recognising the harmonious, symbiotic, mutualistic relationships that sustain ecosystems and make all life prosper, including the human beings as active, sensitive participants in the whole ecosystem.
The same organic revolution is happening in western science over the past thirty years. Lovelock’s Gaia theory, for example, invites us to see the earth as one super-organism with a geo-physiology that maintains it in a dynamically stable state. This is an acknowledgement that we are ecologically entangled with all life on earth.
Even more remarkable, for some of us, is the message from quantum theory: that we are inextricably entangled with one another and with all nature, which we participate in co-creating. It restores and reaffirms the holistic perspectives that many indigenous cultures have never lost touch with. At the same time, it provides a western scientific perspective that can begin to connect with indigenous health and food production systems and practices, offering much scope for creative partnerships between western and indigenous knowledge.
A holistic science for the west has the potential to transform the meaning and texture of the lives of all who live under the dominant knowledge system, and to create a social reality that genuinely serves the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of everyone. It would capture the common values that underlie the immense cultural diversity of our species.
The Way Forward
We need to substantially alter the way knowledge is acquired and applied. In particular, we need to transform the way scientific research is conducted in the west as well as the areas funded.
Working science partnerships
Scientists should work much more closely, if not directly, with local communities, in order that people’s concerns and aspirations can help shape the research. More importantly, scientists could benefit greatly from local knowledge. Top priority must be given to revitalising and protecting traditional agricultural and healthcare systems from biopiracy and globalisation, and to developing sciences and technologies appropriate for the community.
We recognise that not all research could be done with or within local communities. But even for research that is largely laboratory-based, the scientists should maintain close touch with the community of which they are part, and be responsive and sensitive to people’s concerns.
Science and technologies that should be supported
There are many existing technologies that will make valuable contribution to sustainability. Rather than attempting to produce an exhaustive list of such technologies, we identify them in the context of two areas that desperately need to be funded.
Ecology and energy use in sustainable systems
Sustainable systems refer ultimately to entire ways of life, including agricultural and industrial production, transport, health and economic and social relationships. Of course, subsystems within the whole could also be studied in their own right. The need for energy efficient production and transport technologies is widely accepted. Not as well acknowledged are the following topics:
Complexity and bio-diversity in agro-ecological systems;
Energy-relationships, energy use and renewable energies;
Concept of ‘waste’ and sustainability;
Renewable energy generation and bio-degradable technologies;
New forms of public ownership;
Minimum waste generation and efficient processes in agriculture and industry;
Novel ecological accounting procedures for sustainability;
Biophysical indicators of ecosystem health and monitoring technologies;
Decentralised energy-efficient technologies that promote local autonomy and participation;
Social environmental indicators of sustainability;
Localisation and regionalisation versus globalisation.
Science of the organism and holistic health
Many new research programmes fall potentially within the general area of "science of the organism." The emphasis is on non-linear complex dynamics, feedback and coherence, which are necessary for understanding complex systems in general. Especially important is the scientific underpinning of complementary and alternative medical practices, in view of the fact that homeopathy is entering mainstream medicine. The biological effects of mobile phones and other electrical installations in the environment, for example, also requires an appropriate biophysical understanding of the organism. We have identified the following topics:
Biophysical model of the organism;
Understanding complementary and alternative medical practices;
Concept of holistic health that includes the social and ecological environment;
Biophysical, dynamical indicators of health;
Social and environmental indicators of health;
Non-invasive, non-destructive technologies for monitoring health and food quality;
Effective therapeutic methods based on minimum intervention.
Criteria of appropriate technologies
Although it is not possible to predict discovery and inventions, the above considerations do allow us to make certain judgements concerning which technologies are appropriate for society, not just at the stage at which the technology is ready for use, but especially at the research and development stage.
Apart from the obvious criteria that the technologies should not be harmful or toxic, there are other features to consider. They should respect human rights and ethical concerns of society. They should not compromise the conditions of life for future generations while benefiting the present. They should be affordable and genuinely improve the lives of all, and not just the rich. In the biomedical realm, for example, this would set a policy for minimum intervention technologies that are effective, that would also minimise the costs of patented procedures and products.
One criterion that is perhaps not so obvious is that the technology should not compromise people’s autonomy and choice, that is, people should not be coerced into using the technology. This is particularly relevant to genetic diagnostic tests targeted at ‘defective genes’ that discriminate against individuals or the unborn, or DNA databases that compromise people’s rights to privacy.
Other situations might involve nano-technological implants that cannot easily be removed by the user.
All of these criteria could be subject to debate. We suggest, however, there are existing technologies and research areas that could be targeted for outright bans or discontinuation.
1. Technologies that should be banned
2. Technologies that should be phased out
Nuclear power stations;
Antibiotics in agriculture;
Agrochemicals: chemical herbicides, pesticides, fertilisers.
3. Technologies that should be subject to international peaceful control
4. Research that should be discontinued
Any research in weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological warfare;
Genetic modification of animals for agriculture, pharmaceutical and industrial productions;
Genetic modification of plants released into the environment for agriculture, pharmaceutical and industrial productions;
Terminator technologies (genetic engineering for reproductive sterility, either in seed, pollen or ovule);
Human cloning, including ‘therapeutic’ human cloning.
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REPORTS FROM THE INES PROJECT GROUPS
Major Activities in 2002 and 2003 of the INES Project Group INESAP
(INES AGAINST PROLIFERATION)
Regina Hagen -- INESAP coordinator
In 2002 and 2003, INESAP continued the project "Moving Beyond Missile Defense." The project’s working group "Space Weapons Ban," founded at the Shanghai conference in December 2001, was particularly active. The working group met twice:
In June 2002, the workshop "Space Weapons Ban – How Can It Be Achieved" brought together initiators of several space weapons ban proposals, scientists, diplomats, and scholars to discuss the pros and cons of the various treaty drafts. The workshop is documented in the INESAP Information Bulletin #20 (August 2002).
In August 2002, a dozen experts met to discuss specific treaty-related questions that concern legal, security, and technical issues; verification; dual-use; and confidence building. Some issues were chosen for further elaboration by smaller groups.
Activities in this field resulted among others in a publication on the verifiability of an anti-satellite weapons ban in UNIDIR’s Disarmament Forum.
As in previous years, INESAP contributed to the NGO activities at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting (NPT PrepCom) held in New York in April 2002. As a major event, INESAP co-convened a full day of workshops under the title "The Shape of Things to Come. The Nuclear Posture Review, Missile Defense, and the Danger of a New Arms Race" with speakers from nine countries. INESAP also played a prominent role in preparing the NGO statements read to the PrepCom delegates at a morning session.
The NPT PrepCom 2003, to be held in Geneva in April/May, will again be used to reach NGOs and diplomats. The central event here will be an open forum on the path forward to nuclear abolition with the Mayor of Hiroshima as keynote speaker. The event will be used to promote a ban on nuclear weapons and the model Nuclear Weapons Convention, which has been co-drafted by INESAP and became an official UN document in 1997. In addition, INESAP in cooperation with other NGOs will initiate the foundation meeting of a European working group on missile defense and space weaponization at the PrepCom 2003.
The cooperation with the Hiroshima Mayor and the organization Mayors for Peace is planned to continue at a major conference in Hiroshima in autumn 2003, both to further the work for a nuclear-weapons free world and to celebrate INESAP’s tenth anniversary. Likely co-conveners are the Japanese Peace Depot and the Hiroshima Peace Institute.
As a founding member of both the international network for the abolition of nuclear weapons, Abolition 2000, and the German section "Trägerkreis Atomwaffen abschaffen," INESAP also continued to actively work on the grass-roots level and with many NGOs. In this context, INESAP was part of the organizing team of the German section’s annual conference in Erfurt/Germany (June 2003).
INESAP expertise was demanded by many conference and workshop organizers, e.g. by WILPF (Women’s Day conference at UN in Geneva, March 2003); the Transnational Institute (ASEM4People conference in Copenhagen, September 2002); the Norwegian Peace Council, Swedish IPPNW, Gothenburg University (several events in Scandinavia in October 2003).
In addition to two issues of the INESAP Information Bulletin (#19, "The Axe of Evil Against Arms Control," in March 2002; #20, "Space Without Weapons" in August 2002), the following publications were published in 2002:
The Project Group on Biological Weapons
Project: Potential of B- and C-Weapons at use for terrorist purpose
In principle at the moment, potential aggressors may have access to biological and chemical weapons and the danger exists that terrorist organizations will use them. Therefore, the attention should be focussed on the possible use of these weapons today.
The study considers three working foci:
1. Analysis of the potential danger of existing chemical and biological weapons.
2. Critical examination of the development of genetically modified organisms as biological weapons.
3. Examination of possible countermeasures (physical and medical countermeasures and eradication strategies).
The aim of this study is to contribute to an objectification of the discussion concerning terrorism with chemical and biological weapons and to provide politicians with substantial arguments that can be used for initiating necessary prevention strategies.
Meeting of the Advisory Board on 21st of February 2002 in Dortmund
Potential biological weapons were listed;
Priorities were established, catalogued and systemized;
Agents were checked according to their categories: relevance for military and/or terrorists;
Differences were determined in the agents which are especially accessible for terrorists and those accessible for states.
Conference "Civil Society Monitoring" 21-22.03.2002, Geneva
INES participated from the beginning in the preparatory planning meeting in Geneva. The aim was to establish a global monitoring network to increase openness in biological matters which will strengthen the ban on biological weapons by monitoring governments, industry and others. This new civil society initiative is called "Bioweapons Prevention Project" (BWPP), it helps to fill the gap left by the collapse of governmental efforts to establish a monitoring mechanism for the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in August 2001.
The fifth review conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention had been suspended in 2001, after the US had prevented an agreement on a verification protocol. After arduous negotiations it was resumed in Geneva on 11th November 2002. During the opening of the conference the "Bioweapons Prevention Project" (BWPP) was launched. The BWPP is a joint project of eight founding NGO’s which are BASIC-UK, CCR-South Africa, Department of Peace studies-UK, Federation of American Scientists-USA, Geneva Forum Switzerland, Harvard Sussex Program-UK, VERTIC-UK and INES-Germany.
Meeting 26th May 2002 during the INES Council in Bradford, England
Participants of the working group met to discuss the ongoing project. The first part of a written text was completed. Further events and project planning were subject of the discussion.
Meeting with parliamentarians 5th June 2002, Berlin Bundestag: ,,Biological weapons — threats of new dangers"
Together with the German association NATWISS (Naturwissenschaftlerinitiative) INES presented information considering the Review conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons convention in November 2002. The explanation of the actual situation was followed by an intensive discussion between parliamentarians and speakers. Arguments were put forward to contribute to an objectification of the discussion concerning terrorism with chemical and biological weapons and to provide the politicians with substantial arguments.
Annual meeting of "Atomwaffen abschaffen," 14.-16.06.02, Erfurt
Future of biological weapons: "Arms race or disarmament" INES speech on the history of Biological weapons; Anthrax letters; the increasing threat through the spreading of Gene and Biotechnology; the situation of law: Geneva protocol and Bioweapons Convention; new political initiatives.
INESPE, the INES Working Group to Promote and Protect Ethical Engagement
The INES project group INESPE provides continuous support to Prof. Guillermo Eguiazu and his assistant Dr. Alberto Motta in Rosario, Argentina. The two are harassed by their university because of their public action against toxic compounds used in agriculture. They are financially supported by INESPE and morally by the communication of INESPE and INES with the Minister of Education of Argentina and members of his committees and the President of the Rosario University.
A large action has been launched, to liberate Grigory Pasko, who had reported about the dumping of nuclear waste by the Russian navy, and subsequently was convicted of high treason. During the action which has been largely financed by the INES Whistleblower Fund and the INESPE Whistleblower Fund, Pasco’s wife made a lecturing tour through Western Europe. The action possibly contributed to the recent release of Pasco from prison.
INESPE makes preparations for a large international whistleblower conference in Pöcking, Germany, 5-7 September 2003. Whistleblowers coming from different parts of the world will attend to report about their experiences, together with a number of scientists, lawyers and politicians who are engaged in the help and protection of whistleblowers.
The announcement of this conference can be found on page 12 of this Newsletter.
An important issue, for which INESPE together with other organizations will arrange a special meeting, is the implementation of legal protection of whistleblowers. Legislation of this kind already exists in the United Kingdom; an establishment in Germany would strengthen the case to get similar legislation in the whole of the European Union.
A Letter from Egypt
Dear Armin Tenner,
You know I have been associated with INES, since 1994: firstly as a representative of a member organization (the Centre for Development of Small-Scale Industries), then as a council member and finally-and until now-as a member of the executive committee. Now I need to talk – or write to you – as a citizen of Egypt, a country lying in the Middle East. We, as an arid zone, deprived of any forest coverage, wait eagerly for the Spring every year. In Spring we enjoy the sight of flowers in the gardens with the bees busy collecting flower juice for making honey. We listen to the singing of the birds, celebrating the coming of the Spring. We perceive the Spring as a symbol of renewal of life: of plants, birds and for us as well, because we usually celebrate the feast of the MOTHER DAY yearly in the climax of the Spring: 21 March. Yesterday, it was also a 21st of March: but it was quite a different day this year! The view of flowers blossoming in the gardens was very contradictory with the view of the US and UK missiles and bombs celebrating in their own way the massive destruction of a neighbour country Iraq. We usually gather as families in this day around each mother to say to her a BIG THANK YOU and express to her our feelings of gratitude as sons and daughters, as well as husbands or fathers. This time we were all sitting before the TV screen and stunned watching the US "Mother bombs" exploding in Bagdad and hearing the news about new waves of B-52 bombers leaving England and heading to hit our neighbours in Iraq. For seconds, I left the TV screen and looked to the gloomy faces and sad eyes of my daughters and son (I have two daughters: 14 and 17 years old, and a son: 16 years old). I felt extremely sad for them. How could they have the feeling of hope in future, when they see that the mightiest military forces in the World: the latest achievements of Western science and technology, materialized in the so-called "intelligent weapons" are hitting and destroying without mercy a neibour country without any real cause, except the mad wish of hegemony of the World and putting hands on oil! What a threat does this mean to all of us: could you imagine? How I could I further talk to my children about peace and sustainabilty and dialogue between cultures? How could we believe in tomorrow and future of mankind with this savage immoral war against our neibour people in Iraq? I want to say to you simply: we are also human beings! Please, forward this message to my dear INES colleagues.
Prof. Dr. Hamed El-Mously
A Letter from The Netherlands
This morning I was "biting into" Hannah Arendt’s classic "Origins of Totalitarianism" (which I should have read long ago) when I came across a passage that just about blew me away. I share it with you, because it so relevant to the world today that I think everyone should read it. She wrote this in July 1967 Preface to Part 2. (concerning the Cold War imperialistic struggle between the US and the USSR)
Between greed and conscience
When courage becomes dangerous
5-7 September 2003
Showing courage and responsibility is often not without danger. Justice, politics, economy and science make it difficult for the individual, sometimes even impossible. However, society and nature are vulnerable, the progression of technique claims its victims, greediness is unscrupulous all too often. We believe that those people must be supported and protected by law, who for reasons of conscience openly declare against these excesses, who protest against corruption and devote themselves to an alternative science that serves mankind and the preservation of the fundaments of life instead of their destruction.
The Conference will be held in the DGB Bildungswerk Starnberger See at Pöcking near Starnberg, 15 km to the south of Munich. Conference languages are English and German with simultaneous translation.
You are cordially invited to this conference for a dialog on responsible behaviour.
The following contributions will be made:
Asaf Durakovic (USA) and Charles Busby (UK, Organization Green Audit), both whistleblowers and outstanding experts in the field of uranium ammunition, will report how the military industry by all means tries to cover up the danger of the radioactive and highly toxic ammunition.
Louis Clark of the Government-Accountability Project (USA) and Guy Dehn of Public Concern at Work (UK) will report about their whistleblower projects that are much more successful and further developed than the ones on the European continent.
The jurist Erich Schöndorf (Ge) will speak from his own experience about legal structures that hinder whistleblowers.
Hans See (Ge), Editor of the periodical Business Crime Control will discuss the theme "How is insider-knowledge dealt with in Politics, Business and Science?"
Horst Eberhard Richter (Ge), psychologist and therapist makes an analysis of the psychological situation of whistleblowers.
The judge Dieter Deiseroth (Ge) speaks about the necessity of legislation for whistleblower protection.
As whistleblowers have been invited Harry Templeton (Scotland), who will deal with a case of many-million-pound corruption, and George Carlo, epidemiologist from Seattle (USA), who will speak about his 27-million-dollar research project that revealed a higher risk of brain tumor for users of mobile telephones. It was tried to discontinue his research by judicial sentence. In Argentina, the University of Rosario undermined the research of risk technology by Guillermo Eguiazu in a scandalous way.
The aim of the conference is on one hand the dissemination of the idea of whistleblowing, on the other the promotion of legislation for whistleblower protection.
The following organizations support the Conference:
INESPE, INES Project to Protect Ethical Engagement;
International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES);
Government Accountability Project, USA;
Public Concern at Work, UK.
DGB Bildungswerk Starnberger See
In the conference fee of 150 € meals and accommodation for two nights are included.
More information may be obtained from the INESPE Office:
INES has moved its office to Berlin.
The old mail address is still valid:
Gutenbergstraße 31, 44139 Dortmund, Germany
but there are new telephone, fax and e-mail addresses:
Also the bank account has been changed to: