Dateline: April 10, 2004

This is the weekly electronic information service of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility

Editor: Tobias Damjanov, e-mail: 
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INES Chair: Prof. Claus Montonen, 

CONTENTS of WNII No. 10/2004


USA: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: "The Sunflower", April 2004, No. 83

The April 2004 issue of "The Sunflower" covers the following:

To receive the free monthly e-newsletter "The Sunflower" subscribe at: http://www.wagingpeace.org/subscribe/ 


"Near Field Infrared Experiment" set for launch in July (Source: The Moscow Times, 9 April 04)

A test satellite called the "Near Field Infrared Experiment" (NFIRE) is set for launch by a Minotaur missile this summer from a NASA base in Virginia. NFIRE is part of the Bush Regime's multibillion-dollar, crony-feeding boondoggle known as "missile defense." The satellite's primary mission is to gather data on the exhaust fumes of rockets in space, information that will then be used to help future space weapons differentiate more clearly between a target and its trailing plume.

But NFIRE is itself weaponized, carrying a projectile-packed "kill vehicle" that can destroy passing missiles -- or the satellites of the United States' military and commercial rivals, as ABC News reported. This marks the first time in history that any nation has put a weapon in space, despite America's still-official policy against such a practice.

The ABC report -- largely ignored, except by the Irish Examiner and some specialist web sites -- was strangely incomplete, however. It noted only that there is a $68 million appropriation for NFIRE buried in the 2005 military budget -- leaving the implication that the project is still on the drawing board.

But in fact, NFIRE is already operational. It began in August 2002 and has moved steadily toward its long-established Summer 2004 launch date, according to NASA and press releases from the private contractors involved. The Pentagon's own published specs for the mission state clearly: "The Generation 2 kill vehicle will be integrated into the near-field experiment payload" when the spacecraft launches in summer 2004. The Minotaur missile that will haul the weapon into orbit was ordered by the Pentagon in January 2003, Orbital Sciences Corporation reports. Doubtless there will more NFIREs burning in 2005 as well, but the weaponization of space is not some distant prospect.


Abolition 2000 homepage: http://www.abolition2000.org 
Grassroots News: http://www.napf.org/abolition2000/news/
 Nuclear Basics: http://www.nuclearfiles.org 

USA: Military veterans call for nuclear disarmament (Source: Veterans for Common Sense, 5 April 04)

Veterans for Common Sense, "an organization devoted to pragmatic approaches to protecting American and global security" (self-description), have organized a letter-writing campaign addressing the US Congress "concerning the misappropriation of billions of dollars from protecting our troops overseas, to be spent on nuclear programs and policies which endanger, rather than protect, American security."

The letter opposes in particular:

Among other things, the letter states:

"Recently the Russian Defense minister announced that should current U.S. policy trends continue, Russia will be forced to increase its nuclear reliance as well. China is modernizing its nuclear forces, and other countries are struggling to obtain the bomb. Further, the U.S., in order to obtain support in its search for Osama bin Laden, essentially ignored the fact that Pakistan has become the world s leading proliferators of nuclear technologies."

Finally, the letter calls "on Congress resolve that it is the sense of Congress to:

The letter can be found and signed on at: http://www.nuclearpolicy.org/vetsletter/SignVetLetter.cfm 

The organization's "Commitment to Oppose the New Nuclear Arms Race" can be found at: http://www.nuclearpolicy.org/bombfactory.cfm 

 On the draft for a WMD Resolution of the UN Security Council (see Nations, NGOs Resist US-UK Arms Resolution, in: WNII 9/2004:C2)

Amendments Proposed to UN WMD Resolution (Source: Jim Wurst; Global Security Newswire, 9 April 04)

On 8 April, Brazil, Pakistan and other elected members of the U.N. Security Council offered their first critiques of a draft resolution that would require all countries to deny terrorists and other nonstate actors access to weapons of mass destruction.

Brazil had the most detailed response, submitting a paper Brazilian diplomats said would address two key concerns about the resolution: the impact a Security Council resolution would have on arms control treaties and the lack of any reference to disarmament in the draft.

The draft, as it is currently written, would require states to "adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws" to deny nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, their components and "means of delivery" (such as missiles and drones) to any "nonstate actors."

The primary goal of the draft — closing legal loopholes to make it harder for terrorists and other nonstate actors to obtain weapons of mass destruction — is generally supported, diplomats said.

Under the Brazilian plan, the word "nonproliferation" throughout the text would be replaced by "availability, access to and transfer of" weapons of mass destruction. "By expanding the application of the legal and political category of 'nonproliferation'" from state-to-state activities to involve nonstate actors, the paper says, the draft resolution "risks cutting across" international law and "opening the possibility of a conceptual misapprehension" about the obligations of states.

The Brazilian proposal would also eliminate all references to treaties, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. This way, the paper says, "We would avoid possible problems regarding the alteration of existing commitments under international law" by a council resolution.

NGO language suggestions (Source: WILPF/Reaching Critical Will, 6 April 04)

The Memorandum which was developed by Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy and the Reaching Critical Will project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and illustrative language recommendations on the UN Security Council draft Resolution on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are now available on the Reaching Critical Will website.


First session of the 2004 Conference on Disarmament adjourned (Source: Reaching Critical Will News Advisory, 7 April 04; see also WNII 8/2004)

On April 5, the United Nations Disarmament Commission convened in New York, as scheduled. Yet despite months of diplomatic wrangling over the substantive agenda items, the major players- the US, the UK, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)- remain deadlocked and the session is now postponed.

"Reaching Critical Will" has compiled a Summary of Statements by Topic available at: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/political/cd/speeches04/topic.html 

This resource makes it easy for CD watchers to see where each State stands on the pertinent issue facing the Geneva body. References made by Member States are listed according to the following topics:


No new or changed email or web addresses in this issue.  All INES e-mail addresses and homepages are available upon request from: