Dateline: April 25, 2003

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

Editor: Tobias Damjanov, e-mail: 
WNII is archived at: http://inesglobal.org/archive.htm    
INES homepages: http://inesglobal.org       http://www.inesglobal.com/
INES International Office   
INES Chair: Prof. Armin Tenner    [Please note that the first "1" in q18 is the number one, while the last "l" is an "L"]

CONTENTS of WNII No. 12/2003


 Russia: Socio-Ecological Union: "The SEU TIMES" No 10 (44), April 21, 2003

Issue No 10 (44), 21 April 03, of "The SEU Times" has the following contents:

(Note: A No 10 (44) has already been published on 3 April as a special issue on "Save the Danube Reserve!" (see WNII 9/2003). Hence, this is either a misprint or it indicates that it is a supplement or update)

UK: Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR): Job Vacancy: Research Officer at SGR

SGR is looking for a research officer to work on a one year project entitled 'Understanding the Military Influence on Science'. The main aim of the project is to produce a report, relevant to policy-makers, peace campaigners and the public, on the degree to which organisations like the Ministry of Defence and large arms corporations may steer scientific research and technological development to suit their own interests.

The research officer will be expected to work from home. Project supervision will be carried out by SGR's Director, Dr Stuart Parkinson, who is based in Lancaster, but candidates from any geographical area will be considered, so long as they are willing to travel for project meetings etc.

Key tasks

Personal qualities and experience 

SGR gratefully acknowledges funding from the Network for Social Change for this project.

Written applications should be sent to Dr Stuart Parkinson, preferably by email at < >, from whom further information on the post is also available. Applicants should enclose a cover letter with their CV summarising their strengths against the key tasks and post requirements.

The deadline for applications is Friday 9th May. Interviews will take place for shortlisted candidates in the week starting 26th May.

Research Officer (Part-time) 18.5 hours per week £16,944 p.a. pro rata (£8,472 p.a.) 12 month contract


On the (possible) violation of the Geneva Conventions

Robert Fisk writes in the UK daily "The Independent" (12 April 03) with regard to of the pillage in Basra, "Pillage merits a specific prevention clause in the Geneva Conventions, just as it did in the 1907 Hague Convention upon which the Geneva delegates based their 'rules of war'. 'Pillage is prohibited,' the 1949 Geneva Conventions say …"

Fisk goes on outlining that, "When an occupying power takes over another country' s territory, it automatically becomes responsible for the protection of its civilians, their property and institutions. Thus the American troops in Nasiriyah became automatically responsible for the driver who was murdered for his car in the first day of that city's 'liberation'. The Americans in Baghdad were responsible for the German and Slovak embassies that were looted by hundreds of Iraqis on Thursday, and for the French Cultural Centre, which was attacked, and for the Central Bank of Iraq, which was torched (…)

"But the British and Americans have simply discarded this notion, based though it is upon conventions and international law. And we journalists have allowed them to do so. We clapped our hands like children when the Americans 'assisted' the Iraqis in bringing down the statue of Saddam Hussein in front of the television cameras this week, and yet we went on talking about the 'liberation' of Baghdad as if the majority of civilians there were garlanding the soldiers with flowers instead of queuing with anxiety at checkpoints and watching the looting of their capital."

Later, in the same article, Fisk points out: " The Geneva Conventions (…) specifically refer to civilians as protected persons, as persons who must have the protection of a warring power even if they find themselves in the presence of armed antagonists. The same protection was demanded for southern Lebanese civilians when Israel launched its brutal 'Grapes of Wrath' operation in 1996. When an Israeli pilot, for example, fired a US-made Hellfire missile into an ambulance, killing three children and two women, the Israelis claimed that a Hezbollah fighter had been in the same vehicle. The statement proved to be totally untrue. But Israel was rightly condemned for killing civilians in the hope of killing an enemy combatant. Now we are doing exactly the same. And Ariel Sharon must be pleased. No more namby-pamby western criticism of Israel after the bunker-busters have been dropped on Mansur.

"More and more, we are committing these crimes. The mass slaughter of more than 400 civilians in the Amariyah air raid shelter in Baghdad in the 1991 Gulf War was carried out in the hope that it would kill Saddam. Why? Why cannot we abide by the rules of war we rightly demand that others should obey? (…)"

"The Washington Post": This Boycott of U.S. Products Could Really Do Some Damage

Will Hutton, a contributing editor and columnist for the Observer in London, writes in "The Washington Post" of 20 April 03, among other things:

"… So far the boycotts have tended to be localized and small in scale, but a taboo has been broken. And while individual American companies like Exxon or McDonald's have suffered consumer boycotts before, this is something new. Just being American, rather than having a particular business practice against which consumers are protesting, is now the object of passionate moral condemnation. And it is dangerous: It is not just that individual companies suffer losses of sales and profits to their overseas competitors, it's that the mood music is changing. The rhetoric of boycotts and the inflamed anger behind them -- on both sides of the Atlantic -- makes it harder for political leaders to hold the line on keeping their markets open and trade flows free. Yet it is upon this fabric that American and European prosperity depends. The Iraq war, and the ominous saber rattling against Iran and Syria, could yet be a contagion that poisons America in ways that those who mounted the war refuse to recognize.

"The center of the European boycott movement so far is Germany. A doctor in Schleswig-Holstein, one Eberhard Hoffman, refuses to treat British and American patients. A restaurant chain in Hamburg no longer sells Budweiser, Marlboro or Coca-Cola. An antiwar Web site, www.consumers-against-the-war.de , lists 27 American companies, including American Express and Walt Disney, whose products German consumers should avoid. It has received some 100,000 hits since it was launched a month ago. Bicycle maker Riese and Mueller GmbH has stopped taking supplies from its American contractor.

"The French are more subdued, but the spread of "Mecca Cola," a Coca-Cola substitute developed by French entrepreneur Tawfik Mathlouthi, is ominous for what it represents: Tagged with the slogan "No more drinking stupid, drink with commitment," it was launched last November and first sold only in Muslim districts of France. Now it is available in the larger supermarkets in Belgium, France and Germany; and Mathlouthi describes advance orders as "phenomenal." And of course, almost ritually, a McDonald's in Paris has been attacked. Given the saturation coverage of the war, American corporations might even be relieved they have come off relatively unscathed and that the movement has peaked now that the war is over. But some are aware that a Rubicon is being crossed. Americanness, long an asset, is becoming a liability.

"Advertising agency McCann-Erickson is advising its American multinational clients to play down their country of origin. An internal memo leaked from its London office and quoted in the Daily Telegraph recently says American companies should not "wrap their brands" in the national flag; instead, they should stress their "strong local roots" in the community. The memo continues: "The war risks tarnishing the reputation of American culture and the mythic 'American dream,' which has long drawn consumers around the world to the United States to live, work or visit."

(…) "The danger is that what is happening in Europe could be the precursor for eventual similar action against the United States.

"It is a fear shared by C. Fred Bergsten, director of Washington's Institute for International Economics. Bergsten said last week that the impact on individual American companies is so far small. He is far more worried that European boycotters are stigmatizing American companies and trade has begun to be politicized. (…)"

Briefings on aid and reconstruction

Hans Blix vs the US: 'I was undermined' (Sources: The Independent (UK), and BBC, 23 Apr 03)

For the first time since the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, confronted the Americans openly on 22 April, accusing the Bush administration of lacking credibility in its efforts to hunt down Iraq's banned weapons. In an interview with the BBC, Mr. Blix said American officials leaked suggestions that inspectors had deliberately suppressed information to the media in an attempt to undermine their work in Iraq. "It was not the case, and it was a bit unfair, and hurt us. [We] felt a little displeased about it."

He also reiterated his disquiet at how documents the International Atomic Energy Agency "had no great difficulty finding out were fake" managed to get through US and UK intelligence analysis. Also disturbing, he said, was the question of who was responsible for the falsification.

Blix warned the Security Council that only UN inspectors, and not the teams being assembled by America, would be able to provide an objective assessment of any materials that might be found in Iraq.


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

NPT PrepCom 2003

"Disarmament Diplomacy" Special Coverage

Through its publication "Disarmament Diplomacy", the Acronym Institute presents some background on the NPT PrepCom at: http://www.acronym.org.uk/npt 

See also Rebecca Johnson's in-depth look at the challenges facing the non-proliferation regime, entitled "Incentives, Obligations And Enforcement: Does the NPT Meet its States Parties' Needs?" to be published in Disarmament Diplomacy 70 (April/May 2003) at: http://www.acronym.org.uk/npt/03intro.htm 

For more NPT-related articles published in the latest Disarmament Diplomacy issue, go to: http://www.acronym.org.uk/dd/dd70/index.htm 

The Canadian Pugwash Group has submitted a brief entitled "The Only Absolute Guarantee - A Brief on Canada's Nuclear Weapons Policies" to The Hon. Bill Graham, April 2003.

The Pugwash submission provides a clear history of the abandonment of the 1995 promises given during the NPT discussions and analysis of the current (unlawful) US policy regarding nuclear weapons. It calls for:

a) a regenerated Canadian policy centred on the NPT 2000 promise of the total elimination of nuclear weapons;

b) advancement of the request of U.N. Secretary-General Annan's to the international community to hold an international conference on nuclear dangers (possibly holding it within Canada). The object would be not just to talk about the dangers, but to take action. The policy contradictions now are no longer tolerable in a world of escalating nuclear danger. U.S. policies, which dominate the NATO position on nuclear weapons, must be clarified; and

c) Canada is urged to serve as a bridge between the New Agenda Coalition and NATO to close the gap between the two on nuclear disarmament.

The brief is available in PDF format from: http://www.pugwashgroup.ca 

Facing the Failures of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Regime

This is the title of an article by David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), and deputy chair of INES, and Devon Chaffee, Research and Advocacy Coordinator of NAPF. Its starting point is that, "Each year the future of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Regime becomes more uncertain." The article then elaborates along the following paragraphs: The NPT 13 Practical Steps Towards Disarmament Ignored; Negative Security Assurances Undermined; Preemption Doctrine Pursued; Israel, India and Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenals Accepted; A Time To Speak.

The full text of the article is either available from the WNII Editor as an rtf-formatted email attachment or from the authors:   or:  

"Advancing the NPT - 13 Practical Steps" is a briefing paper of the Middle Powers Initiative authored by Dr. John Burroughs and Alyn Ware (with additional help from Ernesto Castaneda, Peter Crail and Abby Eletz).  A PDF-formatted version of the Briefing Paper can be downloaded at: http://www.middlepowers.org/mpi/archives/000171.shtml#000171 


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