Dateline: May 2, 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. 13/2003



Nobel Peace Prize winner and INES member Prof. Joseph Rotblat receives Linus Pauling Centennial Award (Source: Jim Wurst; UN Wire, 1 May 03)

On 1 May, the annual Linus Pauling Centennial Award for Science, Peace or Health was awarded at the United Nations to 1995 Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Joseph Rotblat. In accepting the award, Rotblat sharply criticized the United States, saying that while everyone can rejoice in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, "the price we paid for this is far too high." The launching of a pre-emptive war is "a severe setback for those ... who believe morality and adherence to rules of law should be our guiding principles," he added. "The danger of this policy can hardly be over-emphasized."

"Somehow I do not see the American people accepting the role assigned to them by the cliché that has hijacked the [U.S.] administration," he continued. "Public opinion is bound to turn when the dangers associated with the current policies become apparent ... above all, in the nuclear doctrines pursued by the Bush administration."

"The Bush administration [strategic doctrines] make nuclear weapons a tool with which to keep peace in the world," as opposed to holding them as a last resort, Rotblat said. "The new Nuclear Posture Review spells out a strategy which incorporates nuclear capability in conventional war strategy," he said. "Nuclear weapons have now become a standard part of military strategy to be used in a conflict just like any other high explosive. This is a dangerous shift in the whole rationale for nuclear weapons."

The people of the world "should call on the United States to abandon its unilateralist policies and for the Security Council of the United Nations to be recognized as the sole authority in initiating military operations for the resolution of conflicts," he said. "The main goal [is] the creation of [a] nuclear-weapon free world," he added.


Didn't we know? No need to find WMD in Iraq (Source: National Post, 26 April 03)

On 25 April, Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, lashed out at critics for claiming the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was necessary to justify the U.S.-led invasion. Mr. Straw said they were twisting the facts and suggested the coalition's failure to uncover illicit weapons in Iraq was irrelevant.

Mr. Straw's outburst came after Robin Cook, who resigned his Cabinet post in the British government to protest the war, claimed failure to find banned weapons would destroy the war's legitimacy.

"People are now trying to suggest that somehow the decision to take military action was entirely conditional on subsequently finding chemical and biological weapons material,'' Mr. Straw told BBC radio. "That wasn't the case.''

"[The international community] accepted that Saddam had these weapons and they posed a threat," he added. "Did we overstate the threat? I don't think we overstated the threat.''

Iraq's "final opportunity" to comply is part of Security Council Resolution 1441, passed unanimously on Nov. 8. It came after more than a decade of widespread sanctions trying to get Iraq to honour its disarmament commitments in the 1991 truce ending the first Gulf War.

The resolution said Iraq would face "serious consequences" if it did not declare all its weapons programs and help weapons inspectors verify it had no weapons of mass destruction.

The United States and Britain, meanwhile, said the rest of the Security Council knew "serious consequences" meant war because military action is stated in the UN Charter as the next level of enforcement after sanctions.

"As a legal matter, an inability to find large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction does not mean there is no just cause for the war," said Lee Casey, a Washington-based international law expert and former Justice Department official in the Reagan administration.


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

NGOs Criticize U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies (Source: Jim Wurst; UN Wire, 1 May 03)

Nongovernmental organizations attending the 2003 meeting of the parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty have been saying directly what most governments have been hinting -- that the nuclear weapons policies of the United States threaten the NPT.

The NGOs said changes in U.S. strategies have the effect of integrating nuclear weapons more tightly into military doctrine and developing new weapons to implement those strategies, thus making nuclear weapons more useable.

Victor Sidel of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War said yesterday that U.S. policies "are designed to make the use of nuclear weapons more credible, by designing more 'useable' nuclear weapons and by integrating nuclear weapons into a broad spectrum of military capabilities. This shift represents a repudiation of disarmament obligations under … the NPT and places new pressures on non-nuclear weapon states to acquire nuclear weapons."

While all the nuclear weapons states were criticized for retaining these weapons and NATO was criticized for accepting the U.S. nuclear doctrine, nearly all of the ire was directed at the United States. According to Rhianna Tyson of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom , "The world's first nuclear weapons state, the United States, is leading the backwards charge away from the unequivocal undertaking to eliminate nuclear weapons."

Charges made by the NGOs included shorting the time the United States could resume nuclear testing, abrogating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to develop missile defenses and space-based weaponry, threatening the first use of nuclear weapons even in response to a non-nuclear attack and developing new weapons and new ballistic missiles for delivering the weapons.

"It is all too obvious that the nuclear weapons states have failed to implement the practical, attainable 13 step nuclear disarmament plan, agreed to unanimously at the conclusion of the 2000 Review Conference, in some cases blatantly casting aside or repudiating its central elements," Tyson said.

One type of weapon on which the NGOs focused is the earth-penetrating weapon, including the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. Such weapons are designed so that the missile burrows into the earth before the warhead explodes. The goal is to destroy underground command centers and weapons sites while minimizing above ground damage. Sidel said the development of penetrators and low-yield (10-kiloton range) weapons "would place additional -- perhaps fatal -- stress on the nonproliferation regime. … Furthermore, the use of low-yield nuclear weapons may lead to weakening the restraints against the use of nuclear weapons of greater yield." The fallout from such weapons would still be extensive, he said.

The NGOs are promoting the idea first raised by Secretary General Kofi Annan at the U.N. Millennium Summit in 2000 for an "international conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers of all kinds." Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba offered Hiroshima as the site for such a conference in 2005 -- the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said this would be a central campaign by the World Conference of Mayors for Peace, which he said represents 539 cities and over 250 million people worldwide.

Other issues on the NGO agenda include prohibiting the use of depleted uranium weapons, a ban on testing ballistic missiles and missile defenses, a nuclear weapon-free zone on the Korean peninsula and neighboring Northeast Asia countries and a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

United States Restarts Nuclear Weapons Pit Production (Source: Spacedaily.com, 28 Apr 03)

Los Alamos National Laboratory has successfully made the first nuclear weapons pit in 14 years that meets specifications for use in the U.S. stockpile. The six-year effort at Los Alamos' plutonium processing facility restores the nation's ability to make nuclear weapons, a capability the United States lost when the Rocky Flats Plant near Boulder, Colo., shut down in June 1989.

A pit is the fissile core of a nuclear weapon's physics package. The newly made pit, called Qual-1 because it was built with fully qualified processes, is for the W88 warhead, which is carried on the Trident II D5 Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile, a cornerstone of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Qual-1 is the first pit manufactured in accordance with all 42 qualified processes, which required extensive testing and analysis to demonstrate rigorous control. Los Alamos will make roughly half a dozen pits a year from now until 2007 to ensure certification is completed successfully and to put into place the capacity to begin making 10 stockpile pits a year by 2007.

The total cost of the manufacturing program to date is roughly US$350 million; the total project cost for the manufacturing and certification program, beginning with the new baseline, is estimated at US$1.5 billion.

"Toward Nuclear Sanity"

"Toward Nuclear Sanity; A Response to 'Differentiation and Defense: An Agenda for the Nuclear Weapons Program,'" is a recent report written by Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Arms Control Association, British American Security Information Council, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace Action Education Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 20/20 Vision, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Women’s Action for New Direction.

The report deals with a proposal of the Republican Party's House Policy Committee for U.S. nuclear policy, entitled, “Differentiation and Defense: An Agenda for the Nuclear Weapons Program” (February 2003). On the whole, that report proposed a dangerous, aggressive and counterproductive policy that would increase the likelihood of nuclear proliferation while doing little to increase U.S. security.

You can find "Toward Nuclear Sanity" at: http://www.fcnl.org/pdfs/wilson_final.pdf 



The eleventh session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-11) has started on 28 April and will last until 9 May (see WNII 1/2003).


International Forum on Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health

For more details, go to: http://www.idrc.ca/forum2003 

20th Annual PAWSS Summer Faculty Institute on "Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Evolving Threat in the 21st Century"

Since September 11, 2001, the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and international terrorism has figured ever more critically in U.S. foreign policy and international security affairs. No course on international relations or world affairs can avoid addressing these dangers. Yet, much of the academic discourse on WMD proliferation is still framed in language reminiscent of the Cold War era. This year's Summer Faculty Institute will provide undergraduate teaching faculty with an extraordinary opportunity to review recent trends in the field with noted experts, and to explore ways to integrate these issues into the college curriculum.

For more information on conference topics and registration information, visit: http://pawss.hampshire.edu/faculty/institute/index.html 


All INES e-mail addresses and homepages are available upon request from:  

New email and homepage of the Italian Union of Scientists for Disarmament (USPID)

The Italian Union of Scientists for Disarmament (Unione Scienzati Per Il Disarmo -- USPID) can be reached as follows:

e-mail Prof. Nicola Cufaro Petroni, Secretary-General, USPID: < >

New USPID homepage: http://www.uspid.dico.unimi.it 

(NOTE that the USPID address mentioned at this webpage is outdated)