WHAT'S NEW IN INES?
Dateline: May 24, 2002
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. 15/2002
MEMBERSHIP AND PROJECTS' NEWS
More on Alberto Salazar Martínez: A comment on transgenic cultives in Mexico and Nature magazine (From Tom Munsey)
The article, by Alberto Salazar Martínez "A comment on transgenic cultives in Mexico and Nature magazine" in the April 25, 2002 edition of What's New in INES (http://inesglobal.org/wn13%5F02.htm#Alberto) is supported by an article in the Guardian on May 14, 2002 ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4412987,00.html ) which points out that the attack on the Nature article was made by a firm (probably hired by Monsanto Chemical) specializing in "viral marketing," where persons with fake identities post false or misleading messages in internet discussion groups to lead the group to a desired result, in this case the withdrawal of the paper from Nature Magazine and the censure of its authors. The words "corporation" and "ethics" do not belong in the same sentence - the bastards.
SPECIAL SECTION ON THE US MISSILE DEFENSE POLICY
Report on the Global Network's (GN) 10th anniversary international conference
The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space held its 10th anniversary international conference at Berkeley/California on 10-12 May. A report of the conference and protest has now been published and is available from the WNII Editor as an rtf-formatted email attachment.
Abolition 2000 homepage: http://www.abolition2000.org Grassroots News: http://www.napf.org/abolition2000/news/
David Krieger: Nuclear Dangers Remain After Bush-Putin Agreement
When major newspapers around the world trumpet headlines such as "U.S., Russia to Cut Nuclear Arms," it should be cause for excitement, even celebration. Undoubtedly most people will greet this news with a sense of relief that we are moving in the right direction. Certainly it is better to have less nuclear weapons than more of them. But before we bring out the champagne, it would be a good idea to read the fine print and examine more closely what the treaty will and will not do.
The treaty calls for reducing the size of the actively deployed US and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals from some 6,000 weapons on each side today to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the year 2012. This is approximately a two-thirds reduction in actively deployed long-range nuclear weapons, a move that is certainly positive.
The treaty, however, has serious flaws. The nuclear weapons taken off active deployment will not necessarily be destroyed. It will be up to each country to determine what to do with these weapons. Many, if not most, of them will be placed in storage, ready to be rapidly redeployed if either country decides to do so.
There is also no immediacy to moving from current levels of strategic nuclear weapons to the promised lower levels. According to the terms of the treaty, each country needs only to reduce to the agreed upon levels by the year 2012. That also happens to be the year that the treaty terminates unless extended.
The United States has been a proponent of making the nuclear reductions reversible. The major problem with this approach is that it leads the Russians to do the same, and thereby increases the likelihood that these weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. It would be better for both countries to permanently dismantle the nuclear weapons removed from active deployment, thereby removing the risk of theft by terrorists.
The treaty deals only with strategic or long-range nuclear weapons. It does not seek to control or reduce tactical or short-range nuclear weapons. Each side still retains thousands of these weapons, and there is serious concern about the Russian arsenal's vulnerability to theft or unauthorized use. The US Nuclear Posture Review, made partially public in January 2002, called for the development of so-called "bunker buster" nuclear weapons that would be far more likely to actually be used than the larger long-range nuclear weapons.
As we evaluate this treaty, we should remember that even at the lowest level of 1,700 strategic nuclear weapons on each side, there will still be a sufficient number to destroy more than 3,000 cities. The use of far fewer nuclear weapons than this would put an end to civilization as we know it. President Bush claims, "This treaty will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War." This remains to be seen. By designing a treaty that will hold so many nuclear weapons in reserve and retain so many on active "hair-trigger" alert, the two sides are not exactly demonstrating a level of trust commensurate with their current friendly relations.
When the treaty is examined closely, it has more the feel of a public relations effort than a solid step toward reducing nuclear dangers and fulfilling the long-standing promises of the two countries to engage in good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, even if this treaty is ratified and enters into force, we will remain in the danger zone that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and all life.
We still need an agreement that provides for deeper, more comprehensive and irreversible cuts with a far greater sense of urgency. Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin need to return to the negotiating table.
David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation ( www.wagingpeace.org ). He can be contacted at < >
BASIC's Washington Nuclear Updates, 22 May 2002 (Source: http://www.basicint.org/update/052202-PF.htm ) [BASIC = British American Security Information Council]
On May 13th President Bush announced that the text of a US-Russian treaty on nuclear arms had been agreed in advance of the summit in Moscow beginning May 23rd. In an address to assembled journalists at the White House, Bush stated that the text of the treaty marked a “new era of US-Russian relationships”: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/05/20020513-3.html
Initial support for the Treaty quickly dissipated when some of the details began to emerge. In a background briefing on the deal, [see: http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/arms/02051309.htm ] a senior State Department official confirmed that while the Treaty requires both sides to reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012 there is little else in the way of significant commitments.
The treaty contains no requirement to destroy retired warheads, allows either side to return to any force level it desires after 10 years, lets either side pull out with 90 days’ notice, and places no controls on tactical nuclear weapons. As one senior administration official quoted in the New York Times said, “What we have now agreed to do under the treaty is what we wanted to do anyway … That’s our kind of treaty.”
The limitations of the treaty led many commentators to question its value. Many argued that at a time of unprecedented trust between Russia and the United States, far more could have been done to irreversibly reduce nuclear arsenals and address the threat posed by Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal. These questions are explored in a new BASIC Note http://www.basicint.org/bushputin.htm co-authored by Ian Davis, Director of BASIC and Ken Luongo, Director of RANSAC. The agreement has also been criticised by former US Government officials. In a Washington Post article co-authored by Sam Nunn, William Perry and General Eugene Habiger (ret.), the deal is criticised for leaving many questions about US security unanswered: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47970-2002May20.html
A comprehensive guide to the upcoming Bush-Putin summit has been put together by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. The briefing book also examines the recent US Nuclear Posture Review and is available via the Center’s website: http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/2002summit/
Selected articles available
The following articles are available from the WNII Editor as rtf-formatted email attachments:
India-Pakistan crisis: CNDP Cries Halt to Pro-War Campaign (forwarded as of 21 May 2002)
The [India-based] Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) is deeply concerned at the campaign unleashed in India for a 'full-scale war' with Pakistan and the attempts at projecting a 'national consensus' in favour of such a war.
Resort to such a war to settle disputes between two nuclear-weapons states is a far from readily acceptable option. It is all the more so in view of the nuclear-weapon capability acquired by both India and Pakistan in the last four years and the fact that neither has ruled out the use of nuclear weapons against the other. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by them has only been followed by the deterioration of both internal and external security in both countries. The government of no nuclear-weapon state can be given a carte-blanche in this regard and authorised to take "any action" in the name of fighting terrorism.
While condemning strongly the latest terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, the CNDP appeals to all political leaders, policy-makers and legislators of India and Pakistan to ensure immediate pull-back of troops from their common border and to launch a dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.
On Behalf of CNDP Admiral R. Ramdas, J. Sri Raman and Others
To contact the CNDP: mailto:
2002 WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT NEWS
IIED report "The Future is Now" vol.3 now online http://www.iied.org/pdf/tfin_Volume3.pdf
The London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has now published the third volume of its series "The Future is Now" (see also WNII 4/2002) which is online available at the website indicated above.
A range of authors present some strong challenges to governments and others involved in the critical stages of preparation for the Summit. The questions posed include the following:
UNEP: Global Launch of 22 Industry Reports Prepared for WSSD 2002 (Source: UNEP News Release 2002/26)
Entitled "10 years after Rio: the UNEP assessment", the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has published an overview report which assesses progress to date by industry on sustainability issues. It draws on 22 global sustainability reports written by different industry sectors ranging from accounting and advertising to waste and water management.
Each report, written by industry representatives in an unprecedented cooperation with the UN, labour and non-governmental organizations, looks at achievements, unfinished business and future challenges with respect to implementing Agenda 21 - the global action plan to save the planet that was agreed to at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
In response to the findings, UNEP has identified priority areas for business and industry and suggests a number of recommendations. These include: spreading the use of "best practices" that bring "triple dividends" - economic, environmental and social -- greater integration of environmental and social criteria into mainstream business decision-making; and improving the implementation and monitoring of voluntary initiatives and industry self-regulation.
The UNEP overview report and the 22 individual sector reports are available at: http://www.uneptie.org/outreach/wssd/sectors/reports.htm
"WSSD Implementation Document Weak – No Mention of the Military, Precautionary Principle, etc."
Basically, this is the essence of a short but clear-cut briefing disseminated by Joan Russow (PhD), Coordinator of the Canada-based Global Compliance Research Project. Included in her critique are parts of an interview she had with Klaus Töpfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN agency responsible for the WSSD: Töpfer's responses – or rather: non-responses are quite revealing, as well.
Joan Russow attended the UNCED Prep com in New York in March 1992, as well the Rio Summit UNCED in 1992. Among other things, she also did a content analysis of the UNCED documents, and taught a course in Global Issues in the Environment Studies Program at the University of Victoria, Canada, from 1992-1996. More recently, she wrote a lengthy analysis of Canada's submission to the United Nations, and attended the Prep Com for Rio +5 in New York and the subsequent Rio +5 Conference in New York.
The briefing referred to above is available from the WNII Editor as an rtf-formatted email attachment.
If you wish to contact Joan Russow directly: mailto:
UNEP's Economics and Trade Branch briefings
UNEP's Economics and Trade Branch has prepared a series of five briefings for Prepcom IV and the WSSD which are the following:
The briefings can be found at: http://www.unep.ch/etu/publications/ETB_briefs.htm where they can be read or downloaded as PDF files.
Requests for hard copies, and/or more information about the briefings, should be directed to: < >
Selected references (Source: World Federalist Movement mailing)
Portuguese web page about Vanunu
The Portuguese Amnesty International Local Group 19 has recently launched a web page about Mordechai Vanunu which you can find at: http://vanunu.planetaclix.pt/
Current session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) (Source: Emily Schroeder, Project Associate, Reaching Critical Will, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom)
On 16 May, the second session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) has begun in Geneva. This body with 66 member states is known as the "sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body" of the United Nations. The CD has three sessions every year. The CD has three sessions each year, the first begins in the penultimate week of January and lasts for 10 weeks; the second begins in May and lasts 7 weeks and the third in July and lasts 7 weeks. Generally there is one plenary session per week.
The first session took place 21 January to 29 March 2002 reflecting concern for the lack of movement forward on negotiations for the past three years. The CD has been frozen due to an inability to agree on a Program of Work. The last major activity of the CD was the negotiation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996, which still has not entered into force.
There are three main items which are causing the deadlock. These issues are: adopting a subsidiary body on nuclear disarmament, negotiating a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) and negotiating a treaty to prevent the weaponization of space (PAROS- prevention of an arms race in outer space).
So far in 2002, the only decision taken was to re-appointment three Special Coordinators on procedural issues, in an effort to find ways to break the CD deadlock. These coordinators are: Ambassador Petko Draganov of Bulgaria on expansion of the Membership of the Conference, Ambassador Gunther Seibert of Germany on review of the agenda of the Conference and Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka on Improved and Effective Functioning of the Conference. While this is an encouraging effort by the Conference, it does not replace substantive work on items of the Program of Work, which is the main task of this body. One event worth noting in the first session of 2002 was the Statement by the International Women's Day Seminar on "Terrorism, The Global Order, Arms and Missile Defence" to the Conference on Disarmament on the Occasion of International Women's Day, Geneva, 7 March 2002. This statement can be found at: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/cd/speeches02/womensday02.pdf.
The statements and press releases from the second session of the CD can be found at: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/cd/2ndspeeches.html and http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/cd/2ndpress02.html
For good background on the history and issues of the Conference on Disarmament, visit: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/cd/cdbook.pdf
Reaching Critical Will has established a CD updates list to which you can subscribe by sending an email to: < >
NOTE in addition, that the latest edition of Disarmament Diplomacy (No. 64, May/June 2002) carries, among other things, an article by Rebecca Johnson on the latest unsuccessful attempts to steer the Conference of Disarmament (CD) in Geneva out of its long-standing and discrediting impasse. Disarmament Diplomacy No. 64 can be found at: http://www.acronym.org.uk/dd/dd64/index.htm
INES WEB AND E-MAIL SERVICE
No new or changed email or web addresses in this issue. All INES e-mail addresses and homepages are available upon request from:
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