WHAT'S NEW IN INES?
Dateline: July 21, 2000
This is a weekly electronic information service of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility
Editor: Tobias Damjanov, e-mail: <
INES homepage: http://inesglobal.org
INES International Office <
INES Chair: Prof. Armin Tenner <
CONTENTS of WNII No. 17/2000
MEMBER ORGANISATIONS' AND PROJECT GROUPS' NEWS
Russia: Socio-Ecological Union (SEU)
The Anti-nuclear Campaign of the SEU is one of the organisers of the "11th annual public opposition to dangerous industrial projects". This year, it is an international environmental camp near the "Mayak" nuclear reprocessing plant (Chelyabinsk region, close to the Ural Mountains of Russia) which is being held from 23 July to 5 August. Goals of the anti-nuclear campaigners organizing this camp are:
75% of the local citizens voted against this plant in a referendum on March 17, 1991. This public decision can not be changed unless the authorities organize another referendum. But the Ministry of atomic power (Minatom) included the South-Ural nuclear plant into its new "strategy of atomic development of Russia for 2000-2050" and will get the money for this illegal project. Implementation of this project could result in widespread plutonium contamination of the Chelyabinsk region. For more information, please contact the central organizing committee: e-mail: http://www.ecoline.ru/antinuclear
Abolition 2000 homepage: http://www.abolition2000.org Grassroots News: http://www.napf.org/abolition2000/news/
Resistance against US National Missile Defense grows
As the latest test of a ground-based interceptor failed again (the three tests held so far are part of a series of 19 planned tests), mass media are now daring to report about the growing resistance against what is called Clinton's version of "Star Wars": In the USA, the American Physical Society, with 42,000 physicists; the Federation of American Scientists; and the Union of Concerned Scientists jointly announced that they urged Mr. Clinton not to deploy a missile defense system. "Mr. President, you have the finger on the Star Wars button," Greenpeace wrote in a letter to Mr. Clinton. "We urge you take it off and make the world a safer place." The most relentless and detailed criticism has been from Dr. Postol, a professor of science and national security studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He contended in his letter Clinton that Pentagon officials have in recent weeks "made numerous technologically illiterate and highly misleading statements" about the missile proposal. In a joint letter to President Clinton as of 6 July, 50 Nobel Laureates urged, "....not to make the decision to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system during the remaining months of your administration. The system would offer little protection and would do grave harm to this nation's core security interests. We and other independent scientists have long argued that anti-ballistic missile systems, particularly those attempting to intercept reentry vehicles in space, will inevitably lose in an arms race of improvements to offensive missiles." They warned that "any movement toward deployment of a ballistic missile system would be 'premature, wasteful and dangerous.'" Bruce G. Blair, President of the "Center of Defense Information" (CDI), and a former Minuteman missile launch officer, stated at a CDI Press Conference on 7 July, among other things: "I believe that the United States has not appreciated the Russian view that the ABM Treaty is the cornerstone of stability and that even a thin U.S. missile shield is threatening. Nor have we grasped the fact that the fielding of U.S. missile defenses will increase the net nuclear threat to the United States." He recommended, "that no matter what decision on NMD is taken, mutual dealerting ought to be the main item on the nuclear security agenda. Progress toward eliminating the hair-trigger on U.S. and Russian nuclear missiles is more critical to American security than anything else on the table today." "Stop this insensate and tortuously rationalized arms race that drains money away from our vital civilian programs," said Alan Kligerman, the chief executive officer of Akpharma Inc., and a board member of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, which seeks to cut military spending. He added: "If I would represent my products and sell them with the same shortcomings in the products as regard to what they are supposed to do, I would be indicted. My products would be seized." by the Food and Drug Administration. Kligerman spoke a news briefing of a group of business leaders and scientists weighing in with 11th-hour criticism of both the test and the entire plan.
As to the defenders of the missile system, one of the biggest backers of missile defense in Congress, Sen. Thad Cochran, Republican-Missouri, said in an interview that he believes America can afford a missile defense even though defense dollars are tight. "Without a doubt, Congress will approve the funding for a missile defense system" so long as U.S. military leaders feel confident it is technologically ready for deployment, Cochran said. Cost estimates range from the Pentagon's $36 billion to the General Accounting Office's $60 billion. (By law, the Pentagon must deploy a national missile defense as soon as it is technologically feasible.) For proponents, the recent missile miss offered stark evidence of the vulnerability of American cities to long-range missiles that might be developed by countries like North Korea or Iraq. Had the missile been armed and aimed at a real target, an American city could have been destroyed. On 9 July, Democratic and Republican senators reportedly urged President Clinton to press ahead with a missile defense system and let his successor decide whether to deploy it. The advice came one day after a test in which a "hit-to-kill" missile did not separate from the second stage of its liftoff rocket and failed to intercept and destroy a dummy warhead in space over the Pacific Ocean.
Mr. Lieberman, a member of the Armed Services Committee and Connecticut Democrat, said the president should at least authorize the beginning of the construction of radar facilities on Shemya Island in the Aleutians. Clinton needs to decide soon because construction on Shemya cannot begin before next spring, leaving barely enough time to complete the radar and get the rest of the project done by the 2005 target date. An independent panel of retired military officers and weapons experts told the Pentagon in a report last month that it believes missile defense is technologically feasible, but that the Pentagon may not be able to have a reliable system in place by 2005, the target date. The date is significant because the CIA has said it believes North Korea could have a long-range missile capable of reaching U.S. soil within five years.
Quoting the press agency Reuters, "The program is bitterly opposed by Russia and China, who fear that a mature and successful U.S.anti-missile system could neutralize their nuclear arsenals." Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, the commander of Russia's strategic missile force, was reported elsewhere as saying: "In its current technical form, the national missile defense system, which is being tested, cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. territory. Even the first trials, which began with a failure, are an attempt by the U.S. military to defy the world community." Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated Moscow's call to the United States to limit the number of each side's nuclear warheads to 1,500 in the next arms reduction pact, rather than 2,500 as Washington would prefer. China recently urged "... the United States to drop as soon as possible this plan, which does not serve its interest and harms that of others,'' as Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi told a news conference. The Guangzhou Daily quoted China's top disarmament diplomat, Sha Zukang, as saying the NMD meant that "China could not help but take a more cautious approach toward joining nuclear disarmament efforts." European alliance sources said that if the failed test delayed the decision on a missile defence system and provoked greater debate within the United States, governments in Europe would be "greatly relieved."
Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser, said yesterday that the test failure would be an important factor in the President's decision on deployment. Clinton's decision, expected by November this year, will be based partly on advice from Defense Secretary William Cohen in coming weeks on technology and cost and partly on implications for ties with Russia, China and America's skeptical European allies. Administration lawyers have advised Mr. Clinton that in their view, he could begin building this first phase of the missile defense without violating the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, one of the cornerstones of arms control agreements between Washington and Moscow. Now, after the recently failed test, the Pentagon is doing a second-by-second analysis of the latest test failure of its proposed national missile defense system, as it prepares for what has become an even more critical test as early as October this year.
"Monitoring Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol"
This is the title of the VERTIC Briefing Paper 00/3, edited by Clare Tenner. It refers to the "Key issues for the 12th Meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies to the Convention on Climate Change, Bonn, June 2000", and can be obtained from: Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC)
NOTE in addition that VERTIC is to hold a one-day workshop in London on 28 July 2000 on Articles 5,7 and 8 of the Kyoto Protocol. The workshop will brief participants on the continuing elaboration of these articles, which relate to monitoring, reporting and implementation review.
"Trust & Verify" No. 91/May 2000
The latest issue of "Trust & Verify", published by the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), carries the following major articles:
plus the section "News & Events"
"Trust & Verify" can be ordered from:
INES WEB AND E-MAIL SERVICE
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CHANGE: Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG), USA
Please note changes of email and website address: http://www.gene-watch.org/
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