WHAT'S NEW IN INES?
Dateline: July 4, 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. 20/2003
Dear WNII readers,
I have decided to introduce, beginning with this issue, a new section to WNII: It is called "United Nations news". You certainly noticed the many UN-related information in the past which did not fit in any other section, and then, was mostly put under "Briefings". To provide a little clearer structure of WNII, I thought it was helpful to have now a particular section dealing with all the information related to the UN.
MEMBERSHIP AND PROJECTS NEWS
IPB Awards the 2003 Sean MacBride Peace Prize to Nihon HIDANKYO (Source: IPB Press Release, 24 June 03)
The International Peace Bureau (IPB) decided at its April 2003 Steering Committee meeting in Geneva to award this year's Sean MacBride Peace Prize to the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bombs Sufferers Organizations (Nihon HIDANKYO).
Founded in August 1956, Nihon HIDANKYO is a national network of the Hibakusha - the atomic bomb sufferers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Whilst initially striving for State Compensation Relief for bomb sufferers, it has since contributed to the movement for total abolition of nuclear weapons by educating the public about the tragic experiences of the Hibakusha. Activities include: enlightening visitors to Hiroshima and Nagasaki through histories of the Hibakusha; educating children and students in the sprit of peace in and around regions where the Hibakusha reside; and making prominent appeals, at places such as the three Special Sessions on Disarmament of the UN General Assembly. Another chief function of Nihon HIDANKYO is aiding A-bomb victims now living abroad, including both Japanese and Korean A-bomb sufferers. Moreover, it extends support and solidarity to the worldwide movements of those affected by nuclear weapons testing. Through all these activities, the Hibakusha continue to send their message to the world that "Humans cannot co-exist with nuclear weapons".
The Sean MacBride Peace Prize was established in 1992 in honor of Sean MacBride, a former IPB president and a Nobel laureate, as is the IPB itself. The announcement of this year's prize is to acknowledge the contribution of Nihon HIDANKYO and the Hibakusha to both the relief of those that have found themselves victims of nuclear weapons, as well as their efforts to develop public opinion in favour of the elimination of nuclear weapons.
THE US-UK WAR AGAINST IRAQ
Ministers knew war papers were forged, says diplomat (Source: The Independent, 29 June 03)
On 28 June, a high-ranking American official who investigated claims for the CIA that Iraq was seeking uranium to restart its nuclear programme accused Britain and the US of deliberately ignoring his findings to make the case for war against Saddam Hussein.
The retired US ambassador said it was all but impossible that British intelligence had not received his report - drawn up by the CIA - which revealed that documents, purporting to show a deal between Iraq and the west African state of Niger, were forgeries. When he saw similar claims in Britain's dossier on Iraq last September, he even went as far as telling CIA officials that they needed to alert their British counterparts to his investigation.
The comments of the former US diplomat appear to be at odds with those of the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. Appearing before a parliamentary committee last week [= mid-June; th.ed.], Mr Straw said the British intelligence community had not known of the forged documents' existence "at the time when [the September dossier] was put together."
Though the official's identity is well-known in Washington - he was on the National Security Council under President Clinton - he asked that his name be withheld at this stage.
During the hearings by the UK Foreign Affairs Committee, MPs cited repeated reports that the forged documents - a letter on which the signature of Niger's president had been faked, and another carrying the signature of a man who had not held office in the country since the 1980s - had originally reached the CIA via British intelligence.
The testimony of the former US diplomat further undermines the claims of both the British and US governments that Saddam had developed, or was developing, weapons of mass destruction.
The Niger connection became one of the most important and most controversial elements in the build-up to war, and both Britain and the US used it to claim that Iraq was "reconstituting" its nuclear programme. It later emerged that the report was based on forged letters obtained by Italian intelligence from an African diplomat. The Italians were said to have passed the letters to their British counterparts, from where they reached the CIA.
When the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finally had the opportunity to inspect the documents, nearly a year later, they were dismissed as fakes in less than a day. Neither the US nor Britain ever gave the IAEA any other information to back up their allegations on Iraq's uranium-buying activities, despite the "separate sources" cited by Mr Straw.
Impeachment over bogus information? (Source: MoveOn Bulletin, 4 July 03)
John Dean, President Nixon's White House counsel, says the case for impeachment would be easy legally, but impossible politically: "To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be 'a high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony 'to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.'" http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/dean/20030606.html
See also "BuzzFlash" interviewing John Dean: "… Impeachment is a political proceeding, of quasi-legal nature. Republicans are not going to impeach their president. To the contrary, it is very clear they would defend him." http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/06/17_dean.html
Furthermore, note an Associated Press report on the Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's handling of pre-war intelligence: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0626-10.htm
Somewhat different, but completing the picture: " The Revelation of St. George 'God Instructed Me to Strike Saddam'", by Chris Floyd (Counterpunch, 30 June 03): http://www.counterpunch.org/floyd06302003.html
SPECIAL SECTION ON THE US MISSILE DEFENSE POLICY
US-based missiles to have global reach (Source: The Guardian, 1 July 03)
The Pentagon is planning a new generation of weapons, including huge hypersonic drones and bombs dropped from space, that will allow the US to strike its enemies at lightning speed from its own territory. Over the next 25 years, the new technology would free the US from dependence on forward bases and the cooperation of regional allies, part of the drive towards self-sufficiency spurred by the difficulties of gaining international cooperation for the invasion of Iraq.
The new weapons are being developed under a programme codenamed Falcon (Force Application and Launch from the Continental US). A US defence website has invited bids from contractors to develop the technology and the current edition of Jane's Defence Weekly reports that the first flight tests are scheduled to take place within three years. According to the website run by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) the programme is aimed at fulfilling "the government's vision of an ultimate prompt global reach capability (circa 2025 and beyond)". The Falcon technology would "free the US military from reliance on forward basing to enable it to react promptly and decisively to destabilising or threatening actions by hostile countries and terrorist organisations", according to the Darpa invitation for bids. The ultimate goal would be a "reusable hypersonic cruise vehicle (HCV) ... capable of taking off from a conventional military runway and striking targets 9,000 nautical miles distant in less than two hours". The unmanned HCV would carry a payload of up to 12,000 lbs and could ultimately fly at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound, according to Daniel Goure, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute in Washington. Propelling a warhead of that size at those speeds poses serious technological challenges and Darpa estimates it will take more than 20 years to develop.
Over the next seven years, meanwhile, the US air force and Darpa will develop a cheaper "global reach" weapons system relying on expendable rocket boosters, known as small launch vehicles (SLV) that would take a warhead into space and drop it over its target. In US defence jargon, the warhead is known as a Common Aero Vehicle (Cav), an unpowered bomb which would be guided on to its target as it plummeted to earth at high and accelerating velocity. The Cav could carry 1,000 lbs of explosives but at those speeds explosives may not be necessary. A simple titanium rod would be able to penetrate 70 feet of solid rock and the shock wave would have enormous destructive force. It could be used against deeply buried bunkers, the sort of target the air force is looking for new ways to attack.
Jane's Defence Weekly reported that the first Cav flight demonstration is provisionally scheduled by mid-2006, and the first SLV flight exercise would take place the next year. A test of the two systems combined would be carried out by late 2007. A prototype demonstrating HCV technology would be tested in 2009. SLV rockets will also give the air force a cheap and flexible means to launch military satellites at short notice, within weeks, days or even hours of a crisis developing. The SLV-Cav combination, according to the Darpa document, "will provide a near-term (approximately 2010) operational capability for prompt global strike from Consus (the continental US) while also enabling future development of a reusable HCV for the far-term (approximately 2025)". The range of this weapon is unclear.
Abolition 2000 homepage: http://www.abolition2000.org Grassroots News: http://www.napf.org/abolition2000/news/
Russian nuclear forces 2003
The most recent issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (July/August 2003, Vol. 59, No.4, pp. 70-72) has published this article as part of its series "Nuclear Notebook", which is prepared by Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), USA.
You can find the article at: http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/nukenotes/ja03nukenote.html
Sounds familiar? US fears N Korea will have nuclear missile in a year (Source: The Guardian, 2 July 03)
The US has told its allies that it believes North Korea is developing nuclear weapons small enough to use as missile warheads and could perfect the technology within a year, it was reported by the New York Times on July 2, quoting officials who had seen CIA assessments saying that spy satellites had spotted an advanced nuclear testing site near the hub of the country's nuclear programme at Yongbyon. North Korean scientists were alleged to be testing shaped explosives designed to compress a plutonium core and trigger a nuclear blast.
President Bush has said he would prefer to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue diplomatically, but has not ruled out the use of military force - to the dismay of South Korea, which is opposed to a US pre-emptive strike.
4th Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity
The Norway/UN Conference on Technology Transfer and Capacity Building, hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), convened in Trondheim, Norway, from 23-27 June 2003. This meeting was the fourth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity. The Conference focused on practical and technical follow-up measures for technology transfer and capacity building as called for under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Approximately 240 participants from 96 countries, representing governments, inter- governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and scientific and academic institutions, attended the Conference.
Technology transfer and capacity building will be major themes at the ninth meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Science, Technological and Technical Advice (SBSTTA-9), to be held in November 2003, and at the seventh Conference of the Parties to the CBD (CBD COP-7), which will meet in February 2004. The fourth Trondheim Conference sought to provide input for these two meetings as well as to support UNEP's work in the development and implementation of an intergovernmental strategic plan for technology support and capacity building to developing countries.
A Summary Report of the Trondheim Conference can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/sdtro/
UNITED NATIONS NEWS
What Future for the UN Charter System of War Prevention?
This is the title of a comprehensive article written by Richard Falk, chair of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. It has been published by the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF), of which the author is an associate. You can find the article at: http://www.transnational.org/forum/meet/2003/Falk_UNCharter.html
Panel of Eminent Persons on UN-Civil Society Relations: two papers (Source: Secretariat of the Panel, 18 June 03)
The Panel of Eminent Persons on UN-Civil Society Relations, which is chaired former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, held its first meeting in New York on 2-3 June this year.
These papers *) as well as other information on the Cardoso Panel (including the list of Panel members and their short biographies, and the Panel's Terms of Reference) are available online at: http://www.un.org/reform/
*) also available from the WNII Editor as rtf-formatted email attachments.
Handbook on Verification and Compliance (Source: "Trust & Verify" No. 108/May-June 2003)
The Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC) and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) are publishing their Handbook on Verification and Compliance, in English and Arabic, in June. For further information or to order, contact Steve Tulliu, UNIDIR: or Jane Awford, VERTIC:
IAEA Releases Nuclear Power Statistics For 2002 http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/P_release/2003/prn0309.shtml
A total of 441 nuclear power plants were operating around the world at the end of 2002, according to data reported to the IAEA's Power Reactor Information System (PRIS). World nuclear electricity generation was about 2574 TWh. Also during 2002, six nuclear power plants representing 5013 MW(e) were connected to the grid, four in China, one in the Czech Republic and one in the Republic of Korea.
In addition, construction of seven new nuclear reactors commenced in 2002 - six in India and one in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, bringing the total number of nuclear reactors reported as being under construction to 32.
A table showing nuclear power reactors in operation and under construction at 31 Dec. 2002, can be found at: http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/P_release/2003/npstats2002.pdf
"Trust & Verify" No. 108/May-June 2003
The latest issue of "Trust & Verify", published by the London-based "Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC)", carries the following:
From "VERTIC News & Events": VERTIC has launched a redesigned and renamed briefing paper series, "VERTIC Briefs". They may be downloaded at: http:///www.vertic.org
The first number in the series is an update on the verification of nuclear disarmament by VERTIC Executive Director, Trevor Findlay, entitled "Verification of a nuclear weapon-free world."
INES WEB AND E-MAIL SERVICE
All INES e-mail addresses and homepages are available upon request from:
CHANGE: Email of INESPE Convenor
The email address of Dr Hans-Juergen Fischbeck, convenor of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists to Protect and Encourage Ethical Engagement (INESPE), has changed to:
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