No. 26/2002

Dateline: October 1, 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. 26/2002


INESAP Information Bulletin #20 is out (from INESAP Coordinator Regina Hagen)

The latest issue (#20, August 2002) of the Information Bulletin of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP) is available at: http://www.inesap.org/bulletin/bulletin20.htm  The individual articles will also be available in HTML format.

Table of Contents:


David Krieger: The Bush Administration's Assault on International Law (Published in World Editorial & International Law, September 29, 2002)

A war initiated by the United States to oust Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq under the present circumstances, and without U.N. Security Council authorization, would be tantamount to a “war of aggression,” an international crime for which high-ranking leaders of the Axis countries during World War II were held to account at the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo.

The chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Robert Jackson, described such war as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Thus, the seriousness of the international law violation that such a war would entail would exceed the seriousness of the Iraqi violations that the Bush administration has cited to justify it. Such a war would also symbolize the complete reversal of official U.S. policy toward international law since World War II.

In the immediate aftermath of the allied war against Nazi and Japanese aggression, the United States led other nations in establishing the United Nations Charter “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” and in founding the United Nations “to maintain international peace and security,” “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace,” and “to bring about by peaceful means” settlements of international disputes.

A war against Iraq at this time, whether initiated by the United States alone or with authorization from the U.N. Security Council, would violate these founding U.N. principles by permitting an unprovoked major war to occur, most likely with massive loss of life and the threat of wider conflict and conflagration.

Furthermore, because the law of the U.N. Charter is less than ideal--reserving permanent Security Council membership to the great powers, including the United States, with veto authority over the council’s resolutions--a U.S.-imposed Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq would highlight and exacerbate the U.N.’s weaknesses, and would constitute a major setback to its fundamental goals and aspirations.

If noncompliance with U.N. resolutions and secret weapons programs were legitimate grounds for the Security Council to authorize force, then the United States, if it were consistent, would be preparing a force-authorizing resolution for its own invasion, as well as for invasions of other permanent members of the council, and of Israel, India, Pakistan, and others.

If the Security Council, however, manages to withstand U.S. pressure to authorize an invasion, and if, as it has threatened, the Bush administration invades Iraq without such authorization, the damage to international law would be equally great, given that the United States would be demonstrating its contempt for the U.N. Charter and the United Nations in the clearest possible terms.

As the chief architect of the U.N. Charter, and as the world’s most powerful nation--militarily, economically, and politically--the United States has a special responsibility to uphold the founding principles of the United Nations, and to lead the world, not repeatedly to war, but in setting international precedents and developing global models for the peaceful resolution of conflict consistent with the rules, principles, and procedures of the U.N. Charter.

With such leadership, the world could then turn its attention to broader applications of international law to other areas of profound concern, including global warming, preserving the oceans, protecting human rights, raising standards of living for the world’s poor, ending global starvation, ending the global arms bazaar, ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just solution, and ending the threat of nuclear war--issues for which the Bush administration has shown only hostility. The alternative is international anarchy, irreversible environmental degradation and destruction, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and perhaps also a proliferation of wars unconstrained by the principles of a peaceful world order that the United States helped establish a half-century ago. Even the Bush administration’s efforts to reduce the terrorist threat to the United States would likely be damaged by an unprovoked war against an Arab state in the Middle East.

International law is essential in the twenty-first century because powerful technologies and integrated economies cannot be constrained by national boundaries. The adverse effects of pollution, disease, and weapons of war are uncontrollable without standards contained in law. The sanctity of the earth’s biosphere, including human survival, has become dependent upon the strengthening of these standards. Sadly, however, the United States under the Bush administration has initiated an intense assault on international law in order to pursue short-term and short-sighted interests that avoid, evade, ignore, or violate the standards painstakingly developed by the international community, including the United States, over many decades.

If the United States continues to shirk, even denounce, its responsibilities to uphold international law across a range of global problems and concerns, it will tear open the fabric of world security and international cooperation, and leave the future of the human race, including the United States, in extreme peril.

(David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Deputy Chair of INES. His most recent book is Choose Hope, Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age.)

Information on campaigning (Sources: Alice Slater and David Krieger, USA; Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI), UK)

More articles and references

US Congress apparently faced with "overwhelming" opposition by "The Silenced Majority"

Democracy Now, a daily nationwide news show based in New York, which is broadcasted on over 130 public radio and television stations around the US, conducted an informal survey of 70 Republican and Democratic Senate offices, and aired the results on 27 September.

Of the 26 offices which responded to our inquires, 22 reported an overwhelming majority - in some cases up to 99 percent -- of constituents opposed war in Iraq; three said the response was split and just one office reported a majority called backing the war.

The full report can be heard at: http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20020927.html 

(If this is impossible for you, the article is available from the WNII Editor as an rtf-formatted email attachment.)


International Peace Wave on 11 October

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space is organizing a global virtual peace wave on October 11. On that date it is planned to start the wave in New Zealand, from there passing on to other countries and time zones during the day, and completing the wave 24 hours later in Alaska.

For more, see: http://www.globenet.free-online.co.uk/actions/peacewave.htm  or contact Dave Webb, board member of the Global Network: < >(see also International Days of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space, in WNII 16/2002 and 25/2002)


Looking for Sustainable Engineering

Douglas Nuttall from Ottawa, Canada, has recently contact the INES Office in search for a university (ideally in Canada) that offers a programme of study for undergraduate or graduate work, that will allow bringing the fields of sustainability and engineering together.

If you think you can help, contact him through: < >

Communication and management of environmental knowledge in Europe

This is the title of an international conference (subtitle: Switching between Theory and Practice) to be held in Berlin, Germany, tentatively scheduled for Spring 2004. It is organised by the Dutch-based Environmental Sciences Strengthened in Europe by Education, Networking and Conferences (ESSENCE). A draft of the conference concept is available from the WNII Editor as an PDF-formatted email attachment.

For more details on both the workshop and the conference, contact Dr. Joachim Borner, Kolleg fuer Management und Gestaltung nachhaltiger Entwicklung gGmbH: < >


2002 United Nations General Assembly First Committee

Web references re: the National Security Strategy of the US (see also WNII 25/2002)


16th ISODARCO Winter Course: The Surge in Nonstate Violence: Roots, Impacts and Countermeasures

This will be the third time an ISODARCO course will focus on the problem of NonState Violence. Courses on this topic were organised in 1974 and 1978 when NonState or SubState violence had the limited attention of specialists. Now, after the dramatic events of the year 2002, Isodarco returns to the discussion of these problems.


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