No. 28/2002

Dateline: October 18, 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. 28/2002


USA: Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE) news http://www.gracelinks.org 


David Krieger [on the US Congress vote]: A Bleak Day for America

Today is a bleak day for America, and for all Americans. Congress, in its fear and conformity, has voted to grant authority to the President to conduct a preemptive war against another nation. Congress has joined the President in assuming an imperial mantle, granting powers above and beyond our obligations under international and domestic law.

Would that Congress had heeded its wiser and saner voices, such as Senator Robert Byrd, who cautioned restraint and warned that the vote to authorize the rush to war undermined our Constitution. Only Congress has the power to declare war under the US Constitution. It cannot legally give this power over to the president.

“We are at the gravest of moments,” Senator Byrd told his colleagues. “Members of Congress must not simply walk away from their Constitutional responsibilities. We are the directly elected representatives of the American people, and the American people expect us to carry out our duty, not simply hand it off to this or any other president. To do so would be to fail the people we represent and to fall woefully short of our sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution.”

International law, as imbedded in the United Nations Charter, allows for war under two tightly circumscribed conditions. First, a nation may engage in force for self-defense when an attack occurs or is imminent, but only if there is not time to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council and only until the United Nations Security Council assumes control of the situation. Second, a nation may engage in force when duly authorized by the United Nations Security Council after all efforts to secure the peace by peaceful means have failed.

Despite the congressional vote of false authority to the President, neither of these conditions of authorization to engage in war has been fulfilled. There is no evidence that an attack by Iraq on the United States or any other nation is imminent. Nor have the peaceful means to resolve Iraq’s compliance with earlier Security Council resolutions calling for dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction been pursued since the United Nations, under pressure from the United States, pulled its inspectors out of Iraq four years ago. Iraq has indicated its willingness to resume inspections, but the Bush administration has been reluctant to take Yes for an answer and accept their offer of compliance.

September 11th will be remembered in America as the tragic day terrorists made evident the vulnerability of even the world’s most powerful nation. October 11th should be remembered as the day that Congress meekly and uncourageously gave to the President of the United States the illegal authority to commit preemptive war. Such war, in the context of World War II called “aggressive war,” is what Nazi and Japanese leaders were held to account for at the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials following World War II.

Such war is far from the proud traditions of America dating back to its Declaration of Independence. This is not the way that America should be leading the world, for it will result in international chaos, instability and increased insecurity. Now it is up to ordinary Americans to take to the streets and by their presence make it known in Washington and throughout the world that the American public does not support putting the face of Saddam on the innocent children of Iraq; nor does it support high-altitude bombing and other of acts of aggressive warfare in the name of a false and Orwellian peace.

NOTE that together with Hans von Sponeck, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq and a former Assistant Secretary General of the UN, David Krieger will be a keynote speaker at a Hearing on Iraq at the European Parliament, Strassbourg, on 22 October. The Hearing is being organised by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left.

International Peace Bureau urges action to prevent war in Iraq: Open Letter to the Members of the UN Security Council

Geneva, 7 October 2002

Your Excellency

The International Peace Bureau, a global network of 235 organisations in over 60 countries, is taking the unusual step of appealing to the Ambassadors of all members of the Security Council. We urge you in the strongest terms to resist vigorously all attempts to pressurize you into accepting a resolution that would lead inexorably to war.

Inspections: At the very least, we believe the UN should take a step back from the brink by accepting the French proposal of a two stage process. A Chapter VII intervention is a momentous decision and should be taken only after every single other measure has been exhausted. We applaud the efforts of Hans Blix to bring the inspection authorities together with the Iraqis in Vienna. At this stage the most important thing is to ensure the inspectors have complete freedom of action. The latter may possibly require insisting on armed protection, as is the case in many UN missions. We believe that using the good offices of the Arab League/Islamic Conference and their members states may be helpful in defusing tensions with the Iraqi regime and in ensuring unfettered access.

The risks: No-one doubts that Saddam Hussein is a leader whose criminality is exceeded by few others. Yet a heavy assault on Iraq (going far beyond the ongoing US-UK attacks on air defences) would incur multiple risks: dangers of use by either side of weapons of mass destruction; risk of extending the conflict to Israel-Palestine and the wider Middle East; probability of massive civilian casualties; likelihood of inflaming Islamic and Arab opinion, leading to a new wave of terrorism; uncertain prospects for a viable political succession, lack of an exit strategy etc.

Oil dependency: There is increasingly valid criticism that the desire to use military force against Iraq, and the military campaign against Afghanistan, are related to other geo-political interests, in particular the control of and access to oil. This highlights the necessity and urgency for the global community to reduce its oil dependence and increase its development of renewable energy sources – beyond the minimal targets set at the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Sanctions and compliance with UN resolutions: A weapons of mass destruction program does not justify a pre-emptive strike. Instead, the sanctions should be lifted in return for full cooperation with the inspectors. Opposition to the use of force against Iraq is mounting globally. This includes caution expressed in the US Congress, the British parliament and by many governments. While it is true that Iraq is not in compliance with international law, including a number of SC Resolutions, this in itself does not justify the use of force. In fact there are a number of other countries also in non-compliance with UN resolutions and ICJ decisions.

Islam and the West: Much damage has been done over the last 12 months to relations between Islam and the West. We pay homage to the victims and those bereaved by acts of terror and violence everywhere. Let us work now, not only to prevent yet another unnecessary and dangerous war, but also to open up new spaces for peaceful inter-cultural dialogue, and for the discovery of new ways to render human civilisation sustainable.

Since this is an era of growing UN-civil society partnership, we would be keen to meet with you or your representatives to discuss how our organisation can work with you to ensure a peaceful outcome.

Sincerely Colin Archer Secretary-General

USA: Special focus issues of "Foreign Policy In Focus"

International Congress on Iraq in Berlin http://www.irak-kongress-2002.de/ 

On 1-2 November, an International Congress on Iraq is to take place in Berlin, Germany. It is organized by a number of German and Austrian peace-related NGOs, including the Scientists' Initiative Responsibility for Peace and Sustainability, one of the German INES member organisations.

An English version of the programme is available online in PDF format at: http://www.irak-kongress-2002.de/docu/program_engl.pdf 

Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament (PNND) web references http://www.pnnd.org/  (Source: Alyn Ware, PNND Coordinator)


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

Recent Pugwash reports

US Government's list of terrorist organisations (From: Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News, Volume 2002, Issue No. 102, October 17, 2002)

There are now 219 "groups, entities, and individuals" identified as terrorists by the US Government and subject to financial sanctions and other restrictions.

An updated list was published by the US State Department on October 11 and is posted here: http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2002/10/dos101102.html 


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