Dateline: October 14, 2001

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. 40/2001


Pugwash and the 11 September

Pugwash Netherlands - to my knowledge the only national Pugwash group being an INES member organisation has sent on 23 September the following statement to the Dutch US ambassador and the Dutch government (slightly abridged):

"We profoundly condemn the cruel terror attacks in the United States and express our condolences to the victims and their loved ones (&) We urge all governments to unite to investigate this crime, to prevent its recurrence, and to bring to justice those who are responsible.

"We can support President Bush's statement to 'make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbored them.' Yet distinctions must be made: between the guilty and the innocent; between the perpetrators and the civilians who may surround them; between those who commit atrocities and those who may simply share their religious beliefs, ethnicity or national origin. People committed to justice and the international law of human rights must never descend to the level of the perpetrators of such acts. That is the most important distinction of all.

"There are people and governments in the world who believe that the struggle against terrorism, ends always justify means. But that is also the very logic of terrorism. Whatever the response to this outrage, it must not validate that logic. Rather, it must uphold the primacy of human dignity and the principles supporting that fundamental creed. It was precisely these principles that came under attack on September 11th. To uphold the respect for innocent life and for international law is the way to deny the perpetrators of this crime their ultimate victory.

"Those who commit acts of terror must surely be punished, but in itself that will not bring an end to terrorism. Fire cannot be extinguished by fire. The end to terrorism can only be brought about by transforming the present unjust world into a world where every individual may live in justice and dignity. The terrible tragedy of September 11th must be remembered as the day that the world resolved to create a just abode for all its inhabitants."

Entitled "The September 11 Terror Attacks: A Changed World", the main website of Pugwash International carries a number of articles at: http://www.pugwash.org  including a Letter to the Editor of The Times (UK), 15 September 2001, by INES member Prof. Joseph Rotblat: http://www.pugwash.org/september11/letter-rotblat.htm   

David Krieger: Preventing A Terrorist Mushroom Cloud

The images of the hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center are nightmare images of unspeakable horror that will forever be a part of our reality.

Imagine, however, another nightmare -- that of a mushroom cloud rising over an American city. This is a threat we can no longer ignore. Perhaps today citizens and leaders alike will better understand the seriousness of the nuclear threat.

The destruction of the World Trade Center was a powerful warning. It signals that determined terrorists are prepared to sacrifice their lives to harm us, that future attacks could involve weapons of mass destruction, and that nuclear dangers are increasing because of terrorist activity.

Our leaders have failed to grasp that our present nuclear weapons policies contribute to the possibility of nuclear terrorism against our country. We are simply not doing enough to prevent nuclear weapons or weapons-grade nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

A US blue ribbon commission, headed by former Senate majority leader Howard Baker, has called for spending $3 billion a year over the next ten years to maintain control of the nuclear weapons, nuclear materials and nuclear scientists in the former Soviet Union. The Bush administration had planned to cut funding for this program from $1.2 billion to $800 million next year.

In 1998 India and Pakistan both demonstrated their nuclear capabilities. Pakistan, which borders on Afghanistan, is now the only country in the world to recognize the Taliban regime. Should there be a US led war in Afghanistan, it is possible that the Pakistani government could fall to extremists linked to the Taliban, thus putting nuclear weapons into the hands of a regime that might well support and harbor terrorists.

Up to now, the Bush Administrations primary response to the nuclear threat has been to push for a national missile shield costing billions of dollars, the technology of which is unproven, and which would at best be years away from implementation. A missile shield would likely do irreparable harm to our relations with other countries, countries that we need to join us in the fight against international terrorism, including Russia.

The mad nuclear arms race during the Cold War, and the paltry steps taken to reverse it since the end of the Cold War, have left tens of thousands of nuclear weapons potentially available to terrorists. Today there is no accurate inventory of the worlds nuclear arsenals or weapons-grade fissile materials suitable for making nuclear weapons. Estimates have it, however, that there are currently some 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world. We simply dont know whether these weapons are adequately controlled, or whether some could already have fallen into the hands of terrorists.

More than ten years after the end of the Cold War we and the Russians still have more than 10,000 nuclear weapons each with a total of some 4,500 of them on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired in moments. Russia has been urging the US to move faster on START 3 negotiations to reduce the size of the nuclear arsenals in both countries, but US leaders have been largely indifferent to their entreaties.

Large nuclear arsenals on hair-trigger alert are Cold War relics. They do not provide deterrence against terrorist attacks. Nor could a missile shield have prevented the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, or protect against future nuclear terrorism.

The Bush administrations foreign policy course has been unilateralism and indifference to international law. It seems now to have recognized, however, that we cannot combat terrorism unilaterally. A multilateral effort to combat terrorism will require the US to change its policies and embrace multilateral approaches to many global problems, including the control and elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.

The global elimination of nuclear weapons can no longer be a back-burner, peace activist issue. It is a top-priority security issue for all Americans, and it will require US leadership to achieve.

David Krieger, an attorney and political scientist, is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (USA), and Vice-Chair of INES.

11 September terror attacks: More selected web references

UK: Scientists for Global Responsibility on starting the Sellafield MOX reprocessing plant

Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) believe that the UK Government's recent decision to start the Sellafield MOx reprocessing plant shows a strange blindness to fundamental global forces that became so terribly apparent in the attacks in the US on September 11th 2001.

The events of this date have shown that the international terrorist threat has considerably increased. The vulnerability of the MOx and other industrial plants (nuclear, chemical etc.) must be reconsidered together with the infrastructure that supports them.

Clearly, the existence of a plant for reprocessing nuclear fuel entails the movement of high-level radioactive waste. Any transport of this material is a weak link in the security of a very dangerous substance, especially as this plant will be receiving overseas waste.

As recently as August 2001 [1] it has been pointed out to the UK government that reprocessed fuel could be converted into a form which could be used in the construction of a nuclear weapon. By opening the Sellafield MOx plant the government is increasing this risk and encouraging a dangerous worldwide industry.

SGR believes that the blatant danger proven by the events of September 11th cannot have been given more than a token evaluation by the time the decision to commence reprocessing was made. SGR feels that whether the decision was made either for unsound political reasons or from simple bureaucratic momentum, it is in any event deeply flawed, dangerous, shortsighted and, arguably, incompetent.

SGR therefore calls in the strongest terms that on these grounds alone (aside from any other doubts over commercial viability) that the Sellafield MOx plant be retired.

[1] Terrorist devices from Plutonium and MOX, Dr. Frank Barnaby of The Oxford Research Group, available from: http://www.oxfrg.demon.co.uk/main%20frame%20-%20publications.htm  

IPB awarding Sean MacBride Peace Prize to Dr Rosalie Bertell

At its annual Council meeting on 30 September, the International Peace Bureau (IPB) awarded the annual Sean MacBride Peace Prize to Dr Rosalie Bertell. The Prize was handed over to a representative of the Canadian Consulate, since Dr Bertell was unable to be present for medical reasons.

"We are honouring Dr Bertell for her lifelong engagement to the cause of peace and for her deep concern for the well-being of peoples all over the planet. Hers is an outstanding contribution to human welfare and environmental awareness", said Colin Archer, IPB Secretary-General.

Born a US citizen, Dr Bertell has worked with and for the people of Bhopal, Three Mile Island and the Marshall Islands, to name just a few. Dr Bertell's many decades of path-breaking work in scientific research and public education have been an inspiration to peace workers across the continents. She is President and founder of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH), a Canada-based non-profit organization created to institutionalize her growing concern for human survival. She is also Editor in Chief of International Perspectives in Public Health, a journal dedicated to publishing high-quality research on pollution and public health.

Dr. Bertell has served on innumerable Boards and Advisory Committees as a scientific expert. These include work on the Great Lakes, the aftermath of the Bhopal disaster in India, the health and environmental effects of Chernobyl, depleted uranium issues, and effects of nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Dr Bertell, member of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic Religious Congregation, earned a doctorate in Biometry at the Catholic University of America in 1966. She has received many other awards, including The Right Livelihood Award (1986); the World Federalist Peace Award (1988); the United Nations Environment Programme, Global 500 Laureate (1993); and has received five honorary Doctorates since launching IICPH in 1984.

Previous Sean MacBride Peace Prize winners include Mordechai Vanunu (1994), the Committee of Russian Soldiers' Mothers (1995), John Hume (1998) and Achin Vanaik and Praful Bidwai (2000).

USA: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), The Sunflower, No. 53, October 2001         Back issues: http://www.wagingpeace.org/sf/backissues.html   Events are listed at: http://www.wagingpeace.org/calendar/events_current.html  

The October issue of The Sunflower covers the following:

To read "The Sunflower", please send an email to Carah Lynn Ong, Director of Research and Publications: < > or goto: http://www.wagingpeace.org/sf/index.html   (The newsletter is also now available in pdf format online)

UK Week Of Science and Peace: List of Events (see also WNII 39/2001)

Note that a List of Events of the UK Week Of Science and Peace, 5 - 11 November 2001, is available at: http://www.sgr.org.uk/UKWOSP2001.html  

UKWOSP2001 is coordinated by Scientists for Global Responsibility, a British INES member organisation.


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

< < < < <  end of No. 40/2001  what's new in ines < < < < <