Dateline: March 19, 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. 6/2003


Richard Falk and David Krieger: A Modest Proposal: Giving Bush and Blair a Deadline     

There comes a time when the prevarications and faulty logic of official policy become so extreme that only satire can shed light on the truth.   We have reached such a point with respect to the warmongering of the United States and Britain in relation to Iraq's alleged possession of a threatening stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.     

George Bush and Tony Blair are trying to impose a deadline of March 17th, just days away, for Saddam Hussein to prove that he does not have weapons of mass destruction. If Bush and Blair succeed in getting the support of the UN Security Council for this, they are prepared to proceed to war. From their pronouncements, they seem determined to proceed to war even without Security Council approval.     

But how can Hussein prove that he doesn't have something? What would the proof be that something doesn't exist? If he were asked to prove that he has something, he could simply provide it and that would be the proof.   To prove that he doesn't have something, however, is far more problematic. You can't just say, "Here is what I don't have."     

Perhaps it is reasonable within the context of the continuing UN inspections to seek a fuller accounting of the stocks of chemical and biological weapons that Iraq claims to have destroyed in the early 1990s. Iraq may be in a position to give a more complete accounting or an explanation of whatever gaps exist in its record-keeping. Once this has been done, then to continue pressing Iraq to prove a negative is a deliberate ploy to make the inspection alternative to war fail.     

So what is Hussein to do? He has let the UN inspectors into his country.   He has opened his palaces to the inspectors. He has been destroying   missiles that are just marginally over the permitted range. He has allowed U-2 overflights of Iraq. He has permitted Iraqi scientists to be   interrogated by inspectors in circumstances that protect the confidentiality of the communications. Each time that Iraq does more to cooperate with the inspectors, it is dismissed by Bush and Blair as insufficient, as some sort of insidious trick.     

It seems an utter impossibility under these circumstances that Hussein could prove his case to the satisfaction of Bush and Blair in a few days time, or ever, for that matter. It seems increasingly clear that the last thing that Bush and Blair seek is for Hussein to prove his case convincingly.     

Given the mindset of Bush and Blair and the impossible task they have given to Hussein to prove a negative, it seems apparent that they are simply setting a deadline to get on with the war they seek for a series of undisclosed reasons. If the Security Council supports such a deadline, they will be giving the UN stamp of approval to this criminal form of lunacy. Setting a deadline to go to war when the weapons inspections are succeeding, as Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei agree they are, amounts to setting a timebomb under the United Nations itself.     

We would like to offer our own modest proposal. Why not set a deadline for Bush and Blair to demonstrate conclusively that Iraq does have   weapons of mass destruction? Surely if such weaponry exists and could be found by means of war, it can be demonstrated to exist by peaceful   means. Surely, the vast intelligence efforts devoted to Iraq over the course of the past decade, bolstered by defectors and by interviews with Iraqi scientists and engineers, would have established the existence of such weaponry if it exists.     

This proposal does not contain the logical fallacy of demanding the proof of a negative. If the US and Britain cannot prove that Saddam is   hiding weapons of mass destruction, then the United Nations should immediately remove its sanctions on Iraq, sanctions that have caused terrible suffering and death to the Iraqi people for more than ten years. The US and Britain should also drop their intrusions of Iraqi sovereignty that have included almost daily bombings. Such a course would make far more sense than accepting the Bush/Blair proposal. To be fair we propose to give Washington and London until the end of March to prove this positive!     

The burden of proof should be on those who propose the use of force, not on those who oppose it. Most members of the Security Council understand this. If Bush and Blair do not meet this burden of proof within a reasonable time period, their calls and planning for war should cease.     

The UN inspections in Iraq can and should continue, and in fact they should be used as a model for inspecting all countries that have or are   suspected of having weapons of mass destruction, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. This would be an important step in moving the world toward transparency and recognition that weapons of mass destruction are not suitable instruments in the hands of the leaders of any country, including those presided over by Bush and Blair. If we want to remove the menace of weapons of mass destruction, we need to establish a reliable regime of prohibition that applies to all countries and does not single out a few non-western states.     

Richard Falk is chairman and David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation ( www.wagingpeace.org ). They are co-editors of The Iraq Crisis and International Law.  

Scientists for Global Responsibility UK     

Scientists Condemn US-UK March to War on Iraq (SGR Statement 14   March 03)     SGR condemns the impending attack that US and UK forces are planning on Iraq. As scientists we are particularly disturbed that the UN weapons inspectors have not been given adequate time and resources to carry out their job. Despite this they are making significant progress in identifying, and where necessary destroying, Iraqi illegal weapons.     SGR further opposes a US-UK attack on Iraq because:     

1. Without UN backing and without an imminent threat of attack by Iraq,   such an attack is an aggressive act, illegal and in breach of the UN   Charter.     
2. According to the UN's own report, the war is likely to cause tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries and millions of refugees. The planned attack includes use of area wide cluster munitions; the enormous and indiscriminate area destruction weapon, the MOAB (a huge 21 ton bomb similar to the "Daisy Cutter" used in Vietnam); widespread use of radioactive and poisonous depleted uranium munitions; fuel air explosives and intense aerial bombardment of urban areas; and attacks upon civilian infrastructure, including electricity supplies vitally needed for hospitals and water supplies.     
3. The ensuing war is likely to destabilise the already volatile Middle East and cause an increase in terrorist attacks against Western targets.     
4. There is no provision in any of the war plans for protecting the quasi-independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq. In fact the deal which has fallen through with the Turkish Government would have led to further suppression of the Kurds who have already suffered in Eastern Turkey.     
5. The continuing instability in Afghanistan does not bode well for post-attack Iraq. Warlords are still in control of much of the west of Afghanistan, a low-intensity civil war continues, even the progress made in in the east of the country is in danger of unraveling.     
6.There are better ways to spend the billions of pounds / dollars that this war will cost:

All these options would build longer term security based upon greater justice and equality.     

Even if a second UN Resolution is somehow agreed, its validity and the integrity of the UN will have to be questioned because of the intense   financial and political pressure applied by the US Administration to the   small countries currently on the Security Council. Any such offers  should be made public so that citizens can judge for themselves the probity of UN decision-making.     

SGR member Alan Cottey: Who Needs This War?     To my family, friends and peace-etc colleagues: 
Dear all -     Who Needs This War?     
The present war situation prompts me to send this message. I see the connection between the personal and the political as being especially relevant. Sometimes I publish on the problems of peace, environment and justice, but in this case I feel that publication would not be close enough to the personal side of the matter. So I decided on this new type of communication.     

The high level of conflict in the world is no doubt related to general factors such as population, rapid technological change and slow social evolution. But the most specific factor driving towards war right now would seem to be the huge demand for oil. It is the rich who use this oil, that is, people like you and me, who exist in all countries and number maybe around a billion.     

Suppose that the belligerent stances of Tony Blair, George Bush and a few other leaders were unacceptable to the people and they lost power.   If the people did not change their lifestyles and use much less oil,  those leaders would only be replaced by other leaders who did 'what was   necessary' to ensure 'our need.'  The revolt by the people would have been hypocritical and poor Tony, George and the others would have been   scapegoated.     

Of course we must prevent, if at all possible, in these critical days, an attack on Iraq. But the longer term question is 'how do we reduce drastically our consumption of oil?' This short message is not the place to get into numerical detail, but the reduction does indeed have to be drastic.     

I don't want to preach - I don't have the answers - but to suggest nothing constructive would just take us further towards despair. So let me say where I think the main problem lies and how, over some generations, we might get through. During recent decades there has been more awareness of environmental constraints and as a result efficiency measures have been promoted and some people have become a bit more careful about consumption. But - here's the rub - such gains of maybe 1% per year are less than economic growth, which is several per cent per year.     

On almost every news bulletin there are items reporting economic growth happenings in upbeat terms and contractions in downbeat terms. It should   be the other way around! Nearly all the economic activity is done merely to keep the economy buoyant. People are terrified of recession. Yes, a   major recession with the existing economic order would be a disaster.   But the existing economic order is the source of our problems.     

Current economic activity involves people traveling long distances for their 'work', which mostly comprises battling against competitors or   monitoring others or being monitored; and when we are not economically active as producers we are pressed by the surrounding culture which we   have ourselves made to be economically active as consumers. Our economy is dysfunctional.     

In a functional economy, the goods and services we actually need could be produced, and the services provided, by machines and computers with   relatively little human effort and relatively little use of resources.     

It would be nice to think that we could in consequence spend most of our time sitting under apple trees. Maybe that will be possible many   generations hence, but meanwhile our real work is sorting out our present confusion and mistrust, and that is plenty to be getting on with for a long time to come.    

Well, those are my thoughts. If you want to respond, I'll be interested in all you have to say and I'll try to reply where a reply would appear to be welcome and not otherwise.     

have a nice century     


"Democratization" of the Middle East: Classified document reveals doubts about Bush's intentions   (Source: Los Angeles Times, 14 March 2003)     

A classified State Department report expresses doubt that installing a new regime in Iraq will foster the spread of democracy in the Middle East, a claim President Bush has made in trying to build support for a war, according to intelligence officials familiar with the document. The report exposes significant divisions within the Bush administration over the so-called democratic domino theory, one of the arguments that underpins the case for invading Iraq.     

The report, which has been distributed to a small group of top government officials but not publicly disclosed, says that daunting  economic and social problems are likely to undermine basic stability in the region for years, let alone prospects for democratic reform.     Even if some version of democracy took root - an event the report casts as unlikely - anti-American sentiment is so pervasive that elections in the short term could lead to the rise of Islamic-controlled governments hostile to the United States.     

"Liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve," says one passage of the report, according to an intelligence official who agreed to read portions of it to The Los Angeles Times.     

"Electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements."     

The thrust of the document, the source said, "is that this idea that you're going to transform the Middle East and fundamentally alter its trajectory is not credible."     

Even the document's title appears to dismiss the administration argument. The report is labeled "Iraq, the Middle East and Change: No Dominoes."     

Dated 26 February, the report was produced by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the in-house analytical arm.  

Selected web resources (I): articles    

Selected web resources (II): campaigning against war    

Check also previous WNII issues.   

Selected web resources (III): documents    

Available from the WNII editor     


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

Expert Panel Proposes Plan for Ending North Korea Crisis   (Source: INESAP Coordinator, 17 March 03)     

A blue-ribbon Task Force on U.S. Korea Policy has presented detailed recommendations for resolving the nuclear crisis with North Korea,   starting with immediate bilateral U.S.-North Korea negotiations.    

The 28-member Task Force includes Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., former Chairman of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff; two former U.S. ambassadors to South Korea, Donald P. Gregg and James T. Laney; Lee H. Hamilton, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the   United States; Ambassador Robert L. Gallucci, who negotiated the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea; and Selig S. Harrison, Chairman of the Task Force, Director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a leading Korea expert; and the directors of research institutes specializing in Korea and East Asia at ten leading universities.     

The Task Force was co-sponsored by the Center for International Policy and the Center for East Asian Studies of the University of Chicago.   Funding was provided by the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and the Center for East Asian Studies.     

Among its key recommendations:     

a.. Immediate bilateral U.S.-North Korean negotiations to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program in return for U.S. security assurances to North Korea, economic assistance and normalized relations, provided that North Korea make a public commitment not to reprocess the Yongbyon   reactor fuel rods into plutonium during negotiations     
b.. Resume missile negotiations with North Korea to reconfirm the North Korean moratorium on missile testing in force and end the development of long-range missiles     
c.. Harmonize U.S. policies toward North Korea with South Korea     
d.. When the nuclear crisis ends, lower the U.S. military profile in South Korea, to defuse opposition to the U.S. presence, offering to reduce and relocate U.S. forces and move toward greater autonomy for South Korean forces in the U.S.-South Korean Combined Forces Command,   including wartime operational control.     
e.. When the nuclear crisis ends, shift gradually from the existing U.S. "tripwire" policy, in which U.S. forces would be automatically drawn into any new North-South conflict, to a new role in which the United States would have greater flexibility in deciding whether or not to become involved     f.. Sign a peace agreement with North Korea formally ending the Korean War.     

If negotiations on nuclear dismantlement fail and North Korea develops nuclear weapons, preemptive U.S. military action would not be warranted,   since North Korea's primary motive for acquiring such weapons would be to deter the United States and U.S. strategic and tactical nuclear   capabilities in the Pacific are sufficient to deter North Korean offensive action against U.S. bases and allies in Northeast Asia.     

The full report, "Turning Point in Korea: New Dangers and New Opportunities for the United States," is available at:     http://ciponline.org/asia/taskforce.pdf  


Third World Water Forum, 16-23 March 2003     

A comprehensive coverage of this conference, which took place in Kyoto,   Osaka and Shiga, Japan, is available at:     http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/3wwf/  

WATER-L: new e-mail list related to the World Water Forum and water policy issues   http://www.iisd.ca/email/water-L.htm 

Created by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Third World Water Forum (16-23 March 2003 in Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga.) and the World Water Council, WATER-L is a new e-mail list for news and announcements related to the World Water Forum and water policy issues.     

WATER-L is a peer-to-peer announcement list and any subscriber to WATER-L can post to this list and postings that fall within the list guidelines will be distributed to all other subscribers. Following the Third World Water Forum, this list will facilitate the circulation of  announcements on water-related events, issues, activities.    

To subscribe to WATER-L send an e-mail to:         
Third World Water Forum: http://www.worldwaterforum.org/      
World Water Council: http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/    


USA: Software Pioneer Quits Board of Groove   (Source: New York Times, 11 March 03)     

Mitchell D. Kapor, a personal computer industry software pioneer and a civil liberties activist, has resigned from the board of Groove Networks   after learning that the company's software was being used by the Pentagon as part of its development of a domestic surveillance system.   Mr. Kapor would say publicly only that it was a "delicate subject" and that he had resigned to pursue his interests in open source software.     

"Mr. Kapor resigned from the board to focus 100 percent of his time on nonprofit activities," said a spokesman for Groove Networks, whose   software has been used to permit intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials to share data in tests of the surveillance system, Total Information Awareness.     

However, a person close to Mr. Kapor said that he was uncomfortable with the fact that Groove Networks' desktop collaboration software was a   crucial component of the antiterrorist surveillance software being tested at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Information   Awareness Office, an office directed by Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter.     

The project has generated controversy since it was started early last year by Admiral Poindexter, the former national security adviser for President Ronald Reagan, whose felony conviction as part of the Iran-contra scandal was reversed because of a Congressional grant of immunity.     

The project has been trying to build a prototype computer system that would permit the scanning of hundreds or thousands of databases to look for information patterns that might alert the authorities to the activities of potential terrorists.     

Civil liberties activists have argued that such a system, if deployed, could easily be misused in ways that would undercut traditional American   privacy values.     

"Mitch cares very much about the social impact of technology," said Shari Steele, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group that was co-founded by Mr. Kapor in 1990.     

Several privacy and security experts said that Mr. Kapor's decision was significant and was indicative of the kinds of clashes between security and privacy that could become increasingly common.     

"Computer scientists are going to have the same kinds of battles that physicists did amidst the fallout of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Michael Schrage, a senior adviser to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies Program.  


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