SfP Bulletin Winter 1984

Full text version of all articles from SfP Bulletin Winter 1984. A PDF edition is also available.

84.01 The Bulletin

This is the first of what we hope will be four issues of the S4P Bulletin in 1984. Because we are working out an arrangement whereby the Peace Calendar will be sent to our members, the Bulletin will carry fewer items of a general nature. The second issue this year will contain reports from our Annual General Meeting in March, and further issues will contain accounts of the activities of our members. In particular, we hope that each chapter will publish regular reports. As ever, we invite correspondence and reviews of especially significant articles and books. Initials after an item refer to a person listed in the Directory. (EB)

84.02 Science For Peace Business

Directory

President – Eric Fawcett (416) 978-5217
Secretary – Brydon Gombay (416) 978-6928
Treasurer – Derek Manchester (416) 978-2978
Education Director – Terry Gardner (416) 978-3183
Research Director – Derek Paul (416) 978-2971
Publicity Director – Metta Spencer (416) 828-5316
Bulletin Editor – Edward Barbeau (416) 978-8601

Room A102, University College
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1

Chairmen Of Chapters

British Columbia – George Spiegelman (604) 228-2036
Waterloo Region – John Hepburn (519) 885-1211 ×3785/3845
New Brunswick – Israel Unger (506) 453-4783

S4P thanks Doreen Morton for typing this Bulletin & Pearson-Garnet Press for printing it.

Annual General Meeting: this will take place on Wednesday, March 28, and the keynote speaker will be Professor Anatol Rapoport, but detailed plans have still to be made. — or possibly March 31.

Charitable Status: it is expected that this happy condition will be achieved soon (P.S. Sooner than expected! — see page 7 and 8).

The Peace Calendar: Science for Peace will inform the public about its activities by means of a regular 1/4-page in this monthly publication. It is planned to continue publishing the BULLETIN four times per year mainly to inform Chapters of Science for Peace about each other’s activities.

Initially members of Science for Peace may wish to subscribe to the Peace Calendar, which carries news of other groups, a listing of events across Canada and feature articles: $10.00 annual subscription from:

CANDIS, 736 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2R4

In due course when a bulk postage rate has been negotiated we expect to mail CANDIS to each Science for Peace member.

84.03 The Peace Initiative

Science for Peace responded to Prime Minister Trudeau’s Peace Initiative with the following proposals, which were prepared by an Ad Hoc Committee for the Third Rail Canadian Peace Initiative and transmitted to his Taskforce on December 6, 1983, before the Throne Speech:

  1. The establishment of a Crisis Alert Centre, whose purpose would be to detect events that might lead to an international crisis and to alert those who would become involved, especially the superpowers. It would have to have access to the most modern means of gathering information and of rapid communications so that this information could be used. The Centre might be established in Canada, possibly with an international staff.
  2. The International Satellite Monitoring Agency, which has been proposed by France, could be tied in to this Crisis Alert Centre. Now more than ever, it deserves Canada’s support.
  3. The newly established Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament should be supported by the government since its objectives include both public education through the dissemination of information, and research into arms control issues. It should be a vehicle for more effective dialogue between the government and the public.
  4. The creation of a Peace Bank whose responsibility would be the collection and analysis of proposals from non-governmental organizations and individuals. This Bank could be housed at an existing organization, such as a peace research institute.
  5. The restoration of the Exchange Agreements between Canada and the Soviet Union, or the negotiation of new ones in the cultural and academic fields. We Believe this should be only a first step and that these exchanges should be expanded (to include young people, possibly during the International Year of the Youth in 1985, for example, or churchmen) because personal contact is an important foundation for improving international understanding.
  6. We are attracted by the concept of Twinning. This has been done in the past as a means of establishing contact between cities, as one example. It might become the basis for a co-operative effort between Canada and a member of the Warsaw Pact (Poland or Hungary, perhaps), in an effort to find ways of positive co-operation and confidence-building between the two alliances.
  7. Peace research and concomitant instruction should be encouraged and securely established in Canadian institutions of higher learning. Federal grants to support these activities would signify Canada’s determination to deal with the problem of world peace in a fundamental way, and should be promptly announced.

The most important features of the Throne Speech for Science for Peace are the renewed commitments to an arms control and disarmament verification program utilizing expertise available inside and outside the Government; and the establishment of a centre for promoting peace activities, whose precise form and role have not yet been decided.

Each of these programs will be based in the Department of External Affairs. We enclose an application form for free publications so that members of Science for Peace can keep themselves directly informed about activities and programs of this Department; the Disarmament Bulletin is especially useful. (EF)

Danger Of Accidental Nuclear War

The President of Science for Peace was invited, along with other initiating members of the Committee for the Canadian Third Track for Peace, to meet Prime Minister Trudeau on January 10, 1984. The following memorandum was handed to the Prime Minister following a brief oral presentation:

WHEREAS:

  1. The danger of accidental nuclear war is greatly increased by the short flight-time of forward-based missiles. The Soviets have stated that they will adopt a launch-on-warning mode of operation in response to the threat to their Command, Control and Communications centres posed by the Pershing II missiles in West Germany, which have a six-minute flight time to target and are equipped with terminal guidance. The same threat will face the U.S.A. if the Soviets respond as they state by placing similar nuclear armament off U.S. shores. The reduction in verification time and consequent reliance on complex computer systems makes eventual self-activation of the nuclear weapons systems inevitable.1
  2. This new technical factor compounds the long-existing grave danger of nuclear war caused by human error, which has brought the world many times to the brink of disaster.2 Witnesses before a U.S. Congressional Committee in 1981 stated that: “False warnings of attack against North America have frequently resulted in strategic forces being put on alert”, and: “NORAD computer systems are dangerously obsolete.”3
  3. The risk of unintentional nuclear war due to premature conclusions based on misjudgement and misperception is great and it is imperative that the superpowers should4discuss crisis procedure norms and institute confidence building measures.4 Yet, along with the collapse of US-Soviet INF and START negotiations and the 10-year old European MBFR talks, it was disclosed by Mr. Edward Rowney, the chief U.S. negotiator, that meetings of a hitherto unknown US-Soviet working group on confidence building measures to prevent accidental nuclear war had now also been suspended though “we were close on a number of issues.”5
  4. Finally, teams of earth scientists and biologists led by Carl Sagan and Paul Ehrlich, respectively, have recently found that even a relatively minor nuclear exchange at a few hundred megatons directed against cities might so damage the biosphere as to lead the extinction of the human species.6

ACCORDINGLY WE REQUEST:

  1. that the Department of National Defence immediately carry out a thorough investigation of failures of the NORAD system, for which Canada along with the U.S.A. is directly accountable, and in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense take urgent measures to avoid future failures.
  2. that the Canadian government instruct its representatives at the Stockholm Disarmament Conference in January 1984 and at the UN Committee on Disarmament meetings in February to place the highest priority on measures to avert the clear and present danger of accidental nuclear war.

References

1 Bernard Bereanu (1983) “Self-Activation of the World Nuclear Weapons Systems”, Journal of Peace Research, January 1. ^

2 Lloyd Dumas (1980) “Human Fallibility and Weapons”, Bull. of Atomic Scientists 36, 15. ^

3 Hearings before a sub-committee of the House of Representatives 97th U.S. Congress, May 20-21 (1981). ^

4 Daniel Frei (1983) “Risks of Unintentional Nuclear War”, UN Institute for Disarmament Research, publ Allanheld, Osmun. ^

5 Hella Pick (1983) “Talks on preventing war by accident collapse”, Manchester Guardian Weekly, December 25. ^

6 Carl Sagan, Paul Ehrlich et al. (1983) Papers in Science 2 No. 4630, December 23. ^

(EF)

84.05 A New Security And Arms Control Centre For Canada

In the Speech from the Throne opening the 32nd Parliament of Canada, 7th December, 1983 was included the following announcement:

…the Government will create a publicly funded centre to gather, collate and digest the enormous volume of information now available on defence and arms control issues. Fresh ideas and new proposals, regardless of source, will be studied and promoted”.

It turned out, subsequently, that the writers of this speech were not aware of the new non-government arms control institute (in Ottawa) which had only months previously been formed (Director: John Lamb), and furthermore neither they nor the members of Prime Minister Trudeau’s special Taskforce on the recent peace initiative had clear ideas about how the new Centre would be set up, nor what it should do.

Subsequently, Mr. Geoffrey Pearson, of the Department of External Affairs, has been gathering opinion from prominent members of the peace movement, from a wide range of scholars, scientists, strategists, etc., on these very questions.

As of 11th January, 1984 the new Centre was envisaged as having several roles: funding, “networking”, “seminaring”, etc. It would be focussed primarily on present and future E-W relations. It would produce a newsletter and/or a journal; it would collect data, have some role in the advocacy of policy, and it would have a role in international liaison.

The Prime Minister’s Taskforce would like to have your views on what roles this Centre should fulfil, what it should be called and how it should be oset up. There is urgency to move forward with this work, since it rides, in a sense, on the momentum of the peace initiative, and the accumulation of ideas is going to gel within a few weeks. You can write to Mr. Pearson at the Department of External Affairs, Sussex Drive, Ottawa KlA 0G2. (DP)

84.06 Star Wars: ASAT and ABM (see enclosed article by John Polanyi)

President John F. Kennedy set the tone of the fledgling U.S. space effort over two decades ago: “For the eyes of the world now look into space, to

the Moon, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of peace and freedom. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding”.

On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan offered a new vision of the potential of space. Where John Kennedy challenged Americans to put a man on the Moon, Ronald Reagan challenged them to produce a new futuristic missile defence system. Apparently, the optimism and good will which engendered the early space program have given way to a determination to exploit space for military advantage.

Canada will be drawn into their ill-advised enterprise through the NORAD agreement (North American Aerospace Defence), to which we are now deeply committed through the Defense Production Sharing Agreement (DPSA) — how else could we restore the balance other than by purchasing $7 billion worth of CF18 Fighters? It is a measure of our naivety that the Canada Space-Arm was proudly donated as a feature of the U.S. Space Shuttle without apparently any reservations about its likely employment in military missions.

Science for Peace strongly supports Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s call for a ban on high-altitude ASAT weapons, which has been revitalised as an important element of the Peace Initiative. Science for Peace believes that Canada should promote the stabilising monitoring satellite (ISMA: International Satellite Monitoring Agency) rather than the destabilising anti-satellite weapon. (EF)

84.07 Hi-Tech Militarism

We enclose a reprint with this title from the Nuclear Free Press Summer 1983. A subsequent Issue 20/Winter 1983-84 carries a follow-up article describing recent high-technology developments in conventional weapons. The Pentagon with its usual inimitable turn of phrase says: “a nuclear freeze is survivable” — meaning of course not that we shall survive but that the militarization of society will escalate at an even faster rate if we control nuclear but not conventional weapons.

Canada is committed to high technology research and development like other industrial nations. Science for Peace has the responsibility to alert Canadian scientists to the dangers of perversion of this enterprise through applications to high-tech. militarism. (EF)

84.08 Books

The Prevention of Nuclear War edited by T.L. Perry Jr., M.D., published by PSR (B.C. Chapter) 1983.

This book is based on the Symposium held in Vancouver in March 1983 and features contributions by: Judith Lipton, R.W. Menninger, T.L. Perry, Richard Falk; special lectures by: Linus Pauling, Eugene Carroll, Daniel Ellsberg and of special interest to members of Science for Peace: the Cruise Missile Report by the B.C. Chapter, Michael Pentz (President of SANA — the U.K. equivalent of Science for Peace) with a lecture followed by a fascinating discussion, and Symposia on parliamentary activities.

PURCHASE: retail price $7.00 including postage from PSR/BC, 2158 W. 12th Avenue, Vancouver or in Toronto for $6.00 from the Science for Peace office in University College (LIC 45) or at the Wednesday Seminars. (EF)

84.09 Nuclear Winter

The recent report for Science magazine entitled “Global Atmospheric Consequences of Nuclear War”, the authors, R.P. Turco, O.B. Toon, T.P. Ackerman, J.B. Pollack and C. Sagon, have focussed attention on the prospect that the consequences of a nuclear exchange (even a “modest” one of 100 megatons detonated over urban centres) may well be extinction of the human and many other higher order species. If World War IV envisaged by some military planners is to be fought, it is possible that the only combatants would be insects.

Dust and smoke will diffuse over the whole surface of the globe and cause temperatures to plunge for several months to levels that would wipe out enormous stocks of vegetation and animal life, a daunting enough, prospect even without high levels of radiation, infernos, blast and noxious gases. The popular press have picked up the issue (New York Daily News Parade, October 30, 1983; Globe & Mail, December 17, 1983), and it appears that the message is getting through to policy makers, especially as Soviet and Western scientists are not at variance.

Scientists must now press ahead with informed lobbying to underline the urgency of the situation. Science for Peace and Physicians for Social Responsibility are keeping each other informed and hope to undertake joint initiatives. In the meantime, there are two PSR events members of S4P should be aware of:

Friday, March 9, 1984 “Physicians’ Responsibility in a Nuclear Age” Delta Meadowvale Inn, Mississagua (sponsored by the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences group)

Saturday, May 5, 1984 “Human Survival” Manitoba (contact Dr. Ian Carr, president, PSR at (204) 237-2707)

The first event will not focus on nuclear winter. However, the second will attempt to establish the credibility of the nuclear winter model. In due course, PSR would like to compile a paperback book on the model.

84.10 More Science For Peace Business

Science For Peace Is Now A Registered Charity!

We reproduce [in the pdf edition — web.ed] a copy of the Notification of Registration issued by Revenue Canada Taxation. We are indebted to Clarkson Gordon, Chartered Accountants, for their help in preparing our submission for registration as a charity.

Charitable Status Means:

  1. We are now able to embark on a serious fund-raising campaign. We shall be approaching foundations, corporations and individuals for financial support for our educational activities and research projects.
  2. Donations by well-heeled members of Science for Peace over and above the annual subscription will be tax-deductible. It is not yet clear what fraction (all ?) of the annual subscription will be tax-deductible.
  3. Activities of Science for Peace should be in accordance with the stated OBJECTIVES:
    1. to conduct and encourage educational and research activities relating to the dangers of war waged with weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons;
    2. to encourage scientific activities directed towards peace, and to urge the publication and dissemination of the findings of peace research;
    3. to do such things as are incidental and necessary to the attainment of the above objects.

84.11 Nominations For Board Of Directors

Members are invited to submit nominations for the Board of Directors of Science for Peace before March 1 to:

Professor Jon Cohen, Scarborough College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4 CANADA.

We remind members that half the Board comes up for re-election at the Annual General Meeting. (EF)

Science for Peace Bulletin | ISSN 1925-170X (Print) | ISSN 1925-1718 (Online)