SfP Bulletin February 1987

Full text version of all articles from SfP Bulletin February 1987. A PDF edition is also available.

President's Corner

The concern about the Arms Race still rates high in Canadian public opinion as shown by the poll run by Maclean’s in its new Year’s edition. It is of some interest that in reply to the hypothetical question, “Red or dead?” 40% of those polled opted for “dead” and 50% chose “red”.

The failure of the USA to respond to the Soviet moratorium on testing, to change their representation or make significant changes in their policy at Geneva continues to draw attention to the unresolved issues left over from Reykjavik.

The fact that US Defence Secretary Weinberger should be urging the deployment of the first stages of SDI “as quickly as possible” while Kampelman, US spokesman in Geneva, alleges that President Reagan stands by his Reykjavik pledge not to deploy Star Wars for at least 10 years, shows that the arms control policies of the US are still out of control. The immediate issue seems to be whether the USA will irrevocably commit itself to S.D.I. this year in the budget before the Congress.

The failure of the USA to resolve such fundamental differences makes it all the more important that Canada define its position on the major arms control issues such as SDI, the test ban, cruise missile testing, etc. The Liberal Party convention of Nov., 1986, passed a series of resolutions for Canadian initiatives on a comprehensive test ban, making Canada a nuclear weapons free zone, an end to cruise missile testing. On the initiative of Mel Hurtig of the Council of Canadians, a meeting has been arranged with John Turner to discuss these resolutions. The meeting will take place in Ottawa in early February and I am included among those to meet with Mr. Turner.

I have received an invitation from the College Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean in Quebec to a conference April 10-11 to examine the whole concept of the pros and cons of a Canadian policy of neutrality in relation to the alliance system.

— George Ignatieff

Notes

IN MEMORIAM: PROF. EDWARD D. MAHER, Faculty of Administration, University of New Brunswick, member of the New Brunswick Chapter.

PERSONS AWARD WINNER,SfP MEMBER BETSY CARR at the awards ceremony with Prime Minister Mulroney and Alan Redway, M.P. The award went to Mrs. Carr for her work in women’s causes.

She has worked on the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, on the board of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, the Voice of Women and the Canadian Federation of University Women.

Recently she has traveled widely for the peace movement — to East and West Germany, the US and Britain. She is active in a number of peace groups — “really my big interest now.”

The Persons Awards, awarded annually by the Governor General of Canada, commemorate the 1929 recognition by the British Privy Council of the right of Canadian women to be considered “persons” and therefore could be appointed to the Senate. Canada’s Supreme Court had previously held that women were not “persons”.

FROM THE MINUTES OF THE JANUARY 27 BOARD MEETING:

Research director Paul LeBlond, Franklyn Griffiths and the national executive will constitute a working group for the Conference on the Arctic. The emerging scenario for the conference presents a tri-partite look at problems of the Arctic,legal, technological and environmental, and political, to be developed by Lawyers for Social Responsibility, Science for Peace and Council of Canadians respectively. Favored location is Yellowknife, NWT. Discussions will be launched with other Arctic-rim countries as soon as a definite determination of feasibility is made.

A meeting of the working group on International Monitoring and Verification will be held Feb. 19 at 4 pm in Rm. 1203, McLennan Labs at the University of Toronto.

NEXT MEETING OF THE BOARD: Monday, Feb. 23, supper at 6:30 at the Rapoports’, 38 Wychwood Park in Toronto. Call (416)656-5496 or the national office.

Newsworthy

Israel Unger, president of the New Brunswick Chapter, has started a term as Dean of Science at the University of New Brunswick.

On February 25 (Room 179, University College, U. of Toronto) Dr. Fred Lowy, member of the Advisory Council of CPPNW, and Dr. Ian Hastie, past-president of the Toronto Chapter of CPPNW, will discuss the USSR from the perspective of an Oct.physicians’ tour.

Anatol Rapoport (Toronto), Visiting Hooker Distinguished Professor at McMaster University this year, delivered the first of three public lectures on the topic of Perspectives on the Study of Conflict January 14. The first lecture centered on the Psychological Perspective. The second lecture on the Ideological Perspective will be given February 4, and LI,: third, the Strategic Perspective, will be given March 4. Place: Ewart Angus 1A6, the McMaster Health Science Centre. Time: 7:30pm.

The U.S.S.R. has recently warned the Americans that upon the next U.S. nuclear test it will abandon the moratorium it has observed unilaterally since August, 1985. And the next American test is scheduled to take place within a month.

The reverberations from that explosion in Nevada could shake the negotiating table in Geneva.

— Adam Bromke Toronto Star, January 29

Betsy Carr has made available a report of Kim Besly’s researches into the illnesses and biological hazards for women protesting at Greenham Common in the peace camp. Included in the material is a contribution from Rosalie Bertell.

Peter Wills, Dept. of Physics, University of Auckland, NZ, proposes addition of the following endorsement at the end of papers published by scientists who oppose nuclear arms:

It is the author’s wish that no agency should ever derive military benefit from the publication of this paper. Authors who cite this work in support of their own are requested to qualify similarly the availability of their results.

The endorsement was approved by the editor and first appeared in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

The endorsement and a report on the expansion of US naval operations at Subic Bay in the Philippines were made available to interested SfP members by Arthur Forer (York).Copies can be made by the national office.

Eric Fawcett (Toronto) reports that Wills received NZ$2000 from the French payment to New Zealand after the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. The money will finance SANA-NZ research.

Focus on Education

Two letters to the editor in this issue respond to last month’s editorial. Carl Goldberg (See “Letters”) points out that in order to wean scientists and young people aspiring to careers in science away from war research it is not enough to call attention to opportunities to do peace — oriented research. Some couldn’t care less about how the results of their research will be used; others are attracted to weapons research by the sense of power it confers; others believe that in contributing to their country’s war potential they are doing their patriotic duty.

None of these points can be disputed. But it is also true that some scientists continue to do war research and some young people, beginning their scientific careers, go into war research because they see no other opportunities. For these, information about other opportunities may make a difference. An opportunity made a difference to Peter Hagelstein — designer of the X-ray laser — a key component of SDI (cf. W. Broad, The Star Warriors). Hagelstein was reported to have left the Livermore Laboratory to work on medical applications of lasers at the Mass. Institute of Technology.

Spreading information about existing opportunities for doing peace oriented research can create new opportunities. The more senior scientists choose peace-oriented in preference to war-oriented research, the more young people will follow their example. No effort can be expected to be sufficient for stopping war research or for slowing down or reversing the arms race. But in order to achieve these goals, effort is necessary. Small efforts have a way of adding up to sufficient ones.

Probably the best investment of effort to wean science from its dependence on the war system is to become involved with young people — the scientists of the future. Prizes will be awarded for distinguished peace-oriented projects. These fairs provide excellent learning opportunities for young people and can help to bring into focus possibilities for peace-oriented research. The January Bulletin carried a story about the fairs and a list of the 70 regional fair directors who are seeking judges from among SfP members. Copies of the list are available from the SfP office or from the National Youth Science Foundation. As we help these opportunities grow and become more salient, the attractiveness of war-oriented research as an ego trip may pall and the justification for doing war research as a “patriotic duty” may be more critically scrutinized.

Rob Dickinson (See “Letters”) writes about an effort to involve Canadian firms and universities in “high tech” research — via participating in and being funded by the U.S. SDI. There is a literature table in Terminal I at Toronto International Airport graced by a sign that reads, “MAKE BEAM WEAPONS OR LEARN RUSSIAN.” The young man staffing the table greets passersby with the question, “Are you for a strong defence?” His spiel includes the revelation that the Russians have been working on Star Wars since 1963, and that when both the US and the USSR spread the SDI shield, nuclear weapons will become obsolete. Asked about the advantages of this approach over simple abolition of nuclear weapons, he replies, “What ‘about Khomeini?” The literature he peddles is the output of the US Central Intelligence Agency (Intelligence Review-ERI) and of the public relations department of the now far-flung SDI conglomerate. There are no Canadian publications on the table. An important task for Science for Peace is that of counteracting such demagogy and disinformation.

A Baha’i sponsored ad in the Toronto subways reads, “Peace is inevitable.” This may or may not be so. But if it is a possibility, we should be preparing for it.

— Anatol Rapoport

Letters

Holmdel, N.J., U.S.A.

I would like to point out that 1987 is the year of Erwin Schr8dinger’s centenary. His oneness philosophy, very clearly presented in his book My View of the World (Ox Bow Press, Woodbridge, Conn.) could help our cause in a powerful way Enclosed, a letter-essay, “In Search of Schr8dinger’s Cat, 1987”.

— Michel Duguay (Available from the Bulletin.)

Burlington, Ontario Re: “Greenpeace Action” (January)

The principles of Science for Peace, however impractical in an imperfect world,are certainly morally admirable. The credibility of your group, such as it is, is severely strained, if not destroyed by its “Greenpeace affiliation”. I urge you to desist in acting as a vehicle for these “crazies”.

— Wm. I Marcovitch

Editor’s note: Science for Peace does not “affiliate” with any other groups, a long standing policy of which Mr. Marcovitch and perhaps other members are not aware.

Mesa, Ariz., U.S.A.

Do budding scientists really not know about peaceful research career opportunities? They might well not be troubled by “where they come down”,as Tom Lehrer used to sing about Werner von Braun. They might be interested only in the lucrative careers and the exciting challenge which weapons research offers. They might also actually relish the thought of producing weapons of mass destruction because of the sense of power it gives them. They may feel that they are serving the cause of democracy and peace by contributing to the strength of the west against a communist system which they believe to be evil.

For such people more information about peace research opportunities won’t be very effective. If you can reach these future scientists on a moral level, more power to you.

— Carl Goldberg Fredericton, N.B.

I am in my 93rd year and a subscriber to many organizations for peace. I am a biologist and served in the Canadian army 1914-19. At retirement I was director, Forest Biology Lab, Science Service, Maritime Region.

— Dr. R.E. Balch

Waterloo, Ontario

Ray Gibson, a consultant to the Ontario government,conducted a recent seminar at UW on “Defence and High Technology Manufacturing Towards the Year 2000”. He equated “high tech” and “defence” and encouraged Ontario high tech companies to seek defence contracts- particularly SDI contracts — from the US government. After acknowledging that the Canadian government has chosen not to participate in SDI and that most Ontario firms are too small to get directly involved, he strongly recommended the formation of a consortium involving the university and private companies.

I think there are significant gains to be made by well informed members of organizations like SfP attending such seminars and asking questions that provoke thought among those just in it for fun and/or money. But most normal people find it extremely difficult to listen to such seminars,let alone get involved. Perhaps we could have a forum in the Bulletin on “How to Turn into an Emotionless Artificially Intelligent Machine for an Hour or Two”.

— Rob Dickinson
Grad Student Rep SfP Waterloo

Edmonton, ALTA

Thank you for the work you have already ‘done on the possibility of a polar nation conference. We are excited about the idea and will be examining it in more detail in the coming weeks. We know we have mobilized a great deal of interest in Alberta and we look forward to initiating more activity.

(To George Ignatieff:) Thank you for your inimitable presentation at the Inquiry. You have more impact on educating people for peace than you probably will ever know.

— Lois Hammond
— Irene Clay

Media Watch

Once US submarines are armed with Trident-2 missiles, currently being tested, they will become first-strike delivery vehicles undermining the deterrent balance.

(Globe and Mail, Jan. 16, 1987)

In matters of a comprehensive test ban treaty, the arms race in outer space,an anti-ballistic missile treaty, radical cuts in nuclear forces, nuclear weapons proliferation and possibly a chemical weapons ban, Canada’s position is significantly closer to that of the USSR than it is to that of the US.

— Lawrence Martin
(Globe and Mail, Jan. 26, 1987)

Marcus Chown (New Scientist, Dec 44, 1986) examines doubts over the severity of temperature drops in Nuclear Winter studies expressed by George Rathgens (M.I.T.), Stephen Schneider and Stanley Thompson (Center for Atmospheric Research) and Joyce Penner (Lawrence Livermore). Sir Frederick Warner (Chairman of SCOPE) and Richard Turco (Carl Sagan’s colleague) do not consider the new calculations in any way dispose of the essential problem of Nuclear Winter.

IDEAS on CBC Feb. 23 through 27:

  • 3-Mile Island, Counting the Cost
  • A dramatization from eye-witness accounts
  • From Idaho to Iraq
  • From Chalk River to Chernobyl
    The first nuclear accident was at Chalk River in 1952.
  • Darlington to Decommissioning

Lloyd Axworthy (Toronto Star, 22 Dec.,1986) draws our attention to the recommended demilitarization of the Canadian North by a joint Senate-Commons Committee with all-party membership.

The N.Y. Times reports from Moscow (Nov. 2, 1986) that France and the USSR will conduct a joint month long space flight in 1988.

Bookshelf

Jean-Guy Lavoie, Consequences ecologiques et humaines de la guerre, (plaidoyer pour la prevention d’un holocauste nucleaire); La militarisation du nord Quebecois; and Une alliance contre la guerre. The three papers are available from Dr. Lavoie, FOSEM, C.P.9210, Ste-Foy, P.Q. G1V 4B1 or from the Bulletin.

Andrea Demchuk, The Risk of Accidental Nuclear War, Proceedings of the conference of the same title, Vancouver, May, 1986. Published by CIIPS as Report No. 3. Available free from CIIPS, 307 Gilmour St., Ottawa, K2P PP7.

Carol Cohn, ‘Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals.’ To be published this year in Thinking About Women, Militarism, And The Arms Race, Eds: Jean Bethke Elshtain and Sheila Tobias, by Rowman and Allenheld, Totowa, NJ. SfP member Cohn is at the Center for Psychological Studies in the Nuclear Age, an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School.

William Klassen, Science and Religion: Partners for Peace, a 1986 University College (Toronto) Lecture in Peace Studies.

Chandler Davis, Sociobiology’s Claim to Explain Humanity. This article has appeared in the Annales-Economies, Societes, Civilisations, 1981, No.4, 531-571:“La sociobiologie et son explication de l’humanite”. Both versions are available from the Bulletin.

Phyllis Creighton, Brief to the Interfaith Hearings on Nuclear Issues — original manuscript plus the Executive Summary, Highlights of the Presentation and Pertinent Comments. The Brief is concerned with the ethical considerations of the nuclear arms race.

What Peace Means To Me is a collection of essays by recipients of the Order of Canada and the winning submissions to the national essay and poster competitions which were features of the International Year of Peace in Canada. Published by and available from the Department of External Affairs,Lester B. Pearson Bldg.,125 Sussex Dr., Ottawa KlA 0G2.

Penney Kome & Patrick Crean, Eds: Peace — A Dream Unfolding, published to celebrate the international year of peace, 1986. A Somerville House Book, Ltd., 24 Dinnick Crescent, Toronto M4N 1L5. Available at most local bookstores in Canada.

Canadian Foreign Policy Series Addresses given by Douglas Roche, Ambassador for Disarmament, in the USSR: Moscow, Dec. 9, Kiev, Dec. 11, and Leningrad, Dec. 13, 1986. Available from the Dept. of External Affairs.

From National Defence Hdqtrs, Ottawa KlA 0K2, A Review of Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Activities in 1986.

“The hyper-selling of ‘Star Wars’ has gone to the point of covering up scientific failure in a way that endangers the honesty of research,” writes Flora Lewis in a Nov. 1986 column in the NY TIMES. “The wilful distortion of research is a scandal reminiscent of Stalin’s support for Trofim Lysenko’s phony theories of genetics because they were politically pleasing. The result set Soviet biology back a generation.”

This excellent article, which should not be missed, is available from the Bulletin. — Brydon Gombay

Floyd Rudmin, Anti-War Psychologists: August Forel, a short biography.

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