SfP Bulletin November 1993

Full text version of all articles from SfP Bulletin November 1993. A PDF edition is also available.

President's Message

By the time this reaches you Canada will have a new government, one that because of its huge majority is likely to last until 1998. The peace agenda to 1998 is enormous. All kinds of negative trends in society must be opposed and reversed. Something must be done about the presently increasing violence, about the deteriorating environment, and about the incredible wastage in current weapons production, not to mention the damage done by those weapons wherever they are used. Something will have to be done about the huge problem of systematic unemployment. I call on the membership of Science for Peace to assist the Executive in formulating its recommendations to the new Government of Canada, and to help us resume the close contacts we once developed and maintained in the Trudeau years. This is a job for you, not just for the Executive.

From the Editor

Not all readers may know that Science for Peace has a regular section in Peace Magazine. Articles published therein have been chosen for their relevance to our concerns, and often deal at more length with topics already touched upon in this Bulletin. In the September/October issue, which you have received along with the Bulletin, we have articles on the World Court Project, on monitoring chemical and biological weapons, and on converting a war economy into one geared to peace.

Our readers will be interested to hear that Tim Boychuk has gone to British Columbia to continue his studies. Tim served as financial advisor for Science for Peace, and provided invaluable assistance in the production of the Bulletin. We shall miss him very much, and we wish him every success.

Once again I would remind you that your contributions to the Bulletin will always be welcome.

We wish you all an abundant harvest.

In Fond Memory: Wilson Head

We deeply regret to announce the death of Wilson Head, emeritus professor of Sociology at York University, and throughout his long life a fighter for racial equality and justice. Wilson Head was a highly valued member of Science for Peace, and more than once a member of the Toronto Chapter executive. We shall miss his gentleness, his devotion to peace, his tenacity in pursuing what he believed in, and his great wisdom. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his wife, Sandy, and to his children.

A more detailed obituary has already appeared in the Globe and Mail.

Disarmament and Military News

Ottawa: 26 Oct. 1993.

Three new members have been appointed to the Federal environmental assessment panel, which was set up in 1986 to review military flying activities in Labrador and Quebec. In 1990 the panel completed its review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submitted by the Department of National Defence and issued a deficiency statement identifying the need for more information in the EIS. The Federal Environment Assessment Review Office (FEARO) now states that there is $300,000 available under their public participant funding program, to assist participants in commenting on the revised EIS, and preparing for and participating in public hearings.

Anyone interested in taking part in this review should contact Ghislaine Kerry, Manager, Participant Funding Program, Federal Environmental review Office, 13th floor, Fontaine Building, 200 Sacre-Coeur Blvd., Hull KlA 0H3. Tel (collect) 819-953-0179, FAX 819-994-1469.

Remembrance Day

Not that it is not enough – to remember;
it is too much.

The family
picnics in Normandy
many years after the first Great War
when we remembered
sitting around craters – shell holes – yes, they hadn’t filled them in
but the mud had
turned into grass with
time.

The Menin Gate at
Ypres with its thousands of
names of Canadian dead among
too many others;
Long lists imprinted in the
mind of a
child of seven, how much more
deeply engraved for the
parents.

Massed graves in Leningrad;
quiet, say no more.

Remember the Vietnamese woman attempting to
save her
child. They
shot her in the
spine. She died.
but not before living the
shrieking agony of
all past tortures
through the inquisition
up to this
day. You
can’t forget that
woman – embedded in time and in mind.
That was the time which
brought me the question:
“If You’d asked me…”

Who is God if it is not ourselves that must
do Hir work

D. P., 11 November 1991

Working Group on Ethical Considerations in Scholarship and Science

EXECUTIVE:

Chair: C.C. (Kelly) Gotlieb

Secretary: Ken Burkhardt

Treasurer: Eric Fawcett

Research Director: Craig Summers

Members-at large: Colin Soskolne, Jim Prentice

PURPOSE: To promote the adoption of ethical codes and guidelines in scientific, engineering, and other societies, and to encourage mechanisms to make them effective in practice.

CO-SPONSORS: Scientific and professional societies will be invited to co-sponsor the Working Group, including in particular the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Science for Peace is the parent organization.

PILOT PROJECT: The Working Group undertook as its first task to make a comparison of the Elements of Codes of Ethics enunciated in the The Toronto Resolution (TTR) and with the codes of the 70 Ontario organizations previously compiled by the Research Director. We intend then to approach the individual scientific, scholarly and professional organizations with the results of our survey, and point out constructively ways in which their existing codes might be made more comprehensive and effective. In due course we hope to extend our work by considering organizations in North America, and international organizations, and also by approaching individual scientists and scholars (see Note a).

Notes:

a. Mark Frankl of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) informed Colin Soskolne that his Committee on Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law is embarking on a major project to publish in a series of volumes codes of ethics of scientific and engineering societies of North America. His letter to Executive Officers of such societies and a short questionnaire are appended (A). It was noted that this survey will provide the data-base for the eventual extension of our survey, for which the present Ontario survey is a pilot project.

b. “Accountability in Research”, a journal published by Gordon and Breach, is publishing a paper entitled “Working Group on Ethical Considerations in Scholarship and Science”. The Toronto Resolution (Preamble, Elements of Codes of Ethics, Genesis) will thus be available in a referenced journal. [see the final version The Toronto Resolution on this site]

Colin Soskolne, while on his short-term assignment with the World Health Organization (WHO), has been promoting TTR by encouraging that the 12 principles be included in a textbook (in development) on Environmental Epidemiology. He is integrating the principles into enviroepidemiology training materials, and will ensure that TTR is provided to the CIONS (Council of International Organizations on Medical Sciences) group at WHO.

(Appendices A and B are available from the secretary on request.)

Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament

The Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament is a national non-governmental organization for peace sponsored by people’s organization and prominent public figures from various nationalities and sectors in China. It was established in 1985 with 24 affiliated social bodies.

The Association aims at working together with the people of the world to strive for opposing arms race, achieving disarmament, preventing a world war and safeguarding world peace.

The Association gives publicity to and conducts education on peace in various forms among the masses.

The Association establishes contacts, organizes exchanges and carries out cooperation with nongovernmental organizations, research institutes and personages of all countries that stand for peace and disarmament.

The Association’s decision-making organ is the joint meeting of member organizations. The Association has a president and 14 vice-presidents. The secretary-general assists the president and vice-presidents in their work. The General Office of the Association is responsible for day-to-day work.

The Association gets its funds from contributions by member organizations and other sources.

I visited the spacious offices of the organization at No.2-A, Wanshou Road, in a good neighbourhood of Beijing, just off the main boulevard, Chang’an, and about two km from Tianenmen Square. I had an interesting 1 1/2 hour discussion with the Secretary-General, Ms Cao Xiaobing, and her personal secretary, Ms Chen Huaifan, who edits the English-language edition of their monthly publication, “Peace”. Both spoke excellent English, and Cao Xiaobang, who gave me a brief outline of the current policies of the organization, was open in response to my questions and flexible in discussion, with some exceptions noted below.

It is noteworthy however that these policies are essentially identical to those of the Chinese government, as described by Premier Li Peng, in the then current (June 1993) issue of “Peace”. Cao Xiaobing spoke of establishing a “new peaceful international order”, and was especially concerned about continuing U.S. hegemony. A matter of topical concern was the threat of U.S. sanctions against China for delivering M11 missiles to Pakistan. She asserted that China had reduced its arms sales to developing countries, and that China’s peaceful intentions were evident in view of the substantial reduction in the size of the army in recent years.

I did not pursue the human rights question other than to tell her that Science for Peace members, like many others in the West, are deeply concerned about the situation in Tibet. She denied systematic human rights abuse, and said that the government in exile (she did not use that term) led by the Dalai Lama was a feudal theocracy which itself would suppress human rights. I told her also of my work as Secretary of the Canadian Committee of Scientists and Scholars, which involves writing to the Chinese government leaders on behalf of prisoners of conscience, but she did not even want to see an example of a recent letter that I produced.

We agreed that population increase and environmental degradation were grave problems for China. But she showed little interest in a publication of the Joint Program of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the University College Peace and Conflict Studies Program on “Environmental Change as a Source of Economic Losses in China” (by Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba) and “Imminent Political Conflicts Arising from China’s Environmental Crises” (by Jack Goldstone of Stanford University), though I told her that I had found these two essays the most provocative I had read about contemporary China.

We discussed the possibility of a delegation from the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament visiting Canada. I told her that I would look into the possibility of funding such a visit, and told her that it would involve other organizations, Project Ploughshares, VANA, CPPNW, WFC, etc. She was most interested in these organizations and I said I would ask them to send their literature.

Boomerangs

During the Afghan War the Americans delivered a thousand Stinger Rockets with a value of 25 million dollars to the anti-communist Mujaheddin fighters.Now their secret service is trying to buy back the ones that still remain – because of their fear of international terrorists who could use them to carry out attacks on commercial flights. The CIA has offered a reward of 55 million dollars for the rockets. This case reveals, in detail, the fatal logic of weapons trade in general.During the Cold War the two superpowers generously supplied the third world with weapons. Somalia should put us all in a reflective mood. It was the weapons deliveries (originally from the East, later from the West) that made the War of the Clans so horrifying. Saddam Hussein too used weapons from both suppliers to attack Kuwait.

However, the deliveries continue. In 1992 the USA exported military goods costing almost 14 Billion Dollars to the third world; the Federal Republic of Germany managed to supply 700 Million dollars worth. It is as if these developing countries had no more urgent need and as if getting the rockets back were simple. Those who sell weapons sell potential boomerangs.

[This is a rough translation of a brief editorial comment by Publisher Dr. Theo Sommer, which appeared in Die Zeit, International Edition, 6 August 1993]

The US Military Budget for 1994

I happened to hear a comment from a Canadian discussant in a TV broadcast recently, to the effect that he was delighted the US military budget was to be reduced. For next year it is to be $261 billion, several percent less than it was, but only about a billion less than President Clinton asked for. Congress only managed to whittle it down Clinton’s request by about 0.4%.

As someone who has witnessed 20 budget cuts in 23 consecutive years at an Ontario University I can tell you that the first few cuts don’t affect the important programs. You learn to eliminate the wastage; then, if the cuts continue, you consolidate a bit, and later you may have to cut the least important other things. By inference one can predict that, with this enormous budget, the US military will still be able to carry on a tremendous program of arms development as well as keeping their very powerful forces deployed anywhere they choose across the globe. The cuts will make little difference. $261 billion is an obscenely large sum to be spent on the military, especially now. Unlike the panellist on the TV show, I am not reassured.

Torture and Other Gender Issues

Pet Cleto is with the Philippine Solidarity Group.

The gender issue is a reality in the state’s torture of politicized women. This is a fact specific—very concretely a constant threat—to women in militarized counties of the so-called Third World. Almost unknown to most (for the lack of a better term) First World women, it is a key concept to an understanding of an urgency of feminist issues among women so superficially tagged in the West as “women of colour”. (Re colour: is white not a colour?)

Speaking publicly for the first time about her torture two decades ago by the military, ex-political detainee Raquel Edralin-Tiglao said before Toronto audiences: “The politicized woman is tortured because she is a woman.” Reiterating at a Philippine – Solidarity Group forum the realizations she shared as Philippine delegate to the November 1992 CRIAW (Canadian Research Institute for the International Advancement of Women) confab, she fortified feminist analyses from many other societies with repressive governments.

It is clear to such women that their torture is intentionally done to increase their sense of being victims of a society that looks down upon women. The military, true son of the society it is part of, tortures women and then blames them for “provoking” all the violence that was turned against them. This torture added to the military torture—and all state-sponsored violence-wielded so ruthlessly, attaches stigma to being a victim. “The tendency of women-victims is to be silent about their torture,” which Raquel pointed out is precisely what the military wants to happen, since military strategists know how women are brought up—or caged up—in society. Currently the Director of the Women’s Crisis Centre in Manila, Raquel is also familiar with the same tendency to silence among rape and battering victims of non-members of the military.

With politicized women the shame of being a victim is further overlaid with guilt. Guilt for women is another culturally-created obstacle that bogs down their development. For women ex-detainees, it becomes intense. Not only are they seen as having “provoked” their own torture by daring to be political; they are also held responsible for the torture of other persons. Raquel’s torture included being made to witness the torture of her fellow-detainees. Being privy to the breakdown of the majority of the torture victims, she became a victim of incessant and helpless worry for them. Looking back, she believes that her greatest torture was this intense self-blame for the suffering of others.

Raquel observed that in militarily-repressed societies, state-sponsored violence has been insufficiently documented. To begin with,such enormous miasmas of stigma, guilt and silence surround the torture of women, how can documents ever be sufficient? It will take a long period of healing, sharing with these women, empowerment dynamics.

We can even go way back to the Japanese Occupation and ask the same questions about women: why is there meagre documentation of our own Filipina “comfort women”?

And what about the social cost of the U.S. military bases to the women of our country? The prostitution of thousands of Filipina women, and the resultant degradation of all Filipina women both in the country and globally, have to be defined fully as a steep cost to Philippine society—which we are still paying.

The cost of international trade on women also has to be accounted for. International tourism, accelerating along with international trade, has increased the prostitution initiated by the R&R thrust of the U.S. bases. Impoverished Filipinas, their labour already devalued by an export-oriented and import-based economy, have no substantial choice in this kind of situation. And then, there’s the transformation of many Filipinas into migrant workers, and mainly, domestic workers. As such, they’ve had to suffer physical and sexual violence—and racial stereotyping. Suddenly, in a strange country which they had been trained to look at as paradise, they have had to tackle the many-faceted expressions of sexism, combined with racial and class prejudice.

Who is to account for all high costs demanded of women living in societies where they have been so sweetly described as rocking the cradle, and thus ruling? This is perhaps worthy common ground for women in Canada to work together on.

Then we could quickly go to the hows, before militarization and wars make all of that impossible.

Ethical Decision Making: Computer Demonstration on Nuclear Weapons Launching

People who teach in areas related to politics, ethics and defence policy may be interested to know of a computer program that is available for public domain use from a VAX mainframe. This interactive program is a simulation of nuclear missile (ICBM) launch procedures. It is written in Pascal, and includes a timer program to measure the decision times of participants acting as missile launch operators under different instructional conditions. The …program _runs from a single account, but it is set up for joint operation by partners working at two different terminals. Numerous users can access the program simultaneously, so whole classes can run it working in groups of two.

Some content on intercontinental ballistic missiles is included, and an explanation of MIRVed missiles (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles). The program allows role playing of nuclear command and control procedures, giving students ,first-hand experience with issues related to nuclear defence. Small experiments can be carried out on the effects of different types of decision information (ethical, rational, superior orders) in political and military applications.

The program was written as a demonstration for a course titled Political Psychology: Explorations in Militarism and Applied Ethics. Through the telnet system for bitnetiinternet sites, the program should be accessible internationally, and as close as the nearest computer terminal. It also works very well as a participatory demonstration after viewing the short National Film Board documentary Push Button Weapons. For further information or to obtain the telnet address and account number to access the program, contact Dr. Craig Summers, Department of Psychology, Laurentian University, Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, Ontario P3E 2C6 Canada. E-mail: csummers@nickel.laurentian.c Fax: (705) 675-4823.a

Professor Summers has also prepared a more advanced simulation based on environmental problems and the dilemmas we face related to sustainable development. It is an interactive, multimedia simulation, including animated graphics, colour movies cm-screen, voiced instructions, and interactive data-collection. This program is available on two disks, along with installation instructions, in the Science for Peace office.

Short Reviews

The Trade Trap (Poverty and the Global Commodity Markets) by Belinda Coote, Oxfam Publications, U.K. 1992 paperback, obtainable through Bridgehead in Ottawa.
This is an up-to-date, comprehensive exposition of the stranglehold that the first-world trading blocs exert on the third-world producers of primary commodities, such as coffee, sugar and cotton.. These producers are urged to produce more in order to help pay off their country’s debt to first-world governments and bankers (probably incurred through the purchase of armaments -although this is not mentioned.); however the more they produce, the lower the price falls on the international market — hence the title: “The Trade Trap”.
By focusing on the plight of selected individuals in a number of the developing countries, this well-informed writer brings the rather tedious subject of global trading patterns into life as she call for Fair Trade and advocates the establishment of alternative trade and technology transfer.
A very honest and worthwhile book!
U.S. Hands Off the Mid-East! (Cuba Speaks out at the United Nations), ed. Mary-Alice Waters (Pathfinder Press) 126pp. $16 at the Pathfinder Bookstore, Bloor St. W. at Ossington, Toronto.
This small book shows how Cuba stood virtually alone at the U.N. in urging that reason prevail during the debates leading up to the Gulf conflict. The speeches of Ricardo Alarcon, the Cuban representative on the Security Council, were not reported in the USA or Canada. The Cuban statements made and make sense and deserve to be heard.
Highly recommended.
The Fire this Time, Ramsey Clark, 1992, Thunder’s Mouth Press, 54 Greene St., Suite 4S, New York, N.Y. 10013. $21.95 U.S., Hard cover.
A scathing indictment of U.S. moves to inveigle Iraq into launching an attack on Kuwait in order to provide the USA with the excuse to destroy Iraq. In February 1991 Clark journeyed across war-ravaged Iraq during the thuggery of Desert Storm, thus procuring the proof required to lay war crimes charges against George Bush and others – charges which U.S. courts refused to hear.
Highly recommended.
The Closest of Enemies, Wayne S. Smith 1987. Penguin Books, 2861 John St., Markham, Ont. L3R 1B4.
An account by the U.S. diplomat who headed the U.S. Special Interests Section in Havana from 1957 to 1982 until his disillusioned resignation from the diplomatic service, finally recognizing that his country’s policy makers were implacably intent on maintaining a vindictive vendetta against Cuba. The book provides a rare and useful insight into relations of which we know little. Makes good and interesting reading.
The Caribbean – Survival, Struggle and Sovereignty 1988, EPIC (Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean) 1470 Irving St. N.W., Washington D.C. 20010.
A valuable, comprehensive insight into the history and development of the region, including outside influence and control (mainly U.S.). Referring to Cuba as an example, on p.50 the following paragraph is illuminating: “Pre-revolutionary Havana glittered with expensive hotels and casinos, many of them, like the luxurious Havana Riviera, joint ventures between Lansky’s syndicate and the Batista government. This was the Havana North Americans knew. In the countryside, Cuba was a stagnant backwater, where there was one doctor for every 2000 people; where less than 10% of dwellings had electricity and only 15% had running water; where only 4% ate meat regularly, and only one family in 10 could give their children milk to drink.”
A valuable and balanced book.
Year 501 – The Conquest Continues, Noam Chomsky 1993, $19.95 Paperback. Black Rose Books, Montreal.
Vintage Chomsky! Provides a sweeping overview of historical practices in the western world from the time of Columbus until the present time, wherein, in the eyes of the rulers, the rascal rabble multitude in their own countries and elsewhere had to be firmly kept in their place and fed with “necessary illusions” and oversimplifications. In his customary manner, Chomsky draws parallels between the genocide of colonial times and the murder, avarice, and exploitation associated with modern-day imperialism.
A mind-expanding book.
Beyond the Gulf War, Edited by Baha AbuLaban and M. Ibrahim Alladin, MRF Publications, P.O.Box 8386, Station F, Edmonton Alberta T6H 4W6.
The book is really a selection of essays by scholars, including James A. Graf and Stephen Lewis, and is divided into two parts – Perspectives on the Gulf War and The United Nations after the Gulf War.
Recommended.

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