SfP Bulletin January 1996

Full text version of all articles from SfP Bulletin January 1996. A PDF edition is also available.

Vice-President's Message

Science for Peace can bask in the afterglow of the award of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize to the Pugwash movement and its President, Joseph Rotblat. Both organizations were founded with (1) the realization that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, (2) the determination to see the abolition of nuclear weapons, and, (3) a recognition that scientists have a responsibility to their profession and their world to ensure, both individually and collectively, that the results of their work are used for the betterment of humankind. While the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is of international scope, and our organization is a national organization, SfP and Canada can be proud that Pugwash draws its name from a small fishing village in Nova Scotia where the first Pugwash conference was held.

Science for Peace not only shares many noble goals and approaches with Pugwash, but it also shares members as well. One of SfP’s founding members, John Polanyi, was also the founding chairman of Canadian Pugwash. In December, he travelled to Scandinavia for a second time to attend a Nobel award ceremony (in 1986 he was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry). In Toronto, John joined a dozen or more other joint members of SfP and Canadian Pugwash (representing about a fifth of its Canadian membership) in celebratory symposium for Pugwash organized by SfP.

The award reminds us that, while there has been substantial progress in nuclear disarmament, we are still far from a nuclear weapons free world. The goals which animated the foundation of both organizations need support as much as ever before. Furthermore, as Joseph Rotblat stated in his Nobel address, we must now seek not only the end to nuclear weaponry but also the end to war. For those goals, we will need all the help we can get!

From the Editor

When we consider the international situation as a new year begins we are saddened to see that armed conflict continues throughout the world, most notably at the moment perhaps in Chechnya and Dagestan. Nevertheless we can surely find some cause for cautious optimism. As scientists, we must all be gratified that the 1995 Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. It was heartening also to learn very recently that Canada has joined a number of other countries in imposing a moratorium on the manufacture, export, and use of anti-personnel mines. Most important of all several regions that have been tormented by conflict for years and even decades are now enjoying at least an uneasy peace.

In the waging of the kind of small scale wars which continue to plague humanity, light weapons have played an important and sometimes predominant role. Light weapons are arms that can be carried by an individual or a small vehicle and require no particular technical skill for their use and maintenance. The importance of weapons of this kind, and the difficulties of controlling the traffic in them, have been discussed in a collection of essays recently published by the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences entitled “ Lethal Commerce: The Global Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons” edited by Jeffrey Boutwell, Michael T. Clare and Laura W. Read. This scholarly book provides a valuable overview of a problem that has not yet received the attention that it deserves.

Here are some other recent books that our readers may find interesting:

  • Scorched Earth, by William Thomas. New Society Publications.
  • The Unconscious Civilization: The 1995 CBC Massey Lectures, by John Ralston Saul. Anansi Press.
  • A Million for Peace; The Story of the Peacemaking Fund of the United Church of Canada, by Shirley Farlinger. United Church Publishing House.

We wish everyone peace, prosperity and happiness in 1996.

WILPF China Trip

Science for Peace Executive member Ian Russell and his companion Bruna Nota spent a rewarding month of August on a “Peace Train” trip from Helsinki to Beijing.

The trip was organized by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and included 230 participants (mostly women) active in human rights and peace issues. It involved meeting with peace-oriented women’s groups in seven cities in eastern Europe and Asia as well as travelling through many kilometres of fascinating countryside. The trip ended in Beijing, the site of the Fourth World Conference on Women and nearby to the parallel NGO Forum.

Ian and Bruna have written a couple of articles for Peace Magazine describing their experiences in detail. They have been included in the November-December issue which is available from the Peace Magazine Office at 735 Bathurst Street, Toronto M5S 2R4 (416-533-7581).

The Mines Action Coalition

The Mines Action Coalition,(or Committee), was formed in late 1994 with the general purpose of initiating activities to raise the Canadian public’s awareness of the tragic consequences of the use of anti- personnel landmines in conflicts throughout the world. Four areas of action have been targeted.

The Mines Action Coalition:

  1. Urges the Canadian Government to call for a total ban on the use, production, stockpiling, sale, transfer or export of anti-personnel landmines and the destruction of existing stockpiles.
  2. Recognizes recent Canadian initiatives and calls for additional assistance to multilateral and local humanitarian mine clearance activities. These would include multilateral activities such as support of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre and other UN initiatives, as well as any unilateral activities which Canada may undertake with respect to humanitarian mine clearance.
  3. Requests an immediate Canadian moratorium on the production, export and transfer of landmines, their component parts and related technology, including their export and transfer to the USA.

A steering committee composed of representatives from member organizations of the Coalition has been put in place and a part-time coordinator (Celina Tuttle) was hired. The Committee and the coordinator identify and recommend various lines of action.

The Coalition has been successful in several areas. Recently the Department of Foreign Affairs said the number of letters the government receives on landmines places this issue in the top three areas of concern as expressed by Canadians. A number of MPs have clearly indicated their strong support for Coalition activities and several have drafted, or are drafting, private members bills relating to Coalition objectives. An advisory committee comprised of well-respected Canadians is in regular contact with the Coalition. Interest and support for the Campaign to Ban Landmines grows daily, from South African MPs to Canadian NGOs and high school students. MAC has met with several government officials to date and was represented on the Canadian Delegation to the UN De-mining Conference in July 1995 and to the Vienna Conference in September 1995. The Coalition has prepared and mailed landmine information packages to all Members of Parliament. Information brochures are ready for distribution to the Canadian public. As you may know, in recent months dozens of landmine-related articles, including radio documentaries and interviews, have appeared in the Canadian media. Non-governmental organizations are invited to endorse the objectives of MAC and to join the Campaign. A nominal contribution of $200 includes your organization as a voting member of MAC and as a contact in our information-sharing network.

Recently Andre Ouellet, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that “Canada should lead the world by destroying its own stockpile of landmines and declaring a total ban on the production, export and use of the weapon”. This represents a huge step forward and some credit for this may be given to the vigourous campaign organized by MAC. The Mines Action Committee has set itself an important task and has already accomplished much. I believe the issue of landmines certainly deserves the support of Science for Peace.

Postscript from the Editor: It was announced on January 17 by Mr. Ouellet and Defence Minister David Collenette that Canada has declared a comprehensive unilateral moratorium on the production, export and operational use of anti-personnel land mines.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Fifty Years of Deceit and Self-deception

This Exhibition of Science for Peace protests fifty years of duplicity by the Allied governments over the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The exhibition is of special interest to students, scientists, engineers and historians, and comprises:

  • Near-life-size models of Little Boy and Fat Man, the grotesquely named bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • “Fifty years of nuclear terror”, an exhibit of 10 panels prepared by the War Resisters League, which includes a description of the gutting of the Smithsonian Enola Gay exhibit under pressure from Congress and the American Legion.
  • “Fifty Years of Censorship”, an exhibit of five panels addressing the questions: What is it to be a scientist or engineer after Hiroshima?” and “What is it to be a historian after 50 years of brazen lying, misinformation and partial or delayed release of documents by the Allied governments?”
  • Sample copies of books, including: “The Decision to Drop the Bomb” by Gar Alperowitz, Knopf 1995; :Hiroshima in America: fifty years of denial” by Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell, Grosset/Putnam 1995. ISBN 0-399- 14072-7.

ORGANIZERS:

Dominick Jenkins, graduate student in Philosophy at the University of Toronto, conceived the project and wrote the notes for the brochure;

Peter Shepherd, carpenter and student, made the models and has been responsible for transporting and mounting the Exhibition at the different locations listed below;

Eric Fawcett coordinated the project and is in charge of reservations to show the exhibit.

Genesis of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Project

On the night of Pearl Harbour my father was re-circumcised by the wind- shield of a Wellington bomber. His crew was sent out on a practice run around southern England. He was thrown out onto the snow of Lord Noughfields’s golf course just outside Oxford. It was cold and visibility poor, so he had been doing a stint at a gunner’s post looking out for barrage-balloon wires, and radioing back to the pilot to go left or right so the wings wouldn’t be ripped off. He had just returned to his seat when the pilot announced they had run out of fuel. Only he and the rear gunner survived. His face was so bruised and cut that an old friend of his family from Argentina did not recognize him at first when brought to identify him.

It was probably a good thing that he crashed, as the attrition rate for bombers was high at that time of the war. After six months of convalescence the military command asked him to resume flying bombers, and for the first time in his life he asserted himself, refused, and was put on Spitfires. By then it was fairly safe as there wasn’t much left to shoot down.

I think my father was glad I was in the Peace Movement. Perhaps it was partly to atone for the dozen or so people he thought would have died by bombs dropped from his plane. So when Dominick asked if I wanted to build full-scale models of the two bombs used, what could be more appropriate?

At first I thought of making the core of the Hiroshima bomb using a sono- tube, common for making cylindrical concrete columns, but soon realized it would be too weak. So then I priced spiral duct and asked if it could be ordered. As it was late July the first store’s shop would be on holiday for two weeks, so I called a second. A week later Jenny and I bundled 10 feet of 12” spiral duct on top of her yellow Camero to bring back to my porch/shop. I installed five plywood discs around the duct, wrapped the whole thing with black sheet metal, built plywood fins and a nose using foam-board from an institutional job-site I was on, and voil?, there was the Hiroshima bomb.

For the Nagasaki bomb I went with a fire-engine red 4’ diameter thick high-quality vinyl Italian balloon, painted black with a special vinyl ink. The valve supplied didn’t work to inflate it, so we used an old valve cut from a bicycle tube.

I bought materials for a zig-zag display wall for the War Resistors’ League posters. Then my girlfriend pointed out on Sunday August 6 afternoon that there was not enough time to finish both models and the display wall, so I gave her a roll of wire and duct-tape to make the initial display before all the TV media left. She went down to City Hall with the posters, and got them up so that crowds could look at them. There’s still a pile of lumber decorating my front hall.

Since then, the models have been a hit at Metro Hall, Brock and York. It’s a great work-out getting the 10 1/2’ Hiroshima bomb up stairways, and the 4’ Nagasaki balloon through doorways! If you haven’t come out before, don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to shuttle Canada’s only pair of model nuclear war-heads around from one campus to the next! There’s no life like it! Honest!

Definition of a Radical

paraphrased from Reveille for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky

The Radical is not fooled by shibboleths and facades, but faces issues squarely and does not hide cowardice behind the convenient cloak of rationalization; …refuses to be diverted by superficial problems; …is concerned with fundamental causes rather than manifestations; and concentrates…attack on the heart of the issue; …wants…the creation of a kind of society in which all people’s potentialities could be realized; a world where people could live in dignity, security, …and peace — a world based on a morality of humankind.

They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid.
Micah 4:4.

Nobel Peace Prize 1995 -- Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Movement

Science for Peace organized a celebratory symposium to honour the recipients of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize, namely Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Movement. The symposium was entitled “Celebrating Pugwash and Looking Ahead”. It was held on November 2, 1995 at 4 PM in the Earth Sciences Auditorium on the University of Toronto Campus.

The speakers, all of whom are members of the Pugwash Movement, included:

  • John Polanyi, Nobel Laureate, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto
  • Major-General (ret.) Len Johnson, President of the Canadian Pugwash Committee
  • Eric Fawcett, President of Science for Peace, Department of Physics, University of Toronto
  • David Bell, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
  • John Brencaglia, great-nephew of Cyrus Eaton, the founder of the Pugwash Movement
  • Terry Gardner, Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto
  • Bob Logan, Department of Physics, University of Toronto
  • Derek Paul, Department of Physics, University of Toronto
  • Anatol Rapoport, Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto
  • Abe Rotstein, Department of Economics, University of Toronto
  • Metta Spencer, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto

The speakers saluted Dr. Rotblat and other prominent members of the Pugwash Movement. They also related their experiences in Pugwash and described what it has meant to them. They also indicated future directions for Pugwash in addition to its traditional work in nuclear disarmament and world security. These concerns include the environment, ethnic conflict, transitional economies and the hidden costs of globalization.

The historic dimension of Pugwash was described,including the Einstein- Russell manifesto, the Dagomys declaration on the environment, the philanthropy of Cyrus Eaton and the launch of the movement in Canada in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, at the Cyrus Eaton estate in 1958.

We received greetings from Joseph Rotblat which were read to us by Eric Fawcett, expressing Joseph’s gratitude for our organizing the event. The meeting was a great success and many of the panellists expressed the sentiment that they learned new things about Pugwash. The feeling was also expressed that Pugwash and Science for Peace should sponsor more activities together.

Note: William Epstein, the representative of the Pugwash Conferences at the United Nations, reported in Disarmament Times (10 November 1995) that the Canadian Pugwash Group used the occasion of the Nobel Award to issue a statement calling on the Canadian Government “to demonstrate its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and a nuclear-weapon-free world by publicly urging the nuclear powers and the Conference on Disarmament to work out a program for ridding the world of nuclear weapons.” (If you are interested in subscribing to Disarmament Times the address is 777 UN Plaza, Room 3-B, New York 10017 and the annual subscription is $15.)

Addendum to WWW version of Bulletin [links updated 2011-ks]. Here are links to:
Press Release (October 13, 1995) announcing the prize;
Pugwash (Russell-Einstein) Manifesto (July 9, 1955);
Acceptance Speech by Joseph Rotblat, December 10, 1995.

Working Groups Of Science For Peace

  • Science and Ethics:
    • Kelly Gotlieb ccg@csri.utoronto.ca
    • Eric Fawcett fawcett@physics.utoronto.ca
  • United Nations Reform:
    • Hanna Newcombe FAX: 905-628-1830
    • Walter Dorn wdorn@chem.utoronto.ca
  • Nuclear Weapons Abolition:
    • Alan Phillips phillips@web.apc.org
    • Shirley Farlinger Tel. 416-923-9061
  • Landmine Abolition:
    • Margaret Back mback@acadvml.uottawa.ca
    • Tom Davis tdavis@trentu.ca
  • Chemical & Biological Warfare Prevention:
    • Peter Nicholls pnicholl@spartan.ac.brocku.ca
    • Walter Dorn wdorn@chem.utoronto.ca
  • Alternative Futures:
    • John Valleau jvalleau@chem.utoronto.ca
    • Metta Spencer mspencer@web.apc.org
  • Human Rights:
    • John Pendergrast johnpent@village.ca
    • Phyllis Creighton FAX 416-483-8935
  • Genetics & Biotechnology:
    • Rose Sheinin FAX 416-978-1759
    • Peter Nicholls pnicholl@spartan.ac.brocku.ca
  • Militarism & Environment:
    • Miriam Diamond diamond@geog.utoronto.ca
    • Eric Fawcett fawcett@physics.utoronto.ca
  • Scientific Cooperation with Cuba;
    • Lee Lorch lorch@mathstat.yorku.ca
    • Shawn Lovejoy lovejoy@physics.mcgill.ca
  • Climate Change:
    • Derek Paul paul@physics.utoronto.ca
    • Adele Buckley ocet@hookup.net
  • Electronic Surveillance:
    • Bill Robinson arobins@waterservl.uwaterloo.ca
    • Walter Dorn wdorn@chem.utoronto.ca

If you are interested in the activities of any of these Working Groups, please contact one of the coordinators listed or the Science for Peace Office, who can supply their FAX and telephone numbers. We should like to encourage the active participation of members in the activities of the working groups, if need be by means of electronic mail (e-mail or FAX).

Annual General Meeting, 1995

The meeting was held on Saturday, May 16 at Trinity College Toronto. Kelly Gotlieb gave a talk: “The ethics pot is boiling over”. Discussion followed.

Various reports were submitted and accepted.

Following the submission of the Nominating committee report (Janis Alton), Board members for 1995-1997 were accepted.

Reports were submitted by the following Working Groups: (i) Ethics. This had been covered in Kelly Gotlieb’s talk. (ii) Cuban Scientist (Lee Lorch). A brief discussion of needs and problems took place. (iii) Science fairs. Information from Angelo Mingarelli was distributed. (iv) Ad hoc group on Bill C-62. Terry Gardner reported on the status of the campaign.

Moved by Ian Russell, seconded by Derek Paul that the Executive be authorized to appoint either Ken McFarland or an appropriate alternate auditor for 1995-1996, the final choice to depend upon fees and agreement. Passed.

The Nominating committee for 1995-1996 was selected, consisting of Janis Alton, Chandler Davis, and Metta Spencer.

It was noted that a Research Director and an Education Director will be needed for the coming year.

Votes of thanks to the retiring Treasurer (Derek Paul) and to the retiring Vice-President (Tom Davis) were proposed by Eric Fawcett and Peter Nicholls and accepted by acclamation.

It was proposed we expand the name of Science for Peace in our literature (the official name remaining unchanged). After considerable discussion the wording “toward a just and sustainable world” was accepted by a vote of 12 to five with six abstentions. The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 P.M.

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