Category SfP Bulletin September 2005

From the President's Desk

My experience in a struggle involving the rights of patients, research ethics and academic freedom led me to consider joining Science for Peace. At the University of Toronto, surprisingly few scientists had the courage to assist in a very public recent struggle — the Olivieri-Sick Kids Hospital-University of Toronto controversy. To repeat a memorable line up front: accounts of this saga have “multiplied and divided to the point where they would now over-fill the shelves of a reasonably sized library”1.

When a scientist asked me, only last week, “You didn’t feel alone during all this, did you? You must have recognized that you had a lot of silent support,” I was not very accommodating in my reply. How was it that some of the most thoughtful minds in Canada did not attempt to advocate for the principles of research ethics, academic freedom, and the protection of patients in clinical trials, over the nine years this saga has played out? The answer is that there were many powerful forces opposing us — including a powerful drug company with University of Toronto links, two successive Presidents and two successive Deans of Medicine (one of whom is now the University’s President), and the Boards and Administrations of the formerly highly prestigious University-affiliated children’s hospital — and that, as I have heard the explanation many times, perhaps many of U of T’s scientists just found it more comfortable to be “neutral”.

Neutrality is valueless. Silent support means nothing. That is, in part, why I would like to see Science for Peace continue, and expand its mandate as a voice to challenge the inappropriate influences of commerce in this university.

The story is this: In 1995, I came to believe, based on scientifically credible preliminary evidence, that the drug administered in a clinical trial I had conducted (using public funding) since 1989, might cause harm to some patients, for whom another safe licensed drug was (and remains) available. As a physician, I was duty-bound to disclose my concerns about this experimental drug. When I made clear my plan to disclose these concerns, the sponsoring drug company threatened “all legal remedies” should I do so, and abruptly terminated the clinical trials. Those legal warnings were issued on the basis of a “confidentiality” clause in a research contract, co-signed by Sick Kids’ Associate Director of Research, three years previously. I fulfilled my ethical obligations, despite the legal warnings. The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto “did not provide effective support either for my rights, or for the principles of research and clinical ethics, and of academic freedom, during the first two and a half years of this controversy. After the controversy became public in 1998, the University stated publicly that it had provided effective support for my academic freedom, but this was not true.”2 Instead, both the University and Hospital “took actions that were harmful to[my] interests and professional reputation, and disrupted[my] work”2. Then, it was discovered that the University of Toronto was negotiating a twenty million dollar donation from the drug company in question, with additional millions promised for the University’s affiliated hospitals. As a result, “some were led to speculate that the University’s failure to recognize and support[my] academic freedom might not have been unconnected to its eagerness to secure financial support for its proposed Molecular Medicine Building project”1. When it was then revealed that the University’s president Robert Pritchard had lobbied the Government of Canada (through a private letter to the Prime Minister) on behalf of the same drug company, “the lengths to which the University was prepared to go in appeasing a company’s interests were revealed”1.

Not the least of these lengths were the lawsuits. Financial ruin is usually a large part of such a battle, and this was true in my case — estimates of my legal expenses easily exceeded a million dollars. I was required to defend against threats of legal action and an expensive “countersuit” from the drug company after I issued libel proceedings for public defamation. However, the most unexpected source of legal action against my colleagues and me arrived in a lawsuit from the Deans of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine (Dr. David Naylor, Dean from 1999-2005 and now president of U of T; and Dr Arnold Aberman, Dean from 1992-1999) in 2002.0 The Deans sued us after the posting, on the website of our organization Doctors for Research Integrity, of a Toronto Star article critical of them. While legal action is often the only available approach to a controversy, justice might be seen to be somewhat imbalanced if one side must seek their own funding to defend a lawsuit brought by bureaucrats of powerful public institutions.

Almost as soon after this scandal reached the press, a now infamous document called the “Naimark Report” was financed by Sick Kids. Authors Arnold Naimark, Bartha Knoppers and Fred Lowy took several hundred pages to document its claim that if anyone was at fault in this sorry tale, it was Dr. Nancy Olivieri, but directed no criticism towards Sick Kids or the University for their failure effectively to support my academic freedom3. Although “significant parts of the testimony on which Naimark et al. based their findings were later shown to be incorrect, before the historical record was authoritatively established, I was charged with ‘professional misconduct’ and ‘research misconduct’ and referred, amidst great publicity, first to the Medical Advisory Committee of Sick Kids, and subsequently to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario”1. When the College ruled that my conduct had been “exemplary” — finally reached in 2002, “six years after the conflict became a national and international cause célèbre”1.

If you don’t want to read the 500-page Olivieri Report2, you might want to read another one: The Constant Gardener (2001, Penguin Press), now a successful movie, which details — fictionally, of course — activities of some pharmaceutical companies4 and in which John Le Carre describes a Canadian doctor and clinical researcher, who raises concerns about a drug intended for use in emerging countries. She is threatened by a drug company, her scientific data is appropriated without permission and misused in the licensing of a drug, and anonymous hate mail is sent to her by a senior colleague — all of course, total fiction! (Anonymous hate mail sent to my colleagues and me in 1998-9 urged us to “stop poisoning the air and fabric” of “decent people” at Sick Kids’. The author, Dr Gideon Koren, was uncovered after months of denial during which he blamed others, through DNA left on a licked stamp5. A second anonymous letter was also later traced to another senior Sick Kids’ scientist Sergio Grinstein, again through DNA left on a stamp6. Le Carre describes the sending of anonymous hate mail to a researcher at a Canadian university, urging her to stop “poisoning decent people’s lives”. Its author is identified through DNA on a licked stamp). Fiction? You decide.

Another story: in a way, a most revealing one. In March 2005, I accepted a last-minute invitation to the Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB) at the University of Toronto. As everyone in the field of ethics now knows7, the Joint Centre for Bioethics was silent throughout the entire Olivieri/Hospital for Sick Children/U of T scandal. While this “ethical struggle of international proportion[called out] for someone to take a principled stand in the face of serious wrong, in order to protect the interests of research participants and the integrity of the research process” there was, instead (with the exception of Professor Schafer) “deafening silence from the Canadian bioethics community”. Only nine years later, I was asked to come and speak to the Joint Centre for Bioethics. I sought to discuss the Joint Centre for Bioethics’ silence with an individual who had not been at the center at the time, who explained that the JCB policy was that “they simply didn’t take a stand on such matters” (at the time, we were discussing academic freedom, the protection of patients in clinical trials and scientific integrity). I asked him if the Joint Centre for Bioethics at U of T would take a stand on, say, the practice of torture? He thought for a minute — and said no.

Whatever the reason for this “policy,” if this is true, I believe it’s living a lie to pretend that doing nothing, that not taking a stand, means you are not violating all the scientific and moral and ethical principles we allegedly stand by. I think that those who believe that this is appropriate are living an ethical joke. I don’t want our scientific community to be an ethical joke. I believe that we can do more; we do not have to remain neutral.

I don’t know another issue so central to our common interests as the pursuit of truth that may yield results that are not immediately, or perhaps not ever, commercially exploitable. There is a growing threat to scientific integrity in this country — that threat being the increasing reliance of publicly funded universities and our academic hospitals on corporate money and the inappropriate. Perhaps alone in our society, the university is a place where areas of study not for sale can be examined. We know that commerce has another agenda — that damages academic science. Science must be open and freely exchanged — not secretive, directed, and economically driven8,9,10,11,12,13.

Science for Peace wishes to explore solutions to these and other problems. In the areas of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, one of our goals is to obtain extensive authoritative research, and produce materials for both public education and information to governments. For example, it has become known that Canada, in tandem with the Multinational corporation, Monsanto, has been promoting “terminator seed” technology. A world-wide moratorium on this technology was agreed to at the UN but, recently in Bangkok, Canada spearheaded an attempt to allow the introduction of these seeds, which prevent farmers from saving their seeds for next year’s crop, producing total dependence on agricultural giants. Furthermore, International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank loans in agriculture stipulate that recipient countries are required to use genetically modified seeds and plants. Thus, the combination of World Trade Organization rules with these loan restrictions will generate a monopoly on the world’s food-producing capacity in the hands of Multinationals. Many Science for Peace members, including Ed Daniel, are researching these developments and preparing materials for public dissemination.

Another project, again with the goal to obtain extensive authoritative research and produce materials for both public education and information to governments. This project is run by John Valleau, Jean Smith and Paul Hamel and concerns Peace in Outer Space. Those scientists write: “We are trying to prevent Canada’s participation in the U.S Ballistic Missile Defence system. Indeed, the work this team produced so far, has already been sent to Parliament and posted by Carolyn Bennett on her web site. This team is continuing to conduct its research with respect to Canada’s integration with the US military, and the impact on Canadian Foreign Policy, and Canadian Sovereignty. The intention here is to continue to produce a series of papers in this area, and possibly to fashion a book.”

We propose to examine all sources of funding to a number of large research departments at Canadian universities from 1995 to 2004 with the aim of determining the relative proportion of funding provided by industry, including so-called “matched funding”: so called “public” funding which is in fact dependent upon support by industry. We propose to examine the publications arising from these departments over the same ten years, to evaluate, if and to what extent the publications may be showing heightened “sensitivity” to industry interests.

Of course, we need to educate and support the scientific community not only in the highest standards of research, but in the exercise of courage in the fight against those who harbour undeserved privilege and who abuse the ideals of science. In the struggle outlined above, most of the scientific community said and did nothing, remained “neutral.” Ultimately, such neutrality will erode public trust in science.

This is adapted from a recent speech given by Nancy Olivieri, President of Science for Peace.

0 Notice of Libel against Drs. Olivieri, Durie, Chan, Dick, Gallie, Thompson, Kaufman, Ranalli, Schafer, Brill-Edwards and Mr. Marc Giacomelli served May 13, 2002 by Drs. David Naylor and Arnold Aberrman. ^


1 Schafer A. Biomedical conflicts of interest: a defence of the sequestration thesis-learning from the cases of Nancy Olivieri and David Healy. The Olivieri Symposium. J Med Ethics 2004;30:8-24 ^

2 Thompson J, Baird P, Downie J. Report of the Committee of Inquiry on the case involving Dr Nancy Olivieri, the Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto and Apotex Inc. Lorimer Press, 2001 ^

3 Naimark A, Knoppers BM, Lowry FH. “Clinical trials of L1 at The Hospital for Sick Children: a review of the facts and circumstances,” released December 9, 1998 ^

4 Le Carré J. The Constant Gardener. Penguin Press, 2001 ^

5 Bonetta L. Hate-mail author trapped by DNA Nature Med 2000; 6: 364 ^

6 Birmingham K. Second Hospital for Sick Children researcher sends anonymous ‘Olivieri’ note. Nature Med 2000; 6 (5): 485 ^

7 Baylis F The Olivieri debacle: where were the heroes of bioethics? J Med Ethics 2004; 30: 44-9 ^

8 Angell M. The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us, And What to do About It. Random House, 2004 ^

9 Kassirer J. On The Take: How Medicine’s Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health. OUP, 2004 ^

10 Krimsky S. Science in the Private Interest. Rowman and Littlefield, 2004 ^

11 Washburn J. University Inc. Basic Books, 2005 ^

12 Bok D. Universities in the Marketplace. Princeton University Press, 2003 ^

13 Nathan DG, Weatherall DJ. Academic freedom in clinical research. N Engl J Med 2002; 347:1368-70. ^

Nuclear Alert

We are at a critical point. The NPT Review Conference in May failed. The Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) stonewall on their commitment to eliminate their nuclear arsenals — some 30,000 weapons, deployed or stockpiled, with a destructive power vastly greater than the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Proliferation looms, given 40 non NWS with the knowledge to produce nuclear weapons and an illicit market for nuclear items. US nuclear first-strike, “missile defense,” space weaponization, and preventive war policies threaten catastrophe. With thousands of nuclear missiles on launch-on-warning in the US and Russia, imperial lust or computer malfunction could trigger doomsday. The aging atomic bomb victims, who bear the lived memory and the pain, fear time is running out: when they are gone, knowledge of the horror will be lost and nuclear weapons will be used. And the next use would trigger retaliation, likely precipitating nuclear winter.

Knowing the 60th commemoration of the atomic bombing was significant, I went again to take part in the international meeting and World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from 2 to 9 August. In Japanese tradition, the 60th year is a time of rebirth. A record 264 delegates from 29 countries came together to exchange ideas (130 from France, 70 of them young people, who gathered for huge youth rallies). People everywhere want a world free of nuclear weapons, but it’s not an urgent wish. How do we mobilize the needed public and thereby political will? There is growing cooperation between Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and both local and national governments on initiatives. NGOs have power: how do we make it really count?

Proposals endorsed by or put forward at the conference:

  1. Help people understand the hell that nuclear bombing unleashes, the criminality and the threat of nuclear weapons: arrange events to listen to nuclear victims, and view A-bomb photo displays. Use books, films, videos, the media, seminars.
  2. Promote Mayors for Peace (MfP) and their 2020 Campaign (they held conferences in New York in May and Hiroshima in August). Work for the creation of Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (Middle East/West Asia were suggested). The NWFZ regions are mobilizing — their first conference was held last April in Mexico, and MfPs attended.
  3. Rally the public through August 6 and 9 actions, signature campaigns for nuclear weapons abolition, peace marches; work with social justice and environmental movements, linking poverty, disease, earth’s degradation, and militarism. Build worldwide solidarity and joint actions. Create a world public outcry. Promote divestment from corporations related to nuclear weapons. Use boycotts to isolate the US.
  4. Support Japanese citizens’ efforts to maintain the port of Kobe’s prohibition of entry to ships not certified free of nuclear weapons and their constitution’s Article 9 (renunciation of war), in the face of US pressure for their removal.
  5. Work to get a UN resolution adopted for rapid negotiation of a nuclear weapons abolition treaty. Get a government to call likeminded states together to define the legal, technical, and political elements and processes required for achieving and maintaining abolition (an initiative being pursued by the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons which attracted Japanese interest at the conference).
  6. Uphold the universal principle of resolving international conflicts through peaceful means. The abolition of war is integral to nuclear weapons abolition (as the late Sir Joseph Rotblat held).

We need a human chain reaction to prevent the nuclear one. We are all hostages to nuclear annihilation. A treaty ban is attainable. Action is urgent. At ground zero in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you know humanity cannot co-exist with nuclear weapons. In the blazing sun and merciless heat of the crowded Hiroshima Peace Park — ground zero, at 8.15 a.m. on August 6, I felt the unendurable evil of the nuclear bomb that had charred people to burnt logs, white bones. “Never again” must be our cry — no nuclear weapons! It starts with the belief and the vision. We can do it. We must.

Phyllis Creighton is the Vice-President of Science for Peace.

Science Matters: Taking the planet for a spin

Perspective is everything. From 50,000 kilometres away, the Earth is just a giant blue ball floating in a dark universe. Zoom in to 5,000 kilometres and you can make out key geographic features – mountain ranges, rivers and the tell-tale signs of agriculture and industry.

Zoom in to 100 kilometres and you begin to get a feel for the extent of urban sprawl around our cities and the size of clear cuts in our forests. But why stop there? You can zoom in further, to your community, your street – your home.

I’m not talking theoretically, or referring to some secret spy satellite technology. Today, you can do all of these things from your home computer using a nifty little tool called Google Earth.

New technologies have always fascinated me because of the promise they hold. Years ago, I immediately got a laptop when Hewlett-Packard brought them out because I knew it would revolutionize my life as a traveling journalist. And I was right. I was also one of the first in line to buy a low-polluting hybrid car when they were introduced and I’m always interested in new medical techniques and scientific technologies. Still, I am not exactly a technophile. Gadgets and gizmos generally fail to woo me and I’m not easily amused by the latest electronic fad.

That said, this new web tool amazes me. Available for free to virtually anyone with access to a computer, it enables users to zoom in on any place on the planet. You can explore the Grand Canyon or the streets of Toronto. You can visit the vast, open wheat fields of Saskatchewan and the cramped, crowded favelas of Rio.

In some areas, the maps combine both satellite imagery with topographical information to create an exact landscape. Other regions are not as detailed and some maps are blurry, but as the availability of satellite images increases, the maps can be updated with new information and eventually high-definition images.

One of the most interesting features of the program is that anyone from anywhere in the world can add thumb tacks to mark notable features – everything from oil spills and deforestation in the Amazon to favourite local restaurants or hiking trails. It’s like a global community bulletin board. News websites can also link their stories to maps so readers can pinpoint exactly where stories are unfolding.

Global maps and photos have been available for a long time on the Internet, but this interface and the ability to examine the entire planet in such detail is new – and promising. This is a tool that is sure to get children excited about geography and learning about towns and cities all over the world. It can be used to bridge cultures and teach people about the different environmental challenges facing various countries.

But perhaps most important, it brings things into perspective. Biologically, we are still the tribal animal that evolved 100,000 years ago when we might know perhaps 100 people in a lifetime. The challenge today is to think of the collective impact of all of humanity – and that kind of thinking is not easy. This program enables us to see the big picture. Seeing the entire planet floating alone in space, then within seconds zooming down to your own home is a humbling experience. It makes everything seem so small and fragile – which, of course, it is.

Suddenly the war in Iraq doesn’t seem so distant; the slums of Calcutta become just a hop across the ocean; a stranger’s home just a click away. The concept of a “global community” has never been so tangible. Looking at the planet from 50,000 kilometres up, you can’t help but feel a new sense of connection to this place. After all, this is it. All the known life in the universe. This is all we’ve got.

Google Earth is a logical name for the project, but given the way it makes you think about the planet they really should have called it Google Home.

Two Koreas: One Hope for Peace

An Interview with Two Canadian Travelers to North Korea

Having grown up in a country where Kim Il Sung, the former leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), was regularly portrayed as a drooling pig (with a disproportionately large pair of fangs) in children’s cartoons, I jumped at the opportunity to interview Dr. Annie Cheung and Ms Susan Cox. Both are members of the Canada DPRK Association, and recently visited the DPRK. 11 years of formal education in South Korea had taught me very little about the other Korea, beyond the official lines of the South Korean government’s anti-communist dogma. I was therefore eager to catch a glimpse of arguably the mostly reclusive state in the world, through these two Canadian travelers’ accounts.

The two ladies visited DPRK in September, 2004 for one week as part of a delegation of five. Originally, seven had applied, but two media people had been turned down. For both Annie and Susan, this was their first visit to the DPRK. Upon arrival, the delegation was greeted by a friendly crew who, presumably, had been appointed by the government to escort them during their visit. This crew included a driver, a tour guide, and two senior government officials, one of whom acted as the translator. None of the members of the delegation could speak Korean, and all communication was done through the translator although Susan was able to communicate occasionally in Spanish with one of the government officials who had previously worked in Latin America as a diplomat.

The tight itinerary included visits to political monuments, an orphanage, a food factory, a hospital, a university, a meeting with a group of economics professors, and a tour through various scenic and historical sites. “Generally, the condition resembles China’s in the 70s”, noted Annie. Like China at that time, DPRK is undergoing social and economic changes. For instance, the signs of a limited market economy were noticeable: merchants were selling fresh fruit and vegetables on the roadside.

Despite the recent economic difficulties, a major city like Pyongyang looked surprisingly ‘normal’; there were many people on the streets during the rush hours along with some cyclists and a few buses. No signs of extreme poverty or starvation were visible, but perhaps that’s unsurprising, as it is thought that the cities shown to the delegation were the designated showcase cities for all foreign tourists. Also, as Annie remarked, the disparity between the development of the rural and urban areas is probably quite significant, so one must interpret such aspects with caution.

I was most intrigued by Annie’s photos of the subway system with chandeliers and the murals of brightly coloured mosaic tiles. “It was probably built in the 60s with the help from the former Soviet Union”, Annie commented. Apparently, many monuments were built in the 60s and the 70s to inspire a sense of identity and pride. Some urban structures were in good condition, some looked as if the construction had never been completed, and others seemed to be in need of repair, reflecting recent economic difficulties in the country.

Did the North Koreans seem scared or suspicious of a group of Westerners?

“People were curious and friendly. At one point, we noticed two ladies walking around us in circles at a subway stop, and later we found out that they were just fascinated by Miranda Weingartner, another member of the delegation who is beautiful, tall, blonde, with light colored eyes, and therefore stood out in the crowd”, Annie remarked, showing me the photos of the two North Korean ladies and the delegation.

Unfortunately, the delegation did not have much opportunity to speak directly to, or interact with ordinary people on the streets, as they were mostly on the tour bus. Moreover, the whole tour was tightly chaperoned. For instance, the delegation was told which subway stop to get on and to get off at, and they had to ask for permission each time they wanted to take photos. This formal supervision combined with the language barrier created a sense of distance, and this was the most frustrating aspect of the visit for both Annie and Susan. On the other hand, Erich Weingartner, another member of the delegation who used to live in the DPRK, commented that even this level of interaction was a recent improvement.

On the rare occasions that the delegation did encounter ordinary people on the streets, they seemed shy and reserved. “It’s understandable, of course”, said Susan. “It’s only recently that the country opened up, so people aren’t used to seeing a lot of foreigners. It’s like a small city in any country where they don’t see a large number of outsiders.” Susan later heard from the head of the UN Food Program in the DPRK that people are becoming used to seeing foreigners as they see more of them working in North Korea as members of international organizations.

Not so surprisingly, the North Koreans had not quite warmed up to the Americans; Susan and Annie were told of the North Koreans’ fear of being attacked by the Americans and the Americans’ hatred for them. On the other hand, neither Susan nor Annie saw any glaring signs of hostility towards South Korea, which is a big change from previous years, according to Erich.

Indeed, this change seems to be just one aspect of a larger change. The most encouraging thing both Annie and Susan observed was that the DPRK is reaching out, and the signs of wanting to reach out were everywhere, be it during a discussion with economics professors cautiously outlining structural adjustments the DPRK has been making, or various government organizations such as the DPRK-Canada Friendship Society. Particularly with respect to South Korea, recent engagement through a joint development project like the Kaesong Industry Park, is seen as “ground-breaking”, and is received warmly and hopefully. Equally unmistakable was the North Korean people’s wish for peaceful reunification with South Korea, as demonstrated in flags showing a single Korea where children of both Koreas were holding hands.

What is driving all these changes? In Annie’s opinion, which is shared by many analysts at the moment, it is the realization that the current system in DPRK simply cannot feed its own people.

How should Canada respond? Is there a unique role for Canada to bring the DPRK closer to the rest of the world and to promote peace on the Korean peninsula? “In general, Canada is perceived as a peace-promoting country, and certainly it’s not viewed as antagonistic to the DPRK as the US. But we should be careful because, if we look closely, we do share some foreign policies with the US. For example, Canada doesn’t have an embassy in the DPRK and, thus far, it has refused to give development aid to the DPRK, which is in line with the American policy”, commented Susan.

In highlighting a potential role of Canada in peace-building in the Korean peninsula, Susan also cited the recent peace-building conferences organized by the Canada-DPR Korea Association and the United Church, which brought together delegates from Canada, North Korea, South Korea, China and Japan.

Science For Peace Renewal

For three sunny days and four nights (July 7-11, 2005), 13 Science for Peace members attended a retreat on Wasan Island in Lake Rosseau, Muskoka, as guests of the Breuninger Foundation.

“There are many radical changes that we need to make to save the planet, but we are not likely to make them until we have changed ourselves.” What is needed is nothing less than “a transformation of consciousness.” — Jim George, Asking for the Earth, p. 21.

Identifying and Prioritizing Global Issues

The discussions were preceded by warm congratulations to Julia Morton-Marr who is one of only nine Canadian women to be nominated with the thousand women for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Helmut opened the discussions with an overview of value systems. Derek described the Global Issues Project (GIP). The first plan of GIP is to organize roundtables to connect not only to government but also the grass roots. John emphasized the need to achieve a “multiplier effect” through the grass roots.

Reference was made to Derek’s paper presented at the 2003 Pugwash conference to the interdependent factors which could bring about collapse of civilization: population, agriculture, forests, water, fisheries, energy, climate change, disease, war, inappropriate myths and faulty social structures. These are the concerns to which the GIP will direct its attention. It was noted that ocean fisheries have already been decimated.

Supranational and UN Solutions

The group came up with the following goals for the UN Reform Working Group:

  1. to support Resolution 1325 of the Security Council on gender equality;
  2. to support plausible and beneficial reforms of the UN
  3. to support continued recognition of the “global commons”

It was also agreed by consensus to prepare a statement to be sent from SfP to all 191 member states of the UN promoting these and possibly other initiatives. [Adrian is preparing the draft.]

Hanna spoke of the idea of a Peoples’ General Assembly to balance the present General Assembly of states. This concept was discussed in a chapter of UN Reform (eds. Hanna Newcombe and Eric Fawcett, Science for Peace 1995).

Ensuing suggestions for Canadian policy included Canada working more with Nordic countries, using our bargaining power of water, oil and gas with the US. Science for Peace should work more with KAIROS, a church coalition, and try to mobilize Canadian academics.

What Canada can Contribute to the Betterment of the World

Rose described the work of Canadians Concerned About Violence in Entertainment (C-CAVE) and gave the example of an increase in car theft directly related to the introduction of a video game of car theft into the community.

Rose will be proposing the making of a video on media literacy as a Science for Peace project.

Phyllis addressed the question of what Canada can contribute for the betterment of the world. Since we are interdependent for air, water, and land we must listen to each other and look for opportunities and a critical mass. We can:

  1. Respond to corporate partnership plans. The impact of research is not addressed, e.g., biotech leading to biowars.
  2. Work to delegitimize war.
  3. Support nuclear conferences, e.g., the Southern Hemisphere Conference where 80% of nations are nuclear-free.
  4. Increase the number of Mayors for Peace already in 110 countries.
  5. Support the Convention on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons by 2020. A poll shows 93% of Canadians want Canada to lead in the abolition of nuclear weapons.

“” was recommended as a good way to raise funds and mobilize support. Phyllis asked for more leadership from Science for Peace on nuclear and space issues. Nuclear-weapons-free zones are increasing, specifically, five former USSR countries in Central Asia, and we should press again for Canada to be a NWFZ.[This topic is also on the agenda of the 1 October Joint Forum of Science for Peace and the Pugwash Group.]

Updating and Redefining the Science for Peace Mandate.

Joan led a discussion on our mandate. It includes sustainability and justice. We need a statement for our own use emphasizing our resistance to the war on the poor and on the environment.

Science for Peace should rejuvenate itself. This means recruiting numerous scientists (adopting the broadest definition of “scientist”) into our membership from the university faculties. The urgency and importance of this step was emphasized — the step is inescapable.

Our constitution states that 60% of our members should be scientists. Letters to 600 prospective members have been sent out. We need to support the Student Science for Peace organization. Students should be invited into our Working Groups (WGs

How to Vitalize and Rejuvenate Science for Peace

Julia and Rose elicited the following comments using mind maps:

  1. Rejuvenate Science for Peace,
  2. Email “moveon” on how to ask people to do actions and contribute money
  3. Use ads, notices in papers
  4. Create a strategy,
  5. Revive Science for Peace lectures
  6. Use mind maps
  7. Do a test run and evaluate actions
  8. Use the Ottawa Process – work around the US
  9. Multiplier effect is more likely in ecological issues
  10. Identify our partners, e.g., Conservation Council of Ontario.
  11. Use a cultural funnel. What do people want to hear? Our priority is to improve humanity’s chance of survival.

Methods include: letter writing, roundtables, papers, speeches and modeling conflict resolution. Our website should ask people to do things.

We need to nurture columnists, editors, secretaries, gatekeepers, TVO Great Ideas, Vision TV, CPAC, radio, etc. Contact and research the success of “”.

Work with the government where possible, examine current legislation, build relationships with the diasporas during conflicts. Recreate SfP’s Speakers’ Bureau.

One participant suggested that we ought to hire a full-time Executive Director, having knowledge of the media and excellence in advertising and publicity. The idea found much favour with participants, but there was no discussion of how SfP might raise the necessary funds.

Another suggestion was that the SfP office should construct web links for important institutions, such as the Suzuki Foundation, which has published numerous reports of vital topics, recently on Climate Change.

Julia also hoped that video conferencing might extend beyond the Sustainabilty Education WG, the only WG to have used it so far.

We need to foster national outreach and have greater transparency.

Joint Projects of Science for Peace and the Breuninger Foundation

Helga Breuninger outlined the beginning of the Foundation and described its current purpose and method of working. She is facilitating a paradigm shift from domination to partnership and cooperation and the development of a global consciousness.

She advocated we try the “Wisdom Council” circle at a Board meeting where people dialogue until a solution is found. All organizations need this, she said.

Helmut led a discussion on how we might cooperate with the Foundation. We have many common goals: betterment of the human condition, interdisciplinary methodology, systemic knowledge and access to scholars and institutions.

We could cooperate with the Breuninger Foundation at the World Peace Forum in June 2006 in Vancouver, in a joint project. The Foundation would contribute the expenses and Science for Peace the content.

In addition, Helmut suggested cooperation between the Breuninger Foundation and the Canadian Pugwash Group in CPG’s outreach program to corporate leaders. The purpose of the program is to convince such leaders that promoting security is in their own self-interest since wars and terrorism can destroy their assets. (This is a project being pursued by Adele Buckley and a few other members of the Canadian Pugwash Group).


The Retreat ended in a circle connecting the energy of the whole group.

Present at the retreat were Renate and Helmut Burkhardt, Phyllis Creighton, Rose Dyson, Shirley Farlinger, Antoinette and Adrian Kuzminski, John McRuer, Joan Montgomerie, Julia Morton-Marr, Hanna Newcombe, Derek Paul and Herschel Stroyman.

Contact for the full report on the Science for Peace Retreat on Wasan Island.13

David Lange's Peace Legacy Lives On

A few days before David Lange left home for his final journey to hospital, he phoned to encourage us to maintain our vigilance regarding the nuclear-free policy, to thank us for our peace work — and to say goodbye. It was a very special moment to thank him for his outstanding contribution to peace both in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the world.

Between bouts of coughing and voice loss, he apologised for being too emotional when opening the Gandhi photographic exhibition in Christchurch in August 2002 – the day he learned he might have only a few months to live. Gandhi was his guru, India his “second home” (he’d been there 28 times), and he had been determined to come. The 200-strong audience experienced vintage Lange: no notes, a perfect balance of heart and head, enriched with personal anecdotes and humour. As he described how Gandhi was ‘shot dead with three shots, and died with God’s name on his lips’, the tears flowed. Full of emotion, he concluded … ‘We have the capacity to love and be loved. They’re pretty old-fashioned words. That’s the guts of it; and that’s why I’m here tonight’.

Like Gandhi, he reminded us of the spirituality, which had sustained him to withstand death threats, ridicule from the media and ostracism from colleagues and officials for his peacemaking leadership. It became urgent to seek formal international recognition for our ‘giant kauri’. Within 15 months he went to Stockholm to receive the honorary ‘Alternative Nobel Peace Prize’ for his ‘steadfast work over many years for a world free of nuclear weapons’.

As Prime Minister from 1984-1989, he travelled extensively throughout the world expounding the myths of nuclear deterrence. His government helped negotiate a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone and demanded compensation from the French for the Rainbow Warrior atrocity.1 He addressed the UN General Assembly three times and was the first Prime Minister ever to address the Conference on Disarmament. The celebrated 1985 Oxford Union debate, where he argued that ‘nuclear weapons are morally indefensible’, was seminal in the creation of a more independent foreign and defence policy. As he warned at the time, the speech “would change everything. We would cut ourselves adrift economically, militarily, culturally — the umbilical cord to our past would be severed.” With great pride he articulated what many New Zealanders felt: “This is who we are, this is what we believe, and damn the consequences!”

The experience of leading New Zealand as the first Western-allied state to legislate against nuclear weapons bolstered him later to call for formal withdrawal from the ANZUS Treaty; rejection of the frigate purchase from Australia; reform of the UN; a moratorium on all nuclear tests; and respect for international law. He was highly critical of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ‘war on terror’.

He also championed the causes of ordinary Kiwi peace activists and citizens. In 1976 he defended Peace Squadron activists in the Auckland courts following protests against visits by US nuclear warships. In 1990 he risked his life by going to Iraq to negotiate successfully for the release of 17 New Zealand hostages. In 1991 he sent a statement to a US Court about the importance of “demonstration as an instrument of international political betterment” in support of Moana Cole’s direct action against US bombers during the Gulf War.

He became a strong advocate for the Christchurch-led international campaign to obtain an advisory opinion from the World Court on the legal status of nuclear weapons. He officially launched the World Court Project in Auckland in 1992, and led the challenge to the National government to argue strongly for illegality in the World Court. In 1996 the Court confirmed that it was generally illegal to threaten or use nuclear weapons.

There is a need for David Lange’s peace legacy to be formally documented so that future generations can be inspired by his visions for a nuclear free and peaceful planet, his intellectual understanding of issues of disarmament, and how small states can make a difference. One of my daughters, who was six when she first corresponded with David in 1989 opposing the frigate purchase, recently thanked him for giving her the courage to become a youth outreach worker for the Peace Foundation, and to address a youth rally of 3,000 in Hiroshima.

With the nuclear-free legislation again under threat, let us be sustained by David’s powerful closing words from his Oxford Union debate speech: “Nuclear deterrence subordinates reason to irrationality, and robs us of our right to determine our destiny. Moreover, nuclear weapons have brought us to the greatest of all perversions: the belief that this evil is necessary when in fact it is not. Rejecting them does not mean surrendering to evil, but instead asserts the moral force of humanity over evil.”

1 See David Lange, Nuclear Free: The New Zealand Way, Penguin, 1990. ^

Kate Dewes is a former International Peace Bureau Vice-President and long-time disarmament activist.

Albert Einstein

2005 is the 100 year anniversary of Albert Einstein’s “Miracle Year”. Young Einstein is pictured here before the Einsteins moved from Germany to Italy in 1894.

Thanks to his theory of relativity, Einstein became the most famous scientist of the 20th century. In 1905, while working in a Swiss patent office, he published a paper proposing a “special theory of relativity,” a groundbreaking notion which laid the foundation for much of modern physics theory. (The theory included his famous equation e=mc2.)

He obtained his doctorate after submitting his thesis “A new determination of molecular dimensions” in 1905.

Einstein considered himself a pacifist and humanitarian, and in later years, a committed democratic socialist. He once said, “I believe Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence for fighting for our cause, but by non-participation of anything you believe is evil.” Einstein’s views on other issues, including socialism, McCarthyism and racism, were controversial. Einstein was a co-founder of the liberal German Democratic Party.

The U.S. FBI kept a 1,427 page file on his activities and recommended that he be barred from immigrating to the United States under the Alien Exclusion Act, alleging that Einstein “believes in, advises, advocates, or teaches a doctrine which, in a legal sense, as held by the courts in other cases, ‘would allow anarchy to stalk in unmolested’ and result in ‘government in name only’”, among other charges. Einstein opposed tyrannical forms of government, and for this reason (and his Jewish background), opposed the Nazi regime and fled Germany shortly after it came to power. He initially favored construction of the atomic bomb, in order to ensure that Hitler did not do so first, and even sent a letter to President Roosevelt (dated August 2, 1939, before World War II broke out, and likely authored by Leó Szilárd) encouraging him to initiate a program to create a nuclear weapon. Roosevelt responded to this by setting up a committee for the investigation of using uranium as a weapon, which in a few years was superseded by the Manhattan Project.

After the war, though, Einstein lobbied for nuclear disarmament and a world government: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

As his last public act, and just days before his death, he signed the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, which led to the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. (Adapted from:

1000 Women Nobel Peace Prize Nominations 2005

On June 29, 2005 the names of 1000 women nominated together for the Nobel Peace Prize were revealed. One of the nine Canadian women so nominated is Julia Morton-Marr, an Executive member of Science for Peace. Julia was nominated for her Global Sustainability Education curriculum with the International Holistic Tourism Education Centre and their flagship program: the International School Peace Gardens.

The other Canadian nominees are Louise Arbour, Maude Barlow, Akua Benjamin, Muriel Helena Duckworth, Marjorie (Maggie) Hodgson, Landon Pearson, Doreen Spence and Kama Steliga.

This extraordinary and historical event for the advancement of peace women, is to make visible the various aspects of women’s work for peace, justice, education and sustainability. The UN EcoSoc document — Statement submitted by Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council at the Status of Women’s conference March 2005; E/CN.6/2005/NGO/31 — suggests that all decision making bodies should be composed with at least 40 percent women and at least 40 percent men, to achieve a meaningful gender balance. The nomination of so many women will draw attention to the imbalance not only in decision-making bodies, but in the award of Nobel Peace Prizes during the first hundred years.

The publicity involved has been unusual for the 1000 Women Nobel Peace Prize event. Over 35 press conferences were held all over the world. Many of the 150 countries held cultural events to launch their women as early as 2004. June 29, 2005 saw the official launch of all the women’s names from Switzerland. Brief biographies of the 1000 women can be found on the project home page. A quick look at them will give you an idea of what you will find in both the book to be released in autumn and the exhibition, which will take place in Zurich from October 14 – 22, 2005.

The USA and Canadian women were honoured at the UN in New York on September 8, 2005 at 11 am in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium, during this year’s annual NGO Department of Public Information conference, September 7 – 9, 2005. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on October 14, 2005.

For more information on the 1000 Women Nobel Peace Prize visit:

For press information on Julia Morton-Marr visit:

Full text version of all articles from SfP Bulletin September 2005. A PDF edition is also available.

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