Category SfP Bulletin June 2002
A fundamental issue that has been discussed at Science for Peace Board and Executive meetings is the question of how best to communicate and organise in order to be most effective in the projects that we undertake. The basic “structural” problems in this area manifest themselves in several ways:
- While we are, in principle, a national organisation, most of the planning and activities take place in Toronto where most of the members reside, and it is difficult for members in other locales to participate in Toronto-led initiatives;
- Those in other locales have difficulty undertaking initiatives that require discussion and/or ratification by the board of SfP, with whom they can’t communicate rapidly and effectively;
- SfP isn’t as visible as it needs to be in order to attract new members;
- It’s difficult for new members to ‘plug in’ to existing projects because of lack of information.
Many of these problems revolve around communication, yet the vast majority of us have at our disposal a communication tool unparalleled in the history of technology: the internet. While being careful not to view the internet as the solution to all our problems, it is a tool that can help us if it is used appropriately. In particular, it can be very helpful in making Science for Peace more inclusive for members both nationally and internationally, and if student membership increases as is hoped, one day there will be Science for Peace members in many different locations around the world. In addition, it can help people within Toronto both keep abreast of, and contribute to, local events and projects.
A number of Science for Peace members are now in the process of dealing with some of these issues. The general proposal, to which members are encouraged to make contributions, suggestions, and/or modifications, involves establishing mechanisms for collaborative research, discussion, event planning, production of papers and educational materials involving people who are both in geographically localised and non-localised settings. By making these mechanisms available via the internet, it is hoped that:
- The activities of Science for Peace will be more visible to prospective, new, and long-time members, which will increase membership and collaboration
- The effect of distance will be somewhat overcome; and
- The products of our activities, be they reports, letters, educational packages, leaflets, pamphlets, etc. can be easily shared and disseminated.
More specifically, a set of email discussion groups, perhaps both for discussion of issues and for organising around research and event planning might be implemented. A ´resident expert’ from our group might lead/moderate each discussion topic. We can use videoconferencing at our board meetings to allow participation of members all over the world.
A ‘task board’, or ‘to do list’ might help:
people who undertake initiatives can post sub-tasks that need to be accomplished, and other members could view a list of such tasks, and choose to undertake one or more. Even large-scale projects that have been generally approved by the membership can be posted, awaiting a suitable volunteer to ‘plug-in’ and take them up. A calendar that lists upcoming events and provides links to associated information would help us keep abreast of, and participate in, ongoing activities.
A member registration site that allows prospective members to join electronically would make it easier for people to join. A structure in which we make available bulletins, newsletters, Journal of Science for Peace articles, etc., and participation in email/web based discussions might attract new members and encourage the existing membership to produce researched materials. A searchable archive of research materials, posters, leaflets, pamphlets, etc. could be created.
For example, and as a very basic outline, we could develop a programme in which the militarisation of Canadian Universities could be studied. In order to help potentially interested individuals to get up to speed on the subject, materials could be posted on our web site. However, a great deal of research and the production of educational materials for the public will need to be generated. An email discussion group would facilitate discussion of the relevant issues; a ‘todo list’ would help distribute the workload; a repository of materials would allow for information sharing so that strategies, campaigns, and lecture materials could be downloaded and used at centres across the country. Petitions, such as a Pledge of Conscience not to engage in any military research, development, production, or sales can be ‘signed’ via a web interface, giving maximal exposure. This will also help recruit new members who are interested in this particular issue, and engage them in research to help expose to the public the extent to which universities are being co-opted into the pursuit of militarisation, further increasing the exposure of Science for Peace.
This, of course, represents only the very broad outlines of this specific campaign. Similarly, biotechnology and genetically modified organisms, amongst many other topics will be important areas where research needs to be performed and materials prepared and disseminated. I encourage members from across the country to consider this proposal, to make suggestions as to how it can be improved and, most critically, become engaged in these activities by doing research, producing educational materials and by mentoring new members who wish to join Science for Peace.
On December 9, 2001, Science for Peace held a Forum and Teach-in entitled “How Should Canada Respond to Terrorism and War”. Over 250 people attended this all-day event. Many of the presentations were discussed throughout North America on the internet. Furthermore, the talk given by Prof. John McMurtry entitled “Why is therea War in Afghanistan?” produced commentaries in the Wall Street Journal in the U.S. and in the Globe and Mail. In the latter case, as we have come to expect from Canadian journalism,Margaret Wente attacked Dr. McMurtry personally, offering no evidence or argument to support her position.
Four excellent workshops followed Dr. McMurtry’s presentation, entitled: “The UN & International Legal Responsibilities”, “Civil Liberties and the Anti-Terrorism Bill (C36)”, “Refugee & Human Rights — the Humanitarian Response”, and “Mid-East Dynamics & Solutions”. All of these sessions were extremely dynamic and many resulted in declarations or resolutions which were sent to the Canadian Government.
In the plenary session, entitled “Canada’s Role: What Ought It To Be & Who Decides?”, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Aileen Carroll, Prof. Ursula Franklin and Prof. Michael Mandel discussed Canada’s response to the U.S-declared “War on Terrorism”. Here Aileen Carroll defended the government’s new legislation and participation in the war against Afghanistan. In response Dr. Mandel examined the illegality of this action and further addressed some of the root causes of this conflict. Finally, Ursula Franklin addressed the lack of any sort of democratic process in these recent decisions. I leave you with the conclusion of Dr. Ursula Franklin:
“So there is a range of individual responses that we, as Canadian citizens, can develop and strengthen. But there are no two ways about our collective responsibility. As a sovereign nation, Canada, even in the face of terrorism and war, can respond only by using means that are legal, peace-building, open, and reciprocal. “
I point out to Science for Peace members that the full transcriptsfor the December 9 forum are on the Science for Peace website.
This has been a significant year, with the active continuation of most Working Groups (WGs), and the introduction of a new one, the Education WG. The membership of the new WG is Anne Goodman, Julia Morton-Marr and Janet Hudgins (at Simon Fraser University). The raison d‘être of this group is the need for SfP to follow the progress of the development of proposals for a Canadian Peace Institute (CPI), and to foster graduate programs in peace studies within Canada. While the WG is not restricted to these activities, the two needs had already brought up at a Board meeting during the year. Anne Goodman and Janet Hudgins had already been following the email debate on CPI, a project of Robert Stewart of Calgary. There is to be a conference on CPI in November, and I have asked members of the WG to consider attending, since at least one of them needs to be present. With regard to graduate studies, there is already agreement between the WG and myself that a truly useful peace studies department in a university must be interdisciplinary.
In view of the foregoing, I propose that the Board be asked to prepare a budget for WGs next year, and that the budget would include travel funds for the WG on Education to attend the CPI conference in November. I also call upon all the WGs to put their budget requests to the Executive as soon as possible in order to facilitate preparation of the budget.
A report has gone to the Prime Minister on the Nuclear Energy Act and the Nuclear Liability Act. While these efforts may not have had much effect yet, we note that a discussion of the Nuclear Liability Act has taken place in the Senate. More recently SfP has struck a committee to make a report on security, and a small committee (Helmut Burkhardt, Ross Wilcock and myself) has prepared and presented a Brief to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
It is about the Brief that I mainly want to speak. We could spend the rest of our days scurrying to find alternatives for each new blow struck against civil rights, democracy, and peace by the powerful governments of the world, by the militarists, and through the drive for corporate control of almost everything. I have the impression that they, the rich and powerful, are currently able to remain two or more steps ahead of us.
The Brief, however, makes an attempt to get away from fighting rearguard actions against all of these formidable forces. What we did was to build upon ideas that are already common to several of us, and present a framework upon which sound policy could be built. In fact the framework was intentionally so broad and general that we think it would be applicable to policy making in all** fields. Time will not permit me toexpound it here, but the Brief is available on disk and in hard copy, both in English and in French, and I urge all members of SfP to read it, at least the first few pages, which set the tone and the skeleton of reasoning in all that follows.
The point to be made here is that we, as scientists with a responsibility to do research and communicate the findings, may perhaps do better by putting forward well thought out general principles and guidelines, than by promoting particular policies. The SfP Committee members that actually appeared before the Standing Committee were Helmut Burkhardt and myself. We emphasized that, while we might not be able to advise on all policies, we had had the luxury of doing some fundamental thinking, and that the conditions in the world had changed greatly over the past 100 years. It is these changed conditions that lead logically to the requirement of a new paradigm in the approach to policy making. The Brief outlines the paradigm.
My purpose here is to call for support in generalizing the paradigm for publication. It could well become a major contribution of SfP to the world community, something we are perhaps better at than fighting the aforesaid rearguard actions. I propose that SfP use the Brief as a starting point for a Statement (or Manifesto) by SfP, something in the nature of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955, which singled out the nuclear age as the reason we needed to change our thinking. Our Brief, though totally unlike the Russell-Einstein manifesto, could be turned into its natural sequel, since it takes into consideration all that was not dealt with in 1955, and indeed did not appear necessary at that time. The world has changed very much since 1955 in all ecological aspects and in the development of much dubious technology. Also, the world has recently plunged into a new wave of militarism, without the kind of threat that traditionally would have caused such a trend.
Final submissions have now been received for the fourth annual De-mining Technology Competition organized by Mines Action Canada. Four proposals were received, two from University of Calgary, one from Ryerson University and one from University of British Columbia. When all the reports from the judges have been received the final assessment for the awarding of prized will be made by Mines Action Canada.
Since the beginning of the competition twenty-two universities have participated and thirty five final submissions were received. The two goals of the competition have been:
- to encourage innovative improvements to the existing techniques for mine clearance for safe and effective community-based de-mining and
- to raise awareness and appreciation of the problems of de-mining among students in universities across Canada.
We at Mines Action Canada have been encouraged by the response to the competition and we believe a measure of success for both goals has been achieved.
We will be packing and moving the contents of the Science for Peace office during the first and second week of July. If you can help pack, please show up at the office on Thursday July 4 or Friday July 5 between 10 and 5. (No heavy lifting involved just packing) I am away on vacation next week June 24-28 and will not get your tel. or e-messages until my return to the office on Thursday July 4. If you want a physical work out you can help us carry boxes to the new office on the 3rd floor on Thursday, July 11 . Please arrange with Paul Hamel at 978- 8741. For those of you from points far from Toronto you can wish us good luck.We are currently in Rm H02 and will be moving to Rm A306 in University College. Our mailing address and tel. number remain the same.
In the fall, Science for Peace student members will be engaging secondary school students in an exploration of space issues including missile defence and weapons in space. We call it the ´student-to-student project.’ The main objectives are to dialogue with youth on the very urgent and critical issue of waging war in and from space and to provide a concrete means for student members of Science for Peace to participate in the organization.
We received overwhelming response to our job posting and useful comments and suggestions about the project. We hired on contract a most capable and engaging young woman, Sidrah Ahmad, to steer the project. She is entering her second year of studies at the University of Toronto in biology, environmental science, and philosophy. Her work with Science for Peace is to develop an interactive educational module to be used in workshops with secondary school students. A script and visual materials, such as overheads, will form the workshop kit and the kit will be made widely available. It is likely that student volunteers will visit classrooms and student clubs in groups of 2 or 3. There are a couple of students at the University of Victoria who are already keen to participate. Sidrah will consult with curriculum advisors at the Toronto Board of Education and Science for Peace members, among others. She has already attended the June 13 Funeral for the ABM treaty and a daylong strategy session on keeping space for peace.
Summary of Theme 1: Systemic View of the World
Some 50 enthusiastic participants attended this year’s event. As in previous conferences of this series, the discussion of issues was lively and relevant. However, the objective of presenting policy recommendations was not achieved during the meeting. The outcomes of each of the sessions, and of the whole will be worked out by the session chairs and published at a future date first on the conference website ( www.ryerson.ca/~woc ) and later as a book.
What follows is my personal report on the first conference theme: Systemic View of the World, which reflects the philosophy underlying the entire conference. I use several metaphors to illustrate the need for a systemic approach to world issues.
A systemic world view and knowledge integration are necessary in order to see the big picture of our complex world. Academic disciplines are dealing with knowledge fragments — little gems of knowledge. However, the world is a mosaic that represents more than little stones. Furthermore, a holistic world view is of necessity a wide angle view, which must consider the connectedness of local, national, and global issues, and of short, middle and long term issues. It is also a world view that includes the full spectrum of all the issues. Only after consideration of all issues can we see a problem in the right ´colour’. The World Trade Organization, for example, is failing to get things right as they look at the world through ´tinted glasses’. They try to organize everything by commercial rules alone, but humankind has many other priorities. Yet another useful metaphor of a systemic world view is that of a hologram. Each part of the conference must contain a full picture; the whole must be considered in every session of the conference. Values, for example, must guide all ecological, social, and individual actions; similarly, a well rounded education must include values, environmental, social, and individual knowledge tools.
Values or goals are at the beginning if we are to influence the evolution of world order in a desirable direction. The goals describe the world we want. From values we derive the laws that create an orderly world.
Summary of Theme 1 Sessions
Anatol Rapoport presented a paper entitled: ´Universal Values in the Light of General System Theory’. He criticizes value declarations such as: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; ….” As a statement of fact, this statement is manifestly false or else meaningless. Stark inequality characterizes practically any conceivable feature distinguishing any two persons at their birth. Therefore, these statements should be presented in the imperative mode: “People ought to be treated as if they were equal; as if they were endowed with inviolable rights, etc.” Professor Rapoport also suggested that universal ´bads’ are much easier to determine than universal ´goods’. Therefore, the converse of the Golden Rule was suggested by Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus: “What is hateful to thee do not do unto thy neighbour.” ´Survival’ and ´knowledge’ were mentioned as examples of universal values, while ´beauty’ may remain a subjective value; there is no need for the universality of all values.
´Universal Values and Their Consequences’ was the title of a poster presented by Helmut Burkhardt. Two major classes of values are described. The first major class of values contains the natural values, which are composed of necessary values, and instrumental values. Necessary values are universals such as life, procreation, sustenance, and protection from harm. The instrumental values are the means to satisfy the universal needs, and as such they are dependent on the circumstances – “My kingdom for a horse”. Justice, knowledge, wealth, power are examples for instrumental values. The second major class of values are the supernatural values, which are culture specific and not objective or verifiable. Examples of supernatural values are reincarnation in Buddhism, resurrection and life after death in Christianity. Supernatural values serve to distinguish one community from others, and act as an internal social glue that holds the community together. The world religions have a common ground in natural values, and make use of supernatural values to bond their members. The former are a great pool of collective wisdom, while the latter have done much worldly damage by intolerance resulting from a lack of understanding of the role of other worldly matters in religions. Systemic consequences of the multiplicity of values are severe, often resulting in life and death decisions. — Parents will sacrifice their own life for their offspring; soldiers die for the community. The vital need for a drink makes creatures go to the watering hole where deadly danger lurks.
Understanding values is necessary for rational conflict management.
Justice is an important instrumental value that is difficult to define. Suwanda Sugunasiri, the founder of the Nalanda College of Buddhist Studies inToronto presented a paper entitled: Justice – a Buddhist Perspective. Justice is seen as an agent that creates a dynamic social equilibrium: ´social homeostasis’. This understanding of justice is based on Buddha’s notion of conditioned co-origination, which means that everything results from a multiplicity of conditions in a necessary, reciprocal, and circular relationship. Professor Sugunasiri suggests that: The goal of justice is happiness for the individual-in-society. The conditions required to achieve such a goal are at the individual level friendliness (metta), compassion (karuna), altruistic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha). Conjointly are four dimensions of social-consciousness, namely, sharing (dana ), pleasant speech (peyyvajja), the social good (atthacariya) and egalitarianism (samanattata). All qualities are to be understood both preventively and curatively. An approach to justice in terms of Human Rights is contrary to such principles, because it is based in selfishness, attachment, and anger.
Order cannot be perfect. A degree of disorder or chaos is necessary for the functioning of any system. Professor Roger Hansell, Institute for Environmental Studies,University ofToronto presented a paper on: ´Chaos and Order in Complex Systems’. He described the basically chaotic nature of the ecosystem. There is no master plan for the evolution of an ecosystem. Order does emerge spontaneously in the sense of Prigogine’s dissipative structures, which are predictable only in a statistical way. The complex, chaotic, and nonlinear behaviour of ecosystems make their management extremely risky, and difficult to achieve. (An appropriate mix of chaos and order has been termed ´chaorder’ and developed as a management strategy for complex systems by Dee Hock, who saved the VISA corporation from bankruptcy by imposing a basic global order, and by allowing for local chaotic competition. See http://www.earthday.net/grist/citizen/c itizen122999.stm )
Albert Bartlett of the University of Colorado presented a paper on ´Arithmetic, Population, and Energy’. He states that ´Growth’ is the centrepiece of today’s global and national economies, and sustainability has become a ´buzzword’ for environmentalists. Yet, the advocates of growth and of sustainability do not acknowledge the First Law of Sustainability: “Growth of populations and/or growth in the rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained.” He illustrated the incomprehensible lack of understanding of these simple facts by prominent politicians and economists, and gave many examples of the resulting irrational actions. It is a formidable challenge to educators to transmit the impossibility of growth to all.
Systemic Issues and Solutions: Conclusions, Insights Gained, Outcome.
The chaotic mode of existence has kept the globe’s ecosystems in a dynamic equilibrium for millions of years. However, humankind is now in possession of tools and weapons that cause a major disturbance of the natural equilibrium, if not a catastrophic collapse of the web of life. Therefore, humanity must exercise self-control, and that means humankind must establish an effective global governance. Humanity as a whole must self-organize as a cybernetic entity capable of purposeful action. This means having a purpose, and having sufficient information and matter-energy processing facilities to enable self-control.
1) Issue: Universal values, common purpose.
Solution: Extract a set of universalvalues from all cultures, disseminate universal values, demonstrate the damaging consequences of false values, and remove such false values as consumerism, prolific human procreation, and economic growth through dirty technology. Effect value clarification through education, the media, organized religion, corporations, NGOs, and government. Use positive and negative incentives to motivate appropriate action. Introduce accountability mechanisms with teeth that promote sustainability.
2) Issue: Global information processing and communication ability
Solution: Remove knowledgefragmentation by integrating knowledge at all levels of education. Introduce one or two common auxiliary languages in all schools around the globe. Abolish the digital divide, and make the internet globally accessible. Guarantee free speech. Combat disinformation and corruption by supporting Global Watch at the UN, and NGOs such as Transparency International.
3) Issue: Sustenance
Solution: Restore the vital ecosystemintegrity by reducing environmental impact according to I = P x A x T, where I is the environmental impact of humankind, P is the world population, A is the affluence or income per person, and T is the environmental damage per dollar of our technology-based economy. Reduce the environmental impact by reducing all three factors in the equation. This means setting sustainable population and consumption targets, and moving towards greener technology. Keep the global commons clean by charging a global tax on the use of outer space, the atmosphere, the polar regions, rain forests, and the oceans. Such a tax is needed for sustaining global wilderness areas for the sake of preserving vital biodiversity and for global social security, healthcare, and education.
4) Issue: Security, protection from harm Solution: Reduce chaotic actions of sovereign nation states by meaningful self-organization of societal structures: Increase effective global governance by reforming the UN and other institutions and organizations – public and private.
Reform the Security Council by having permanent continental and subcontinental representatives without veto power. Create from contingents of national armies an effective international rapid reaction police force under direct command of the UN. Let the community of all nations offer credible security to all existing individual nations, and thus eliminate the need for the insecurity- creating military complex; abolish weapons of mass destruction. Security through strength is no longer a rational policy option when nuclear weapons are readily available to minor nations and even to terrorists. Security must be achieved through a global coalition of all nations.
Hans Blumenfeld established the Franz Blumenfeld Peace Foundation in 1982, and dedicated it to the memory of his brother Franz. Franz’s experience as a German soldier in the First World War led him to such resolve as that expressed in a letter to his mother: “You know that I have always been opposed to war, but now that I have experienced it, I have decided to devote all my life to work for peace, if I ever come back.” Franz never came back.
The Franz Blumenfeld Peace Fund is now administered by Science for Peace, a Canadian charitable organization. A special committee is vested with the responsibility of making funding decisions.
The purpose of this fund is to foster world peace through educational and research activities. Grants or loans will be considered for proposals involving specific projects or events likely to reach a broad spectrum of the general public. Innovative projects may be funded, especially if they are directed toward individuals heretofore not reached by peace education projects.
Requests for grants or loans will be considered for public meetings, exhibitions, artistic presentations, and for distributing information. Scholarly projects and others deemed eligible for government funding are less likely to receive consideration. Funding will not be considered for an organisation’s (or an individual’s) ongoing activities, an organisation’s start-up costs i.e. seed money, for organising demonstrations, running petition campaigns, or for legal fees.
Applicants are advised that a grant or loan normally will not exceed $1000. Furthermore, because the fund is not intended to provide sustaining funds to individuals or groups, those receiving grants or loans in any one year are unlikely to receive support in the following year.
Please e-mail your application to the Chair of the Franz Blumenfeld Fund Committee with copies to the other members: Frank Cunningham, Chair email@example.com
416 978-8237 or 962-7810 Tom Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
A final report is requested within thirty days of the event or completion of the project. The recipient should provide a brief evaluation and financial statement. Any unused portion of the contribution should be returned with the final report.
Annual Blumenfeld Fund Report, Summary for the Period 01/2001 to 12/2001
From Frank Cunningham
As of the end of December 2001, the equity in the fund was $57 995.98, up $2 084.59 from December 2000.
Grants for the Year
April: $1 000 to the ICAE — Peacefund Canada for workshops and lectures held over the academic year in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa.
April: $500 to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom to support their publication of “Women Against Racism: Toward a Culture of Peace.”
May: $1 000 to Science for Peace toward publication of a brochure on economic determinants of militarism for distribution at the People’s Summit and the Alternative Avenue Fair in Quebec City.
Note added January 2011: This is an ARCHIVED article from June 2002. For current information on the Blumenfeld Fund please see here .
For 15 months I have tried to function at the University of Alberta as Chair of the Working Group on Genetics and Biotechnology while separated from the Science for Peace Centre in Toronto. This has presented problems. Often I had to take actions (signing petitions, sending letters to Government Ministers or comments to Government web pages) in a time frame that did not allow me to seek approval from the Centre. In these cases, I did not sign or act in the name of SfP. I believe that this is regrettable and I urge that an Ontario based Chair be sought or a rapid and effective means of communication be implemented as soon as possible.
I call the attention of members to the existence of an excellent and important Web and email site, The Institute of Science in Society http://www.i-sis.org.uk
The Editor is Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, m. w.ho@i -sis.org.uk Director,Instituteof Science in Society & Editor, Science in Society (a new quarterly magazine) PO Box 32097, London, NW1 0XR. Dr. Ho along with our Dr. Cummins at UWO have marshalled a formidable array of evidence against the continued use or additional introduction of GMO plants.
These evidences include:
1. Lack of evidence of the genetic stability of GMO plants made using the cauliflower mosaic virus which tends to move in the genome leading to reshuffling and activation of unexpected genes and increased likelihood of gene transfer for herbicide resistance to wild organisms. Positive evidence of this instability has been produced and should be a basis for exclusion of GMO plants from use.
2. Evidence that naked DNA from GMO plants is present and persists in soil where they are grown and is taken up by soil bacteria.
This and much more is available from the ISIS website.
On March 23, Pugwash Canada and Science for Peace helda seminar at theUniversity of Toronto to consider the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s (ICISS) report The Responsibility to Protect.(See theRapporteur’s Report,by Dr. Erika Simpson) Senator Douglas Roche chaired the meeting, which began with a presentation by Ms. Gisèle Côté-Harper, Canada’s Commissioner on the ICISS, a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson medal, and an Officer of the Order of Canada. A barrister and professor of Law at Laval University, she was also the former Chair of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development and a Member of the UN Human Rights Commission. In her thirty-minute presentation, Ms. Côté-Harper highlighted general and specific sections and objectives of the Report; addressed conceptual issues underlying the debate that has since ensued; and considered other initiatives and responsibilities that could be undertaken by individuals, states, and the international community.
Dr. Langille has an M.A. in Conflict Analysis and a Ph.D. in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford; He initiated the development of a multinational peacekeeping training centre in Canada, now the Lester B. Pearson Peacekeeping Training Centre. He was invited to comment upon the report, particularly on the ‘next steps’ for ensuring protection, as well as the prevention, of armed conflict. Having just completed his third book manuscript, Bridging the Commitment-Capacity Gap: Existing Arrangements and Options for Enhancing UN Rapid Deployment forthe Centre for UN Reform in the US, it was suggested by chairman Senator Roche that Dr. Langille’s comments would be particularly apt given the seminar’s focus on not just why — but how — the international community might intervene in deadly conflict.
Dr. Walter Dorn was then introduced as Secretary of the Canadian Pugwash Group and a Research Professor with the Department of Politics and Economics, Royal Military College, as well as a faculty member of the Pearson Peacekeeping Training Centre. With a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Toronto, he assisted with the negotiation, ratification, and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Amongst other points, he commented that the criteria for intervention used in the report are dated and need to be refined for modern times, and that the report should have tested its criteria on recent intervention/enforcement cases.
After the formal speeches, a wide variety of questions and comments were raised by members of Pugwash Canada and Science for Peace. For the sake of clarity, these have been grouped into five major themes and five general recommendations in the Rapporteur’s Report,available at the Science for Peacewebsite.
Although I am the Co-coordinator of the SfP Energy Working Group, I would like to speak about work that I’ve been doing with the Energy Action Council (EnerACT http://www.eneract. org). EnerACT has a large “Public Education and Awareness Strategy” (PEAS), that has received substantial three-year funding from Trillium. In fall 2002, EnerACT will launch its PEAS – a comprehensive education campaign that will challenge the residents of the City of Toronto to lower their energy bills while raising awareness of the benefits associated with such actions. The campaign will integrate elements of Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) into the design of program details in an effort to target the barriers to, while increasing the incentives for wide-scale participation in, energy conservation activities.
The problem is both local and global. Poor air quality is creating a public health crisis in Toronto. In 2000, 501 people were killed in Toronto due to poor air quality. This figure is expected to rise to 538 in 2004 – the last year of the PEAS. In that same year, the local economy suffered a $2.43 billion blow due to workplace absences and health care costs. This figure is expected to rise to $2.53 by 2004. In addition, the planet is heating up, leading to grave human and economic disasters.
The following excerpts are taken from publications in the Greater Toronto Area and reflect EnerACT’s belief in the importance of this work:
The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) providesa very clearsummary and update of the past five years of research on climate change. The report clearly states that: “emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols due to human activities continue to alter the atmosphere in ways that are expected to affect the climate”. As an illustration of the extent of the problem, consider the report’s evaluation of carbon dioxide (CO2) trends: “the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased by 31% since 1750. The present CO2 concentration has not been exceeded during the past 420,000 years and not likely during the past 20 million years. The current rate of increase is unprecedented during at least the past 20,000 years”.
Globe and Mail July 24, 2001:
“Since May 1, there have been more than two weeks of smog advisories from the province, the highest amount since 1993.”
-Hamilton Spectator_ June 28, 2001:
“The Ontario Medical Association says smog is getting worse, not better, and it’s poisoning us … The OMA made headlines again last year with a computer model that calculated air pollution would cause 1,900 premature deaths in Ontario in 2000 and cost the province at least $1.2 billion in health care and lost productivity … The OMA called those numbers cautious, conservative and almost certainly low.”
We intend to organize a number of sustainable energy seminars, public meetings and workshops, provide publications focused on sustainable energy in order to reach out to the people of Toronto, and support more leading edge projects like the Solar DHW project in the next three years. The impact of our work will go beyond the local, as reductions in transboundary pollutants from within Toronto take effect around the world
Aside from these efforts, we will also make our expertise and selves available, free of charge, to local and community groups for presentations and workshops.
Two young activist women representing a new Jewish-Palestinian Israeli grassroots peace movement, Ta’ayush (Arabic for co-existence), will be touring Toronto from June 22 – 26. Ta’ayush organizes convoys of food, medicine and other necessities to besieged Palestinian towns and refugee camps, and promotes cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. Leena Dallasheh and Noa Nativ will speak about the activities of Ta’ayush, about the ways Israelis and Palestinians can live and work together in peace, and about the current efforts to stop the expulsion of Palestinians from South Hebron. Speaking In Toronto:
- Sunday, June 23rd @ 7:30 pm**, Morris Winchevsky Centre, 585 Cranbrooke Ave., (5 blocks north of Lawrence, east ofBathurst Contact: Ann Pohl (416) 789-5502
- Tuesday, June 25th @ 7:30 pm**, Medical Sciences Auditorium, Univ. of Toronto,1 King’s College Circle, across fromConvocation Hall, (Queen’s Park subway – north of College, east of St. George) Contact: Esther Vise (416) 535-1812
Dallasheh and Nativ will visit Toronto, Montreal, Nelson, Seattle, and Vancouver between June 22 and July 4. For information, interviews, or photos, please contact: Esther Vise
(416) 535-1812 or by email at esthervisesympatico.ca
During the past year, several successful educational events were sponsored by the Human Rights Working Group on campus. On Feb. 14 “Refugee Health: International and Canadian Perspectives” was held in the Medical Science Auditorium, in collaboration with the University of Toronto International Health Program. Speakers included Ezat Mossallanejad ( Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture),Morton Beiser (Joint Centre for Research on Immigration and Settlement),Shelina Musaji(Doctors Without Borders),and Amina Sherazee(Lawyers against the War). About a hundred people attended. On 18 April, in collaboration with the Muslim Canadian Congress,we hosted MPSvend Robinson at the Innis Town Hall. Five hundred people heard his speech, “Peace in Palestine: My visit to the West Bank.”
Numerous letters were written on Science for Peace letterhead. The list includes Amnesty International urgent action appeals against imminent executions in Singapore (three), Egypt, Ohio, Texas, New Mexico, Georgia, Missouri, and Maryland (suspension while the case is to be studied was just achieved); letters expressing concern about human rights violations and the safety of threatened persons in Chiapas (president of Chiapas Human Rights Commission), Colombia (trade unionists and need to dismantle paramilitaries plus their links to the military); Tunisia, China (arbitrary arrest of four workers at a peaceful demonstration), Palestine (fear of torture); Nepal (torture, including torture of some 16 students reportedly “disappeared”); Israel (dismay at reported human rights violations by its defence forces, call for international observers to be allowed into the Occupied Territories, respect for journalists and medical personnel, end to blocking medical services to wounded Palestinians and to harassment of local and international human rights monitoring groups).
In October, we wrote to Prime Minister Chrétien demanding that Canada withdraw all support from the bombing of Afghanistan, stop being complicit in the face of US refusal to rule out use of nuclear weapons, and devote our resources to providing humanitarian aid and to bringing terrorists to justice through international legal mechanisms.
In November, letters were sent to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Environment, and Culture at the time of the World Trade Organization meeting in Qatar. We protested the lack of consultation with civil society organizations, and we urged them to keep public services off the corporate auction table and to reject expansion of the General Agreement on Trades and Services (GATS). Rather than expanding corporate and investor rights without corresponding responsibilities, and in view of the concomitant growing gap between rich and poor, we argued that Canada must choose a fair trade agenda as the basis of common security. We stressed the need to preserve essential governmental protective powers and our right to our own culture as integral to human rights. Bland reassurances were received in reply.
I would like to share with you some results of the Science for Peace video outreach. So far, we have had 7 presentations of three films: Michael Ruppert’s “Truthand Lies of 9/11”(four times), Vision TV’s “Great Deception & Asking Tough Questions” (twice), and Frank Dorrel’s “What I’ve Learned About US Foreign Policy” (once). The presentations attracted about 70 to 120 people each.
In all cases, flyers were prepared and posted on the campus and nearby
and email lists were used to promote the presentations. Over 500 new people who were neither members of Science for Peace nor other activist groups attended the films, indicating an increase in interest of people in alternative sources of information.
Although Michael Ruppert’s film had the highest attendance and is very informative, the Canadian version of 9/11 (Vision TV), which was presented by Barrie Zwicker and followed by a panel discussion, seems to be more balanced and peace-promoting. Frank Dorrel’s film, which consists of 10 documentary pieces about CIA and Pentagon operations after WW2, is superior in historical terms. Anybody who has not seen this film is cordially
invited to our next presentation at 6:30pm Tuesday July 9, Room 179, University College, 15 King’s College Circle, UofT. It also may be borrowed the from the SfP office.
Finally, many people made these shows possible. Carolyn Langdon reserved rooms and arranged video equipment. Jean Smith, Catherine Parks, and Ian Calvert distributed flyers. Jean Smith, John Valleau, Paul Hamel, Phyllis Creighton, Bob Olsen, Barrie Zwicker, Ian Woods, and others were hosts and special speakers. Many other Science for Peace Members also contributed to promotion and organisation (sorry for not mentioning them). Let me express my gratitude to them for this useful work.
Recent events have been drawing attention to the frightening intention of the USA to fill space with a blanket of orbiting weapons to “protect US interests and investment”, and meanwhile to “deny others the use of space”. (The intention is documented in several US government publications, and notably in “Vision for 2020” (1997), available at www.spacecom.mil/_private/about_sp ace.htm;a copy is also at our sitewww.noos.ca.)The space weaponswould allow the US to enforce world-wide hegemony, and with impunity.
The chief barrier to these plans has until now been the Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty (ABM). However on Dec. 13 President Bush took advantage of distractions resulting from the so-called “war on terrorism” to give the required six-month notice of US withdrawal from the ABM treaty, which accordingly died on June 13. This may well be a date of extreme significance in world history, but it passed with scarcely a murmur from our media. The immediate effects are to put a stop to moves toward nuclear abolition, to ensure that multiple-reentry-vehicles are mounted on ICBMs and that such missiles are kept on high (and dangerous) alert, and that “horizontal proliferation” of nuclear weaponry accelerates. In short, we are returning to a period where the danger of nuclear disaster will be at least as acute as at the height of the Cold War; (this was recognised by the readjustment of the “Doomsday Clock” of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists toseven minutes to midnight,a point it reached before only in those days). In this article, however, we are concerned instead with the perils of space weaponry and its potential for imperial enforcement — – for the longer-term threats (in case we survive so long).
In this regard a new factor emerged with a proposal of a “Space Preservation Treaty” (SPT) by the Institute for Cooperation In Space (ICIS).The treaty would go beyond the“Outer Space Treaty” by forbidding ALL orbiting weapons, not just so-called “weapons of mass destruction”. ICIS is a joint US/Canada organisation; its strategy is to secure wide international subscription to the proposed treaty and its consequent adoption by the UN. The hope is that Canada, which has a long-held policy of seeking a similar outcome by bargaining within the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD), might take the lead in such a process, mimicking the “Ottawa process” by which the Landmines Treaty was introduced. ICIS approached Science for Peace and Voice of Women toseek assistance inthis endeavour.
Our reaction was that if a campaign of this scale were to be attempted, it should be undertaken with the widest possible collaboration of civil-society groups which shared our concern. Accordingly we began a series of consultations with a slightly expanded version of the NOOS Committee (which has been organising other events and activities around the space weapons issues for over a year — “NOOS” stands for Network Of Opposition to Starwars). The committee decided we should hold an all -day Strategy Conference, involving as many groups as possible; this took place in Toronto on June 18.
Along with SfP and ICIS, the following groups were represented: Voice of Women, Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, Canadian Peace Alliance, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Toronto PeaceAction Coalition, Homes Not Bombs, the United Nations Association, Oakville Centre for Peace Ecology and Human Rights,and theInternational Holistic Tourism Education Centre.Regrettably, however, the mass-membership political and environmental organisations which were invited sent only their good wishes — – groups like the Council of Canadians,theSierra Club,Greenpeace,etc.; (this highlights theeducational work we need to do so that such groups will re- examine the priorities they must adopt if they are to have any real hope of long-term success in their particular specialised areas of interest).
After some general discussion about shared hopes and purposes, and about the opportunities and barriers we face, some particular proposals were discussed, and primarily the ICIS initiative. Alfred Webre, the Secretary-Treasurer of ICIS, (who flew from Vancouver for the Conference) recounted the history of their activity. This includes close cooperation with Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) who has introduced Bill HR3616,along lines identical to theproposed SPT, and has now joined with other congressmen to challenge the legality of Bush’s withdrawal of the USA from the ABM Treaty. The draft SPT and a 65-page supporting document are currently being distributed to all national governments worldwide. It is hoped to provoke an international conference to examine the space-weapons issue and the SPT as a response.
ICIS regards Canada’s role as key to chances of success. Senator Doug Roche has proposed to the Senate the need for adoption of an “Ottawa process” on space weaponry; Svend Robinson is presenting to the House a petition in this sense organised by ICIS, and has just tabled a motion (M527) along the same lines. The meeting discussed whether the government was likely to regard such an initiative as cutting across their efforts within the CD (where the matter seems quite stalled, however), or to welcome it as a complementary tactic. In this regard, Webre reported what ICIS interprets as a welcoming response from John Manley, of our present government, and ongoing plans for further direct conversations with Ottawa. The meeting agreed that we should try to aid the ICIS approach, both by lobbying and by public education.
One of the specific suggestions was to request a “round-table” discussion of the proposal at DFAIT’s “ Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development”.Science for Peace isalready preparing resource packages to aid in education on the space weapons issues, in schools (contact email@example.com)and elsewhere.It is intended that fact sheets on the issue should be prepared during the summer for use in a fall campaign, and that papers on such matters as conversion of space-weapons industries is also needed. Such materials are to be posted at www.noos.ca,from where they may befreely downloaded. (If you have produced, or know of, appropriate material in this regard, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org orCarolyn Bassett at email@example.com.)
A separate proposal, communicated by Bev Delong, was to arrange a Canadian conference of business people, government and NGOs, to discuss the implications for our economy, and particularly our aerospace and communications sectors, of the weaponisation plans. There was a split in opinion about the validity and dangers of such an initiative; the group decided it would not support the proposal.
Among several other related initiatives discussed, SfP proposed to attempt to generate a detailed analysis of university involvement in military activities, beginning with the University of Toronto. (If you are interested in helping with this research project, please get in touch.)
In order to maintain momentum in the collaborations discussed, it is intended that a steering committee should meet about monthly, with representatives from SfP, PGS, CPA, ICIS, Ploughshares and a student rep — in essence an updated version of the NOOS committee — and that information on the campaign, as well as materials for it, should systematically be posted at www.noos.ca (in connection with which Carolyn Bassett of CPA volunteered to assist Paul Hamel with the extra work it will entail). We will welcome your input about these plans.
Today ends my third long period of service as Director of Publications of Science for Peace. We are in one of the quiet periods, between publications, so it is a good time to hand over the job to the next incumbents.
I wish to thank Shirley Farlinger, who has been with me on the Committee since I became Director this last time, and to Clare Warwick, who has already made her good judgment felt in our work.
There is only one book published by SfP that is still sold in appreciable numbers, “Petrotyranny.” The points made in this remarkable book keep on
being demonstrated in what has happened since it was published and in what is still happening. The latest news items, from Alberta, that the Oil Industry is using excessive amounts of water in relatively arid areas merely adds to the weight of evidence against oil.
We now have a journal, the Journal of Science for Peace, and an editorial board; we await submissions of articles.
As a gesture in parting I make yet another new suggestion for publication, namely, what we might call “The Annals of Science for Peace.” This would be similar to the “Journal of Science for Peace” except that the articles would not be refereed. Rather, they would be an official record of
what Science for Peace has contributed; a kind of history-in- writings of our organization. I suggest that we obtain an ISSN number for the Annals and start to publish them forthwith. A way that it might work would be for people who have been involved in writing a report or Brief for Science for Peace to prepare that article, Brief, etc. for the Annals.
Ed. Note: Following in Derek’s footsteps is going to be a difficult task — so difficult that two people have been recruited to do so. The new Co-Directors of Publications are Hani Kim and Chris Trendall, both of whom are graduate students at the University of Toronto. Hani is working at the Ontario Cancer Institute and Chris is in the computer science department.
May 25th 2002 Hart House, University Of Toronto
In addition to discussions about budget, committees, and other operational issues, this AGM included a pair of moving and informative presentations. The first was by the Canadian- Colombian Solidarity Campaign (CCSC: www.tao.ca/~ccsc), this year’s recipient of the Hanna Newcombe – Anatol Rapaport Award, and the second by John Valleau and Bruna Notta on the Campaign to Stop the Weaponization of Outer Space.
The CCSN representatives, Manuel Rozental, Sheila Gruner, Pablo Leal, and Agustín Reyes, spoke movingly about the problems in Colombia. Pablo had been the indigenous governor of the Putumayo region, and has been asked by the elders of his tribe to leave the region in order to try to mobilize solidarity abroad. Leaving the land is not an easy decision for him, as an indigenous person without land is not considered alive.
Several of the presenters were unable to return to Colombia for fear for their lives. They spoke of the 15 political killings per day, the 2.4 million displaced in total with almost 400 000 displaced during the past year — violence largely oriented around control of resources and aimed at the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and trade unionists. The region is rich in oil and minerals; over 80% of the oil companies bidding for contracts in the regions where indigenous and Afro-Colombian people are being displaced are from Canada, including Talisman Energy Inc., known for its dealings in Sudan. Trade unionists and journalists are also being targeted and assassinated, with the vast majority of the violence perpetrated by paramilitary organizations with links to the military and the government.
In the face of this, a “Minga” has been called by representatives of Colombian popular movements and organizations. This is the name given by people indigenous to the Andes to the ancestral practice of mustering the energies of entire communities to achieve common goals. The Minga takes precedence over other activities, and involves acts of solidarity, reciprocity, discipline, and dignity by individually conscious people committed to a common good. As Manuel told us, there is an aggression against unarmed social and popular movements — a deliberate, systematic, and generalized genocide — to remove people from their territories and deny them rights and freedoms in order for largely foreign corporations to make use of resources. He urged us, as Canadians, to bear witness to their struggles, support the legitimacy of their efforts along an unarmed path to peace with social justice, and support their right to representation in decision-making processes at all levels.
In the second presentation, John and Bruna presented the disturbing facts regarding the intentions of the US to put weapons in space. Since more can be found on this topic both in this Bulletin and the March 21, 2002 Bulletin, I won’t go into much detail. I will mention that the relevant documents show that the US Space Command believes that globalization will widen the current wealth imbalance: “The globalization of the world economy will also continue, with a widening between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.” This, in their view, necessitates weapons in space to enforce the disparity, and “protect US national interests and investment”.
These strategies make US State Department policymaker George Kennan’s infamous 1948 statement eerily prescient:
We have about 50 percent of the World’s wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population…In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction…We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.
As Bruna aptly pointed out, while a Minga is the sacrifice of the immediate interests of individuals for the well-being of the community, US policy seems to be sacrificing the well-being of the world community for the immediate interests of a few.
In other news from the meeting, Phyllis was roundly applauded for her work as Treasurer after having taken on the post on such short notice; she has now passed on the torch to David Sandomierski. Phyllis also moved that we appoint Ken McFarlane as accountant and auditor to review SfP financial statements for the coming year.
Derek Paul was also warmly applauded for his work as Director of Publications; Hani Kim and Chris Trendall will take over from Derek.
The Nominating Committee now consists of Lisa Jeffrey, David Sandomierski, with Helmut Burkhardt as chair.
A need to increase both revenues and membership was generally recognized; membership dues were set at $60 for regular members, $20 for students.
Budget matters were discussed, and figures for the Blumenfeld Fund were presented which are included elsewhere in this Bulletin.
Derek Paul spoke of the new Education Working Group and the brief that was presented to DFAIT, which is discussed elsewhere in this Bulletin.
Charles Purdy suggested that we work closely with the Earth Charter process, and Bruna Notta suggested that we work toward the UN development meeting in South Africa in August.
The impending SfP office move was briefly discussed; see the note in this Bulletin. Finally, it was noted that Senator Doug Roche is to receive an honourary degree from York University.
Full text version of all articles from PDF edition is also available.