Newsworthy

By Jean Wright, Metta Spencer, Isabel Hobson

Women Zapped

TORONTO -- Mrs. Kim Besly, a long time participant in the women's camp at Greenham Common, lectured in Canada in December. She described a team effort called Cruisewatch, which has successfully stopped the convoys of cruise missiles every time they leave the base for maneuvers on the Salisbury Plain. These convoys speed at night over the narrow English roads, but Cruisewatchers, equipped with CB radios, turn over trucks ahead of the launchers which, upon stopping, have their windshields daubed with paint.

The U.S. military retaliates, say Ms. Besly, with experimental weapons, such as lights flashing at a rate known to cause seizures and disorientation. Ms. Besly showed a photo of a woman on a U.S. truck, with a soldier aiming such a weapon at her.

Whereas formerly soldiers stood guard inside the fence, they have now gone away. Since then, however, women at the camp often feel ill. Some have had miscarriages, and many begin to menstruate every two weeks -- a pattern associated with exposure to microwave radiation. It has been established that the levels of microwave emission are unusually high at certain places areas around the base.

The Great Peace Journey

By Jean Wright

The Great Peace Journey is a project to visit leaders of all member countries of the United Nations to find support for more peaceful means of solving the world's problems. In all, 114 out of the 159 member states of the U.N. have received delegations. Five questions have been asked on each visit much as follows : Are you willing to (1) guarantee that your country's defence forces do not leave your territory for military purposes, if all other nations do likewise; (2) prohibit weapons of mass destruction in your country if all other nations do the same; 3) forbid the export of weapons, if all other countries do the same; (4) work to make water, food, health care, and education available to all people on earth; and (5) use peaceful means for resolving your country's conflicts, as specified in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter? Of the countries contacted, 73 nations have answered yes to all five questions -- not including ours.

The delegation to Ottawa met a team led by Jean-Guy Hudon, Parliamentary Secretary to Joe Clark. None of the questions received a direct "yes" or "no" answer, but ten page of explanation were given. The gist of two of the replies seemed positive but when we noted that they seemed to mean "yes," we were specifically told not to interpret them as such. The more negative replies, were phrased in justifications mainly referring to NATO. We left the day feeling frustrated.

Along with two other Canadians, Rosalie Bertell and Robert Del Tredici, I was part of the thirteen-person delegation to Moscow. We spent two hours with Vadim Zagladin, Deputy of the International Department and a member of the Central Committee, Valentina Tereshkova, Astronaut and head of the Soviet Women's Committee, and several other officials. The Soviets were cordial and the conversation flowed comfortably; we felt they were really listening to us. In the end, Mr. Zagladin signed "yes" answers to all five questions.

On the same day, December 5, a delegation visited Washington, D.C. and spoke with a comparable level of officials. As in the case of Netherlands, there were two "yeses."

West Germany replied "yes" only to the fourth question. France and Great Britain matched Canada in giving neither "yes" nor "no" answers. The written answers of all nations were presented to Secretary General Perez de Cuellar at the United Nations on December 9. A conference for nations that replied "yes" to all five questions will take place next year, probably in Europe, to influence the hold-out nations to move toward "yes" answers too.

Citizen Groups want Nuclear Free Ontario

TORONTO -- Over thirty public interest organizations from across Ontario have endorsed a call to phase out nuclear activities in the province by the year 2020. They want the Darlington and Rolphton plants to be cancelled immediately and a referendum on phasing out the others.

They also call for separate tritium removal facilities to be built at Pickering and Bruce, to eliminate transportation of tritiated heavy water. They oppose any support for commercial use of tritium and any export of tritium, because of the connections with nuclear arms production.

Mayor Brewin Writes to Mulroney

VICTORIA, B. C. -- Mayor Gretchen Brewin has written to Prime Minister Mulroney, proposing a comprehensive public inquiry into the potential risks of visits by nuclear-capable and nuclear-powered vessels of the U.S. Navy to Esquimalt Harbour. She notes that the risks of accident from such vessels "are probably greater than the dangers from nonmilitary nuclear reactors...Yet in recent years the number of visits of [such] ships has sharply increased." Mayor Brewin urges that until an inquiry has reported, permission be rescinded on all further visits to Canadian ports of nuclear powered vessels or vessels able to carry nuclear weapons unless there is a declaration that no nuclear weapons are on board.

Beyond War Award to Contadora

By satellite, an estimated audience of 20 million in Europe and the Americas watched the Beyond War Award ceremony on December 14. The award this year went to the presidents of the Contadora nations, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela. Audiences in their Capital cities watched audiences in five U.S. cities honor the leaders who are attempting to settle Central American disputes without violence. Without quite naming the U.S., each of the presidents stated the peace can come to that region of the world only when armed intervention by outside powers ceases.

Richard Rathbun, President of the Beyond War Federation, urged viewers in the vast audience to write letters to their government representatives supporting the Contadora process. "If we decide to make Contadora succeed, it will happen." he said.

The Good Political News, East and West

By Metta Spencer

Moscow is now promoting disarmament indirectly -- through liberalizing political freedom. Our report from human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler was filed only days before the release of Andrei Sakharov. Then, at Christmas, another imprisoned member of the Moscow Group for Trust, Larissa Chukayeva, was allowed to return to Moscow.

In Canada, too, the prospects for political effectiveness look brighter for disarmament activists in this new year. The Liberal Party, in their convention, went on record as favoring declaring all of Canada as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. Activists, take a quick bow -- and then let's get back to work!

Invite an MP Over

By Isabel Hobson

OTTAWA -- On Oct. 28, the federal riding of Ottawa-Carleton had a chance to exchange ideas with their M.P., Mr. J. Barry Turner, who spoke on practical steps that can be taken by M.P.s and citizens to facilitate disarmament. Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg moderated. The meeting was preceded by a dinner in the home of the organizer. Eight citizens spoke from written briefs on such topics as the Comprehensive Test Ban and the economics of military spending.

Organizing the event took work -- especially to find eight speakers. Indeed, no written brief was submitted until the day of the event, but the results were good anyway, with high calibre submissions. The 35 people who attended discovered a mode of expression within their everyday environment; they hope that other citizens will set up such meetings with their own M.P.s to talk about peace.

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1987

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1987, page 40. Some rights reserved.

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