OTTAWA- "After the success on nuclear submarines we feel that peace activists are ready to set an agenda," says Ish Theilheimer, President of Operation Dismantle, toasting the sinking of the subs with champagne on budget day. "And with the international changes going on, the public may listen."
At its October meeting, the group's Board of Directors decided to promote PAXSAT and to educate the public on economic conversion/ redirection.
PAXSAT is the proposal for a peacekeeping satellite that has been promoted by the Canadian government. The idea lies in cold storage at present but Dismantle's board feels that strong public support could push the idea along. "Canadians believe in peacekeeping and would like to see their technological expertise put to good use, says Ish. "The idea may capture people's imaginations."
Dismantle's public education campaign will build on the government's own promotional campaign of a few years ago. The group hopes to attract the partnership of some high-tech companies that might build the satellite. "This would be the person-bites-dog story of the year - the peace movement cooperating with government and the aerospace industry," says Ish.
Dismantle's board likes the idea because of this linkage; PAXSAT could provide a graphic example of converting or redirecting industrial activity away from militarism and into peaceful civilian technology.
The organization is pursuing economic issues in several ways this year. In May they produced 10,000 copies of a leaflet, "We Arm the World," for distribution around Ottawa in connection with ARMX. The printing was paid for by the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway, Transport, and General Workers.
Dismantle's publication program continues, with some 50 Canadian newspapers now carrying their syndicated weekly column, "The Peace Race," produced by Robert Cottingham.
The recent addition of a fax machine to the Dismantle office has accelerated contact with daily and electronic media. The fax number: 613/ 236-3195.
"The World I Love" is the theme of an exhibition of children's paintings and drawings from 108 countries being shown in Montréal and Toronto this spring as part of an international tour.
Soka Gakkai International, a non-governmental organization based in Japan, is co-sponsoring the exhibition, along with McGill University and Metropolitan Toronto.
The exhibit is at Redpath Hall, McGill University, between from May 24 to June 1, 10:00 a.m.- 9 p.m. Between June 24-30, it is at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto during the same hours. Admission is free.
UNICEF is calling for a summit of world leaders to address the grave effects of Third World debt on the world's children. In the 37 poorest countries, health spending per capita has been cut by 50 percent. In countries that had been experiencing declining infant mortality and birth rates, lately more children are dying.
Leaders of 23 nations and the United Nations support a summit, and a campaign is under way to prompt Canada to host it. UNICEF has made it clear that Canada is the most desirable location for such a summit. Readers may wish to contact their M.P.s and the Minister of Finance, the Hon. Michael Wilson, to encourage this vital action.
Notwithstanding its recent budget cuts in foreign aid, Canada is known as the most progressive of the G-7 industrialized aid donors. It is in a strong position to urge major creditor nations to be more flexible in negotiating debt relief measures. Canada can take the lead at the G-7 Summit in calling for a joint statement from leaders to shelter the poor, and to provide relief and new funding to the most seriously affected debtor countries.
The remarkable shift of public opinion in West Germany against short-range missiles is matched by the opposition to low-level flight practice there, which grows with every plane crash. Thus in December a U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt crashed into Remscheid, a Ruhr town, injuring fifty and killing six. This manoeuvrable plane is particularly suitable for action with combat helicopters; it can fly so slowly that it seems to hover in the air, and its 30-mm cannon fires shells made of depleted uranium.
The low-level flight zone covers about two-thirds of the FRG, with about thirty million inhabitants. In seven ultra-low-level flight areas, pilots can practice at altitudes as low as 75 metres, about 70,000 times a year. The West German Air Force accounts for about 40 percent of these flights, and the U.S., British, Dutch, Belgian, Canadian, and French air force units stationed permanently in West Germany for most of the rest.
The letters pages of local newspapers are filled with protest against the flights. A measure intended to pacify the opponents is transferring more of these abroad, notably to Goose Bay, Labrador, Beja, Portugal, and Decimonannu on Sardinia. Contact Informationsbüro für Friedenspolitik, Postfach 1308, D-8130 Starnberg, FRG. Ph: 0-8151-4115.
Dr. F.H. Knelman warns in the Veterans Against Nuclear Arms newsletter for the British Columbia lower mainland: "The INF treaty does not cover the verified destruction of warheads or guidance systems but only missiles. It is quite conceivable that the warheads will be recycled, particularly those from the 108 Pershing-2s and the 1323 warheads from 441 Soviet three-warhead SS-20s. The latter will likely be used on the single warhead truck-mobile SS-25 or to increase the passengers on the warhead bus of their large SS-18 and SS-019 mirved ICBMs. The U.S. plans to adapt the Pershing-2 warheads to aircraft. Guidance systems (TERCOM) on the ground-launched cruise will certainly be recycled since they are identical for all U.S. cruise missiles.
"In the case of the U.S., a formal request has already been made to recycle Pershing-2 warheads, by Assistant Secretary of Defence Robert B. Barker, appearing before a House Armed Services Committee on March 2, 1988. - And, of course, we can be certain that the plutonium/ uranium in these warheads will be recycled in the nuclear weapons production systems. In some ways the INF Treaty was a shell game. Finally, it should be put on the record that it was the U.S. who insisted the warheads and guidance systems should not be destroyed, and that the Soviets were willing to destroy them."
An innovative concept, "Peace Through Parks," has emerged in Central America. Parks spanning borders can play an important role in easing tensions, while protecting threatened ecosystems and many endangered wildlife species. They can also attract tourism, a major source of foreign exchange. The Nicaraguan and Costa Rican governments are now holding negotiations to establish such parks on their borders. These areas, which are currently zones of warfare between contra rebels and Sandinista troops, covering 5,000 square km on the Nicaraguan side alone. They would become a "Natural Reserve for Peace" encompassing the tropical rainforests of the lower watershed of the San Juan River and the swamplands and lowlands south of Lake Nicaragua.
Proposals have been made for parks for peace on a number of Central American borders. Included are the Moskitia rainforests along the Nicaraguan-Honduran borders, the La Amistad International Park on the Costa Rican-Panamanian border, and the Biotopo Trifinio along the border of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The United States will hold "PACEX," reportedly the largest war game ever held in the Asia-Pacific region, September 1 to November 1. The U.S. forces will be joined by those from Japan, South Korea and perhaps the Philippines. Japan's participation may contradict its constitution, which prohibits collective defence.
Reportedly, Admiral Hardisty, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, will direct PACEX. U.S. participation will include carrier battle groups of the Third and Seventh Fleets, two or three army divisions, a division of marines, and more than 500 aircraft, including B-52 strategic bombers. These forces will be mobilized from the U.S. mainland and from bases in Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Mariana Islands.
The Pacific Campaign to Disarm the Seas, a nonaligned regional network of groups in eight nations, opposes militarization of the Pacific. Its request for details under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act has been denied. The network learned of the exercise from articles in the Japanese press.
Contact Patti Willis, 604/ 335-0351.