Just as it did five years ago, the United Steelworkers Union Local 5795 in Labrador City has come out in support of low level flying in Labrador. The union's latest statement of support follows the environmental review report recently released by the Department of National Defence of low level flying in Labrador and Quebec.
Local 5795 president George Kean said they endorse their union brothers and sisters who earn their living from these activities in Goose Bay. He noted that work is hard to find in Labrador, and that if low level flying were forced to stop, it would make the employment situation even worse and effectively shut down the second largest community in Labrador. Local 5795 is the largest private sector union in Newfoundland.
July 20,. 1994 is "Free Aung San Suu Kyi Day." On May 27,1990, the Burmese people chose Aung San Suu Kyi to be their leader, voting for democracy and against three decades of dictatorship. She is the leader of the party that won the most votes in the last election, but M.P.s were prevented by the military junta from taking office. Many were imprisoned. In 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize. July 20 will mark her fifth year of imprisonment. Remind your government it 5 time to press for her freedom.
Two "Alternatives to Violence" (AVP) workshops have been held for inmates of the Dorchester Penitentiary and Westmorland Institution in New Brunswick. The AVP philosophy is that the power for peace and good, or "that of God," is in everyone; and this power can transform violence.
A fundamental requirement of AVP is voluntary participation. Two Sackville residents took the Training for Trainers in Dorchester in January. One of these apprentices, Joanne Goodrich, observed that sometimes the greater the seriousness of the crime, the more open the offender is to the concept of finding alternatives to violence. The Dorchester inmates came to the workshop of their own volition.
One exercise was listing different forms violence can take: not only physical abuse but racist jokes and put-downs such as those that exist in the prison atmosphere.
Prison staff were not permitted to attend, for the inmates could be inhibited in their presence. But Goodrich feels that the staff could benefit from observing the inmates. AVP is a non-political, and nonprofit organization. Al-though originating from the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), it is non-sectarian and multicultural.
Four Swedish Plowshares activists have begun serving one year prison sentences for their part in the "JAS into Plowshares -'93" action. Tomas Falk, Hans Leander, Pia Lundin, and Igge Olsson entered the Saab military aircraft factory in two actions in June of 1993 to plant wheat and damage JAS 39 Gripen aircraft. The JAS fighter plane is intended primarily as an offensive weapon for export sales. It is reported to be the largest industrial project in Sweden, ever.
Considerable preliminary work is underway to prepare for the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Extension Conference. One important two-day workshop was held at the United Nations in April, sponsored by the NGO Committee on Disarmament.
The first session dealt with the status of the negotiations toward a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The session chairman, Ambassador Marin Bosch of Mexico, also chairs the Conference on Disarmament's test ban committee. He expressed amazement that CTB negotiations are going on in a multilateral forum, instead of simply waiting for a bilateral or 'trilateral treaty to be presented to the Conference on Disarmament. He expects a draft text to be ready by 12 to 18 months after the beginning of the negotiations in January. John Holum, Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, who was also a panelist, said the U.S. had no plans to submit its own draft treaty but expressed American political will to attain a CTBT as early as possible.
Christopher Paine, a verification expert, said that seismic monitoring is adequate to verify most tests, but that low-yield tests pose a different challenge. "Hydronuclear" tests involve a small chain reaction that could be extrapolated to judge the performance of a much larger bomb. He said, "hydronuclear testing under a CTB could provide a highly confident basis for certifying the performance of a new generation of compact and highly deliverable mini-and micro-nuclear weapons..." He argued that the simple way to ban these kinds of tests is "to ban the introduction of fissile material into a device that would release nuclear energy, no matter how small."
Paine also suggested that the draft treaty provide for "societal verification." That is, protected international status would be granted to anyone who provides or seeks to provide information concerning the activities of a member state that may be in violation of the treaty. He proposal to include treaty provisions for criminal penalties for individuals violating the treaty.
The second session dealt with the cut-off of the production of fissionable material for nuclear weapons and ending the production of such weapons. The moderator was Canada's Ambassador for Disarmament, Peggy Mason. A draft treaty on the cut-off may be presented to the General Assembly as early as autumn 1996. According to Tom Cochran, a scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, "in both the U.S. and Russia, we have highly enriched uranium and plutonium coming out of our ears. A fissile cut-off .... really has no arms control value anymore vis-à-vis the United States and Russia.... But now the primary interest of the U.S. government ... is in its value in capping, not the arms race of the superpowers, but the capabilities of the threshold states: India, Pakistan, and Israel." He added that "Everybody in the U.S. government is scared to talk to the Israelis about a fissile cut-off' because it is such a contentious issue in Israel.
Source: Disarmament Times, May 1994.
A Greenpeace report, authored by Dr. Frank Barnaby and Shaun Burnie, notes the weakness of the existing NPT and calls for an objective assessment of its results. They identify as its main weaknesses that: (a) It is widely perceived as discriminatory. (1,)Its safeguards, as implemented by the IAEA, are unable to detect or deter diversion of nuclear materials into nuclear weapons programs, and there is no prospect of much improvement (c) The only obligation for the nuclear weapons states is to negotiate at "an early date" effective measures to stop the nuclear arms race, and move to general nuclear disarmament. (d) The treaty was deliberately framed to permit continued collaboration between the official nuclear weapon states on the development of nuclear weapons.