Close Call in Pakistan

Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker reveals that in May 1990, the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir almost came to nuclear war. The United States discovered that the Pakistanis were planning to use an atomic bomb against India. The Pakistanis had positioned F-16 fighter planes near the Indian border, modified to transport nuclear weapons. National security adviser Robert Gates discovered the plan in time to prevent the catastrophe. He warned the Pakistanis that, according to all the scenarios the United States had considered, Pakistan was certain to lose any war with India. Hersh cited a CIA officer, Richard Kerr, as saying that the world had never come closer to nuclear war, even during the Cuban missile crisis.

Radioactive Bullets

International health care workers are concerned with the startling rise in childhood cancer cases in post-war Iraq. Dr. Eric Hoskins and a Harvard study team have noted that an increase of cancer, leukemia being the most prevalent, may be attributed to an armor-piercing shell. This cigar-shaped bullet, which was commonly used during the Gulf War, is made from left-over reactor waste. The depleted uranium penetrators (DUP) were developed in the 1 970s in the United States and are considered to be slightly radioactive. Apparently the DUP was used extensively in the war and literally thousands were scattered throughout the Iraqi landscape. Made from the depleted by-product of enriched uranium used in nuclear reactor rods and warheads,

the DUP is known mainly for its extreme density and ability to burst into flames on impact. Researchers have noted that the potential danger lies in the after-effects when the depleted uranium shell is left to oxidize in the open air. Once in the air, uranium particles may easily enter the body, causing cell damage which can lead to cancer. The Pentagon has argued that the DUP has too little radiation to be classified as a radiological weapon. In Iraq children continue to play with the DUP shell casings.

Nuclear Test Ban in Sight

On August 10, the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) submitted to its Ad Hoc committee on a Nuclear Test Ban a general mandate to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT). This came after the July 3 announcement by President Clinton of his decision to extend the present moratorium on US nuclear weapons testing through September 1994 ,provided that all other states refrain from testing throughout that period. CD members, Canada included, are at this time in the process of outlining the organization of and a specific mandate for CTBT talks and negotiations. the present goal is to commence these negotiations in January 1994.

At the same time in New York, there was a meeting of the members of the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTB) of 1963. With over 90 countries in attendance it was agreed that while the CD's negotiation of a CTBT was exciting, there was some concern that its terms might be unsatisfactory.

Will it be verifiable and universal ? If not then the 90 countries would insist on the option of attaining a CTBT through amending the PTB instead of going the CD route. A U.S. law passed last year sets September 30, 1996 as the target date for completion of a treaty.

ARMX Not for Ottawa

Ottawa's Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) reports that ARMX will not be returning to the Ottawa Congress Centre (OCC) in 1994 as planned. Baxter Publishing, the organizers of this military trade show, complain of "political problems" and are "fed up with professional agitators who support any cause." Apparently they are moving to Washington, D. C. Continuing: COAT is trying to get the OCC to ban all military trade events, and trying to get the Ontario government to form a policy prohibiting such events at all provincial facilities.

Sri Lanka Peace Plan Possible

A peace plan for Sri Lanka, signed by four Nobel Prize winners from four countries, is receiving attention on an international level. The peace plan was initiated by the Toronto-based World Council for Global Cooperation headed by ten Nobel Peace Prize Winners. James Nicholas, the Council's International Secretary, who co-authored the plan, said that the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are earnestly considering the peace plan. The plan calls for United Nations mediation, a plea for the peace dividend, an appeal for the strict enforcement of human rights, regional autonomy in the North and East under a federal system, and finally, peace through prosperity.

Whitewash on E. Timor?

On April 30,1993, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) released a report for which it has been criticized as whitewashing the repressive actions of the new Indonesian administration in Fast Timor. The Indonesian government has occupied the region in violation of international law and has used repressive tactics which can be described as genocidal. In contradiction to past statements made by CIDA officials, the Canada Fund has spent $500,000 in E. Timor, which has had the end result of strengthening Indonesian control over E. Timor. The Timorese resistance movement CNRM has called for a suspension of all aid until E. Timor is allowed a referendum on self-determination.

Women's Treaty

For over twelve years several U.S. administrations have refused to ratify a treaty which will guarantee women such fundamental rights as the right to vote, to enter freely into marriage, and to have equal access to education, employment, and health care The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was signed by President Jimmy Carter on Dec. 8, 1979 but has not yet been ratified by the United States Senate. This means that its provisions are not yet binding on U.S. laws. As of April 16, 1993, 121 countries had ratified this treaty. Only two industrialized nations, the United States and South Africa, have declined to sign this treaty to date.

Star Wars Faked Test

Now we find out: in 1984 a rocket was launched in California to test a component of Star Wars by hitting another rocket launched from the Pacific. It succeeded or so we were told at the time. Now it turns out that the test was faked for the purpose of tricking the Soviets into spending heavily on a counter-Star Wars program. It tricked the U.S. Congress too, which spent S3 1 billion on the program. We had our own whistle-blowers all along. See Peace's interview with former SDI expert David Parnas, April, 1987.

Human Rights Conference Report

In June a World Conference on Human Rights was held in Vienna and, although no great breakthrough took place, there were several significant advances. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted by consensus. The Conference urges the forming of a High Commissioner for Human Rights, who can act directly through the Security Council. The final document incorporates the requests arising from a petition calling for stronger protection of women and girl children's human rights both inside and outside the home. The rights of children and indigenous peoples were also given special attention.

Russian Missiles Not Dismantled

According to Dunbar Lockwood, writing in the August Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, although the U.S. appropriated $500 million to help the former USSR denuclearize, only $31 has been formally obligated and even less has actually been spent. Ukraine, especially, has not decided to abolish its weapons.

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1993

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1993, page 30. Some rights reserved.

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