In memoriam

Peace Magazine regrets the passing of Alaine Hawkins on April 3 and Pat Romaine in January, 1997.

Alaine Hawkins was behind the accompaniment movement and worked on the front lines as well as administration.

Pat Romaine was a peace activist from Castlegar, B.C.

Greenham Common Women Will Stay Put

Five years after the U.S. Air Force left Greenham Common in southern England, the local district council and a private financial group have bought the former nuclear weapons air base. It had been the site of anti-nuclear protest during the 1980s-especially during one weekend when 50,000 people met there to sing, dance, and protest against the deployment of 96 cruise missiles on the Common's heathland. A women's camp remained outside its gates, despite official harassment and evictions, and 10 women still live there in a group of mobile homes.

Because people were kept out, rare wildlife survived undisturbed in the strips of grass between the runways, which are now being dug up. The butterflies and ground-dwelling birds will take over the whole area again within a few years. And the 10 women will stay as well, campaigning against Britain's Trident nuclear submarine weapon system. Warheads for the Trident are being made in a secret installation at Aldermaston, only a few miles away from Greenham Common.

Americans Want Nuclear Disarmament

A poll of 1,006 Americans was released in early April by Abolition 2000, a network of 700 groups working for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The Lake Sosin Snell and Associates survey showed that Americans support, by a ratio of nine to one, an international treaty to eliminate nuclear arms.

People no longer see any reason for keeping a stockpile of such weapons and, in fact, feel unsafe with the nuclear status quo. Unlike defense-related surveys conducted in earlier years, there is no significant gender gap or regional variation in these findings. Republicans and Democrats also are in broad agreement. Opposition to maintaining a nuclear weapons stockpile-and support for an international treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons-is shared across the board by men and women, Democrats and Republicans, in every region of the country.

Nearly eight in 10 Americans (77%) believe that the U.S. budget for nuclear weapons is too high. When informed that more tax dollars are spent on building and maintaining nuclear weapons than on Head Start, fighting illiteracy and providing college scholarships combined, 74 per cent disagreed with this spending priority.

The survey was conducted from March 27 to 30, 1997, by professional interviewers using a stratified random digit dial process. The maximum margin of error for this sample is +/- 3.1 per cent. For information, contact Doug Baj or Hunter Hohlt at 202/ 667-0901.

Source: News Release International

Action Alert On Weapons Plutonium

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Ontario Hydro propose to import 100 tonnes of weapons plutonium from the United States and Russia in the form of mixed oxide (MOX)-a mixture of plutonium oxide and uranium oxide. These fuel bundles are to be used in Ontario CANDU reactors. Permission has already been granted to import 600 grams of plutonium from nuclear weapons stockpiles for the purposes of a "test burn" in a nuclear reactor located at Chalk River, Ontario.

The Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout opposes the importation and use of plutonium fuel. While the use of weapons plutonium in reactors consumes a portion of that plutonium, new plutonium will be produced as waste, adding to Canada's nuclear waste problems.

The plutonium fuel initiative only serves to prop up Canada's declining nuclear industry and its unsustainable means of generating electrical power. Nuclear reactors around the world, including CANDU reactors in Canada, are being shut down long before their predicted lifespan. Under the plutonium fuel import plan, Canada would be committed to running specific reactors for decades into the future, even if they need expensive repairs or cheaper and safer energy alternatives are available.

The transport of weapons- usable plutonium over great distances is not only a health and safety risk, but also might increase the likelihood that such material could fall into the hands of terrorists. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that shipments of plutonium require security measures equivalent to those needed for transport of nuclear weapons.

The federal government's support for the plutonium fuel initiative is not based on an open democratic process.

by Kristen Ostling, Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout, 412-1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7

Europeans Oppose Nato Expansion

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was set up in 1949 as an alliance of victors in Europe and North America, mainly to counterbalance Soviet power. It was supposed to have political and economic programs, but quickly became primarily a military force, with both conventional and nuclear weapons kept ready at all times for computerized "launch on warning." Under Article Five of the NATO Treaty, the members stipulated that an armed attack against one or more of them would be considered an attack against them all, and that each member would act to restore security, possibly by using armed force. This remains NATO policy, although many other factors have changed.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons is illegal in the vast majority of circumstances. The recent edition of NATO Review does not mention the ICJ ruling.

Despite the ending of the Cold War, NATO is planning to enlarge its membership from 17 to include such formerly socialist countries as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, the Baltic States, Slovakia, and Slovenia. On July 8-9, in Madrid, there will be a NATO summit to reform NATO's command structure for its new mission of crisis management and to consider the enlargement of its membership. Despite widespread domestic alarm over the prospect, Russia has officially moved toward accepting this expansion as inevitable. A two-thirds majority vote is required in Congress to approve this expansion. If Congress does approve, and if, as seems likely Russia is excluded while other countries in Eastern Europe are included, this will look like a reprise of the Cold War.

In a speech to the North Atlantic Council on February 18, 1997 in Brussels, the Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, Canada's Minister for Foreign Affairs, said, "Canada favors a broadly based first wave of enlargement-one that is consistent with the alliance's security mandate and based on the progress made by individual candidates in democratization, transparency, and civilian control over the military..." Minister Axworthy is also developing peacekeeping and peace-building methods in which countries will maintain their own institutions and security. Nevertheless, such initiatives are undermined by the probable continuation of NATO.

Yet if both Russia and the Canadian government have resigned themselves in fatalistic mood to the inevitability of NATO's expansion, the European peace movement is responding in an entirely different way.

On March 22, the day after Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin met in Helsinki, representatives of several peace and environmental organizations from Great Britain, Belgium, and France met in France to exchange views on action for peace and disarmament in Europe. They decided to actively oppose plans for NATO enlargement and the excessive level of military spending.

Noting that NATO expansion will cost an estimated $100 billion, they asked: Against whom is NATO directed?

These European movements insist that they can defeat such plans if they act now, and if they promote a new conception of security in Europe-one based on cooperation with the East and South. Throughout May and June they will be organizing events throughout their respective countries. A bailiff will serve a summons to the NATO leaders during their meeting in Madrid, one year after the ICJ ruled against the nuclear weapons, on which NATO depends. At that time, the peace movements will launch a program of nonviolent resistance. See the Calendar, page 2, for a schedule of their activities.

by Shirley Farlinger and Daniel Durand.

Christians Fast In Hebron

On Easter Sunday, at a cathedral in Jerusalem, four of the five members of a Christian Peace Team (CPT) ended their 29-day fast, by which they had protested the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes. The team had been working with Palestinians and Israeli citizens in clearing rubble and preparing to rebuild one such home, which had been owned by a Palestinian family for generations, though it is now located between two Israeli settlements.

The Israeli government justifies the demolitions by noting that the targeted homes were built without permits. However, it does not generally report that Palestinian families whose lands border Israeli settlements have been routinely denied such permits for the last two decades. Overcrowding often forces families to build on their own land without permits. Then their homes are demolished and Israeli settlements can more easily expand.

CPT Hebron has kept a 23-month presence in the town at the invitation of the municipality. The fifth member of the team, Cliff Kindy, was arrested with a rabbi and two Palestinians. Kindy completed his fast on Easter in a Hebron jail, and then was deported to America.

Source: Christian Peacemaker Teams

Peace Magazine May-June 1997

Peace Magazine May-June 1997, page 28. Some rights reserved.

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