Disarmament Campaigns

By Disarmament Campaigns | 1987-06-01 12:00:00


THE DIRECTOR OF PAKISTAN'S URANIUM enrichment program, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, recently denied Indian newspaper reports that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Although such reports appear periodically, some U.S. intelligence reports indicate that Pakistan may be making progress toward developing nuclear weapons. Indian officials, including Prime Minister Gandhi, have stated that India's decision not to produce nuclear weapons would be reconsidered if Pakistan was discovered to be in the nuclear club. The two countries have been involved in repeated border disputes.

The U.S. intelligence reports, printed in early November of last year in The Washington Post, stated that on 18 and 21 September there were tests in Pakistan of explosives which could be used to trigger nuclear weapons. The Kahuta nuclear enrichment plant, built on plans stolen by a Pakistani scientist working at the Dutch Urenco plant, is now thought to be producing weapons-grade material.

Both the Carter and the Reagan Administrations have warned Pakistan that building nuclear weapons could mean an end to U.S. aid. Last year the U.S. decided to supply Pakistan with forty advanced F-16 bombers, and in 1981 Congress voted for a $3.2 billion aid packet with both military and economic provisions. But American analysts say that the pressure to keep up military assistance is strong for two reasons: The U.S. gets intelligence information on the Soviet military from Pakistan, and the U.S. funnels aid to Afghani resistance fighters through Pakistan.


Over 500,000 Iraqis and 800,000 Iranians have died during the seven-year long Iran-Iraq war. Civilians in both countries are living under continuously worsening conditions. The armament industries, however, are enjoying the ongoing business. The arms-selling countries range from Cyprus to the U.S. and include Warsaw Pact and NATO members as well as neutral and nonaligned countries.

Many of them are not ashamed to supply both sides with war equipment, knowing full well that this could prolong the war. Armament industries and determined politicians are not hindered by laws forbidding arms delivery into crisis areas. The "Irangate" affair in the U.S. is the best known example. But recently in the Federal Republic of Germany, police investigators have discovered two large gun-running operations supplying both sides.

In the January issue of Campaign!, the newspaper of the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), CND General Secretary Meg Beresford published a statement condemning the British government's sale of weapons to both sides. In 1985, landing craft and ships worth 85 million pounds were sold to Iran, while Land Rovers and radar equipment were sold to Iraq. The government is currently proposing a sale of first 3,000, then 17,000 Land Rovers to Iran. CND wants the sale stopped, and is encouraging the government to work for an international arms embargo.

Irish Protest EEC

The Single European Act (an EEC reform package which is a step toward European political union), with the support of the Irish peace movement, has been held up to court action in Dublin. The Irish Supreme Court is due to announce its decision on whether the measure is unconstitutional around the same time a new government comes into office.

The peace movement has protested that the Act has political and military implications which go against Ireland's position as a neutral country. It includes a treaty formalizing the process of forming a common EEC foreign policy, known as European Political Cooperation (EPC). This process has been used for many years, and places Ireland in a very difficult position. Ireland is the only neutral country among the twelve-member EEC. The other eleven members are all NATO partners.

In a dramatic move on Christmas Eve, the High Court granted an injunction to an opponent of the Single European Act. This prevented the government from completing the process of ratifying it. The Act had already been passed by the Dail (Parliament) and signed by the President. The High Court hearing which followed lasted ten days, but the appeal challenging the Act's constitutionality was rejected on a technicality. The injunction was renewed, however, to allow the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The new government formed on 10 March is a minority Fianna Fail administration. Fianna Fail had expressed concern about the implications of the Act for Irish neutrality while they were in opposition, although they voted in favor of it in the Dail. They proposed at the time that a declaration be added to the ratification.

A Supreme Court decision against the Act would mean that a referendum would be held to change the constitution. Reform of the Act itself would be very difficult, as it is a delicate compromise between countries looking for rapid EEC reform and those which are more cautious. In Denmark the Act has already been the subject of a referendum to approve it. It has also been ratified by each of the twelve members' parliaments, over a ten month period. A referendum result in favor of the measure could be very damaging to the long-term case for Irish neutrality, which is widely supported, but little understood, by the Irish population.

One of the peace movement's objections to the Single European Act is its military implication. It allows for cooperation on "the political economic aspects of security," which is seen as the first step toward a military European Community. It also lays the foundation for a Common Arms Procurement Policy within EEC structures. European integrationists have often proposed that a political and then a military dimension be added to the original economic role of the EEC. Irish politicians have said that Ireland would be willing to participate in EEC military structures when the time comes, after economic and political integration have been developed.

By Walter Kilroy, a member of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). He can be contacted through the CND, 29 Lower Baggot St., Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel. 353 1 613987.

Nordic Nuke Free Zone?

Since 1981 the Nordic peace movements have been working hard to get the Nordic countries declared a nuclear weapon-free zone. We have had this demand as one of our slogans at all our demonstration. Petition drives have proven that the majority of people back the demand. In April 1983 peace movements from each of the Nordic countries published a proposal for a Nordic zone which discussed all the main problems and possible solutions. The countries taking part in this work were Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. Greenland was asked to take part, but they wanted to work together with the other Arctic Inuit; they have already declared that they want their area made a nuclear free zone. The proposal was followed up by lectures and repeated discussions with politicians throughout the Nordic countries. Since then we have experienced an increasing political interest in and understanding of the zone issue. From being an issue which our politicians absolutely refused to speak about it has gradually become an acknowledged political question. The Danish Social Democrats, especially, have changed their minds and have done their best to draw other countries into the discussion. In the autumn of 1985 the Social Democrats from all the Nordic countries arranged a large political meeting in Copenhagen that dealt solely with this question. All political parties from all the Nordic countries took part.

During the last year a working group of the Nordic Parliamentarian Committee has worked on the issue. The Committee has now presented a proposal for a Nordic nuclear weapon free zone. According to this proposal the participating countries undertake not to produce, develop, receive, test, or deploy nuclear weapons. They must not prepare to receive nuclear weapons, and they must promise that their soldiers will not be trained in the use of nuclear weapons, that no transit of nuclear weapons will take place on their territories, and that they won't establish vehicles for delivering nuclear weapons.

Official thinking as become much more flexible on this issue. Every problem which earlier arose, such as submarines in the Baltic Sea, created a hindrance to the zone idea. Now the committee has proposed a principal treaty with all the main decisions for the zone. These guidelines can be combined with supporting agreements on specific questions, some of them perhaps worked out between a zone country and a neighboring country outside the zone. Such mutual agreements are exactly what the peace movements suggested in their proposal. Guarantees should also be given by the USSR and the U.S. Mutual guarantees will be asked from the two pacts.

A committee of officials is now planning to take over the work and to come up with a draft for a treaty. When questioned, politicians sound fairly optimistic about the possibility of such a treaty.

By Judith Winther, Nej til Atomvapen, Dronningensgade 14,1420 Copenhagen K, DENMARK.

ABM Violation in Greenland

The U.S has maintained several bases that were built in Greenland during World War II. Two of the most important ones are at Thule and Sondre Stromsfjord. The Danish government, which has authority over Greenland, wanted to shut the bases down at the end of the war, but was persuaded that a continued U.S. presence was necessary. The U.S. attaches great importance to these bases, which are part of a surveillance and a forward defence system. In 1980 they spent U.S. $69,352,000 on the bases in Greenland (this excludes money spent on classified portions of the system) and $109,320,000 and $7,721,000 respectively in West Germany and Great Britain (G.B.). The radar systems at Thule and at Fylingdales in Yorkshire, G.B. are a part of a U.S. global early-warning system. Both systems have been obsolete for thirty years. In Thule, a new system is almost complete and this has provoked a public debate in Denmark. The U.S. plans to rebuild the radar in Fylingdales soon, according to a currently unpublished agreement between the U.S. and G.B.

There is concern that the radar will violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The new radars are "large phased-array radars" (LPARs) which can search the sky for incoming missiles at electronic speed. This means they can be a very important part of a defence system against ballistic missiles. Many people, including Raymond L. Garthoff, the American negotiator of the treaty, believe the new radar violates the treaty. The treaty forbids early-warning systems anywhere but in the periphery of the territory of the two superpowers (and Greenland isn't American territory). It also only allows phased array radars in connection with the allowed anti-ballistic missiles placed in the U.S. and the USSR. Several experts also believe it is an indispensable part of a possible Strategic Defence Initiative project. The Danish Socialist People's Party and the Left Socialist Party are calling for an investigation, and the issue has been debated in Parliament.

The Reagan Administration, however, claims that the Thule radar modernization is allowed in accordance with a stipulation in the ABM Treaty saying that components of existing installations can be modernized. However, a LPAR is no component, and the claim is worthless. Like the situation with the LPAR-type radar in the Siberian Kransnojarsk, if the Thule radar doesn't meet the standards set in the ABM Treaty, American officials have worked out a juridical analysis to decide under what conditions exceptions to the treaty will be allowed. The analysis clearly shows that the Kransnojarsk radar can under no circumstances be regarded as legal; neither can the Thule radar, using the analysis worked out by the Reagan Administration.

Officials in the administration are now working hard to prove that the Thule SPAR can be included as an exception to the treaty, and that it is therefore allowed.

The Danish conservative government maintains that it has been informed by the U.S. government that the Thule radar is an allowed modernization. Many American experts are indignant of the way in which false information has been given to an ally.

It has been said that in October 1985 the Soviet Union offered to cease work on the Krasnojarsk radar if the U.S. would no longer work on the new Thule and Fylingdales radars. Later they offered to dismantle the Kransnojarsk if the U.S would give up the Thule radar.

A formal protest against the Thule radar has now been delivered to the Danish government from the USSR, stating that the radar is a breach of the ABM Treaty. In Greenland all the political parties of the Greenlandic home rule have asked for control over activities at the U.S. bases.

In Denmark the journalist Jorgen Dragsdahl from the independent paper Information, who raised the whole question, is now following the case closely through contacts with American experts and by publishing new articles daily, hindering a government hush-up.

The unveiling goes on. Each day brings new and bizarre information. It has now been leaked that the USSR in the Standing Consultative Commission (a forum where the superpowers are monitoring the SALT I and the ABM Treaties) said that they didn't consider the Thule radar an ABM radar. This may be the reason why they haven't protested before, and why the Americans didn't expect any protests from the USSR. Is this an exchange behind the scene?

By Judith Winter, Nej til Atomvapen, Dronningsgaten 14, 1420 Copenhagen, DENMARK. tel 011548686.

Nuclear Test Totals

There were twenty one nuclear tests in 1986, according to information compiled by the National Defence Research Institute and distributed by the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS). This was the lowest number of nuclear tests conducted during a year since 1960, when only three explosions were carried out. France conducted eight tests, the U.K. one, and the U.S. twelve. All the explosions were below the Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 150 kilotons. More details about the time and place of explosions are available from SPAS. The SPAS Information Service on Nuclear Testing sends bulletins via telex to interested groups after each test, announcing an explosion. Contact: SPAS, Brannkyrkag 76, S-117 23 Stockholm, SWEDEN. Tel 468680200.


Mobilization for Survival (MfS) is collecting information on U.S. military bases around the world for use in a map that will be available later this year. People or groups with information on the location, size, and function of U.S. military bases anywhere in the world are asked to contact John Miller at MfS. Contact: Mobilization for Survival, 853 Broadway, 418, New York N.Y. 10002. Tel 212/99S-8787.

An international newsletter on war and children premiered in March. Published by the WAR/WATCH Foundation, the newsletter will focus on ways in which children are militarized through institutions such as the war toy industry and practices such as military training in schools. The newsletter will include actions and resources opposing such practices. Contact WAR/WATCH Foundation. P.O. Box 487, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632. Tel 501/253-8900.


Foreign Bases Network?

Delegates to the Five Continent Conference on Peace and Disarmament, held in Athens last December, felt that the contacts made there between representatives of different countries with foreign bases were very valuable. There was discussion about setting up an anti-foreign bases network (similar to the North Atlantic Network) to coordinate actions and information.

The Comité Antinuclear de Catalunya, and other groups in Catalonia and Spain, are interested in more discussions about the possibility, structure, and goals of such a network. They are interested in holding a meeting at the European Nuclear Disarmament (END) Convention in Coventry this summer if enough groups respond.

Contact Comité Antinuclear De Catalunya, Gran de Gracia, 126-130, 08012 Barcelona, SPAIN. Tel 2179527.

Summer School About Nonviolence

The annual summer school of the International People's College will be held from 19 July to 1 August this year. The program will consist of lectures, workshops, and cultural events around the theme "Towards a Nonviolent Society." Nobel laureates Konrad Lorena and Nicholas Tinbergen have been invited to speak. This year's summer school is co-sponsored by the Christians for Disarmament. Participation is limited to 100 people. The cost, which includes room and board, is Danish kroners 1,500 per week, payable to giro account 3 03 3643. Contact The International People's College, Montebellow Alle 1, DK-3000 Helsingor, DENMARK.

Youth tor Integrity

A workshop for European youth around the theme "Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation" will be held 27 July to 3 August on the island of Hven, between Denmark and Sweden. The workshop, sponsored by the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (Kristna Fredsrorelsen) and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, will focus on East-West issues and have up to 100 participants from both East and West Europe. The workshop theme follows the focus of the upcoming World Council of Churches assembly.

Contact Kristna Fredsrorelsen, Box 16006,S-250 16 Helsingborg, SWEDEN.

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1987

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1987, page 17. Some rights reserved.

Search for other articles by Disarmament Campaigns here

Peace Magazine homepage