EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN...
NO New Nuclear Weapons... NO New Nuclear Targets... NO New Pretexts For Nuclear War... NO Nuclear Testing...
NO Star Wars... NO Weapons In Space...
NO All Types Of Weapons, War & War Culture...
We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?
Arms Trade Resource Center
Update -
June 6, 2002


Eating Grass and Contemplating
Armageddon in South Asia


by Frida BERRIGAN

Ferrida Berrigan

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

I. EATING GRASS AND CONTEMPLATING ARMAGEDDON IN SOUTH ASIA

II. COLOMBIA IS BURNING
III. RECENT NEWS COVERAGE
I. EATING GRASS AND CONTEMPLATING ARMAGEDDON IN SOUTH ASIA


Almost forty years ago, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was then serving as Pakistan's Foreign Minister, famously declared "even if Pakistanis have to eat grass we will make the bomb." Since then, India and Pakistan have fought two conventional wars and now have nuclear weapons poised to complete the short five-minute arc to the other's national capital.

President George W. Bush called both leaders last night to urge them to back down, warning, "armed conflict will do nothing to improve the lives of the people of India and Pakistan. It will instead blot the future of both nations."

Bush is also dispatching carrots and sticks to the region. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Armitage bears carrots for both sides, including debt relief, additional international aid, and enticements for Pakistan to become "a respected member of the international community," in the words of a senior State Department official.  Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is carrying the stick, in the form of a Pentagon report documenting the likelihood that 12 million people could be killed and an additional 6 million injured in the nuclear exchange.

But, as the din of nuclear saber rattling grows more deafening, the role played by the United States and other western countries in building up India and Pakistan's nuclear capability is all but being ignored.

Last week the Group of 8 leading industrialized nations, known as the G-8, issued a statement calling on India and Pakistan to "work with the international community to ensure that there will be a diplomatic solution to the current crisis." While the statement is strongly worded and compelling, it is weakened by the fact that of the eight signatories, six including the U.S., Russia, Canada, Germany, Britain and France, helped provide India and Pakistan with the raw materials and technical know-how to build their nuclear weapons.

India's first nuclear device used plutonium supplied by a Canadian research reactor and extracted in a re-processing plant built with U.S. assistance. Germany supplied the tritium, beryllium, heavy water plants and re-processing components. Pakistan utilized Canadian and Belgian heavy water plants, German uranium enrichment technology, reprocessing technology from France and the UK and an U.S. origin research reactor as it developed its first nuclear weapons. In fact, Pakistan's F-16s, supplied by the Reagan administration, remain their most reliable nuclear delivery vehicle.

As crucial as raw nuclear materials, technical assistance and delivery vehicles are to the two countries' nuclear weapons development programs, perhaps even more influential is the continued emphasis placed on nuclear weapons by Western nations. Both India and Pakistan are very effected by the Cold War equation that nuclear weapons are indicative of world leadership and essential to entering the "first world." The fact that since the end of the Cold War no nuclear power has relinquished nuclear weapons has had a profound impact on both nations. As M. V. Ramana and A. H. Nayyar, physicists and peace activists from India and Pakistan respectively, wrote in a recent Scientific American article, "the continued reliance of the United States and Russia on thousands of nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert only adds to the perceived need for nuclear arsenals in India and Pakistan."

India and Pakistan's game of nuclear chicken sheds light on the United States' own nuclear lawlessness. The fact that the United States has withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, is pursuing new, more useable "mini" nuclear weapons, and is committed to deploying a multi-tiered ballistic missile defense are not lost on Indian and Pakistani leaders who hear President Bush and his envoys calling for nuclear restraint and a return to diplomacy. For the United States to help diffuse the nuclear threat in South Asia, it must first examine the ways in which it has contributed to building and encouraging that threat.

For more information on international assistance to the Indian and Pakistani nuclear programs, please see the Nuclear Control Institute's 1998 factsheet http://www.nci.org/f/for-asst.htm  


II. Colombia Is Burning

And the U.S. is Pouring Gasoline on the Fire

by Sean DONAHUE, New Hampshire Peace Action


On April 8, Alfredo Zapata Herrera was on his way to work at a cement factory when right wing paramilitaries dragged him off a bus and killed him. Zapata was a leader in the local construction workers' union. The military and the police knew that he was targeted for assassination, but did nothing to protect him. He was the 45th union organizer killed in Colombia this year. Six more have been killed since. Three out of every four union organizers killed around the world are killed in Colombia.

Last year, 4,000 civilians were murdered for political reasons in Colombia -- up from 1,187 in 2000. The vast majority were killed by right wing paramilitaries closely aligned with the Colombian military: assassinated for speaking out for political and economic justice, or massacred to scare their neighbors into abandoning land coveted by oil companies, cattle ranchers, or cocaine traffickers. The U.S. and Colombian government circumvent human rights restrictions that are supposed to prevent U.S. military aid from going to military units linked to the paramilitaries. 


According to Human Rights Watch:

"The U.S. violated the spirit of its own laws- in order to continue funding abusive units. Compelling evidence emerged, in particular, of ties between paramilitaries and Colombian military units deployed in the U.S. antinarcotics campaign in southern Colombia, showing that U.S.-vetted, funded, and -trained troops were mixing freely with units that maintained close ties with paramilitaries."

The war has grown even bloodier in recent months since the government broke off peace talks with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the larger of the country's two Marxist guerilla groups. President Pastrana declared 19 municipalities "theaters of operation" under the country's new security law - essentially imposing martial law in these areas. Escalation of the war against the guerillas serves to cloak and legitimize the "dirty war" against dissenters.  

Colombian human rights activist Hector Mondragon writes: "Both the right and the guerilla are trying to impose war. The strengthening of the movements of the left for peace could possibly resolve the conflict. This is the possibility that the dirty war and assassinations have tried to prevent."

Guerilla violence provides a justification for the further escalation of military/ paramilitary violence. And so the cycle continues.

Things are about to get worse.  On Sunday, May 26th Colombians elected a new president, Alvaro Uribe, who has promised to take a harder line against the FARC.  Among his proposals: doubling the size of the Colombian military, and creating a network of one million civilian intelligence operatives. The latter proposal is especially frightening to human rights activists: it has disturbing echoes of the "CONVIVIR" program of the late 1990's that created armed civilian patrols throughout the country.  In the department of Antioquia, where Uribe was governor at the time, the CONVIVIR groups operated as thinly veiled fronts for the paramilitaries.  Uribe ignored repeated pleas from Mayor Gloria Cuartas of Apatardo to intervene to stop the groups from terrorizing his people.*  Today, Uribe publicly condemns the paramilitaries, but he owes his overwhelming victory in part to "armed campaigning" by paramilitary groups that threatened to carry out massacres in villages that voted for another candidate.

Uribe's victory was welcomed by the Bush administration.  The BBC reports that "Mr. Uribe was without a doubt the favored candidate of the U.S.," and that "the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Anne Patterson, went to Mr. Uribe's campaign headquarters to congratulate him even before the final vote was announced."

To make matters worse, as part of the Emergency Supplemental budget bill, the House voted last week to allow the Colombian military to use U.S. funds designated for use in counternarcotics operations to finance its war against the guerillas.

Why the U.S. support?   Another provision of the bill hints at the real reason why the U.S. is involved in Colombia: a $6 million down payment on a $98 million program to create a new Colombian army battalion to protect an oil pipeline used by California based Occidental Petroleum.  Instability in the Middle East is making Latin American oil more important to the U.S.    Ambassador Anne Patterson recently told the Bogota daily newspaper El Tiempo that:

"After Mexico and Venezuela, Colombia is the most important oil country in the region.  After what happened on September 11th, the traditional oil sources for the United States (the Middle East) are less secure . ... Latin America could not cover a shortage, it could not supply (us) in a crisis, but it allows a small margin to work with and avoid price speculation. .  . Colombia has great potential for exporting more oil to the United States, and now more than ever it is important for us to diversify our oil sources."

Increasing oil production in Colombia to meet U.S. needs will inevitably require forcing more farmers and indigenous people off their land.  Escalating the war achieves this end - as do massacres and assassinations.

The U.S. already has several hundred soldiers on the ground in Colombia acting as "military advisors." The soldiers are prohibited from engaging in combat, but how long will that last if the FARC kills one of them? The U.S. is getting more deeply involved in Colombia's war with no clear goals and no clear exit strategy.

The Senate will have a chance to stop the U.S. from wading deeper into the Colombian war when it votes on the Emergency Supplemental bill in early June. Senators must take action to prevent us from getting more deeply implicated in the atrocities of Colombia's brutal war.

_ _ _ _ _

Sean Donahue is Co-Director of New Hampshire Peace Action, and has written and spoken extensively on U.S. policy toward Colombia. He traveled to southern Colombia in January, 2001 with a delegation of activists and journalists organized by the Colombia Support Network

(http://www.colombiasupport.net/). He plans to return to Colombia in August with Witness for Peace.  He can be reached at wrldhealer@yahoo.com.

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

* Mayor Gloria Cuartas's correspondence with Uribe is translated and published online athttp://www.colombiasupport.net/gloriacuartas/governor.html.

For more information on Uribe's possible ties to the cocaine trade go to
http://www.narconews.com/narcocandidate1.html

For action alerts and the latest news on Colombia, visit >
www.colombiapolicy.org


III. Recent New Coverage

Articles by ATRC Staff

"Farewell Crusader? Insiders Will Cash In Regardless," by William D. Hartung, May 21, 2002.
http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/commentary/2002/0205crusader.html


Frida Berrigan
Research Associate,
World Policy Institute
66 Fifth Ave., 9th Floor
New York, NY 10011
ph 212.229.5808 x112
fax 212.229.5579

The Arms Trade Resource Center was established in 1993 to engage in public education and policy advocacy aimed at promoting restraint in the international arms trade.
www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms

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