EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN...
We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?
Winter 2002: 8th issue - **2nd Anniversary**

ATRC Update
March 2002-Part II

For Part I

 


WAR ON TERROR EXPANDS AT EXPENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS,
FUTURE STABILITY


Table of Contents:

I. War On Terror Expands At Expense Of Human Rights, Future Stability

II. Seven Minutes to Nuclear Midnight

III. Bush's Nuclear Plan: Dr. Strangelove Revisited

IV: Sudan's Civilian Casualties

I. War on Terror Expands At Expense of Human Rights, Future Stability

In a speech marking the 6-month anniversary of September 11th, President George Bush envisioned a "peaceful world beyond terror" where "disputes can be settled within the bounds of reason and good will and mutual security."

He praised the efforts of "a mighty coalition of civilized nations" who are "defending our common security." But, in the interest of building the coalition to defeat terrorism and defend common security, is the Bush administration going too far?

As it builds a "civilized" coalition, the United States is deepening military ties with countries whose histories of human rights abuses, instability, and/or violation of international treaties are well documented.  Weapons, troops and military training are flooding into the Philippines. Yemen is awaiting training and arms. The arms and training embargo against Indonesia is increasingly painted as an impediment to the war on terrorism. Relationships with the "Stans," as the former Soviet republics are known, are being strengthened with military aid, training, and the establishment of U.S. bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  The government of Colombia expects a large military aid package, now that the paradigm of the war on terrorism has replaced the war on drugs.

The State Department's 2001 "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," released March 4, 2002 foreshadows some of the problems with these relationships. Looking at the State Department's entries for the new allies in the war on terrorism, the refrain is "the Government's human rights record remained poor." Can the goals of a terrorism-free world be achieved with such partners?

To answer that question it is useful to look at the weapons sales and military training being offered the Bush administration's new partners in the war on terrorism alongside the State Department's recent report on their human rights records.


AZERBAIJAN AND ARMENIA:

The United States imposed sanctions on the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan in 1992 in response to its bloody territorial dispute with Armenia. The sanctions, extended to include Armenia as well in subsequent versions of the law, were waived from both countries as part of the FY 2002 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill so they could "support U.S. counter-terrorism efforts." They agreed to allow U.S. planes to use their airspace and have frozen the assets of terrorist groups. Visiting in December 2001 as part of a whirlwind tour of the region, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promised military aid, saying the nations "believe that closer military ties with the United States will allow them to modernize their military." For FY 2003, the United States has requested IMET funding of $750,000 and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) amounting to $3 million for each country.

The State Department Human Rights Report:

Azerbaijan: "The Government's human rights record remained poor. The Government continued to restrict citizens' ability to change their government peacefully. Some prison inmates and detainees died in part due to mistreatment by the authorities. Police tortured and beat persons in custody and used excessive force to extract confessions."

Armenia: "The Government's human rights record remained poor*there were deaths in police custody and deaths in the military as a result of mistreatment. Members of the security forces routinely beat detainees during arrest and interrogation. Arbitrary arrest and detention was a problem."

GEORGIA:

The United States is offering $64 million to train and equip four 300-strong battalions of Georgian forces, to help them combat terrorist hiding in the Pankisi Gorge, near the Russian border. The program would equip the units with light weapons, vehicles and communications. Late last year, the U.S. delivered 10 unarmed Huey helicopters, but the request had come before September 11th. For fiscal year 2003, the President is requesting IMET funding of $1.2 million and FMF of $7 million.

State Department Human Rights Report: "The Government's human rights record remained poor and worsened in several areas* Several deaths in custody were blamed on physical abuse, torture, or inhuman and life-threatening prison conditions.  Reports of police brutality continued.  Security forces continued to torture, beat, and otherwise abuse detainees."

INDONESIA:

In testimony before Congress on February 27th Admiral Dennis Blair requested that 5,000 "counter terrorism experts" be deployed to Indonesia to patrol the archipelago's shores and harbors and take part in "crisis action teams." Blair asked Congress to lift the weapons embargo against Indonesia, saying, "current restrictions on our interaction with the [Indonesian military] limit our effectiveness," adding that Indonesia is "vulnerable to terrorism penetration."

State Department Human Rights Report: "The Government's human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit serious abuses. Security forces were responsible for numerous instances of, at times indiscriminate, shooting of civilians, torture, rape, beatings and other abuse, and arbitrary detention in Aceh, West Timor, Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya), and elsewhere in the country."


YEMEN:

U.S. General Tommy Franks recommends that the U.S. military help train the Yemeni forces to pursue Al-Qaeda. The Bush administration is planning to send at least 100 U.S. troops to train local forces and has hinted at aiding in the creation of a maritime force. The U.S. is requesting IMET funding of $650,000 and FMF of $2 million for FY 2003.

State Department Human Rights Report:

"The Government generally respected its citizens' human rights in some areas... however, its record was poor in several other areas, and serious problems remain.... Members of the security forces killed a number of persons during the year. Members of the security forces tortured and otherwise abused persons, and continued to arrest and detain citizens arbitrarily, especially oppositionists in the south and other persons regarded as 'secessionists.'"


COLOMBIA:

There are no Al Qaeda terrorists in Colombia, and yet the rhetoric of fighting the war on terrorism has certainly impacted U.S. military policy to that country. One senior official said recently that, "people are interested in considering a move from counternarcotics to counter-terrorism, rather than counter-insurgency." The official conceded that the distinction was largely "just a change in words." But, the Bush administration is hoping to provide Colombia with about $374 million in military aid through the Foreign Operations Appropriations.

An additional $98 million, from the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program would be used to supply Colombian soldiers with 10 "Super Huey" helicopters to protect a strategically important oil pipeline that has been targeted by the rebels. Military training programs worth $1.1 million have been requested for 2003. Total military aid offered to Colombia for FY 2003 is estimated to be more than $490 million.

State Department Human Rights Report:

"The Government's human rights record remained poor; there were continued efforts to improve the legal framework and institutional mechanisms, but implementation lagged, and serious problems remained in many areas* government security forces continued to commit serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings. Impunity remained a problem."


PHILIPPINES:

The United States recently sent six more helicopters and a number of aviation experts to join the 660 elite troops doing joint training exercises with the Filipino military. The United States and the Philippines are discussing a new treaty that would grant the U.S. "access rights" to the nation of islands, allowing the U.S. to store weapons, fly through airspace, and station U.S. troops there for short periods of time.  The U.S. has supplied the Philippines with $92 million worth of military equipment, so far and the Pentagon has requested $2.4 million in IMET funding and $20 million in foreign military financing.

State Department Human Rights Report: "The Government generally respected the human rights of citizens; however, there were serious problems in some areas. Members of the security services were responsible for extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, and arbitrary arrest and detention."


UZBEKISTAN:

The United States has begun military cooperation with the dictatorship of Uzbekistan. 1,000 American troops were stationed in Uzbekistan by mid-October engaged in training and joint operations with Uzbeki forces, for "search and rescue" and "humanitarian" missions. U.S. Green Beret troops were stationed in Uzbekistan and were training the Uzbeki military in marksmanship, infantry patrolling, map reading and other skills. The United States provided "nonlethal" equipment like helmets, flak jackets, Humvee transport vehicles, and night-vision goggles to the Uzbeki military and border guards. For FY 2003, the Pentagon has requested $1.2 million in IMET funding and $8.7 million in foreign military funding.

State Department Human Rights Report:

"The Government's human rights record remained very poor, and it continued to commit numerous serious abuses. Citizens cannot exercise the right to change their government peacefully; the Government does not permit the existence of opposition parties. Security force mistreatment resulted in the deaths of several citizens in custody."

Can the United States develop closer relationships with dictatorships and human rights abusers in the interests of "a peaceful world beyond the war on terror"? Time will tell and soon that this policy is much more likely to "blowback" in dangerous consequences.


Resources:

Terrorism in Focus, a project of Foreign Policy in Focus:
www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/indices/topics/terrorism_body.html

"Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," State Department,
www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001


II. Seven Minutes To Nuclear Midnight

"The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."

Albert Einstein


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a historic anti-nuclear organization founded by Manhattan Project scientists, moved the minute hand of their "Doomsday Clock," from nine to seven minutes to midnight on February 27, 2002.

The Doomsday Clock was designed by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947 to evoke both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of military attack-the countdown to zero hour. The clock has stood between seventeen and nine minutes to midnight since the end of the Cold War. At the height of tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States the clock stood at three minutes to nuclear midnight in 1984, dramatically expressing the imminence of nuclear danger.

This most recent "tick tocking" closer to nuclear midnight was triggered by a series of serious setbacks in international security catalogued in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' press release:

- Too little progress on global nuclear disarmament;

- Growing concerns about the security of nuclear weapons materials worldwide;

- The continuing U.S. preference for unilateral action rather than cooperative international diplomacy;

- U.S. abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and U.S. efforts to thwart the enactment of international agreements designed toconstrain proliferation of nuclear chemical, and biological weapons;

- The crisis between India and Pakistan;

- Terrorist efforts to acquire and use nuclear and biological weapons;

- The growing inequality between rich and poor around the world that increases the potential for violence and war.

The Bulletin paints a grim but unavoidable picture, saying that, "Moving the clock's hands at this time reflects our growing concern that the international community has hit the "snooze" button rather than respond to the alarm."

A week later the picture got a lot grimmer when the Bush administration demonstrated its intention to careen, not drift, toward unparalleled catastrophe. Classified portions of the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review (which got only limited media attention when first released) were leaked to the press.


Resources:
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, overview of the "Doomsday Clock"
http://www.thebulletin.org/clock.html

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Current Time
http://www.thebulletin.org/media/current.html



III. Bush's Nuclear Plan: Dr. Strangelove Revisited

Nineteen years ago this month, on March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan unveiled his Star Wars scheme with the stated intention of rendering nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete."  It was a bumpy, hair-raising ride, but by the end of his administration Reagan did in fact sign off on the first major reductions of the nuclear age, with a little help from Mikhail Gorbachev and the global anti-nuclear movement.

Two decades later, the word coming from the administration of George W. Bush, who thinks of himself as a Reagan disciple, is that nuclear weapons are here to stay.

Reagan left office saying that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. Bush's "new idea" is that the United States should develop new, more "usable" nuclear weapons that can be employed in a variety of circumstances, from busting Saddam Hussein's underground bunker to bailing out U.S. forces in a conventional conflict.

If the recommendations from the Bush administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) are carried out, the declared purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons could change from a tool of deterrence and a weapon of last resort, to a central, usable component of the U.S. "anti-terror" arsenal.  Even the Great Communicator would have had a hard time explaining how planning to use the deadliest weapon on earth could possibly reinforce the message that killing civilians is wrong and that the U.S. is more "civilized" than its terrorist adversaries.  

While President Bush talks of the need to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the Pentagon report stressed the need to develop new capabilities "to defeat emerging threats such as hard and deeply buried targets," "to improve accuracy and limit collateral damage" -- a so-called mini-nuke.

On the "bright" side, the review recommends reducing the number of operationally deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. from 6,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200. However, reducing and destroying may not be the same thing. The number of warheads that would be dismantled and the number that would become part of the "active reserve stockpile" -- a phrase worthy of Stanley Kubrick's fictional nuclear strategist, Dr. Strangelove -- has not been disclosed. This discrepancy drew immediate criticism from Russia, and threatens to further delay nuclear reductions that have been stalled for almost a decade. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, meeting with U.S. officials in Washington this week, asked, "Can such a reduction be considered a real one?" ad of ICBMs, bombers, and submarine launched ballistic missiles to a triad of forces that includes both non-nuclear and nuclear strike capabilities.  In theory any force structure that relies less on nuclear weapons and more on conventional bombs should be a step in the right direction.  But the practical impact of the Bush administration's emphasis on usable nuclear weapons and a costly Star Wars defense system will be to launch a new, multi-sided nuclear arms race. 

The Bush administration has already announced its intention to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.  It's decision to find seek missions for nuclear weapons is arguably a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well-- an accord under which the United States and other major nuclear powers have agreed to take rapid steps to eliminate their nuclear arsenals in exchange for a pledge by non-nuclear nations to forswear the nuclear option.

How likely are countries like  Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Russia and China --all of which have been targeted in the new Bush nuclear plan-- to heed the administration's calls to reduce or renounce their own nuclear arsenals in the face of this new threat from the United States?

With a multi-billion dollar Star Wars plan on the one hand and the knowledge that they may be targeted by a new generation of U.S. nukes on the other, aren't they much more likely to build up their nuclear stockpiles?

Commemorating the six-months since September 11th, President Bush said,"Terrorist groups are hungry for these weapons and would use them without a hint of conscience." But the logical response to this fear should not be to build more nuclear weapons, but to take all possible steps to reduce the world's bloated nuclear arsenals. Instead, "by insisting that nuclear weapons must play a vital role in military planning, the Bush administration is encouraging present and future adversaries to develop or acquire nuclear weapons of their own," notes Stephen Schwartz of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

As Donald Rumsfeld noted at a recent speech at the National Defense University, "The terrorists who struck us on Sept. 11th were clearly not deterred by doing so from the massive US nuclear arsenal."  The answer to this conundrum is not to find a way to use nuclear weapons against terror groups or their alleged sponsors, it is to develop a sophisticated, cooperative strategy to de-fund, dismantle, and isolate Al Qaeda and other terror networks.

But by increasing the kinds of situations in which the United States might employ nuclear weapons, from launching them "against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack," in retaliation for the use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, or even "in the event of surprising military developments," the Bush nuclear posture dramatically lowers the threshold in which these ultimate terror weapons may be used.  The authors of this new policy, a group aptly described by the Guardian of London as "radical defense strategists" like Deputy National Security advisor Stephen Hadley and Robert Joseph, senior director for proliferation strategy at the White House, worked closely with the conservative National Institute for Public Policy on a January 2001 report upon which the new Bush nuclear posture has been modeled.  The director of that study is none other than Dr. Keith Payne, whose greatest prior claim to fame was co-authoring a notorious 1980 article on nuclear war entitled "Victory Is Possible." 

Instead of following the lead of hardline ideologues like Dr. Payne and his followers, the security of our nation and the world would be far better served if President Bush would lead of his favorite former President, Ronald Reagan, by taking concrete steps toward eliminating nuclear weapons before they are used again in some future conflict. 

Resources:

Little Nukes Are Good Nukes?
An Interview With Jacqueline Cabasso of Western States Legal
Foundation
http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/5245

Missile Defense Is Not The Answer
A Position Paper from the Union of Concerned Scientists
http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/5237



IV: SUDAN'S CIVILIAN CASUALTIES

The Sudanese government is facing a dilemma - to end its attacks on civilians in oil producing areas or jeopardize its strategy to secure oil areas by expelling and/or massacring civilian residents to clear areas for production.  The U.S. plays a crucial role in influencing the Sudanese decision.  U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Senator John Danforth (R-MO) has been engaging in negotiations with the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA) in an attempt to broker a peace agreement. 

After September 11th the Bush Administration has been willing to open dialogue with Khartoum in exchange for assistance in rooting out Al-Qaeda networks.  A crucial condition for continuing talks between Khartoum and Washington is an end to civilian attacks, which has been the government's primary strategy in its war against the South. Although the war is widely perceived as a religious war, it is predominantly a war fought for access to oil in Southern Sudan.  By eliminating Southern Sudanese communities from potentially lucrative oil fields, the Sudanese government stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently, the Sudanese government is bringing in over one million dollars a day from oil revenues.  Much of that money is being funneled into Khartoum's military.  Southern communities located in oil area prevent the Sudanese government from expanding reaching its revenue potential.  Therefore, Khartoum does not want to end civilian attacks.

Additionally, Khartoum is threatened by the growing unity among Southerners.  Southern Sudanese fell victim to the governments divide and conquer strategy, producing years of in fighting between former allies.  The last few years, Southerners have been actively engaged in a People-to-People Peace Initiative.  Former Southern rivals SPLA and Sudan People's Democratic Front (SPDF) have reconciled and formed a united front against the government.  Together they plan to repel the government from Southern oil producing areas. 

In response to the new threat of a strengthened resistance emerging from the South, Sudan has risked its renewed relations with the U.S. to protect oil sources.  It appears as if the government is gambling that the U.S. will strongly condemn their actions but still maintain relations.  An open line between Washington and Khartoum will ease fears of oil investors who can continue production under the guise that Sudanese government is taking steps toward peace.   

Last month, the Sudanese government killed 24 civilians, mostly women and children in a helicopter attack during a World Food Program relief drop.  Two helicopter gunships hovered and fired from such a low position that survivors could see his face.  The helicopters fired at least five rockets at civilians waiting for food distribution.  This widely publicized attack was the second of two helicopter attacks in February.  These incidents are not isolated. There have been reports of a "massive increase" in civilian attacks in oil areas.  A Southern Sudanese man who was forcibly conscripted into the Government army and eventually escaped claimed that his orders were to "defeat the SPLA and open the oilfields, Burn the villages! Loot anything you find in front of you - children, women, cattle!" 

Khartoum understands it plays a crucial role in America's War on Terror.  Although they desire positive international recognition to open opportunities for increased oil revenues, there are plenty of foreign oil companies who are not deterred by Sudan's gross human rights violations, and will continue to invest in Sudanese oil production. Senator Danforth must ensure that a Sudanese agreement to cease attacks on civilians is strictly enforced.  This will take a concerted effort on the part of the U.S. and the concerned international community.  As US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher has said, "Sadly, the history of Sudan is strewn with agreements and commitments that have never been implemented."

Resources:

Sudan Net, for news and views: www.sudan.net
All Africa, news wire: www.allafrica.com

"Rethinking Sudan" Foreign Policy in Focus, August 2001, Dan Connell: www.fpif.org/commentary/0108sudan.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.

http://www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms
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For Part I

This issue dedicated to such distinguished poet & composer as (alphabetical order):
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