March 1993 (vol. 9, #3)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1992
Physicians for Civil Defense
Many signs manifest that the specter of warfare has been banished at least from our consciousness. Whether a specter can be killed is, of course, a separate question.
The Secretary of Energy decided that we no longer need tritium (half-life=12.5 years) and ordered a shutdown of the K reactor at the Savannah River Site. Employees of 20 years were told not to bother to come to work the next day. An American general was ordered not to wear his uniform into the White House. Activists in Denver protest the funding of the Residue Elimination Program at Rocky Flats, which would recover plutonium, because ``we don't need the plutonium'' and should therefore waste it (CANDID Comments, Jan 1993). Boeing has laid off some 20,000 workers, since we don't need new airplanes, exacerbating the budgetary crisis in the State of Washington. On January 15, the United States and 124 other nations signed a pact banning the production, storage, and use of chemical weapons. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency is ``a patient in triage,'' according to Senator Barbara Mikulski (Jerry Strope, J Civil Defense, Spring 1993).
There are a few storm clouds on the horizon. Other nations are acquiring a nuclear-fueled navy. China has nuclear-fueled submarines and aspires to possess a nuclear-fueled aircraft carrier, along with laser weapons and neutron bombs (Intel Dig 3/5/93). Perhaps they will sell us tritium, or possibly we can retrofit to diesel fuel, assuming the risk of oil spills is eliminated.
North Korea has withdrawn from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, preferring increased economic hardship to an inspection of a nuclear research complex believed to contain enough plutonium to make a bomb (Wall St J 2/25/93, 3/17/93).
The chemical weapons ban has a few problems, according to Intelligence Digest (17 Rodney Rd, Cheltenham, Glos, GL50 1HX, United Kingdom). One is that only four Arab countries (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Mauritania) have signed it. Many of the non-signatories (Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Syria) already have chemical weapons, and they will probably find it easier than the treaty assumes to acquire raw materials on the black market. Libya is reportedly building a new chemical weapons site near Tarhuna. Construction of the facility, which consists of two tunnels bored into a remote hillside, is expected to be complete in 1994.
As Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin said: ``A chemical weapons convention not including the Middle East might as well be considered born dead.''
Even if the treaty prevented actual use of chemical weapons to produce casualties, the mere existence of a plausible threat to wage chemical warfare can have a significant effect on a military campaign. Protective gear is so cumbersome that even ``the most ill-equipped or undersophisticated aggressor can greatly reduce the military potential of a much larger and better-equipped armed opponent simply by taking a few relatively simple steps to arm itself with the most basic of chemical weapons'' (Intel Digest 1/22/93).
The threat is still more potent in the absence of the ability to retaliate in kind. During World War II, American experiments demonstrated the ineffectiveness of protective gear in a jungle environment. American soldiers did not carry gas masks. But one or more freighters carrying chemical weapons, gas masks, and the medical supplies needed to treat gas casualties accompanied each invasion fleet, according to jungle warfare authority Cresson Kearny.
Even as the ``world's only superpower'' continues to vanquish itself, the potential for conflict has not evaporated. World forces are becoming realigned.
Despite its internal strife, Russia is ``rediscovering its traditional assertiveness on foreign-policy issues and is once again moving boldly, some might say forcefully, to seize the lion's share of the world's arms market'' (Intel Digest 2/5/93). In recent diplomatic statements, Russia has attempted to distance itself from US military action in Iraq. These statements appeared to be directed to Islamic listeners. For example, when asked whether Russia would contest US action in Iraq that was contrary to Moscow's interests, the Russian ambassador to Turkey said: ``Trust us that we have the power to contest. I am not saying that we will take up arms immediately but we have the power to do so'' (Intel Dig 1/29/93).
On the European scene, Germany is gaining increasing dominance within the European Community. In 1990, Germany and Russia signed a secret agreement concerning their respective responses to the dismemberment of various Eastern European nations. A Czechoslovak report of the agreement was dismissed as Eastern European post-communist paranoia (Intel Digest 1/29/93).
The UN has recently lent legitimacy to US military actions. But Moscow is attempting to recruit Third World support to restrict American dominance, through institutional changes in the UN (Intel Digest 2/26/93).
The bombing at the World Trade Center (which could have toppled the 110-story building had the demolition team been more expert, according to a law enforcement official) may be the opening salvo in a new rash of terrorism. Reportedly, there are 15 terrorist training camps now operating with Iranian backing in Sudan (Intel Digest 2/12/93). Within 10 days, four attempts were reported to bypass airport security to get unaccompanied baggage aboard; two of the bags had started their travels in Tehran (Intel Digest 3/5/93).
In President Clinton's budget, cuts in defense spending account for 22% of the savings. The US battleground has been shifted from the world scene to domestic issues. The President faces a tougher confrontation with Oregon loggers than with Boris Yeltsin. Expenditures for ``defending'' the environment have risen from a few tenths of a percent of the GDP in the early 1960s to 2 percent in the early 1990s (Issues in Sci Technol, Fall, 1992). The current US territorial dispute concerns whether 40% of the usable land in California and 75% of the usable land in Alaska will be ceded to the Wetlands authority (EPA Watch 2/15/93).
Still imprisoned for a disputed, ex-post-facto wetlands violation is Bill Ellen. In a letter on stationery of Vietnam Veterans of America, to Carol Browner, new Administrator of the EPA, former DDP President Gerald Looney, MD, writes:
Now that the...entire state of California, including the Mojave Desert, meet[s] federal guidelines for wetlands, we are asking you to address a grievous wrong initiated by your recent predecessor, Mr. William Reilly. Otherwise, every citizen in this state is threatened with prison for more obvious and clearly defined wrongs than were used to indict and convict citizens in other states during Mr. Reilly's reign. Our particular concern is Mr. William Ellen, a fellow Vietnam veteran whose ``envir-onmental crime'' derived from humanitarian concern over animal life and marine environment. This is especially ironic since his abuse and imprisonment come from a government which saw no harm in devastating and destroying miles of forest and acres of wetlands near his Marine post at Da Nang, and since his current chief accusers wear the uniforms and titles of the US Army Corps of Engineers....
On ground so dry that workers had to spray water daily to keep dust down to meet federal safety standards, [Mr. Ellen] built 10 freshwater duck ponds with hidden pumps which could even flood adjacent fields to irrigate acres of crops and ground cover...Familiar with American bureaucracies (but unaware that they could be more dangerous and treacherous than Vietnamese bureaucracies), he consulted constantly with local, state, and federal agencies, and obtained 38 separate permits in the process....Just as the project was nearing completion in 1989, instead of receiving the national awards it deserved, a new administration suddenly began changing rules...The original legislation for all this...restricted its intentions to ``navigable waters of the United States,'' a term that has been transmuted by courts and agencies to include mountains and deserts....Per-haps the original legislation was found on Noah's Ark.
By applying these new 1989 rules retroactively to Ellen's work in 1987-1988, the Justice Department in May of 1990 finally charged Bill Ellen with six counts of violating Section 404 of the 1972 Clean Water Act. Since he felt he had done nothing wrong, he refused a plea bargain....The Supreme Court refused to review his case, so in November, 1992, he entered the federal prison at Petersburg, VA. This facility had already contaminated more soil and ruined more wetlands than Bill Ellen's project could possibly have done. It mockingly supports the tyranny of the EPA and the Corps of Engineers in a state proud of its motto, ``Sic Semper Tyrannus.''
If federal agencies continue making new rules to be applied retroactively, and to demand restoration and reclamation of former wetlands, we ask that you apply this principle fairly and support the reclamation of the original wetlands along the Potomac River and tidal estuaries of Chesapeake Bay....
A second environmental convict, Ocie Mills, recently underwent the longest probation-violation hearing in history (5 days). He and his son served 19 months in prison for placing 19 loads of dirt on a one-third acre lot. Judge Roger Vinson finally visited the site personally to ascertain that the elevation had indeed been restored to its pre-1986 level, as required by the terms of probation. He reported that ``the lot is now totally denuded and ugly, in stark contrast to the beautiful lot that existed prior to 1986.'' The Judge found that the defendants had substantially complied with the government's requirements, despite the persistence of detectable amounts of clay in the soil, and did not need to remove 10 more inches of soil, thereby turning the lot into a pond and destroying its value altogether (New American 2/8/93).
The religion is the ``tradition of earlier times, which linked humanity to the animal kingdom through the Earth-mother, the matrix-creatrix...Gaia, Pan, Diana.'' Michael W. Fox of the Humane Society of the United States called for a return to this religion and abandonment of the ``male, monotheistic religion of reason.''
The morality of this religion urges public-school children to refuse to dissect animals. It equates parents who feed their children meat with the confessed mass murderer and child molester Jeffrey Dahmer (and equates his victims with cattle).
In New York, animal rights activists work to prevent Hunters for the Hungry from donating venison to soup kitchens. One New York bureaucrat threatened to destroy the food and fine the operator if any venison was found in the meals provided to the poor, although an administrator for Food Finders Food Bank in Indiana stated that ``meat is one of most valued commodities and among the most difficult to obtain'' (From the Trenches 2/4 and 2/10/93).
John Gibbons, President Clinton's new Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, made the following statement in Senate confirmation hearings:
Gibbons calls for the use of technology to substitute for the sacrifice of animals in testing, research, and teaching.