By Koozma Tarasoff; Barry Stevens; Jennifer Ramsay; Metta Spencer | 1988-02-01 12:00:00

VANA Receives Peace Award

OTTAWA--Last November, Dieter Heinrich, president of the World Federalists, presented VANA (Veterans Against Nuclear Arms) with his organization's annual "Peace Hero Award."

VANA president Giff Gifford accepted the award, pointing out that the struggle is not between "communism" and "freedom," but between world law and militarism. He predicted even greater cooperation between Vana and World Federalists.

Hanford Contamination

SPOKANE--An article by Karen Dorn Steele in the January Bulletin of Atomic Scientists discloses that plutonium production has been contaminating the Northwest for decades. This information was obtained from documents declassified last September. The worst contamination took place shortly after World War II. For example, airborne releases of iodine 131 totaled 3,000 curies in 1945 alone. Residents never had a chance to weigh the risks they took.

General Assembly Calls For Amending Conference, CTBT

UNITED NATIONS --Two U.N. plans should be watched by peace activists.

On November 30, the General Assembly adopted a proposal that may lead to a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty through a multilateral forum. The resolution called upon all non-nuclear-weapon countries that were party to the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty to submit formal proposals to the three depositary governments, USSR, U.K., and U.S.A., for an amending conference to convert that treaty into a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Mexico initiated this proposal, with the support of Indonesia, Peru, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia. Only three nations voted against it -- the United States, Britain, and France. The vote made the proposal into a clear United Nations policy objective. Consultations are now going on among the more active members of the non-nuclear weapon states to plan the next phase of this process. It is expected that a plan will be agreed upon in February, which shows promise of resulting in a multilateral conference that will put appropriate pressure on the nuclear nations to agree to a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Second, a Preparatory Committee is meeting in January to plan the Third United Nations Special Session on Disarmament (UNSSOD III), scheduled for May 31. Experienced observers call this a bad time (before the U.S. elections) and wish it were postponed-- which is unlikely.

Bush Disinvites Czaputowicz

WARSAW--Jacek Czaputowicz, a Polish dissident imprisoned in 1986 for supporting draft resisters, put U.S. Presidential candidate George Bush to the test and found him wanting. Invited to dine with Bush at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Czaputowicz was disinvited when the embassy found out he intended to protest the imprisonment of a U.S. draft resister

Live Soviet Television


OTTAWA--Carleton University in Ottawa is the only place in Canada where you can watch live Soviet TV. The project is the brain child of Larry Black, Director of the Institute of Soviet and East European Studies.

"We are very excited about this project," says Dr. Black. "This monitoring system will expand the uniqueness of the Soviet studies program. It will provide us with an opportunity to study live Soviet TV on a daily basis, and help us to learn what Soviet leaders want their citizens to know."

Alexei P. Makarov,Chargé d'Affaires of the Soviet Embassy, praised this TV link as a historic positive venture in international understanding between the Soviets and the West. "Now Canadians can see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears the true image of the Soviet people," said Mr. Makarov. He hopes many misconceptions will dissolve and that this will bolster a new wave of thinking in the nuclear age.

Students and researchers from Soviet and East European studies and several other departments --including Russian, journalism, mass communication, international affairs, political science, and history -- will be tuning in to the Soviet programs. The broadcast will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will be available across campus, wherever there is a TV connection.

War Department Protest

BY Koozma Tarasoff

OTTAWA--The Alliance for Non Violent Action, a coalition of Ontario and Quebec peace groups and individuals, organized a civil disobedience action at the Department of Defence headquarters in Ottawa on November 9. Thirty people were arrested for causing a disturbance by impeding traffic. They marked Remembrance Day two days early by burning Defence White Papers to draw attention to the absurd amount of military spending in Canada and around the world.

Peace Groups Talk NATO with NDP

By Barry Stevens

OTTAWA-- Last November, representatives of Canadian peace groups met with M.P.s from all three parties. Particularly significant was a meeting with Ed Broadbent of the NDP, the only party leader to meet with delegates from member groups of the Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA), including Vancouver's End the Arms Race, the Toronto Disarmament Network (TDN), and organizations from the Maritimes and Quebec. The Canadian Peace Pledge Campaign and opposition to the Defence White Paper were discussed, as was the NDP's policy on NATO. (The NDP has called for Canada's withdrawal from NATO, a position often described as the Achilles heel of the NDP platform.)

The delegation outlined its priority issues: a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Canada; No to Star Wars; and support for a nuclear test ban. Since withdrawal from NATO was not on the group's list, Broadbent asked if the peace movement, therefore, was in support of NATO. He was told, "no," according to Bob Penner of the CPA. "[We said] 'if you interpret this to mean you have peace movement support to change the policy, that would be a mistake...'[but] we didn't give him any positive feedback on his policy either." Penner said the NDP has a problem with its NATO policy since "they're out on a limb by themselves." Penner argued that the NDP could make the peace group's priorities its own, as a way out of its apparent difficulty with its NATO policy.

Wendy Wright of TDN agreed that withdrawal from NATO is not "at the front of the agenda" for the peace movement. TDN advocates a "multilateral approach" to the dissolution of the military blocs, because "if you're teaching people you have to start where the passion is and the passion is not around NATO." She suggested that what Broadbent was looking for from the peace groups was "for us to say, 'no, we have no problem with [the NDP's changing its NATO policy].'" She said that "some people in the room felt that that was absolutely fine for the NDP to do; others said the NDP can't be seen as wishy washy." She felt that the party should raise the debate and engage in public education on the issue.

Wright also commented on how seriously peace groups are taken in Ottawa. "Peace is an election issue.... Four years ago, we were small town cousins, the hicks that knew nothing... . [The meetings] really show that the peace movement has established a position in this society."

Dutch Protester Jailed in UK

LONDON-- Johannes Guyt, a Dutch citizen, has been jailed for interfering with the radioactive waste discharge pipe at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant (formerly Windscale). Every day it discharges over two million gallons of radioactive waste directly into the Irish Sea.

Cycling for Peace

TORONTO-- Rajasekaran Ginanasekaran, 24, and Thangavelu Srinivasa Rao, 26, expect to be back at school in 1989. They are both electrical engineers from Pondicherry, India, who left school in 1986 to cycle around the world. Why bicycles? "Because you meet more people that way."

When I caught up with them they had cycled 26,000 miles for peace. No advance team, no well-oiled publicity machine. They'd simply cycle into a town and ask for the mayor. Once they got lost in the Amazon and stayed with some soldiers who were "politely interested" in what they were doing. Arriving in Toronto, they met a fellow at a temple and ended up staying with him. In other cities they open the phone book and randomly call people with Indian-sounding last names. They proudly show a scrapbook full of testimonials from mayors all over the world. One Texas town had even officially declared "Indian Cyclists Day."They say that food and lodging are incidentals that always seem to happen somehow. When I left them I felt that someone should have thrown them a party. They were in and out of Toronto-- and nobody had noticed. The next day they were pedalling to Ottawa to see Mulroney. In 1989 they hope to be in New York for a big peace march.

Harsh Sentence for Katya Komisaruk

LOS ANGELES-- On January 11, Katya Komisaruk was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $500,000.. The court also ordered that any money realized from sale of film or book rights be appropriated by the U.S. government. At her sentencing Komisaruk took full responsibility for her actions in decommissioning part of the Navstar missile guidance system at Vandenburg Air Force Base. (See PEACE, Dec/ Jan.)

An appeal was to be filed within ten days. This sentence follows several similar recent decisions by Reagan appointees. The court rejected a request to have her released on bond and she was taken directly to a women's detention centre because there is no room in the jails. Letters of support should be sent to Katya Komisaruk, c.o/ her defence collective, 1716 Felton Street, San Francisco, California 94134. This group urgently requires funds for her ongoing legal defence. The Canadian defence committee can be reached at 325 Mutual Street, 3rd floor, Toronto M4Y 1X6. 416/ 924-7020.

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1988

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1988, page 26. Some rights reserved.

Search for other articles by Koozma Tarasoff here
Search for other articles by Barry Stevens here
Search for other articles by Jennifer Ramsay here
Search for other articles by Metta Spencer here

Peace Magazine homepage