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Persistent Toxins in the Arctic

Ray Goforth goforth86 at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 21 16:02:40 EST 1999


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   Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity
   will lose. - Nelson Mandela

                                                  
                       SOCIAL JUSTICE #32
                        August 15, 1999
                           Kim Goforth
                           Ray Goforth


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IN THIS ISSUE:

1) UNITED STATES SURRENDERS ACCUSED RWANDAN WAR CRIMINAL
2) FAULT-LINES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY (CONFLICTS TO COME?)
3) ARCTIC POLLUTED BY PERSISTENT POISONS
4) NO SCANDALS ON MY FEET:  ANTI-SWEATSHOP STREET THEATER IN 
   AMSTERDAM
   
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   Welcome to the latest issue of SOCIAL JUSTICE E-ZINE.  The
name Social Justice encompasses the struggles of people
everywhere who work for gender equality, democratic government,
economic opportunity, intellectual freedom, environmental
protection, and human rights.
   Social Justice is an electronic magazine (e-zine) designed for
free distribution through the internet. SJ now reaches
approximately 10,000 e-mail recipients in eight dozen
countries.  Stories from SJ are then broadcast on radio stations
throughout the English speaking world.  Feel free to make copies
and share with friends (or enemies).  Think of this as a regular
magazine without the recycling.  If there's nothing you want to
read in this issue, just hit delete.
   Those wishing to be added to the subscription list (or
conversely, those who want off the list) should write to us at:

goforth86 at earthlink.net
http://members.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html


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UNITED STATES SURRENDERS ACCUSED RWANDAN WAR CRIMINAL

The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights welcomes the opinion by
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which upheld
U.S. District Judge John Rainey's ruling to order the   
surrender of Elizaphan Ntakirutimana to the United Nations
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. 

"This decision is tangible proof of U.S. support for the rule of
law," said Michael Posner, Executive Director of the Lawyers
Committee. "It sets an important domestic precedent as Mr.
Ntakirutimana is the first person that the U.S. has been asked to
surrender to either of the international criminal tribunals. It
also sends an important signal to other nations that they should
cooperate with the ad hoc criminal tribunals."

Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, who is a Hutu and was the chief Pastor
of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rwanda, was taken into
custody in Laredo, Texas in 1996. Two ICTR indictments charge him
with genocide and crimes against humanity for the killings of
thousands of Tutsis in Mugonero and Bisesero, Rwanda, in the
spring of 1994. He has been fighting surrender in the U.S. court
system since his arrest. 

U.S. District Court Judge Rainey's decision in August 1998
overturned the Texas District Court's decision in December 1987,
which refused to approve the Justice Department's request to
surrender Ntakirutimana for trial by the International Tribunal
in Arusha, Tanzania. The Texas District Court argued that
surrender would be unconstitutional in the absence of a treaty
and that the evidence of genocide was insufficient to establish
"probable cause." 

The U.S. Government then re-filed its request. In an amicus
brief, fild by Debevoise & Plimpton, the Lawyers Committee argued
that surrender was not unconstitutional since Congress can
properly authorize extradition by statute, and that the judge
magistrate had not applied proper standards in concluding there
was no "probable cause." Judge Rainey accepted these arguments
when he ruled that Ntakirutimana's surrender is constitutional
and that the indictments show probable cause to sustain the
genocide charges. Ntakirutimana can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to
review the latest decision. 

For More Information:

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
333 Seventh Avenue, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 845-5200
Fax: (212) 845-5299
E-Mail: lchrbin at lchr.org

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FAULT-LINES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY (CONFLICTS TO COME?)
Interview with Harlan Cleveland by Monte Leach

An interview with former US Assistant Secretary of State Harlan
Cleveland about what types of conflicts are most likely to occur
in the years ahead, and what can be done to prevent them.

Harlan Cleveland, a political scientist and public executive, is
president of the World Academy of Art and Science. A former US
Assistant Secretary of State, US Ambassador to NATO, and
university president, he has written a dozen books on executive
leadership and international affairs. 

Share International: You recently wrote a paper with futurist
Mark Luyckx at the request of the European Commission which
included some unexpected conclusions about the role of religion
in the future. What were some of your conclusions?

Harlan Cleveland: If it's true that in the 21st century religion
will play an increasingly important role in world affairs  
that's what Andr? Malraux, author, and France's Minister of
Culture from 1960-1969, said just before he died in 1976, what
kinds of conflicts are most likely to occur in the years ahead?

We think the fault-line is going to lie inside each of the great
religions, essentially between what are called, in various ways,
fundamentalists   people who take their tradition to be very
important, and if other people don't share that tradition, then
they're infidels, outside the system   and "transmoderns", those
who believe that ancient traditions and current spiritual inquiry
lead to a greater tolerance of everybody else's search for God.

In fact, about one-quarter of the adult population in the United
States are in the category that I call "unorganized    
spirituality". They feel a relationship with a higher power  
God, Allah, or whatever it's called in their language and
traditions   but don't feel a need for the mullah, rabbi or
priest as the intermediary, which has been the basis for all the
organized religions. People in this unorganized spirituality
component of our population are more and more thinking about how
to arrange the search for God in a way that doesn't require
trampling on everybody else's search. One rule is, nobody gets to
say: "Okay I've found the truth, the search can be called off
now". It's a way of thinking about how we can live in a peaceful
way in a very pluralistic world.

      

SI: To say that one of the fault-lines of the future will be
inside the religious traditions is a surprising conclusion. When
you look at some of the conflicts occurring around the world, you
see conflict between the secular and religious or between the
religions. I'm thinking of Algeria, the Sudan, Israel, Northern
Ireland.

HC: The point was brought home rather dramatically to me during a
trip to Sri Lanka. I met an American Buddhist monk, a real
contemplative person. And then I came back to Colombo, the
capital, to get the newspaper, and I read about some people
calling themselves Buddhists who just spread poisonous sarin gas
in the Tokyo subway. They're both calling themselves Buddhists.
And the young man who murdered Rabin in Israel.  Compare him to
the people at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, for
example. Then compare the militant Christian right wing of the
Republican Party in the US with most of the other Christians in
the United States, who don't really appreciate the Reverend Pat
Robertson being their spokesman. 

The transmodern group is still a minority but a rapidly-growing
one. What I'm calling the new fault-line, the fault-line for the
21st century, is that the fundamentalists and transmoderns are
both against modernism, for very different reasons and in
different ways. But they're also at loggerheads. It's important
to think of the future that way rather than just assume that the
clashes are going to be between Christianity and Islam, for
example.

      
SI: Just to clarify, when you're saying somebody is premodern,
you refer to that as a fundamentalist viewpoint. The modern
viewpoint would be more secular, based on scientific principles.

HC: Yes, supported by the pedestal of Reason, which has in this
century been eroded by the experience that scientific discovery
and technological innovation can lead not only to miracles and
constructive change but also to unprecedented dirt, damage, and
disease. 

The transmoderns are beginning to try to pour some non-rational
spirituality into the mix. And you see this happening in the
scientific community. The chaos theorists are saying that they
can't get their thinking from here to there by rational means,
and yet they know that's where they need to go. Transmodern
thinking is also increasingly questioning administrative pyramids
and hierarchical ways of thinking about management. We    
increasingly have 'nobody-in-charge' systems, such as the
Internet and the international monetary system. And part of our
problem is to find ways of managing nobody-in-charge systems. 

An important part of the transmodern trend is the change in the
attitudes toward, and status of, women around the world. In the
Iranian election, the Iranian Government didn't have any idea
that allowing women to vote would upset the whole apple cart.

      

SI: What can we do to try to resolve that premodern-transmodern
conflict that you see happening?

HC: First, we are going to have to try not to draw political
lines around groups that think alike, in the way that has
been unsuccessfully done in Bosnia, for example. Developing a
culture of wide tolerance becomes a very important security
consideration, not just because it's nice and warm and fuzzy, but
because it really prevents conflict. 

      

Dialogue among the nations:

SI: You have spoken and written about opening a dialogue between
the Western nations and the developing nations. Why do you see
that as being important? And what would the dialogue be based
upon?

HC: It is a way of understanding each other in a mode that
doesn't require them to think of us as different or non-human or
infidels, nor require us to think of them as the second-class
citizens of the world who don't really matter because we
Europeans and Americans are the big shots around here. 

      

SI: You have written in your report that we might begin this
dialogue with something like the following philosophy: "We are
products of a secular, industrial society, but we realize we can
no longer discuss political futures without also discussing
questions of meaning, spirituality, and cultural identity. We are
therefore asking you to join us in a serious effort to project
mutually-advantageous futures for our societies. In order to do
this, we will all have to set aside our superiority complexes,
our intolerances whether based on scientific rationalism or
spiritual tradition, and our dreams of having our views prevail   
worldwide." How would this approach be helpful as the basis for
global dialogue?

HC: It is a way of thinking about how Europeans and Americans
ought to be talking to the Arab Middle East, Indonesians,
Indians, Chinese and others who are outside their regions. If in
a European foreign policy they could approach the world with that
attitude, it would be a striking change. Because actually what a
lot of the fundamentalists, at least the thinkers, are
complaining about doesn't have a religious basis. They're really
complaining about modernity, the effects of industrialization. We
can tone down that conversation a lot with this kind of approach.
But it requires some deep swallowing to admit that we've got a
superiority complex and that we'd better knock it off.

      

SI: What specific topics would you be talking about?

HC: For the Europeans, I think, in particular it applies to their
immigration policies, because they've been tightening up
recently. The Germans have been sending the Turks home. The
French, as a matter of political doctrine, used to regard Algeria
as a department, as if it were a state within the country. They
have a lot of Algerians in Paris who are French citizens, and now
they're trying to figure out some way to declare them   
off-limits, which makes them the enemy.

      

Fairness revolution:

SI: How do you see the transmodern element and the premodern
element getting along? How will either of them accept the modern
culture they've rejected for various reasons?

HC: That's the important thing in itself   the fact that they're
both tending to reject more and more overtly and rationally the
modern worldview, which has been essentially a product of the
industrial age. The information revolution is making for all
sorts of opportunities for compatibility between those two
opponents of modernity. One of the things the information         
revolution can do for the world is make it a much fairer world,
because once people get educated they're able to use the world's
dominant resource, information. But the world's dominant resource
is not like other resources. It's not scarce, you don't run out
of it, it expands as it's used. It doesn't give rise to exchange
transactions; it gives rise to sharing transactions.

                                   

SI: When I think of the information revolution, I can't see the
mullahs in Iran taking part on their laptop computers.

HC: I think they're going to find that they have to, in order to
keep up with the rest of the world, or even with the children of
their own constituents.  People who think they're in charge will
always try to control a phenomenon like the Internet, but it's
essentially uncontrollable. And that's the good news about it.

      

SI: In addition to the information revolution, could you talk
about other important trends that you see occurring in the coming
time? 

HC: In the next century we're going to have to solve the problem
of two-thirds of the world being so much poorer than the other
third that they get "antsy" and even revolutionary about it. The
means of solving that problem are becoming available, as a
byproduct of the information revolution.

In South Korea, for example, primarily by getting the entire
population educated, they've come from being a very poor,
underdeveloped country to being the newest member of the OECD
(Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), the
club of rich countries. And this was the result of applying
information to a whole society in a big way. The generals who
were in charge when the Korean War broke out in 1950 figured    
they had a technological war to fight, and they'd better get
their people educated so the country could participate well in
this technological war. So the generals decreed universal
education.

Then the war tapered off, and the generals who were still in
charge said: "We'd better knock off this universal education
stuff, it's getting too expensive." But every parent in South
Korea had gotten clearly in their mind that "all my kids are
going to go to college". There was just no way they could turn it
off. And this happened just as what we now call the information
revolution was beginning to break out. So they built a very
strong economy, which consists of bringing stuff in and adding
value to it and shipping it out again.

If that can be done there, it can be done anywhere, and it has
been done in parts of a lot of countries, and in entire 
countries like Singapore.

What I call "the global fairness revolution" is going to be the
big story of the 21st century. We'll find other ways to be
inequitable, I suppose, but I think the economic bases for
poverty are going to disappear over the next few decades. So many
people's leaders don't let the people participate, don't want
them to be educated, but it's going to be harder and harder for
them to control.

      

SI: Many countries are experiencing economic upheaval   South
Korea is one, all of Asia really, Brazil, Russia. Do you see this
economic upheaval being a catalyst for a global fairness
revolution?

HC: It's not really an economic crisis. It's really a financial
crisis. The lack of money is making a lot of people go
bankrupt, or feel poor. But it's the result of some very stupid
financial thinking.

Money is really a symbolic resource. If, for example, you own a
lot of Proctor and Gamble stock and the stock price suddenly goes
down, you don't have that wealth any more; it has disappeared. Or
you thought you were wealthy, but the exchange rate changed
between your currency and somebody else's currency. But it
doesn't affect how much wheat there is in the world. 

The shortage is no longer of resources. The main shortage is of
human imagination and our capacity to organize ourselves to
handle the problems we face. It's not an absence of things. It's
an absence of curiosity and imagination.

I have an upbeat attitude about the future. But it's often hard
for us to do what obviously needs to be done until all the other
alternatives have been exhausted.

(For more information, contact: World Academy of Art and Science,
130 Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of
Minnesota, 301 19th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA; Tel:
612-624-5592; Fax: 612-625-3513)

Monte Leach, based in San Francisco, USA, is a freelance radio
journalist and the US editor of Share International.

This article was made available through the generosity of the
Share International Media Service, PO Box 971, North Hollywood,
CA 91603, United States of America
(http://www.simedia.org/main.html)

 
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ARCTIC POLLUTED BY PERSISTENT POISONS 
Greenpeace starts DOWN TO ZERO toxics campaign in Nordic Arctic 

12 August 1999

London -- Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are spreading to
the most remote and pristine parts of the environment, such as
the Arctic and deep oceans, and find their way into the human
food chain, reveals a new Greenpeace report. 

The report entitled "Tip of the Iceberg" and presented at a press
conference at Greenpeace UK headquarters identifies a number of
chemical substances, which can travel thousands of miles
away from the origins of their production or use. 

- Brominated flame retardants, designed to reduce the fire hazard
in personal computers and other electrical consumer products,
have already been found in whales living in the deep oceans; 

- Synthetic musk compounds, used as fragrances in detergents,
fabric softeners, and other household products, have been found
in human breast milk. 

- TributylTin (TBT), an additive in ship paint, is held
responsible for the development of male sex characteristics in
female snails. It is detectable in fish, mussels and other marine
life, particularly in harbors and coastal waters, as a result of
its historic and continuing widespread use. 

"These examples may just be the tip of the iceberg", says Dr Paul
Johnston, head of the Greenpeace Research Laboratories and one of
the authors of the report. "For substances which have been banned
for some time, levels in wildlife are decreasing only slowly. At
the same time, many chemicals with similarly hazardous properties
continue to be used and released to the environment every day". 

Levels of contamination for some persistent organic pollutants,
for example brominated flame retardants, show an increasing trend
in Europe. The full extent of contamination of the environment
with POPs is unknown. Greenpeace has presently sent its ship MV
Greenpeace to the Nordic Arctic in order to highlight the toxic
contamination of this pristine wilderness and to urge governments
in Europe to stop further pollution. 

The new substances add to the toxic legacy of well known poisons
such as the pesticide DDT, which persists in the environment
despite widespread bans or restrictions on its use. 

While governments and industry alike attempt to convince the
public that the environment is getting cleaner new chemical
substances find their way into the environment. "Many thousands
of chemicals are produced and released for which the hazards are
poorly understood. This is an illustration of the lack of
responsibility for the chemicals we manufacture and use" said Dr
Johnston. 

In 1998, 15 countries bordering the North East Atlantic region,
along with the European Commission itself, committed to stop all
discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous substances to the
marine environment within one generation (by the year 2020).
While this decision, taken at the Ministerial Meeting of the
OSPAR Commision in Portugal last July, was heralded as a bold
step towards a toxic free future, progress to translate this "one
generation goal" into national and EU laws and practical measures
has so far been slow. 

Ultimately, there is a need to eliminate persistent organic
pollutants globally. The next chance to move in this direction
will be in September, when the United Nations Environment Program
will host the third negotiation round for a global treaty for the
elimination of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Geneva. 


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Dr. Paul Johnston,
Greenpeace Research Laboratories at Exeter University in the UK
on +44 171 865 8150 
- Wytze van der Naald, Greenpeace toxic campaign on +31 621 29 69
16 
- Holger Roenitz, Greenpeace International Press desk on + 31 653
50 47 01 
- video material and stills are available on request from
Greenpeace International (+31 20 5249 548) 


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NO SCANDALS ON MY FEET:  ANTI-SWEATSHOP STREET THEATER IN
AMSTERDAM

It seemed to be an ordinary Saturday in Amsterdam. But something
was different:  on Dam Square, in the heart of the city, a big
factory was being built. A huge tower, a skybox  for the factory
owner and a big treadmill symbolizing the ongoing labour of
workers were the main features of the factory. And then also,
lots of noise, people shouting, and music. 

But first there were Punch and Judy -- two puppets informing the
really young, as well as adults, about the day. Then, there was a
debate with Theo van Seggelen, from the Dutch Trade Union for
contract players (representing football players), Hanja
Maij-Weggen from the European Parliament (EP), the Christian 
Democrats, Michiel van Hulten from the Labour Party, Vivian
Schipper from the Dutch CCC, and Bart  Bruggemans from the Dutch
Christian Trade Union.

The debate was quite interesting since all parties agreed  on the
necessity to do something about the labour conditions. Hanja
Maij-Weggen agreed to try and organise tribunals or hearings at
the European Parliament (which is a recommendation in the Euro
Parliament's resolution, described elsewhere in this newsletter)
and Theo van Seggelen promised to work towards increasing the
involvement of professional football players on this issue (as in
Italy, for instance, where players, wear T-shirts against child
labour when they take to the field).

Then, the music started, attracting lots of young people
interested in hearing their favorite Djs who had been invited.
This audience -- wearing lots of sportswear, designer clothes,
and sport shoes -- was exactly the audience the Dutch CCC wanted
to reach. Much material was distributed and many "foot
protests"("signatures" of people's feet) were collected. These
will be presented to Adidas at a later date.

The Dutch CCC has been collecting foot protests for six months,
as part of an in-school programme. During these classroom
workshops students have been informed about working
conditions in the garment and sportswear industry and about the
possibilities to do something to improve them. One avenue of
participation and expression offered to them was the foot
protests and the May "manifestation."  The CCC offered to give
their letters to adidas with the message to "clean up their act"
in the future.  Unfortunately, adidas decided they did not want
to participate in the rally or the debate. The Dutch campaign
felt that by doing this the company demonstrated a lack of
interest in their (young) customers.  Adidas should take its
social policy seriously enough to be able to communicate it to
the public. 

Meanwhile the event succeeded in raising awareness on the issues.
Some of the hazardous circumstances found in factories
(visualized by a worker falling from the factory after an
explosion for example) were dramatized and in the end a gigantic
clean sports shoe was "produced" in the factory to remind Adidas,
Nike, and others that they have still got lots of work to do! 

Clean Clothes Campaign
P.O. Box 11584
1001 GN Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: +31-20-4122785
Fax: +31-20-4122786
email: ccc at xs4all.nl
http://www.cleanclothes.org


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For those who have inquired:  We (Ray and Kim Goforth) grew-up in
southern California where we were active in a wide variety of
progressive political organizing activities.  We moved to
Seattle, Washington, USA in 1988 where we took positions with
different social service agencies. In 1995, we completed
undergraduate degrees in political-economy at The Evergreen State
College.  In 1998, we completed law degrees (juris doctor) at the
University of Washington.  Ray works for a labor union and Kim
defends victims of domestic violence.
 
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