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Deadline on ABM Treaty * BMD Deceptions * U'wa and Disappearing Oil

27 August 2001

This important issue of Flyby News begins with an ominous deadline by the Bush administration threatening to withdraw from the ABM Treaty unilaterally in six months from this November. Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin said that this would negate 30 years of arms control accords, set off a new arms race and force Russia to build a new generation of missiles with multiple warheads. Yet, this important news is hardly noticed while the media and the public are distracted on such issues as Gary Condit and the missing intern, Chandra Levy. Item 2 is more on the deceptions of missile defense. These two stories make actions on October 13 and Congressman Kucinich's proposed space-weapon-ban even more crucial. Please prepare to take actions before the deadline, before it is too late. One way to prepare is to get the video "Star Wars Returns" and show it to many people as possible, and support the lobbying of elected representatives.

Item 3 has some good news. The U'wa tribe of Columbia, following their traditional three month spiritual retreat for fasting, meditation, teaching, singing, and prayer, and following traditional rituals to "hide the oil," Occidental petroleum had recently announced that it has failed to find oil at the Gibraltar 1 well site on the tribe's ancestral land in Northeastern Colombia. The company has begun removing equipment from the site! This is only a partial victory, and the battle continues with other companies trying to exploit ancestral sacred land. So, keep tuned in to this campaign, and keep working for peace and benign technologies and conservation measures that reduce our need for harming our natural environment.

Flyby News has finally installed an automated subscribe/remove system for our listserve. Please note the new directions, which will be at the end of each issue. Also, check out our links page, which is expanding with key sites. Please help us find other organizations and individuals willing to reciprocate links, and work together for peace and a sane environmental policy.

1) U.S. Sets Deadline on ABM Treaty
2) ON MISSILE DEFENSE: A pattern of deception
3) U'wa Wins Battle as Oxy Can't Find Oil on the Tribe's Ancestral Land


1) U.S. Sets Deadline on ABM Treaty

U.S. Sets Deadline for Settlement of ABM Argument
New York Times

MOSCOW, Aug. 21 - A senior Bush administration official said today that the United States had given Russia an unofficial deadline of November to agree to changes in the Antiballistic Missile Treaty or face a unilateral American withdrawal from the arms control accord.

Speaking in an interview on Russian radio that will be aired on Wednesday evening, the official, John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said after two days of talks with Russian officials that the United States plans to resolve its strategy for withdrawing from the treaty before Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, visits Mr. Bush this fall.

It was the first time a member of the Bush administration has set a time limit for consultations that Mr. Bush pledged to undertake with American allies, and with Russia and China, before acting on his campaign pledge to develop a new national missile
defense system. Such a system contravenes the 1972 treaty, which was the first United States- Soviet arms control agreement and was seen as the keystone of detente during the cold war.

In July, a senior Pentagon official told members of Congress that an antimissile testing program would be "bumping up against" the ABM Treaty in a matter of months.

American withdrawal from the treaty, six months after a formal notification to Moscow, would pave the way for the start of construction of a missile defense test site in Alaska. Ground-clearing for missile silos and a command center at Fort Greely, 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, is to begin this week, a Pentagon spokesman announced today.

Pam Bain, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said the administration intends to begin building the missile silos as early as April.

The Pentagon has also said a number of tests are planned for early next year that might conflict with the treaty, including using ship-based radar systems to track intercontinental ballistic missiles.

A senior Pentagon official expressed surprise tonight when told of Mr. Bolton's remarks in Moscow, saying he did not know of any decisions by the administration to give a six-month notification of withdrawal in November.

"I've never heard anyone say that before," the official said.

John Rhinelander, a lawyer who advised ABM negotiators in 1972 and is a leading arms control advocate, said Mr. Bolton's remarks suggested that the administration was looking for excuses to withdraw from the treaty unilaterally.

"The Russians will never agree to jointly withdrawal from the treaty," he said. "They will force us to violate it. And we are doing that by manufacturing tests in which we intentionally violate the treaty."

Mr. Rhinelander had suggested earlier that the Russians may be willing to amend the treaty to allow deployment of a small system in Alaska.

Mr. Putin warned in June that a unilateral American withdrawal from the treaty, which he describes as "the cornerstone of strategic stability," would negate 30 years of arms control accords, set off a new arms race among aspiring nuclear powers and force Russia to build a new generation of missiles with multiple warheads, something that Moscow had pledged not to do.

Mr. Bolton was in Moscow to follow up on strategic discussions that have intensified since Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin held their first summit meeting in Slovenia in June.

He was also preparing for a September meeting between Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Russia's foreign minister, Igor S. Ivanov.

Mr. Bolton also said other administration officials would be visiting European capitals this week and NATO headquarters in Brussels to inform European leaders about the administration's plans to develop missile defenses, military budget expenditures and planned reductions in strategic forces.

Excerpts of Mr. Bolton's remarks were released by the radio station Echo Moscow tonight. Mr. Bolton, who did not return a telephone call to his hotel room, has scheduled a news conference on Wednesday evening.

In the radio interview, he said the Bush administration "doesn't regard" the November deadline "as any kind of any official deadline - we will try to achieve as much as we can" by the time Presidents Bush and Putin meet.

"If, though we don't want it, we don't manage to come to an agreement with Russia, in this case we will have to use our right envisaged by the treaty not to violate it, but withdraw from it," he was quoted in the interview as saying.

Making light of the unofficial deadline Washington was imposing, Mr. Bolton said the "by November" time frame had been set because, "I think the presidents will be disappointed if by this time we don't reach significant progress and they won't have anything to talk about at the meeting in Texas."

Mr. Bush has invited the Russian leader to visit his ranch in Crawford, Tex., in November.

But there were other developments today in Washington suggesting that the November deadline is closely connected with Bush administration plans to move forward with missile silo construction in Alaska and more elaborate antimissile tests that might otherwise violate the ABM Treaty.

Mr. Bolton also elaborated on the Bush administration strategy to withdraw from the 1972 accord without bringing down a torrent of criticism from European allies and other countries who fear that Mr. Bush's approach to missile defense is needlessly destabilizing.

"We explicitly stated that we were not going to violate the ABM Treaty," Mr. Bolton said in the interview. "We also don't want to attract criticism for such a violation while we are in the process of development and testing of possible antimissile systems," he said.

He stressed that the United States "wants, together with the government of Russia, to find a way out - either by some way of withdrawing from the treaty together or some way, also together - to go beyond the framework of limitations imposed by it."

In talks with Russian officials this week, Mr. Bolton suggested that he had been promoting the idea of reaching a "gentleman's agreement" that would be considered "a no less serious thing than a documented treaty" to allow the United States to escape the current limitations against testing missile defenses.

But most signs were that Russian officials have held firm. Russian Foreign Ministry officials have made a series of statements in recent weeks that they do not expect substantive talks with Washington on further strategic arms reductions and missile defense to begin before the end of the year.

On Friday, Marshal Igor D. Sergeyev, former minister of defense and now a special adviser to Mr. Putin, criticized Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for televised remarks in which the American defense chief said Russia was still a captive of the "cold war mentality and fear and apprehension and concern about the West."

"I think it was a poor joke by the chief of the Pentagon," Marshal Sergeyev said, adding that Russia has no veto over Washington's right to withdraw from the treaty. He added, "the role of the deterrence factor of nuclear missile weapons" will have to be redefined in such a world.

And, he added, for America, "There is a very long road that has not been properly studied yet from the declarations about deploying a national missile defense to its actual deployment."

A number of European leaders, including Mr. Putin, have recognized the potential threat of ballistic missile attack from rogue nations - though most do not see an imminent threat.

Many leaders have urged Mr. Bush to proceed more cautiously to ensure that neither Russia nor China feel threatened or isolated by missile defenses. Russia and China signed a friendship and military cooperation treaty in July.

Mr. Putin has urged Mr. Bush not to abandon three decades of arms control accords without first negotiating some new strategic framework that would replace them.

Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company


2) ON MISSILE DEFENSE: A pattern of deception
Sunday, August 12, 2001

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial

In their campaign to sell a missile defense system to the American public and a skeptical world community, President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon have engaged in a disturbing pattern of deception.

The dangers posed by breaking international treaties or igniting a new arms race in space -- not to mention the cost or the effectiveness of these new weapons systems -- require a thorough and forthright debate. Yet so far, there is growing evidence that the Bush administration is not presenting the full picture to the American people.


Consider, for example, what happened to Nira Schwartz, a physicist and engineer who accused TRW, a military contractor, of faking tests and evaluations for the Pentagon's missile defense program. TRW fired her the next day.

Schwartz then shared the information with Professor Theodore A. Postol, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist, who has long argued that flawed software currently prevents a missile system from distinguishing between decoys and enemy warheads. Postol gained fame in defense circles in the 1990s for exposing the fake claims made by the military about Patriot missiles during the Gulf War.

For months, Postol has been circulating a government-commissioned independent report that supports his criticism of the missile defense system. Although the report was labeled an "unclassified draft" when Postol obtained it, the government has retroactively ruled that it includes secret information.

Now the Pentagon has accused Postol of circulating classified information.

In early July, the Pentagon asked MIT to investigate Postol's activities -- a request that has pitted academic freedom against the Department of Defense's effort to silence one of its most credible critics. For MIT, the stakes are high: The university could lose $319 million in missile defense contracts unless it aggressively investigates the professor.


For six months, dozens of members of Congress repeatedly asked the Defense Department and Secretary Rumsfeld to release an unclassified Pentagon report that criticized the missile defense testing program. The Pentagon finally released the Coyle Report, compiled by the Pentagon's chief civilian test evaluator, in June 2001. It concluded that the tests have become progressively easier so that they can be counted as a "success."


After the Defense Department suffered two widely publicized "misses," Pentagon officials knew they had to prove they could hit a bullet with a bullet. On July 14, a "kill vehicle" launched from the Pacific smashed into a rocket hurled from Vandenberg Air Force. Photographs of the vaporized target strengthened the Pentagon view that critics are just cranky curmudgeons.

What most people didn't know, however, was that the Defense Department had rigged the $100 million test. As Joe Conason reported in Salon magazine, "The rocket fired from Vandenberg was carrying a global positioning satellite beacon that guided the kill vehicle toward it." But this fact didn't surface until the Pentagon confirmed the presence of a GPS device to Defense Week magazine. A Pentagon official then conceded that "real warheads in an attack would not carry such helpful beacons."


The Bush administration has tried to cast the missile defense shield as a defensive weapon, a kind of giant umbrella that will prevent enemy missiles from attacking the American people. But the truth is more complicated.

The missile defense system is just the first step in a much larger plan to transform the military. The Rumsfeld Space Commission Report, presented to Congress just before Bush took office, proposed an offensive U.S. Space Corps that would dominate and control space by military means. The U.S. Space Commission's mission statement, "Vision 2020," even argues that the United States should "control and dominate" space and "deny other countries access to space."

Bruce Gagnon, international coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and National Power in Space, says that "This whole missile defense program is ultimately a Trojan horse. Pentagon officials understand that they can't come before the American people and say, 'Give us hundreds of billions of dollars so we can have offensive weapons in space.' We are talking about creating a new arms race in space that will make the aerospace corporations richer than one could imagine."


In a recent CBS News program, Dan Rather scrutinized the allegations made by Schwartz and Postol and seemed to find their testimony quite credible.

And in a recent New York Times Magazine article, "The Coming Space War," Jack Hitt described the elaborate facilities at which plans for a future Space Corps and space-based weapons are being conceived.

(The next day, coincidentally, came the news that a coalition of conservative organizations and defense-industry labor unions have launched an intensive lobbying campaign to ensure passage of Bush's proposed $8.3 billion missile defense budget for next year.)


It's time for the American people to understand what's at stake. The development of a missile defense system violates the 1972 ABM Treaty, which outlawed missile defense systems. If the United States prepares to launch space-based weapons, it will also violate the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that banned the militarization of space.

We also need to shed the illusion that there is such a thing as a perfect defense. Someone, someday, will inevitably find a way to pierce supposedly impenetrable defenses.

This debate is not just about whether it is possible to protect Americans from incoming missiles. It is about the desirability of transforming the military into a space-based fighting force and deploying weapons in outer space.

This may sound like science fiction, but it is what's passing as serious military policy in the Bush White House.


3) U'wa Wins Battle as Oxy Can't Find Oil on the Tribe's Ancestral Land


July 31, 2001

Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch (310) 455-0617 or cell. (202) 256-9795
Patrick Reinsborough, Rainforest Action Network (415) 305-7246
Carwil James, Project Underground (510) 705-8981

Colombia's U'wa Tribe and Supporters
Celebrate Oxy's Failure to Find Oil

End to Oil Drilling on the Tribe's Ancestral Land and Total De-Militarization Urged

The news long awaited by the Colombia's U'wa tribe and their thousands of supporters around the world has finally arrived: the Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum (OXY) announced Friday that it has failed to find oil at the Gibraltar 1 well site on the tribe's ancestral land in Northeastern Colombia. The company has begun removing equipment from the site, a positive turn of events for the valorous non-violent resistance campaign waged by the U'wa, an indigenous community of 8,000 who live high in the Andean cloud forests.

Since OXY received drilling rights in 1992 to the Siriri block (formerly known as Samoré), the project has been embroiled in controversy and condemned by environmental and human rights groups worldwide.

The announcement by OXY comes as thousands of U'wa are taking part in a traditional three month spiritual retreat for fasting, meditation, teaching, singing, and prayer. The U'wa Werjayas (spiritual leaders) and Karekas (medicine people) have been praying for months and using traditional rituals to "hide the oil" from OXY's drill.

While the U'wa called this development a "cultural triumph," the tribe pointed out that their ancestral land is still threatened by oil exploration by the Spanish company Repsol, who is just beginning exploratory drilling in the Capachos 1 block. "This is a battle that we have won, but the war continues, because the U'wa territory is not only Gibraltar 1," said Roberto Perez, President of the U'wa Traditional Authority in a communiqué released today.

"The blood spilled from the three North Americans indigenous activists and other supporters who were killed, the loss of our U'wa children in the violent evictions, the humiliations of the armed forces, the cries of the U'wa children and elders in the peaceful mobilizations, the challenge to resist the aggressions by the Colombian State and OXY, will not go unpunished. It will be a bittersweet memory that will remain in the minds of those who participated directly an indirectly in the most difficult moments of this process," said Perez.

The U'wa have become a symbol of resistance to oil exploration and corporate led globalization for thousands of supporters around the world. Over the last 5 years, the U'wa resistance has inspired a massive international solidarity movement that has captured headlines with hundreds of peaceful demonstrations. More recently, the U'wa and their supporters been organizing to stop U.S. military aid to Colombia, of which OXY is an influential proponent.

Using tactics ranging from blockades at the drill site, lawsuits, shareholder resolutions, letter writing campaigns, banner hangs, and non-violent civil disobedience, the U'wa along with environmental and human rights activists have confronted Occidental and its major shareholders including Fidelity Investments, former Vice-President Al Gore and Alliance Capital/Sanford Bernstein.

"This is an important victory and a real milestone in the larger struggle to win recognition and respect for indigenous peoples rights around the world. Unfortunately, until we address our societies addiction to fossil fuels by transitioning to renewable energy sources, the world's remaining pristine ecosystems and traditional cultures will continue to be threatened by unscrupulous oil corporations," said Kevin Koenig, campaigner for Amazon Watch.

This is yet another blow to Oxy's operations in Colombia which have suffered significant losses this year. The company's Cano Limon field and pipeline have been paralyzed since February 17 as a result of more than 110 guerrilla bombings so far this year. In addition, OXY's private security contractor, AirScan, was recently implicated in one of Colombian Military's worst civilian massacres putting OXY in the center of yet another controversy. In 1998, three American pilots working for AirScan guided Colombian military's attack on the Santo Domingo village that killed 12 civilians including 9 children.


Related Material:

News Release: From The Association of U'wa Traditional Authorities: Gibraltar I, Cultural Triumph! July 31 2001.

Occidental Finds No Oil At Colombian Siriri Well. Reuters Article. July 27 2001

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