Demographic, Environmental
Security Issues Project


Part 3 of 3 -- February 1996 --


Ronald Bleier, editor

Part 3

Military Occupations
Peace Talks
Forthcoming Sections of DESIP:
Destructive Dam and River Projects
Destruction of Tropical Rainforests and Other Forests
Transboundary Water Conflicts
Threats to Indigenous Peoples
Human Encroachments on Sensitive Areas
Nuclear Issues
Ozone Layer Depletion
Global Warming
Demographic Report

Military Occupations

  1. China in Tibet -- China has been occupying Tibet since 1950 and has killed 1.2 million Tibetans (1995 Tibetan population: 14 million); destroyed all but 13 of 6,254 monasteries and has forced intermarriages between Chinese and Tibetans. The Chinese government has encouraged Chinese nationals to settle in Tibet. China has refused to recognize the Tibetan Panchen Lama (the successor to the Dalai Lama) and imposed their own choice. The Tibetan Panchen Lama has been missing since July '95 and is believed to be detained by Chinese authorities in Peking.

  2. Indonesia invaded East Timor on December 7, 1975. The pre-invasion population of East Timor was about 750,000. Deaths have been estimated at 200,000. Indonesia began to transfer settlers to East Timor in the 90s and the migrant population is estimated at 100,000 to 200,000. East Timorese guerilla leader, Xanana Gusmao, was captured in 1992 and remains in prison.

    The U.S. gave the green light for the 1975 invasion and has supported the Suharto government with military and economic aid. The Clinton administration in 1995 indicated its willingness to sell General Suharto 20 F-16's and has approved $60 million in weapons sales.

    * From report on Xanana Gusmao by John Pilger in The Nation Dec. 25, '95.

    Kay Rala Xanana (pronounced Shanana)Gusmao was the commander of the forces of the East Timorese National Liberation Front until he was captured in November 1992 by the Indonesian forces. He has been the symbol of East Timorese resistance since 1981. He currently lives in a cell in Cipang Prison near Jakarta and continues as the Chairman of the National Council of Maubere (Timorese) Resistance.

    In a secret taped interview conducted by journalist John Pilger, Gusmao spoke of the decisive role American arms played in the attack on his people by the Indonesian military. "American Bronco and Skyhawk aircraft relentlessly bombed and machine-gunned the camps and wells of the refugee population." Xanana also said that the new British Hawk aircraft "will invariably be used against us."

  3. Indonesian occupation of West Papua, formerly Dutch New Guinea -- renamed Irian Jaya by the Indonesians who forced the Dutch out after WWII and set up a protectorate which was supposed to lead to independence in 1965. Indonesia refused to leave however, and continued its exploitation of the country's rich resources. The indigenous Papuans have been fighting for independence ever since. The best known resistance group is the OPM (Organasi Papua Merdeka - Free Papua Organization).

    The Indonesian military, in an attempt to crush the Papuan struggle, have killed over 150,000 people. As a result of the fighting, more than 10,000 West Papuans have been forced to take refuge across the Papua New Guinea border.

    More than 70% of the forests of Papua have been given to Indonesian and foreign concession holders. 50% of Indonesian government income is derived from oil exports; one third of this oil comes from West Papua.

    The Kamoro and Amugme people of West Papua are jeopardized by the U.S. based Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold Co. Sources in West Papua allege that Freeport, with the approval of the Indonesian government, has expropriated up to 10,000 hectares of traditional lands used or occupied by traditional peoples.

    Environmental damage is caused by dumping mine tailings from a huge gold mine employing 17,000 workers directly into the Aqwaghon River. Each day 110,000 tons of tailings are dumped into the river system (Bankcheck, September 1995).

    According to a 1993 Canadian documentary produced by Ian Mackenzie as part of the Endangered Peoples Project, 110 million Javanese are the dominant group in West Papua. The transmigration of Javanese settlers are devastating the last great rainforest of West Papua and are threatening the culture and livelihood of the remaining 4,000 Moi people who live in the rainforest.

  4. Israeli occupation of the former Palestine (Occupied Territories) and their self-designated "security strip" in South Lebanon.

  5. Moldova -- Trans Djnestria, the eastern part of Moldova, has a majority Russian population. Russian troops effectively rule the area after suppressing nationalist elements in fighting which erupted upon Moldovan independence.

  6. Serbian occupation of Kosovo -- Albanians make up 90% of the population.

Oppression of Minorities or Weaker Members

(If not listed previously)

  1. Gypsies (Roma) in Hungary, Romania, Germany, Albania, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, ex-Yugoslavia, Poland. 8 million Gypsies in Europe; 12 million in world

  2. Hungarian minorities in Slovakia, Transsylvania and Vojvodina. Transsylvania (Zevenburgen) is the North-West section of Rumania, and was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In Slovakia, according to a NYT Nov 1995 article, the government is in process of imposing severe restrictions on Hungarian language and culture. Most Hungarians have fled Vojvodina, and Hungary has strengthened their troops along the Serbian border but outright fighting is not on the horizon.

  3. Latvia -- One third of the country's 2.5 million people are ethnic Russians who live under restrictive laws which make them ineligible for citizenship; nor can they vote. Latvian nationalists argue that in 1940, Russia illegally occupied Latvia and that in three separate waves of ethnic cleansing eliminated 1/3 of their population by killing them or deporting them to Siberia or elsewhere; and that about 1 million ethnic Russian colonists took their places. They claim that there are a total of 2 million ethnic Russian colonists in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and 1 million in Koenigsberg.

  4. Germany -- attacks on Turkish and other minorities by right-wing elements with more or less local government acquiescence.

  5. Nigeria -- The Muslim government of General Sani Abacha is condemned for its military dictatorship and for the oppression of minority tribes including the half million Ogoni peoples. In November 95, nine Ogoni leaders were hanged on charges of murder, including writer and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa. Moshood K.O. Abiola, the winner of the 1993 elections which were annulled by Abacha's government, has been imprisoned since 1994 when he declared himself president.

Cold War

  1. North and South Korea
  2. U.S. vs. Cuba

Peace Talks / Negotiations Ongoing

  1. Angola

  2. Guatemala -- Rebels announce unilateral cease-fire to coincide with Nov. 12, 1995 elections due to progress in the peace talks.

  3. Israelis and Palestinians -- Oslo 2 Accords signed at the White House on September 28, 1995; Oslo 1 was signed there on September 13, 1993.

  4. Mexico vs. rebels in Chiapas

  5. North and South Korea

  6. Northern Ireland/England -- In August 1994, the IRA declared a unilateral halt to its campaign of bombings and other attacks, jump-starting diplomatic efforts. On the occasion of President Clinton 's visit in late November 1995, Prime Minister John Major of Britain and Prime Minister John Bruton of Ireland set a target date for all-party talks of February 15, 1996. British insistence that the decommissioning of the estimated 100 tons of weapons in the IRA arsenal as a pre-condition for negotiations seemed to represent one of the stumbling blocks. On February 9, 1996 the IRA reportedly ended their cease-fire on the same day that a bomb in London injured dozens of people.

Some Refugee Numbers

According to Hal Kane writing on "What's Driving Migration" Worldwatch (Jan/Feb 1995), the world's official refugee population has grown to 23 million people from 15 million people at the beginning o f the decade. In the mid-1970s there were only about 2.5 million refugees, about the same number as in the 1950s and 1960s.

In addition to the world's official refugee population, according to Kane, there are "internally displaced migrants" whose estimated numbers run to approximately 27 million. Also, there are probably another 10 million "illegal" immigrants. And in the largest category, Kane estimates that there are "around 100 million economic migrants."

Statistics regarding the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America are uncertain and highly controversial. It has been estimated that about 300,000 cross the southern U.S. borders every year with far higher numbers crossing and returning many times.

It has been estimated that about 1 million illegal immigrants from Northern Africa make their way to Europe every year.

Refugee Report from Otranto, Italy

According to a report by Andrew North in Middle East International (19 Jan 96) some 40,000 migrants every year are slipping into Italy at the Salentine Peninsula on the southern Adriatic coast. Most are Albanians but in the last year Turks, Iranians, Kurds, Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis are also arriving. The author quotes an Albanian speaking through the grill-covered window of his container cell in Otranto (waiting to be returned to Albania): "I will come again and again, however many times it takes. I have no choice."

The award-winning film, "LAmerica" deals with the Albanian migration to Italy.

Central Africa

NYT story on Rwandan refugees by James C. McKinley Jr (2.7.96)

Headline: Some Rwandan Exiles Can't Go Home Again"
Subhead: "Despite Pressure, Few Leave Camps"
Picture caption: "Mothers of babies born in refugee camps waited to register their newborns with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees this week. The birth rate at the camps exceeds the number of people going home."

According to the story, there are 1.7 million Rwandan Hutu refugees in 59 camps in Tanzania, Zaire and Burundi.

Former Yugoslavia

According to European Journal (12.25.96), a TV news and features program produced in England, there are 3 million refugees from the fighting in the former Yugoslavia. Most are internal refugees but a bout 600,000 are living in other European countries; with the majority, 400,000 in Germany. Other countries hosting ex-Yugoslav refugees are:

Forthcoming Sections of DESIP

Destructive Dam and River Projects:

Typically in these megaprojects, the rationale of supplying energy and water to a growing population is used to enrich local and highly placed political and commercial figures who pocket percentages of the huge loans that the World Bank and other lending institutions supply. In the case of the Three Gorges Dam, the Chinese government has already threatened to put down with violence any resistance to the dam by its own people. There is so much money to be made in these projects that environmental concerns, no matter how clear, are typically beaten back.

Destruction of Tropical Rainforests and Other Forests

New York Times report on deforestation of Amazon, June 29, 1993 by William K. Stevens

"... tropical deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased to 89,000 square miles in 1988 from 30,000 square miles in 1978. The 1988 figure represented 6 percent of the Brazilian forest. But the total area of biological disturbance, with the edge areas and islands included, increased to 227,000 square miles from 80,000 square miles. The 227,000 square-mile area of biological disturbance amounted to about 15 percent of the total forest."

Threats to Forests

U.S. -- Pacific Northwest

According to a December 5, 1995 article in the New York Times, President Clinton is critical of a law permitting logging that he initially vetoed but then signed in the summer of 1995. According to the Times report, Clinton said that "the leveling, or clear-cutting, will damage rivers and streams, set back a $1.2 billion Federal program to restore overcut national forests and could eradicate some runs of Chinook salmon." The Times report was accompanied by a photo of an Earth First! protest encampment in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon.

Other Pacific Northwest areas subject to logging (as listed in the Cascadia Times, October '95.)

Depletion of Fisheries and International Fish Conflicts, Fisheries Management Disputes and Unrest, etc.

"Canada's East Coast fisheries, described as a `sea of slaughter' by historian Farley Mowat, have killed off forever the Sea Mink, the Great Auk and the Labrador Duck. The Atlantic populations of the Walrus and the Gray Whale have been wiped out, and the Right Whale is on the verge of extinction on the East Coast. Since the collapse of the Northern Cod stocks, other groundfish species, like haddock and pollock, face commercial extinction" ("Dead Sea Tolls," by David Orton, in Real World, Tyne and Wear, England, Autumn 1995).

Transboundary Water Conflicts

Jordan River Basin -- Israel's National Water Carrier began diverting water in the 60s from the Jordan River catchment basin to Israel's Mediterranean Coast and the Negev desert. This diversion enabled Israel to appropriate for itself virtually all of the water of the Jordan River, leaving none for the Jordanians or for the Palestinians, contrary to the plan worked out by Eisenhower's water mediator, Eric Johnston. Even the agreements signed with Jordan and with the Palestinians in October 94 and September '95 respectively do not remedy the situation since in both cases Israel gives up virtually none of the water it currently uses.

Future Southern Africa Water Conflict?

According to the Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) water demand in the region is projected to rise by almost 3% annually until at least the year 2020. The situation is especially serious i n arid Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. The projection is that fresh water supplies will not be able to meet demand within 30 years. The situation is likely to push SADC to source water from river s shared with other states. For instance, Angola, Botswanna, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe all lie on the Zambezi, the region's largest river. Other regional states share the river Orage Lumpo.

Threats to Indigenous Peoples

Other Human Encroachments on Special or Sensitive Areas

Nuclear Issues and Weapons Proliferation and Costs

  1. Nuclear Testing
    • France -- The French government completed six atomic tests in 1995 and 1996 in the South Pacific at Mururoa Atoll and the last one in January 1996 at Fangataufa Atoll. The January 1996 test was 120 kilotons, 6 times larger than the Hiroshima bomb. The French government has conceded that trace elements of radioactive iodine and other elements have been found in the waters around Mururoa. Environmentalists fear significant damage from radiation and heavy element leaks may be occurring.

    • U.S. low level nuclear tests planned for June 96 -- While these tests are technically permitted by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, they send a signal about U.S. intentions.

  2. Nuclear Waste Disposal

  3. Nuclear contamination of land and water
    Researchers have speculated that the high levels of breast cancer among women on Long Island, NY, are due not to levels of DDT which are no higher than in many other areas but perhaps to the water polluted by radioactivity from the Millstone Reactor 12 miles away. In addition, the nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory has been polluting the water supply since the 1950s with recorded emissions entering the water.

  4. Nuclear proliferation
    Costs of NATO Expansion Program

    A report entitled "Another Nuclear Shadow," in The Nation Magazine (December 25, 1995) by Daniel T. Plesch and Sami Fournier, members of the British American Security Information Council, an independent research organization based in London and Washington, dealt with the "real consequences of the integration of Central Europe into Western military alliances."

    According to the authors, the Partnership for Peace Program, the Clinton administration's program for delaying and marketing the NATO expansion program, allows the U.S. to arm Central Europe. It facilitates the provision and purchase of weaponry by Eastern countries. Excess U.S. F-16A/B fighter planes are set to be given to Poland. The Czech Republic is being offered an undisclosed number of F -16 and F-18 fighters and Romania will manufacture 96 Cobra attack helicopters under license from the U.S. The U.S. has 350 used F-16 fighter aircraft on hand and it plans to sell or lease C-130 transport planes and E-2 early warning aircraft.

    The authors believe that widening its arms market is the only apparent advantage to the West of expanding NATO since there is no military threat. The allies currently spend about $1 billion on NATO administration. The costs of NATO expansion will be ten times that amount. The Rand Corporation estimates that installing NATO infrastructure in four countries will require an alliance-wide outlay of $10 billion to $50 billion.

    It's not clear whether NATO will maintain nuclear weapons in Europe and whether new NATO members will receive privileges to prepare to use U.S. nuclear weapons in wartime. NATO has no proposals for further weapons reductions in Europe.

    Start II which would "eliminate the great long-range bogeyman, the SS-18 missile," is now blocked in Congress by Senators Dole and Helms.

  5. Plutonium in the Space Program
    Professor Carl Grossman, a Long Island based activist, has been reporting for years on the dangerous and unnecessary use of plutonium in the U.S. Space Program. For example,, the current Galileo Jupiter probe contains 50 pounds of plutonium. The Galileo mission made two earth flybys as part of its voyage to Jupiter.

    The Cassini Space Probe, scheduled for departure in 1997 is designed to carry 72 pounds of plutonium and will also make two Earth flybys during which its nuclear cargo could be dispersed in our atmosphere in case of an accident. Moreover, the Cassini is scheduled to be powered by a Titan 4 Rocket, which has a history of failures. A Titan failure with nuclear material aboard could have a devastating effect on South Florida.

    Through a freedom of information request, Professor Grossman found that according to an internal NASA study, all these space probes could just as easily be powered by solar energy. Grossman speculates that General Electric, a proponent of nuclear power and a builder of nuclear reactors, is the driving force behind the inclusion of nuclear material in these space missions.

Ozone Layer Depletion

In November 1995 the NYT reported that ozone decay in the earth's atmosphere in 1995 was unparalleled. According to the Times, the hole in the earth's ozone shield over the Antarctic covered an area twice the size of Europe at its seasonal peak in October and it grew at an unprecedented rate in 1995. There was about a 1% per day increase during the entire month of August when the ozone hole reached a maximum of 7.7 million sq. miles. Ozone loss at the end of November over Antarctica continues making the ozone hole phenomena of 1995 the longest lasting on record.

Acid Rain and Global Warming

On December 1, 1995, the New York Times reported that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a loose consortium of 2,500 scientists and policy makers set up under the auspices of the U.N., had issued a report concluding that human activity is likely to be at least partly responsible for the changing climate.

Some of the findings are:

* Average global surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree F. in the last century.

* Predicts average global temperature will rise by 1.8 to 6.3 degrees F. (best estimate: 3.6) by 2100 if no action is taken.

* Predicts average global sea level will rise by 6 to 37 inches (best estimate: 20 inches) by 2100.

* Predicts that up to 70 million people could be put at risk.

Demographic Report

World Population 9.1.97 -- 5,865,247,498

According to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the world's population on 5.1.96 stood at 5,758,862,145 and is growing at the rate of 6.6 million a month and 79.4 million a year. At this rate, the world's population will reach 5.8 billion by December 1996.

It should be kept in mind that these estimates are constantly being revised. As recently as November 1995, the Census Bureau estimated that the world's population was growing at the rate of 86.7 million a year and would reach 5.8 billion by April 1, 1996.

World Population: 1950 to 2050
Historical Estimates of World Population
According to Worldwatch (Vital Signs 1995), the annual addition to the world's population held steady at 88 million a year from 1991 to 1994.

Some Population Projections (in millions)

			    1990                2030
	United States       262.4 (1995)         345
	United Kingdom       58                   60
	Germany              80                   81
	Philippines          64                  111
	Nigeria              87                  278
	Iran                 57                  183
	Egypt                62 (1995)           111
	Mexico               85                  150
	India               853                1,443
	Brazil              153                  252
	China             1,230 (1995)         1,624

End of Part 3

Comments, information, contributions, requests, welcome.

Write to: Ronald Bleier (rbleier@igc.org).