News Release

* North Korea and Nonproliferation Treaty * Venezuela Oil Strike

JOHN BURROUGHS
Executive director of the New York-based Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy and co-editor of Rule of Power or Rule of Law? — An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties, Burroughs said today: “Like North Korea, the United States is violating its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The United States promised not to use nuclear arms against NPT non-nuclear states, but the Bush administration’s 2002 Nuclear Posture Review includes a scenario for U.S. nuclear use against a non-nuclear North Korean attack. The administration treats the NPT Article VI obligation of good-faith negotiation of nuclear disarmament with contempt. It opposes the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, negotiated a nuclear arms reduction ‘treaty’ with Russia that does not require the destruction of a single nuclear warhead or delivery system, and peremptorily withdrew from the ABM Treaty over the virtually unanimous opposition of the world’s nations. The Bush administration has acted like a rogue regime with respect to other disarmament and security agreements as well, disrupting negotiations on a verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, refusing to commence negotiations on a treaty preventing weaponization of outer space, and undermining the agreement establishing the International Criminal Court.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot has recently returned from eight days in Caracas. His latest article on Venezuela appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post. He said today: “Venezuela is in turmoil primarily because the opposition refuses to accept the results of democratic elections. President Chavez’s government has won five elections since 1998, including the referendum on the country’s 1999 constitution. Although the opposition can organize large demonstrations, they have been unable to put together an electoral majority. So they have tried to remove the government by extra-legal means. In April they tried a military coup; now they are trying to make the country ungovernable, by crippling the economy with an oil strike. (Although there are numerous references to a general strike, outside of the 30,000 employees on strike in the oil industry there are not many workers actually on strike; some are locked out because the business owners have shut down.) The Bush administration shares the opposition’s goals of overthrowing the elected government and has supported them, although lately it has had some reservations about the cutoff of Venezuelan oil and gasoline, and the effect of that on oil prices and markets, and the economy.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167