The following summarizes some of the key conclusions of the Royal Commission:
- The Australian government controlled media reporting such that news items provided what the UK government deemed suitable only;
- Prior to the first tests on the Australian mainland, the Government Cabinet, Parliament and news media were not informed of what was happening;
- It is likely that the major tests resulted in a general increase in cancer within the Australian population;
- Exposure to radiation increased the risk of cancer in nuclear veterans;
- There was a failure to adequately take into account the distinctive lifestyle of Aboriginal people living in the region;
- The authorities were negligent in their management, equipping and briefing of the crews of the Lincoln aircraft who were directed to fly through the nuclear cloud in the Totem 1 test;
- In the Buffalo tests, “. . . the attempts to ensure Aboriginal safety during the Buffalo series demonstrate ignorance, incompetence and cynicism on the part of those responsible for that safety.” (12)
This summary is a very small and selective account of the content of the Royal Commission’s Report.
Since Hiroshima: Australia’s Active Involvement in the Use and Abuse of Nuclear Energy Sunday, 05 October 2014 09:59By Lindsay Fitzclarence, Truthout “………..By 1952, the government had signed a contract with the CDA (Combined Development Agency) representing the UK and United States to supply uranium (5).
At the same time, in a remarkable expression of executive power, the pro-royalist prime minister of Australia, Robert Menzies, agreed to a British request to begin testing of atomic weapons in its former colony (6). At the dawn of the Cold War nuclear arms race, Australia was an active participant at both ends of the weapons cycle: the source of primary nuclear fuel and as a nuclear testing ground. Continue reading
To many Traditional Owners, these places are known as sickness country, or poison country, and are often considered sacred. Upsetting the poison and letting out into the landscape would be a disaster, particularly in the life giving and food providing Mitchel River basin.
The Bill, passed in parliament in early September, gives the Coordinator General the power to exclude community objection rights over some of the largest mining projects
Mining companies now have more rights than the community in Newman’s Queensland http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/01/comment-mining-companies-now-have-more-rights-community-newmans-queensland 1 Oct 14 Queenslanders have more reason than ever to be concerned about uranium mining in the sunshine state. By Andrew Picone Back in 2012 Queensland Premier Campbell Newman made a series of ‘crystal clear’ commitments to keep the door closed to uranium mining in Queensland. In a letter to former ACF CEO Don Henry, Newman wrote “I take this opportunity to reaffirm my statements, made before the last election, that the State Government has no plans to approve the development of uranium in Queensland”.
It proved to be one of his first broken promises. Just a fortnight later this commitment was dumped, without any independent assessment or community consultation. Uranium mining would not just be permitted in Queensland, the Premier started actively encouraging uranium mining companies to set up shop in the sunshine state.
Fast forward to 2014 and Queenslanders have more reason than ever to be concerned. In an echo of the heavy handed police state politics that so characterized former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen, the Queensland government’s hand-picked co-ordinator general will now have sole authority over major new mining projects.
Proposed legislative changes introduced in the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014, literally rushed through the Parliament at five minutes to midnight on September 9th 2014, in particular provision 47D entitled ‘restriction in giving of objection notice under the Environmental Protection Act’ – should sound the community alarm. Continue reading
1 Sept 14, Australian resident Natalie Lowrey was refused entry into Malaysia after returning as an observer on the criminalisation of environmental defenders against Australian rare earth miner, Lynas Corporation. On arrival at in Malaysia, Lowrey was detained by customs who said she had been blacklisted by Bukit Aman (the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur) and that she would be deported back to the country she flew in from. She is being sent to Bali and will fly into Sydney on Tuesday 2 September at 6.50am. Lowrey was informed of a strict denial of entry to Malaysia, reasons not given.
Australian rare earths company, Lynas Corporation Ltd, whose processing plant is in Kuantan, Malaysia is the focus of Malaysia’s largest environmental movement. Lynas has been under pressure for the past three years for having no social licence to operate. Their 2 year Temporary Operating Licence (TOL) is due to expire on 2nd September. Continue reading
WikiLeaks reveals Australian gagging order over political bribery allegations Superinjunction reported to have been issued on 19 June to block reporting of claims involving international politicians Robert Booth The Guardian, Wednesday 30 July 2014
The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings”.
The Australia-wide gagging order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret. It was issued on 19 June and states: “Subject to further order, there be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information (whether in electronic or paper form) derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings including the terms of these orders.”
In a statement published with the leak, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said the gagging order relates to a case that “concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank”.
He said it was the first blanket suppression order of this nature in Australia since 1995. “With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public,” said Assange, who is himself Australian. “This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government. The concept of ‘national security’ is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere. It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case.”
Assange has been holed up for more than two years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London evading extradition to Sweden where he is wanted to face questioning over allegations of sexual assault.
The paper, lead authored by John Cook, has been the subject of debate over its methodology since it was published last year…..(subscribers only) ww.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/queensland-university-tries-to-block-climate-research/story-e6frgcjx-1226920713818#
The journal that gave in to climate deniers’ intimidation The Conversation, Elaine McKewon, Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney 1 April 14,
In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Predictably enough, those people didn’t like it.The paper, which I helped to peer-review, is called “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”. In it, cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues survey and analyse the outcry generated on climate skeptic blogs to their earlier work on climate denial.
The earlier study had also linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking. And so by reacting with yet more conspiracy theorising, the bloggers rather proved the researchers’ point.
Yet soon after Recursive Fury was published, threats of litigation started to roll in, and the journal took the paper down (it survives on the website of the University of Western Australia, where Lewandowsky carried out the study).
A lengthy investigation ensued, which eventually found the paper to be scientifically and ethically sound. Yet on March 21 this year, Frontiers retracted the paper because of the legal threats.
The episode offers some of the clearest evidence yet that threats of libel lawsuits have a chilling effect on scientific research………
the journal’s management and editors were clearly intimidated by climate deniers who threatened to sue. So Frontiers bowed to their demands, retracted the paper, damaged its own reputation, and ultimately gave a free kick to aggressive climate deniers.
I would have expected a scientific journal to have more backbone, certainly when it comes to the crucially important issue of academic freedom. http://theconversation.com/the-journal-that-gave-in-to-climate-deniers-intimidation-25085
Move to limit ideological objections to Qld mining projects, ABC News, 28 Feb 14 By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer The Queensland Government is looking to restrict who can object to mining applications, in a bid to crack down on what it calls philosophical opposition to projects.
Currently any group or person can object to applications, potentially sending the decision to the Land Court.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was “frustrating” for the Government.
“It’s obvious that the current process allows individuals or groups who are fundamentally opposed to the coal industry – for whatever reason – to use the objection process to frustrate and delay those projects,” he said. “The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”
In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications….
“The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”
In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-27/move-to-limit-ideological-objections-to-qld-mining-projects/5289246
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Exhibition dates: Wed 22 January to Sat 1 February 2014 View the artworks http://damienmintongallery.com.au/artists/asio-through-the-looking-glass
Australia spy photos: Australia stalked Aboriginal activists ‘Persons of Interest’ Australia stalked Aboriginals By Brenda Norrel Censored News, 23 Jan 14, Australian Aboriginals were secretly photographed under surveillance by the government of Australia. Now, the spy photos of Aboriginal land rights activists, authors, playrights and artists are the subject of a photo exhibit.
“The 70 photos of people such as author Frank Hardy, Aboriginal activists Eddie Mabo and Gary Foley, film critic David Stratton and actor Bob Maza, among a range of Australians who went on to become prominent in public life,” Business Insider reports.
The director of the documentary series, Haydn Keenan, said the photos are “… images with no author, created by the State, of those who threatened it. They are secret political images, stolen to gain power over the subject. Here is a machine aesthetic. No artful frame or composition proposed, but uncannily appears.”
The gallery said the photographs were created as documents and records of surveillance by secret ASIO operatives going about their work monitoring the activities and meetings of people who the state considered to be ‘a person of interest’……(PHOTOS below in the original article) http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/australia-spy-photos-australia-stalked.html
ASIO and NT cops spied on, meddled with careers of Territorians BY ALISON BEVEGE NT NEWS JANUARY 21, 2014 AUSTRALIA’S secret service spied on Territorians – including the NT News editor – files released under the Archives Act show……
Those targeted had spoken out against the Vietnam War, campaigned for Aboriginal land rights or opposed Indonesia’s brutal invasion and occupation of East Timor.
Their partners, friends and colleagues were followed, their phones tapped and mail was intercepted…….http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/asio-and-nt-cops-spied-on-meddled-with-careers-of-territorians/story-fnk1w5xx-1226806880023
Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement favours foreign investors over citizens’ rights Canberra Times, January 4, 2014 Without debate, increased rights for foreign investors will undermine our way of life, writes Thomas A. Faunce. All the indications from the recent Singapore meeting on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) are that Australian society is about to undergo a momentous shift in its governance arrangements. The recent Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) gives a pointer.
It includes an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. This provides rights of foreign investors (additional to those of local businesses) to challenge our legislation where it impedes their profits overseas before panels of trade arbitrators. Our government claimed it had ”ensured the inclusion of appropriate carve-outs and safeguards in important areas such as public welfare, health and the environment.”
The Australian government has no mandate to introduce such a significant change in our sovereignty and governance. Though the present author and others raised the issue of such greater rights of foreign investors over local businesses during the preceding electoral campaign it was never the subject of major policy debate or positioning.
The insertion of such foreign investor rights into our governance system is a momentous event in the history of our democracy.According to the central document in our social contract, fundamental alterations in Australia’s governance arrangements require not just legislation but a referendum. Thus, a majority of Australian citizens in a majority of states were needed to support the creation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme or the citizenship of Aboriginal Australians.
Yet, as a result of the TPPA, this country risks displacing the authority of citizens who live and support families, friends, local communities and ecosystems in this land, in favour of a system privileging artificial people called corporations.
The multinational corporations to which the KAFTA and the TPPA will be ceding rights to challenge our democratic laws are regarded by the law as ”people”. They can sue in courts to protect their rights. But they lack conscience, empathy, the capacity to develop virtues though consistent application of generally applicable principle, that constitute the richness of our character. Corporations can never marry or have children. They seek to fulfil a monomanical basic craving – to maximise shareholder profit.
Perhaps the big issue in our nation should not be gay marriage, but corporate marriage – using the corporations law to link a broader public purpose.
It is ironic and sad that the privileging of corporate elites over the rights and interests of our citizens implicit in such foreign investor rights was rejected by conservative former prime minister John Howard at the time of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement in 2004. It also has been deprecated by Pope Francis as part of his recent apostolic exhortation……
At the same time as foreign investors are gaining these extra rights, our government is preparing to turn more of our social infrastructure over to them. The new era for infrastructure financing involves projects financed by taxpayers and superannuants, that then are sold to private corporations who manage them…..
The deliberate disengagement of Australian citizens from the governance changes being wrought on Australia through the TPPA may mark a turning point in a wider disengagement of citizens from the political process in this country.
♦ Thomas A. Faunce is professor, jointly in the college of law and college of medicine, biology and the environment at the Australian National University. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-favours-foreign-investors-over-citizens-rights-20140103-309nb.html#ixzz2peyYTVFd
New law to expand police powers to ‘move on’ protester, THE AGE December 12, 2013, Jane Lee Legal Affairs Reporter Unions say a plan to enable police to order people in picket lines and blockades to “move on”, and arrest those who do not, erodes the right to political protest.
The Coalition introduced reforms on Wednesday extending police powers to issue “move on” orders to people who prevent access to buildings, commit offences in public places, cause others to have a “reasonable fear of violence” or who behave in ways “likely to cause damage to property.”
Police would be able to ask such people for their names and addresses, and arrest and fine those who do not comply $720 under the new law. They could also apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an exclusion order, banning protesters from entering certain places if they have been given more than one “move on” order in the same place.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said the proposed changes were excessive and unnecessary: “Current legislative provisions governing industrial action are comprehensive and effective for unions and employers.”……
Liberty Victoria president Jane Dixon, SC, similarly opposed the reforms: “The anti-war demonstrations in the City of Melbourne may well have impacted on shops and businesses in the vicinity but Liberty [Victoria] believes that political protests in public places are an important feature of a functioning democracy……
The reforms follow long-running protests, including against the east-west link and builder Grocon.
They come a month after the Abbott government announced it would re-introduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which could fine people picketing building sites up to $34,000. The reforms follow long-running protests, including against the east-west link and builder Grocon. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/new-law-to-expand-police-powers-to-move-on-protesters-20131212-2z8ip.html#ixzz2nP5F4ucS
the draft was ”very prescriptive” and strongly reflected US trade objectives and multinational corporate interests ”with little focus on the rights and interests of consumers, let alone broader community interests”. ”One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish list for major corporations
The full transcript of the leaked negotiating text can by found at www.wikileaks.org.
Australians may pay the price in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement The Age, November 14, 2013 Philip Dorling A leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal looks to have worrying intentions.Australians could pay more for drugs and medicines, movies, computer games and software, and be placed under surveillance as part of a US-led crackdown on internet piracy, according to details of secret trade negotiations exposed by WikiLeaks.
A leaked draft of a controversial chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement reveals the negotiating positions of 12 countries including Australia on copyright, patents and other intellectual property issues, with a heavy focus on enforcement measures against internet piracy.
Intellectual property experts are critical of the draft treaty, which they say would help the multinational movie and music industries, software companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers to maintain and increase prices Continue reading
Mr Assange is the lead WikiLeaks Party candidate for a Senate seat in Victoria. Since June, 2012, he has resided at Ecuador’s London embassy where he was granted political asylum on the grounds that he is at risk of extradition to the US.
Carr accused of meddling in Assange case http://www.watoday.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/carr-accused-of-meddling-in-assange-case-20130905-2t847.html#ixzz2e8ycDLrt September 6, 2013 Philip Dorling Australian diplomats in Washington immediately stopped reporting to Canberra on the trial of WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, after Foreign Minister Bob Carr declared he would not allow ”over-servicing” of Julian Assange’s consular case.
Australian diplomatic cables released under freedom of information law reveal that the Australian embassy in Washington reported on the first two days of US Army Private Manning’s two-month trial, which began on June 3, and highlighted numerous references to Mr Assange, who has been targeted by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies in a long-running espionage investigation.
However, a response by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to a freedom of information application by Fairfax Media shows that the Washington embassy stopped reporting on the Manning trial after Senator Carr told a Senate estimates hearing on June 6 that the WikiLeaks publisher’s case ”doesn’t affect Australian interests”. Continue reading
WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong – UPDATED http://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-Statement-On-Edward,253.html?updated Sunday June 23 Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.
Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives in Ecuador his request will be formally processed.
Former Spanish Judge Mr Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Julian Assange has made the following statement:
“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange – for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest – is an assault against the people”.
Assange no concern of ours, says Carr, The Age, 7 June 13
- The Australian government has washed its hands of Julian Assange as prosecutors at the trial of US soldier Bradley Manning have openly targeted the WikiLeaks publisher as a conspirator engaged in espionage.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has told a Senate budget estimates committee that the government would make no more representations to the US on Assange’s circumstances because his case “doesn’t affect Australian interests”.
Senator Carr’s declaration that he would not “over-service” Assange’s consular needs came after US military prosecutors left no doubt that they regard the WikiLeaks chief not as a journalist dealing with sources but as a conspirator in the theft of classified information. Continue reading