Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Aboriginal struggles to save beautiful Kakadu from uranium mining

kakaduThe Dog Catcher of Jabiru,  About Place Journal, Margaret Spence 24 Nov 14 “……….Uranium was discovered in Kakadu in 1953 and for the next decade much of the ore was bought by British and American governments for the development of atomic weapons. If the Aborigines knew of the potential fate of their ancestral earth, their objections were overruled.

But the nineteen seventies were a period of change for civil rights, and Aboriginal people campaigned to have their lands returned to them. In stages, the Australian Federal Government acquired title to the tracts of land that had been taken over the years by private, non-Aboriginal settlers. The land was returned to Traditional Owners under the newly established Aboriginal Land Rights Act (Northern Territory) and most of it was leased to the Commonwealth to become the joint managed Kakadu National Park.

Koongarra

Three areas were excised from the National Park due to the presence of significant uranium deposits. While this land was granted to Traditional Owners as Aboriginal Land, the legal right to veto mining projects which the new laws provided was explicitly removed in the case of Ranger uranium mine and mining commenced there in 1981 against the clear opposition of the Mirarr Traditional Owners……… Continue reading

November 26, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

In brief: how Maralinga nuclear bomb caused illness and environmental destruction

Secret Outback nuclear testing site handed back to traditional land owners 50 years after British did HUNDREDS of nuclear tests causing fatal radiation poisoning

  • The British nuclear testing site in outback Australia has been returned to its Aboriginal owners
  • Seven atomic bombs were detonated on ‘Section 400′ in the 1950s
  • There were also about 600 smaller nuclear tests on the area 
  • The land traditionally belonged to the Maralinga-Tjarutja community
  • Britain’s nuclear tests in Australia caused widespread radiation poisoning
  • Aborigines and Australian and UK soldiers suffered disease and death
  • Radioactive fallout in remote Australia was three time greater than predicted
  • Australia spent $100 million cleaning up the traditional lands
  • The government held on to the 1782sq km testing range until this week

By CANDACE SUTTON FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AAP, 6 November 2014……………………Hundreds of nuclear trials were carried out. Britain dropped twelve nuclear bombs at Maralinga, and then went on to test nuclear warheads.

Maralinga-worker-1950s

Although many Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from their land, more than a thousand were directly affected.

The widespread radioactive fallout of the bombs across the environment, which the local Aboriginal people called ‘puyu’ or ‘black mist’, caused disease and death……..http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2822906/Secret-nuclear-testing-site-Australian-outback-known-Section-400-finally-handed-Aboriginal-traditional-land-owners-50-years-British-dropped-atomic-bombs-causing-radiation-poisoning-death.html

November 8, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Key events: Nuclear testings at Maralinga

Backgrounder: Why was Maralinga used for secret nuclear tests?, SBS News 5 Nov 14 

“…….Mar 1951 – Australian Government approval sought to use Monte Bello Island for tests

Oct 1952 - First UK Test on 3 October – code named “Hurricane”

Sep 1953 – Minor trials at Emu Field on Australian mainland

Oct 1953 – Next two UK tests, known as “Totem 1 and 2” on 14 and 26 October, at Emu Field

May 1955 - Permanent test site at Maralinga announced

June 1955 - Minor trials start at Maralinga

May 1956 - UK conducts tests “Mosaic 1 and 2” on 16 May and 19 June at Monte Bello

Sep 1956 - “Buffalo” tests at Maralinga (four shots on 27 Sept, and 4, 11 and 21 October. Buffalo 3 was the first UK airdrop test

Sep 1957 – “antler” tests at Maralinga, 3 shots (14 and 25 September and 9 October)

Minor trials continued in short annual campaigns until May 1963

Aug 1967 – The final UK clean up operation at Maralinga completed, (Operation Brumby in May to Aug 67)

July 1984 – Australian Royal Commission (ARC) established

Nov 1985 – Royal Commission Report published Feb 1986 Post ARC Technical Assessment Group (TAG) established with UK membership. Study of options and costs of decontamination and rehabilitation of Emu and Maralinga

March 1989 – TAG reports to Australian Ministers

Dec 1993 - UK Government agrees to pay £20M on an ex gratia basis towards the cost of site rehabilitation

Mar 2003 - Report into the clean up of Maralinga published in Australia. The Australian Science Minister reports to Federal Parliament that the land at Maralinga can be handed back to its traditional owner, the Maralinga Tjarutja.

2009 - Most of the Maralinga-Tjarutja land  handed back to indigenous people after rehabilitation work was completed.

5 November 2014 – Full handover of the 1,782 square kilometres of land to the Maralinga Tjarutja people marked by a ceremony.

Source: The National Archives UK     http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/11/05/backgrounder-why-was-maralinga-used-secret-nuclear-tests

November 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | 1 Comment

How come Britain was allowed to test nuclear weapons on Aboriginal land?

Atomic-Bomb-LBackgrounder: Why was Maralinga used for secret nuclear tests? Indigenous landowners have finally been given back their homelands at Maralinga, which was used by Britain to test atomic bombs in the 1950s. But why did Britain use Australian land for nuclear tests in the first place? Source:
SBS News 5 Nov 14  “…….   Why was this site chosen?

During The Cold War, the British were keen to develop nuclear weapons of its own.

“If we are unable to make the bomb ourselves, and have to rely entirely on the United States for this vital weapon, we shall sink to the rank of a second-class nation,” said Lord Cherwell, scientific advisor to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Australian Institute of Criminology reported that the “remoteness and sparse population of Australia made it an attractive alternative.”

The operation – codenamed ‘Hurricane’ – was a secret agreement between the British prime minister Winston Churchill and Australian prime minister Robert Menzies, who was reportedly “only too pleased to assist the motherland”.

In 1993, Ian Anderson wrote in Scientific American magazine that “Britain knew in the 1960s that radioactivity at its former nuclear test site in Australia was worse than first thought. But it did not tell the Australians.”……..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/11/05/backgrounder-why-was-maralinga-used-secret-nuclear-tests

November 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

The background facts on the dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in November 1975

text-history

The lease for Pine Gap was due for renewal in December 1975. On 10 November 1975, the day before Whitlam was sacked. Shackley sent an extraordinary cable from the CIA to ASIO’s director general, threatening to remove ASIO from the British-US intelligence agreement because he considered Whitlam a security threat.

Whitlam, the CIA and Nugan Hand http://nuganhand.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/whitlam-the-cia-and-nugan-hand/ November 11: Coup? What coup? [Green Left Weekly], November 21, 2010By John Jiggens “.……..Lest we forget.

Former Australian prime ministers Robert Menzies, Howard Holt, John Gorton, Bob Hawke and John Howard all compliantly sent Australian troops to fight US wars. But in the early 1970s, Whitlam’s government had the courage to bring Australian soldiers home from the US war in Vietnam.

For this audacious action, Labor would never be forgiven by then-US president Richard Nixon, the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, the CIA, and corrupt conservative premiers Bob Askin (NSW) and Joe Bjelke-Petersen (Queensland) — who all hated Whitlam as though he were Che Guevara.

Whitlam’s election in 1972 began a short-lived era in which the stated aims of the new Labor government were to promote equality and involve the people in decision-making processes. Continue reading

October 27, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia

pinegap1Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone.

On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.

 

THE FORGOTTEN COUP Little Darwin, John Pilger 24 Oct 14 – How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics international | Leave a comment

Gough Whitlam honoured as father of Aboriginal land rights in Australia

text-historyGough Whitlam: former PM was father of Aboriginal land rights in Australia http://www.news.com.au/national/gough-whitlam-former-pm-was-father-of-aboriginal-land-rights-in-australia/story-fncynjr2-1227097636875  OCTOBER 21, 2014 GOUGH Whitlam left the political scene decades ago, but Aborigines still — and always will — acknowledge him as the father of land rights in Australia.

The Rirratjingu clan of northeast Arnhem Land today held a small smoking ceremony, led by Yothu Yindi founder Wityana Marika, and grieved for the man who forced white law to recognise our first people.

  • At the time Whitlam came to power in 1972, Aborigines in northeast Arnhem Land were reeling from the 1971 Milirrpum v Nabalco case in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, which found that they had no sovereign rights to their land.
  • The government of Robert Menzies had in the 1960s granted Nabalco total rights to mine bauxite on the tribal lands of the Yolngu people, without the consent of the traditional owners, whom the court later deemed did not exist in Australian law.

    Whitlam, alert to the injustice, ordered the Woodward Royal Commission in 1973, which recommended the recognition of land rights in the Territory.

  • Prior to this, a group of Aborigines led by Vincent Lingiari walked off Wave Hill station, in the west of the Territory, demanding equal wages and conditions and stockmen.

    Their struggled morphed into a campaign for land rights, strengthened by the findings of the Woodward commission.

    In 1975, Whitlam handed back the Wave Hill lease to Aborigines, famously running sand through the hand of Lingiari. He told him: “Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people, and I put into your hands part of the earth as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.”

    Whitlam had by then drafted the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, though would be overthrown before it became law. His successor, Malcolm Fraser, passed the legislation almost unchanged, knowing that the time for recognition had come.

  • All this was possible in the Territory, because it didn’t have full state rights; and state governments were by then eyeing the land rights’ developments nervously.

    They fought against land rights, fearing they would surrender huge tracts of land to traditional owners.

    In 1992, national recognition finally came when the High Court heard the Mabo case and found the doctrine of terra nullius — of Australia as an empty land prior to white arrival — to be a myth.

    This led to the creation of Native Title law, which gave Aborigines cultural and economic rights to their land. All of this tied directly back to Milirrpum v Nabalco.

    The son of Milirrpum, Wanyubi Marika, described Whitlam as “a very important man. Before him there was no land rights. “My father lost the case because of terra nullius. Mabo picked up the land rights issue from Arnhem Land and made it clear about the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait ownership of the country.

    “(Whitlam) was very helpful to our people, to our fathers. We want to think about his work and we will let his spirit be with us, going forward.”

October 25, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

Gough Whitlam’s exceptional legacy for Indigenous Australians

Gough Whitlam remembered: a true leader for Indigenous Australians, Guardian, 21 Oct 14 
Gough Whitlam was the first prime minister to campaign so openly for Indigenous people and to listen to their concerns For Aboriginal people across the country, Gough Whitlam was our giant among former prime ministers. He was the first leader to campaign so openly for us. During his short term in office he and his government made momentous decisions to include Aboriginal people within the fabric of the nation. Continue reading

October 21, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history | Leave a comment

An Aboriginal call for true leaders, not government stooges

Ngiyani-ga nganbinganbi baluwaal miinba-y nginu-ngay, giirr wangaarrama-li! (We are in this together, never allow yourself to be beaten).

Enough is enough – It’s time to act by supporting the call for our true leaders The Stringer by Dr Woolombi Waters October 19th, 2014 The national call by community leaders Tauto Sansbury, Geoff Clark and Michael Mansell among others for a National Summit of legitimate First Nations leaders has the potential to change a generation. We are talking of the same influence of the Freedom Marches back in the ’60’s, the establishment of the Tent Embassy in ’72 and the Bark Petition in 1963.

But it will only change a generation if we embrace this movement as our own and realise the time for change has come. We can all be a part of history or we can continue to be victims of history. By calling for a National Gathering we are not excluding any people who share in the very real concerns of our mob, our identity and our Culture.

Very few will be given the opportunity to change history during their lives but by each and every one of us standing together we can start a movement to overcome … as together we work towards change.

We have all been called to the same stomping ground and it has come time to act. Continue reading

October 21, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

Aboriginal land was taken, but returning Aboriginal soldiers not entitled to soldier settlement blocks.

Racial issues were forgotten on the battlefield as allied troops united against the common enemy.

Initiatives such as the Soldier Settlement Scheme, which granted land to ex-servicemen was not extended to indigenous servicemen, despite the fact that much of the best farming land in Aboriginal reserves had been confiscated for soldier settlement blocks. 

text-historyAborigines Equal On The WWI Fro­nt, But Not At Home Central Western Daily  13 Oct 14 IT is estimated that up to 800 indigenous servicemen served in the First World War. The exact number will never be known since ethnicity was not recorded on enlistment papers.

When war broke out in 1914, many indigenous Australians who attempted to enlist were rejected on the grounds of race, their attestation papers marked ‘Unsuitable physique – Aboriginal’ or ‘Unsuitable physique – Colour’. This was in accordance with the Commonwealth Defence Act 1909 which prevented those who were not of ‘substantially European descent’ from enlisting in the armed forces. Many indigenous men enlisted under false names and/or places of birth in an attempt to evade these conditions…..

After Prime Minister Billy Hughes’ conscription referendum was defeated in October 1916 and enlistment numbers were falling, legislation was introduced allowing “half-castes” to enlist.

A Military Order stated: “Half-castes may be enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force provided that the examining medical officers are satisfied that one of the parents is of European origin.”

Indigenous Australians were present in almost every Australian campaign of World War I. At least 34 Aboriginal men fought at Gallipoli, 12 of whom were killed. They also served in trenches on the Western Front and on horseback with the Light Horse in the Middle East. Continue reading

October 13, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

After 86 years, traditional owners get back land where 100 Aboriginals were massacred

Coniston massacre: Nigel Scullion returns site to traditional owners 86 years after killings 7 News, ANTHONY STEWART October 9, 2014The site of Australia’s last recorded massacre of Aboriginal people has been returned to its traditional owners.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion travelled to Yurrkuru 274 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs to present native title deeds to traditional owners.

Here, in 1928, up to 100 Aboriginal people were killed near the Coniston cattle station in reprisal for the death of a white man. The murders later became known as the Coniston massacre.

Warlpiri and Anmatyerr people welcomed Senator Nigel Scullion on to their land with traditional song and dance.

Senior Anmatyerr man Teddy Long said generations of his family had been fighting to have the massacre acknowledged and the land returned. “My old man, my father been explaining to me what happened to me, the shooting days,” he said.
“In the massacre days many people were killed here and that’s why [I’ve] been fighting real hard for this land”

Land returned decades after Land Rights claim Traditional owners initially lodged a claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act for the land in 1985………

In 1928 The prime minister at the time, Stanley Bruce, launched an a board of inquiry into the actions of police and pastoralists.

It ruled the police had “acted in self-defence”……https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25219778/coniston-massacre-nigel-scullion-returns-site-to-traditional-owners-86-years-after-killings/

October 10, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Government cover-up of Australia’s involvement in nuclear bomb testing

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 FitzclarenceTruthout  “………..By 1952, the government had signed a contract with the CDA (Combined Development Agency) representing the UK and United States to supply uranium (5).

secret-Australia

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

October 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, history, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

1984 Royal Commission concluded that Australian servicemen were nuclear guinea pigs

Maralinga signTODAY IN HISTORY - Bendigo Advertiser 12 Sept 14

1984 – Australian Royal Commission starts an investigation into whether servicemen were deliberately exposed to radiation in British nuclear tests at Maralinga in 1956-57. It will conclude that they were. http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/1880269/good-morning-bendigo-12092014/?cs=80

September 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Radioactive Strontium-90 was found in secret testing of over 20,000 Australian corpses

strontium 90British scientists tested dead Australians for nuclear radiation, Australian Times.co.uk  Startling evidence that British scientists secretly tested up to 21,830 dead young Australians, without the knowledge of their parents, for radiation contamination following nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s. By  on 1 September, 2014 Dead Australians were tested for nuclear radiation contamination following nuclear tests, according to a new book.

The author of Maralinga, Frank Walker, laid his hands on minutes of a top secret UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment meeting in England on 24 May 1957 approving a program to determine the long-term effects of the tests on Australia and its citizens.

In his book, Walker describes how officials at the meeting, chaired by Professor Ernest Titterton, decided to first obtain soil samples from pasture regions near Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to check for fallout from the nine nuclear bombs detonated at Maralinga in the Australian Outback and the Monte Bello Islands, off WA.

The group also sought to collect animal bones from the regions around where the nuclear explosions were carried out.

In the document, the professor says that the final phase of testing would be to determine if Strontium-90 was being absorbed by the Australian population – most likely through the food chain.

“We have to find out if Strontium-90 is entering the food chain and getting into humans,” says the document. The scientists then agreed to start testing the bones of dead Australian infants and children for radiation contamination.

Acting on these orders, hundreds of bones from the bodies of 21,830 dead babies, infants, children, teenagers and young adults across Australia were collected without the knowledge of their parents, according to Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser.

In a 2001 report to then federal health minister, Michael Wooldridge, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency said it had detected varying levels of Strontium-90 in the bone ash samples it had collected from hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne………..http://www.australiantimes.co.uk/news/uk-australian-news/british-nuclear-tests-australia-maralinga-radiation-contamination.htm

September 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, history, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia was deliberately used as Britain’s radiation test experiment, at Maralinga!

Radiation-Warning1

As The Advertiser has previously reported, hundreds of bones were subsequently collected from the bodies of 21,830 dead babies, infants, children, teenagers and young adults across Australia without the knowledge of their parents.

The Strontium-90 testing program in Australia was the longest of its kind in the world, finally ending in 1978.

In September, 2001, following an extensive investigation by The Advertiser, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency revealed it had kept ash samples from bones collected from hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

In a report to the then federal health minister, Michael Wooldridge, the agency said it had detected varying levels of Strontium-90 in all Australian capital cities.

British scientists secretly used Australian population to test for radiation contamination after nuclear tests at Maralinga  (includes copies of documents from British National Archives) http://www.news.com.au/national/south-australia/british-scientists-secretly-used-australian-population-to-test-for-radiation-contamination-after-nuclear-tests-at-maralinga/story-fnii5yv4-1227041781005  news.com,.au 29 Aug 14 scientists secretly used the Australian population to test for radiation contamination after the nuclear tests at Maralinga in the 1950s, a new book confirms.

Its author, Frank Walker, has obtained the minutes of a top secret meeting in England where the UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment approved a program to determine the long-term effects of the tests on Australia and its citizens. Continue reading

August 31, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

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