Australia: Last chance of justice for nuclear veterans http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/236534/Personal+Injury/Last+chance+of+justice+for+nuclear+veterans 03 May 2013 by Joshua Dale An appeal to the Australian Human Rights Commission by Australian military veterans arising from Britain’s nuclear bomb tests in the Outback is gaining momentum.
Lodged by Stacks human rights lawyer Joshua Dale representing several hundred nuclear veterans, the appeal asks the commission to find the government of the 1950s and 60s breached their human rights by ordering them to be exposed to deadly radioactive fallout. Read more »
No compensation for Maralinga radiation victims, SMH, April 29, 2013 Bianca Hall The British government has ruled out paying ”act of grace” compensation to Australian soldiers deliberately exposed to nuclear bomb testing at Maralinga in South Australia 61 years ago.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam wrote to Foreign Secretary William Hague in January seeking an undertaking that Britain would pay compensation to victims of its nuclear testing program.
”Of the British and Australian veterans who were involved in the testing, and the Aboriginal people in the area at the time of the blasts, only 29 Aboriginal people have ever received compensation from the Australian government and veterans continue to struggle to obtain the medical support they need,” Senator Ludlam said.
A 2006 report commissioned by the Australian government showed the Australians at the Maralinga and Emu Field sites were 23 per cent more likely than the general population to develop cancer, and 18 per cent more likely to die from cancer. But it found it was impossible to conclude whether that was due to radiation…….http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/no-compensation-for-maralinga-radiation-victims-20130428-2imrw.html#ixzz2RteYnZ00
Letter from UK Ministry of Defense http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/18059953/1363946993/name/maralinga.pdf
That 8000 of our men could be placed so close to ground zero seems impossible to believe. That we as a nation have refused to compensate these men is bad enough; that we won’t even grant them full access to health benefits is just plain staggering.
You will not be surprised to learn that cancer rates are 23 per cent higher in these men than in the rest of the population. Their children have higher rates of cancer as well. Deformities, miscarriages and the like are too easy to find among their families.
These men were put in harm’s way by the Australian government
We must right the wrong of Maralinga BY:GRAHAM RICHARDSON The Australian March 01, 2013 THERE was never much chance that Bob Menzies would knock back a request from the government of Britain. The future Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports was an Anglophile of the highest order.
In the early 1950s, when the old country requested that a stretch of Australia should be set aside to allow the Brits to explode nuclear bombs, Menzies was only too eager to please. A few bombs were tested on Montebello Island off Western Australia, but the area was pretty small and when more territory was sought, Maralinga was chosen.
It must have been an easy choice at the time. A long way from anywhere, no population to speak of apart from a few Aborigines who could easily be moved on, inhospitable desert unfit for living creatures apart from lizards, snakes and witchetty grubs – no doubt his view was that this would be uncontroversial, and he was right.
As Australia recovered from the aftermath of World War II there were bigger things to worry about than Maralinga. In fact, Menzies thought so little of all this that he acceded to the request without even putting it to his cabinet. Read more »
With the enthusiastic connivance of the Australian Government (more precisely, prime minister Robert Menzies, who bypassed his cabinet), the British detonated about a dozen nukes in our backyard. More than 8000 servicemen were involved in the tests and the measures for their safety were perfunctory at best and criminal at worst.
‘Death ash’ rains on betrayed men, Courier Mail Terry Sweetman , The Sunday Mail (Qld) February 24, 2013
ONE of the great ironies of history is that the Japanese fishing boat that took 23 men into the fiery breath of America’s first hydrogen bomb was called the Lucky Dragon No 5.
That was on March 1, 1954, which is ancient history to most Australians, but there is a tragic echo right here and right now.
Lucky Dragon was fishing off Bikini Atoll, outside the declared danger zone, when the Castle Bravo thermonuclear device was detonated.
Oops. The blast was about twice as powerful as the boffins had calculated and the Lucky Dragon was showered with radioactive dust, which the Japanese poetically called death ash.
Soon the fishermen began to suffer nausea, pain and skin inflammation and, in September, radio operator Kuboyama Aikichi died.
It was a shocking incident but more shocking was the initial cover-up and official disinformation. Read more »
Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry – Australia must prevent prevent another undemocratic venture into war
now, 10 years later, we need to ask ourselves how the Australian government was able to ignore the public expression of outrage about its intentions. The key lesson we must learn is to ensure that Australian governments can never again commit our forces on the decision of a leader in the face of opposition from millions of Australian citizens, without even our Parliament being consulted.
For democracy’s sake, let’s talk about our war in Iraq http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/for-democracys-sake-lets-talk-about-our-war-in-iraq-20130213-2ed6y.html#ixzz2Kw2oP4iF February 14, 2013 Sue Wareham
An inquiry would help us avoid repeating mistakes made 10 years ago. The largest anti-war demonstrations in Australian history began 10 years ago today – February 14, 2003.
Millions of people protested worldwide, in about 800 cities – including in Australia, Britain, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Syria, India, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and even McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Read more »
The with holding of evidence -Dave Whyte. http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/the-with-holding-of-evidence-dave-whyte/ <firstname.lastname@example.org I doubt if we will ever be permitted to have a cytogenetic blood analysis carried out as the Authorities know what the results would be. Everything they do has a delaying action in the hope we will all be dead before they are forced to admit the truth. What irks me, is the fact all Servicemen were loyal to Queen and Country but loyalty has not been reciprocated by our respective Government’s.
It was the Ministry of Defence that kept informing me I should put in for a War Pension if I considered my medical problems were caused by nuclear testing. When I did apply they acknowledged my stomach problems were caused due to service and awarded me a 0% pension: They also admitted the Lymphadenopathy and again awarded a 0% pension; For my claim of infertility and other ailments I was informed I did not receive sufficient radiation to cause my ailments.
I have now added Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) citing the stress involved in attempting to obtain information on the levels of radiation received including the fact that It took the Ministry of Defence over five years to supply me with information on the levels of radiation at ground zero after Pennant and Burgee after denying it existed. They are still refusing to divulge the levels of ‘Beta’ radiation at ground zero after detonation of the bombs, or the radiation levels at our living quarters in the forward area.
There were around 200 of us living at ‘B’ site (I have attached a map) which was situated 3 miles from the atomic bomb ground zero and 6 miles from the point of detonation of the hydrogen bombs Flagpole and Halliard. I saw members of the AWRE regularly checking the area for radiation (they were wearing protective clothing at the early stages). My attempts have failed to get a copy of the logs showing the levels of radiation. I should add, we were never given protective clothing or respirators we went around in shorts and flip-flops.
I believe this was the forerunner to Operation Lighthouse which was cancelled due to the moratorium. The tests were held in quick succession as proposed for Lighthouse: Pennant atomic bomb 22 August, Flagpole hydrogen bomb 2 September, Halliard hydrogen bomb 11 September and Burgee atomic bomb 23 September 1958. I have proof that the forward area was radioactive for nine days after Pennant and six days after Burgee. The authorities are denying there was any radiation in the forward area after the two hydrogen bombs!
I have attached a photograph showing the condition of our living quarters after Pennant.
It is only now I realise there must have been radioactive particles blown into our bedding and other belongings which we could have inhaled or ingested whilst sleeping.
I hope some of this may be of interest.
Legal advisors to the The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement have said that they cannot proceed in a legal case on the effects of Atomic bomb testing in the 1950′s and 60′s, because there is no proof of harm to the Aboriginal people from atomic radiation. Paul Langley has unearthed a document from Australia’s Minister of Health 2001, which shows that evidence of harm did, and does exist. An excerpt from this document is shown at the bottom of this post.
The results of the global research effort showed that humans were being adversely affected by radioactive fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons
Proof of Harm imposed by Nuclear Fallout, Paul Langley’s Nuclear History Blog, 23 Jan 13, “……It is weird day indeed when people acting in the interests of Aboriginal Legal Rights claim a case cannot proceed because of lack of proof, when a Federal Minister of the Australian Government, and Liberal and National Party Government at that, provided a body of proof in 2001.
The documents released by Wooldridge and ARPANSA in 2001 were extensive and included detailed information pertaining to Strontium 90 uptake by the people of Australia and New Guinea…..
Minister Wooldridge confirms that the Atomic Weapons Test Safety Committee was actively engaged in Project Sunshine. The first 11 pages of the Minutes of the AEC Committee, which sat in August 1953, remain deleted and restricted from public view. In this document the Committee considered the risks of those close in to nuclear test areas and the vulnerability of such populations. The committee pondered the adequacy of the limits set in terms of the ICRP derived tolerance dose for Strontium 90, based as it was on the radium standard.
In the 1980′s Titterton, Chair of the Safety Committee admitted that he could not share all he knew in relation to the hazards of nuclear weapons testing with the rest of the Committee and hence could not share this information with the government and people of Australia because he was subject to the secrecy provisions of both the United States of America and the United Kingdom…….
It is past time for the world to know the contents of pages 1 – 11 of the August 1953 AEC minutes. Titterton for sure was in on it. What did he take to the grave? Read more »
Nuclear not an option for next generation of submarines BY:PAUL DIBB :The Australian
- January 18, 2013
LATER this year, the government will make a decision to narrow the choice for Australia’s future submarines. Contrary to opinions expressed in The Weekend Australian (“Past sub mistakes make a case for going nuclear”, January 5-6) the preferred option will certainly not be a nuclear submarine. Read more »
Drones have become a mainstay of warfare but are shrouded in secrecy. The US, ramping up its drone program under President Barack Obama, has used them against “kill list” targets in place such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Britain’s Taranis tests Australia appealed because it contains a lot of wide open spaces with next to no electromagnetic signals. He believed the tests would take place around Woomera in South Australia…..
It is estimated about 3000 people have been killed in US drone strikes, including hundreds of civilians
$190 million drone coming to Australia, The Age Asher Moses, January 16, 2013 An unmanned British stealth drone that can fly faster than the speed of sound and go undetected by radar will soon have its first test flight in Australia.
The £125 million ($190 million) Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, can attack targets across continents, automatically dodge missiles and other efforts to bring it down and independently identify targets. It can refuel in mid-air and carry weapons including laser guided bombs and missiles.
Designed to avoid having to put human lives at risk (?) Read more »
Australian uranium sales overlook India’s nuclear history Crikey, NAJ TAYLOR | NOV 16, 2011 So with prime minister Julia Gillard yesterday proposing Australia begin selling uranium to India, it appears to me successive Labor governments are fumbling their way through nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament issues……
Over the past 12 months, Labor’s position has shifted from one giving primacy to international arms control norms so that Australia had in place a non-negotiable recipient adherence requirement, to one in which Gillard has deemed those very same principles as incurring “all pain with no gain” since exports to India “will be good for the Australian economy, and good for Australian jobs”…..
Quite simply, India acquired nuclear weapons outside of the NPT, and has belatedly complied with IAEA at a level far below that required of NPT signatory states, with few of the consequences since what cooperation is given is fully outside of many of the instruments of international law. That says nothing of the added complexity nuclear weapons have had on existing India-Pakistan tensions.
According to the Australia and Japan-led International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament report in 2009:
“10.5… One criticism – frequently voiced since the India agreement – is that [Nuclear Suppliers Group] members may be driven by commercial incentives to be less rigorous in their approach to countries not applying comprehensive safeguards or not party to the NPT.”
“10.7 The main substantive problem with the deal is that it removed all non-proliferation barriers to nuclear trade with India in return for very few significant non-proliferation and disarmament commitments by it. The view was taken that partial controls – with civilian facilities safeguarded – were better than none.”
Two years after these dire warnings – by an International Commission co-chaired by our former foreign minister Gareth Evans and instigated by then prime minister Rudd – Gillard also appears to be primarily “driven by comercial incentives”…….
I believe what Senator Ludlam seemed to suggest yesterday was right: Australia’s priority must be nuclear security not sales, and all sales – not just those earmarked by Ferguson to go to India – must be subject to stricter controls if Australia is to continue to help drive global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation….
Ploughshares president Joe Cirincione’s interview with ABC is telling. Joe highlights how the US deal – which influenced Gillard’s shift – on nuclear energy “encouraged India to expand nuclear weapons programme” and “fuel arms race”. Pity there’s little other debate along these arms control lines with analysts here.
Senator Ludlum has chimed in again on National Community Radio surmising: “what we are doing is freeing up their domestic [uranium] supply for nuclear weapons” …. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/this-blog-harms/2011/11/16/australian-uranium-sales-overlook-indias-nuclear-history/
US missile tests backfired for PM BY: BRENDAN NICHOLSON The
Australian January 01, 2013 WHEN Bob Hawke gave the nod to an American
plan to fire some of their new MX intercontinental ballistic missiles
into the ocean 220km east of Tasmania, the Labor leader made one of
the biggest miscalculations of an illustrious career.
His decision triggered a wave of renewed anti-American feeling,
protests and, cabinet documents reveal, a carefully planned backdown
by the Labor government.
In 1981 the Fraser government had told the Americans it was fine for
them to carry out the tests but, probably not wanting to startle the
Tasmanians, Malcolm Fraser’s team neglected to tell anyone about this
undertaking. Read more »
Report: Australia Plans War Games with China, Defense News,
Dec. 27, 201 By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE SYDNEY — Australia and China
are planning joint military exercises that may also include the United
States as the nations work to ensure stability in the region,
Canberra’s defense chief said Dec. 27.
Gen. David Hurley told The Australian newspaper that the war games
were “on the short-term horizon.”
“We’re working our way towards that,” he said.
The planned exercises come as Washington pushes to bolster its
military might in the strategically vital Asia-Pacific amid concerns
about China’s increasing assertiveness and territorial tensions with
This includes an enhanced U.S. naval presence in the region and the
deployment of up to 2,500 Marines to a barracks near the northern
Australian city of Darwin.
The Marines contingent has irked Beijing, which has described its
presence as proof of a “Cold-War mentality”.
Hurley revealed that Australian and Chinese military leaders had
discussed joint exercises “in principle.”…. “When, where and in what
form would be the next iteration of the discussion.”…. Hurley said
he wanted to see strong military-to-military links throughout the
region, including with Beijing…..
Des Ball: the man who saved the world, The Age, December 21, 2012, David Wroe, THAT America could launch a limited nuclear strike against Russia was a fashionable belief in US strategic theory of the 1970s. Policymakers thought that if Cold War tensions boiled over, they could hit selected Soviet targets in a way that controlled further
escalation and forced Moscow to back down.
It took the iconoclastic Australian security scholar Des Ball to point out that the theory was bunkum. In his influential essays of the early 1980s, Ball argued that reasoned strategic theory was likely to go out the window once the missiles started flying. Among the first targets would be the other side’s command and control centres – its eyes and ears. Once blinded, a superpower – consisting of real people responding with human instincts – would not distinguish a ”controlled” strike from a full-scale attack and would retaliate with everything it had.
A controlled exchange would quickly become all-out nuclear war. Today, none other than former US president Jimmy Carter says that Ball’s work helped save the world from potential holocaust. In a new book of essays honouring Ball’s four decades helping to keep Australia and the world a safer place, Carter says Ball’s ”counsel and cautionary advice, based on deep research, made a great difference to our collective goal of avoiding nuclear war”.
Released last week, the book, Insurgent Intellectual: Essays in Honour of Professor Desmond Ball, is an extraordinary outpouring of praise for a colossus of strategic thinking in Australia – albeit one who stands out as an odd fit among his generation of largely conservative colleagues.
Ball, who is marking his 25th year as a special professor at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, cuts an unusual figure with his beard, rumpled clothing and rat’s tail hair………
Australia on depleted uranium – can’t lead and won’t follow Australia on depleted uranium – can’t lead and won’t follow 07 Nov 2012 Despite pretentions to playing a leading role in world affairs, the Australian Government showed a complete lack of leadership in the United Nations vote on depleted uranium.
Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy Senator Scott Ludlam said the decision to abstain from the vote on a resolution on depleted uranium weapons was “as inexplicable as it is disgusting”.
“This was the United Nations First Committee’s most far-reaching resolution on DU weapons to date, and 138 countries said yes – but the Australian Government couldn’t find the guts to get off the fence.
“The resolution recalls the positions taken by the UN Environment Programme following their fieldwork on DU affected sites in the Balkans. The Programme called for a precautionary approach to depleted uranium – reinforced by stringent clean-up and decontamination operations, awareness raising measures to reduce the risk of civilian exposure, and for the long-term monitoring of contaminated sites.
“Studies indicate that cancer rates and infant mortality rates increase in areas where depleted uranium armaments have been used. DU weapons should be banned entirely – yet the Australian Government was not prepared to back a moderately-worded proposal on mitigating the impact of depleted uranium.”
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) needed, as AUSMIN locks Australia into USA militarism
Stirling naval base south of Perth is set to become a major base for US operations in the region although details are not yet confirmed. Some reports suggest that US nuclear submarines may be based in Stirling.
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) was set up recently with the expressed aim of organising against this gathering rush by the Australian government further into an unquestioning and subservient relationship with the US and its arms corporations.
AUSMIN confirms Australia’s subservience to US military, The Guardian, Denis Doherty, 20 Nov 12,
AUSMIN, the annual talks between the Australian and US foreign and defence ministers, have come and gone for another year and the agreement reached makes depressing reading for Australians who want to live in peace and prosperity.
The AUSMIN communiqué outlines plans for the future benefit for US corporations at the expense of the people of
the Indo Pacific region. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and their Australian counterparts Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Defence Minister Stephen Smith met for the AUSMIN talks on November 14 in Perth. Read more »