Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s pathetically weak role in the international Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT )

Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr makes much of weak treaties like this one.   I would trust Bob Carr about as far as I could throw him. Carr is an enthusiastic member of Australia’s pro nuclear elite.  He is adept at publicising seemingly effective nuclear disarmament moves –   but when you look at them properly moves like this much vaunted strengthening of  the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT ) –   are really hypocritical sops to those of us who are anxious about nuclear weapons – Christina Macpherson

AUSTRALIA-NZ PACT FALLS SHORT OF ABOLISHING NUKES IDN-InDepthNews – October 21, 2012 By Neena Bhandari   SYDNEY  – Australia and New Zealand have entered into a scientific and technical cooperation agreement to strengthen detection of nuclear explosions under the framework of the international Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT ) and work together to promote a permanent and effective ban on nuclear weapon tests….. The move would see Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency  and Geoscience Australia working more closely with New Zealand’s Environmental Science and Research  (ESR) to enhance their capabilities to detect nuclear explosions……

‘Move quickly to a Nuclear Weapons Convention’

But Chairman of the Mayors for Peace Foundation  and former expert advisor to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation , Steve Leeper, feels countries like Australia that have signed and ratified the CTBT should be doing far more than talking about a new framework.

“It makes it look like the two countries are doing something about nuclear weapons when what they are really doing is refusing to support the nuclear weapons convention. They should be applying serious diplomatic and even economic pressure on the United States to force it to ratify the Treaty,” Leeper told IDN.

He suggests that one way to do this would be to launch an initiative to deny the U.S. and other non-signatories the extremely valuable information about seismic activity and radiation releases and tests now being gathered by the remarkable network of monitoring stations created by the CTBT Organisation ….. The CTBT Organisation has completed work on a global network  of over 300 facilities to monitor the environment for acoustic waves and radionuclide particulates and gases from a possible nuclear explosion. Data collected by these facilities is made available to CTBT parties, who have the final responsibility in determining which events – about 30,000 per year – could be a nuclear explosion.

Leeper said: “The CTBT is part of the so-called step-by-step approach, which is nothing more than an effort to trick the non-nuclear weapon states into continuing to abide by the non-proliferation treaty while the nuclear-weapon states continue to maintain their nuclear advantage forever. Japan and Australia are two countries devoted to the step-by-step approach because they don’t want to irritate the nuclear weapon states. We need to move quickly beyond the CTBT to a Nuclear Weapons Convention and we need Australia and New Zealand solidly behind the comprehensive approach.”……

Prohibit nuclear weapons completely’

According to a spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade , “A permanent and verifiable ban on nuclear testing through the CTBT is a vital building block for non-proliferation and disarmament. Australia continues to press for its earliest entry into force”.

However, a growing number of nations, organisations and prominent individuals around the world are now calling for negotiations to start on a treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons completely, not just nuclear testing. In recent years, many governments have voiced support for a nuclear-weapon-free world, but precious little has been done to reach that goal.

As International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Australia ‘s Director, Tim Wright said: “Although the CTBT has certainly helped to restrain some nuclear developments, it has not provided – and was never intended to provide – the necessary legal framework to halt the modernisation of nuclear forces or prevent nuclear proliferation, let alone achieve the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.”



October 22, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war

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