Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Key witness in Julian Assange case admits to lies in indictment

A maj­or wit­n­ess in the United States’ Depart­ment of Justice ca­se against Ju­li­an Assange has admitted to fabricat­ing key accusati­ons in the indict­ment against the Wiki­leaks found­er. STUNDIN,  Bjartmar Oddur Þeyr Alexanderssonbjartmar@stundin.is, Gunnar Hrafn Jónssonritstjorn@stundin.is 26 June 21,

A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history with sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.

The man in question, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his. In fact he had volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization. Julian Assange was visiting Thordarson’s home country of Iceland around this time due to his work with Icelandic media and members of parliament in preparing the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a press freedom project that produced a parliamentary resolution supporting whistleblowers and investigative journalism. 

The United States is currently seeking Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom in order to try him for espionage relating to the release of leaked classified documents. If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison. The indictment has sparked fears for press freedoms in the United States and beyond and prompted strong statements in support of Assange from Amnesty International, Reporters without borders, the editorial staff of the Washington Post and many others. 

US officials presented an updated version of an indictment against him to a Magistrate court in London last summer. The veracity of the information contained therein is now directly contradicted by the main witness, whose testimony it is based on.

No instruction from Assange

The court documents refer to Mr Thordarson simply as “Teenager” (a reference to his youthful appearance rather than true age, he is 28 years old) and Iceland as “NATO Country 1” but make no real effort to hide the identity of either. They purport to show that Assange instructed Thordarson to commit computer intrusions or hacking in Iceland. 

The aim of this addition to the indictment was apparently to shore up and support the conspiracy charge against Assange in relation to his interactions with Chelsea Manning. Those occurred around the same time he resided in Iceland and the authors of the indictment felt they could strengthen their case by alleging he was involved in illegal activity there as well. This activity was said to include attempts to hack into the computers of members of parliament and record their conversations.

In fact, Thordarson now admits to Stundin that Assange never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs. His new claim is that he had in fact received some files from a third party who claimed to have recorded MPs and had offered to share them with Assange without having any idea what they actually contained. He claims he never checked the contents of the files or even if they contained audio recordings as his third party source suggested. He further admits the claim, that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers in order to find any such recordings, is false.

Nonetheless, the tactics employed by US officials appear to have been successful as can be gleaned from the ruling of Magistrate Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser on January 4th of this year. Although she ruled against extradition, she did so purely on humanitarian grounds relating to Assange’s health concerns, suicide risk and the conditions he would face in confinement in US prisons. With regards to the actual accusations made in the indictment Baraitser sided with the arguments of the American legal team, including citing the specific samples from Iceland which are now seriously called into question.

Other misleading elements can be found in the indictment, and later reflected in the Magistrate’s judgement, based on Thordarson’s now admitted lies. One is a reference to Icelandic bank documents. The Magistrate court judgement reads: “It is alleged that Mr. Assange and Teenager failed a joint attempt to decrypt a file stolen from a “NATO country 1” bank”………..

On the FBI radar

Thordarson’s rogue acts were not limited to communications of that nature as he also admits to Stundin that he set up avenues of communication with journalists and had media pay for lavish trips abroad where he mispresented himself as an official representative of WikiLeaks……………………….  https://stundin.is/grein/13627/key-witness-in-assange-case-admits-to-lies-in-indictment/

July 8, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) will take legal action against nuclear dump plan if Resources Minister Keith Pitt names Napandee as the site

Barngarla will pursue judicial review if Napandee site named. https://www.portlincolntimes.com.au/story/7330119/barngarla-may-seek-legal-review/?fbclid=IwAR28Hj_22In6jE2Vd3s7ZrWBtOe0nHJxbyqdKk_xXF6hXv8Z-TNbEtBu5CEMembers of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) have said the outcome of the nuclear waste amendment bill was the result they were hoping for.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 was passed by the Australian Parliament on June 22.

The BDAC had previously raised concerns about the absence of a judicial review process by naming the Napandee site in the proposed legislation.

“The government sought to change the law to remove our democratic right to judicial review of their actions so that no court could ever assess what had been done,” they said in a previous statement.

However BDAC chair Jason Bilney said the bi-partisan support the bill received in parliament was what they were looking for, as changes were made to the bill to reinstate the ability to pursue a judicial review of the site selection process.

The bill was initially tabled in parliament in February 2020 with the intention to name the Napandee site near Kimba within the legislation.

Now federal resources minister Keith Pitt will be required to name the host site through ministerial decision, which will allow for a potential judicial review of the site selection process in future.

Mr Pitt is also not bound to name one of the three sites currently shortlisted.

Mr Bilney said it had been a “long, hard battle” for 15 months, and that he and others were in Canberra that week as the bill went through.

“It’s a good outcome for the Barngarla people, but also all Australians because it affects all Australians,” he said.

The BDAC have stated since the passing of the bill that if there is a declaration of the Napandee site, the BDAC will seek a judicial review.

“The Barngarla and farmers worked together and the senate did not agree to pass any bill which removed judicial review,” they said.

“We had certain demands, which amounted to removing site specification in the bill and removing Schedule 1.

“The government gave in to these demands and effectively amended their own bill to reflect what Barngarla, Labor and the cross bench had said we required.

“So, we have no issues with the new bill, as it is the bill that we demanded occur.

“Namely, it preserves judicial review.

“In simple terms, we won this battle in parliament and we are very grateful for Labor and the cross bench, including senator Hanson’s One Nation, the Greens, and senator Patrick.”

We even had the Explanatory Memorandum further amended to make it clear that the Minister was not limited to just the three sites in the Table and that the Table was purely a historical record.

July 8, 2021 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

Residents of Andrews County, Texas, speak out against plan for high level nuclear waste dump.

FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2009 file photo provided by Waste Control Specialists, canisters filled with uranium byproduct waste are placed into a burial pit at at Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas. Trucks carrying low-level radioactive waste from 38 states will likely be rolling along Texas highways as early as April, bound for permanent burial at a dump near the New Mexico border. The arrival of the low-level radioactive waste will end a years-long effort by a Dallas-based company, whose majority owner is a big-time political contributor Harold Simmons, to win permission from Texas officials to accept the waste at 1,340-acre tract of scrub brush terrain about 360 miles west of Dallas. (AP Photo/Waste Control Specialists, File)

Andrews County commissioners hear from public on nuclear waste proposal,  Caitlin Randle, MRT.com/Midland Reporter-Telegram July 6, 2021, ANDREWS,

During a packed special meeting of the Andrews County Commissioners’ Court on Tuesday, residents spoke out against plans by the company Waste Control Specialists to store high-level nuclear waste.Andrews County Judge Charlie Falcon said he called the meeting to discuss whether the court should pass a resolution stating their opposition to the storage of high-level waste in the county.

…..  Several residents said they were against bringing high-level waste to the community and asked the commissioners to pass a resolution opposing the project. Some also said they were angry at WCS, which currently operates a low-level waste site in Andrews, for promising that they would never store high-level waste then going back on that promise………..

Julie Stevenson, who said she was a nurse and lifelong Andrews resident, spoke to the court about the medical side effects from exposure to radiation. She said low-level radiation poisoning is akin to receiving 100 to 150 X-rays, while mid-level exposure can cause your gastrointestinal tract to shut down.

“High-level, you will die within three days,” she said. “I don’t want to take that risk for my children. I’m sure you have a lot of geologists speaking with you … but they’re looking at charts, graphs, they’re not looking at my 7-year-old son and my 87-year-old grandfather……… https://www.mrt.com/news/local/article/Andrews-County-commissioners-hear-from-public-on-16297025.php

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Mexico leaders oppose Holtec nuclear waste site proposal

The opposition contended the project posed too much risk and could upend other major industries in the region like agriculture …

”This leaves us extremely concerned that ‘interim’ storage sites …. will become the country’s de facto permanent nuclear waste storage facilities.  We cannot accept that result.”

New Mexico leaders oppose Holtec International nuclear waste site proposed near Carlsbad, Adrian HeddenCarlsbad Current-Argus  6 Jul 21,  New Mexico’s top Democrat political leaders voiced their opposition to a proposed storage facility for nuclear waste to be built near Carlsbad and Hobbs, warning the U.S. Department of Energy that the site could become a perpetual dumping ground as a permanent repository does not exist.

Holtec International applied for a 40-year license to build a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) at a remote location near the Eddy-Lea county line, through the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commissions (NRC) in 2017.

The company signaled it planned to file for subsequent licenses to continue to operate the facility during 20 phases which would total more than 100,000 metric tons of waste when complete.

The site would be designed to hold spent nuclear fuel rods, brought in via rail from nuclear power plants around the country, on a temporary basis while a permanent repository is built….

The opposition contended the project posed too much risk and could upend other major industries in the region like agriculture and fossil fuels.

In the July 2 letter, New Mexico Democrat U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan, U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Holtec’s proposal contained no plan for permanent disposal of the waste and thus risked leaving it in New Mexico forever.

Lujan Grisham was a frequent critic of the project since its inception, calling the proposal “economic malpractice” for the risk she said it posed to other industries.

The lawmakers also opposed a similar proposal to expand a facility owned by Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas along that state’s western border with New Mexico, to also hold the spent fuel.

“We are strongly opposed to the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level waste (HLW) in New Mexico. There is currently no permanent disposal strategy for SNF and HLW in place at the Department of Energy,” the letter read.

“This leaves us extremely concerned that ‘interim’ storage sites with initial 40-year leases, like one proposed for (the NRC) licensing in New Mexico, will become the country’s de facto permanent nuclear waste storage facilities.  We cannot accept that result.”

New Mexico had already seen the impacts of radiation exposure, the letter read, resulting from uranium mining and other activities in the state………….. https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2021/07/06/new-mexico-leaders-oppose-holtec-nuclear-waste-site-near-carlsbad/7872429002/

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As wind power becomes half the price of nuclear, nuclear power may not be an election winner.

this is not a time to invest in nuclear technology, but offshore wind looks increasingly attractive.

The problem seems to be that getting the Hinkley Point C reactors off the ground brought out into the open how expensive and delay-prone building a new nuclear plant has become.

Nuclear Resurgence Fades In The UK; Huge Expectations For Offshore Wind,  Seeking Alpha 4th July 2021

Approximately, 16% of UK power comes from nuclear reactors, which are almost all due to close soon. The UK Government has gone quiet about nuclear renewal.

In late June, the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Nuclear Energy has called for urgent action to revitalise the industry, a call which seems too late to be viable.

New UK report suggests massive expansion of offshore wind to 108 GW; this will drive new power needs in the UK. Investors might consider the risks of investing in nuclear technology now and instead consider the rise of companies involved with offshore wind. Four years ago, I wrote about the struggling global nuclear industry and specifically nuclear power in the UK.

I updated the UK situation earlier this year. Very recent developments suggest that a further update is timely because what happens in the UK will impact the global nuclear industry.

Here I suggest that this is not a time to invest in nuclear technology, but that offshore wind looks increasingly
attractive. It takes a long time to get nuclear permitting sorted out and construction commissioned. The clock is ticking for the renewal of the UK nuclear fleet which currently provides ~16% of UK power requirements, but all but one of the existing fleet of 15 reactors plans to close by 2030.

The problem seems to be that getting the Hinkley Point C reactors off the ground brought out into the open how expensive and delay-prone building a new nuclear plant has become.

Probably focusing the Government’s mind is the fact that financing Hinkley Point C has left the public with a “strike price” of 92 pounds/MWh and 35 year inflation adjusted bill, which is already more than double the cost of a major wind farm (e.g. Dogger Bank wind farm has a strike price of 40 pounds/MWh, IRR of 5.6% and payback time 17 years).

No doubt the recently updated 100+ year program to decontaminate the UK’s 17 old nuclear facilities is another confronting fact that may not be an election winner.

 https://seekingalpha.com/article/4437798-nuclear-resurgence-fades-in-the-uk-huge-expectations-for-offshore-wind

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Both UK and European Commission want nuclear energy excluded from clean energy investments -”otherwise clean energy finances would not be credible”.

Nuclear energy has been excluded from the UK government’s Green Financing Framework, while several EU Member States have written to the European Commission to oppose nuclear’s inclusion in the bloc’s green taxonomy.

Nuclear energy faces hurdles to be included in clean energy investments, WNN02 July 2021,

The UK’s Green Financing Framework describes how the government plans to finance expenditures through the issuance of green gilts and the retail Green Savings Bonds that it says will be critical in tackling climate change and other environmental challenges. The framework, which was produced and published yesterday by the Treasury, sets out the basis for identification, selection, verification and reporting of the green projects that are eligible for such financing.

Under ‘exclusions’, the document says: “Recognising that many sustainable investors have exclusionary criteria in place around nuclear energy, the UK government will not finance any nuclear energy-related expenditures under the Framework.”…………

The letter – signed by the environment or energy ministers of Austria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain – points to “shortcomings” in the JRC report, which was published in April.

The ministers said the JRC’s conclusion was “a misconception” and based on “two grave methodological shortcomings”.

The JRC “neglects to address the residual nuclear risk, assessing only the normal operation of nuclear power plants” and “disregards the life-cycle approach”, according to the ministers.

“We recognise the sovereign right of Member States to decide for or against nuclear power as part of their national energy systems. However, we are concerned that including nuclear power in the Taxonomy would permanently damage its integrity, credibility and therefore its usefulness,” they wrote………….. https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/UK-excludes-nuclear-from-green-taxonomy

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grid concerns and “unhelpful” government killing confidence in clean energy — RenewEconomy

Grid connections and an unhelpful federal government cited as major reasons for plunge in investor confidence in clean energy to a big low. The post Grid concerns and “unhelpful” government killing confidence in clean energy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Grid concerns and “unhelpful” government killing confidence in clean energy — RenewEconomy

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pitt slammed for $21m handout to Liberal Party linked Beetaloo gas projects — RenewEconomy

Keith Pitt slammed for $21m handout to Liberal party aligned gas company, to fund accelerated drilling in the Beetaloo Basin. The post Pitt slammed for $21m handout to Liberal Party linked Beetaloo gas projects appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Pitt slammed for $21m handout to Liberal Party linked Beetaloo gas projects — RenewEconomy

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s electricity oligopoly is being slowly broken down by wind and solar — RenewEconomy

Australia’s fossil fuel-based electricity oligopoly is being slowly broken down by the influx of wind and solar, regulator says. The post Australia’s electricity oligopoly is being slowly broken down by wind and solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s electricity oligopoly is being slowly broken down by wind and solar — RenewEconomy

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Antarctic base could be powered by wind and batteries alone — RenewEconomy

Remote renewables specialist says plan to power an Antarctic research station on Ross Island with 100% wind and battery storage “looks feasible.” The post Antarctic base could be powered by wind and batteries alone appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Antarctic base could be powered by wind and batteries alone — RenewEconomy

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan giant signs deal for 30 Australian solar farms with battery and hydrogen storage — RenewEconomy

Deal signed for network of 30 solar farms in Victoria which will feature world-first technology combining battery and hydrogen storage. The post Japan giant signs deal for 30 Australian solar farms with battery and hydrogen storage appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Japan giant signs deal for 30 Australian solar farms with battery and hydrogen storage — RenewEconomy

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 7 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Why North America’s Killer Heat Scares Me” • When he saw North America’s killer heat dome, BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin felt a “gut-tightening sense of foreboding.” It was not because new heat records were set in north-western US and Canada. That happens from time to time. It was because the old records […]

July 7 Energy News — geoharvey

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment