Australian news, and some related international items

Federal government lobbying behind the scenes for Assange’s freedom.

  “in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”.

“It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing,” she said in a statement. “Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

further appeals in British courts could rely on media reports last year that the CIA had planned to assassinate the Wikileaks founder. “There’s absolute validity to these matters . By James Massola and Latika Bourke, June 19, 2022

The federal government is lobbying US counterparts behind the scenes to secure the freedom of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, after the United Kingdom’s decision to approve his extradition to the United States.

The Trump administration brought charges against Assange under the Espionage Act relating to the leaking and publication of the WikiLeaks cables a decade ago.

The UK Home Office announced late on Friday (AEST) that “after consideration by both the Magistrates Court and High Court, the extradition of Julian Assange to the US was ordered”.

“In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange.

“Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

Assange’s legal team has 14 days to appeal the decision to the High Court and will do so while he remains in Belmarsh prison.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, while still opposition leader in December, said “enough is enough” and that it was time for Assange to be returned to Australia.

Asked about Assange’s extradition on Saturday, he told The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that he stood by the comments he made in December.

At the time, Albanese said “he [Assange] has paid a big price for the publication of that information already. And I do not see what purpose is served by the ongoing pursuit of Mr Assange”.

Albanese met US President Joe Biden at the Quad meeting in Tokyo in late May, days after the federal election, but there has been no indication that he raised the Assange matter with him during their meeting.

A source in the federal government, who asked not to be named so they could discuss the matter, has confirmed to The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that Assange’s case has been raised with senior US officials.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr said the discussions over Assange’s release would be “governed by sensitive, nuanced alliance diplomacy appropriate between partners”.

“I trust the judgment of Prime Minister Albanese on this, given his recent statement cautioning against megaphone diplomacy and his comments last December,” he said.

But Carr predicted that “in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”.

“The Yank has had her sentence commuted; the Aussie faces an extradition and a cruel sentencing.”

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Friday that “Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and that it should be brought to a close. We will continue to express this view to the governments of the United Kingdom and United States”.

Albanese is due to attend the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month, which US President Joe Biden will also attend, though it is not clear if he will raise the matter there.

Assange’s wife, Stella Moris, hit out at UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for approving the extradition.

“It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing,” she said in a statement. “Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd tweeted that he disagreed with the decision to approve the extradition, even though he did not support Assange’s actions and “his reckless disregard for classified security information”.

“But if Assange is guilty, then so too are the dozens of newspaper editors who happily published his material.”

Labor MP Julian Hill said there could never be a legal solution to the case as it was inherently political and that “we should speak up for our fellow Australian and request that these charges be dropped and he not be extradited”.

Greens senator Jordon Steele-John said the extradition to the United States would set a dangerous precedent for press freedom and called on the prime minister to pick up the phone to his British and American counterparts.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, the chair of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, has called Britain’s decision an outrageous betrayal of the rule of law, media freedom and human rights.

“This matter is so deeply wrong on so many levels … time’s up for the new federal government hinting at caring and then doing nothing,” he said.

“The new Australian government is now to be condemned for abandoning an Australian hero journalist facing the very real prospect of spending the rest of his life rotting in a US prison.”

Amnesty International is urging the UK to refrain from extradition and the US to drop all charges.
The secretary-general of the human rights organisation, Agnes Callamard, says allowing the Australian to be sent to the US for trial would put him at great risk.

“Assange faces a high risk of prolonged solitary confinement, which would violate the prohibition on torture or other ill treatment,” Callamard said.

“Diplomatic assurances provided by the US that Assange will not be kept in solitary confinement cannot be taken on face value given previous history.”

Adviser to the Australian campaign to free Mr Assange, Greg Barns SC, says Britain’s decision is unsurprising given past approaches.

“The UK does not regard the extradition as being political when it clearly is,” he told ABC News on Saturday.

He says further appeals in British courts could rely on media reports last year that the CIA had planned to assassinate the Wikileaks founder.

“There’s absolute validity to these matters … the real issue is do we let this matter go back into the court system for another couple of years or do we say there are important principles here.”

There had been a change in rhetoric on the matter from the new government and statements from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Ms Wong had heartened the campaign, Mr Barns said.

“We’re certainly urging and hoping that now is the time for Australia to get involved with its key allies in London and Washington and bring this matter to an end.”

June 18, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

Assange Is Doing His Most Important Work Yet Caitlin Johnstone, 18 June 22, British Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorized the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to be tried under the Espionage Act in a case which seeks to set a legal precedent for the prosecution of any publisher or journalist, anywhere in the world, who reports inconvenient truths about the US empire.

Assange’s legal team will appeal the decision, reportedly with arguments that will include the fact that the CIA spied on him and plotted his assassination.

“It will likely be a few days before the (14-day appeal) deadline and the appeal will include new information that we weren’t able to bring before the courts previously. Information on how Julian lawyers were spied on, and how there were plots to kidnap and kill Julian from within the CIA,” Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton told Reuters on Friday.

And thank goodness. Assange’s willingness to resist Washington’s extradition attempts benefit us all, from his taking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 until British police forcibly dragged him out in 2019, to his fighting US prosecutors in the courtroom tooth and claw during his incarceration in Belmarsh Prison.

Assange’s fight against US extradition benefits us not just because the empire’s war against truth harms our entire species and not just because he cannot receive a fair trial under the Espionage Act, but because his refusal to bow down and submit forces the empire to overextend itself into the light and show us all what it’s really made of.

Washington, London and Canberra are colluding to imprison a journalist for telling the truth: the first with its active extradition attempts, the second with its loyal facilitation of those attempts, and the third with its silent complicity in allowing an Australian journalist to be locked up and persecuted for engaging in the practice of journalism. By refusing to lie down and forcing them to come after him, Assange has exposed some harsh realities of which the public has largely been kept unaware.

The fact that London and Canberra are complying so obsequiously with Washington’s agendas, even while their own mainstream media outlets decry the extradition and even while all major human rights and press freedom watchdog groups in the western world say Assange must go free, shows that these are not separate sovereign nations but member states of a single globe-spanning empire centralized around the US government. Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more attention is being brought to this reality.

By standing his ground and fighting them, Assange has also exposed the lie that the so-called free democracies of the western world support the free press and defend human rights. The US, UK and Australia are colluding to extradite a journalist for exposing the truth even as they claim to oppose tyranny and autocracy, even as they claim to support world press freedoms, and even as they loudly decry the dangers of government-sponsored disinformation.

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, it will always reek of hypocrisy when US presidents like Joe Biden say things like, “The free press is not the enemy of the people — far from it. At your best, you’re guardians of the truth.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, people will always know British prime ministers like Boris Johnson are lying when they say things like, “Media organisations should feel free to bring important facts into the public domain.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more of us will understand that they are being deceived and manipulated when Australian prime ministers like Anthony Albanese say things like “We need to protect press freedom in law and ensure every Australian can have their voice heard,” and “Don’t prosecute journalists for just doing their jobs.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, US secretaries of state like Antony Blinken will have a much harder time selling their schtick when they say things like “On World Press Freedom Day, the United States continues to advocate for press freedom, the safety of journalists worldwide, and access to information on and offline. A free and independent press ensures the public has access to information. Knowledge is power.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, UK home secretaries like Priti Patel will be seen for the frauds they are when they say things like “The safety of journalists is fundamental to our democracy.”

Extraditing a foreign journalist for exposing your war crimes is as tyrannical an agenda as you could possibly come up with. The US, UK and Australia colluding toward this end shows us that these are member states of a single empire whose only values are domination and control, and that all its posturing about human rights is pure facade. Assange keeps exposing the true face of power.

There is in fact a strong argument to be made that even all these years after the 2010 leaks for which he is currently being prosecuted, Assange is doing his most important work yet. As important as his WikiLeaks publications were and are, none of them exposed the depravity of the empire as much as forcing them to look us in the eye and tell us they’ll extradite a journalist for telling the truth.

Assange accomplished this by planting his feet and saying “No,” even when every other possible option would have been easier and more pleasant. Even when it was hard. Even when it was terrifying. Even when it meant being locked away, silenced, smeared, hated, unable to fight back against his detractors, unable to live a normal life, unable to hold his children, unable even to feel sunlight on his face.

His very life casts light on all the areas where it is most sorely needed. We all owe this man a tremendous debt. The least we can do is try our best to get him free.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Why nuclear energy won’t work in Australia

Scott Ludlam, Scott Ludlam is a writer and activist, and a former Greens senator. 18 June 22,  There is something almost comical about the Liberals and Nationals throwing the forlorn spectre of nuclear power back into national energy debates, right after their loss in the 2022 “climate election”.

The incoming Energy minister, Chris Bowen, immediately slapped down the idea, calling it a “complete joke” and noting that nuclear is the most expensive form of energy. He’s right, and that should be the end of the argument, but we know it won’t be, because Peter Dutton and his colleagues are not engaged in a good faith debate about Australia’s future energy mix. For them, this is about something else entirely.

Not everyone who invites discussion on nuclear power acts in bad faith. In a climate emergency, it’s essential to have all viable, low-carbon energy sources on the table, which does entail a periodic assessment of where the nuclear industry actually stands. Has any progress been made on the intractable question of nuclear waste? How permeable is the barrier between civil and military applications? How are safety concerns over the world’s ageing reactor fleet being managed? How is the industry planning to clean up the enormous volumes of radioactive wastes left behind at uranium mines? 

Can this technology compete against low-cost renewables?

It’s tempting to imagine the nuclear industry stumbling around like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, bleeding freely, mortally wounded and yet stubbornly defiant and refusing to die.

The best independent analysis of the state of the industry is provided by the World Nuclear Industry Status Report. Since 2007, these reports have provided an annual, country-by-country snapshot of nuclear plant construction, start-ups, accidents and closures. 

They make for forbidding reading, painting a picture of an industry in deep trouble. The number of reactors in operation has declined by two dozen since 2002, as the share of global electricity generation provided by nuclear power fell from about 17 per cent in 1996 to just above 10 per cent in 2020. Part of the problem is that the age of the industry is catching up with it. In the two decades to 2020, there were 95 new nuclear plant start-ups and 98 closures. As plants built in the 1970s and ’80s reach the end of their design life, and construction dries up nearly everywhere other than China, there is no real prospect of them being replaced at anything like the rate of closure. This decline is structural and inexorable.

There is an additional wildcard, which the industry refuses to acknowledge: the risk of future catastrophic reactor accidents. The industry insists it has learnt the lessons of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, and it is true that plant redesigns and additional safety systems are a major factor driving up the costs of new reactors. But despite this, any accident, disaster or attack that shuts down the cooling system inside a nuclear power plant runs the risk of a meltdown. One study from 2017 analysed the frequency and intensity of 216 nuclear accidents between 1950 and 2014, estimating that “there is presently a 50 per cent chance that a Fukushima event (or larger) occurs every 60-150 years, and a Three Mile Island event (or larger) occurs every 10-20 years”.

These are shocking odds, both for host communities and for energy planners trying to manage the transition to zero-carbon electricity supply. People organising against nuclear power stations, waste dumps and uranium mines are commonly accused of being emotional, hysterical or delusional, when in fact these actions are usually informed by a willingness to look honestly at the difficult truths of this industry.

Someone who has seen those truths close up is Naoto Kan, who was prime minister of Japan at the time of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. In his introduction to the 2021 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, he writes: “The reactors in Units 1 to 3 suffered not only meltdowns, but also melt-through of the nuclear fuel, while the spent fuel pool at Unit 4 came close to evaporating entirely. Had this come to pass, it would have necessitated the evacuation of all residents within a radius of 250 kilometres – an area including the metropolis of Tokyo, the consequences of which would have been unimaginable.”

On the awful day we learn the name of the next Fukushima, whether it be in France, China, the United States or Russia, neither the industry nor its investors will be able to say they weren’t warned.

Surprisingly, it turns out these arguments are now accepted by a growing number of pro-nuclear advocates. Many of them tacitly or openly acknowledge that the technology they’ve been promoting for decades has no future. They have ceased arguing for the giant, water-cooled fission reactors that have been the backbone of the commercial nuclear energy sector since the 1960s.

Instead, they now advocate for a bewildering variety of experimental reactor types, fuelled by uranium or thorium or plutonium, cooled with helium or molten salt or liquid metal. These designs are proclaimed to be simultaneously cheap, safe and efficient, free of proliferation, waste and accident risks, and ready for commercial deployment any decade now.

What unifies many of them is not so much the technology type, but the smaller scale and the fact that they don’t really exist.

A pilot plant of one such small modular reactor (SMR) went into operation at Shidao Bay in China late in 2021, but outside the Chinese nuclear establishment, nobody knows how much it cost to build. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, “There appear to be no plans to construct more reactors of the same design.” These plants are not an answer to climate change. Even the most ambitious estimates for commercial deployment of SMRs stretch into the 2030s and 2040s, long after the heavy lifting of global decarbonisation needs to have been done. Allison Macfarlane, the former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, stated in 2021: “When it comes to averting the imminent effects of climate change, even the cutting edge of nuclear technology will prove to be too little, too late.”

This is where what Peter Dutton and his colleagues are really up to comes into sharper focus.

The speed and scale of low-cost solar and wind energy backed up by batteries and hydro power has hit critical mass worldwide. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, 2015 was the first year that more renewable energy capacity was added to the grid than non-renewable, including fossil and nuclear. By 2021, clean energy technologies accounted for 81 per cent of new generation capacity globally. Closer to home, the signs are everywhere, from the early closure of AGL’s coal-fired power stations to the announcement of huge new renewable energy zones across multiple Australian states.

 Into this fast-closing gap, the nuclear industry is making its final pitch before obsolescence: enormous public subsidies in exchange for an imaginary generation of small, cheap, safe reactors that exist nowhere but on paper. Complicating the message for those who still insist that there is no connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power, the Morrison government’s reckless entry into the AUKUS agreement threatens to enmesh Australia in the trafficking and disposal of high-level spent nuclear fuel from submarine reactors, with all the public health, national security and proliferation risks this entails.

Importing this staggering debacle into Australian energy markets would be much more than just financially irresponsible: it would lock us into a high-risk dead end just as the clean energy revolution is finally under way at scale. But unlike the Black Knight, nuclear technology still retains the capacity to do enormous harm, even in its present enfeebled state. The UN Secretary-General’s special adviser on climate change, Selwin Hart, put it like this in a statement last year: “Where countries are depending on technologies that have not yet been developed, or indicating they intend to cut in the 2030 and 2040s, quite frankly, that’s reckless and irresponsible.”

The foundation of the global anti-nuclear movement has always been in the frontline communities that have suffered the harshest impacts of this technology. Whether it be the First Nations communities in Central and Western Australia, whose lands and health were sacrificed for nuclear weapons testing decades ago, or those who won an end to uranium mining in Kakadu or nuclear waste dumping in Central and South Australia: these debates are won and lost on Country, not in op-ed pages or analysts’ spreadsheets. So, while a combination of lived experience, mockery and hard data may be enough to put Dutton and his colleagues’ latest deranged foray to rest for the time being, the “debate” over nuclear power seems likely to hang around until the solar age puts it to the sword once and for all.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Weapons Treaty Ban in the Footsteps of 1982’s Million-Person March


Last Sunday marked the 40th anniversary of the June 12, 1982 million-person march in New York City for a “freeze” on nuclear weapons building, followed two days later by a mass nonviolent action at the consular offices of nuclear weapons states. Some 1,700 people, myself included, were arrested as we sat in the street blockading the nuclear-armed consulates, confronted by horse-mounted cops literally chomping at the bit while we nervously stared up at the menacing police singing We Shall Not be Moved.We were moved out of the street that day in 1982, but the movement wasn’t deterred. We’ve pushed on for decades in spite of ridicule, harassment, and imprisonment, seeing to the slashing of the U.S. nuclear arsenal from over 60,000 in those days, to today’s approximately 5,000 — an amount still grotesque enough to incinerate and contaminate most of the living beings on Earth.

……………………………………….this week Vienna, Austria is hosting the First Meeting of States Parties, UN member states that have agreed to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Over 100 governments will participate. The great majority of the world’s representatives — 122 countries — voted their approval of the TPNW in 2017, and 62 have since ratified it. The treaty has entered into force, and only the tiny minority of nuclear-armed governments and their military allies continue to reject it — for “deterrence” reasons that have been shown to be irrational and unachievable. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine prove that nukes don’t deter war. Instead, they needlessly create the real possibility of globalized, radioactive catastrophe, all the while stealing tens of billions of dollars, and mountains of brain power, away from programs that are crucial and urgently needed.

A colossally expensive nuclear arms race is again underway among the richest militaries in spite of global climate chaos, refugee crises, medical emergencies, and food shortages, all of which must be confronted if want to survive. The world’s nine nuclear-armed countries spent $82.4 billion upgrading their arsenals in 2021, the biggest spender being the United States, according to “Squandered,” the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ annual report on nuclear spending.

Nuclear weapons states always claim their H-bomb budgets are for “refurbishment” of old, dangerous systems — something that their bedfellows in the nuclear reactor biz never admit about their old units. The power industry’s dangerous, outdated GE and Westinghouse junkers are never said to need retirement, but “license extensions,” and 93 out of 94 have been allowed to blow past their engineered 40-year shutdown mandates and into today’s deadly game of Fukushima Roulette — a crap shoot with suicide the public never agreed to join.

Germany’s clean phase-out of its 17 power reactors, and South Africa’s and Libya’s abandonment of nuclear weapons, have shown that both sides of denuclearization are possible. Now the TPNW presents the world with the practical, international means of eliminating the Bomb. With enough million-person marches, we can still shame the twin nuclear devils and bring the era of nuclear threats to an end.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US squanders $80,000 every minute on nuclear weapons

These think tanks are routinely quoted in the press, who treat the proclamation of these corrupt representatives of the arms dealers as the gospel truth.

WSWS, Andre Damon @Andre__Damon 17 June 22, The United States spends over $80,000 every single minute on nuclear weapons, more than every single country in the world combined, according to a new report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The massive annual spending on these weapons of mass destruction is more than the  federal government spends on primary and secondary education programs. 

Despite rising inflation and a raging pandemic, the United States is massively expanding its nuclear arsenal, with spending on nuclear weapons surging 14 percent between 2020 and 2021. 

While the US spent $44.2 billion on nuclear weapons in 2021,  China spent $11.7 billion, and Russia spent $8.6 billion.

………………. The report found that major corporations providing nuclear weapons contracts to the US and its allies had their nuclear arms contracts double in 2021. “Companies in France, the United Kingdom and the United States were awarded $30 billion in new contracts (some spanning decades into the future), twice as much as they received in 2020.”

The report noted that in 2021, the Department of Defense requested $28.9 billion for “Nuclear Modernization,” including the “Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, B-21 Bomber, Long-Range Stand Off Weapon, Columbia class submarine, missile warning” and “$7 billion for Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications.”

[Ed. note.    This article goe s on to detail USA weapons expenditure.]

……………………………. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons report further reviews the corrupt nexus between major corporations, lobbyists and leading think tanks, which function as paid-for agents of the arms manufacturers. The report notes: 

At least twelve major think tanks that research and write about nuclear weapons in India, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States collectively received between $5.5 million and $10 million from companies that produce nuclear weapons. The CEOs and board members of companies that produce nuclear weapons sit on some of their advisory boards, serve as trustees and are listed as “partners” on their websites. 

The Atlantic Council, according to the report, “received between $590,000 – $1,284,992 from eight companies that produce nuclear weapons: Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, Safran and Textron. Additionally, the Atlantic Council received between $50,000 – $99,999 from a national laboratory working on nuclear weapons, Los Alamos National Laboratory.”

The Brookings institution think tank, for its part, “received between $575,000 and $1,149,997 from three companies that produce nuclear weapons: Leonardo, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. This represents an inflation-adjusted increase of between $287,075 and $574,149 from past year funding. The Brookings Institution reported a new funder, Leonardo, and constant funding from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.”

These think tanks are routinely quoted in the press, who treat the proclamation of these corrupt representatives of the arms dealers as the gospel truth.

Ultimately, however, the damage caused by the colossal squandering of social resources on nuclear weapons pales in comparison to the damage that would be caused if these weapons were used.

With the United States massively escalating its war against Russia, the prospect of the weapons of mass destruction that the United States uses to cajole and bully the whole world being put to use is an increasingly dangerous reality.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine killing civilians in ‘unprecedented’ shelling on Donetsk ignored by Western media and politicians

Western media and politicians prefer to ignore the truth about civilians killed in Donetsk shelling. When Kiev’s guilt in attacks on a maternity hospital cannot be denied, it’s simply brushed under the carpet RT, Fri, 17 Jun 2022

Following intense Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk on June 13, some Western media sources, in tandem with outlets in Kiev, unsurprisingly claimed that the attack – which killed at least five civilians and struck a busy maternity hospital – was perpetrated by Russian forces.

Why Moscow would launch rockets at its own allies wasn’t explained, nor would it make much sense.

The Donetsk People’s Republic’s foreign ministry reported“Such an unprecedented. in terms of power, density and duration of fire, raid on the DPR capital was not recorded during the entire period of the armed conflict [since 2014]. In two hours, almost 300 MLRS rockets and artillery shells were fired.”

The Ukrainian shelling began late morning, resumed in the afternoon, and continued for another two hours in the evening, a deafening series of blasts throughout the city, terrorizing residents and targeting apartment buildings, civilian infrastructure, the aforementioned hospital, and industrial buildings.

◾Ukrainian bombing of Donetsk renewed just before 6 pm, hitting residential areas across the city for the next two hours.◾Journalist @EvaKBartlett is reporting from Donetsk.

— Juan Sinmiedo (@Youblacksoul) June 13, 2022Comment: The Tweet is no longer available because Twitter has banned the user.

Locals say this was some of the heaviest bombing of Donetsk since 2014, when the region declared its independence from post-Maidan Kiev.

In the Budyonnovsky district in the south of the city, Ukrainian shelling of a market killed five  civilians including one child. Just two months ago, Kiev’s forces hit another Donetsk market, leaving four civilians dead.
In the hard-hit Kievskiy district, to the north, the shelling caused fires at a water bottling plant and a warehouse for stationery, destroying it. The building was still in flames when journalist Roman Kosarev and I arrived about an hour after the attack. Apartment buildings in the area also came under fire, leaving doors and windows blown out and cars destroyed.

 civilians including one child. Just two months ago, Kiev’s forces hit another Donetsk market, leaving four civilians dead.

In the hard-hit Kievskiy district, to the north, the shelling caused fires at a water bottling plant and a warehouse for stationery, destroying it. The building was still in flames when journalist Roman Kosarev and I arrived about an hour after the attack. Apartment buildings in the area also came under fire, leaving doors and windows blown out and cars destroyed.


To all those in the West who support Kiev regime we recommend to examine the evidence of barbaric heavy artillery shelling of Donetsk by Ukrainian forces on June 13th. 5 hospitals, 3 schools and a kindergarten have been damaged. Will @UNESCO react to these crimes of Kiev?

Hypocritical silence after maternity hospital shelling

In a world where media reported honestly instead of manufacturing its own reality, there would be outrage over Ukraine’s attack on the Donetsk maternity hospital. But history shows that is not a world we live in.

As I wrote last year, Western media and talking heads also diligently avoided condemnation when terrorists attacked or destroyed Syrian hospitals, including the shelling of a maternity hospital in Aleppo, which killed three women.

At the damaged Donetsk hospital, I saw the gaping hole in the roof and remnants of the Uragan MLRS rocket which struck it. Most of the windows of both buildings were blown out.

Images shared on Twitter noted, “Both gynecology and intensive care have been bombed.” Other footage, taken by Donetsk war correspondent Dmitri Ashtrakhan, showed dozens of women, some heavily pregnant, taking shelter in the basement of the shelled maternity hospital.
Were these women and this hospital in Kiev, you can bet Western media would be loudly reporting it 24/7 for weeks. Instead, just as the West has steadfastly ignored Ukraine’s eight years of war on Donbass, they also omit reporting on the hospital.

Grotesquely, some Ukrainian and Western media instead disingenuously reported that it was a Russian attack, not Ukrainian, which terrorized, injured and killed civilians on June 13.

Just as Western media’s lack of reporting, or twisting of the narrative, on Ukraine’s shelling was to be expected, so too was the UN’s weak-worded condemnation, with the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, calling it “extremely troubling.” Were the situation reversed and Russia responsible for bombing a Ukrainian maternity hospital, his words would almost certainly have been far stronger.

In fact, they already have been: Three months ago, when Kiev accused Russia of an attack on a maternity hospital, in Mariupol.

Back then, the Guterres emphatically tweeted, “Today’s attack on a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, where maternity & children’s wards are located, is horrific. Civilians are paying the highest price for a war that has nothing to do with them. This senseless violence must stop. End the bloodshed now.” A strong reaction to what later emerged to be a hoax claim, when the UN itself even admitted it could not verify the story. But a mild reaction to a documented reality in Donetsk.

The UN did, at least, rightly note the attack on the Donetsk maternity hospital was, “an obvious breach of the international humanitarian law.” So there’s that.

The thing is, Ukraine has violated international law for its eight years of waging war on the Donbass republics, using prohibited heavy weapons and targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. This is only the latest incident.
Tears flow for hoax hospital bombing

In March, Western corporate-owned media supported Kiev’s claim that Russia had launched air strikes on a Mariupol maternity hospital, claiming three civilians had been killed. At the time, as reported, “The White House condemned the ‘barbaric’ use of force against innocent civilians, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that ‘there are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless’.”

As it turned out, witnesses reported there hadn’t been any air strike. There were explosions: just as terrorists bombed an Aleppo home in 2016 and used a mildly injured boy for their propaganda against Syria and Russia, so too did Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, setting the stage to incriminate Moscow.

Russia called the accusations “a completely staged provocation,” analyzing photos from the area and noting “evidence of two separate staged explosions near the hospital: An underground explosion and another of minor power, aimed at the hospital building,” and further noting that a “high-explosive aviation bomb would destroy the outer walls of the building.” Russia also pointed out that the facility had stopped working when Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion expelled staff in late February and militarized the hospital, as Ukrainian forces did elsewhere in Donbass.

Marianna Vyshemirskaya, one of the women featured in the Western propaganda around the hospital, later spoke out and said there was no air strike, and that prior to the alleged event, Ukrainian soldiers expelled all the doctors and moved pregnant women to another building.

She also maintained that she and other women were filmed without warning by an Associated Press journalist dressed in a military uniform and wearing a helmet.

Even three days after Ukraine’s intense bombardment of Donetsk and targeting of the maternity hospital, when still more testimonies have emerged, Western media and politicians remained silent.

The suffering, and deaths, of the people of Donetsk doesn’t fit the Western narrative, so they misreport it or simply just don’t reference it at all, enabling Ukraine to continue to commit war crimes.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). @evakbartlett

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When the secretaries of Defense and State said publicly the U.S. wants Ukraine to win and weaken Russia, Biden said tone it down

U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that the trajectory of the war in Ukraine is untenable and are quietly discussing whether President Volodymyr Zelenskyy should temper his hard-line public position that no territory will ever be ceded to Russia as part of an agreement to end the war, according to seven current U.S. officials, former U.S. officials and European officials.

“He was not happy with the rhetoric,” said one official familiar with President Biden’s conference call with Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin.   June 16, 2022, NBC News, By Carol E. Lee, Courtney KubeKen Dilanian and Abigail Williams

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had taken off on separate flights from southeastern Poland after their risky, high-stakes visit to Kyiv when they were conferenced into a phone call from President Joe Biden

During their whirlwind April trip, Austin appeared to expand the U.S. goals in Ukraine, saying publicly that the administration wanted the Ukrainians to win the war against Russia, not just defend themselves, and that the U.S. hoped to weaken Russia to the extent that it could not launch another unprovoked invasion. Blinken had publicly aligned himself with the remarks. Now Biden wanted to discuss the mounting headlines that resulted.

Biden thought the secretaries had gone too far, according to multiple administration officials familiar with the call. On the previously unreported conference call, as Austin flew to Germany and Blinken to Washington, the president expressed concern that the comments could set unrealistic expectations and increase the risk of the U.S. getting into a direct conflict with Russia. He told them to tone it down, said the officials.

“Biden was not happy when Blinken and Austin talked about winning in Ukraine,” one of them said. “He was not happy with the rhetoric.”

The secretaries explained that Austin’s comments had been misconstrued, another senior administration official said. But the displeasure Biden initially conveyed during that phone call, the officials said, reflected his administration’s belief that despite Ukrainian forces’ unexpected successes early on, the war would ultimately head in the direction it is now in two months later: a protracted conflict in which Russia continues to make small and steady advances.

U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that the trajectory of the war in Ukraine is untenable and are quietly discussing whether President Volodymyr Zelenskyy should temper his hard-line public position that no territory will ever be ceded to Russia as part of an agreement to end the war, according to seven current U.S. officials, former U.S. officials and European officials.

Some officials want Zelenskyy to “dial it back a little bit,” as one of them put it, when it comes to telegraphing his red lines on ending the war. But the issue is fraught given that Biden is adamant about the U.S. not pressuring the Ukrainians to take steps one way or another. His administration’s position has been that any decision about how and on what terms to end the war is for Ukraine to decide.

“We are not pressuring them to make concessions, as some Europeans are. We would never ask them to cede territory,” one U.S. official said. “We are planning for a long war. We intend to prepare the American people for that, and we are prepared to ask Congress for more money.”

Biden announced a new $1 billion military aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday after speaking with Zelenskyy. Congress last month authorized an additional $40 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, which is expected to last until October. 

The National Security Council and the State Department declined to comment.

The Pentagon and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The future of the war in Ukraine, including how it might end, is expected to be a key topic when world leaders gather in Europe next week for the NATO and G-7 summits.

European officials are more openly discussing their preference that Zelenskyy enter into negotiations with Russia and consider relinquishing some territory Russia has gained in its latest invasion. Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014 and annexed Crimea.

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said Zelenskyy must negotiate with Russia…………

many experts, as well as U.S. and European officials, believe Russian President Vladimir Putin will claim Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region as Russian territory once conquered in the coming months and declare victory, and Zelenskyy will have to negotiate.

Biden was asked on June 3 if he believes Ukraine will have to cede territory to achieve peace and he left open the possibility, saying he won’t tell the Ukrainians what to do………………

In April, Biden administration officials sounded more optimistic about Ukraine’s position in the war than they currently do…………………….

While White House officials are loath to be seen as pressuring Ukraine to agree to a deal with Russia that gives up some territory, there is growing concern that Zelenskyy’s public posture that there can be no deal unless all Russian troops leave Ukraine is unsustainable. Even if the Europeans lean more heavily into the notion of such a deal with Russia, which could get more pronounced as winter approaches, given Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas, administration officials said they intend to hold their ground on letting Ukraine decide its future………..

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Antarctic “doomsday glacier” melting at faster rate than in past 5,500 years

 Two Antarctic glaciers are now losing ice at a faster rate than any time
over the past 5,500 years, with “potentially disastrous” implications for
sea level rise, new research has found. The Thwaites Glacier, known as the
“Doomsday glacier”, due to the grave risk its melting poses to the world,
is around the size of Great Britain, and its neighbour, the Pine Island
Glacier is only slightly smaller. The two glaciers form part of the Western
Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is being impacted by warming temperatures due to
the climate crisis, and are already contributing to global sea level rise.

 Independent 16th June 2022

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Concern over cracks in EPR nuclear reactors on France- questions on similar reactors in Finland, UK,China

Concerns have been raised over the reactors at EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, after cracks were detected in some of the company’s reactors in France. A new report has now warned that the cracks could cause “nuclear accidents” and adds that Hinkley Point C could face similar challenges.

The cracks were first detected in October 2021 in an emergency cooling circuit of the first 1300Mw reactor of the Civaux power plant in France. Cracks have since been discovered in three other
1500Mw reactors and in the 1300Mw Penly 1 reactor.

According to the report, produced by energy transition experts Global Chance, other plants including
Hinkley Point C should be examined in case they will be similarly affected. The report says: “It would also be necessary to examine the possibility that the EPR reactors at Flamanville, Olkiluoto and Taïshan, as well as those under construction at Hinkley Point, might themselves be concerned, insofar as they were designed on the basis of the 1500Mw N4 model.”

Co-author of the report Bernard Laponche emphasised the potential impact of the cracks. “If the defects detected on the welds evolve, they can cause a breach in the main reactor cooling system,” he said. “The risk is therefore to generate a nuclear accident situation”.

It comes after it was revealed in June last year that the US government had been assessing reports of a
leak at the Chinese Taishan power station, with gas escaping after the coating on some of the fuel rods deteriorated. An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the problems with the plant, which is in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. To date, inspections at Taishan have found
“mechanical wear of certain assembly components”, EDF said. It added that several of its long-running reactors have shown a similar pattern and the issues did not raise questions over the Taishan reactor’s design.

New Civil Engineer 16th June 2022

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK: Nuclear energy plans contain a ticking time bomb for our bills

The Government’s nuclear plans create incentives for nuclear power companies to overcharge consumers, by linking prices to the firms’ own claims about costs, and by taking a stake in the outcome.

The UK intends to fund new nuclear, starting with Sizewell C, through a charge on power
bills, paying out to companies while the projects are being built (potentially 13-17 years), and recouping that money later, if possible, by reducing any further subsidy on generation.

It is a similar model to renewables, bar that those payments are only made after the power is being delivered. That difference means the capital risk of project failure is transferred from the nuclear developers to the public, putting up bills.

The Government claim this ‘Regulated Asset Base’ method of financing saves money, by comparing the scheme to the very expensive and privately financed scheme for Hinkley Point C. But the latter is simply a waste of money not a credible benchmark.

The Government is consulting on the model’s detail but has made it clear that level of payments will reflect costs estimated by the company, not any value-for-money target, which again
transfers the risk of overspending to the public.

 Institute of Economic Affairs 16th June 2022

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Weapons Proliferation Risk

 Paul Dorfman: And, of course, what we’re also seeing is the
weaponization of civil nuclear plants with the Russian occupation of
Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya, a nuclear power plant, which, as the US
ambassador to the UN said, ‘By the grace of God we didn’t have a
nuclear catastrophe’. So as long as there are elements of aggression
going on, then demilitarization of nuclear looks profoundly problematic.
And so we’re getting to the point at which – before, you know, we
thought the Cold War was over, we thought that risk of nuclear annihilation
was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, increasingly, we’re seeing that
these things can happen.”

 TRT World 16th June 2022

 Nuclear plants could become dirty bombs in Ukraine, warns Serhii Plokhy.
The Harvard historian says governments should agree to protect them in war.

 Economist 16th June 2022

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 17 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Why The World Is Missing Its Chance For Clean Energy” • Sadly, the opportunity offered by economic slowdown of 2020 was lost. We sat down with Niklas Hagelberg, Coordinator on Climate Change at the UN Environment Programme, to find out more about the global energy crisis and what can be done to transition […]

June 17 Energy News — geoharvey

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More than 1GW of battery storage to replace coal in world’s biggest isolated grid — RenewEconomy

How will the WA government prepare for the closure of its last two coal generators? Lots of wind, solar and batteries. The post More than 1GW of battery storage to replace coal in world’s biggest isolated grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

More than 1GW of battery storage to replace coal in world’s biggest isolated grid — RenewEconomy

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Australia is under new management”: Bowen tells clean energy investors — RenewEconomy

Federal climate minister Chris Bowen says Australia now “open for business”, calling on investors to seize a $130 billion green investment opportunity. The post “Australia is under new management”: Bowen tells clean energy investors appeared first on RenewEconomy.

“Australia is under new management”: Bowen tells clean energy investors — RenewEconomy

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Albanese locks in Australia’s higher 2030 emissions reduction target — RenewEconomy

Albanese formally commits Australia to a stronger 2030 emissions reduction target, as Bowen blames energy crisis on slow renewables investment. The post Albanese locks in Australia’s higher 2030 emissions reduction target appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Albanese locks in Australia’s higher 2030 emissions reduction target — RenewEconomy

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment