Australian news, and some related international items

Why Australia’s Labor government refuses to defend Julian Assange

WSWS Oscar Grenfell@Oscar_Grenfell, 6 July 22, When the Labor Party scraped into office following the May 21 federal election, some supporters of Julian Assange voiced hopes that the new government would defend the WikiLeaks publisher because he is an Australian journalist and citizen undergoing persecution abroad.

The crudest and most thoughtless expression of these hopes came in the form of an update to a petition demanding that the Australian government act to free Assange. Over the course of almost three years, the petition has been signed by more than 730,000 people, and has served as an important focal point for the latent, mass support that exists for Assange.

But on July 4, the petition’s founder declared that it was no longer necessary to issue any demands on the Australian government. The sole evidence provided was that Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had purportedly signed the petition, and that some members of the government have hinted that it may engage in “quiet diplomacy” on behalf of Assange. “Now that we confirm that the Prime Minister of Australia is one of us and together with all of our collective 731,000 Signatories to this petition we will together move forward with direct representations to the responsible Public Officers in both the USA and Britain,” the update declared.

It was necessary to “understand that the Australian Government does have a right to negotiate the matter of freedom of Julian Assange in the best way they see to secure his freedom… We do not intend to work against any action being taken in different ways by any individual Signatory”—i.e., Albanese.

“[W]e will move forward in a peaceful, harmonious and inclusive manner,” the update declared, that is with regards to the Labor government.

To be blunt, such statements are exercises in wilful delusion. Since forming government, Labor has not issued anything that even could be described as weasel-words in support of Assange. Its attitude towards the WikiLeaks publisher is barely concealed hostility.

The greatest mistake defenders of Assange could make would be to allow a right-wing pro-war Labor government to lead them around by the nose. Such a course would serve to demobilise the mass backing that Assange has among workers and young people, and create the political conditions required for Labor to bury his plight and ensure that extradition from Britain to the US proceeds without hindrance.

The petition update promoted the latest comments on Assange by a member of the government. In an Australian Broadcasting Corporation “Law Report” radio program on June 28, Labor’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus again stated that the Assange case had “gone on for too long.” It was this comment that was highlighted on the petition.

But what, of substance, did Dreyfus actually say?

Introducing the subject of Assange, midway through the interview, the host noted warnings that the attempted US prosecution of Assange would set a dangerous precedent of US law being imposed globally.

Assange, an Australian citizen, is facing prosecution in the US, for documents he published while in Europe, exposing American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Citing Assange legal advisor Greg Barns, the interviewer asked if Dreyfus was troubled by this attempt to extend the reach of American legislation to an Australian citizen with no legal connection to the US?

The attorney-general brushed the question aside. “The United States has long legislated in an extra-territorial way and I think that all other countries have understood that for a long time,” he said. In other words, the US government can do what it likes.

Dreyfus continued: “It is not open to the Australian government to directly interfere with either the jailing of Mr Assange in the United Kingdom or the extradition request that has been made by the United States.”

As with all other Labor ministers, Dreyfus presented Assange’s imprisonment and threatened extradition as a bona fide, lawful procedure. But Assange’s detention, in a maximum-security British prison, without conviction, has been denounced by outgoing United Nations Rapporteur Nils Melzer as state torture.

The US extradition effort is akin to a pseudo-legal lynching. Assange is to be imprisoned, for 175 years, under the draconian Espionage Act, for publishing true information revealing the illegal actions of the American government. Such an operation recalls dissidents being hurled into a dungeon cell, with the key thrown away, during medieval times.

Credible allegations are now on the public record, moreover, that the Trump administration and the CIA discussed kidnapping or assassinating Assange in 2017, before filing an indictment and an extradition request.

Dreyfus again made reference to the possibility of diplomatic representations on Assange’s behalf.

In a highly revealing exchange, the interviewer noted: “The government has said it would like to see this matter brought to an end, but hasn’t exactly said how it would prefer it to come to an end.” Would the government seek to have the charges against Assange dropped in the United States? she asked. “I am not going to canvas what will be the resolution of this case,” Dreyfus replied.

In other words, the attorney-general’s vague statements are worthless. Why would anyone believe that a government minister, who will not even state publicly that the charges against Assange should be dropped, would be fighting for his freedom behind closed doors?

Dreyfus’ vague references to “representations” are like a bone to a hungry dog, meant to placate Assange’s supporters, as is the cloak and dagger operation of Albanese possibly signing the petition.

The real position of Labor has been spelled out by two of its most prominent leaders, Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles.

Marles stated last month: “This is a matter for the United Kingdom. Like any Australian citizen facing legal proceedings abroad, he will be provided consular assistance.”

The position is identical to that of the previous Liberal-National Coalition government. Consular support means monitoring the extradition case and the decline of Assange’s health. It is the antithesis of a diplomatic and political intervention to free Assange.

For his part, Albanese has sought to dodge the issue of Assange for the past six weeks. He refuses to mention the WikiLeaks founder’s name, even when directly questioned about the topic. The only passionate comments he has made on the case were in an angry denunciation of Twitter users calling on the Labor government to take action.

It is hardly a mystery why Labor refuses to defend Assange.

The primary focus of the new government has been a foreign policy blitz, orchestrated in the closest of collaboration with the Biden administration, which is seeking Assange’s extradition.

Wong and Albanese have been on one foreign visit after another, seeking to shore-up US dominance in the Indo-Pacific, and to further American imperialism’s confrontation with China, which threatens nuclear war.

The highpoint came last week, when Albanese attended the NATO summit in Madrid. There, he gave full support to a new NATO doctrine, which labels Russia and China as threats and calls on member states to prepare “for high-intensity, multi-domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitors.”

The persecution of Assange is retribution for his exposure of past war crimes. But it is also a preparation for new, and even greater crimes, associated with these US-led plans for what is nothing short of a global war. The aim is to intimidate the mass anti-war sentiment that exists among workers and young people, and to establish a precedent for further frame-ups and victimisations. The Labor government is fully committed to Washington’s war measures, so it is hostile to Assange. …………………………

July 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

German MPs demand release of Julian Assange (where are the Australian MPs?)

Dozens of members of the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, have issued a statement demanding the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, DW, 8 July 22,

More than 70 members of the German parliament from four political parties have called on US President Joe Biden and the British government to stop the impending deportation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the UK to the US to face espionage charges.

“Journalists must not be persecuted or punished for their work anywhere in the world,” the Bundestag deputies wrote in an open letter. “In the interest of press freedom as well as for humanitarian reasons in view of his poor state of health, Julian Assange must be released without delay.”

Assange has been imprisoned in the UK since April 2019, when the government of Ecuador, which had hosted him in its London embassy for seven years, withdrew his political asylum.

A subsequent legal process and court trial ended on June 17, when British Home Secretary Priti Patel granted the US’s extradition request. Assange’s lawyers are currently appealing the minister’s decision.

“A free press is one of the fundamental components of each and every democracy,” the Bundestag members wrote. “We are very concerned about the deterrent effect that Assange’s extradition and conviction could have on press freedom and investigative journalism around the world.”……………..

Christian Mihr, head of the German branch of Reporters Without Borders, said he hoped the German government would take the parliamentarians’ message on board. “I hope the government recognizes it … when elected representatives send such a strong signal, and that they take it seriously and position themselves clearly to Joe Biden,” he told DW……………………..

In 2019, the UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, visited Assange in Belmarsh prison in London and concluded that his treatment by the UK, US, and Ecuadoran governments amounted to psychological torture.

DW has reached out to the German Foreign Ministry for a reaction. So far, the German government has held the position that it has no reason to doubt the integrity of the British extradition process.

A petition opposing the “psychological torture” of Assange has been approved by the Bundestag’s petitions committee, the Left Party parliamentary group announced in Berlin on Wednesday. Left-wing politicians see the committee’s vote as a demand that the German government take action to secure Assange’s release.

Green MP Corinna Rueffer welcomed the German lawmakers’ action on Twitter as an act to strengthen press freedom.

July 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand’s no-nuclear line on AUKUS subs met with ‘understanding and appreciation’ in Australia

ABC NEWS, 7 July 22, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reaffirmed her country’s long-standing policy of not allowing nuclear-powered vessels in its waters, saying the rule was well understood in Australia.

Key points:

  • Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will continue to take a “strong, principled position” on its nuclear-free zone
  • New Zealand banned ships with nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered vessels in its waters in 1987
  • Ms Ardern says New Zealand’s defence policy would remain focused on the Pacific 

Asked by 7.30 host Sarah Ferguson if there were “any circumstances” in which an Australian nuclear-propelled submarine might dock in a New Zealand port in the future, Ms Ardern said the policy was set.

“But, actually, you know, I’ve only ever encountered understanding and appreciation of that position,” she said.

“We’ve taken a strong, principled position and we’ll continue to do so. That doesn’t change the relationship we have with Australia or their understanding of our position.”

Ms Ardern has been in Australia this week for her second meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as well as meetings with state premiers………………………………….

A question of neutrality

Ms Ardern was also asked about a recent security pact struck between Solomon Islands and China, which some analysts warn could provide a pretext for the basing of Chinese troops or vessels in the Pacific Island nation.

The Solomon Islands government has repeatedly ruled out a military base.

…….. “We believe that escalation in our region and a militarisation in our region is not necessary, not called for, and not wanted. So we’re very clear on that.”

Asked if New Zealand would join Australia in increasing its defence capability in response to China’s military expansion, Ms Ardern said it was up to Australia to explain its own rationale for its defence strategy.

New Zealand’s defence policy would remain “Pacific-focused”, she said………………..

“It is not for New Zealand, or Australia, to dictate the relationships that Pacific Island neighbours have with others.”

She said China pursuing closer ties with Pacific Island nations was not a new phenomenon and that Solomon Islands had been on a “trajectory” of closer links with Beijing over a “number of years”.

July 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Liberal National Party, led by Dutton and Littleproud vote on support for Queensland nuclear plants

LNP vote on support for Qld nuclear plants, Marty Silk  July 8, 2022,

Liberal National Party members are set to vote on whether to make it easier for nuclear power plants to be built in Queensland.

The party will use its annual convention in Brisbane this weekend to decide on motions that could come to define its climate change and energy policies at the next state and federal elections.

They include a call to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 ahead of the 2024 state election and to repeal any law preventing the construction of a nuclear power plant in Queensland.

“So that it authorises the construction or operation of the following nuclear installations: a nuclear fuel fabrication plant; a nuclear power plant; an enrichment plant; and a reprocessing facility,” the motion put forward by three LNP branches says.

Other motions call for an end of government subsidies for renewable energy and for domestic coal, oil, gas and uranium reserves.

The LNP motions could be decisive in determining the federal coalition’s energy policies as both the Liberal and National leaders – Peter Dutton and David Littleproud – are members.

Mr Littleproud last month wrote to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging him to consider small-scale nuclear plants to reduce emissions and improve reliability.

Formed in a merger of the two parties 14 years ago, the LNP currently holds more seats in Queensland than the coalition does in any other state.

The Queensland party’s three-day annual convention starts in Brisbane on Friday will begin charting a course for its return to power.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli is hoping to lead the LNP to victory in two years’ time against what will then be a nine-year-old Labor government.

Federal Opposition Leader Mr Dutton is on leave and will miss the convention, but his deputy Mr Littleproud will speak on Saturday………………………………

There are also motions to water down land clearing laws and to oppose any increase of national park areas in Queensland…………………………

July 9, 2022 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

‘Far from adequate’: former Pacific leaders group urges Australia to increase 43% emissions cut

Far from adequate’: former Pacific leaders group urges Australia to increase 43% emissions cut

Pacific Elders Voice also called for Australia to end gas and coal developments ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

July 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change modelling abandoned by Abbott nine years ago restarted by government

Climate change modelling abandoned by Abbott nine years ago restarted by government

For almost a decade under the former Coalition government, Treasury did not model the economic impacts of climate change. The new government is ordering the practice to be resumed.

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Hosting UN climate talks could help mend Australia’s Pacific relationships, Albanese says — RenewEconomy

After successfully rehabilitating Australia’s climate stance in Europe, Albanese hopes hosting a future COP will help mend relationships in the Pacific. The post Hosting UN climate talks could help mend Australia’s Pacific relationships, Albanese says appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Hosting UN climate talks could help mend Australia’s Pacific relationships, Albanese says — RenewEconomy

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Warren Buffett snaps up two Australian solar farms, and big PV and storage pipeline — RenewEconomy

Warren Buffett makes first big Australian solar play, buying two Australian solar farms and striking deal to co-develop a multi-gigawatt solar and battery pipeline. The post Warren Buffett snaps up two Australian solar farms, and big PV and storage pipeline appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Warren Buffett snaps up two Australian solar farms, and big PV and storage pipeline — RenewEconomy

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Stunning low prices for offshore wind in UK bode well for Australian plans — RenewEconomy

Offshore wind projects dominate the biggest and cheapest renewable energy auction run by the UK government to date. And it is good news for Australia. The post Stunning low prices for offshore wind in UK bode well for Australian plans appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Stunning low prices for offshore wind in UK bode well for Australian plans — RenewEconomy

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Quinbrook to build 2000MWh battery at Supernode data storage site in Queensland — RenewEconomy

Quinbrook reveals plans to build biggest battery storage installation in Australia to support a massive data storage centre close to Brisbane. The post Quinbrook to build 2000MWh battery at Supernode data storage site in Queensland appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Quinbrook to build 2000MWh battery at Supernode data storage site in Queensland — RenewEconomy

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Energy charter treaty makes climate action nearly illegal in 52 countries. How can we leave it? — RenewEconomy

Energy companies in the EU, UK and Japan are using the treaty to sue governments over policies that interfere with fossil fuel extraction. Can it be overruled? The post Energy charter treaty makes climate action nearly illegal in 52 countries. How can we leave it? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Energy charter treaty makes climate action nearly illegal in 52 countries. How can we leave it? — RenewEconomy

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The statement states that “NATO propaganda paints a false picture of NATO representing the so-called democratic countries versus an authoritarian world to legitimize its militaristic course. In reality, NATO is stepping up its confrontation with rival and emerging superpowers in pursuit of geopolitical hegemony, control over transport routes, markets and natural resources.  Although NATO’s strategic concept claims to be working toward disarmament and arms control, it is doing just the opposite.

  • By Ann Wright, Popular Resistance., July 6, 2022

NATO’S Summit In Madrid And Lessons Of War At The City’s Museums.

I was one of hundreds who attended the NO to NATO peace summit June 26-27, 2022 and one of tens of thousands who marched for NO to NATO in Madrid, Spain a few days before the leaders of the 30 NATO countries arrived in the city for their latest NATO Summit to map out NATO’s future military actions.

Two conferences, the Peace Summit and the Counter-Summit,  provided opportunities for Spaniards and international delegations to hear the impact of ever-increasing military budgets on NATO countries that give weaponry and personnel to the war mongering capabilities of NATO at the expense of health, education, housing and other true human security needs.

In Europe, the disastrous decision by the Russian Federation to invade Ukraine and the tragic loss of life and destruction of large parts of the industrial base of the country and in the Dombass region is seen as a situation precipitated by a US sponsored coup in Ukraine in 2014.   Not to defend or justify the Russian attack on Ukraine, however,  NATO, the US and the European Union’s endless rhetoric of Ukraine joining their organizations is acknowledged as is the often-cited Russian Federation’s “redlines” of its national security.  The continuing large-scale US and NATO military war maneuvers, creation of US/NATO bases and deployment of missiles on the border with Russia are identified as provocative, aggressive actions by the US and NATO.  Ever more powerful weapons are being injected into the Ukrainian battlefields by NATO countries which could inadvertently, or purposefully, quickly escalate to the disastrous use of nuclear weapons.

In the peace summits, we heard from people directly affected by NATO’s military action.  The Finnish delegation is strongly opposed to Finland joining NATO and spoke of the relentless media campaign by the government of Finland that has influenced traditional No to NATO Finns to acquiese to the government’s decision to join NATO. We also heard by zoom from speakers from Ukraine and Russia who both want peace for their countries not wars and who urged their governments to begin negotiations to end the horrific war.

The summits had a wide-range of panel and workshop topics:………………………………

The Madrid Peace Summit ended with a  final declaration………………….

”………………………..NATO’s new security concept called NATO 360º radius, calls for military intervention by NATO anywhere, anytime, all around the planet. The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are singled out as military adversaries and, for the first time, the Global South appears within the scope of the Alliance’s intervention capabilities,

NATO 360 is prepared to intervene outside the imperative mandates of the UN Charter, as it did in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. This violation of international law, as we have also seen in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has sped up the pace at which the world becomes insecure and militarized.

This southward focus shift will bring about an extension in the capabilities of US military bases deployed in the Mediterranean; in the case of Spain, the bases in Rota and Morón.

NATO 360º strategy is a threat to peace, an obstacle to progress towards shared demilitarized security.………………..”

NO TO NATO international coalition statement

The NO to NATO international coalition issued a strong and extensive statement on July 4, 2022 contesting NATO’s Madrid summit strategy and its continuing aggressive actions.  The coalition  expressed “outrage” at the decision of NATO’s heads of government to further increase confrontation, militarization and globalization instead of opting for dialogue, disarmament and peaceful co-existence.

The statement states that “NATO propaganda paints a false picture of NATO representing the so-called democratic countries versus an authoritarian world to legitimize its militaristic course. In reality, NATO is stepping up its confrontation with rival and emerging superpowers in pursuit of geopolitical hegemony, control over transport routes, markets and natural resources.  Although NATO’s strategic concept claims to be working toward disarmament and arms control, it is doing just the opposite.”

The coalition statement reminds that NATO member states combined “account for two-thirds of the global arms trade that destabilizes entire regions and that warring countries like Saudi Arabia are among NATO’s best customers. NATO maintains privileged relationships with gross human rights violators like Colombia and apartheid state Israel… The military alliance is abusing the Russia-Ukraine war to dramatically increase the armament of its member states by many tens of billions and by expanding it’s Rapid Reaction Force on a massive scale…Under the leadership of the US, NATO applies a military strategy aimed at weakening Russia rather than bringing a swift end to the war. This is a dangerous policy that can only contribute to increase the suffering in Ukraine and can bring the war into dangerous levels of (nuclear) escalation.”………………………………………………………………………………………………….. more

Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was also a U.S. diplomat and served in U.S. embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned in 2003 in opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq.  She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

July 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is nuclear sustainable? Read the label

[Ed. For a while they tried calling nuclear ”amber”, but that didn’t work – they’ve settle for ”sort of green”]

By DEBRA KAHN , 07/08/2022,

SHADES OF GREEN — The European Union broadened its definition of sustainable energy this week to include things not everyone agrees on — and triggered a fight.

The vote to include natural gas and nuclear power in the list of activities the EU is trying to encourage private investors to support was billed as a “pragmatic approach.” It’s also backed by Ukrainian officials, who say it should help reduce reliance on Russian gas.

But it’s getting major pushback — from scientists, sustainable investor groups and the European Commission’s own finance advisers, who argue the rules will divert money from truly green projects to prop up legacy industries and allow emissions to rise further, as POLITICO’s America Hernandez reports.

Under the new rules, countries heavily reliant on coal and oil for electricity will be able to replace them with less-polluting gas-fired power through 2030 and advertise the switch as sustainable to investors, as long as the plants switch to a clean-burning fuel like hydrogen by 2035 and respect a 20-year cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

Existing nuclear plants, which produce CO2-free electricity, will also get to be called climate-friendly if operators draw up safety plans showing where their radioactive waste will be permanently stored by 2050 and switch to so-called accident-tolerant fuels by 2025.

Activist investor groups are warning that watering down the sustainable designation will backfire.

“Calling gas sustainable, even as a ‘transition’ fuel, will not convince climate-change conscious investors, and it will make the taxonomy lose its usefulness as a tool to orient capital flows towards sustainable economic activities,” said Thierry Philipponnat, chief economist at watchdog group Finance Watch.

The United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment, which represents more than 5,000 investors managing €167 trillion ($169 trillion right now — great time to go to Europe) in sustainable assets, warned that blindly trusting the EU’s green labels “could prompt fragmentation across the market and lead to potential greenwashing.”

NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE PT. II — U.S. environmentalists were similarly dismayed this week by Pacific Gas & Electric’s announcement that it will try to keep California’s remaining nuclear plant open past its planned retirement.

A PG&E spokesperson told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the utility plans to apply for an Energy Department grant aimed at helping keep nuclear plants open. Diablo Canyon accounts for almost 9 percent of the state’s electricity generation, and officials are worried about reliability this summer and in years to come.

The move follows support from Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers in last week’s state budget to fund agency power purchases from Diablo Canyon and natural gas plants when supplies run low. It’s an about-face from 2016, when environmentalists and labor unions representing plant workers came to a state-approved agreement to shut down the plant starting in 2024.

(NB: Diablo would have stayed open had California decided to let nuclear count toward its green electricity requirements in 2015.)

“Instead of propping up outmoded nuclear plants, Newsom should instead be providing more resources and funding to deploy renewable energy infrastructure across California,” Sierra Club California director Brandon Dawson said in a statement.

Austria, Luxembourg and green groups have already said they’ll sue the European Commission over its new rules. California environmentalists may also try suing to enforce the closure agreement, the SDUT reports.

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A Nuclear war would turn oceans upside down, crash food web July 8, 2022 By Chris Barncard , Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has given the specter of nuclear war renewed weight as a global threat, and a new study of the environmental impact of a nuclear conflict describes dire consequences for the world’s oceans.

“If there were a nuclear war, these huge explosions and the firestorms they cause could throw so much soot — teragrams, or millions of tons — into the atmosphere, it would block out enough sunlight to cool the atmosphere significantly,” says Elizabeth Maroon, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In just one month after a nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States or India and Pakistan, average global temperatures would drop by 13 degrees Fahrenheit — a larger temperature change than in the last ice age — according to climate modeling by Maroon and collaborators from around the world. The research team, led by Louisiana State University professor of oceanography and coast sciences Cheryl Harrison, published their findings July 7 in the journal AGU Advances.

Even setting aside radioactive fallout, the consequences on land would be dire, including widespread crop failures. But in just a year, the planet’s interconnected oceans would enter a state unfamiliar to scientists like Maroon who study the way oceans have changed on much longer time scales. And, unlike effects on the atmosphere and on land, oceans would not fully recover within the 30-year time period covered by the researchers’ simulations of nuclear conflicts.

“Changes in the ocean take longer than in the atmosphere or on land, but our modeling shows that even in the first year after a nuclear war the ocean circulation would have started changing drastically,” says Maroon, an expert on the interplay between the Atlantic Ocean’s complex circulation patterns and Earth’s climate.

The Atlantic’s major circulation turn-around in the northern latitudes — in which warm surface water streaming north to Greenland, Iceland and Norway cools and sinks into middle depths to be drawn south again — comes unhinged.

“Within the first year or two, water in the North Atlantic sinks all the way to the bottom of the ocean, which we think has not happened even in the ice ages,” says Maroon. “In today’s ocean, only near Antarctica does water sink all the way to the seafloor.”

That unprecedented mixing and ocean circulation speed-up — which would last for about two decades — would move nutrients in the ocean vital for supporting the smallest and most numerous marine organisms, like plankton, into entirely unfamiliar conditions around the world.

It would also result in cooling so strong it would extend sea ice and render impassable major seaports that are now open year-round, and would likely cause significant damage to much of the ocean food web.

“It’s no secret that nuclear winter would be terrible,” Maroon says. “What this study shows are the lasting extent of effects we hadn’t really addressed before on ocean circulation and ecosystems and the very base of the food web.”

To read more about the study and its findings, visit:

July 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Corporatisation of Space

The Corporatization of Just About Everything,

Consortium News, Tom Valovic,  July 6, 2022…………………………………………  let’s draw on the self-declared wisdom of Time magazine for guidance. (This is a publication that’s now in the Big Tech/Big Media” camp as it’s now owned by the CEO of In the same issue, another article gushed over the fact that corporations are poised to dominate the exploration and use of space:“….NASA made it clear that when that clock does toll, the U.S. will be getting out of the space station game, likely for good. Instead, the space agency signed a $415.6 million seed money deal with three companies — Blue Origin, Nanoracks, and Northrop Grumman — to develop their own private space stations, on which NASA and other customers could lease space for professional crews and tourists. The article goes on to point out that, in a press statement, a NASA spokesperson boasted that….

” NASA is once again leading the way to commercialize space activities” and that “we are partnering with U.S. companies to develop the space destinations where people can visit, live, and work.”

It seems abundantly clear that the top-down corporate model of governance is fundamentally anti-democratic by its very nature and the waning power and direction of our democratic institutions worldwide has much to do with this fact.

…. uncontrolled and uncontrollable market forces are no substitute for thoughtful and enlightened public policy and democratic norms. Granted, this is in short supply these days but allowing corporations to fill that void is hardly a solution.

As our glorious planet continues to experience crisis after crisis, it’s sad and troubling that there seems to be no shortage of profiteers looking to make an easy buck off the spoils. It seems abundantly clear that the top-down corporate model of governance is fundamentally anti-democratic by its very nature and the waning power and direction of our democratic institutions worldwide has much to do with this fact…….

Tom Valovic is a journalist and the author of Digital Mythologies (Rutgers University Press), a series of essays that explored emerging social and political issues raised by the advent of the Internet. He has served as a consultant to the former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. Tom has written about the effects of technology on society for a variety of publications including Columbia University’s Media Studies Journal, the Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Examiner, among others.

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