Australian news, and some related international items

Australia changes policy tack – moves in the direction of supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Australia drops opposition to treaty banning nuclear weapons at UN vote

After former Coalition government repeatedly sided with US against it, Labor has shifted position to abstain Hurst, 29 Oct 22,

Australia has dropped its opposition to a landmark treaty banning nuclear weapons in a vote at the United Nations in New York on Saturday.

While Australia was yet to actually join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the shift in its voting position to “abstain” after five years of “no” is seen by campaigners as a sign of progress given the former Coalition government repeatedly sided with the United States against it.

The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, said through a spokesperson that Australia had “a long and proud commitment to the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime” and that the government supported the new treaty’s “ambition of a world without nuclear weapons”.

The previous Coalition government was firmly against the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a relatively new international agreement that imposes a blanket ban on developing, testing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons – or helping other countries to carry out such activities.

Australia voted against opening negotiations on the proposed new treaty in late 2016 and did not participate in those talks in 2017. Since 2018 it has voted against annual resolutions at the UN general assembly and first committee that called on all countries to join the agreement “at the earliest possible date”.

That changed early on Saturday morning when Australia shifted its voting position to abstain. Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Ireland were among countries to co-sponsor this year’s supportive UN resolution.

Australia traditionally argued the treaty would not work because none of the nuclear weapons states had joined and because it “ignores the realities of the global security environment”.

It also argued joining would breach the US alliance obligations, with Australia relying on American nuclear forces to deter any nuclear attack on Australia.

 But the treaty has gained momentum because of increasing dissatisfaction among activists and non-nuclear states about the outlook for disarmament, given that nuclear weapons states such as the US, Russia and China are in the process of modernising their arsenals.

The treaty currently has 91 signatories, 68 of which have formally ratified it, and it entered into force last year.

The Nobel peace prize-winning International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (Ican) had been urging Australia to vote in favour of the UN resolution on Saturday – or at least abstain in order to “end five years of opposition to the TPNW under the previous government”.

Three in four members of the Labor caucus – including Anthony Albanese – have signed an Ican pledge that commits parliamentarians “to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries”.

Labor’s 2021 national platform committed the party to signing and ratifying the treaty “after taking account” of several factors, including the need for an effective verification and enforcement architecture and work to achieve universal support.

These conditions suggest the barriers to actually signing may still be high. But Gem Romuld, the Australia director of Ican, said the government was “heading in the right direction” and engaging positively with the treaty.

Romuld said it “would be completely self-defeating to wait for all nuclear-armed states to get on board” before Australia joined.

“Indeed, no disarmament treaty has achieved universal support and Australia has joined all the other disarmament treaties, even where our ally – the US – has not yet signed on, such as the landmine ban treaty,” Romuld said.

In 2017 the US, the UK and France declared that they “do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party” to the new treaty, and the Trump administration actively lobbied countries to withdraw.

Wong told the UN general assembly last month that Australia would “redouble our efforts” towards disarmament because Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “weak and desperate nuclear threats underline the danger that nuclear weapons pose to us all”.

October 29, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Reporters Without Borders leads 16 organisations urging UK Home Secretary to intervene in extradition of Julian Assange.

UK: RSF leads a coalition of 16 organisations in urging Home Secretary Suella Braverman to urgently intervene in Assange extradition

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has led a coalition of 16 organisations in urging the new UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, to intervene in the US government’s request to extradite Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. These groups, representing press freedom, free expression, and journalists’ organisations, have also requested a meeting with Braverman to discuss concerns in the case, after a request for a meeting with former Home Secretary, Priti Patel, went unanswered. The full text of the letter is below.

The Rt. Hon Suella Braverman

Secretary of State for the Home Department

2 Marsham Street



7 October 2022 

Dear Home Secretary, 

We, the undersigned press freedom, free expression and journalists’ organisations, are writing to raise the case of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange and request you to urgently intervene to ensure he is not extradited to the United States. 

In June your predecessor, Priti Patel, signed the order to extradite Mr Assange, despite widespread international concern that his extradition would have alarming implications for journalism and press freedom. In fact, many of the signatories in this letter wrote to Ms Patel warning that Assange’s prosecution “would set a dangerous precedent that could be applied to any media outlet that published stories based on leaked information, or indeed any journalist, publisher or source anywhere in the world.”

Our request for a meeting was unfortunately left unanswered. We are therefore now asking you, Home Secretary, to meet with the signatories of this letter to discuss the case in detail. 

We urge you, Home Secretary, to intervene in this extradition request as a matter of priority. In the US, Mr Assange would face trial on 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which combined could see him imprisoned for up to 175 years. He is highly likely to be detained there in conditions of isolation or solitary confinement despite the US government’s assurances, which would severely exacerbate his risk of suicide. 

Further, Mr Assange would be unable to adequately defend himself in the US courts, as the Espionage Act lacks a public interest defence. This would not align with the values of fairness, justice and a public commitment to media freedom that the UK continues to promote. 

You now have an opportunity to ensure that this extradition does not proceed. An opportunity to demonstrate through action that the UK means what it says in its commitment to media freedom. And most importantly, the opportunity to reunite Mr Assange with his young family after many years of separation – an act that may ultimately save his life. We ask you to seize this opportunity as a matter of urgency and ensure that the UK government acts in the interest of journalism and press freedom and does not enable the US government to continue to pursue this more than decade-old, politically motivated case.

We look forward to hearing from you and discussing the case further. We would be grateful for a prompt response. Please reply via Azzurra Moores at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) at


Rebecca Vincent, Director of Operations and Campaigns, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Laurens Hueting, Senior Advocacy Officer, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

Séamus Dooley, Assistant General Secretary, National Union of Journalists

Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

Ruth Smeeth, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship

Mark Johnson, Legal & Policy Officer, Big Brother Watch

Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

Dr Suelette Dreyfus, Executive Director, Blueprint for Free Speech

Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director, PEN International 

Daniel Gorman, Director, English PEN

Ricky Monahan Brown, President, Scottish PEN

Alix Parodi, President, PEN Suisse Romand 

Tanja Tuma, President, Slovene PEN

Alix Parodi, President, PEN Suisse Romand 

Zoë Rodriguez, joint President, PEN Sydney, and Chair of the PEN International Women Writers 

Jesper Bengtsson, President, Swedish PEN


October 29, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Small but important step’: Australia’s shift on treaty banning nuclear weapons applauded

Australia abstained from voting on the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons for the first time in five years. Previously, the country had opposed the treaty.

SBS News 29 Oct 22,

Anti-nuclear campaigners welcomed the shift in the Australian government’s position on a UN treaty banning the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Australia was among 14 nations to abstain from voting. There were 43 nations who voted against the UN resolution co-sponsored by New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Ireland. A total of 124 nations voted in favour of the motion.

The Australian branch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) described the move as “a small but important step forward”.

“ICAN looks forward to a formal decision by the Albanese government to sign and ratify the TPNW (the treaty) – in line with its pre-election pledge,” the group said.

The overwhelming majority of Australians support joining this treaty, and progress towards disarmament is more urgent than ever.”

ICAN said it was encouraging to see that the majority of nations stood united on the risks of nuclear war, particularly “in light of the war in Ukraine”.

It ends years of Canberra siding with the United States by actions on the treaty to ban the deadly weapons and comes as Australia looks to nuclear submarines to boost its navy…………………………………

Australia also recently faced criticism from nuclear powers for joining a Pacific push to help deal with the consequences of nuclear testing.

New Zealand, a signatory to the nuclear weapons ban, has previously pushed for Australia to join.

A total of 93 countries have signed the treaty, including 68 nations that have formally ratified it.

October 29, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

War, propaganda, and blindness

We are easy to convince because we know nothing about Ukrainian history and culture.

Nato propaganda tells us about the real sufferings of the Ukrainians, but it does not mention the eight years of torture, murder and massacres that preceded it.

We do not see that we are supporting the very ideas we believe we are fighting against

VoltaireNet by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé 28 Oct 22
Propaganda makes you stupid. We know that the Ukrainian integral nationalists have committed abominable massacres, especially during the Second World War. But we don’t know what they have been doing on our doorstep for the last thirty years, including the civil war they have been waging for the last eight years. Our own stupidity allows us to endure the war cries of our political leaders on the side of these criminals.

When war comes, governments always believe that they must boost the morale of their people by showering them with propaganda. The stakes are so high, life and death, that debates get tougher and extremist positions become popular. This is exactly what we are witnessing, or rather how we are being transformed. In this game, the ideas defended by some and others have nothing to do with their ideological presuppositions, but with their proximity to power

In the etymological sense, propaganda is just the art of convincing, of propagating ideas. But in modern times, it is an art that aims at reconstructing reality in order to denigrate the adversary and magnify one’s own troops.

Contrary to a widespread idea in the West, it was not the Nazis or the Soviets who invented it, but the British and the Americans during the First World War [1].

Today, Nato coordinates efforts in this area from its Strategic Communication Centre in Riga, Latvia [2]. It identifies the points on which it wants to act and organizes international programs to carry them out.

For example, NATO has identified Israel as a weak point: while former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a personal friend of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his successor, Naftali Bennett, recognized the validity of Russian policy. He even advised the return of Crimea and Donbass and, above all, the denazification of Ukraine. The current Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, is more hesitant. He does not want to support the fundamentalist nationalists who massacred a million Jews shortly before and during the Second World War. But he also wants to stay on good terms with the West.

To bring Israel back into line, Nato is trying to persuade Tel Aviv that in case of a Russian victory, Israel would lose its position in the Middle East [3]. To this end, it is spreading the lie that Iran is Russia’s military ally as widely as possible. The international press is constantly claiming that Russian drones are Iranian on the battlefield, and soon the medium-range missiles will be too. Yet Moscow knows how to manufacture these weapons and has never asked Tehran for them. …………………….

The British, on the other hand, traditionally excel in activating networked media and enlisting artists. MI6 relies on a group of 150 news agencies working within the PR Network [4]. They convince all these companies to take up their imputations and slogans.

They are the ones who successively convinced you that President Vladimir Putin was dying, then that he had gone mad, or that he was facing strong opposition at home and that he would be overthrown by a coup. Their work continues today with cross interviews with soldiers in Ukraine. You hear Ukrainian soldiers say they are nationalists and Russian soldiers say they are afraid but must defend Russia. You hear that Ukrainians are not Nazis and that Russians, living under a dictatorship, are forced to fight.

………………………………………………… We are easy to convince because we know nothing about Ukrainian history and culture.

………….. We in Ukraine are unaware of the atrocities of the interwar period and the Second World War, and have a vague idea of the violence of the USSR. We ignore that the theoretician Dontsov and his disciple Stepan Bandera did not hesitate to massacre all those who did not correspond to their “integral nationalism”, first the Jews in this Khazar country, then the Russians and the Communists, the anarchists of Nestor Makhno, and many others. The “integral nationalists”, who had become admirers of the Führer and deeply racist, returned to the forefront with the dissolution of the USSR [6]. …………………………………

Modern Ukraine has patiently built its Nazi regime. After proclaiming the “genetic heritage of the Ukrainian people”, it enacted various laws. The first one grants the benefit of human rights by the state only to Ukrainians, not to foreigners. The second defines who the majority of Ukrainians are, and the third (enacted by President Zelensky) who the minorities are. The trick is that no law speaks about Russian speakers. Therefore, by default, the courts do not recognize them the benefit of human rights.

Since 2014, a civil war has pitted the integral nationalists against the Russian-speaking populations, mainly those of Crimea and Donbass. 20,000 deaths later, the Russian Federation, applying its “responsibility to protect,” launched a special military operation to implement Security Council Resolution 2202 (Minsk Agreements) and end the martyrdom of Russian speakers.

…………………………. Nato propaganda tells us about the real sufferings of the Ukrainians, but it does not mention the eight years of torture, murder and massacres that preceded it. It talks about “our common values with Ukrainian democracy”, but what values do we share with the integral nationalists and where is the democracy in Ukraine?

We do not have to choose between one or the other, but only to defend peace and therefore the Minsk Agreements and resolution 2202.

War drives us crazy. There is a reversal of values. The most extremist triumph. Some of our ministers speak of “stifling Russia” (sic). We do not see that we are supporting the very ideas we believe we are fighting against

October 29, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global heating levels threaten to destroy economies

Levels of warming threaten to ‘destroy economies’, says UN. The world
is already seeing increasing floods, storms, heatwaves and wildfires as a
result of climate change. The planet is heading for “climate
catastrophe”, with countries significantly behind in cutting global
warming pollution, the UN has warned. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
said countries are bracing for “economy-destroying levels of global

 Express 27th Oct 2022

October 29, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The voices in this world which have the most power belong to those who are destroying it”, writes Greta Thunberg

 “The voices in this world which have the most power belong to those who
are destroying it”, writes Greta Thunberg in the outro of her spectacular
new book. It is a sentence which encapsulates the skill with which she can
speak the blatant truths our society can scarcely acknowledge, but it is
also a damning conclusion and part of a revolutionary call to arms.

Her zero-tolerance level for bulls*** is the beacon which has not only won her
acclaim, but also lights the way through this collection of essays, evidence and potential solutions written by an astonishing list of experts,
scientists, activists and authors.

 Independent 27th Oct 2022

October 29, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s biggest states have set stunning renewable plans. Now we need a national strategy — RenewEconomy

Australia makes surfboards, so why not turbine blades? We definitely need a national strategy to deliver on our ambitious state renewable plans. The post Australia’s biggest states have set stunning renewable plans. Now we need a national strategy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s biggest states have set stunning renewable plans. Now we need a national strategy — RenewEconomy

October 29, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October 28 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “How Electric Vehicles May Be Able To Provide Backup Power For Homes” • GM announced a new business arm called GM Energy this month. It is set to offer bidirectional EV charging units that can send power back to homes and the electrical grid, Business Insider reports. GM, meanwhile, is set to partner […]

October 28 Energy News — geoharvey

October 29, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment