Australian news, and some related international items

Documents show no sign Albanese government lobbied the US to bring Julian Assange home, by Rex Patrick | Jan 24, 2023

The government is hosting a media freedom roundtable yet Freedom of Information inquiries show no evidence of entreaties to the Biden administration to free Australia’s number one victim of political and media persecution, Julian Assange. Actions speak louder than words, writes Rex Patrick.

When Independent MP Monique Ryan stood up in the Parliament in late November and asked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese if his Government would intervene to bring Australian journalist Julian Assange home, those in the community that care about freedom of the press were provided with a glimmer of hope.

The PM answered: “I, some time ago, made my point that enough is enough. It is time for this matter to be brought to a conclusion. In that, I don’t express any personal sympathy with some of the actions of Mr Assange. I do say though that this issue has gone on for many years now, and when you look at the issue of Mr Assange and compare that with the person responsible for leaking the information, Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning, she is now able to participate freely in US society.”

He went on to say:

The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member for Kooyong that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government. My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration that it is time that this matter be brought to a close.

Press protections or press protection?

When the Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus MP, KC announced on the 19th of this month that he was calling together media organisations to discuss improved protections for press freedom, Assange supporters could also reasonably crack a smile. Dreyfus pronounced:

“The Albanese Government believes a strong and independent media is vital to democracy and holding governments to account. Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs.”

But it’s now clear there’s a big difference between saying, and doing. A set of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests has bought the Government’s Assange façade crumbling to the ground.

In response to a Freedom of Information request to the Prime Minister for all correspondence or other records of communication sent after 23 May 2022 by or on behalf of the Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, to United States President Joe Biden that related to Julian Paul Assange, his office has come up with nothing.  

In response to a Freedom of Information request to the Attorney General for correspondence or records of communication between him and his US counterpart Merrick Garland that relates to Assange his office also came up bare.

FOI Response from Houston Ash, Senior Adviser to the Attorney-General

It’s a response that’s left independent MP Monique Ryan disturbed. 

“The US Government’s prosecution of Australian journalist and publisher Julian Assange poses a major threat to press freedom around the world. Unfortunately, the evidence now available shows that, contrary to their statements, Prime Minister Albanese and his Ministers have done little to secure Mr Assange’s freedom. None of them has written to their US counterparts to press for the espionage prosecution to be dropped”said Ms Ryan.

She’s now rightly called on the government to disclose exactly what they have done, and will do, to secure Assange’s release.

In media statements she referred also to a further request made to Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s office for Assange related correspondence between her and United States Secretary of State Antony J Blinken. It also drew a blank.

Ms Ryan observed:

If the Albanese Government was serious about working to secure an end to the US prosecution and Mr Assange’s release, then he and his Ministers would have raised the matter formally, in writing, with their counterparts at the top levels of the US Government”, It is now confirmed that they have not done so via any formal means.”

Ms Ryan went on to highlight the Attorney’s duplicitous stand. “Last week, in announcing a forthcoming national media roundtable, Attorney-General Dreyfus declared that ‘Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs‘.” Julian Assange is an Australian journalist who faces lifelong imprisonment for doing his job.

The Independent MP for Kooyong has signalled her intent to take the matter further. “When the Federal Parliament reconvenes in February, the Government will need to explain – in much more detail – when we can expect to see Mr Assange return to Australia”

The Albanese Government has been caught out saying something but not meaning it. They just want to appear that they’re doing something, when behind the scenes they’re doing very little, if anything much at all.  

Nothing is to be gained by the continuing prosecution of Julian Assange. The US espionage prosecution sends precisely the wrong message at a time when freedom of the press is under threat in many countries worldwide. 

The Albanese Government serve the United States better, and promotes a solid position itself, in pressing for the attack on Assange and media freedom to stop.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Julian Assange and the US government’s war on whistleblowers

Chris Hedges, The Real News Network, Fri, 20 Jan 2023 

Thirteen years ago, WikiLeaks published extensive leaked US government documents detailing a range of criminal and unethical acts, from the slaughter of civilians in the “War on Terror” to acts of espionage against foreign heads of state. Since then, the persecution of Julian Assange has not ceased. This year, Assange is expected to stand trial in the US for violations of the Espionage Act. Journalist Kevin Gosztola joins The Chris Hedges Report to review the cases of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and discuss Washington’s wider war against whistleblowers and the truth itself.

Kevin Gosztola is the managing editor of Shadowproof, where he writes The Dissenter. He is the author of Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange.


Chris Hedges:  The long persecution of Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, is set to culminate in its final act: a trial in the United States, probably this year. Kevin Gosztola has spent the last decade reporting on Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers. His new book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case against Julian Assange, methodically lays out the complex issues surrounding the case, the gross distortions to the legal system used to facilitate the extradition of Julian, now in a high security prison in London, the abuses of power by the FBI and the CIA, including spying on Julian’s meetings when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with his family, doctors, and attorneys, and the dire consequences, should Julian be convicted, for the press.

Joining me to discuss his new book is Kevin Gosztola. So Kevin, you do a very… I think your book and Nils Melzer are the two books I would recommend for people who don’t understand the case. I use this show in this interview to really lay out for people who are unfamiliar with the long persecution of Julian and the legal anomalies that have been used against him. You know, what those are. So let’s just start with what are the charges, what are the allegations, which is where you begin your book.

Kevin Gosztola:  Yeah. And the intention was to look ahead and say, Julian Assange is likely to be brought to the US by the end of 2023, maybe 2024. We need something out there for the general public so they can wrap their head around the unprecedented nature of what’s unfolding. And so the charges against Julian Assange, he was first indicted back in April of 2019. Or sorry, that was when it was unveiled. He was charged first with a computer crime offense. They alleged, essentially, a password cracking conspiracy. And that was of intrusion, of essentially agreeing to help Chelsea Manning anonymously access military computers.

And then the other charges were 17 espionage act offenses. …………………………………………………………

January 26, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Kimba District Council, keen to host nuclear waste dump, but now plans marketing push to get a “brand” different from the nuclear one.

SA town searches for a new brand beyond nuclear waste. InDaily, Thomas Kelsall, 2 5 Jan 23

The Eyre Peninsula town of Kimba is searching for a new marketing strategy to persuade Australians to “see beyond a radioactive waste facility” when they think of the town.

In a tender released on Tuesday, the District Council of Kimba invited quotes for a new brand strategy that will “empower Council, business and residents to tell its own story and unite people”.

The procurement document makes specific reference to the federal government’s controversial plan to build a national radioactive waste management facility 24km west of Kimba in Napandee.

The six-year debate about whether to store low and medium-level radioactive waste in Kimba has brought national and international media attention to the small Eyre Peninsula farming town, which has a population of just over 1000 people.

“[Kimba] is a beautiful rural community of residents who have chosen to live, work, raise families and retire in a safe environment,” the council tender states.

“The region is attracting significant national and international attention as the plans for hosting the National Radioactive Waste Management Facilities go ahead.

“Kimba is seeking to create a brand that will ensure that when the eyes of Australia turn to Kimba, they see beyond a radioactive waste facility and see Kimba in the way the community want it to be recognised.”

The tender outlines that the successful contractor must hold public forums and stakeholder meetings to “[determine] how the community wants to be understood in the market”.

Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson told InDaily he would prefer Kimba – the winner of the 2021 Agricultural Town of the Year award – to be recognised first as a “really friendly and welcoming town”.

“The media has been concentrated on the search for a national radioactive waste management facility,” he said.

“But we recognise our town and our community as much bigger than that.

“We’ve got an enormous amount of tourist attractions in our community, and we’ve worked really hard on things like our free camping areas and just other things to support tourists that come to our community.”

Asked if the nuclear waste facility was a branding issue for the town, Johnson said: “No, I don’t believe it is, but we want to do all we can to address the possible connotations that people may have preconceived ideas.”

“We really want to educate people and help show that the community is much wider than any single issue and just showcase our district as a wonderful place to come and visit.”

Johnson has previously expressed his support for the waste facility, arguing it would help diversify Kimba’s predominately agricultural economy and “[guarantee] the future for nuclear medicine that benefits every single Australian”.

Preliminary investigative works on the 211-hectare agricultural site earmarked for the waste dump began late last year, despite the project being subject to a legal challenge from the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC), which holds native title in the site’s surrounding areas.

Fears about the facility’s potential impact on local tourism and agriculture have been raised before.

In May 2022, Conservation Council SA, the state’s peak environmental body, called for a parliamentary inquiry to examine a range of concerns about the waste dump, including “potential adverse impacts on reputation-sensitive economic sectors including agriculture and tourism”………………………….

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King supports the waste facility progressing, although Premier Peter Malinauskas has said the Barngarla people should have a right to veto the project……….

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bill Gates in Australia- mainly to soft sell his small nuclear reactor business

This one written with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence

Bill Gates has invested in an Australian climate technology start-up, Rumin8, that plans to reduce the methane emissions of cow burps[1][2][3][4]. He has also expressed his support for nuclear power in Australia[5], and has made other investments in climate tech ventures[2].

Bill Gates’ interest in promoting nuclear power to Australia is simply because he wants to get his small nuclear business Terra Power, happening, with its dodgy and super-expensive “Natrium” model

Small nuclear reactors are not viable due to their high cost and the fact that they require a large amount of uranium. This means that the cost of producing electricity from these reactors would be much higher than other sources such as solar or wind power. Additionally, there are safety concerns associated with these reactors due to their potential for radiation leaks and other accidents.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Chinese Aggression” Sure Looks An Awful Lot Like US Aggression

The US empire has been increasingly positioning its war machinery around China since the Obama administration’s “Pivot to Asia” in ways that would have led to an immediate third world war if the roles were reversed, and its aggressions have escalated with each subsequent administration.

Caitlin Johnstone Jan 25 2023

Punchbowl News reports that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is planning a trip to Taiwan, which will be yet another incendiary provocation against Beijing if it occurs. The previous House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, sparked a significant escalation in hostilities with her visit last year, the consequences of which are still reverberating today.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp explains:

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was viewed in Beijing as a major provocation, and it sparked the largest-ever Chinese military drills around the island. The exercises included China firing missiles over Taiwan and simulating a blockade of the island, both unprecedented actions.”

China has kept up the military pressure on Taiwan since Pelosi’s visit, and its warplanes regularly now cross the median line, an informal barrier that divides the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Before Pelosi’s trip, China barely crossed the line. Now, it’s an almost-daily occurrence.

Beijing views the US House speaker visiting Taiwan as an affront to the one-China policy and the understanding the US and China reached in 1979, when Washington severed formal relations with Taipei.”

US-led provocations and escalations against China are becoming a regular occurrence, both from the US itself and from its imperial assets like Australia and Taiwan. Yet according to the western political/media class, the urgent threat of our day is “Chinese aggression”.

After the House of Representatives voted to approve the new Select Committee on China — a Republican initiative designed to increase internal pressure in the US government to ramp up the new cold war — the committee’s chairman Mike Gallagher put out a statement saying that it is “time to push back against the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression in bipartisan fashion.”

Gallagher is a particularly noxious warmonger who says urgent efforts must be made to stop China from “destroying the capitalist system led by the United States in order to make way for the triumph of world socialism with Chinese characteristics.” He advocates the “selective decoupling” from specific sectors of the Chinese economy and says the US is in “the early stages of a new cold war” against China. He advocates pouring weapons into Taiwan in much the same way the US did in the lead-up to its proxy war in Ukraine, and asserts that the US needs to be preparing for a direct hot war with China in the near future.

Gallagher’s hawkishness on China is quickly becoming the mainstream consensus position in the western political/media class as the US-centralized empire ramps up aggressions while continually complaining about Chinese aggression.

The US empire has been increasingly positioning its war machinery around China since the Obama administration’s “Pivot to Asia” in ways that would have led to an immediate third world war if the roles were reversed, and its aggressions have escalated with each subsequent administration. Just in the last couple of months we’ve had news that the US is planning on returning to its Subic Bay base in the Philippines as part of its encirclement campaign against China, and also intends to station missile-armed marines along Japan’s Okinawa islands. The US is also reportedly working on building a network of missile systems on a chain of islands near the Chinese mainland, explicitly for the goal of countering China. The US and its allies have dramatically increased their naval presence in disputed waters near China, viewed as acts of aggression by Beijing.

None of this would be tolerated by the United States if China were openly moving its war machinery into adjacent areas with the stated goal of “countering the US”. If China were doing this, it would be a near-unanimous consensus throughout the western world that China was engaged in hostile provocations and was clearly the aggressor. Nobody would listen to China if it claimed it was militarily encircling the US for defensive purposes.

But that’s exactly what happens with US aggressions against China. It’s just taken as matter of fact when the US says it’s moving more and more war machinery into the waters around China as a defensive precaution to deter Chinese aggression. Because the narrative is coming from the most effective propaganda machine ever devised, we hear “No bro, the US is militarily encircling its number one geopolitical rival on the other side of the planet defensively. Because like what if China tries to do something aggressive?”

In a surprisingly decent Foreign Affairs article titled “The Problem With Primacy,” Van Jackson argues that the US is behaving in such a transparently aggressive manner toward China that it can’t possibly claim to be acting in the interests of preserving peace and stability in the region.

This is not the rationale of a country that is simply balancing Chinese power or trying to stop Beijing from creating a sphere of influence,” writes Jackson of the recent US semiconductor export ban against China. “It is not the strategy of a state trying to decouple from the Chinese economy. It is containment in all but name.

“The Pentagon has promised that 2023 will be ‘the most transformative year in US force posture in the region in a generation,’ a line likely meant to be reassuring but that comes off as ominous,” Jackson writes. “The Department of Defense is making good on this promise by modernizing its large traditional presence in Northeast Asia while increasing its footprint in the Pacific Islands and Australia—areas that the Chinese military cannot seriously contest.”

Jackson argues that Washington’s efforts to halt China’s rise will likely achieve nothing besides provoking China into militarizing against it, saying, “There is no reason to believe that spending over a trillion dollars modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal or selling submarines to Australia will cause China to do anything but continue arming itself as quickly as possible.”

This aligns with the warnings of an anonymous US official cited in a November article by Bloomberg, who said that “the hawkish tone in DC has contributed to a cycle where the US makes the first move, interprets Chinese reactions as a provocation, and then escalates further.”

It’s the US making the first move every time.

Taiwan is an odd case because empire apologists will openly tell you that Beijing must never control the island as it’s a geostrategically crucial location with essential semiconductor manufacturing, and then turn around and still try to tell you that Washington’s interest in Taiwan is because it wants to protect freedom and democracy. It’s even more transparent than when they were pretending to yearn for the liberation of nations that just so happened to sit on a lot of oil.

I don’t know if Beijing will ever launch an attack on Taiwan or some other future flashpoint, but if it does it seems a safe bet that it will be because the US empire kept ramping up aggressions and provocations until it got to the point that China felt it was losing more from inaction than it would from action. And then empire apologists will spend all day shrieking at anyone who tries to talk about those provocations.

Because that’s the rule now, if you weren’t aware. As of February 2022 we’re all meant to pretend that the concept of provocation is not a commonplace idea that everyone understands and learns about as children, but that “provocation” is rather a nonsensical propaganda word that was invented by Vladimir Putin last year. It is now no longer permissible for you to talk about the aggressions that led up to a nation going to war; we must all pretend that history began the day their troops crossed the border.

History is being re-written with Ukraine, and if war erupts over Taiwan it will probably be re-written there as well. But note to the future: the road to war was paved by mountains of US aggression.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Military offensives increase nuclear accident odds in Ukraine, warns atomic safety chief

Earlier this month, Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s state-run Energoatom nuclear operator, said a U.N. security buffer was not “realistic” and instead called for Ukraine’s forces to take the facility back by force.

But Grossi warned that any attack “puts the installation at great risk.

Rafael Mariano Grossi wants ‘every’ EU country to push for a security buffer around the occupied Zaporizhzhia plant.


The risk of an accident at Ukraine’s Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant will “undoubtedly” increase as both Kyiv and Moscow prepare for military offensives in the coming months, warned the chief of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.

“There is a lot of talk about bigger, larger maneuvers and action in the early spring or late winter,” Rafael Mariano Grossi, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general, told POLITICO, “which makes me think that any increase in bombing and shelling will undoubtedly increase the possibility of a nuclear accident.”

Russia is likely to launch a fresh push to take Ukrainian territory this spring, a top NATO official said last week, while Ukraine also says it is readying a major counter-offensive……………………………………….

Earlier this month, Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s state-run Energoatom nuclear operator, said a U.N. security buffer was not “realistic” and instead called for Ukraine’s forces to take the facility back by force.

But Grossi warned that any attack “puts the installation at great risk.”

He’s pressing for EU foreign ministers to get involved and use their “own channels of communication” with Ukraine and Russia to “pass the message … that avoiding a nuclear accident is a must” and a security zone is needed.

Grossi also addressed the increasingly frequent calls from Russian propagandists and some politicians that Moscow should respond to its battlefield setbacks by unleashing its nuclear weapons.

“I don’t see how a conventional war — no matter how dramatic it is — between a non-nuclear weapon state and a nuclear weapon state could … justify the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

German foreign minister: “We are fighting a war against Russia”

Germany ‘at war’ with Russia – FM 25 Jan 23

Annalena Baerbock made the admission in a debate with EU colleagues, pushing for the delivery of tanks to Kiev

Arguing in favor of sending tanks to Kiev, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said EU countries were fighting a war against Russia. US and EU officials have previously gone out of their way to claim they were not a party to the conflict in Ukraine.

Baerbock, during a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday said:

“And therefore I’ve said already in the last days – yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks. But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

While Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that Germany ought to support Ukraine but avoid direct confrontation with Russia, his coalition partner Baerbock has taken a more hawkish position. According to German media, her Greens Party has been in favor of sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, and eventually managed to pressure Scholz into agreeing. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who was reluctant to send tanks to Ukraine, was pushed to resign.…………………………………………….

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Nightmare of NATO Equipment Being Sent to Ukraine

By Scott Ritter, Consortium News 24 Jan 23“…………………………………………………………………………… What the West is Giving 

Operational training, no matter how competently delivered and absorbed, does not paint an accurate picture of the true combat capability being turned over to Ukraine by the West. The reality is most of this equipment won’t last a month under combat conditions; even if the Russians don’t destroy them, maintenance issues will.

Take, for instance, the 59 M-2 Bradley vehicles being supplied by the United States. According to anecdotal information obtained from Reddit, the Bradley is, to quote, “a maintenance NIGHTMARE.”

I can’t even begin to commiserate how f***ing awful maintenance on a Bradley is,” the author, a self-described U.S. Army veteran who served in a Bradley unit in Iraq, declared.

Two experienced crews MIGHT be able to change one Brad’s track in 3 or 4 hours, if nothing goes wrong (something always goes wrong). Then you got the track adjuster arms, the shock arms, the roadwheels, the sprocket itself, that all need maintained and replaced as needed. I haven’t even started talking about the engine/transmission pack yet. When you do services on that, it’s not like you just raise the engine deck lid. You got to take the armor OFF the Bradley so an M88 Wrecker vehicle can use its crane to LIFT the engine/tranny out of the hull.”

The Stryker isn’t any better. According to a recent article in Responsible Statecraft, U.S. soldiers who used the vehicle in both Iraq and Afghanistan called the Stryker “a very good combat vehicle, so long as it traveled on roads, it wasn’t raining — and didn’t have to fight.”

The Stryker is also a difficult system to maintain properly. One of the critical features of the Stryker is the “height management system,” or HMS. In short, it is what keeps the hull from riding on the tires. A failure to constantly maintain and monitor the HMS system will result in the hull rubbing up against the tires, causing tire failure and a non-operable vehicle.

The HMS is complex, and a failure to maintain or operate one component will result in the failure of the entire system. The likelihood of the future Ukrainian operators of the Stryker properly maintaining the HMS under combat conditions is near-zero — they will lack the training as well as the “logistical support” necessary (such as spare parts).

The German Marder IFV appears to represent a similar maintenance headache for the Ukrainians: according to a 2021 article in The National Interest, “The vehicle was considered unreliable from the outset: Tracks rapidly wore out, transmissions often failed, and soldiers could not easily remove the vehicle’s engine for field maintenance.”

While Germany is preparing to invest a significant amount of money to upgrade the Marder, this hasn’t yet been done. Ukraine is inheriting an old weapons system that brings with it a considerable maintenance problem Ukraine is not prepared to properly handle.

The German Marder IFV appears to represent a similar maintenance headache for the Ukrainians: according to a 2021 article in The National Interest, “The vehicle was considered unreliable from the outset: Tracks rapidly wore out, transmissions often failed, and soldiers could not easily remove the vehicle’s engine for field maintenance.”

While Germany is preparing to invest a significant amount of money to upgrade the Marder, this hasn’t yet been done. Ukraine is inheriting an old weapons system that brings with it a considerable maintenance problem Ukraine is not prepared to properly handle.

The Swedish CV 90 saw some limited combat in Afghanistan when deployed with the Norwegian Army. While there is not enough publicly available data about the maintainability of this system, one only needs to note that even if the SV 90 proves easy to maintain, it represents a completely different maintenance problem from that of the Bradly, Stryker, or Marder.

In short, to properly operate the five battalion-equivalents of infantry fighting vehicles being supplied their NATO partners, Ukraine will need to train its maintenance troops on four completely different systems, each with its own unique set of problems and separate logistical/spare part support requirements.

It is, literally, a logistical nightmare that will ultimately prove to be the Achilles heel of the Ramstein tranche of heavy equipment.

But even here, neither NATO nor Ukraine seems able to see the forest for the trees. Rather than acknowledging that the material being provided is inadequate to the task of empowering Ukraine to carry out large-scale offensive operations against Russia, the two sides began haranguing each other over the issue of tanks, namely the failure of Germany to step up to the plate in Ramstein and clear the way for the provision to Ukraine of hundreds of modern Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

German History & Optics

The Ramstein meeting was hampered by concern within the German Parliament over the optics associated with Germany providing tanks which would be used to fight Russians in Ukraine……………………………………………………………………….

The Consequences for Ukraine

The reality is, however, that the consequences of the Ramstein Contact Group’s work will be far more detrimental to Ukraine than Russia.

The reality is, however, that the consequences of the Ramstein Contact Group’s work will be far more detrimental to Ukraine than Russia.

Under pressure from the West to carry out a major offensive designed to expel Russian forces from the territories captured last year, General Zaluzhnyi will be compelled to sacrifice whatever reserves he would be able to assemble in the aftermath of Ramstein for the purpose of engaging in fruitless attacks against a Russian opponent that is far different from the one Ukraine faced in September and October of last year……………….

Today, Russia’s military presence in Ukraine is a far cry from what it was in the autumn of 2022. In the aftermath of Putin’s September 2022 decision to mobilize 300,000 reservists, Russia has not only consolidated the frontline in eastern Ukraine, assuming a more defensible posture, but also reinforced its forces with some 80,000 mobilized troops, allowing for Russia to sustain offensive operations in the Donetsk regions while solidifying its defenses in Kherson and Lugansk.

……….. Moving forward, Russia will be waging war by the book. Defensive positions will be laid in a manner designed to defeat concerted NATO attack, both in terms of troop density along the frontline, but also in depth………………………………………………..

While the modern-day soldiers of the 8th Guards Army may not be mounting a new generation of tanks on display in the Berlin Tiergarten, rest assured they know fully well their historical legacy and what is expected of them.

This, more than anything else, is the true expression of the Ramstein effect, a cause-effect relationship that the West does not seem either able or willing to discern before it is too late for the tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers whose lives are about to be sacrificed on an altar of national hubris and ignorance.

Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. His most recent book is Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, published by Clarity Press.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doomsday Clock set to 90 seconds to midnight, here’s the plan – ICAN

 Doomsday Clock set to 90 seconds to midnight, here’s the plan. ICAN has
a roadmap for ridding the world of nuclear weapons in four steps:
prohibition, stigmatisation, negotiation, elimination.

 ICAN 24th Jan 2023

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Geopolitics’ New Frontier in Space

1969 : “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.

Now : any future competition between the US and China to return humans to the moon’s surface should be treated not as an act of simple exploration, but rather of conquest.

Energy Intelligence, Jan 23, 2023 Scott Ritter, Washington

A recent statement by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) head Bill Nelson that the US was in a space race with China, when combined with recent moves by both the US and China to militarize space, could send the US on a policy trajectory that transforms established policy regarding space-based activities as being exclusively exploration-driven in nature, to one where conquest and domination become the dominating factors.

Such a move would be a sharp departure from past practice and inconsistent with existing treaty obligations banning such conduct. However, the current level of anti-Chinese rhetoric in the US and an historical willingness to walk away from treaty vehicles that fall foul of US interests, could combine and result in Bill Nelson’s self-declared “space race,” becoming the foundation of future US declaratory policy — especially once billions of dollars are allocated by the US Congress premised on such a notion.

‘Space, the Final Frontier’

Most individuals, when hearing this phrase, will conjure up visions of Capt. James Kirk and the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, both having become household names thanks to the television show Star Trek and a series of movie spin-offs. The purpose of Kirk’s five-year mission was to “explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations — to boldly go where no man has gone before”.

Such is the world of fiction. Enter reality: According to statements made during an interview with Politico, published on Jan. 1, 2023, NASA’s Nelson, a former congressman and senator from Florida, declared that the US was in a “space race” with China that could see the Chinese make territorial claims to parts of the moon. “It is a fact,” said Nelson, who in 1986, while serving in Congress, flew onboard the space shuttle Columbia. “We’re in a space race. And it is true that we better watch out that they don’t get to a place on the moon under the guise of scientific research. And it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they say, ‘Keep out, we’re here, this is our territory.’”

So much for exploration — the idyllic mission of the Starship Enterprise and its crew appears to have been replaced by a competition that increasingly sounds more like a race for territorial acquisition. And while Nelson’s assessment has not been echoed by anyone in the Biden administration, it does come on the heels of recent moves by both the US and China to militarize space, which when seen in that light, could reflect a changing mindset within the US government that any future competition between the US and China to return humans to the moon’s surface should be treated not as an act of simple exploration, but rather of conquest.

……………………………… when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon, on Jul. 20, 1969, they deployed a plaque containing the following statement: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

There was no mention of a US-Soviet space race, or even of the US. The statement “We came in peace for all mankind” was in fact derived from the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act’s declaration of policy and purpose “that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.”

Militarization of Space

NASA is currently engaged an active program to return US astronauts to the moon, perhaps as early as 2024. The area of interest on the moon is the lunar south pole, where concentrations of valuable minerals, water and geographical features conducive to sustaining 24-hour solar power generation combine to create the ideal conditions for the creation of a moon colony.

But NASA isn’t the only party interested in putting a man back on the moon. China has been conducting exploratory missions to the moon, with the intent to establish a robotic research station on the lunar surface prior to setting up its own full-time base in the vicinity of the lunar south pole, something US intelligence assesses could occur as early as 2026……………………………………………

Given that both the US and China have recently declared space to be a “military domain,” it is possible, if not probable, that any future commercial exploration and exploitation interest by either party on the lunar surface would be treated as a national security priority, and therefore subject to military protection — especially after both parties have invested so much of their respective treasury and prestige into putting their citizens on the moon. The interests “of all mankind,” it seems, is no longer the driving factor behind lunar exploration, instead replaced by the kind of national chauvinism space exploration was supposed to supersede.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 26 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “With Concrete, Less Is More” • In its recent urbanization, China used more concrete between 2011 and 2013 than the US did in the entire 20th century. Concrete is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions. The concrete industry must reduce emissions by 16% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 to stay within […]

January 26 Energy News — geoharvey

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment