Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear submarines – outrageous price tag beyond any value for Australia’s defence

Kazzi Jai , Nuclear fuel cycle watch Australia, 25 Feb 23

Interesting read in respect to the possible acquisition of nuclear subs, by Former Prime Minister Paul Keating

”But Sheridan’s problem is part of a wider problem. The national foreign policy debate in Australia, is now heavily populated by an army of ‘little Americans’ who cannot see past the United States and its interests. That is, the interests of another country.

These people populate our security agencies, the likes of ASPI, the military services and important sections of the media.

In terms of Australia’s sovereign interests – the gift of a continent, our position and proximity to Asia – these people prefer an exclusive faith in an Atlantic power half a world away.

Not that the alliance with the United States is not important to us. It is. The alliance has been and remains central to our security and foreign policy. But not to the exclusion of good and appropriate relations with the region and especially with China.

The ANZUS Treaty, struck in 1951, is an equivocal document which offers strategic consultation but fails to guarantee automatic military support to Australia by the United States in the event of Australia being attacked.

This differs from the first quality guarantee the US provides to NATO partners who are guaranteed an automatic military response by the US in the event a NATO partner is attacked by another state.”

”The nuclear propelled submarines under consideration by Australia would be armed with conventional torpedoes – the same as the existing Collins class submarines.

Were we to procure eight Virginia class US submarines – only two or three would ever be at sea on station.

At about A$9billion per submarine – a fleet of eight (in twenty-five years’ time) would cost around A$70billion in today’s dollars. $70billion to fire conventional torpedoes from two to three boats only at the same time.

The price tag is outrageous and beyond any value for the utility – especially when far cheaper conventional submarines can be acquired to do the same job.

And, of course, the submarine would, in part, be crewed by Americans – so the United States would be in full possession of Australia’s operational choices at any one time. Hardly the stuff of the sovereignty Australia both needs and is entitled to.”………………………………….. more

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Margaret Beavis | Here’s how to tone down the nuclear threat

We are at a turning point.

By signing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Australia would join 122 countries who supported the treaty at the United Nations. Although the US will very actively discourage such action, Thailand, New Zealand and the Philippines are all signatories and remain US allies.

By Margaret Beavis, February 27 2023

With the invasion of Ukraine and now Putin suspending the New Start Treaty, the risk of both nuclear proliferation and nuclear war is increasing. But we can play a role in preventing this.

For more than seven decades we have been told that nuclear weapons are an essential political tool that make us safer, but in reality, each day we wake up without nuclear conflict is indeed a lucky day.

Myths come into being through the telling and re-telling of stories. Myths exist to help us make meaning of our world and our lives, however, not all myths are true.

There are three big myths about nuclear weapons.

The first myth is that a nuclear war is “winnable”. The research, however, is both clear-cut and horrifying. Even a “small” regional nuclear exchange – say between Pakistan and India – using less than 1 per cent of the global nuclear arsenal, would kill around 100 million people.

Massive fires would loft millions of tons of smoke into the stratosphere. Decade-long global cooling will follow. Crop yields of rice, wheat and corn would fall 15 to 30 per cent.

Conservatively estimated, around 2 billion people would starve.

If the US and Russia used their 1800 deployed weapons, food production would cease in most parts of the world. Most, if not all, of the human race would starve.

The second myth is an outdated, dogmatic belief that nuclear weapons make us safer. Nuclear deterrence assumes the threat of mutually assured destruction will prevent the use of nuclear weapons.

However, risk analysis demonstrates the reverse is true. Given increasing conflict, brinkmanship, and unpredictable world leaders, plus the risks posed by cyberattacks and extremists, it’s hard to rely on a mutually assured destruction strategy.

But the biggest risk, looking at history, is inadvertent use. We have – at least seven times – come within a hair’s breadth of global conflagration, due to human, computer or radar error, unusual weather patterns and even a faulty computer chip.

The US and Russia have come close on five occasions since 1979. It is inevitable that eventually our luck will run out.

The third myth is that nuclear disarmament is irresponsible. But it is hopelessly unrealistic to assume these weapons will never be used.

We are at a turning point.

By signing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Australia would join 122 countries who supported the treaty at the United Nations. Although the US will very actively discourage such action, Thailand, New Zealand and the Philippines are all signatories and remain US allies.

February 27, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sacred site, nuclear target are neighbours

26 February 2023, By ROD MOSS

At the distant point of the track is the Joint Defence Facility, colloquially known as the Space Base or Pine Gap. Prior to awareness of Kweyrnpe, I’d joined peace activists in the 1980s, protesting at its gates about its role in war, surveillance and nuclear targeting.

Not until the mid nineties did I understand the significance of Kweyrnpe to the Hayes families when Patrick senior asked me to take him there to talk about the paintings.

He’d mentioned it was a sacred site when, as its TO, he’d been toured through the defence facility.

His grandson, Vernon Alice had accompanied him. The base was honouring an agreement with the TOs whenever new installations occurred though the family remain none the wiser about its inner workings.

Some of the younger men had spent time in Big House, the correctional centre, visible to the south of Kweyrnpe.

Whatever privations they’d endured, several admitted it wasn’t too bad as, unlike many inmates, they’d been on their own country which possibly explained the casual acceptance of many of their sentences and recidivism.

Initially it was the rock formations that fascinated me and those and the sky were painted first. But it wasn’t finished with me. Or me with it.

Some weeks later I imagined, then added, a wild dog pack lurching stealthily towards the viewer over; intruders beneath that apocalyptic sky.

The ridge to the right separates the initiated men’s site, with its overhang of protected paintings, from the women and children’s side which is adorned with native pines / alukerrwe.

Though no signage existed in the small car park at the time of this painting, a visitors book and a board with brief information about its significance for Arrernte has been erected advising on appropriate behaviour. A simplified story about the place also fronts the paintings.

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Northern Territory, weapons and war | Leave a comment

There has never in history been a greater need for a large Anti-War Movement

Caitlin Johnstone 27 Feb 23 Caitlin’s Newsletter,

Things are escalating more and more rapidly between the US-centralized power structure and the few remaining nations with the will and the means to stand against its demands for total obedience, namely China, Russia, and Iran. The world is becoming increasingly split between two groups of governments who are becoming increasingly hostile toward each other, and you don’t have to be a historian to know it’s probably a bad sign when that happens. Especially in the age of nuclear weapons.

The US State Department’s Victoria Nuland is now saying that the US is supporting Ukrainian strikes on Crimea, drawing sharp rebukes from Moscow with a stern reminder that the peninsula is a “red line” for the Kremlin which will result in escalations in the conflict if crossed. On Friday, Ukraine’s President Zelensky told the press that Kyiv is preparing a large offensive for the “de-occupation” of Crimea, which Moscow has considered a part of the Russian Federation since its annexation in 2014.

As Anatol Lieven explained for Jacobin earlier this month, this exact scenario is currently the one most likely to lead to a sequence of escalations ending in nuclear war. In light of the aforementioned recent revelations, the opening paragraph of Lieven’s article is even more chilling to read now than it was when it came out a couple of weeks ago:

The greatest threat of nuclear catastrophe that humanity has ever faced is now centered on the Crimean peninsula. In recent months, the Ukrainian government and army have repeatedly vowed to reconquer this territory, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014. The Russian establishment, and most ordinary Russians, for their part believe that holding Crimea is vital to Russian identity and Russia’s position as a great power. As a Russian liberal acquaintance (and no admirer of Putin) told me, “In the last resort, America would use nuclear weapons to save Hawaii and Pearl Harbor, and if we have to, we should use them to save Crimea.”

And that’s just Russia. The war in Ukraine is being used to escalate against all powers not aligned with the US-centralized alliance, with recent developments including drone attacks on an Iranian weapons factory which reportedly arms Russian soldiers in Ukraine, and Chinese companies being sanctioned for “backfill activities in support of Russia’s defence sector” following US accusations that the Chinese government is preparing to arm Russia in the war.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been holding multiple meetings with top military officials regarding potential future attacks on Iran to neutralize the alleged threat of Iran developing a nuclear arsenal, a “threat” that Netanyahu has personally been lying about for years

If you’ve been reading (and if you care about this stuff you probably should be), you’ve been seeing new articles about the latest imperial escalations against China on a near-daily basis now. Sometimes they come out multiple times per day; this past Thursday Dave DeCamp put out two completely separate news stories titled “US Plans to Expand Military Presence in Taiwan, a Move That Risks Provoking China” and “Philippines in Talks With US, Australia on Joint South China Sea Patrols“. Taiwan and the South China Sea are two powderkeg flashpoints where war could quickly erupt at any time in a number of different ways.

If you know where to look for good updates on the behavior of the US-centralized empire and you follow them from day to day, it’s clear that things are accelerating toward a global conflict of unimaginable horror. As bad as things look right now, the future our current trajectory has us pointed toward is much, much, much worse.

Empire apologists will frame this trajectory toward global disaster as an entirely one-sided affair, with bloody-fanged tyrants trying to take over the world because they are evil and hate freedom, and the US-centralized alliance either cast in the role of poor widdle victim or heroic defender of the weak and helpless depending on which generates more sympathy on that day.

These people are lying. Any intellectually honest research into the west’s aggressions and provocations against both Russia and China will show you that Russia and China are reacting defensively to the empire’s campaign to secure US unipolar planetary hegemony; you might not agree with those reactions, but you cannot deny that they are reactions to a clear and deliberate aggressor.

This is important to understand, because whenever you say that something must be done to try and avert an Atomic Age world war, you’ll get empire apologists saying “Well go protest in Moscow and Beijing then,” as though the US power alliance is some kind of passive witness to all this. Which is of course complete bullshit; if World War III does indeed befall us, it will be because of choices that were made by the drivers of the western empire while ignoring off-ramp after off-ramp.

This tendency to flip reality and frame the western imperial power structure as the reactive force for peace against malevolent warmongers serves to help quash the emergence of a robust anti-war movement in the west, because if your own government is virtuous and innocent in a conflict then there’s no good reason to go protesting it. But that’s exactly what urgently needs to happen, because these people are driving us to our doom.

In fact, it is fair to say that there has never in history been a time when the need to forcefully oppose the warmongering of our own western governments was more urgent. The attacks on Vietnam and Iraq were horrific atrocities which unleashed unfathomable suffering upon our world, but they did not pose any major existential threat to the world as a whole. The wars in Vietnam and Iraq killed millions; we’re talking about a conflict that can kill billions.

Each of the World Wars was in turn the worst single thing that happened to our species as a whole up until that point in history. World War I was the worst thing that ever happened until World War II happened, and if World War III happens it will almost certainly make World War II look like a schoolyard tussle. This is because all of the major players in that conflict would be armed with nuclear weapons, and at some point some of them are going to be faced with strong incentives to use them. Once that happens, Mutually Assured Destruction ceases to protect us from armageddon, and the “Mutual” and “Destruction” components come in to play.

None of this needs to happen. There is nothing written in adamantine which says the US must rule the world with an iron fist no matter the cost and no matter the risk. There is nothing inscribed upon the fabric of reality which says nations can’t simply coexist peacefully and collaborate toward the common good of all beings, can’t turn away from our primitive impulses of domination and control, can’t do anything but drift passively toward nuclear annihilation all because a few imperialists in Washington convinced everyone to buy into the doctrine of unipolarism.

But we’re not going to turn away from this trajectory unless the masses start using the power of our numbers to force a change from warmongering, militarism and continual escalation toward diplomacy, de-escalation and detente. We need to start organizing against those who would steer our species into extinction, and working to pry their hands away from the steering wheel if they refuse to turn away. We need to resist all efforts to cast inertia on this most sacred of all priorities, and we need to start moving now. We’re all on a southbound bus to oblivion, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons consortium enthusiastically revving up their business.

Nuclear weapons consortium faces new global threats, JIM CARRIER S The Gazette, Feb 26, 2023

WASHINGTON • Thirty years after the Cold War, the United States is again running in a nuclear arms race.

Officially, no one calls it a race. It is contest between four or five adversaries who could destroy the world, or much of it. But it is shaping up to be a costly, unpredictable, generational competition that will shadow international nuclear geopolitics for decades.

Team USA, which is leading the pack at the moment, gathered in a hotel ballroom in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 14 to hear how it can win. The forum was the 15th Nuclear Deterrence Summit, a gathering of people employed by the “nuclear security enterprise,” the complex of laboratories, factories, corporations and federal branches that make and use nuclear weapons.

The atmosphere was by turns alarming and auspicious as contractors, who operate most of the nuclear enterprise and employ 95% of its 70,000 employees, heard of the growing threats to U.S. security, while contemplating lucrative federal contracts to counter those threats.

“Delivery of mission is becoming paramount while the fiscal environment is evolving from being cost-constrained to being cost-conscious,” reported a new study of the enterprise.

The result of that shift is clear: The first millions of trillions of dollars are flowing toward labs and factories that are designing, and starting to build, new thermonuclear bombs and new fleets of missiles, airplanes and submarines to deliver them.

For the 531 people in attendance the summit at times resembled a pep rally.

In a keynote address, Jill Hruby, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), described the U.S. buildup as a “renaissance.”

Nuclear weapons remain the “cornerstone of national defense,” she said. The current stockpile of 3,750 aging warheads — down from more than 31,000 at the height of the Cold War in the mid-1960s — is being “modernized.” They include five existing warheads for gravity bombs, Minuteman and cruise missiles, and the Trident missile for new Columbia-class submarines, now being built.  One warhead, the W93, is a new design for the Sentinel, a new intercontinental ballistic missile that will replace the Minuteman III missiles in silos in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

To make that warhead, the U.S. will again make plutonium “pits,” the core of hydrogen thermonuclear bombs, at a remodeled plant in Los Alamos, N.M., and a new $10 billion plant in Savannah River, Ga.

The pit factories, which replace the infamous and now cleared from the landscape Rocky Flats factory outside Denver, are still being designed, and are the subject of lawsuits by activist groups who say the government sidestepped required full environmental impact statements. If they become operational, Los Alamos will make 30 pits a year starting in 2026 and Savannah River 50 pits a year — a number that is likely to grow, Hruby said.

In the next five years NNSA, a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for applying nuclear science to military weapons, plans to complete five warhead modernizations, build at least six major construction projects and rebuild numerous facilities and capabilities that have “atrophied or disappeared” since the Cold War, she said. Many of the plants and labs are still cleaning up deadly contamination left from the Cold War.

“The American people are hearing more about nuclear issues than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, or the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Hruby said.

At the conclusion of her talk, which began at 8:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, moderator DJ Johnson, vice president of Honeywell’s Federal Solutions Business Enterprise, prompted the audience like a cheerleader………………

The audience applauded, a bit halting at first, perhaps because of two sobering messages that accompanied NNSA’s accomplishments. The first involved new international threats that in the last year shattered the foundations of nonproliferation treaties and the delicate balance of power and peace that had prevailed since the 1960s:………………………………………………………………………….

The second sobering message involved the enterprise’s brain deficit. Last year, the complex hired 11,000 people, but lost 7,000……………

Attrition at some plants is as high as 10% a year, nearly a third of the federal overseers are nearing retirement and 40% of the workforce has less than five years’ experience……………….

As the 500 enterprise employee met and contemplated a future full of nuclear weapons, two men stood across the street from the hotel, holding hand-painted signs. “Nuclear Weapons are illegal,” said one. “The World Wants Nuclear Disarmament,” said the other.

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Evidence Emerges That US Wanted Russia to Invade

February 24, 2023

In the past year, additional proof has emerged proving the West’s provocation of Russia to give it its “Vietnam” in Ukraine. 

Consortium News on Feb. 4, 2022 warned that the U.S. was setting a trap for Russia in Ukraine, as it had in Afghanistan in 1979 and Iraq in 1990, to provoke Russia to invade Ukraine to provide the pretext to launch an economic, information and proxy war designed to weaken Russia and bring down its government — in other words, to give Russia its “Vietnam.” Twenty days later Russia invaded. 

One month later, President Joe Biden confirmed that a trap had indeed been set, as reported by Consortium News on March 27, 2022, republished here today. The evidence that the U.S. wanted and needed Russia to invade as cause to launch its economic, information and proxy wars was clear: 

  • The U.S. backed a coup in 2014, installing an anti-Russian government in Kiev and supporting a war against coup resisters in Donbass.
  • The 2015 Minsk Accords to end the Ukrainian civil war were never implemented.
  • On the day of the Feb. 24, 2022 invasion Biden told reporters that economic sanctions were never intended to deter Russia, but to show the Russian people who Russian President Vladimir Putin was.  In other words the U.S. was not trying to stop the invasion but to overthrow Putin, as Biden confirmed a month later in Warsaw, in order to restore the dominance over Russia the U.S. enjoyed in the 1990s. 

  • The United States and NATO rejected Russian treaty proposals to create a new security architecture in Europe, taking Russia’s security concerns into account. Despite a Russian warning of a technical/military response if the draft treaties were rejected. The U.S. and NATO rejected them nonetheless, knowing and welcoming the consequences. Rather than withdrawing NATO forces from Eastern Europe as the treaty proposals called for, NATO sent more troops.
  • For 30 years, NATO continued expanding towards Russia, despite promises to the contrary, routinely holding exercises near its border, despite fully understanding Russia’s objections, from Boris Yeltsin to Putin, and knowing it would provoke a hostile reaction.  Sen. Joe Biden said as much in 1997.
  • The fake Russiagate scandal helped prepare the U.S. population for hostilities against Russia and launched sanctions based on a lie that have never been lifted. 
  • Despite 100,000 Russian troops on the Russian side of the border, the OSCE reported an increase of shelling by Ukraine of Donbass at the end of February 2022 indicating an impending offensive against ethnic Russian civilians who had suffered eight years for resisting an unconstitutional change of government in 2014.  It was tantamount to baiting those Russian forces to cross the border. 
  • In the past year, additional evidence has emerged proving the West’s provocation:
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin acknowledged that the U.S. strategy in Ukraine is to “weaken” Russia. To this end, the U.S. has stopped peace efforts, even by Israel, to prolong the conflict. 
  • Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former French President Francois Holland, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko all admitted in recent months that they never had any intention of implementing the Minsk Accords (endorsed by the U.N. Security Council) and were stringing Russia along to give time for NATO to train and equip the Ukrainian military for the Russian intervention it anticipated. 
  • Planning for sanctions against Russia began in November 2021, three months before the invasion, according to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Council. 
  • Planning to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines were begun by the United States in September 2021, five months before the invasion, according to reporting by Seymour Hersh.         
  • Taken together, all this evidence leaves little doubt that the U.S. was provoking Russia to invade Ukraine in order to implement its plan to bring down the Russian government.  That the U.S. plan has so far failed, is another matter. 

This was 
Consortium News‘ report on March 27, 2022:

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
March 27, 2022

The U.S. got its war in Ukraine. Without it, Washington could not attempt to destroy Russia’s economy, orchestrate worldwide condemnation and lead an insurgency to bleed Russia, all part of an attempt to bring down its government. Joe Biden has now left no doubt that it’s true.   

The president of the United States has confirmed what Consortium News and others have been reporting since the beginnings of Russsiagate in 2016, that the ultimate U.S. aim is to overthrow the government of Vladimir Putin.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said on Saturday at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The White House and the State Dept. have been scrambling to explain away Biden’s remark. 

But it is too late.

…………………………………………………… Biden first gave the game away at his Feb. 24 White House press conference — the first day of the invasion. He was asked why he thought new sanctions would work when the earlier sanctions had not prevented Russia’s invasion. Biden said the sanctions were never designed to prevent Russia’s intervention but to punish it afterward. Therefore the U.S. needed Russia to invade. 

………………………….. It was the second time that Biden confirmed that the purpose of the draconian U.S. sanctions on Russia was never to prevent the invasion of Ukraine, which the U.S. desperately needed to activate its plans, but to punish Russia and get its people to rise up against Putin and ultimately restore a Yeltsin-like puppet to Moscow. Without a cause those sanctions could never have been imposed. The cause was Russia’s invasion.

Regime Change in Moscow

Once hidden in studies such as this 2019 RAND study, the desire to overthrow the government in Moscow is now out in the open.

One of the earliest threats came from Carl Gersham, the long-time director of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Gershman, wrote in 2013, before the Kiev coup: “Ukraine is the biggest prize.” If it could be pulled away from Russia and into the West, then “Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

David Ignatius wrote in The Washington Post in 1999 that the NED could now practice regime change out in the open, rather than covertly as the C.I.A. had done.

The RAND Corporation on March 18 then published an article titled, “If Regime Change Should Come to Moscow,” the U.S. should be ready for it. Michael McFaul, the hawkish former U.S. ambassador to Russia, has been calling for regime change in Russia for some time…………………………………………………………………………………….

Back in 2017, Consortium News saw Russiagate as a prelude to regime change in Moscow. That year I wrote:

“The Russia-gate story fits neatly into a geopolitical strategy that long predates the 2016 election. Since Wall Street and the U.S. government lost the dominant position in Russia that existed under the pliable President Boris Yeltsin, the strategy has been to put pressure on getting rid of Putin to restore a U.S. friendly leader in Moscow. There is substance to Russia’s concerns about American designs for ‘regime change’ in the Kremlin…………………………………………..

The Invasion Was Necessary

The United States could have easily prevented Russia’s military action. It could have stopped Russia’s intervention in Ukraine’s civil war from happening by doing three things:  forcing implementation of the 8-year old Minsk peace accords, dissolving extreme right Ukrainian militias and engaging Russia in serious negotiations about a new security architecture in Europe.

But it didn’t.

The U.S. can still end this war through serious diplomacy with Russia. But it won’t. Blinken has refused to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Instead, Biden announced on March 16 another $800 million in military aid for Ukraine on the same day it was revealed Russia and Ukraine have been working on a 15-point peace plan. It has never been clearer that the U.S. wanted this war and wants it to continue………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Excised Background to the Invasion 

It is vital to recall the events of 2014 in Ukraine and what has followed until now because it is routinely whitewashed from Western media coverage. Without that context, it is impossible to understand what is happening in Ukraine.

Both Donetsk and Lugansk had voted for independence from Ukraine in 2014 after a U.S.-backed coup overthrew the democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych.  The new, U.S.-installed Ukrainian government then launched a war against the provinces to crush their resistance to the coup and their bid for independence, a war that is still going on eight years later at the cost of thousands of lives with U.S. support. It is this war that Russia has entered. 

Neo-Nazi groups, such as Right Sector and the Azov Battalion, who revere the World War II Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, took part in the coup as well as in the ongoing violence against Lugansk and Donetsk. 

Despite reporting in the BBC, the NYT, the Daily Telegraph and CNN on the neo-Nazis at the time, their role in the story is now excised by Western media, reducing Putin to a madman hellbent on conquest without reason. As though he woke up one morning and looked at a map to decide what country he would invade next. 

The public has been induced to embrace the Western narrative, while being kept in the dark about Washington’s ulterior motives.   

The Traps Set for Russia

Six weeks ago, on Feb. 4, I wrote an article, “What a US Trap for Russia in Ukraine Might Look Like,” in which I laid out a scenario in which Ukraine would begin an offensive against ethnic Russian civilians in Donbass, forcing Russia to decide whether to abandon them or to intervene to save them.

If Russia intervened with regular army units, I argued, this would be the “Invasion!” the U.S. needed to attack Russia’s economy, turn the world against Moscow and end Putin’s rule. 

In the third week of February, Ukrainian government shelling of Donbass dramatically increased, according to the OSCE, with what appeared to be the new offensive.  Russia was forced to make its decision.

It first recognized the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, a move it put off for eight years. And then on Feb. 24 President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country. 

Russia stepped into a trap, which grows more perilous by the day as Russia’s military intervention continues with a second trap in sight.  From Moscow’s perspective, the stakes were too high not to intervene. And if it can induce Kiev to accept a settlement, it might escape the clutches of the United States.

A Planned Insurgency ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Economic War

Along with the quagmire, are the raft of profound economic sanctions on Russia designed to collapse its economy and drive Putin from power. 

These are the harshest sanctions the U.S. and Europe have ever imposed on any nation. Sanctions against Russia’s Central Bank sanctions are the most serious, as they were intended to destroy the value of the ruble………………………………………………………………………………

The aim is clear: “asphyxiating Russia’s economy”, as French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian put it, even if it damages the West.


Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Toxic US-Japan collusion on nuke wastewater taints global environment


Washington and Tokyo are in the midst of a transition from “alliance protection” of their partnership to “alliance projection” into the Indo-Pacific, US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said at a recent press conference in Tokyo.

Now many believe such an alliance takes on a much clearer form of “alliance pollution,” as the two are ganging up to endanger the Pacific and the wider global ecosystem.

At an open debate on the impact of sea-level rise on international peace and security held Tuesday by the United Nations Security Council, representatives of multiple countries criticized Tokyo over its accelerated push to discharge contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

They argued that Japan’s discharge plan, defying concerns of neighboring countries, will seriously endanger the global marine environment, ecosystems, and the health and safety of people along the Pacific coast.

Presumably, the United States, with a Pacific coastline, would also fall victim to the health hazards posed by the contaminated water once it reaches the west coast along with the ocean currents.

Washington, however, again glossed over the risks. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has recently claimed that the United States “welcomes Japan’s continued openness,” saying the plan is “in line with the internationally accepted nuclear safety standards.”

Such a response makes sense, considering the government’s handling of a recent hazmat train derailment in Ohio, the environmental fallout of which could be massive. Both the US government and media were indifferent to it at first.

Quite tacitly, across the Pacific, Tokyo and Japanese media have also been reticent on this incident, in stark contrast with their fault-finding on some developing countries regarding environment protection.

Behind their collective, selective silence is a toxic US-Japan collusion on nuke wastewater, which is now tainting the Japanese soil.

In 2022, high levels of cancer-causing perfluoro organic compounds were detected in areas around US military bases in Okinawa prefecture, with the bases’ firefighting foam being the suspected source, local media reported.

Of the 46 sites sampled surrounding the US military installations as part of a biannual groundwater survey, 32 exceeded Japan’s provisional safe drinking water standard.

Outside Okinawa, concentration levels of perfluoro organic compounds sampled at 81 sites in 13 Japanese prefectures exceeded standards, including groundwater and tap water in many parts of Tokyo’s Tama area near the US air base in Yokota.

As the Japanese government denied access to investigation inside the US bases, some local residents chose to swallow anger while some investigated the source of contamination on their own.

“I dare not drink tap water here, so I usually consume bottled water,” a resident from the Tama area told Xinhua, offering a glimpse into the misery and humiliation experienced by locals at the “US occupied land.”

While Emanuel is sparing no effort to urge the US-Japan alliance to draw the sword, the US and Japanese people are suffering from profound pollution problems, with the Pacific Ocean environment and the health of coastal residents under potential threat.

However Washington and Tokyo try to justify each other’s environmental wrongdoings, they can never be exempted in the face of overwhelming facts.

The foul of the US-Japan alliance lies not only in its disregard for the global environment and double standards, but also in its absurd values of prioritizing hegemony over public health.

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thousands rally in Berlin, Paris to call for peace in Ukraine

People in Berlin take part in a protest against the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.

Protesters in Paris and Berlin capitals have rallied to demand peace in Ukraine, a day after the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Thousands of people protested in the Germany capital on Saturday to condemn the government’s supply of arms to Ukraine and call for peace talks to end the war.

The organisers were criticised before the protest for downplaying Ukraine’s right to defend its territory from Russian aggression and failing to distance themselves from the far right and far left, where pro-Russia views are common.

One of the organisers, opposition lawmaker Sahra Wagenknecht of the ex-communist Left party, said that there was no place for neo-Nazis at the rally, but that anyone who wanted peace “with an honest heart” was welcome.

While most placards at the protest reflected traditional left-wing positions, some participants bore banners with the slogan “Americans go home” and the logo of a far-right magazine. Some waved Russian flags.

Wagenknecht accused the German government of seeking to “ruin Russia,” and said that Moscow should be made an “offer” in order to resume peace talks.

Another of the organisers, prominent feminist author Alice Schwarzer, said it was time to look beyond left and right.

The two women have also launched a petition which claims to have gathered more than 645,000 signatures.

Protesters jeered whenever she and Wagenknecht mentioned the name of German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, who has strongly backed the delivery of arms to Ukraine.

Police said that about 13,000 people took part in the rally at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, while organisers claimed that 50,000 people participated.

One attendee was Konstantin Schneider, an academic from Berlin, who said he understood that countries in Eastern Europe were afraid of Russia.

“Of course [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is an idiot to attack Ukraine,” he said. “But we still need to find new solutions [to the war] instead of sweepingly saying there’s nothing to negotiate.”

There were several small counter-demonstrations. On Friday, thousands of protesters across Europe marched against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine…………………………………….

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK: big talk about small nuclear reactors, but not much is happening, really.

Over 3000GW of renewables are already in place globally, compared to only 394 GW of nuclear, with wind and solar now romping further ahead around the world. By 2050, the BNEF says the global power system will be dominated by wind and solar (75% of production), with nuclear at just 9%, down from 10% now. If it makes it to 24% nuclear by then, the UK will be a bit of an outlier. 

“……………………………….Graham Stuart, now a Minister of State at the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero…..-  ‘what I can say is that we are absolutely committed to nuclear as a significant share of our electricity because we need that baseload and are committed to driving it forward.’ 

So that’s a positive ‘go’ signal, although funding is still a major problem, and, despite much talk, progress on the proposed  ‘24 GW of nuclear by 2050’ programme seems to have slipped behind. 

  As NuClear News 141 reported, at the end of November last year, the Government was said to be about to announce proposals to set up a new body called Great British Nuclear (GBN), which would develop a network of small modular reactors (SMRs), as well as promote new large reactors. Grant Shapps, the Business Secretary, was due to make the announcement on 29th November. But it was delayed because of a row with the Treasury over funding. 

And by January, The Times was reporting that a deal on SMR funding was unlikely to materialise for at least another 12 months. A senior government source said the Treasury would not sign off on any orders or significant funding for SMR work until the technology had approval from the Nuclear Regulators Generic Design Assessment, which was not expected, until 2024. 

In addition to the proposed Rolls Royce SMRs, four of which are planned initially, several other SMRs are also now in the race for UK deployment, some from overseas.  They include GE Hitachi’s 300MW boiling water reactor, and Holtec’s 160MWe pressurised water reactor, developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi and Hyundai. The USA’s NuScale, the most advanced project so far, has also expressed interest in UK sites for its mini PWR. 

Potential UK sites for new SMRs include Trawsfynydd in Wales and  Heysham and Oldbury in England, but, given the funding issues, it will evidently be a while before anything happens on SMRs, or indeed, in terms of new larger projects, after Sizewell C. Though some help with funding may yet be on hand.  According to the Telegraph, nuclear projects may soon to be classed as ‘green’ or ’sustainable’ investments, clearing a way for more institutional investors and environment-focused funds to back them. The Telegraph says there are also hopes that use can be made of the Government’s green gilts green savings bonds. 

Is nuclear really green? Not many greens think so, and given the risks, costs and delays associated with it, nuclear is often not popular with investors. There have been some delays with the only currently live new projects in the UK, the Hinkley Point C EPR being built by EdF, although nothing so far on the decade-long delays with the ongoing EPR projects in France and Finland. EDF now say the Hinkley EPR should start up in 2027. However, to be on the safe side, the deadline for starting up its major CfD payment (after which, under the contract rules, it would not be eligible for CfD payments) has been extended to 2036 from 2033. 

…………………….. EDF has recently admitted that Hinkley Point C final cost is likely to be £31-32bn, up from the £18 bn estimated initially. Sizewell ought to benefit from construction lessons learned from Hinkley, but, although RAB pushes the financial risks onto consumers, there are still many investment uncertainties about the project.    

Finance may be a key issue for EDF in the UK, but it is if anything even more of an issue for it in France, where it is facing major problems, with a huge repair bill and loss of income as plants are shut for safety checks and power has to be imported. As a result, with energy security being a key issue these days, nuclear no longer looks reliable. ………………………

With a handful of other nuclear projects being considered around the world, including some SMRs, and Russia and China also pressing ahead with larger plants, the UK isn’t the only country with ambitions for nuclear expansion. However, globally, the likely scale of nuclear expansion is relatively small in total, compared with the vast scale and rapid pace of renewables expansion.

Over 3000GW of renewables are already in place globally, compared to only 394 GW of nuclear, with wind and solar now romping further ahead around the world. By 2050, the BNEF says the global power system will be dominated by wind and solar (75% of production), with nuclear at just 9%, down from 10% now. If it makes it to 24% nuclear by then, the UK will be a bit of an outlier.

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 26 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Dear Maryland: It’s Time To Drive Clean Trucks And Buses” • Every soul walking this earth deserves to breathe clean air. But there are counties across Maryland have air that hasn’t met the EPA’s standards for decades, causing public health problems ranging from asthma to premature death. Much of that pollution comes from […]

February 26 Energy News — geoharvey

February 27, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment