Australian news, and some related international items

What to do with dead nuclear submarines? A cautionary tale for Australia.

12 dead nuclear submarines in UK, and don’t they have pretty names?

Legacy. It is unacceptable to leave waste for future generations to deal with……

End game

To some extent, the Ministry of Defence is stuck in a vicious circle whereby the cost of storing submarines eats into the budget for their disposal. ………but the glacial pace of work …. is more concerning. There are always more pressing priorities for defence expenditure and the dismantling project has been continually delayed. In the meantime the nuclear and health and safety regulatory requirements that must be met are getting stricter, adding further costs. There is almost complete reliance on Babcock for UK submarine support activity and there is a very finite number of SQEP with nuclear expertise available to recruit in the UK.

Project to dismantle ex-Royal Navy nuclear submarines inches forward, Navy Lookout, 7 Feb 22.

There are currently 21 former Royal Navy nuclear submarines awaiting disposal, 7 in Rosyth and 14 in Devonport. Here we look at the process and the modest progress in efforts to dismantle them.

Kicking the can down the road ……….  Unfortunately, successive governments failed to make arrangements for the timely disposal of these boats. In a less environmentally conscious era, filling the boats with concrete and sinking them in the deep ocean was the original plan but the disposal of nuclear waste at sea was banned by the London Dumping Convention in 1983. Planning for the dismantling of these submarines should have been started at that time, but only in the last 10 years has there been a serious effort to grip the issue.

Over time the nuclear regulatory frameworks have become ever-more demanding than when the submarines were conceived. Stricter rules have added more complexity and cost to the dismantling process, ironically adding delays and increasing the amount of nuclear waste awaiting appropriate disposal. HMS Dreadnought decommissioned in 1980, has now been tied up in Rosyth far longer than she was in active service. In the civil nuclear industry, operators are required by law to put aside funds and make plans during the life of the plant to pay for decommissioning. It would be prudent if a similar principle was applied by the MoD to all new nuclear submarine construction.

Besides the attraction of deferring costs in the short-term, a major cause of delays has been the selection of a land storage site for radioactive waste. Low-Level Waste (LLW) is stored at Sellafield in concrete-lined vaults and in 2017 URENCO Nuclear Stewardship Ltd at Capenhurst in Cheshire was selected as the interim site for storing the more dangerous Intermediate Level Waste (ILW). The Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPV) removed from the submarines are classed as ILW and will temporarily be stored in purpose-built buildings above ground. They will eventually be moved to a permanent underground Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)

Afloat storage

While awaiting dismantling, decommissioned submarines are stored afloat in a non-tidal basin in the dockyard.  The 7 submarines in Rosyth have all had their nuclear fuel rods removed but of the 14 in Devonport, 10 are still fuelled. This is because in 2003 the facilities for de-fuelling were deemed no longer safe enough to meet modern regulation standards and the process was halted. Submarines that have not had fuel removed have the reactor primary circuit chemically treated to guarantee it remains inert and additional radiation monitoring equipment is fitted.

Apart from regular monitoring, once every 15 years each boat has to be dry-docked for a Survey and Docking Period (SADP) which involves hull inspection and preservation work.

Reasons to accelerate disposal

Cost. The expense of afloat storage and maintenance of decommissioned boats is rising – currently costing approximately £30M per year. Every further delay adds to this and will have to be funded from a defence budget that is much smaller in real terms than when the boats were ordered and built during the Cold War. The total disposal cost will be at least £3bn over 25 years and continue into the 2040s. (This is for the 27 boats listed above – Astute-class dismantling is not yet being considered.) All this effort and expense is a drain on precious MoD resources for zero operational gain with each delay adding to the cost.

Legacy. It is unacceptable to leave waste for future generations to deal with and it is simply common sense to dispose of old equipment at around the same time their replacements come online. Responsible care of the hulks afloat means they pose minimal risk to the environment or local population, but a tiny risk does remain. This makes some people living nearby uneasy and provides another grievance for those ideologically opposed to nuclear submarines and Trident. The minimal environmental hazard they pose is sometimes exaggerated by media, politicians and campaigners to suit their own agenda. The old boats are also a rather uncomfortable reminder of the time when the RN had an SSN force approximately double the strength it is today.

Space. When HMS Trenchant is moved to 3 Basin at Devonport for storage, the basin will be at its licensed capacity. Currently, the MoD only has permission from the nuclear regulator to store 14 boats. Approval to hold 16 will be needed in order to accommodate HMS Talent and Triumph when they decommission. Storing more boats in Rosyth is not an option because of limited space in the basin which is also used for civilian vessels as well as by the aircraft carriers to access the dry dock. Once the purpose-built disposal facility at Devonport is up and running in the early 2030s, it will be more efficient (and likely deemed politically less sensitive than anything in Scotland).

Progress at Rosyth

The Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) finally started at Rosyth in December 2016, around 15 years behind schedule. A team of around 150 people are working on the site pioneering the two-stage process to remove radioactive waste. Swiftsure was the ‘pilot’ submarine for the project and stage 1 – the removal of LLW. This work was completed and the boat was sealed up and returned to afloat storage in the basin during August 2018. So far, 129 tonnes of mainly metallic LLW have been removed from Swiftsure and Resolution. Many of the older boats have asbestos lagging around pipes, which also has to be removed with exceptional care and disposed of in sealed containers. Stage 1 work on Resolution was completed on time in March 2020 and on budget.

Stage 1 work on Revenge started in March 2020 but was suspended on the 24th due to COVID lockdown and (almost) normal working was not resumed until June 2020……………..

Disposal at Devonport

Progress at Devonport is considerably behind that of Rosyth. The unplanned refuelling of HMS Vanguard added a six-month delay as Babcock engineers were diverted from the SDP to work on the more urgent SSBN refit. ………………..

End game

To some extent, the MoD is stuck in a vicious circle whereby the cost of storing submarines eats into the budget for their disposal. The modest progress at Rosyth in the last 5 years is encouraging but the glacial pace of work in Devonport is more concerning. There are always more pressing priorities for defence expenditure and the dismantling project has been continually delayed. In the meantime the nuclear and health and safety regulatory requirements that must be met are getting stricter, adding further costs. There is almost complete reliance on Babcock for UK submarine support activity and there is a very finite number of SQEP with nuclear expertise available to recruit in the UK.

Like so many problems in defence, the failure to dispose of the boats cannot be blamed on one person, government or company, rather a series of decisions made by many individuals that seemed justifiable at the time. There must be some sympathy for those working to deal with this legacy today, although the thrust of 2019 HoC Public Accounts Committee report on submarine disposal efforts can be summarised as saying “this is simply not good enough”.

March 20, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA election result, and Australia’s response- the world’s climate in the balance

This is a cautionary tale for Australia. In both the US and Australia, conservative politicians seem more eager to bail out dirty polluters than protect the public

For Australia’s sake, I hope Trump’s climate science denialism loses, Michael Mann  US policy has emboldened Scott Morrison to be less ambitious on climate, just when so much is at stake.

October 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Countering the pro nuclear lies of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)

The Minerals Council of Australia joins in the current pro nuclear propaganda push – classing nuclear power as “reliable, at a very low cost, and with zero emissions” — 22 April

Here’s my comment, which they did not publish  – surprise, surprise

Nuclear power is not all that reliable, particularly now, as climate change brings extremes of weather, for which nuclear reactors are not prepared. As they require lots of water, they are usually placed near sea or rivers, posing an increasing problem with sea level rise, and sea surges. Australia is a water short country, and should not contemplate such a water-guzzling industry.

As for nuclear being “cheap” – it’s “cheap” only where the tax-payer cops the bill – Russia, China, France etc. In USA and UK the nuclear lobby is screaming for subsidies, and the building of new reactors -Hinkley Point C, and the boondoggle in South Carolina provide a cautionary tale. As for small nuclear reactors – their only hope of being economic is if the are ordered en masse – such a risk, and consequently there are no buyers. Then there’s that little problem of radioactive trash accumulating, with no solution in sight.

Meanwhile,Australia has the opportunity to be a leader in truly clean renewable technologies, which are getting cheaper, while nuclear costs mount.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Climate change could make some Australian cities virtually ‘uninhabitable’

Deadly mix of heatwaves and humidity could make some Australian cities virtually ‘uninhabitable’, 26 Nov 17, 

WITH temperatures nudging 70, this CBD has already been dubbed a “river of fire”. Deadly heatwaves could make it no-go zone. Benedict Brook@BenedictBrook  CENTURIES-old heatwave records have been shattered all over Australia in the past week as cities from Hobart to Sydney have been hit by prolonged stretches of temperature far above normal.

Hobart’s recent run of six consecutive November days above 26C hasn’t been equalled for 130 years.

While it may have been warm, though, it was manageable.

However, climate scientists are warning the conditions in another of Australia’s capitals could get so bad it may become “not viable” to live there in decades to come.

A combination of debilitating humidity and what’s known as the “urban heat island effect” mixed in with a good dose of climate change could leave Darwin off-limits to all but the hardiest.

Already, surface temperatures in parts of Darwin’s CBD have been recorded nudging 70C.

And regional cities in Queensland might not be far behind.

Towards the end of November, Darwin locals look forward to the end of the “build-up”, the hot and sticky weather that precedes the wet season.

It’s been a tough few months. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Meteorology warned 2017’s build-up would be “brutal”.

“Everything is hotter than normal,” said the Bureau’s Greg Browning.

Australian National University’s Dr Elizabeth Hanna, an expert on the effects of climate change on health, told it was the Top End’s tropical humidity that was the big problem. Continue reading

November 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Nuclear news this week: Australia

Weapons and war are in the news this week – well, even more than they usually are. US President Trump sent a missile strike attack on a Syrian military airfield, in the first direct American assault on the government of President Bashar al-Assad.  The reverberations of this continue around the world, and USA warns that there could be further attacks.  Trump did act without Congressional approval. There is debate about this – some say he  violated the US Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Others say that Trump had legal authority to attack Syria. My own opinion – it is a worrying precedent.

The United Nations  held the global summit for a treaty on banning nuclear weapons .  1st round of nuclear weapons ban treaty talks ends, aims to draft treaty next month. North Korea remains a worry, as US President Trump and China’s President Xi begin an uneasy meeting. Meanwhile, Donald Trump expands the power of the President to declare war.


Trump administration informed Turnbull in advance, of USA strike on Syria. Will Australia be drawn into a fresh conflict in the Middle East? Well, we hope not. Turnbull critical of Russia’s support of Syrian govt, but will not be drawn on Australia’s response.

Nuclear waste issues simmer on – South Australia is the focus. South Australian Liberal Party to launch advertising campaign against Nuclear Royal Commission plan to import nuclear wastes. Does Australia REALLY need a radioactive waste facility in outback South Australia? ANSTO admits that Federal waste plan is for reactor generated wastes, (not just “medical” ) and that no long-term disposal plan exists. Some enthusiasts for nuclear waste dump at Kimba, but many opponents.

Victorian Liberal Party rejects nuclear power, also rejects climate denialism.

CLIMATE. Australia’s security, like America’s, is threatened in unexpected ways, by climate change. While coal mining contributes to climate change, climate change is wiping out coal mining revenue!  Adani coal mine granted UNLIMITED ACCESS TO GROUNDWATER. Adani coal railway line plan in breach of Australian government policy. While the Australian government slumbers on, business takes lead on climate disasters.

RENEWABLE ENERGY   Despite the blindness of Australian govt and vested interests, the switch from ‘base load’ to smart grid energy is underway.   With big solar, Australia can meet renewable energy target of 33,000GWh by 2020.  New Queensland homes can have Solar + Tesla battery storage.  A cautionary tale about going off grid with solar energy.

April 8, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

South Australia’s energy policy

Instead of the gas plant, Saddler wants to see the government back solar thermal with storage, even if existing proposals sit at a significantly higher price bracket, such as the $1.2 billion 170MW solar thermal tower proposal for Port Augusta

Renewables and South Australia’s power policy, The Saturday Paper, Max Opray , 18 Mar 17 “……Weatherill said the Frydenberg announcement of a reinvigorated Snowy Mountains hydro scheme showed the federal government was in a “white-knuckled panic” about energy policy. “It is a $2 billion admission that the national energy market has broken and there needs to be public investments to actually fix it up.”

And later, in the same answer: “It is a disgrace the way in which your government has treated our state.”

The showdown came after a week in which the Weatherill government had broken ranks with the National Electricity Market in declaring a “South Australia first” energy policy.

The state has endured a cursed run when it comes to keeping the lights on……

Most of these issues were not the fault of the South Australian energy grid’s high level of renewable energy penetration, but that hasn’t stopped the Turnbull government and other clean coal cheerleaders using the state as a cautionary tale about green energy.  Continue reading

March 18, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia continues to ignore its role in the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

Fukushima: Australia’s Radioactive Rocks And Responsibility, New Matilda, 29 Aug 14, By Dave Sweeney
There’s no room for nuclear power in Australia – or anywhere else – argues Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney.

In March 2011 people all around the world held our breath as the Fukushima nuclear disaster played out on our screens.Later as the headlines, albeit not the radiation levels faded, it was confirmed that Australian uranium directly fuelled Fukushima. Rocks dug in Kakadu and northern South Australia were the source of the radioactive fallout threatening Japan and well beyond.

The line of connection was made clearly from a failed reactor complex on Japan’s East coast to the back of a big yellow truck at an Australian mine-site.

This week the man who steered Japan through the critical early days of the continuing crisis is touring Australia with a simple message: there can be no nuclear ‘business as usual’ in the shadow of Fukushima.

Mr Naoto Kan was the Japanese Prime Minister at the time the Fukushima nuclear crisis started in March 2011 after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused chaos across Japan……..

Against a context of domestic nuclear promotion with Bob Hawke urging Australia to become the world’s radioactive waste dump and PM Abbott cutting treaty corners and hawking uranium sales to India on a visit there early next month, Mr Kans cautionary tale is timely.

Mr Kan has already spoken in Darwin and visited the embattled Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu where he met with the regions Mirarr Traditional Owners. The Mirarr have the longest lived experience of uranium mining of any Aboriginal people in Australia.

This experience was previously summed up by Mirarr leader Yvonne Margarula with the potent phrase, ‘None of the promises last – but the problems always do.”

Following the Fukushima meltdown the Mirarr leader wrote a powerful note to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stating, “Given the long history between Japanese nuclear companies and Australian uranium miners, it is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad”.

Along with the sadness was a desire for scrutiny, a view shared by Ban Ki Moon when he formally called in September 2011 for Australia to conduct ‘an in-depth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of mining fissionable material (uranium) on local communities and ecosystems’.

Sadly, and culpably, to date there has been no meaningful response from any Australian government, uranium company, uranium industry body or regulator to the fact that Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima…….Let’s hope that this week Mr Kan’s clear message is heard and heeded: Fukushima is a game changer with Australian fingerprints and our shared energy future must be renewable, not radioactive.

August 31, 2014 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Australian Greens should avoid Peter Garrett’s fate

the experience of Peter Garrett shows that the Greens should be wary ……If a Greens MP or senator were to accept a ministerial position related to the environment or climate change, they would inevitably be forced to compromise….For the sake of the party’s future success, the Greens should decline an environment ministry in the Gillard government.

Peter Garrett: a cautionary tale for the Greens, By Sara Phillips, ABC Environment | 10 Sep 2010 “………speculation that one of the Greens may be given an environment-related ministry in a show of rainbow-coalition unity – much in the way that the Tasmanian Greens have assumed cabinet positions in that state’s minority government. Continue reading

September 10, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | , , , | Leave a comment

This week’s nuclear news

A bit of good news Sir David Attenborough urges people to unite to save ‘nature in crisis’

Premiere of this so timely movie –

The Road to War – new film premiering in Australia is just so very timely – as Australia is currently foremost in nuclear news.

World premiere–   Melbourne at 6.30pm on 22 March at the Nova in Carlton.  Then in Hobart on 23 March (not 24th as stated in trailer) at the State Cinema .    Q & A panel with Bradbury and special guest, Bob Brown. Capri Theatre in Adelaide 29 March. Other cities and regional centres yet to be announced.        

Christina notesAustralia’s splendid nuclear submarine goat rodeo – funny, but it’s really serious.    Isn’t it wonderful how the men in opposing political parties can unite in hate and belligerence? Nuclear wastes 30 years away. So -no problem for present decision-makers – happily superannuated when the shit hits the fan.

AUSTRALIA.What the nuclear-powered submarine deal really means. Editorial Geppetto logic. AUKUS subs deal binds us to a country that can change its mind on whim. Port Kembla a nuclear submarine hub? Not such a great idea! Australian Strategic Policy Institute among the group of crooked “Think Tanks” funded by weapons companies in order to promote war. Sub-standard: AUKUS plan means more risks for Australia. Australian nuclear submarine program to cost up to $368b as AUKUS details unveiled in the US. Uncle Sam, can you target my Tomahawk, please?.

Australia hasn’t figured out low-level nuclear waste storage yet – let alone high-level waste from submarines. Australia news live: Aukus subs deal includes commitment to dispose of nuclear waste; Greens say plan is ‘mortgaging our future’. Nuclear dump to be built on Defence land. Labor Premiers’ dispute over location for AUKUS nuclear wastes, – but planned Kimba waste dump is”now dead in the water”? ‘Send it to Woomera’: Premier McGowan cold on nuclear waste being stored in Western Australia. Spent Matters: The AUKUS Nuclear Waste Problem. Aukus nuclear submarine deal loophole prompts proliferation fears. Porky pies and half-truths from our USA- captured Prime Minister Albanese . Are these wildly expensive nuclear-powered submarines really in Australia’s best interests? Paul Keating savages AUKUS nuclear submarine deal as Labor’s worst since conscription in World War 1. Why is the Labor government determined to silence the Barngarla people, at the same time as Labor promotes the indigenous Voice to Parliament ?. 

CLIMATE. Wiped out: Scientist’s ‘gigantic tsunami’ warning signals ‘grave threat’ to Sizewell C.. UN Secretary-General’s video message to the 58th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

CULTUREPermission to speak?– Who gets to talk about nuclear power should not be controlled by the nuclear lobby

ECONOMICS. Despite UK government’s enthusiasm, nuclear power is just not a good investment. UK government is urged to “come clean” over the real cost of Sizewell C nuclear power station . EDF confirms nuclear power target for 2023, despite corrosion problems, and plummeting output in 2022. 

A $18 million a job? The AUKUS subs plan will cost Australia way more than that. Australia’s Productivity Commission casts doubt on the federal government’s decision to build nuclear-powered submarines.

ETHICS and RELIGIONGrief – Japan marks 12 years since Fukushima nuclear disaster as concerns grow over treated radioactive water release.

ENERGY. Taiwan phasing out nuclear power.

ENVIRONMENTCampaigners claim permit change at Hinkley Point would kill billions of fish. UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt wants nuclear power classified as ‘environmentally sustainable’ . But is it?

HEALTHLife on a nuclear submarine takes its toll.

MEDIA. “Atomic Bamboozle” Probes False Hopes for the Future of Nuclear Power.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGYBritain does not have the capacity to support Australia’s plan to build its own nuclear submarine fleet – Rear Admiral. Transparent oceans – Technologies for detection of nuclear submarines will still be all too successful by 2050. Georgia’s big new nuclear reactors could be the ‘last built in the US‘ . World’s largest nuclear fusion reactor promises clean energy, but the challenges are huge.

OPPOSITION to NUCLEAR. Japanese students’ nuclear abolition petition tops 2.5 million signatures. New Mexico says no to storing spent nuclear fuel as Biden touts nuclear energy: ‘The trouble is this is a forever decision’.



PUBLIC OPINION. Something Is Missing From Americans’ Greatest Fears. It’s the Bomb..

SAFETY. Incident. 400,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked from a nuclear plant in Minnesota.

SECRETS and LIES. Libyan general says uranium reported missing by UN nuclear watchdog IAEA has been recoveredTons of uranium missing from Libyan site, UN nuclear watchdog tells member states. Alarm over 10 drums of uranium missing in Libya.

SPINBUSTERSIX WAR MONGERING THINK TANKS AND THE MILITARY CONTRACTORS THAT FUND THEM. Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain“Great British Nuclear” launch – an eccentric fraud by the UK government.

WASTES. The (Vancouver) Columbian Editorial Board: Congress must recognize urgency at HanfordDumping Fukushima contaminated water is a “cheap and dirty” approach that must be stopped. 

From the archivesNo country in the world has worked out what to do with its old dead, radioactive, nuclear submarines. UK’s costly struggle to deal with dead nuclear submarines. The daunting, long and untested effort to deal with UK’s dead nuclear submarines. What to do with dead nuclear submarines? A cautionary tale for Australia.

WAR and CONFLICT. Some countries plan to decentralize control of nuclear weapons in a crisis. Here’s why that’s dangerous. Seymour Hersh warns of potential US plan B in UkraineU.S. Army launches new headquarters in Poland . North Korea’s Kim led drills ‘simulating nuclear counterattack.’ 

March 20, 2023 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

About torture, about pyschology, about the persecution of Julian Assange

John Pilger speaks out for Julian Assange

an example of the sensitive, clandestine, real-world CIA psychology deployed against ‘terrorists’ and enemies of the state, as Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been branded.

In this case, the adversary in the US crosshairs has been not only Julian Assange and Wikileaks, but the global populations that Wikileaks seeks to inform. It is our own vulnerabilities – the vulnerabilities in the information processing systems of all human beings – that have been leveraged and exploited in order to undermine and discredit Wikileaks.

The fundamental psychological task is to render truth suspicious and deceit reassuring, war criminals virtuous and their critics corrupt, pacifism threatening and violence comforting, abuse of power righteous and resistance reprobate, torture forgivable and whistleblowing a crime, censorship a bastion of democracy and free speech a menace to be overcome. Much as George Orwell foresaw.

In order to justify the psychological war on Wikileaks, US powerbrokers have branded Wikileaks and Assange “anti-American” “terrorists”, a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and “enemy combatants”. Bolstered by these factually indefensible slurs, Julian Assange now faces imminent extradition to the United States to face secret charges, most likely for 2010 scoops exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peace is bad. War is good. Truth is dangerous. Censorship will set you free. These are the positions underpinning the war on Wikileaks.

The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange, Part 1: What’s Torture Got To Do With It?   Dr Lissa Johnson on February 19, 2019

“…. Assange faces extradition to the United States and secret charges for his publishing activities should he step outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. This cross-border, extraterritorial persecution threatens not only Assange’s health, and possibly his life according to a recent UN statement, but poses grave legal risks both to journalism and dissent…..

The Australian rallies join a growing international chorus of organisations and individuals sounding increasingly urgent alarms over Julian Assange’s plight, and its implications for freedom of speech and democratic rights.

Late last year, as secret US charges against Julian Assange surfaced, and the threat of his imminent extradition to the US loomed, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) issued a strongly worded statement to the UK Government, having previously ruled twice that Assange is being arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

In its statement, the UNWGAD demanded that the UK abide by its “binding” legal obligations and “immediately” secure freedom for Julian Assange. The UN reminded the UK Government that “human rights treaty law is binding law, it is not discretionary law. It is not some passing fancy”.

The same fears prompted 33 EU parliamentarians to write a similarly strongly worded letter to the British Prime Minister, the Ecuadorian President and the UN Secretary General on December 10th, condemning the “very serious and egregious violations of human rights in the heart of Europe.” They called for Assange’s “immediate release, together with his safe passage to a safe country.”

Two German MPs followed with a visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy on December 20th, at which they denounced the violation of Assange’s “fundamental rights” and expressed their “demand that this case has to be solved: that no publisher, no editor, no journalist is detained because of publishing the truth”.

The politicians’ and UN statements added to previous condemnations of Assange’s persecution from Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and a former senior lawyer for the UNHCR and UN Expert on the Promotion of International Order.

All of these leading legal and human rights authorities have been making essentially the same fundamental point: that Julian Assange is being persecuted for publishing truth in the public interest, placing public interest journalism itself at risk, along with freedom of speech and other democratic and human rights principles.

It is the same fundamental point made by several speakers at an earlier Australian rally to free Julian Assange, held in Sydney in June last year. John Pilger spoke at that rally also.

Pilger’s important 2018 speech, however, like the rally itself, was subject to a near total, if not total, mainstream media blackout. So if you missed it, that may be why. And if you haven’t followed the US war on Wikileaks from the outset, as I hadn’t when I attended last year’s rally, Pilger’s speech is a powerful way to bring yourself up to speed. Continue reading

April 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

#Nuclear delusions exposed at Festival of Dangerous Ideas

  • In his book, Schlosser, who will be speaking on Nuclear Delusions at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas next month, has explored this in depth and does not believe systems can be made completely foolproof…….
  • He also thought it was possible that building a nuclear waste storage facility in Australia, which stockpiled high level waste that could be reprocessed into fuel for nuclear weapons, may make the country a target for terrorists.

    “The challenge of storing nuclear waste safely is huge,” Schlosser said, adding nuclear waste could also be used to make a dirty bomb that spread plutonium dust over a few kilometres, not just for nuclear weapons.

    “These are real concerns, I just would think … there are other ways to drive economic activity (in Australia) besides accepting nuclear waste,” he said.

Eric Schlosser exposes our Nuclear Delusions at Festival of Dangerous Ideas AUGUST 11, 2015 IT TOOK 20 years and an estimated $19 billion to build and all but the simplest of typos to shut it down.

A nuclear accident that has crippled a purpose-built waste storage facility serves as a terrifying warning to Australia.

As support for a potential nuclear power plant and waste disposal facility appears to grow in South Australia, where politicians are groping for ideas to stimulate the state’s flagging economy, investigative journalist Eric Schlosser has a cautionary tale that should make us think twice.

The US author of Command and Control has explored America’s nuclear weapons program and discovered how little errors and complacency have led to the US almost blowing itself up on a number of occasions.

An accident also occurred on Valentine’s Day last year at America’s only underground nuclear waste facility, when a radioactive drum burst open. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hooray, Labor Leader Bill Shorten speaks out on Climate Change

Shorten, BillBill Shorten vows to fight climate change deniers and conspiracy theorists The Age, March 17, 2014 James Massola Political correspondent  Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has lashed out at the conspiracy theorists, keyboard warriors and social media trolls who have hijacked the debate about man-made climate change. There’s an important difference between tackling the misinformation peddled by climate change deniers, and stooping to their level.

And Mr Shorten has pledged to be a “disciple of science and innovation”, promising the Labor Party will encourage risk-taking and entrepreneurialism and warning “Australia can either get smarter or get poorer – we can choose to compete or give up”.

The Opposition Leader has been under sustained political pressure from the federal government to support the repeal of the carbon tax, but he has promised to vote against repeal if the alternative is the government’s Direct Action policy. He has also committed to taking a market-based system for pricing carbon to the 2016 election.

“Labor won’t be walking away from our action on climate change – or bowing to the will of a Prime Minister who offers cynical nostrums that emissions trading is rendered meaningless because it deals with an ‘invisible, odourless substance’,” he said.

Mr Shorten told the annual Science Meets Parliament conference in Canberra on Monday the climate change debate was a “cautionary tale for what happens if we abandon the field to the conspiracy theorists and keyboard warriors, the social media trolls and the angry shouts of talkback radio”.

“Too many of us took the popular support for action on climate change for granted,” he said.

“A mistake that has seen Australia move from a co-operative conversation on the best international method for dealing with the causes of climate change and mitigating against its effects to an argument poisoned by allegations of conspiracy and alarmist ‘warmism’.”…×01.html

March 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Julia Gillard – an unknown quantity on nuclear issues?

Writing as the uninformed peasant that I am, I pose the question: “what can we expect from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.?”

I understand that Gillard is supposed to be a member of the “left wing” faction, but that her cause has been promoted by the “right wing”

What does it all mean?  As Kevin Rudd vacates the throne, I am reminded of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tale ” Always keep a hold of Nurse, for fear of finding something worse”.

Not perfect, but better: why we’re going for Gillard. « The Green Hat, 24 June 2010, What policies does she support for forestry in Tasmania, management of the Murray-Darling Basin, subsidising renewable energy and nuclear power, increasing high-density livingNot perfect, but better: why we’re going for Gillard. « The Green Hat

“…….February 25, 2007 .…….Earlier that day, deputy ALP leader Julia Gillard told the Ten Network that she supported ALP leader Kevin Rudd’s push to dump the ‘no new mines policy”, arguing that an expansion of uranium mining would bring “economic prosperity” to South Australia in particular. Uranium: Leave it in the ground! | Green Left Weekly

June 24, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, politics | | Leave a comment