Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Missing radioactive capsule found

Authorities in Australia say they have found a tiny radioactive capsule
which went missing last week. Emergency services had “literally found the
needle in the haystack”, authorities in Western Australia said. A huge
search was triggered when the object was lost while being transported along
a 1,400km (870-mile) route across the state.

Mining giant Rio Tinto
apologised for losing the device, which could have posed a serious danger
if handled. The capsule – which is 6mm (0.24 inches) in diameter and 8mm
long – contains a small quantity of Caesium-137, which could cause skin
damage, burns or radiation sickness.

Emergency services used specialised
equipment including radiation detectors during their hunt. Announcing their
find on Wednesday, the state emergency services paid tribute to
“inter-agency teamwork in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds”. The
capsule was found when a vehicle equipped with specialist equipment, which
was travelling at 70 km/h, detected radiation, officials said. Portable
detection equipment was then used to locate the capsule, which was found
about 2 metres from the side of the road, they added.

BBC 1st Feb 2023

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-64481317

Times 1st Feb 2023

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/missing-radioactive-capsule-found-australia-search-vk5crqk03

February 2, 2023 Posted by | safety, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Anthony Albanese supports the AUKUS menage a trois – USA, UK, Australia – despite criticism, and the incompetence in the industry

CAUCUS ON AUKUS
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he would’ve signed up to AUKUS had he been leader at the time, Guardian Australia reports, despite calls from former Labor PM Paul Keating to walk away. The diplomatic menage a trois is not just about nuclear submarines, Albo continued — it’s a defence pact between “friends” in an “insecure world”. Incidentally, Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong will meet with their British counterparts today before Marles heads to the US — it’s prep work for the revelations next month about how exactly we will get to own at least eight subs. It comes as the British navy is urgently investigating whether someone repaired one of its nuclear submarines with superglue, the BBC reports, which honestly sounds like a Monty Python skit.

February 2, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Tulsi Gabbard on the Truth of President Zelensky

February 2, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s Tank Problem – a “game changer” – REALLY?

It is impossible to see how the provision of such weapons, against a larger enemy with no evident sign of capitulation and determined to maintain the fight in the field, however slapdash and ailing, will be a “gamechanger”. That word ought to be scrapped from any credible analysis, but we see it used repeatedly in the tabloid certitude of final victory.

Australian Independent Media February 1, 2023: Dr Binoy Kampmark  https://theaimn.com/ukraines-tank-problem/

It seems to be a case of little provision for so much supposed effect. The debates, the squabbles, the to-and-fro about supplying Ukraine with tanks from Western arsenals has served to confirm one thing: this is an ever-broadening war between the West against Russia with Ukraine an experimental proxy convinced it will win through. Efforts to limit the deepening conflict continue to be seen as the quailing sentiments of appeasers, the wobbly types who find democracy a less than lovable thing.

So far, promises have been made to ship the US M1A2 Abrams, Germany’s Leopard 2 and the UK’s Challenger. Others have alluded to doing the same thing – including France regarding its Leclerc tanks – but tardiness fills the ranks, and logistics will make the provision of such weapons a long affair. Re-export licenses will have to be issued, notably regarding the Leopard 2; training Ukrainian tank crews will also need to be undertaken.

All in all, the picture is not as rosy as those in Kyiv think, despite the confident assessment from Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Andriy Melnyk that his country’s defence forces would have access to “at least a hundred tanks” within three months.

The US tanks are, for the most part, still grounded in their country of origin, with their deployment potentially delayed for months, if not years. Pentagon deputy spokesperson Sabrina Singh was frank in admitting that, “We just don’t have these tanks available in excess in our US stocks, which is why it is going to take months to transfer these M1A2 Abrams to Ukraine.” Singh, it should also be remembered, expressed the department’s view earlier this month that the tank was hardly suitable for Ukrainian needs, given how its jet turbine engine hungers for JP-8 jet fuel, unlike the diesel engine used by the Leopard and Challenger counterparts.

The engine is also rather tricky to maintain for crews, leaving it susceptible to blowing in the event of error. No less an authority than the Pentagon press secretary US Air Force brigadier general Pat Ryder, admitted that the M-1 “is a complex weapons system that is challenging to maintain, as we’ve talked about. That was true yesterday; it’s true today; it will be true in the future.”

There is also a backlog of orders for the tank. The Lima facility in Ohio, operated by General Dynamics, is the only facility that assembles the Abrams. It can produce a mere 12 tanks per month and must fulfill orders to supply 250 A2 tanks for Poland starting in 2025 to replace the same number of Soviet-era T-72 tanks Warsaw supplied to Kyiv last year. Taiwan also put in an order for 108 M1A2 tanks in 2019. Even getting to work on the 31 units promised by the Biden administration for Ukraine looks to be ambitious.

The wrangling over supplying Ukraine with tanks has been an at times acrimonious affair. This is hardly surprising. European states have their own specific readings, however dark or cautious, about how to approach the supply issue. The magic number being sought by Kyiv is 300. After initial resistance, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave in to his peers, both in his coalition outside, to send a company of Leopard 2 tanks and permit countries with the same tanks in their inventories to supply them to Kyiv. A fortnight of aggressive chatter at a number of venues, including Ramstein Air Base, pressing the flesh and breathing down various necks, saw a change of heart and, it has to be said, weak will on the part of the Chancellor.

It is impossible to see how the provision of such weapons, against a larger enemy with no evident sign of capitulation and determined to maintain the fight in the field, however slapdash and ailing, will be a “gamechanger”. That word ought to be scrapped from any credible analysis, but we see it used repeatedly in the tabloid certitude of final victory.

There is Ed Arnold of the Royal United Services Institute, who is confident that this tank transfer “will make a real difference.” But even Arnold attaches a few caveats, noting that much will depend on how Ukraine uses them. “Do they put them straight into the fight as soon as they’re available? Or do they integrate them into larger formations, train and rehearse those larger formations, and spend a bit more time integrating them into the way that they fight to then potentially use in the summer?”

Whatever the answer to such questions, this is a war that will yield no victors and will, in guaranteed fashion, make a mockery of victory. And the only cruel reality here, short of needless oblivion through imbecilic error of judgment, is to get the warring parties to the table to reach an agreement that is bound to cause despair as much as relief. It might, as unpalatable as it seems, require Ukraine to surrender a portion of devastated earth in the east. The unthinkable will have to be entertained.

February 2, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Indian Point Expert Forum: Dr. Helen Caldicott

February 2, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) sends specialist team to Western Australia in search for missing radioactive capsule

Nuclear safety agency joins radioactive capsule hunt

By Michael Ramsey, January 31 2023 https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8067912/nuclear-safety-agency-joins-radioactive-capsule-hunt/

Federal authorities are set to join the massive search for a dangerous radioactive capsule missing in Western Australia.

The 8mm by 6mm item fell out of a density gauge while being trucked from a Rio Tinto mine in the Pilbara to Perth.

Emergency services are searching a 1400km route amid warnings the Caesium-137 in the capsule could cause radiation burns or sickness if handled and potentially dangerous levels of radiation with prolonged exposure.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on Tuesday said it had sent a deployment team with specialised car-mounted and portable detection equipment to join the search.

Led by WA’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the hunt is expected to take five days with vehicles travelling at 50km/h.

Radiation services specialists and detection and imaging equipment are also being sent to WA by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

Rio Tinto has apologised and ordered an investigation into what went wrong during the haul, which was carried out by a contractor.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson flagged the WA government was likely to also probe the incident.

“How these are transported does need to be looked at,” he told ABC radio.

“It does puzzle me how such a thing can fall off the back of a truck.”

Rio said a bolt that secured the capsule within the gauge appeared to have sheared off, creating a hole just big enough for the item to escape.

The truck arrived in the Perth suburb of Malaga on January 16 but it wasn’t until nine days later that a technician realised the capsule was missing.

The capsule is smaller than a 10 cent coin but the amount of radiation it emits is equivalent to receiving 10 X-rays in an hour.

Drivers have been warned it could have become lodged in their car’s tyres.

January 31, 2023 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

France, NATO enhanced partner Australia to send 1,000s of artillery shells to Ukraine .

AzertagJanuary 31, 2023 France and Australia will send thousands of artillery shells to Ukraine France and Australia will jointly send thousands of 155 mm artillery shells to Ukraine. AZERTAC reports with reference to Anadolu Agency that French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defense Minister Richard Marles […]

France, NATO enhanced partner Australia to send 1,000s of artillery shells to Ukraine — Anti-bellum

January 31, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Despite failure to refit nuclear submarine, UK senior defence officials get £200,000 in performance bonuses!

 Three senior ministry of defence officials have received more than
£200,000 in performance bonuses despite not being able to get a
Scottish-based nuclear submarine back in service more than seven years
after it started undergoing a refit and refuelling.

The MoD had hoped that
HMS Vanguard would be returned to Royal Navy service at Faslane last summer
but The Sunday Times has learnt that the repair and refuelling project for
the Trident missile-armed vessel has hit new snags.

However, the three top
executives at the ministry’s Submarine Delivery Agency, which is
responsible for keeping the navy’s submarines in working order, were paid
performance bonuses last year. Its chief executive, Ian Booth, received
£95,000 on top of his £290,000 salary before he retired just before
Christmas, according to the agency’s accounts. Its technical director and
financial officer each received £55,000 bonuses.

 Times 29th Jan 2023

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bonus-for-mod-officials-despite-sub-refit-delays-gmqb30s35

January 31, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Unwarranted Proxy War:A Year Later

US Big Defence will be the only winner of the proxy war in Ukraine. Not only do these global military contractors arm Ukraine, but they stand to benefit from the re-militarisation of Western European countries, Japan, and new NATO members.

In the view of Big Defence, peace is just a bad business proposition. There’s no money in it.

  

The World Financial Review, By Dr Dan Steinbock, 27 Jan 23

To Russia and Ukraine, the crisis is an existential issue. To the US and NATO, it’s a regime-change game. To Europe, it means the demise of stability – in the world economy, lost years (and that’s the benign scenario).

That’s how I characterised the US/NATO-led proxy war against Russia in Ukraine back in early March 2022. I argued that it was an “avoidable war that will penalise severely Ukraine, Russia, the US and the NATO, Europe, developing countries and the global economy”.[1]

At the time, the prediction was seen as contrarian. But it has prevailed. However, on January 25 the Ukraine proxy war entered a new, still more dangerous phase. The commitment of some 70 US, German, UK and Polish battle tanks herald lethal escalation, although hundreds more are needed to defeat Russia. For the first time since World War II, German tanks will be sent to the “Eastern front.” In Moscow, it will foster those voices who see the stakes of the war as existential.

Not only will economic and human costs climb even further, but strategic risks, including the potential of nuclear confrontation, will soar. With such escalation in high-tech arms sales to Ukraine, regional and military spillovers are no longer a matter of principle, but a matter of time.

Russia’s economic resilience

In early 2022, Western observers, with rare exceptions, predicted that the Russian economy would default within months as a net effect of sanctions. “Putin’s war” was doomed, they said. Obviously, the sanctions, which have been fuelled by might and economic coercion, have not been inconsequential. But nor were they new.

Already in February 2014, following the Russian annexation of Crimea, international sanctions were imposed against Russia and Crimea by the US, Canada, the EU, and the international organisations they dominate. While the West’s sanctions contributed to the fall of the Russian ruble, they also caused significant economic damage to the EU economy, with total losses at €100 billion in 2015. By mid-2016, Russia had lost an estimated $170 billion due to financial sanctions and another $400 billion in revenues from oil and gas.[2]………………………….

In fact, the Russian economy plunged 3.5 per cent in 2022, whereas inflation amounted to 5.4 per cent. In other words, Western institutions dramatically overestimated the GDP impact. Discrepancies of such magnitude are hard to explain away as simple prediction errors (figure 1 on original).

Proxy war united Russia            

Officially, the invasion of Ukraine began as Russia’s “special military operation”. Unofficially, it soon morphed into a US/NATO-led proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. The true political objective of this war has been regime change. Hence the goal “to weaken Russia”, as Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin acknowledged later. Hence, too, the international media predictions that the Russian economy would “inevitably” default and Putin be overthrown……………………

Today, in the view of ordinary Russians, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a defensive response to NATO’s offensive eastward enlargement. They see their country fighting for survival. That’s why the war caused Putin’s ratings to soar to the low 80s. That’s also why over 60 to 70 per cent of Russians support their government and believe the country is on the right track, despite extraordinary hardships. ……………………………………..

Amid this collapse of trust in the US and the EU, it certainly did not help that the Minsk peace process proved to be another Western ruse. Last December, German ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel disclosed in the Zeit newspaper that “the 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give time to Ukraine.” That is, to make Ukraine stronger and for NATO to increase its support to the country in the face of Russia.[4]……………………

In the view of ordinary Russians, there is now a long continuum of betrayals from the pledge that NATO would never expand eastward in the early 1990s to Minsk today. In their view, the West’s recent arms escalation only confirms their worst suspicions.

Contradictory realities

Right before Christmas, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an emotional wartime appeal to a joint meeting of US Congress, pleading for more military assistance from the lawmakers, who were about to approve $45 billion in additional aid. It was necessary for “eventual victory”.[6]

Yet, there was a huge disconnect between the triumphant declaration and the realities. Earlier in the month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had acknowledged that Ukraine’s losses in the war amounted to 100,000 soldiers and 20,000 civilians, though her tweet was quickly deleted and a new one was released without the true death count (figure 3 on original).[7

Behind the choreographed photo ops and bold sound bites, devastation had been expansive, progressive, and relentless…………..

 In September 2022, a month before the Russian winter offensive, a World Bank report estimated that Russia’s invasion had caused over $97 billion in direct damage to Ukraine and it could cost $350 billion to rebuild the country. Worse, Ukraine had also suffered $252 billion in losses through disruptions to its economic flows and production, as well as extra expenses linked to the war.[8] (The report was quiet about the economic and human costs on the Russian side.)

In other words, what Zelenskyy asked in the Congress was less than one-tenth of what is actually needed to rebuild Ukraine.

Ukrainian nightmare

In effect, even as the international media was touting the mirage of Ukraine’s military triumph, the country’s real GDP declined over 35 per cent on an annual basis in the third quarter of 2022; that is, before Russia’s massive infrastructure attack.

Starting on 10 October, Russia’s waves of missile and drone attacks opened a new phase of the war.

The direct physical damage to infrastructure soared to $127 billion already in September; that’s over 60 per cent of Ukraine’s pre-war GDP. The impact on the productive capacity of key sectors, due to damage or occupation, is substantial and long-lasting.[9]

The population share with income below the national poverty line in Ukraine may more than triple, reaching nearly 60 per cent in 2022. Poverty will increase from 5.5 per cent in 2021 to 25 per cent in 2022, with major downside risks if the war and energy security situations worsen.[10] As casualties continue to mount, over a third of the population has been displaced and over half of all Ukrainian children have been forced to leave their homes. The nine months of war have caused massive population displacement. As of October 2022, the number of Ukrainian refugees recorded in Europe was over 7.8 million, and the number of internally displaced people was 6.5 million (figure 4 on original).[11]

As former Pentagon adviser Col. (ret.) Douglas Macgregor has argued, “Washington’s refusal to acknowledge Russia’s legitimate security interests in Ukraine and negotiate an end to this war is the path to protracted conflict and human suffering.”[12]

As former Pentagon adviser Col. (ret.) Douglas Macgregor has argued, “Washington’s refusal to acknowledge Russia’s legitimate security interests in Ukraine and negotiate an end to this war is the path to protracted conflict and human suffering.”[12]

West’s tough 2022 and darker 2023

Currently, the risk of recession casts a dark shadow over the US economy, ……………………………………………..

US and international war funding

In the proxy war, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine has been abundant………………………..

Internationally, the US provides the bulk of total aid to Ukraine (62 per cent). Aid from non-US sources amounts to $41.4 billion. The international total of more than $110 billion accounts for more than half of Ukraine’s pre-war GDP ($200 billion).[17] Effectively, these funding arrangements aim to sustain the hostilities and destruction not just in 2023, but at least until the late 2020s.[18] A scenario the West’s recent arms sales escalation could reinforce.

Ailing and indebted, the West cannot afford the proxy war in Ukraine. Hence, the frantic debt-taking. In the Eurozone, government debt to GDP remains close to 100 per cent. Ironically, that’s 40 percentage points higher than the region’s own debt limit. In the UK, the figure has doubled since 2008 to almost 100 per cent. In Japan, it is the worst among all high-income economies – close to 265 per cent, thanks to over two decades of secular stagnation. In the US, the debt ratio has also doubled and is inching toward 140 per cent. (That’s over 20 percentage points higher than that of Italy amid Rome’s 2010 debt crisis.) The rising debt as a percentage of the GDP will slow economic growth, push up interest payments to foreign holders of US debt, and heighten the risk of a fiscal crisis. The periodic debt-limit debacle in the US is just a minor political sideshow to the West’s future debt crisis, which will leave no economy, not even the major ones, unscathed (figure 5 on original).

The post-9/11 wars: the Big Defence bonanza

Ukraine is “absolutely a weapons lab in every sense because none of this equipment has ever actually been used in a war between two industrially developed nations,” said one source familiar with Western intelligence to CNN. “This is real-world battle testing.” Or as Zelenskyy put it more recently, arming Ukraine is a “‘big business opportunity,” as evidenced by his government’s new ties with Blackrock, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. In December 2022, he revealed that Ukraine had hired Blackrock to “advice” Kyiv on how to use the West’s reconstruction funds, which he then estimated would have to increase at least to $1 trillion.[19]

As I predicted in March 2022, US Big Defence will be the only winner of the proxy war in Ukraine. Not only do these global military contractors arm Ukraine, but they stand to benefit from the re-militarisation of Western European countries, Japan, and new NATO members. Washington has a great economic interest in such geopolitics. Brussels’ incentives are harder to fathom, especially as the euro area will pay a hefty premium on energy and food, which will also benefit Washington…………………………..

Military Keynesianism to rescue

From the economic standpoint, these military expenditures, including US Ukrainian aid, should be seen as massive, recurrent, multi-year bastard Keynesianism. That is, as a series of military stimulus packages to prop up the American economy (not Ukraine’s). Unlike Keynesian stimuli that can have an accelerator effect in the civilian economy, these packages benefit mainly the Pentagon and Big Defence; that is, the military industrial complex and its revolving-door elites.

Take, for instance, President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security advisor Jake Sullivan and Blinken’s right-hand, Victoria Nuland. All four were key actors already in the 2014 Ukraine crisis. In one way or another, all are also linked with the Center for a New National Security (CNAS) and its consulting arm WestExec Advisors, which in turn is funded particularly by Big Defence. The same goes for Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, a veteran of the US Army and ex-board member of Raytheon, one of the largest defence giants and a big beneficiary of the Ukraine devastation.[22]

what’s good for Big Defence is not necessarily good for either the American people or the global economy. It aggravates income polarisation in America and between the high-income West and the developing Global South, while escalating geopolitical risks worldwide…………………………………

Plunging global growth

Unsurprisingly, global growth is now expected to decelerate sharply to 1.7 per cent in 2023…………………………

The unwarranted war

A year ago, I characterised the Ukraine conflict as an “unwarranted war” because it was avoidable. As declassified files show, a series of security assurances were given to Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders against NATO’s eastward expansion at the turn of the 1990s, starting with President George H.W. Bush, followed by a cascade of assurances by German, French, British, and NATO leaders. The betrayal of these pledges was widely condemned already in 1997 by 50 US foreign policy authorities, including the leading Cold War hawks, in an open letter to President Clinton. What has ensued is three decades of NATO eastward expansion, which has made the world poorer and less secure, just as these US experts predicted over 25 years ago.[28]

If in 2022 the proxy war’s costs were disastrous in the West and Russia, 2023 will be worse…………………………….

  • The year 2022 turned the Ukrainians’ dream of peace and development to ashes, as over a third of their economy disappeared, perhaps a quarter of the population fled and a generation of young men was sacrificed for the West’s geopolitics. What’s ahead in 2023 will be worse. Reconstruction will require a lot more than $1 trillion, according to Zelenskyy. That’s over five times Ukraine’s pre-war GDP.
  • US Big Defence is the big winner of 2022 and, thanks to the military aid arrangements, could reap war profits well into the late 2020s. By then, new big “weapons labs” will be needed elsewhere – North Korea, Taiwan, Iran, perhaps even China, where there’s a will, there’s a way – to ensure new wars that will generate adequate returns.

…………………………………….. In the view of Big Defence, peace is just a bad business proposition. There’s no money in it.

………………………………….. Even in April 2022, after a month of hostilities, Russia and Ukraine tentatively agreed to end the war. Yet, that decision was undermined by former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His carefully timed Ukraine visit was designed to stop the talks, which were not acceptable to the US and its allies.[30] Today, in Pentagon, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sees the escalation as “a window of opportunity here, between now and the spring.”[31]

Only a year ago, Ukraine, under Zelenskyy’s leadership, was still positioned to play a constructive role as a bridge between Eastern and Western Europe, thanks to its vital position in China’s Bridge and Belt Initiative. Had that future prevailed, Ukraine might today be peaceful. Its GDP would be a third bigger. As a neutral country, its trading relationships would have thrived and it would have attracted investment from Russia and both Western and Eastern Europe. Young men would have good jobs. And Ukrainian refugees would be returning for new opportunities at home. When old sectarian conflicts dissipate, escaping abroad is no longer a necessity and even little children sleep their nights rather than being haunted by nightmares, overshadowed by post-traumatic stress.

Today, all those dreams, too, are in ashes. The proxy war is aimed against Russia. The Ukrainians’ role is to die in it. The puppet masters are the primary beneficiaries.

January 31, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges: Ukraine: The WarThat Went Wrong

A state of permanent war creates complex bureaucracies, sustained by compliant politicians, journalists, scientists, technocrats and academics, who obsequiously serve the war machine.

This militarism needs mortal enemies — the latest are Russia and China — even when those demonized have no intention or capability, as was the case with Iraq, of harming the U.S. We are hostage to these incestuous institutional structures. 

byEDITORJanuary 29, 2023

NATO support for the war in Ukraine, designed to degrade the Russian military and drive Vladimir Putin from power, is not going according to plan. The new sophisticated military hardware won’t help.

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Empires in terminal decline leap from one military fiasco to the next. The war in Ukraine, another bungled attempt to reassert U.S. global hegemony, fits this pattern. The danger is that the more dire things look, the more the U.S. will escalate the conflict, potentially provoking open confrontation with Russia. If Russia carries out retaliatory attacks on supply and training bases in neighboring NATO countries, or uses tactical nuclear weapons, NATO will almost certainly respond by attacking Russian forces. We will have ignited World War III, which could result in a nuclear holocaust.

U.S. military support for Ukraine began with the basics — ammunition and assault weapons. The Biden administration, however, soon crossed several self-imposed red lines to provide a tidal wave of lethal war machinery: Stinger anti-aircraft systems; Javelin anti-armor systems; M777 towed Howitzers; 122mm GRAD rockets; M142 multiple rocket launchers, or HIMARS; Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles; Patriot air defense batteries; National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS); M113 Armored Personnel Carriers; and now 31 M1 Abrams, as part of a new $400 million package. These tanks will be supplemented by 14 German Leopard 2A6 tanks, 14 British Challenger 2 tanks, as well as tanks from other NATO members, including Poland. Next on the list are armor-piercing depleted uranium (DU) ammunition and F-15 and F-16 fighter jets.

Since Russia invaded on February 24, 2022, Congress has approved more than $113 billion in aid to Ukraine and allied nations supporting the war in Ukraine. Three-fifths of this aid, $67 billion, has been allocated for military expenditures. There are 28 countries transferring weapons to Ukraine. All of them, with the exception of Australia, Canada and the U.S., are in Europe. 

The rapid upgrade of sophisticated military hardware and aid provided to Ukraine is not a good sign for the NATO alliance. It takes many months, if not years, of training to operate and coordinate these weapons systems………………….

NATO military commanders understand that the infusion of these weapons systems into the war will not alter what is, at best, a stalemate, defined largely by artillery duels over hundreds of miles of front lines. The purchase of these weapons systems — one M1 Abrams tank costs $10 million when training and sustainment are included — increases the profits of the arms manufacturers. The use of these weapons in Ukraine allows them to be tested in battlefield conditions, making the war a laboratory for weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin. All this is useful to NATO and to the arms industry. But it is not very useful to Ukraine.

The other problem with advanced weapons systems such as the M1 Abrams, which have 1,500-horsepower turbine engines that run on jet fuel, is that they are temperamental and require highly skilled and near constant maintenance. They are not forgiving to those operating them who make mistakes; indeed, mistakes can be lethal. 

 The most optimistic scenario for deploying M1-Abrams tanks in Ukraine is six to eight months, more likely longer. If Russia launches a major offensive in the spring, as expected, the M1 Abrams will not be part of the Ukrainian arsenal. Even when they do arrive, they will not significantly alter the balance of power, especially if the Russians are able to turn the tanks, manned by inexperienced crews, into charred hulks.

So why all this infusion of high-tech weaponry? We can sum it up in one word: panic.

Having declared a de facto war on Russia and openly calling for the removal of Vladimir Putin, the neoconservative pimps of war watch with dread as Ukraine is being pummeled by a relentless Russian war of attrition. Ukraine has suffered nearly 18,000 civilian casualties (6,919 killed and 11,075 injured). It has also seen  around 8 percent of its total housing destroyed or damaged and 50 percent of its energy infrastructure directly impacted with frequent power cuts. Ukraine requires at least $3 billion a month in outside support to keep its economy afloat, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director recently said. Nearly 14 million Ukrainians have been displaced — 8 million in Europe and 6 million internally — and up to 18 million people, or 40 percent of Ukraine’s population, will soon require humanitarian assistance. Ukraine’s economy contracted by 35 percent in 2022, and 60 percent of Ukrainians are now poised to live on less than $5.5 a day, according to World Bank estimates. Nine million Ukrainians are without electricity and water in sub-zero temperatures, the Ukrainian president says. According to estimates from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, 100,000 Ukrainian and 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the war as of last November.  …………………………

In desperation, the empire pumps ever greater sums into its war machine. The most recent $1.7 trillion spending bill included $847 billion for the military;  the total is boosted to $858 billion when factoring in accounts that don’t fall under the Armed Services committees’ jurisdiction, such as the Department of Energy, which oversees nuclear weapons maintenance and the infrastructure that develops them. In 2021, when the U.S. had a military budget of $801 billion, it constituted nearly 40 percent of all global military expenditures, more than the next nine countries, including Russia and China, spent on their militaries combined.

A state of permanent war creates complex bureaucracies, sustained by compliant politicians, journalists, scientists, technocrats and academics, who obsequiously serve the war machine. This militarism needs mortal enemies — the latest are Russia and China — even when those demonized have no intention or capability, as was the case with Iraq, of harming the U.S. We are hostage to these incestuous institutional structures. 

Earlier this month, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, for example, appointed eight commissioners to review Biden’s National Defense Strategy (NDS) to “examine the assumptions, objectives, defense investments, force posture and structure, operational concepts, and military risks of the NDS.” The commission, as Eli Clifton writes at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, is “largely comprised of individuals with financial ties to the weapons industry and U.S. government contractors, raising questions about whether the commission will take a critical eye to contractors who receive $400 billion of the $858 billion FY2023 defense budget.” The chair of the commission, Clifton notes, is former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), who “sits on the board of Iridium Communications, a satellite communications firm that was awarded a seven-year $738.5 million contract with the Department of Defense in 2019.”…………………………..

America’s two ruling parties depend on campaign funds from the war industry and are pressured by weapons manufacturers in their state or districts, who employ constituents, to pass gargantuan military budgets. Politicians are acutely aware that to challenge the permanent war economy is to be attacked as unpatriotic and is usually an act of political suicide.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. The plan to reshape Europe and the global balance of power by degrading Russia is turning out to resemble the failed plan to reshape the Middle East. It is fueling a global food crisis and devastating Europe with near double-digit inflation. It is exposing the impotency, once again, of the United States, and the bankruptcy of its ruling oligarchs. As a counterweight to the United States, nations such as China, Russia, India, Brazil and Iran are severing themselves from the tyranny of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, a move that will trigger economic and social catastrophe in the United States. Washington is giving Ukraine ever more sophisticated weapons systems and billions upon billions in aid in a futile bid to save Ukraine but, more importantly, to save itself.  https://scheerpost.com/2023/01/29/chris-hedges-ukraine-the-war-that-went-wrong/

January 31, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian nuclear news – and more

Above – size of the highly radioactive capsule inexplicably mislaid, in Western Australia

Some bits of good news. What went right this week: ‘positive tipping points’. England got a new rewilding site.        Cancer Plummets, Guinea Worm Eradicated, Bye-Bye Ebola—3 Huge Wins for Humanity.

The polycrisis is upon us……. pandemic, global heating, nuclear fear, plastic and chemical pollution, biodiversity loss,  overpopulation, water shortage ….. all these are interrelated. As Alex Smith shows us, in Radio Ecoshock – this all might develop into a permacrisis. My own thought  is that it’s no wonder that many young people have  problems of anxiety and depression – in our culture focussed on individualism, money, and endless growth.

Nuclear. This newsletter is miles too long. But it’s a critical time- teetering on the brink of nuclear war. Tanks going into Ukraine – a futile symbol for Zelensky’s dream of conquering Russia, – while underneath it all, rumblings of a cease-fire deal between USA-NATO and Russia, before it all gets a lot worse.

Christina notes:  World War 3 danger – it’s getting so like pre World War 1 – can it get any worse? Nuclear toys for the boys. What fun!      Nuclear fusion – here’s where history, culture, and nuclear annihilation technology collide.

AUSTRALIA.   

Documents show no sign Albanese government lobbied the US to bring Julian Assange home.

CLIMATE. The first breach of 1.5°C will be a temporary but devastating failure. Absurd that we listen to those causing the climate crisis’ in Davos, says Greta Thunberghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU6vQXif5Xo  The ‘all-of-the-above’ story used to sneak nuclear power in as a climate-action technology along with renewables . Suffolk: Sizewell C nuclear ‘should not get licence’ due to coastal erosion.

CIVIL LIBERTIESJulian Assange and the US government’s war on whistleblowershttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOC-c0QdfEo . The Belmarsh Tribunals Demand Justice for Julian Assange. UK police powers increased, to shut down climate protestsUK govt to tighten anti-protest restrictions, despite criticism from human rights groups .

CULTUREThe dirty secret of US nuclear energy.

ECONOMICSAs the war rages on and military spending booms, the US arms industry is a big winner in Ukraine. 

Marketing: South Korea keen to market nuclear technology to United Arab Emirates, and missile technology, too. Poland’s energy company agrees to buy France’s NOT YET DESIGNED so-called “small” Nuward nuclear reactor! 

The British government’s Regulated Asset Base – the test case for reviving its nuclear power dream. “Great British Nuclear “- it’s high time that they came clean on what this will cost. 

As SMR developer X-energy moves to go public, merger partner Ares cautions investors about risks of small nuclear reactors.   David Schlissel: Small modular reactor project likely to end badly for Utah utilities.

EMPLOYMENT. The French nuclear sector up against the wall in terms of recruitment.

ENERGY. Germany aims for faster expansion of wind energy, not nuclear.  Prolonged outages of France’s nuclear reactors.  Renewable energy is the only credible path forward -António Guterres.  Four separate reports show that the UK could save over €120 bn by 2050 by switching to a renewable energy strategy.

ENVIRONMENT. Campaigners fear changes at Hinkley Point C ‘could kill millions of fish every day’. Japan’s Plan To Discharge Water From Fukushima Nuclear Plant Faces Pacific Opposition

HEALTH. Julian Assange’s Biggest Fight in Notorious Prison Isn’t Over Extradition.     The WHO is urging countries to start stockpiling medicines for ‘nuclear emergencies’ after the EU’s latest warning on Ukraine war. WHO updates critical medicines list for radiological and nuclear emergencies.         Investigation underway after nine nuclear missileers develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphomaNuclear strike chief seeks cancer review of launch officers.

 LEGAL. Fukushima: court upholds acquittals of three Tepco executives over disaster.       UK High Court to hear challenge against plans for Sizewell C nuclear station.            The Ohio nuclear scandal: Davis-Besse and Perry power plants in northern Ohio couldn’t cover costs, let alone make a profit.            Appeals Court Tosses Suit from Environmentalists, Midland Oil Company Contesting Nuclear Waste Storage Permit.

MEDIANew documentary film ‘Downwind’ explores why testing, using nuclear weapons makes deadly mistakes .

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGYNuclear Fusion Won’t Save the Climate But It Might Blow Up the World. The Nuclear Fallacy: Why Small Modular Reactors Can’t Compete With Renewable Energy.    U.S. approves design for NuScale small modular nuclear reactor, but significant problems remain.

OPPOSITION to NUCLEARDemonstrators gather in Hamburg against threat of nuclear confrontation in Ukraine.

PERSONAL STORIES. ‘The day the desert wind cried‘: French nuclear tests cast long shadow in Libyan Sahara.

POLITICS

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY. The Problem With Primacy – America’s Dangerous Quest to Dominate the Pacific. “Chinese Aggression” Sure Looks An Awful Lot Like US Aggression. Can Talks with China about Nuclear Weapons Be Constructive? 

USA tries to prevent a Russian offensive in Ukraine by offering a sort of war endgame deal to Russia. Diplomatic Cables Show Russia Saw NATO Expansion as a Red Line. WikiLeaks cables reveal NATO intended to cross all Russian red lines

Pacific islands urge Japan to delay release of nuclear plant waste waterFrance promises to speed up handover of colonial archives and clean up nuclear test sites in Algeria.

SAFETY. 

SECRETS and LIESIn Just Under Three Weeks, Ukrainian-Fired Prohibited “Petal” Mines Maim At Least 44 Civilians, Kill 2, in Donetsk Region.    Man arrested on suspicion of terror offences after uranium found at Heathrow.

SPACE. EXPLORATION, WEAPONS. Geopolitics’ New Frontier in SpaceNATO activating space war center in France. New NASA Nuclear Rocket Plan Aims to Get to Mars in Just 45 Days. Nuclear-powered rockets to Mars – there are serious safety risks. NASA partners with the military to test nuclear fission-powered spacecraft engine by 2027.

SPINBUSTER. A bit of panic in the UK small nuclear reactor lobby?

TECHNOLOGY. Canadian MP Charlie Angus Questions the Claims of SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7nR4P39ALo.   

WASTES.  Don’t dump on us. China urges Japan to safely dispose of nuclear-contaminated water.          France’s nuclear waste agency applies to create a long-term underground storage in Eastern France. France issues a 10,000-page dossier to convince people of the safety of the Cigeo nuclear waste site.              US sweetens pot to study siting for spent nuclear fuelDiluted plutonium disposed of at Carlsbad nuclear waste site as program draws controversy. Many years for removal and disposal of radioactive waste from historic subterranean vaults at Berkeley nuclear power station.

WAR and CONFLICT.  

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES. SCOTT RITTER: The Nightmare of NATO Equipment Being Sent to Ukraine. CNN: Ukraine Has Become a ‘Weapons Lab’ for Western Arms . Ukraine Narrative Fraying, But Weapons Will Continue To Flow. AP: NATO powers, Ukraine in “fast-track” talks for long-range missiles, warplanes Ukraine war boon/boondoggle for U.S. arms makers, Pentagon’s warfighting capabilities.  

 Biden to send 31 Abrams tanks, Germany 14 Leopards for war in Ukraine — . Germany Says US Must Lead Way On Tanks For Ukraine, As Republican Party Also Piles On Pressure Ukraine: Germany spearheads delivery of 90 tanks from NATO allies, partners .    Finnish arms to Turkey in NATO quid pro quo, tanks to Ukraine next.    Ukraine intensifies pressure on Georgia to enter war: ruling party leader .  German foreign minister: “We are fighting a war against Russia” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCJUf5d6UfE

Nuclear Notebook: United States nuclear weapons, 2023.  Pentagon can’t account for $220 billion in govt property, fails fifth audit. It comes down to weapons.

Plutonium Pit Bomb Plans Excoriated by General Accounting Office.

 Cost Estimate for Plutonium Pit Project at Savannah River Site Hits $16.5 Billion, $5 Billion above Current Estimate . 

US Installs New Nukes in Europe: As Destructive as 83 Hiroshima Bombs. 

The US has a new nuclear proliferation problem: South Korea. The Disastrous Downsides of South Korea Building Nuclear Weapons

January 30, 2023 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s Biggest Fight in Notorious Prison Isn’t Over Extradition

NewsWeek, BY SHAUN WATERMAN ON 01/27/23 “…………………………………………….. Assange’s physical and mental health have declined severely during more than a decade in confinement — first sheltering from U.S. authorities in the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012-2019, where he lived in two rooms and never left the building, and for the last almost four years, since he was dragged from the embassy by British police in April 2019, in Belmarsh fighting extradition.

…………………… The proceedings in London continue to drag on. It has been more than a year since the High Court cleared the way for his extradition and his appeal was filed in August. But the court continues to weigh it, with no deadline to reach a decision. Even if he loses, there remains the possibility of an appeal to the British Supreme Court, or to the European Court of Human Rights. Assange could be in the U.S. within months, but he might remain in Britain for years.

His family says that with uncertainty about his extradition hanging over him like the sword of Damocles, he has lost weight and become depressed and anxious.

A confinement of uncertain duration

The worst part about the confinement is having no idea when or how he would be able to leave, Stella Assange said. “It is the uncertain duration that makes it so hard to bear … It’s a kind of torture.”…………..

The uncertainty has exacerbated Assange’s physical and mental deterioration, his wife said. In October 2021, during a High Court hearing about his extradition, Assange, attending via video link from Belmarsh, suffered a “transient ischaemic attack” — a mini-stroke. He has been diagnosed with nerve damage and memory problems and prescribed blood thinners.

“He might not survive this,” she said.

As a remand prisoner, not convicted or sentenced, and facing extradition, not prosecution, Assange is an anomaly in Britain’s most secure prison — designed to hold “Category A” inmates such as IRA militants, jihadis and murderers. One of a tiny handful of unconvicted prisoners, prison regulations require him to be treated differently, his wife said.

“He’s supposed to be able to get visits every day, he’s supposed to be able to work on his case,” she said, “But that’s only on paper. The way the prison system works, it is more efficient to treat everyone like a Cat A prisoner rather than to try to adapt the rules for individuals. In reality, that just doesn’t translate at all.” She said Assange is allowed one or two legal visits, and one or two social visits each week.

In between visits, time can stretch. And the isolation has been hard on him……………………………..

Phone calls, his half-brother Gabriel Shipton told Newsweek from Assange’s native Australia, are limited to 10 minutes. “You’ll just be getting into it and click, it’s over.”

Neither the governor’s office at Belmarsh, nor the press office for the British Prison Service, responded to emails requesting responses to detailed questions.

A source of inspiration and power

Assange gets thousands of letters and parcels from all over the world, Stella Assange said, but the authorities interdict banned items, such as books about national security, paintings and other forbidden objects.

His father, John Shipton, told Newsweek from Australia that Assange draws a lot of inspiration and power from the letters that people write to him. During their phone conversations, he will often read snippets or recall memorable letters, Shipton said. “He loves getting them … You can hear him light up a bit” when he talks about them………………………………………… more https://www.newsweek.com/2023/02/10/julian-assanges-biggest-fight-notorious-prison-isnt-over-extradition-1774197.html

January 30, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, health, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

The Belmarsh Tribunals Demand Justice for Julian Assange

Never before has a publisher been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act. The Assange prosecution poses a fundamental threat to the freedom of speech and a free press.

President Biden, currently embroiled in his own classified document scandal, knows this, and should immediately drop the charges against Julian Assange

JANUARY 26, 2023, By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan  https://www.democracynow.org/2023/1/26/the_belmarsh_tribunals_demand_justice_for

“The first casualty when war comes is truth,” U.S. Senator Hiram W. Johnson of California said in 1929, debating ratification of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a noble but ultimately failed attempt to ban war. Reflecting on World War I, which ended a decade earlier, he continued, “it begins what we were so familiar with only a brief period ago, this mode of propaganda whereby…people become war hungry in their patriotism and are lied into a desire to fight. We have seen it in the past; it will happen again in the future.”

Time and again, Hiram Johnson has been proven right. Our government’s impulse to control information and manipulate public opinion to support war is deeply ingrained. The past twenty years, dominated by the so-called War on Terror, are no exception. Sophisticated PR campaigns, a compliant mass media and the Pentagon’s pervasive propaganda machine all work together, as public intellectual Noam Chomsky and the late Prof. Ed Herman defined it in the title of their groundbreaking book, “Manufacturing Consent,” borrowing a phrase from Walter Lippman, considered the father of public relations.

One publisher consistently challenging the pro-war narrative pushed by the U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, has been the whistleblower website Wikileaks. Wikileaks gained international attention in 2010 after publishing a trove of classified documents leaked from the U.S. military. Included were numerous accounts of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the killing of civilians, and shocking footage of a helicopter gunship in Baghdad slaughtering a dozen civilians, including a Reuters journalist and his driver, on the ground below. Wikileaks titled that video, “Collateral Murder.”

The New York Times and other newspapers partnered with Wikileaks to publish stories based on the leaks. This brought increased attention to the founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. In December, 2010, two months after release of the Collateral Murder video, then-Vice President Joe Biden, appearing on NBC, said Assange was “closer to being a hi-tech terrorist than the Pentagon papers.” Biden was referring to the 1971 classified document release by Daniel Ellsberg, which revealed years of Pentagon lies about U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.

With a secret grand jury empanelled in Virginia, Assange, then in London, feared being arrested and extradited to the United States. Ecuador granted Assange political asylum. Unable to make it to Latin America, he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He lived inside the small, apartment-sized embassy for almost seven years. In April 2019, after a new Ecuadorian president revoked Assange’s asylum, British authorities arrested him and locked him up in London’s notorious Belmarsh Prison, often called “Britain’s Guantánamo.” He has been held there, in harsh conditions and in failing health, for almost four years, as the U.S. government seeks his extradition to face espionage and other charges. If extradited and convicted in the U.S., Assange faces 175 years in a maximum-security prison.

While the Conservative-led UK government seems poised to extradite Assange, a global movement has grown demanding his release. The Progressive International, a global pro-democracy umbrella group, has convened four assemblies since 2020 called The Belmarsh Tribunals. Named after the 1966 Russell-Sartre Tribunal on the Vietnam War, convened by philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sarte, The Belmarsh Tribunal has assembled some of the world’s most prominent, progressive activists, artists, politicians, dissidents, human rights attorneys and whistleblowers, all speaking in defense of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

We are bearing witness to a travesty of justice,” Jeremy Corbyn, a British Member of Parliament and a former leader of the Labour Party, said at the tribunal. “To an abuse of human rights, to a denial of freedom of somebody who bravely put himself on the line that we all might know that the innocent died in Abu Ghraib, the innocent died in Afghanistan, the innocent are dying in the Mediterranean, and innocents die all over the world, where unwatched, unaccountable powers decide it’s expedient and convenient to kill people who get in the way of whatever grand scheme they’ve got. We say no. That’s why we are demanding justice for Julian Assange.”

Corbyn is joined in his call by The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel–major newspapers that published articles based on the leaked documents. “Publishing is not a crime,” the newspapers declared.

Never before has a publisher been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act. The Assange prosecution poses a fundamental threat to the freedom of speech and a free press. President Biden, currently embroiled in his own classified document scandal, knows this, and should immediately drop the charges against Julian Assange.

January 30, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Missing radioactive capsule: WA officials admit it was weeks before anyone realised it was lost

Fire and Emergency Services official says capsule left Rio Tinto mine site on 10 January but was not found missing for 15 days

Guardian, Mostafa Rachwani, 28 Jan 23

Western Australian authorities are scrambling to find a missing radioactive capsule that is a fraction of the size of a 10c coin, conceding it was not found missing until more than two weeks after it left a Rio Tinto mine site.

The 8mm by 6mm capsule is a 19-gigabecquerel caesium 137 ceramic source, commonly used in radiation gauges, and was supposed to be contained in a secure device which had been “damaged” on a truck which travelled from the mine site north of Newman in the Pilbara to a depot in Perth.

Authorities are now searching along the 1,400km stretch of the Great Northern Highway for the capsule, which they warn can cause skin burns, radiation sickness and cancer.

At a news conference on Saturday, Darryl Ray, the acting superintendent for Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services, said authorities were largely searching for the capsule at “strategic sites”.

He said an incident management team including the Department of Health and police had been formed.

“We have continued the search on strategic sites along the route that the vehicle had taken, concentrating on sites close to high-population areas within the metropolitan suburbs,” he said. “The search involves the use of radiation survey meters to detect the radiation levels which will help us locate the small device.

“What we are not doing is trying to find a tiny little device by eyesight. We are using the radiation detectors to locate the gamma rays, using the meters, that will help us then locate the small device.

“We have secured the GPS data from the trucking company to determine the exact route and stops that the vehicle has taken on its journey.

“We will continue to use specialist equipment to help us search the remaining known locations … in particular, the Great Northern Highway between Perth and Newman.”

The WA chief health officer, Andrew Robertson, said there were screws missing from the protective gauge holding the capsule when it was discovered missing.

“These gauges are designed to be robust and to be used in industrial settings where they may be exposed to weather and vibration, so it is unusual for a gauge to come apart like this one has,” Robertson said.

“We are conducting an investigation on all of the circumstances from when it was originally transported from the mine site, the whole of the transport route, and then its handling on arrival in Perth.”

Robertson urged anyone who found the capsule not to handle it.

“People could end up developing redness of the skin and eventually burns of the skin from the beta radiation,” he said. “If it were kept long enough and they were exposed long enough, they could also have some acute effects, including impacts on their immune system and the gastrointestinal system.”

Robertson said the capsule was “most dangerous if it is handled or if it is close to the body”.

“If you are further than five metres away from the source, certainly if you are more than 20 metres away from the source, it will pose no danger to you,” he said. “If it is closer than that, and we strongly discourage people from picking it up, certainly don’t put it in your pocket or put it in your car, don’t put it on your sideboard, it will continue to radiate.

“While you may not have immediate health effects, they can occur relatively rapidly over a short period of time if it is close to the body………………

Robertson said officials did not know the date the capsule fell off the truck.

Ray said the capsule was placed on to the pallet on 10 January at the mine site, transited and arrived at the radiation service company in Malaga on 16 January.

“It was not until the 25th, late morning, when they opened it up to reveal that the device had fallen apart, was damaged in transit, and that the actual capsule was discovered missing, which is when authorities were first notified.” ………… more https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/28/missing-radioactive-capsule-wa-officials-admit-it-was-weeks-before-anyone-realised-it-was-lost

January 30, 2023 Posted by | - incidents, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Truth About Tanks: How NATO Lied Its Way to Disaster in Ukraine

Above: Ukrainian soldiers repair a tank January 2023

Sputnik International, Scott Ritter 29 Jan 23

Tank warfare has evolved. The large force-on-force armored battles that were the hallmark of much of WWII, the Arab-Israeli conflicts, which served as the foundation of operational doctrine for both NATO and the Soviet Union (and which was implemented in full by the United States during Operation Desert Storm in 1991), has run its course.

Like most military technological innovations, the ability to make a modern main battle tank survivable has been outstripped by the fielding of defensive systems designed to overcome such defenses. If a modern military force attempted to launch a large-scale tank-dominated attack against a well-equipped peer-level opponent armed with modern anti-tank missiles, the result would be a decisive defeat for the attacking party marked by the smoking hulks of burned-out tanks.

Don’t get me wrong: tanks still have a vital role to play on the modern battlefield. Their status as a mobile bunker is invaluable in the kind of meat-grinder conflicts of attrition that have come to define the current stage of large-scale ground combat. Speed and armor still contribute to survivability, and the main gun of a tank remains one of the deadliest weapons on the modern battlefield.

But the modern tank performs best as part of a combined arms team, supported by infantry (mounted and unmounted) and copious amounts of supporting arms (artillery and close air support.) As part of such a team, especially one that is well-trained in the art of close combat, the tank remains an essential weapon of war. However, if operated in isolation, a tank is simply an expensive mobile coffin.

Much has been made about the recent decision made by NATO and allied nations to provide Western main battle tanks to Ukraine. The politics of this decision is its own separate topic. This article will address the operational practicalities of this decision, namely has the military capability of Ukraine been enhanced through the provision of these new weapons systems.

To answer this question, one needs to examine three basic issues: training, logistical sustainability, and operational employment.

Training

It takes 22 weeks to train a basic American M1 Abrams crewmember. That training just gives the soldier the very basic skill set to be functional. Actual operational expertise is only achieved through months, if not years, of additional training in not just the system itself, but employing it as part of a similarly trained combine arms team………………………………….

Training is expensive. NATO is currently providing Ukraine with three types of Western main battle tank: the British Challenger 2, the German Leopard 2, and the American M1A2. There is no unified training course—each tank requires its own unique training prospectus that is not directly transferable to another system.

The decentralized training processes created by such a diverse approach promotes inefficiencies and generates discrepancies in outcome…………………….

Moreover, these problems will only be enhanced by the emphasis that will be placed on rapid outcomes. The reality is whatever training programs that are developed and delivered by the nations providing the tanks will be insufficient to the task, resulting in poorly trained crews taking extremely complicated weapons systems into the most dangerous environment in the world for a tank—the teeth of a Russian Army designed and equipped to kill these very same tanks.

Logistical Sustainability

Tanks are among the most technically challenging weapons systems on a modern battlefield. They are constantly breaking down, especially if not properly maintained……………………

This means that the tanks that are being provided to Ukraine will need to be returned to NATO nations for any significant repairs of equipment that is damaged through simple usage or actual combat. ……………….

Operational Employment

Ukraine’s commander in chief of the Armed Forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, told The Economist last month that he needed 300 tanks, 500 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 artillery pieces, if he were going to have any chance of defeating Ukraine.

Following the January 20 meeting of the Ramstein Contact Group, and subsequent follow-on discussions about the provision of tanks, NATO and its allied partners have agreed to provide less than 50% of the number of tanks requested, less than 50% of the number of infantry fighting vehicles requested, and less than 20% of the artillery requested.

Moreover, the timetable for delivery of this equipment is staggered incoherently over a period that stretches out for many months, and in some cases extends into the next year. …………..

The truth about tanks is that NATO and its allied nations are making Ukraine weaker, not stronger, by providing them with military systems that are overly complicated to operate, extraordinarily difficult to maintain, and impossible to survive unless employed in a cogent manner while supported by extensive combined arms partners.

The decision to provide Ukraine with Western main battle tanks is, literally, a suicide pact, something those who claim they are looking out for the best interests of Ukraine should consider before it is too late.  https://sputniknews.com/20230128/truth-about-tanks-how-nato-lied-its-way-to-disaster-in-ukraine-1106786081.html

January 30, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment