Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

‘Everything about the Gulf of St. Lawrence was warmer in 2021’: federal scientist


‘Everything about the Gulf of St. Lawrence was warmer in 2021’: federal scientist
Warming ocean temperatures — especially in deep water — set more records in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2021, according to climate data released Tuesday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

January 22, 2022 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

A mutual suicide pact: Australia’s undeclared nuclear weapons strategy

A mutual suicide pact: Australia’s undeclared nuclear weapons strategy, Pearls and Irritations, By Michael McKinleyJan 20, 2022  As the world’s nuclear arsenals build even more killing power, the need for Australia to abandon this perilous defence arrangement only increases.

The conventional wisdom has it that in the matter of nuclear weapons Australia is an exemplary international citizen. According to the Standard Version, it diligently supports the various nuclear arms control and disarmament regimes, and adheres to the position which regards nuclear weapons as instruments of nuclear deterrence and thus of the stable relations between major powers. Nuclear war-fighting is eschewed. Virtue is asserted. Res ipsa loquitor. The problem is that both claims are not only false, but embedded within what passes for defence policy with increasing willed ignorance, deceit and dishonesty.

At issue is the Australia’s unqualified general support for the various postures the US adopts and the particular role which it provides through the joint Australia-US facilities at Pine Gap and Northwest Cape. Their status as integral components in US global nuclear strategy – and thus nuclear targets in the event of major, peer-to-peer-war challenges the concept of government by consent of the governed.

The arrangements and agreements between Canberra and Washington have never been made public; indeed, successive governments have been industrious in their attempts to close off anything resembling national dialogue or debate on them.

This, of course, is a traditional and dishonourable tradition. Its origins are to be found in the official dishonesty surrounding Australia granting the British government the right to conduct a series of nuclear weapons tests at Maralinga, Emu Plains and the Montebello Islands from 1952 to 1963.

Unabated, it has coarsened the legal and ethical fabric of the nation’s security and foreign policy ever since to the point where the obvious has to be restated because, essentially, it no longer gives cause for shame, outrage, or anger.

Consider just six issues on which policymakers and mainstream national security commentators and scholars have been mute.

Diplomacy, it seems, has been substituted for by bellicose statements by high-level military and civilian personnel which exhibit, little more than its relegation to an irrelevance beyond its cosmetic utility.

Second, there is proliferation by stealth. The US initiative to modernise its nuclear arsenal by installing the burst-height compensating super-fuze has extraordinary implications. It effectively triples the killing power of its ballistic missiles and, as described by three of America’s most respected weapons analysts (Hans Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie and Theodore Postol) in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists the situation is one in which the US has developed “the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.”

Third, the advent of weapons with warheads described as “variable yield,” “low yield,” “clean” (sic), or “mini nukes” has encouraged declarations at the highest levels in the US that, under certain circumstances, nuclear weapons have “tactical” utility. And they are a matter of pride: as the head of US Strategic Command told a congressional committee in 2020, these innovations made him “proud to be an American.”

Fourth, this embrace of tactical nuclear weapons cannot be separated from the explicit intention to envisage nuclear weapons as inescapably enmeshed in the overarching concept of deterrence. Put another way, for Admiral Richard, and those of a like mind, there is no meaningful distinction to be made between conventional and nuclear deterrence: they comprise a single entity, the former being dependent on the latter for its intellectual and strategic credibility.

By extension the fifth comes into focus: the US to continuing to reserve to itself the right to a nuclear first strike. In 2020, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Tod Wolters, commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, went so far as to enthuse over it with this endorsement: “I’m a fan of flexible first use policy.”

Sixth and finally, there is nuclear deterrence itself. The term is employed in polite conversation as though it was simply a technical description; in reality, however, it is an obscenity and this becomes obvious when its explicit principle is confronted.

In simple terms it is a mutual suicide pact to the preserve the status quo of the time. Richard Tanter on this site has accurately described Australia’s position within the alliance and under the nuclear umbrella as one which it expects the US to commit genocide in the name of the country’s defence.

An important point is missed here: this understanding or expectation has never been put to the Australian people. …………  …… https://johnmenadue.com/a-mutual-suicide-pact-australias-undeclared-nuclear-weapons-strategy/

January 20, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia continues to lead the world for solar installations.

Rooftop solar took a hit in 2021 with the industry growing a third less than expected thanks to lockdowns and supply chain disruptions, despite still showing strong growth overall. More than 3m households and small businesses across the country now have solar panel systems installed, with the milestone reached in November. According to registration data provided by solar consultancy company SunWiz, 3.24GW of new solar capacity was added across the country last year, representing 10% growth on the previous year.

These figures include small rooftop systems of less than 100MW registered by homeowners and small businesses, and do not include large, industrial-scale solar installations. Queensland now has the most installed capacity, with 4,483MW, closely followed by New South Wales (4,256MW) and Victoria (3,839MW). Australia continues to lead the world for solar installations with a total installed capacity of just under 17GW.
nationwide.

 Guardian 19th Jan 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/19/growth-in-rooftop-solar-slows-due-to-lockdowns-and-supply-chain-issues

January 20, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Australia-UK talks – all about nuclear submarines and military co-operation against China.

Nuclear submarines and closer interaction with British military to dominate Australian talks with UK, ABC, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene Closer military cooperation and possible basing of British defence assets in Australia will be discussed when ministers from both nations hold long-awaited face-to-face talks in Sydney this week.

Key points:

  • British and Australian ministers will discuss the nuclear submarine deal and emerging security threats
  • This will be the countries’ first in-person AUKMIN meeting since before the pandemic
  • Scott Morrison will host the British ministers at Kirribilli House ahead of the talks

The British foreign and defence secretaries are due to arrive on Thursday ahead of their formal AUKMIN talks with their Australian counterparts on Friday.

This year’s Australia–United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations is expected to be dominated by the recent AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, as well as growing concerns over China’s power in the Indo-Pacific. ………………………..  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-19/nuclear-submarines-dominate-australia-uk-talks/100765474

January 20, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament.

AUKUS is emblematic of a belligerence that is at odds with moral and ethical demands for the future. It posits a vision of military aggression and confrontation that increase the risk of war and war turning nuclear; and concedes authoritarianism and lack of debate as defining principles for the present

AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament, Pearls and Irritations,
By Sanjay BarboraJan 16, 2022
   Despite many shortcomings, the Non-Proliferation Treaty remains a symbol of an inconsistent effort to ensure a world without threats of nuclear war.

The 2022 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was to meet from January 4 to 28 in New York has been postponed because of the resurgent virus. Consultations are under way to set a new meeting time.

………………As governments and civil society consider their priorities for the review conference, what then are we to expect? This question assumes greater significance for Australia, as the country’s leaders respond to the changing climate following the hastily announced AUKUS trilateral pact for the supply of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia in 2021.

Three closely related aspects ought to be considered by the country’s decision makers as they address the review conference. They are (a) Australia’s commitment to international obligations, (b) security implications of the proposed AUKUS submarines, and (c) reactions within civil society, either as they exist now or as may be anticipated in the future.

………………. In the past, Australia’s stated position was to aim for greater accountability from the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS), while widening the scope of non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) to pursue the development of domestic nuclear energy. However, this position was undermined by its active opposition to and attempts to derail the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2017.

A decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS partnership would threaten this fraught history with further uncertainties. It would offer the United States an even greater say in Australian foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean region.

The specious defence that eight-nuclear propelled submarines do not constitute a breach of Australia’s commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation has two obvious problems.

Firstly, politicians and political commentators have made it clear that current tensions with China have played a substantial role in the current government’s decision to override earlier agreements for creating domestic capacities to build submarines with French support.

Secondly, this dystopian vision of a future world of nuclear showdowns could encourage governments of other NNWS in the region and elsewhere to follow a similar disingenuous narrative for nuclear militarisation.

In any case, the pathway from civil use to military weaponisation remains an issue of concern, that any sovereign country might follow. This could undo several decades of Australian diplomacy that sought to place the country as a reliable partner for securing peaceful policies and development in the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean region.

AUKUS is emblematic of a belligerence that is at odds with moral and ethical demands for the future. It posits a vision of military aggression and confrontation that increase the risk of war and war turning nuclear; and concedes authoritarianism and lack of debate as defining principles for the present…………..

The NPT Review Conference, therefore offers an opportunity to revive Australian civil society’s responsibility to reiterate its commitment to regional and global peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.

Professor Sanjay Barbora, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India, is a Research Affiliate with the University of Melbourne’s Initiative for Peacebuilding. This article was stimulated by a closed-door roundtable discussion, “Would AUKUS undermine the NPT?” hosted by the Initiative for Peacebuilding on December 10. https://johnmenadue.com/aukus-an-unwelcome-guest-at-the-table-of-nuclear-disarmament/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Is US extradition inevitable for Julian Assange? | The Stream

Aljazeera English, 14 January 2022, It’s been more than a decade since the website WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos – some of which revealed possible US war crimes. Now WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has one more chance to appeal a UK ruling that would allow him to be extradited to the US.

Last month, a UK High Court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking and violating the US Espionage Act. The ruling goes against a lower court that previously said harsh US prison conditions would endanger Assange given his worsening mental and physical health.

Assange’s legal team has since filed an appeal to Britain’s Supreme Court, but in order for the appeal to be considered, it must be deemed of “general public importance”.

n 2019, the Trump administration indicted Assange for violating the US Espionage Act on counts related to the WikiLeaks release of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables. The US argues the release of classified information put the lives of American allies in danger.

Twenty-four civil liberties and press freedom groups, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, PEN America and Reporters Without Borders have called on the Biden administration to stop its prosecution against Assange. In a joint letter to the US Justice Department, they argue that Assange’s prosecution could set a precedent that would harm press freedom and the safety of journalists reporting on national security issues.

Assange spent seven years in refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and was eventually arrested in 2019. Last week, Assange’s supporters marked his 1,000th day of imprisonment at London’s Belmarsh high security prison.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss the outlook for Assange’s case and its broader implications for press freedom worldwide.

January 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

In Western Australia, first Cameco’s Kintyre uranium project was disallowed, now Toro’s uranium project also rejected

Nuclear Free WA, K-A Garlick. Nuclear Free Community Campaigner

13 Jan 22 On Monday we got confirmation from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation that the  Wiluna uranium mine cannot be developed as their environmental approval expired on 9 January 2022 – having failed to “substantially commence” mining. 

Toro could apply to extend the approval but we are hopeful that any request would be rejected. In March 2020 Cameco’s Kintyre approval expired and their request to extend denied. This is a good precedent. We are also tracking the Yeelirrie project which is due to expire on 20 January 2022. We are looking forward to other opportunities to secure lasting protections against uranium mine proposals in WA. Stay posted. 

January 13, 2022 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

TANKS A LOT SCOTT! $3.5 billion for tanks to replace a fleet we purchased in 2007, which never saw battle.

January 13, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What future for Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) in Australia ?

Small nuclear reactor? It’s a lemon!

Large taxpayer subsidies might get some projects, such as the NuScale project in the US or the Rolls-Royce mid-sized reactor project in the UK, to the construction stage. Or they may join the growing list of abandoned SMR projects

In 2022, nuclear power’s future looks grimmer than ever, Jim Green, 11 Jan 2022, RenewEconomy

”……………………………………….. Small modular reactors

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are heavily promoted but construction projects are few and far between and have exhibited disastrous cost overruns and multi-year delays.

It should be noted that none of the projects discussed below meet the ‘modular’ definition of serial factory production of reactor components, which could potentially drive down costs. Using that definition, no SMRs have ever been built and no country, company or utility is building the infrastructure for SMR construction.

In 2004, when the CAREM SMR in Argentina was in the planning stage, Argentina’s Bariloche Atomic Center estimated an overnight cost of A$1.4 billion / GW for an integrated 300 megawatt (MW) plant, while acknowledging that to achieve such a cost would be a “very difficult task”. Now, the cost estimate is more than 20 times greater at A$32.6 billion / GW. A little over A$1 billion for a reactor with a capacity of just 32 MW. The project is seven years behind schedule and costs will likely increase further.

Russia’s 70 MW floating nuclear power plant is said to be the only operating SMR anywhere in the world (although it doesn’t fit the ‘modular’ definition of serial factory production). The construction cost increased six-fold from 6 billion rubles to 37 billion rubles (A$688 million), equivalent to A$9.8 billion / GW. The construction project was nine years behind schedule.

According to the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, electricity produced by the Russian floating plant costs an estimated A$279 / MWh, with the high cost due to large staffing requirements, high fuel costs, and resources required to maintain the barge and coastal infrastructure. The cost of electricity produced by the Russian plant exceeds costs from large reactors (A$182-284) even though SMRs are being promoted as the solution to the exorbitant costs of large nuclear plants.

SMRs are being promoted as important potential contributors to climate change abatement but the primary purpose of the Russian plant is to power fossil fuel mining operations in the Arctic.

A 2016 report said that the estimated construction cost of China’s demonstration 210 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) is about A$7.0 billion / GW and that cost increases have arisen from higher material and component costs, increases in labour costs, and project delays. The World Nuclear Association states that the cost is A$8.4 billion / GW. Those figures are 2-3 times higher than the A$2.8 billion / GW estimate in a 2009 paper by Tsinghua University researchers.

China’s HTGR was partially grid-connected in late-2021 and full connection will take place in early 2022.

China reportedly plans to upscale the HTGR design to 655 MW (three reactor modules feeding one turbine). China’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology at Tsinghua University expects the cost of a 655 MW HTGR will be 15-20 percent higher than the cost of a conventional 600 MW pressurised water reactor.

NucNet reported in 2020 that China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp dropped plans to manufacture 20 additional HTGR units after levelised cost of electricity estimates rose to levels higher than a conventional pressurised water reactor such as China’s indigenous Hualong One. Likewise, the World Nuclear Association states that plans for 18 additional HTGRs at the same site as the demonstration plant have been “dropped”.

The World Nuclear Association lists just two other SMR construction projects other than those listed above. In July 2021, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) New Energy Corporation began construction of the 125 MW pressurised water reactor ACP100. According to CNNC, construction costs per kilowatt will be twice the cost of large reactors, and the levelised cost of electricity will be 50 percent higher than large reactors.

In June 2021, construction of the 300 MW demonstration lead-cooled BREST fast reactor began in Russia. In 2012, the estimated cost for the reactor and associated facilities was A$780 million, but the cost estimate has more than doubled and now stands at A$1.9 billion.

SMR hype

Much more could be said about the proliferation of SMRs in the ‘planning’ stage, and the accompanying hype. For example a recent review asserts that more than 30 demonstrations of ‘advanced’ reactor designs are in progress across the globe. In fact, few have progressed beyond the planning stage, and few will. Private-sector funding has been scant and taxpayer funding has generally been well short of that required for SMR construction projects to proceed.

Large taxpayer subsidies might get some projects, such as the NuScale project in the US or the Rolls-Royce mid-sized reactor project in the UK, to the construction stage. Or they may join the growing list of abandoned SMR projects.

failed history of small reactor projects. A handful of recent construction projects, most subject to major cost overruns and multi-year delays. And the possibility of a small number of SMR construction projects over the next decade. Clearly the hype surrounding SMRs lacks justification.

Everything that is promising about SMRs belongs in the never-never; everything in the real-world is expensive and over-budget, slow and behind schedule. Moreover, there are disturbing, multifaceted connections between SMR projects and nuclear weapons proliferation, and between SMRs and fossil fuel mining.

SMRs for Australia

There is ongoing promotion of SMRs in Australia but a study by WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff, commissioned by the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, estimated costs of A$225 / MWh for SMRs. The Minerals Council of Australia states that SMRs won’t find a market unless they can produce power at about one-third of that cost.

In its 2021 GenCost report, CSIRO provides these 2030 cost estimates:

* Nuclear (SMR): A$128-322 / MWh

* 90 percent wind and solar PV with integration costs (transmission, storage and synchronous condensers): A$55-80 / MWh

Enthusiasts hope that nuclear power’s cost competitiveness will improve, but in all likelihood it will continue to worsen. Alone among energy sources, nuclear power becomes more expensive over time, or in other words it has a negative learning curve.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and the author of a recent report on nuclear power’s economic crisis. https://reneweconomy.com.au/in-2022-nuclear-powers-future-is-grimmer-than-ever/

January 11, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, technology | Leave a comment

The Australian media colludes with USA, UK and Australian governments’ persecution ofJulian Assange -”Crikey journal” typifies this

Australian media must stand up for Assange’s freedom, https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/australian-media-must-stand-up-for-assanges-freedom,15918 By Matilda Duncan | 10 January 2022,  For far too long the Australian media has remained silent in the face of Julian Assange’s persecution and that must change, writes Matilda Duncan.

LAST MONTH, Crikey’s legal correspondent Michael Bradley wrote a bizarre analysis of Julian Assange’s impending extradition to the U.S. without any regard for basic facts.

It’s worth examining, as it typifies the failures and absurdities of Australian press responses to Assange going back a decade — filled with lies, smears and false narratives that prevent the public from understanding the significance and substance of his case.

In writing about one of the gravest threats to press freedom in years, Bradley went as far as to include a cringeworthy – if not downright pernicious, given Assange recently suffered a stroke and is in precarious health – reference to a Monty Python quote being inscribed on Assange’s tombstone that ‘he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy’. 

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

In allowing his thoughts to remain mired in diversionary debates and myths about WikiLeaks and Assange, Bradley completely misses the point of the U.S. extradition case and fails to mention the dire threat to investigative journalism around the world it presents.

He does not confront or condemn the alarming legal precedent of the United States charging a foreign national, one of our citizens, with espionage under U.S domestic law — despite Assange not being a U.S. citizen and WikiLeaks not being a U.S.-based publication.

Bradley writes:

‘WikiLeaks broke new ground but mainly in volume and approach, not content.’

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks – in partnership with numerous mainstream media outlets, including The New York TimesThe Guardian and Der Spiegel – published a curated cache of 250,000 diplomatic cables revealing the corruption and destruction of the Bush-era and early Obama-era wars, into which Australia so subserviently followed.

Without Assange’s work, numerous war crimes, mass surveillance schemes and unreported civilian casualties would have gone uncovered. In one year, he generated more consequential journalistic scoops confronting Western centres of power than the rest of the world’s news organisations combined.

Some of the information published by Assange has since become the subject of criminal investigations into the CIA and U.S. authorities before the International Criminal Court, which, as lawyers for Assange testified during his extradition hearing, is further evidence that the U.S. case against him is politically motivated.

Further, irrefutable illustrations of the significance of the “content” of Assange’s work can be found in comparisons between it and the lies and deceptions fed to the Australian population by this country’s press in the Iraq War years. Consider, as just one example of many, WikiLeaks’ publishing of the detainee assessment briefs and manual for Guantanamo Bay, where children as young as 15 were held, in contrast with the vapid first-hand account of the illegal prison presented by one of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s top foreign correspondents, Leigh Sales.  

In 2007, Sales wrote of her second visit to Gitmo:

‘At the same time, my own eyes and ears led me to believe that Guantanamo wasn’t as barbaric as it was made out to be either. None of the detainees came running to the wire, begging for help to get out.’

One Guantanamo Bay prisoner has recently waived his right to appear in court on numerous occasions because he suffered “rectal damage” while in custody of the CIA that makes it too painful for him to sit.

According to Bradley, it’s Assange that’s the “problem”, not the CIA spying on Assange and planning to kidnap or assassinate him with the help of UC Global as he held political asylum inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. After UC Global installed microphones in 2017, all of Assange’s conversations were recorded, including those he had with his lawyers outlining his defence strategy for the current case against him.

This is likely a violation of attorney-client privilege in itself and might be reason enough to throw out the U.S. case against him.

Bradley wasted his words on puerile arguments about Assange being a “tarnished hero” instead of communicating the most pressing things to know about Assange: six of the 18 counts against him are Espionage Act charges that criminalise the obtaining of ‘national defense information’, something journalists that report on their governments do every day.

Ten other counts relate to  the disclosure of national defense information. Again, a regular task for many journalists. One further ‘conspiracy to commit computer intrusion’ count relates to Assange allegedly offering to help Chelsea Manning crack a security code to help her avoid detection while she was obtaining U.S. Government documents.

This is a charge that amounts to an attempt to criminalise a journalist assisting a source to protect themselves, yet another activity that responsible journalists regularly engage in.

Even more terrifyingly, the case against Assange centres around “national defence information”, a nebulous term that might be applied to whatever information the U.S. Government so chooses. It doesn’t even have to be classified or top-secret information — much of the information leaked by Manning was unclassified and widely accessible to others in government.

It has been recognised with press awards around the world for over a decade now, including a Walkley, and exposed human rights abuses globally. It is plain wrong to say that Assange did not redact the information he released — the compelling eyewitness testimony from Mark Davis can directly attest to that.

Further, there is no evidence of anyone becoming endangered by his reporting. In fact a 2013 investigation by McClatchy found officials couldn’t point to any examples of lives being endangered by WikiLeaks and in 2010, Obama officials privately admitted that any damage from the leaks was “limited” and that their public comments about the leaks having “seriously damaged American interests” were intended “to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers”.

‘Like anyone who attains the status of iconic mystery, Assange  not actually seen freely moving in public in a decade  has become less person and more mirror reflecting the meanings we choose to attach to him and his experiences. What he actually thinks is known only to him, and his lawyers presumably.’

Bradley was correct on one thing: using the word “mirror” in connection with Assange. This citizen of ours bravely risked his life and liberty to tell us ugly truths about U.S. imperial power and military machinery, which this country so strongly enables and supports.

He reflected right back at this country snippets of the destruction and mass civilian deaths we willingly participated in. His brave journalism exposed the bulk of our country’s media as the petty, unserious talking heads they are: journalists that don’t actually serve the public, but parrot the lies they are told by governments.

Contrary to what Bradley says, what Assange “actually thinks” has been well-documented for years now.

After seven years of arbitrary detention followed by three years of solitary confinement and other tortures in London’s Belmarsh Prison, Assange thinks of suicide constantly. That the U.S. is slowly killing this Australian journalist, partner and father before our eyes for exposing war crimes while the Australian Government does nothing and the majority of our press either remains silent or – when they say anything at all – write flippant and inaccurate stories about him demonstrates just how broken this country’s media is.

It shows how unaware we are of the press freedom we are about to lose and how deeply needed the work of Julian Assange and others of his ilk is.

January 10, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, secrets and lies, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

The Australian government is complicit with USA and UK imperilling the health of Julian Assange, may well cause his death.

AUKUS alliance driving Assange to his death,  https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/aukus-alliance-driving-assange-to-his-death,15904, By John Jiggens | 6 January 2022,   The actions of the U.S., UK and Australia are imperiling the health of Julian Assange and could result in the tragic death of the publisher, writes John Jiggens.

THE NEWS THAT Julian Assange has suffered a stroke while detained in London’s Belmarsh Prison has strengthened the fears of Assange supporters that the AUKUS alliance is comfortable with the WikiLeaks’ founder’s death at their hands.

But would an Australian Government be complicit in a plot against one of its own citizens?

Consider these recent stories.

In September 2021, Yahoo! News revealed that Mike Pompeo, who was the CIA Director in 2017, became party to a scheme to kidnap Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy or to assassinate him.

The Yahoo! investigation was based on conversations with 30 former U.S. officials. Among those interviewed, eight provided details on plans to kidnap Assange.

Greg Barns SC, a barrister and advisor to Julian Assange, told Bay FM:

“It was like something out of a James Bond film, except sadly, it was very true. There was a clear plan to take Assange out. We now have the Australian Government on notice that one of its citizens was the subject of a conspiracy to murder plot by the CIA.”

Further, he remarked:

The conduct of the CIA was outrageous, unlawful and represents a complete breach of the so-called alliance or friendship between Australia and the United States.

The CIA acts essentially as a criminal enterprise. It is state-sanctioned criminality. To be overtly planning to murder someone in any circumstances would amount to a conspiracy to murder for anyone else and the persons would face very serious criminal charges.

The Yahoo! report prompted prominent Assange supporters to write to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, asking if the Australian Government accepted the behaviour of an ally plotting to murder an Australian citizen and questioning whether Australian intelligence agencies participated in the plot or were notified about it.

Five weeks passed while Morrison’s office composed a 100-word reply.

It acceped no responsibility or accountability whatsoever. Indeed, Morrison’s reply did not deny Australian involvement or knowledge of the plot.

Instead it passed the buck, advising:

Concerns about the legality or propriety of the activities of Australian intelligence agency are best directed to the IGIS, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.’

During the UK High Court extradition appeal in October, the Courier Mail ran another story, titled ‘Assange snubbed Aussie help 29 times, says Payne’.

Why, in the middle of Assange’s High Court hearing, was Foreign Minister Marise Payne using her friends in the Murdoch media to portray Assange as un-Australian, snubbing her patriotic ‘’Aussie help’’?

Assange’s father John Shipton commented:

“I get no help from Marise Payne in any way whatsoever. Saying I have been snubbed 29 times by Julian is to defend her. It’s only to defend her. It’s nothing to do with Julian.”

The family have continually asked for Payne and Morrison to actively engage with Australia’s UK and U.S. allies. They see extradition as an outrageous surrender of Australian sovereignty and they expect that Morrison and Payne should tell UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden so.

Shipton, who has travelled to 50 countries to garner support for Julian, said:

“Everywhere I go, people ask where is the Australian Government in this? What is the substance of Australia in its relationship with the UK that it allows this show trial to go on without comment?”

 

January 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australia’s ambitious weapons plan -Joint Air Battle Management System (JABMS) AIR-6500

Move Over Nuclear Subs & F-35 Stealth Fighters, This Weapon System Is The ‘Most Ambitious’ Military Project In Australia, The Eurasian By Sakshi Tiwari– January 4, 2022  Australia, a key player in the Indo-Pacific region, has been making concerted efforts to increase its military capability. From hosting the first Marine Rotational force in 2011 to signing the AUKUS pact for a nuclear submarine, Australia has come a long way. 

So far, the big projects the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has undertaken are for submarines, combat reconnaissance vehicles, F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters, infantry fighting vehicles among others.

Now, the country is pursuing its most ambitious military project — the indigenous Joint Air Battle Management System (JABMS), which could be a game-changer in the near future. The JABMS, also called AIR-6500, forms the core of the future Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities, according to the Australian Defence Magazine.

The AIR 6500 is the cornerstone of the Royal Australian Air Force’s fifth-generation archway. Its goal is to bring all platforms and sensors from all warfighting domains together in a single interface that can track threats, organize a combined response, and guide that response toward the target. It’s emblazoned with the phrase “all sensor, best shooter.”

In August of last year, the Australian Department of Defense (DoD) chose Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for the AIR6500 Phase I project, as previously reported by Airforce Technology.

(Ed. note: They have the nerve to call this ”indigenous technology)

Australia currently relies on Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) for surveillance, and one possibility for the next-generation OPIR satellites which are in the works would be to maintain this reliance. Both these systems are US-made………………..

The technology being provided to Australia comes from the US Army’s Integrated Air Missile Defense Battle Command System, which is at the heart of the US Army’s next-generation air and missile defense capacity, according to Zeitz. To put it another way, this model is an ‘all sensor, greatest shooter’ model.

“There are a large number of people who are actively working on AIR 6500 today and the majority of them are in Australia,” Steve Froelich, Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) program executive for AIR 6500, said………………

The relationship between Australia and China remains strained due to the former’s participation in Quad [US, Japan, Australia and India], which China has termed as the Asian NATO. Canberra becoming a part of AUKUS for the acquisition of nuclear submarines has made matters worse.

  https://eurasiantimes.com/move-over-f-35-nuclear-subs-this-weapon-most-ambitious-australia/


January 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Australian government’s Kimba nuclear waste decision rides roughshod over Australia’s obligations under international law

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Australian Human Rights Commission advised that Article 29(2) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that ‘no storage of hazardous materials shall take place on Indigenous lands without their free, prior and informed consent.’ 265

1.255 The Commission submitted that in order for Indigenous people to make informed consent, adequate resourcing to representative groups needs to be provided to ensure appropriate and informed consultation. 267

EXTRACT FROM REPORT BY FORMER SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR VICTORIA TAULI-CORPUZ IN SEPTEMBER 2017 FOLLOWING HER VISIT TO AUSTRALIA IN MARCH 2017

Self-determination and participation
When Australia officially endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2009, the Government stated its intent was to reset relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and to build trust in order to work together to overcome the legacy of the past and shape the future together. Furthermore, in Australia’s pledge as a candidate to the United Nations Human Rights Council 2018-2010, it committed to give practical effect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ Outcome Document.

Self-determination is a fundamental element of the Declaration whereby indigenous peoples have the right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development (Art. 3 of UNDRIP) and have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions (Art. 4). The Declaration also sets out that indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which affect their rights (Art. 18).

While Australia has adopted numerous policies aiming to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait socio-economic disadvantage, the failure to respect the right to selfdetermination and the right to full and effective participation in these is alarming. The compounded effect of these policies has contributed to the failure to deliver on the targets in the areas of health, education and employment in the Closing the Gap strategy and has contributed to aggravating the escalating incarceration and child removal rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

LETTERS PATENT
The Letters Patent, long title “Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom erecting and establishing the Province of South Australia and fixing the boundaries thereof”, defined the boundaries
of the Province of South Australia:

Provided Always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives


January 3, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear-free collective efforts and achievements in 2021.

Dave Sweeney, 31 Dec 21,

  • Nuclear weapons made illegal: Climate change and nuclear weapons are the two existential threats facing our planet – one reduces our chances every day while the other could end our chances in a day. ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – was recognised with the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force and became part on international humanitarian law in January 2021. Our planets worst weapons are now illegal.
  • International support is growing for the Treaty and the first meeting of state parties is planned to be held in Vienna in March – https://icanw.org.au/
  • Superannuation and pension funds are among those divesting from companies involved in nuclear weapons – https://quitnukes.org/
  • Pushing for the Treaty is an important counterpoint to the AUKUS driven lurch to ever greater militarisation
  • Resistance, rehab and repair: our efforts to stop further, and clean up former, uranium mines saw important results. 
  • All mining and mineral processing at the Ranger mine in Kakadu ceased in January 2021. Nuclear free advocates are now working closely with the Mirarr Traditional Owners to ensure that primary mine owner Rio Tinto does a credible and comprehensive rehabilitation and in supporting an Aboriginal centred post mining regional economy in Kakadu.
  • A federal commitment to ‘full’ funding of a new clean up of the former Rum Jungle site in the NT was confirmed in the 2021 budget
  • Despite extensive efforts there was a disappointing outcome in WA with the recent further approval of the Mulga Rock project east of Kalgoorlie. It is a long journey from a signed paper to a commercial mine and the project faces strong contest – https://www.ccwa.org.au/nuclearfreewa
  • International collaboration continued with efforts to track the impacts of Australian uranium miners in Africa, Spain and Greenland. Opposition to the planned Kvanefjeld uranium project, driven by Perth based Greenland Minerals, was a dominant issue in the 2021 Greenland election which was won by nuclear-free politicians who have since introduced a national ban on uranium mining.
  • Responsible radioactive waste management: the federal government push for a national radioactive waste facility in regional South Australia is not responsible or necessary.

2021 saw deeper co-operation with Barngarla Traditional Owners and Kimba region farmers along with media and political advocacy to highlight and delay the heavy handed federal legislation. Movement advocates welcomed the federal budget allocating $60 million to advance extended interim waste storage at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s Lucas Heights nuclear site. This means Australia’s worst waste can effectively stay in place until a longer term approach is developed and that Kimba is a political choice, not a nuclear necessity.

Unsurprisingly, the federal government has to date ignored the potential this move offers for a constructive circuit breaker in this debate.

2022 will see elevated attention to radioactive waste issues with a Barngarla legal challenge – kick in if you can at –https://www.gofundme.com/f/nbp8f8-barngarla-help-us-have-a-say-on-radioactive-waste  – the SA state election in March and growing community awareness and engagement – https://nodumpalliance.org.au/ 

  • Renewable, not radioactive: in the year that saw the 10th anniversary of Fukushima lots of work went into keeping the door closed to domestic nuclear power and contesting nuclear industry promotion of SMR’s – so called small modular reactors – and other distractions to effective climate action. Efforts have focussed attention on the urgent need for proven and renewable energy solutions – renewable, not radioactive. Australian advocates played a key role in a new dedicated website and co-ordinated the development of a global civil society non-nuclear statement released at CoP 26 in Glasgow that was endorsed by 480 organisations across multiple nations
  • – https://dont-nuke-the-climate.org/    There was increased collaboration with regional partners in Japan, the Pacific, the Philippines and Taiwan – including around next steps in the Fukushima waste water story and the recent positive referendum that has ended plans for a new reactor in Taiwan. 2022 is sure to see more chatter and challenge on the domestic nuclear front ahead of the federal election.

December 31, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste returning from UK to Australia

Dealing safely with nuclear waste, THE AUSTRALIAN, DECEMBER 30, 2021,Australia’s lack of a long-term storage plan for nuclear waste is a serious gap the Morrison government needs to address. The issue has been highlighted by the return from Britain in coming months of a two-tonne shipment of nuclear waste generated in Australia. The nation is committed to receiving the waste after 114 spent fuel rods from the Australian Nuclear Science and Tech­nology Organisation were sent to Scotland to be reprocessed in 1996. It will be the second shipment of intermediate-level nuclear waste returned to the country in recent years under tight security. In the absence of a permanent secure storage facility, the waste will be stored temporarily at ANSTO facilities at Lucas Heights in Sydney’s south.

Preparations for the shipment have been in train for years, with all safeguards to be implemented. The waste is being ­returned in a more condensed form than what was originally sent to Scotland. It has been vitrified in four glass containers, then encased in an outer container made of specialised steel. Details of its movement, and the timing, will be kept secret. ANSTO previously received intermediate-level nuclear waste in 2015 when 25 tonnes of similar-level nuclear waste were returned from France. Australia can expect to have to receive further shipments of returned waste every six or seven years……..

As an alternative to Lucas Heights, a temporary storage facility for intermediate waste is being considered for a site near the town of Kimba in South Australia. But the proposal is being contested, with a judicial review requested by the traditional landowners.  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/editorials/dealing-safely-with-nuclear-waste/news-story/5bbe6898c49206c64fe987e9949d88b4

December 31, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment