Pine Gap: Important talks but who was listening? Alice Springs News, 6 Oct 16 By ERWIN CHLANDA The anti Pine Gap rally, conference and public forum wrapped up yesterday after four days of being noticed but studiously ignored.
This is surprising because two senators of the Australian Parliament were here demanding that the military base be closed, and at least three academics supported that view at a public forum, including Professor Richard Tanter from Melbourne University.
Making an enquiry about Pine Gap is a journalistic investigation quite unlike most: Usually in Australia you can ask questions and get answers and comment, and you can check your facts with the subject of your investigation. But the base is strictly zip-the-lip. One needs to work with secondary sources, such as the US Congressional record, which fortunately is quite revealing – unlike similar Australian sources.
Rather than rubbing up against characteristic Australian scepticism and democratic spirit, that attitude is spreading. A remarkable circumstance locally was that at the forum held at the Chifley on Friday evening, the sunset gathering atop Anzac Hill on Saturday, and a rally outside the gates to the base yesterday morning – all open to the public – there was no sign of currently serving members of the Legislative Assembly, nor the town council, nor any of the main lobbies for commerce and tourism in town. The leaders of Alice Springs have their head firmly stuck in the sand.
This is a worry considering that Pine Gap could be a nuclear target – increasingly plausible given its escalating role in US military action around the world – and if this were to eventuate, this town would be annihilated. It’s been a well documented discussion point since the mid-seventies……….
Senator Lee Rhiannon (at left,outside Pine Gap) told the crowd of about 80: “US people are welcome here. We want to work with people from around the world. But not where there are bases with such destructive agendas.
“The nuclear war agenda was run out of this place. Now that the drones are being directed from here is something we must inform all Australians.”
The organisers focussed on that transformation of the base, along the way prying into the private lives of billions of people under the banner of protection through global surveillance.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam on Friday gave a brilliant and scathing account of the democracy we live in, where matters of life and death are dealt with not by Federal Parliament, but by the executive and a handful officials.
We pressed him further on these issues outside the Pine Gap gates. He said: “Whether it’s defence, any kind of treaty making agreement, any of these large scale instruments that sign us up to large scale obligations, the Parliament doesn’t get a look-in until after the deal is already done.”……….
The way the cops have been dealing with the events was clearly guided by knowledge that media coverage follows arrests on camera. There were none, and consequently there was scarcely any media coverage………. http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2016/10/03/important-talks-but-who-was-listening/
A week of activities will expose the role of Pine Gap in war, surveillance and nuclear targeting. Beginning on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, 26th September, hundreds of people are gathering at the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility, just 20km from Alice Springs, NT.
A protest camp and conference will discuss the role of the highly secretive facility in drone targeting, mass citizen surveillance and in preparations for nuclear war. The facility is the most likely Australian target in the event of a nuclear war involving the US, immediately jeopardizing the 25,000 residents of Alice Springs, and others in the path of radioactive fallout. “Pine Gap makes critical contributions to planning for nuclear war.
In the fragile world of nuclear deterrence, efforts should be directed at total nuclear disarmament,” said Professor Richard Tanter, University of Melbourne. A UN working group on nuclear disarmament has issued a breakthrough recommendation for the General Assembly to convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz announced last Wednesday that Austria, along with other UN members states, will table a resolution at the General Assembly First Committee in October, seeking a mandate for negotiations to begin next year.
“For 71 years the majority of countries have experienced the injustice and insecurity that nuclear weapons represent,” said Ray Acheson of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, a steering group member of ICAN. “With negotiations of a ban treaty on the horizon, we are as close as we have ever been to effectively challenging the continued possession of these weapons of mass destruction.”
“When a treaty banning nuclear weapons is negotiated, Australia will be expected to sign it, as it has signed treaties to outlaw other abhorrent weapons. To enable Australia to sign on, the functions of Pine Gap should exclude preparations for nuclear war. This facility has served to implicate Australia in nuclear aggression and as a prime nuclear target for 50 years too long,” said Gem Romuld, ICAN Australia. ICAN Australia will be speaking at the IPAN Conference and participating in the protest camp this week. More information: Disarm protest camp, 26-30 September www.closepinegap.org Independent and Peaceful Australia Network Conference, 1-2 October www.ipan.org.au
Fleurieu protesters stand against nuclear storage | VIDEO, The Times On The Coast, 30 Aug 16 “Nuclear waste, what a disgrace,” was chanted loud and clear by more than 100 participants in the Walk Against Nuclear Waste Importation as they gathered on the steps of the Willunga Hub on August 24.
Inside was a consultation team who welcomed the walkers with feedback forms and Know Nuclear information packs, taking an opportunity to inform the community about what the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission recommendation on storing international radioactive waste meant.
“The proposal before us is an economic one: $5.5 billion per annum, $445 billion over the life of the facility,” said John Phalen, Director, Engagement, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency.
“What we are asking people to do is examine the opportunity,” he said……..
Willinga, Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor among the 100 selected sites for Know Nuclear representatives to talk to local communities.
“I don’t think nuclear dumping is good for our environment or our future,” said Jeffrey Simmons. “Especially when we take it from other parts of the world.”
Sherilee Williams agreed. She said she had a deep respect for the land and its traditional owners since walking from central Australia’s Dingo Fence to Mount Compass a few years ago. “They (the state government) are thinking South Australia’s desert is a wasteland but it’s a sacred place; it’s a place of healing,” she said………
Community consultation runs until October. Feedback forms are available atnuclear.yoursay.sa.gov.au
Living in a radioactive environment Boris Sopotsko from Hallett Cove grew up in St Petersburg, Russia, 40 kilometres from a nuclear power plant and remembers as a child being taught where to run, where to hide, and what to eat after an explosion or leak.
“I hate the idea so much,” he said, referring to an international nuclear waste storage facility proposed for South Australia. “It makes me feel ill. “I remember our school had a gas mask for every single student and an under ground shelter; a nuclear bomb shelter. “The walls had posters showing us how to check which way the wind was blowing and what to do to avoid contaminated rains. “We were well trained, but that doesn’t mean we’d survive.”
Mr Sopotsko feared for the state’s future and said he actively opposed the importing, storing and burying of international nuclear waste in South Australia.
“Nuclear waste from all over the world is clearly a concern, especially when shipping in high seas,” he said. He said transporting the material on roads and rail posed a safety risk: “you freeze with dread at the sight,” he remembers.
Storing the waste above ground was also a concern. “We live in a time when the West has enemies,” he said. “This would be an easy target.”
Underground storage poses a contamination risk to soil and water. “Germany’s waste deposit in Lower Saxony has experienced an underground radioactive leak and people’s resistance against further storage is very strong……..http://www.victorharbortimes.com.au/story/4130203/fleurieu-protesters-stand-against-nuclear-storage-video/
Environment groups and Traditional Owners have vowed to fight the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, 260 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, despite today’s recommendation by the state EPA that the Environment Minister approve the mine.
Environment groups and Traditional Owners said the mine threatened the pristine environmentally and culturally significant area.
Bruce Hogan from the Council of Tribal Elders and Chair of Pilanguru Native Title Group said “We use to go out there with our Elders. We can’t see how this mine could go ahead. The seven sister’s tjukupa (dreaming) goes through there and the two wadis (lore men) went through that area too. The elders use to take us there for cultural practice, they would leave us there for a few days and then come back to pick us up. We don’t want that mine to go ahead. We will fight against that mine at Mulga Rock.”
Conservation Council Nuclear Free Campaigner Mia Pepper said “Conservation groups will be lodging an official appeal against this recommendation by the EPA.
“The Mulga Rock uranium proposal is unsafe and unwanted. The company has continually dismissed the cultural values and importance of the area and has failed to properly consult with Traditional Owners.”
“The Mulga Rock area is a rare and significant environment and part of the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community. The planned mine threatens a number of rare and endangered species. Taking this unique and pristine desert ecosystem and turning it into a polluted, radioactive uranium mine is not a proposal that should ever be entertained” Ms Pepper concluded.
“The planned mine does not enjoy bi-partisan state political support, broad social license or favourable market conditions,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“Vimy Resources faces many hurdles and roadblocks. Today’s EPA recommendation is a long way from a green light for mining yellow cake at Mulga Rock.”
The decision was based on the unacceptable risks the plan posed to subterranean fauna and also addresses wider environmental and community concerns.
“This is an important decision that prioritises the survival of a number of different species and the health and wellbeing of the local community,” said CCWA nuclear free campaigner Mia Pepper.
“CCWA’s submission to the EPA identified the likely extinction of several species of underground fauna, known as stygofauna and troglofauna if the proposal were approved and it is pleasing to see the EPA has considered that evidence.
“The EPA recommendation has been met with great relief among pastoralists, Aboriginal communities and environment groups who continue to campaign against uranium mining in WA. “The former proponent of the Yeelirrie uranium mine, BHP Billiton, conducted extensive and systematic surveys of subterranean fauna.
“This is an important decision that highlights the importance of extensive surveying for subterranean fauna and acting to prevent extinctions.”
National environment groups have joined their state counterparts in welcoming the EPA’s call.“We congratulate the EPA for making this important, clear and strongly evidence based recommendation,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney.
“ACF expects and looks forward to the Environment Minister upholding the EPA’s recommendation.”
“”Eight of these countries were also polled in 2005 by GlobeScan about their views, and the results suggest that there has been a sharp increase in opposition to nuclear power in five of them.
The proportion opposing the building of new nuclear power stations has grown to near-unanimity in Germany (from 73% to 90%), but also increased significantly in Mexico (51% to 82%), Japan (76% to 84%), France (66% to 83%), and Russia (from 61% to 80%)
In contrast, while still a minority view, support for building new nuclear plants has grown in the UK (from 33% to 37%), is stable in the USA (40% to 39%), and is also high in China (42%) and Pakistan (39%). These countries thus emerge as the most pro-nuclear of the countries surveyed with current nuclear plants, by some distance. Among the countries polled that do not have active nuclear plants, support for building them is highest in Nigeria (41%), Ghana (33%), and Egypt (31%).
The poll also indicates that the belief that conservation and renewable energy can fill the gap left, if there is a move away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy, is now the consensus view. Respondents were asked to say whether they thought that their country “could almost entirely replace coal and nuclear energy within 20 years by becoming highly energy-efficient and focusing on generating energy from the sun and wind,” and more than seven in ten (71%) agree that it could.”
Walkatjurra Walkabout – Walking for Country https://walkingforcountry.com/walkatjurra-walkabout/walkatjurra-walkabout-about-us-2/
will be lead by the
Walkatjurra Rangers https://walkatjurra.com/rangers/
in partnership with
Footprints for Peace https://www.facebook.com/FootPrintsforPeace
Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) https://nuclearfree.wordpress.com/
the Anti Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia (ANAWA) http://www.anawa.org.au/ and
the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) http://www.ccwa.org.au/
Wiluna to Leonora from August 7th – September 7th 2016
strength of the community who have fought to stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie for over forty years, and a chance to come together to continue share our commitment to a sustainable future without nuclear.
It is a chance to reconnect with the land, and to revive the tradition of walking for country.’
‘We invite all people, from all places, to come together to walk with us, to send a clear message
that we want the environment here, and our sacred places left alone.’ Kado Muir, Traditional Owner, Yeelirrie
Nectaria Calan 6 July Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott has invited participants at the Lizard Bites Back to visit his country today, to witness firsthand the impacts of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine on the mound springs in the Lake Eyre region. The mound springs are integral to the desert ecosystem and sacred to the Arabunna people, and are threatened by the 37 million litres of water per day that the mine uses from the Great Artesian Basin, which feeds the mound springs.
The Lizard Bites Back has attracted over 300 people from around the country, converging near the mine gates for a weekend of direct action, workshops on nuclear issues, and music. After two days of workshops and marches to the gates of the mine, the last day of the convergence saw nearly one hundred activists block the main road to the mine for eighteen hours. Riot police were sent in at midnight. On their way, riot police approached base camp, in what appeared to be a simulated raid.
“They approached camp in formation at midnight, shouting at people to get out of their tents,” said Nectaria Calan, co-organiser of the Lizard Bites Back. “Then, for no apparent reason, they retreated. Trying to terrorise people at a non-violent protest camp was a low move, but in line with the police’s behaviour all weekend,” continued Ms Calan. “They have spent the weekend defecting cars and trying to deter people from attending the event by telling them that the public land we are camped on is owned by BHP Billiton. They have also prevented mine workers from visiting the camp. Although they have been lodged for the weekend by the company’s accommodation, they should remember that they do not actually work for BHP.”
“Despite the petty dishonesty of the police and the ongoing abuse of their powers, hundreds of people had the opportunity to sit on country and learn about the risks and impact of the nuclear industry, and disrupt the normal operations of a mine that will leave millions of tonnes of tailings that will remain radioactive for several hundred thousand years.”
“With South Australia facing two proposals for nuclear waste dumps, The Lizard Bites back has also aimed to raise awareness about the connections between uranium mining and nuclear waste,” said Ms Calan. “A responsible approach to managing nuclear waste would begin with stopping its production.”
Co-organiser Izzy Brown said, “Until we stop mining this metal that we have no idea how to dispose of safely, we will keep returning to remind BHP Billiton and the government that the intergenerational health and environmental impacts of this industry are more important than money.”
Many participants have called for another convergence next year.
“After this weekend, this is the most optimistic I’ve ever felt since Western Mining Corporation started digging up the old country. This industry is a house of cards,” said Uncle Kevin.
“This place has a long history of struggle, and we will continue to struggle to honour the sacrifices made by the elders that struggled before us, that may still be with us if this mine was not established. We need to say sorry to the old country and begin healing this land.”
The Kungkas wrote in an open letter: “People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up.”
Radioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia’s Aboriginal people, Ecologist Jim Green 1st July 2016 “………Dumping on South Australia, 1998-2004
This isn’t the first time that Aboriginal people in South Australia have faced the imposition of a national nuclear waste dump. In 1998, the federal government announced its intention to build a dump near the rocket and missile testing range at Woomera.
The proposed dump generated such controversy in South Australia that the federal government hired a public relations company. Correspondence between the company and the government was released under Freedom of Information laws. Continue reading
Risks, ethics and consent: Australia shouldn’t become the world’s nuclear wasteland, The Conversation, Mark Diesendorf, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, UNSW Australia, June 28, 2016
“…….Aware that Australians are divided on the nuclear industry, the royal commission acknowledges that gaining “social consent warrants much greater attention than the technical issues during planning and development”.
Then, on the same page of its report, it postulates that community support could be gained by “careful, considered and detailed technical work”. It thus creates the false impression that all social and ethical concerns can be reduced to technical issues.
Ultimately, gaining social consent is a socio-political struggle that draws only slightly on research and education on science, technology and economics. This is demonstrated by current debate in Australia on climate science, in which citizens are influenced by a print media that in many cases is biased towards denial, and a Coalition government that contains several vocal climate sceptics
Indigenous Australians have successfully opposed for 20 years an above-ground dump for low-level national nuclear waste on their land at Muckaty in the Northern Territory. Indigenous communities are already mobilising, together with environmentalists, to resist very strongly any development of intermediate- and high-level repositories in South Australia. The social impacts of a low-level waste dump are bad enough, but would be dwarfed by the social, physical and financial impacts of a high-level waste repository…….” https://theconversation.com/risks-ethics-and-consent-australia-shouldnt-become-the-worlds-nuclear-wasteland-61380
Port Augusta protest against federal government’s plan for dumping Lucas Heights nuclear wastes at Barndioota
“I think it’s important to realise that most of this waste doesn’t come from the use of medicine,” Dr Beavis said.
Nuclear waste protest gives people voice http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/3990175/nuclear-waste-protest-gives-people-voice/ Matt Carcich@MattCarcich June 24, 2016,Around 150 people made their voices heard in a protest against the federal government’s plan for a national nuclear storage facility in the Flinders Ranges at the Barndioota site near Hawker.
The march started at the Port Augusta foreshore, before stopping out the front of State MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan’s office.
The rally continued down the main street, stopping at every major intersection and Woolworths, before heading to the Port Augusta Regional Council building and finishing at Gladstone Square.
People travelled from Port Pirie, Whyalla, Hawker, Quorn and Adelaide for the event.
Upon arrival at Mr van Holst Pellekaan’s office, the state MP for Stuart and protesters discussed about multiple facets of the proposal.
Australian Greens candidate for Grey Dr Jillian Marsh, who is a Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner, accompanied the march and made an impassioned speech.
Dr Marsh said it’s important for people to have their voices heard and reinforced the Australian Greens’ stance against the proposal. Continue reading
Nuclear royal commission: Protesters voice opposition to SA waste dump outside citizens’ jury, ABC News, 25 June 16 Anti-nuclear protesters have confronted SA Premier Jay Weatherill on his way into a citizens’ jury which is meeting to consider a controversial proposal to build a nuclear waste dump in the state.
The event at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) was prompted by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, which handed down its findings earlier this year.
The final report by commissioner Kevin Scarce delivered to the SA Government in May made 12 recommendations, including the creation of waste storage sites and the relaxation of federal restrictions on nuclear power.
Tentative findings released in February also urged the creation of a dump with capacity for 138,000 tonnesof spent fuel from the world’s nuclear reactors.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside SAHMRI in Adelaide this morning, shouting out their concerns when the Premier arrived.
Gypsy-Rose Entriken from the Barossa Valley said she was worried about the dangers of transporting nuclear waste. “I’m really worried about what the implications of this long-term dump are going to be, and how it’s going to affect us for the rest of our lives and for generations,” she said.
“How are they going to get it here? There’s so many things that can go wrong.”
The citizens’ jury is made up of 50 people selected from about 1,100 registrations by research organisation newDemocracy Foundation, and is part of a public relations exercise organised by the State Government.
Its job is to decide which elements of the royal commission’s recommendations need to be discussed in more detail…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-25/citizens-jury-to-consider-nuclear-dump-proposal/7543314
Artist Anohni completes outback trek in fight with Martu people against WA uranium mine, ABC News, By Claire Moodie , 13 June 16 Oscar-nominated transgender musician Anohni has described the proponents of a uranium mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara as “desolate souls” after taking part in a protest march to the site of the proposed project.
Anohni, formerly known as Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, made the comments after joining the Martu people on the 110 kilometre walk from the Parnngurr community to the site of Cameco’s Kintyre project, northeast of Newman. Continue reading
firstname.lastname@example.org 10 June 16 Hawker gets announced as a place to dump, probably to ‘soften’ up public reaction when other LOCATIONS are selected, as Hawker is seen by many as the ‘Gateway’ to the relatively pristine Flinders Ranges.
For all ‘Australians,’ who think they have a say in this matter, consider the obvious:
FOREIGN INTERESTS have:
1) Chosen to mine uranium
2) Enriched it to use, while benefiting profiteers in the nuclear arms proliferation
3) Possibly benefiting their industrial economies, but
4) CREATED THE TOXIC WASTE
5) Now seek a cheap solution to dump it here.
Providing this cheap solution will lead to proliferation of an already obsolete industry to generate electricity.
The reality is most plants of anything usually are not reliably run for more than 50-60 years, even systems of government barely last centuries, this toxic crap will be around for many thousands of years!
How many Fukushimas & Chernobyls do we need to realise nuclear fission is not a ‘clean technology,’ nor is it an overall an atmospheric ‘CO2 friendly’ one as they claim to be.
Now, the places that have used nuclear will eventually become ‘Nuclear Free’ by dumping their decommissioned nuclear plants & waste here, spoiling our ‘Nuclear Free,’ status. Decommissioning nuclear is Govt policy in many countries that are genuine world leaders in social development, for everybody. Like the unbearable unmonitored pollution Government have imposed through & over Sold-Out-Salisbury, those adversely affected have NO say, & the amount of waste destined to be dumped here once allowed, will be beyond belief.
It is a ‘no-brainer’ to me, but from Sold-Out-Salisbury, the ‘true’ Australian Leadershit shows itself yet again. The true ‘Australians’ have realised this the day ‘foreign interests’ colonised the place.
Another thought, had they burnt coal to power their countries, the disgusting reality would have become so overbearingly obvious that the CO2icide would have HAD to been addressed decades sooner.
When will people wake up to the bullshit & demand better? Yes, I am still stupid enough to think we have a choice, but we do, if more bother to stick up for themselves…
Campaign to scrap SA nuclear waste dump plans goes national Stephanie Corsetti reported this story on May 25, 2016 MP3 DOWNLOAD http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2016/s4468848.htm
The group of Adnyamathanha women are from the Flinders Ranges say it’ll be the first time they’ve made their case directly to the Minister, Josh Frydenberg.
As Stephanie Corsetti reports.
Traditional owner Vivianne McKenzie addressed a town hall meeting in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote last night.
VIVIANNE MCKENZIE: This is what you call the genocide once again of Aboriginal people.
On the land, we are only a minority group in this country. They tell us we’re only three per cent, but I’ll tell you what, by the time we finish this campaign to stop this waste dump, we’ll be at 300 per cent in this country.
(Sound of applause)
STEPHANIE CORSETTI: The Federal Government is looking for what it calls a “willing community” to host a national radioactive waste management facility.
Now the McKenzie’s have travelled across the border to Victoria to send their message to the Federal Government.
VIVIANNE MCKENZIE: This is mental and emotional abuse, on the minds of adults, on children, you see the generational abuse on Aboriginal people.
STEPHANIE CORSETTI: Vivianne’s sister is Regina McKenzie.
REGINA MCKENZIE: If we were to go to a Catholic church or the Vatican and ask them to move or say we want to move the Vatican five miles over and put a waste dump there, that’s the same thing.
It’s our belief system.
STEPHANIE CORSETTI: Last month, the Federal Government said it would accept new nominations for the nuclear waste site after narrowing down the list to the South Australian site near Yappala Station.
The Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg has agreed to meet the McKenzies on Thursday in his Melbourne electorate of Kooyong.
Dr Jim Green from Friends of the Earth is calling for a national campaign against the nuclear plans.
JIM GREEN: There’s unanimous opposition from traditional owners, it’s an extraordinarily beautiful part of the iconic Flinders Ranges, and I really wonder why it was chosen in the first place. And I’m sure they were aware of the possibility that it’s not going to go ahead, and that’s why they’ve opened up nominations from other land holders from around Australia.
STEPHANIE CORSETTI: Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation agrees.
DAVE SWEENEY: It’s a test of our maturity to have a debate about a difficult policy issue, and it’s also a test of how we view and relate with the First Nations people of Australia.
STEPHANIE CORSETTI: The Federal Government says it hasn’t made a final decision and consultation with the Indigenous community is an integral part of the process.
Minister Frydenberg says a heritage assessment will be done with the traditional owners to ensure the area is protected.
ELEANOR HALL: Stephanie Corsetti reporting.