Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia risks bringing on a nuclear war with China. Urgent need to change foreign policy.

Nuclear’: Grim prediction for what war with China would look like, Yahoo News. Brooke Rolfe· News ReporterSat, 8 May 2021  

Australia’s escalating rift with China could see the hypothetical prospect of war swiftly become a reality if the government doesn’t urgently rethink its approach, according to Hugh White, a leading expert on Australia’s strategic defence………..

Now our government has begun, with disconcerting nonchalance, to talk of war,” he wrote in The Saturday Paper.

“And yet our government seems to have no idea how serious, and dangerous, our situation has become, and has no viable plan to fix it. This must count as one of the biggest failures of statecraft in Australia’s history.”………..

“It would be a war the US and its allies would have no clear chance of winning. Indeed, it is not even clear what winning a war with a country such as China means. And it would very likely become a nuclear war,” he wrote. 

Recent reports from the government saying Australia’s troops should be ready for a military conflict suggest Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton are prepared to go to war with China, Prof White noted. 

He urged against any notion of heated conflict and implored the Federal Government to rethink its relationship with China from the ground up. 

China’s inevitable rise needs to be accepted, combined with “a new order in Asia” which includes the rise of India and Indonesia.

“Australia must conceive a new relationship with China, one that takes account of this reality and works to balance and protect the full range of our interests … this would require hard work, deep thought and subtle execution. It would mean a revolution in our foreign policy.”…….

He urged against any notion of heated conflict and implored the Federal Government to rethink its relationship with China from the ground up. 

China’s inevitable rise needs to be accepted, combined with “a new order in Asia” which includes the rise of India and Indonesia.

“Australia must conceive a new relationship with China, one that takes account of this reality and works to balance and protect the full range of our interests … this would require hard work, deep thought and subtle execution. It would mean a revolution in our foreign policy.” https://au.news.yahoo.com/nuclear-grim-prediction-for-what-war-with-china-would-look-like-051637841.html

May 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nobel prize winner Beatrice Fihn urges Australia to join the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, as public support for it grows

Australian government urged to heed public support for treaty banning nuclear weapons. Nobel prize-winning anti-nuclear campaigner Beatrice Fihn says ‘change is not only possible, it’s inevitable’    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/may/06/australian-government-urged-to-heed-public-support-for-treaty-banning-nuclear-weaponsDaniel Hurst Foreign affairs and defence correspondent@danielhurstbne Thu 6 May 2021

The Australian government is being urged to rethink its opposition to a new international treaty banning nuclear weapons, with a leading campaigner warning of the “indiscriminate destructiveness” of such arms.

Beatrice Fihn, the head of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), will use a speech in Tasmania on Thursday to implore the government to heed strong public support for joining the treaty.

“Change is not only possible; it’s inevitable,” Fihn will say when she presents the annual Red Cross Oration at the University of Tasmania.

The Australian government has not joined the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a relatively new agreement that requires parties not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.

So far, the treaty has been signed by 86 countries, of which 54 have formally ratified it – but it has been snubbed by the nuclear weapons states including the US, Russia and China.

“Australia does not support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Wednesday.

The Australian government argues the new treaty “would not eliminate a single nuclear weapon” because none of the nuclear weapons states have signed it and because it “ignores the realities of the global security environment”.

The government also says the treaty would be inconsistent with its US alliance obligations. However, campaigners point out that several US allies, such as New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines, have already ratified the treaty.

Fihn, who is based in Geneva and will be addressing the University of Tasmania via video link, will call on the government to act on the “strong and growing support that exists in Australia for this crucial new piece of international law”.

According to prepared remarks provided to Guardian Australia in advance, she will describe the treaty as an “incredible step forward towards a world without nuclear weapons”.

Fihn will say the countries that have joined the treaty are “leading the way forward to a world without nuclear weapons”.

“Meanwhile, in countries that have not yet joined the treaty, including Australia, people are speaking up against nuclear weapons and calling on their countries to join,” she will say.

“Cities around the world, including Berlin, Paris and Washington DC are adopting resolutions calling on their governments to join. In fact, the very first city to sign our Cities Appeal was Melbourne, followed soon after by Sydney – and we’re delighted that the City of Hobart is also on board.”

Polling commissioned by Greenpeace in 2017 found 72.7% of 1,669 Australians surveyed said they supported a ban on nuclear weapons as a step towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

“From Australia to Canada, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, polls show that the majority of people want their government to join,” Fihn will say.

“Thousands of parliamentarians have pledged to work to bring their respective countries on board. In Australia, 88 of the current members of parliament have taken Ican’s pledge.”

The Ican pledge commits parliamentarians “to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries”.

The federal MPs and senators who have signed up are mostly Labor politicians, including the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, who has been campaigning against nuclear weapons since early in his political career.

The list also includes the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, and crossbenchers. The Liberal National party MP for Flynn in central Queensland, Ken O’Dowd, has also signed up.

In Thursday’s speech, Fihn will also emphasise the need to “amplify the voices of First Nations peoples in Australia and the Pacific who continue to suffer the horrendous impacts of nuclear tests carried out on their lands and in their waters by the United Kingdom, the United States and France”.

More than 75 years after the US bombing of the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, she says, nuclear-armed states are spending billions of dollars each year to build new weapons and to keep the 13,000 existing weapons.

But Fihn says nuclear-armed states “do not prepare for what comes next, after the bombs are dropped”, citing reports that about 80% of hospitals were destroyed in Hiroshima. Out of 300 doctors in the city, 270 died or were injured; out of 1,780 nurses, 1,654 were killed or injured.

“They do not prepare for the hundreds of thousands of burn victims, for the blasted hospitals, for the injured and dying medical professionals left to heal an entire city,” Fihn says.

“The trauma of overwhelmed hospitals and overburdened doctors and nurses around the world who are struggling to meet the needs of patients during the Covid-19 pandemic shows just how impossible it would be for medical infrastructure to respond to even one nuclear weapon detonation.” The Australian government and other non-signatories are being encouraged to send officials to attend, as observers, the first meeting of parties in Vienna early next year.

Guardian Australia understands Australia will consider attendance closer to the event.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greenland’s election won by party opposing Chinese-backed Australian uranium and rare earths company

Greenland’s Rare-Earth Election

A vote last month answered an important question about the world’s largest island. The Atlantic
, ROBINSON MEYER  3May 21, ”’……… Since 1979, the ruling Siumut party has dominated Greenland’s elections; in all those years it has lost power only once, in 2009, after the island reformed its government and loosened ties with Denmark, which has ruled it for three centuries. Earlier this month, the democratic-socialist Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA), Greenlandic for “Community for the People,” won an election with more than a third of the vote, after centering its campaign on a promise to cancel the controversial mining project.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is populated by about 56,000 people, and its election is, in some ways, an extremely local story. The mining project is called Kvanefjeld, and it would excavate thorium, uranium, and rare-earth elements. Kvanefjeld is less than four miles from Narsaq, one of the larger cities in South Greenland and a local tourism center. (It also has an excellent brewery.)

“There is no way for me to have the mine, because it’s only six kilometers from our town,” Mariane Paviasen, 56, a local activist who ran for Parliament under IA, told me in an interview before the election.

But the election touches on some of the biggest issues in global politics: climate change, mineral economics, and indigenous sovereignty. Rare earths are used to make finely tuned magnets that are essential to modern electronics, including electric vehicles and wind turbines. There is some irony here: Greenland, whose ice sheet is a visual metaphor for the inevitability of climate change, will be mined to power the only technology that can stop it. But the actual interest here is not so overdetermined—like all true climate stories, it draws together questions of money, land, power, and growth. IA’s answer to those questions is not to oppose all extraction, but it has taken a less friendly stance toward some proposed projects. It is particularly opposed to mining that could create radioactive waste……..

The plans for Kvanefjeld had long been paused, according to Zane Cooper, an anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies how communities respond to mineral extraction. Then, during the pandemic, the plans seemed to accelerate. Greenland Minerals Ltd., an Australian-headquartered but Chinese-backed company, began pressing its plans forward, and the ruling Siumut party complied. The local population had worries, particularly about uranium, which is often found next to thorium, itself a sign of rare earths. A rushed series of public meetings in February gave residents little warning about how rumored uranium dust would affect their farms and settlements. When someone called in a bomb threat to a meeting that Siumut officials were due to attend, they canceled their appearance. Another party, the Democrats, announced it would leave the governing coalition, depriving Siumut of its majority and precipitating snap elections.

The election, on April 6, saw a major victory for IA. It won overwhelmingly in southern Greenland.

IA does not oppose most mining; what it opposes is uranium mining. Another mine, about 30 miles from Narsaq, meets its approval, and the party supports developing mineral extraction as part of a broader strategy. “I think it will work better for us to have our own mining company in Greenland,” Paviasen said. She also supports more economic diversification, embracing a larger role for tourism and local agriculture. Most vegetables in Greenland are imported from Denmark.

Greenland’s blessing and curse is the large block grant, equivalent to more than $500 million, that it receives every year from the Danish government. It makes up about half of Greenland’s annual budget. Greenland has promised to deposit about a third of the revenue from its mineral wealth into a sovereign-wealth fund modeled off the Norwegian oil fund, which could help it replace the Danish block grant

If IA does find a way to instill some measure of economic autarky in Greenland, then it would be the world’s first completely independent indigenous country, Cooper said. Onlookers expect that Greenland would seek independence from Denmark faster under the separatist IA party than the more moderate Siumut. But that remains a ways off: First, IA must figure out how, and whether, it can cancel the mine in a fjord. Greenland Minerals has vowed to fight the decision in court and in international trade tribunals. (Múte Egede, the new IA prime minister, did not respond to a request for comment.) It may seem like a narrow question, but it could have sweeping implications for the island’s 56,000 inhabitants—and for how the world’s largest powers comport themselves with regard to the world’s largest island.

If IA does find a way to instill some measure of economic autarky in Greenland, then it would be the world’s first completely independent indigenous country, Cooper said. Onlookers expect that Greenland would seek independence from Denmark faster under the separatist IA party than the more moderate Siumut. But that remains a ways off: First, IA must figure out how, and whether, it can cancel the mine in a fjord. Greenland Minerals has vowed to fight the decision in court and in international trade tribunals. (Múte Egede, the new IA prime minister, did not respond to a request for comment.) It may seem like a narrow question, but it could have sweeping implications for the island’s 56,000 inhabitants—and for how the world’s largest powers comport themselves with regard to the world’s largest island.  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/05/greenlands-rare-earth-election/618785/

May 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

Australia sleepwalks towards nuclear war – enthusiasm for nuclear rockets and submarines.

Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) are being pitched to Australians as ”climate salvation”, ”cheap electricity” etc. Of course this is nonsense. But the toxic macho nuclear zealots are confident that SMRs will have a great future in nuclear wars on land, on sea, in space.

SPACE: Australia’s ”cultural cringe” is so obvious, in the fervour for space research. Breathless enthusiasm in media coverage of rockets, space exploration . Yet the truth is that Australian space research is tied to America’s goal of militarising space. We hold events like The Australian International Aerospace and Defence Exposition – pitched as family entertainment:

”THE AIRSHOW  will feature the raw potency and power of modern military aviation. The thrust and grunt of the latest military heavy metal will take centre stage. The stars of the show will be state-of-the-art jet fighters, bombers and giant heavy lift leviathans from home and abroad. See them so close you could almost touch them. Shudder to the roar of their mighty jet turbines as they perform high octane routines and simulated combat manoeuvres. Marvel as swarms of attack helicopters join in the fray.

Of course, if we can help the American drive for weapons in space, it is all the better to have the tax-payer fund our space research.

SUBMARINES. Australia’s nuclear zealots have long been working away for nuclear submarines…… way before the so-called ”neutral” nuclear military fan Kevin Scarce was made head of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, in 2016.

A push for nuclear submarines has been part of Australia’s appalling history of submarine deals in recent years. Part of this mess was recently exposed by Michelle Fahy in Murder, corruption, bombings – the company at centre of Australia’s submarine deal. But the whole sorry tale goes further. It probably explains why the Australian government chose the super costly French submarine design – in the hopes that it could easily be transformed from a diesal to a nuclear -powered form.

Impelled by the very right-wing Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the push continues. Academia is co-opted, as The University of New South Wales joins with the Submarine Institute to promote nuclear submarines in a July 15 Canberra seminar. The speakers include well known nuclear propagandists Tom Frame, Kevin Scarce, and Hugh White.

Tom Frame has also recently published a book, rapturously received by the nuclear lobby, enthusing about nuclear submarines, and recommending them as Australia’s way into the full nuclear fuel chain, and into the space race .

With Australia’s Murdoch media monopoly, and the ever-weakening ABC, the public is unaware of these machinations towards Australia’s role in nuclear militarism. The push for small nuclear reactors is the starting point.

April 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, politics international, technology | Leave a comment

Australian govt keeps mum about Japan’s plan to dump nuclear waste-water into the Pacific (no suprise – it originated from Australian uranium)

Australian Government quiet over Japan’s nuclear waste condemnation, Independent Australia, By Dave Sweeney | 23 April 2021While Japan faces international backlash over its decision to dump contaminated wastewater, Australia remains quiet due to its part in the Fukushima disaster, writes Dave Sweeney.

AGAINST A BACKDROP of runners carrying a small torch to light the Olympic flame for the July Tokyo Olympics, there are growing flames of discontent over the Japanese Government’s plan to release large volumes of contaminated wastewater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant directly into the Pacific Ocean.

…………Whatever the water’s pathway, it is now polluted. And, with the volume growing each day, direct ocean disposal is the quickest and cheapest management option.

The aqua dump plan, set to start in two years and continue in stages for years to come, has attracted fierce domestic and international criticism.

In a rare moment of unity, Taiwan has condemned the move while China has described the plan as extremely irresponsible. South Korea has seen street protests and a move from President Moon Jae-in to explore legal options, including through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

A Philippines presidential spokesperson highlighted that “we are one ecosystem… we are interconnected” and three U.N. Human Rights rapporteurs specialising in food, toxics and the environment declared that the release ‘into the marine environment imposes considerable risks to the full enjoyment of the human rights of concerned populations in and beyond the borders of Japan’.

TEPCO has stated that the water will be treated before release using a system known as A.L.P.S. — the Advanced Liquid Processing System.

However, TEPCO’s assurances are cold comfort to many.

The company was caught out in 2018 having falsely claimed that earlier releases contained no radioactive materials. This time, TEPCO has changed its tune and acknowledges that radioactive tritium will be released along with the dumped water. Tritium is very difficult to separate from water as it is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that remains active for between 60-100 years.

Many observers also hold grave concerns that other longer-lived radioactive wastes including ruthenium, cobalt, strontium and plutonium could also be discharged into the Pacific given that not all are always captured by the A.L.P.S. process.

This concern has seen Pacific activists refer to the Japanese nuclear sector as a house without a toilet and the Pacific Islands Forum declare that:

‘…steps have not been sufficiently taken to address the potential harm to our Blue Pacific Continent, including possible environmental, health, and economic impacts. Our fisheries and oceans resources are critical to our Pacific livelihoods and must be protected.’……..

Critics are concerned that the plan is not based on the best possible technology, but rather being driven by corner and cost-cutting.

Japanese and international groups and experts called for other options to be fully evaluated before direct release was approved. These include continued interim tank storage, enhanced evaporation and mortar solidification, where contaminated water is mixed with cement and sand and stored. This technique is used to manage liquid contaminants at other nuclear facilities, including Savannah River in the USA.

Some Australian environment groups have criticised the direct dumping plan and used the recent tenth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster to call on the Japanese Government to reconsider this approach.

To date, the Australian Government has made no comment or call. This is hardly surprising given that Australian uranium was inside the Fukushima reactors at the time of the meltdown. Since this time, successive Australian governments have avoided any comment or criticism and instead prioritised trying to find new markets for our flatlining uranium sector.

As an island nation steeped in coastal culture and salt-water stories, the deliberate degradation of our shared global waters should be a concern. The long-term protection of communities, cultures, creatures and currents needs to be given preference over short-term nuclear industry expedience.   Dave Sweeney is the Australian Conservation Foundation’s nuclear-free campaigner and was a founding member of ICAN. You can follow him on Twitter @nukedavesweeney.  https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australian-government-quiet-over-japans-nuclear-waste-condemnation,15015

April 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison’s climate summit speech was littered with downright dodgy claims,

Scott Morrison’s climate summit speech was littered with downright dodgy claims, https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/australian-politics/2021/04/24/scott-morrison-climate-summit-facts/ Richie Merzian,   I have sat through countless speeches on climate change from world leaders, both working for the government and outside it, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s rant at President Joe Biden’s climate summit last night was one of the worst performances I have ever seen.

Technical glitches and the dreaded mute button were the least of Morrison’s worries, as he mounted the (virtual) stage, armed with three-word slogans, self-congratulations, and downright dodgy greenhouse gas emission numbers.

  Most major nations before him   (and there were many) had pledged stronger climate targets or concrete policies to curb carbon pollution.  Japan and Canada vowed significant increases on their 2030 targets. India and the Republic of Korea announced new partnerships with the United States. Even Brazil, a highly problematic country in the climate space, announced it would advance its carbon neutrality target by a decade.

In contrast, Morrison’s speech was heavy on bluster, light on policy. No new commitments were brought to the table, further cementing Australia’s inadequate Paris target of a 26-28 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Then like the dinner guest that turns up to a pot-luck empty-handed and complains about what others have brought, Morrison dismissed the serious efforts of other nations whilst offering nothing himself.

When it came time to talk numbers, Morrison’s claim that we have reduced emissions by 19 per cent broadly and 36 per cent excluding exports, had me and many others dumfounded. Where did these numbers come from?    What dodgy accounting tricks were at play? Turns out 19 per cent is cherry-picked from the middle of the pandemic and the 36 per cent number is just off the reservation. The PM is reinventing UN accounting rules, asking the world to forget about the rising emissions from the production of gas and coal we export!

If there is one thing we can establish, Morrison can always be relied upon for accounting tricks. Until recently, the Morrison government tried to cash in on leftover carbon credits from the last climate agreement, to avoid reducing emissions required under the current Paris Agreement. This is What dodgy accounting tricks were at play? Turns out 19 per cent is cherry-picked from the middle of the pandemic and the 36 per cent number is just off the reservation. The PM is reinventing UN accounting rules, asking the world to forget about the rising emissions from the production of gas and coal we export!

If there is one thing we can establish, Morrison can always be relied upon for accounting tricks. Until recently, the Morrison government tried to cash in on leftover carbon credits from the last climate agreement, to avoid reducing emissions required under the current Paris Agreement. This is akin to attempting to use an old Starbucks loyalty card to pay for a Big Mac. Only after he was named and shamed by his international peers did Morrison back away from this dodgy loophole.

Much like a guest knows there are topics you do not talk about at a dinner party, every world leader knows the formalities and conventions of a climate summit. Every world leader it seems, bar Morrison. After undermining the speakers before him by belittling ‘targets’ and ‘promises’ with a tone-deaf arrogance, Morrison went on to awkwardly name-check his big-polluting industry mates, and claim Australia would somehow replicate the US’ success in Silicon Valley through our own ‘hydrogen valleys’.

Morrison rattled off ‘pioneering Australian companies’ from BHP to RioTinto, seemingly forgetting he was speaking on the international stage not addressing the Business Council of Australia at some inner-city wine bar. Perhaps most bizarre, was the name-dropping of Allan Finkel. While most Australian’s probably don’t know who Allan Finkel is, let alone the rest of the world – those who do, likely know him as the former Chief Scientist whose controversial views on gas sparked an open letter from leading Australian scientists.

In December 2019, when I watched Angus Taylor address the United Nations climate talks in Madrid without acknowledging the catastrophic bushfires that were devastating the nation, I thought I’d seen Aussie climate diplomacy at its worst. Then came Morrison’s performance at this summit.

Fortunately, the US had placed Morrison so far down the speaking list that President Biden had already left the room.

The United States – the world’s largest economy and second-largest polluter after China kicked off the event by announcing it would at least halve emissions by 2030, a target that Australia Institute research shows Australia should replicate. If it did, then we would have something to brag about.

Richie Merzian is Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at @richiemerzian

April 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Unrelenting dishonest propaganda leading us to war against China


Not sleepwalking but marching with eyes wide open to war. Independent Australia, By William Briggs | 13 April 2021  
While the USA moves towards war, anti-China rhetoric grows on a daily basis and the idea of war is being sold as the “right” thing, writes Dr William Briggs.

A LIE told often enough can become accepted, but it can never be the truth. China has been declared a threat to all that we hold dear, but it is just not so. China, for all its faults, is not a threat and nor is it practising genocide!

The Uyghur genocide claim gets bigger as each day dawns. Peter Hartcher, in The Age on the 10 April, writes of this genocide and of ‘the evil genius of the system of genocide with Chinese characteristics.’ The “genius” according to Hartcher is that the Chinese are allowing the Uyghurs to live. What a clever and cunning genocide that is!

The plight of the Uyghurs is but the latest lurid episode in a sustained and enormously successful push to demonise China in the eyes of the world. The motivations behind this are simple enough. China’s economic star is rising and America’s best days are behind it.

The world is certainly on the edge of a precipice. There is a broad acceptance, despite an embarrassing lack of evidence, that China is an enemy and, as an enemy, a threat. Nobody is ever eager for war, but people have often enough been persuaded that war is an acceptable option. This is particularly so when an existential threat exists, or in this case, is manufactured. The potential for war, justifications for it and warnings of how it might almost “accidentally” become a reality have come to dominate thought……..

If the USA goes to war with China, it will not be by chance. It has been meticulously planned, costed, budgeted for and the weapons, including “low-yield” nuclear weapons, have been manufactured and deployed by the USA. The world should be aghast at such blatant preparations, but it is not. Those who would take us to war need first to convince us that we have no option, that we are protecting freedom, that we are standing for justice and that a threat exists that the enemy is engaging in genocide.

In the space of just a decade, the people have come to accept this. China has gone from economic saviour of the world to arch enemy. Governments begin the process but could not be expected to convince the people alone. Television and print media: editorials, opinion pieces from leading journalists and international editors, columnists and experts, have all played a decisive role.

A recent poll by the Lowy Institute showed that in 2018, 52 per cent of Australians believed that China would act responsibly in the world. Two very short years later and that figure had dropped to just 23 per cent! The polls are then used by the same anti-China crusaders to prove that a problem exists. They are happy to ignore the effect that a daily barrage of anti-China campaigning can do and how it can shift people’s views…….

The most recent reporting of the treatment of the Uyghurs is that the Chinese are engaged in a campaign of genocide. Genocide was practised in Nazi Germany, in Kampuchea, in Rwanda, in Armenia, in Australia, but to suggest that the Chinese behaviour towards the Uyghurs, while quite possibly repressive, even reprehensible, is genocidal is ludicrous.

There has been discrimination and persecution. Life, for the Uyghurs, has never been easy. However, the West paid little or no attention to these people until about the time that the USA began to talk of “containing” China. It was, for the USA, a fortuitous discovery.

The Chinese, at the end of the 20th Century, waged a campaign against Islamist separatist groups that had become active within the Uyghur population. Violence met violence and conditions worsened for the Uyghurs. None of this concerned Washington. What happened to make things change so dramatically? The Chinese, in all likelihood, did step up repressions but the USA have manipulated events to suit a specific propaganda purpose.

Uyghur stories become more and more horrifying. The Western media was once content to rail against the existence of “re-education” camps. Then it was reports of campaigns of mass rape and then mass sterilisation programs. This morphed into claims of social genocide. Reports of forced labour emerged and evolved into stories of slave labour. The term “social” genocide came into use but has now been shortened to genocide.

This ramping up of rhetoric has one real purpose. China must, at every turn, be shown to be a malignant force. The editorialists, international editors, columnists and journalists have become a willing and shameless weapon in this campaign. If it all ends in war it will not be a chance thing. The world will not be “sleepwalking”. 

Nobody wants war but we are being prepared for it. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/not-sleepwalking-but-marching-with-eyes-wide-open-to-war,14982#.YHZ_2MRzAdY.twitter

April 15, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chinese-Australian uranium and rare earths mining company meets political opposition in Greenland

Left-wing party opposed to rare earth mining project wins Greenland election,  A left-wing environmentalist party opposed to a controversial mining project won a clear victory in Greenland’s parliamentary election, according to results released Wednesday. https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210407-left-wing-party-opposed-to-rare-earth-mining-project-wins-greenland-election 7 Apr 21,

With 36.6 percent of the vote, Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) was ahead of Siumut, a social democratic party that has dominated politics in the Danish territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

“Thank you to the people who trusted us to work with the people in the centre for the next four years,” IA leader Mute Egede said on KNR public television after the results were announced.

IA, which was previously in opposition, is expected to grab 12 out of the 31 seats in the Inatsisartut, the local parliament, up from eight currently.

But without an absolute majority, the most likely scenario is that IA joins forces with smaller parties to form a coalition.   Siumut, which headed the outgoing government, was partly weakened by internal struggles. It gained 29.4 percent of the vote, still two percentage points higher than its results in the 2018 election.

The dividing line between the two parties was whether to authorise a controversial giant rare earth and uranium mining project, which is currently the subject of public hearings.

The Kuannersuit deposit, in the island’s south, is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals — a group of 17 metals used as components in everything from smartphones to electric cars and weapons.

IA has called for a moratorium on uranium mining, which would effectively put a halt to the project.

Divisions over Kuannersuit originally triggered the snap election in the territory after one of the smaller parties left the ruling Siumut coalition.

Opponents say the project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has too many environmental risks, including radioactive waste.

Egede told KNR he would immediately start discussions to “explore different forms of cooperation” before forming a coalition government.

The 34-year-old, who has been a member of the Inatsisartut since 2015, took over the reins of the left-green party a little over two years ago.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

Minerals Council of Australia trying to influence European Commission, to push for fossil fuels and nuclear

March 22, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Transnational Memory and the Fukushima Disaster: Memories of Japan in Australian Anti-nuclear Activism

Transnational Memory and the Fukushima Disaster: Memories of Japan in Australian Anti-nuclear Activism  https://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/index.php/portal/article/view/7094

Alexander Brown https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3582-9658, Jan 28, 2021

Abstract

This paper argues for the importance of transnational memories in framing Australian anti-nuclear activism after the Fukushima disaster. Japan looms large in the transnational nuclear imaginary.

Commemorating Hiroshima as the site of the first wartime use of nuclear weapons has been a long-standing practice in the Australian anti-nuclear movement and the day has been linked to a variety of issues including weapons and uranium mining.

As Australia began exporting uranium to Japan in the 1970s, Australia-Japan relations took on a new meaning for the Indigenous Traditional Owners from whose land uranium was extracted.

After Fukushima, these complex transnational memories formed the basis for an orientation towards Japan by Indigenous land rights activists and for the anti-nuclear movement as a whole.

This paper argues that despite tenuous organizational links between the two countries, transnational memories drove Australian anti-nuclear activists to seek connections with Japan after the Fukushima disaster. The mobilisation of these collective memories helps us to understand how transnational social movements evolve and how they construct globalisation from below in the Asia-Pacific region.fic region.

March 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian government’s brazen duplicity concerning Julian Assange

What Assange and WikiLeaks said about Australia, https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/what-assange-and-wikileaks-said-about-australia-20210129-p56xyo.html

By Jessie Tu  February 4, 2021 He has been called “truth-telling hero”, “evil and perverted traitor”, “heroic, trickster, mythical – reviled”. Robert Manne called him the “most consequential Australian of the present time”. The new US President has called him a “high-tech terrorist”.

The protean narratives of Julian Assange, who will be 50 in July, have been brewing since 2010, when his website published “The Afghan War Diaries”, “Iraq War Logs” and “Collateral Murder”, a video showing the US military killing two Reuters employees in Iraq.

December marked 10 years since Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” in Britain, according to Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau in their introduction to A Secret Australia – a collection of 18 essays that survey the impact WikiLeaks has had on Australia’s media landscape and the consequences of our government’s attraction towards America’s intelligence and military empire.

The potpourri of authors and thinkers includes Julian Burnside, Antony Loewenstein, Scott Ludlam and Helen Razer, who critique “the powers opposed to openness and transparency” and examine the evidence, “not the likelihoods, the probabilities, the suspicions, and assumptions” around the “subversive, technology-based publishing house”.

WikiLeaks invented a “pioneering model of journalism” – one that embodied the “contemporary spirit of resistance to imperial power”, says Richard Tanter, from the school of political and social sciences at the University of Melbourne. It brought renewed debates on free speech, digital encryption and questions around the management and protection of whistleblowers who risk their lives to expose covert, deceitful actions by governments.

The documents exposed the “brazen duplicity” of the Australian government towards its citizens and presented “off-stage alliance management conversations”, Tanter writes. They invited the layperson into the green room of the performance that is politics and international diplomacy.
WikiLeaks unmasked reports that showed governments recommending media strategies to deceive the public, demonstrating their unethically utilitarian approach to international diplomacy and governance and “enlightened the public on the dark corners of wars”, writes journalist and author Antony Loewenstein.

Assange is still in a cell at London’s Belmarsh Prison, facing an appeal by the United States in its bid to extradite him to face charges for the 2010 publications. He is continuing to be “denied adequate medical care” and “denied emergency bail in light of the COVID-19″, says Lissa Johnson, a clinical psychologist and writer for New Matilda – one of the few Australian publications that have paid genuine attention to the WikiLeaks saga.

In Australia, there’s been a “striking absence of a solid debate on WikiLeaks in the mainstream public discourse”, according to Benedetta Brevini, a journalist and media activist who insists that our concerning “lack of a thorough and sustained debate” is incomprehensible. Loewenstein calls Australia’s lack of journalistic solidarity with Assange “deeply shameful”. He says we have an “anodyne media environment” – perhaps not unsurprising, considering our highly concentrated media market, one of the most severe in the world.

Most of the essays expostulate on the same things: Assange is a journalist, not a hacker. He’s won a Walkley Award (at least six mentions of this). We have an undeniable legal obligation to him. His persecution is a “gruesome legal experiment in criminalising journalism” – a long and tortured legal process that Ludlam declares “has degenerated into an unworkable shit-show”.

The standout essays come from Guy Rundle and Helen Razer – whose amusing voice cuts through the somewhat parched tenor of cold academic-speak that lightly threads through the other essays. Her addition is a breath of fresh air in the middle of a chain of same-same arguments.

The most useful essay is Rundle’s take on the historical basis for WikiLeaks. He surveys the swirling currents of Australian history that led to its founding, identifying WikiLeaks as a continuation of political activist Albert Langer’s resistance to capital.

“We need a whole new organisation of how recent Australian history is told,” Rundle concludes, seconding Lissa Johnson’s opinion that we demand citizens who “cut across the acquiescence and consent, remove the deadbolt on the torture chamber door, turn down the music and expose what is going on inside”. This collection of polemics, though at times repetitive, takes us closer to a future where these demands no longer seem beyond reality.

A Secret Australia: Revealed by the WikiLeaks Exposes,  Eds., Felicity Ruby & Peter Cronau, Monash University Publishing, $29.95

February 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Biden administration presses for Julian Assange to be extradited to USA

Biden administration files appeal pressing for Assange extradition, Yahoo News, Sat, 13 February 2021  The administration of US President Joe Biden has appealed a British judge’s ruling against the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a Justice Department official said Friday.

A brief filed late Thursday declared Washington’s desire to have Assange stand trial on espionage and hacking-related charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents beginning in 2009.

The Justice Department had until Friday to register its stance on Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s January 4 ruling that Assange suffered mental health problems that would raise the risk of suicide if he were sent to the United States for trial.

“Yes, we filed an appeal and we are continuing to pursue extradition,” Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi told AFP.

After Baraitser’s decision, which did not question the legal grounds for the US extradition request, Donald Trump’s administration moved to appeal.

But Biden’s stance was not clear, and he was pressured by rights groups to drop the case, which raises sensitive transparency and media freedom issues.

After WikiLeaks began publishing US secrets in 2009, then-president Barack Obama, whose vice president was Biden, declined to pursue the case.

Assange said WikiLeaks was no different than other media constitutionally protected to publish such materials.

Prosecuting him, too, could mean also prosecuting powerful US news organizations for publishing similar material — legal fights the government would likely lose.

But under Trump, whose 2016 election was helped by WikiLeaks publishing Russian-stolen materials damaging to his rival Hillary Clinton — the Justice Department built a national security case against Assange.

In 2019 the native Australian was charged under the US Espionage Act and computer crimes laws with multiple counts of conspiring with and directing others, from 2009 to 2019, to illegally obtain and release US secrets……….

Assange has remained under detention by British authorities pending the appeal.

Earlier this week 24 organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA and Reporters Without Borders, urged Biden to drop the case.

“Journalists at major news publications regularly speak with sources, ask for clarification or more documentation, and receive and publish documents the government considers secret,” they said in an open letter.

“In our view, such a precedent in this case could effectively criminalize these common journalistic practices.”

Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris said in a statement that Baraitser’s January decision that Assange was a high risk for suicide and that US prison facilities were not safe remained a strong reason to deny extradition.

Baraitser “was given clear advice by medical experts that ordering him to stand trial in the US would put his life at risk,” she said.

“Any assurances given by the Department of Justice about trial procedures or the prison regime that Julian might face in the US are not only irrelevant but meaningless because the US has a long history of breaking commitments to extraditing countries,” she said  https://au.news.yahoo.com/biden-administration-files-appeal-assange-171637702.html

February 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

French nuclear attack submarine visted Australia, then on to patrol the South China Sea

February 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Julian Assange nominated by French parliamentarians for Nobel Peace Prize

February 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Red Cross celebrates Nuclear Ban Treaty- an incremental process towards elimination of nuclear weapons

January 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment