Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Because of Pine Gap, Australia would be dragged into a Korean war

Pine Gap hardwires Australia into a Korean war https://www.echo.net.au/2017/08/pine-gap-hardwires-australia-korean-war/  Whether we like it or not, Australia would be dragged into a conflict on the Korean Peninsula because of the critical role of Pine Gap in US military operations against North Korea.

Given the geography of Korea and the decades of military preparations of both sides, we could become a participant in a war likely to result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Koreans, with a high likelihood of uncontrollable escalation to involve regional conflict.

Informed commentators recognize that there is no military solution to this conflict, and talking is the only option to avoid unimaginable horror.

Difficult though it is to negotiate with North Korea, there is good reason to believe that its leaders are not bent on suicide. There are indications that negotiations could be possible, but they need to be genuine to have any chance of avoiding war.

The Australian government’s strategic response has for a long time been compliance with whatever constitutes United States policy of the day.

In the hands of President Trump, this places the future of both the Korean Peninsula and Australia in the hands of a deeply delusional narcissist who is incapable of comprehending the consequences of his actions.

The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap will play a critical role in both conventional and nuclear-armed U.S. attacks on North Korea.

Pine Gap hardwires Australia into US combat operations in Northeast Asia. Pine Gap’s tasking will now be very actively focussed on North Korea.

The logic of nuclear weapons, epitomized by the United States’ nuclear posture, and fully supported by compliant Australian governments, has led to North Korea’s successful path to nuclear weapons state status.

Its goal has clearly been to deter US from attempting regime change, rather than suicidal nuclear aggression.

It is time for Australia to take an independent stance urging the utmost caution on its nuclear-armed ally as well as on North Korea, and actively oppose any action leading to what would be a catastrophic outbreak of war.

But equally, the present crisis makes clear that doctrines of nuclear deterrence – by any country – hold the whole world to ransom, with deterrence failure inevitable in the long run.

It is clear that only the abolition of nuclear weapons will offer any chance of planetary safety.

The Australian government’s craven acceptance of US demands that its allies boycott the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons adopted at the United Nations indicates that we have no independent foreign policy.

Professor Richard Tanter, senior research associate at the Nautilus Institute and honorary professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at Melbourne University.

Professor Tanter will address the issue ‘What would an independent Australian foreign policy look like?’ during the upcoming Independent and Peaceful Australia Network National Conference in Melbourne over the weekend of 8-10 September.

 

August 12, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Turnbull says Australia will join in the war, if North Korea attacks USA

 

Will Australia join in the war if Trump’s USA attacks North Korea?

Australia will join the conflict if North Korea attacks the US: Malcolm Turnbull, SMH Fergus Hunter, 11 Aug 17, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared Australia would invoke the ANZUS security treaty for only the second time in its history in response to any attack by North Korea against the United States.

Mr Turnbull also pushed back against calls – including from former prime ministers Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd – for Australia to develop a missile defence shield to protect the mainland from the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile program.

The Prime Minister’s commitment to assist the US caps off days of escalating tensions, with US President Donald Trump threatening to unleash “fire and fury” on the rogue state and the North Korean regime warning it would attack the US Pacific territory of Guam.”The United States has no stronger ally than Australia. We have an ANZUS agreement and if there is an attack on Australia or the United States … each of us will come to the other’s aid,” Mr Turnbull told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Friday……

After invoking ANZUS in 2001, Mr Howard said Australia would consult with the US and consider any requests “within the limits of its capability”.

A month later, the government committed Australian troops to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Opponents have criticised the treaty, arguing it unnecessarily places Australia’s security at risk.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said: “The last thing we need here is a Prime Minister backing an unhinged and paranoid leader into a conflict that could potentially end life on Earth as we know it.”

He accused Mr Turnbull of putting a target on Australia’s back and called on him to tell the US President to “back off”.

“If there was ever a clearer example of why Australia needs to ditch the US alliance and forge an independent, non-aligned foreign policy, this is it. Malcolm Turnbull now needs to pick up the phone, he needs to talk to Donald Trump and urge him to de-eascalate.”

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-will-join-the-conflict-if-north-korea-attacks-the-us-malcolm-turnbull-20170810-gxty5f.html

 

August 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia still has the opportunity to join the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty

Time to banish the threat of nuclear war http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/time-to-banish-the-threat-of-nuclear-war/news-story/e4186814f8023d4fdf412f6d239e29e7, SALLY ATRILL, Mercury, August 7, 2017 HIROSHIMA Day is again upon us.

August 7, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia must wake up to the climate disaster facing Pacific Islanders

Australia doesn’t ‘get’ the environmental challenges faced by Pacific Islanders http://theconversation.com/australia-doesnt-get-the-environmental-challenges-faced-by-pacific-islanders-81995  Steven Cork, Adjunct Associate Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Kate Auty, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne, August 7, 2017 What actions are required to implement nature-based solutions to Oceania’s most pressing sustainability challenges? That’s the question addressed by the recently released Brisbane Declaration on ecosystem services and sustainability in Oceania.

There once was an Island

Compiled following a forum earlier this year in Brisbane, featuring researchers, politicians and community leaders, the declaration suggests that Australia can help Pacific Island communities in a much wider range of ways than simply responding to disasters such as tropical cyclones.

Many of the insights offered at the forum were shocking, especially for Australians. Over the past few years, many articles, including several on The Conversation, have highlighted the losses of beaches, villages and whole islands in the region, including in the Solomons, Catarets, Takuu Atoll and Torres Strait, as sea level has risen. But the forum in Brisbane highlighted how little many Australians understand about the implications of these events.

Over the past decade, Australia has experienced a range of extreme weather events, including Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which hit Queensland in the very week that the forum was in progress. People who have been directly affected by these events can understand the deep emotional trauma that accompanies damage to life and property.

At the forum, people from several Pacific nations spoke personally about how the tragedy of sea-level rise is impacting life, culture and nature for Pacific Islanders.

One story, which has become the focus of the play Mama’s Bones, told of the deep emotional suffering that results when islanders are forced to move from the land that holds their ancestors’ remains.

The forum also featured a screening of the film There Once Was an Island, which documents people living on the remote Takuu Atoll as they attempt to deal with the impact of rising seas on their 600-strong island community. Released in 2011, it shows how Pacific Islanders are already struggling with the pressure to relocate, the perils of moving to new homes far away, and the potentially painful fragmentation of families and community that will result.

Their culture is demonstrably under threat, yet many of the people featured in the film said they receive little government or international help in facing these upheavals. Australia’s foreign aid budgets have since shrunk even further.

As Stella Miria-Robinson, representing the Pacific Islands Council of Queensland, reminded participants at the forum, the losses faced by Pacific Islanders are at least partly due to the emissions-intensive lifestyles enjoyed by people in developed countries.

Australia’s role

What can Australians do to help? Obviously, encouraging informed debate about aid and immigration policies is an important first step. As public policy researchers Susan Nicholls and Leanne Glenny have noted, in relation to the 2003 Canberra bushfires, Australians understand so-called “hard hat” responses to crises (such as fixing the electricity, phones, water, roads and other infrastructure) much better than “soft hat” responses such as supporting the psychological recovery of those affected.

Similarly, participants in the Brisbane forum noted that Australian aid to Pacific nations is typically tied to hard-hat advice from consultants based in Australia. This means that soft-hat issues – like providing islanders with education and culturally appropriate psychological services – are under-supported.

The Brisbane Declaration calls on governments, aid agencies, academics and international development organisations to do better. Among a series of recommendations aimed at preserving Pacific Island communities and ecosystems, it calls for the agencies to “actively incorporate indigenous and local knowledge” in their plans.

At the heart of the recommendations is the need to establish mechanisms for ongoing conversations among Oceanic nations, to improve not only understanding of each others’ cultures but of people’s relationships with the environment. Key to these conversations is the development of a common language about the social and cultural, as well as economic, meaning of the natural environment to people, and the building of capacity among all nations to engage in productive dialogue (that is, both speaking and listening).

This capacity involves not only training in relevant skills, but also establishing relevant networks, collecting and sharing appropriate information, and acknowledging the importance of indigenous and local knowledge.

Apart from the recognition that Australians have some way to go to put themselves in the shoes of our Pacific neighbours, it is very clear that these neighbours, through the challenges they have already faced, have many valuable insights that can help Australia develop policies, governance arrangements and management approaches in our quest to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


This article was co-written by Simone Maynard, Forum Coordinator and Ecosystem Services Thematic Group Lead, IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management.

August 7, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s Chief Against the Environment, will be touring Australia

Donald Trump’s environment boss Scott Pruitt heading to Australia, ABC News , Exclusive by defence reporter Andrew Greene, 4 Aug 17, A climate science critic and one of the most controversial figures in the Trump administration will soon tour Australia in a visit environmental activists are likely to target with protests.

Key points:

  • Critics accuse Pruitt of trying to weaken the EPA
  • Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly says Australia should welcome Pruitt “with open arms”
  • Greenpeace says visit could spark protests and is not helpful for Australia as it tackles climate change policy

Lawyer Scott Pruitt was last year handpicked by Donald Trump to head the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Critics accuse the former Oklahoma attorney-general of trying to weaken the EPA since assuming his role as administrator in February.

The ABC has confirmed the Republican politician is scheduled to fly to Australia this year, joining other Trump administration figures who have already made the journey, including Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence James Mattis.

Federal Government backbencher and climate change sceptic Craig Kelly has welcomed Mr Pruitt’s impending visit……..

Alix Foster Vander Elst, a campaigner with Greenpeace Australia Pacific. – “To have someone who supports the fossil fuel industry at the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the US is obviously extremely unproductive and upsets many people……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-05/donald-trump-epa-boss-scott-pruitt-to-vist-australia/8776752

August 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

America’s secret Pine Gap military facility in Australia celebrates a not very happy birthday

What is more pressing for the Canberra apparatchiks is what a base like Pine Gap does in the context of spats with other powers which Australia shares ties with. The China rise is particularly problematic, given the teeth-gnashing belligerence being shown over maritime disputes.

Even as Chinese nationals purchase Australian real estate, tremors between Washington and Beijing can be felt as the base celebrates its half-century. A happy birthday it would have been, but only for some.

 The Pine Gap Anniversary Party    https://intpolicydigest.org/2017/07/30/pine-gap-anniversary-party, Blony Kampmark /30 JUL 2017 It all happened without much fuss, since fuss was bound to be the enemy. Dignitaries, guests and various partners lined up for a gathering at Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory on Saturday, commemorating the secret base’s half-century.

The Alice Spring News Online described it, not inaccurately, as a “stealth party.” The Convention Centre hosting the dinner was tight lipped throughout the week about the guest list. “Unfortunately the details of this weekend’s event are not available for public release.” Not for residents in Alice Springs; not for the electors, or even the politicians. This would be an imperial, vetted affair.

A sense about how the base functions in a defiant limbo, one resistant to Australian sovereignty, can be gathered in various ways. The local federal member, Chansey Paech, whose constituency hosts the base, was not invited. Senator Nigel Scullion’s query about the exclusion of media from the event was rebuffed by the Defence department, with the Defence Minister keen to hold the line against her own colleague.

The Institute for Aboriginal Development (IAD), charged with supplying the indigenous “welcome to country” gathering at such bashes, seemed less than pleased to supply details. When the intrepid Alice Springs News Online dared ask, the CEO Kerry Le Rossignol responded with a dismissive “No comment.”

On July 25, a Defence spokesperson insisted that, “The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is proud to commemorate its 50th anniversary. However, celebrations are restricted to site personnel and invited guests only.” Power without perusal; might, without scrutiny. Continue reading

August 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

September 8-9 Conference of The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)

At a time when recent US administrations have become more proactive about the need for solidarity within US Global Alliance Systems, there is a pressing need for elected leaders of both government and opposition parties to be more concerned about protection of our national sovereignty.

The Conference of The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) in Melbourne between 8-10 September 2017 will provide peace activists with a chance to interact with an array of local and overseas speakers
There is a problem for our national sovereignty if Australia’s official voice on the terrifying issue of nuclear proliferation is not being expressed to support the representatives of Ireland, Austria, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico as co-sponsors of the Draft Treaty on new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Support for the UN Draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or more comprehensive US nuclear weapons umbrellas? July 28, 2017, by: The AIM Network By Denis Bright 
Where are the cheers across Australia for the new Draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as finalized by the recent UN Conference on 7th July 2017?
In the past, Australia developed a bipartisan balance between continued membership of the Australia-US Alliance, support for the Charter of the United Nations and commitment to its own national sovereignty.Article 1 of the ANZUS Treaty of 1951 indeed rejected the need for sabre-rattling in the settlement of international disputes.

Barry McGuire – Eve Of Destruction

New Zealand officially left the Alliance in 1986 after continued participation compromised its national sovereignty (Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, US Department of State Online).

In 1984, the ANZUS Treaty began to unravel when New Zealand declared its country a nuclear-free zone and refused to allow U.S. nuclear-powered submarines to visit its ports. Two years later, U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Australian Foreign Minister Bill Hayden concluded a series of bilateral talks by confirming that their countries would continue to honor their obligations to one another under the ANZUS Treaty, in spite of the  fact that the trilateral aspects of the Treaty had been halted. On September 17, 1986, the United States suspended its treaty obligations toward New Zealand.

  • In Australia, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction towards greater solidarity with the US Alliance and away from a diversity of foreign policies which required the US to adjust to policy diversity over issues like the Suez Crisis of 1956, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the War in Vietnam and even the presence of nuclear powered ships carrying nuclear weapons into New Zealand during the 1980s. Continue reading

July 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Head of Donald Trump’s manufacturing council, Australian Mr Liveris breaks with Trump on climate policy

Andrew Liveris adamant US will revisit Paris climate deal, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/andrew-liveris-adamant-us-will-revisit-paris-climate-deal/news-story/d4b0e75cb50c717220f4b13543157a67, 22 July 17 JAMIE WALKERAssociate Editor, Brisbane @Jamie_WalkerOz The Australian businessman tasked with making American manufacturing great for Donald Trump has broken with the President on climate policy, saying the US must re-engage with the Paris agreement.

And in a provocative address in Brisbane, Dow Chemical boss ­Andrew Liveris revealed that ­spiralling domestic gas prices had forced the multinational firm to review its Australian operations.

As the head of Mr Trump’s manufacturing council, Darwin-raised Mr Liveris is working with the embattled administration to deliver a key election promise to revitalise US manufacturing, while engineering one of the ­biggest corporate mergers in ­history between Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Warning that environmental sustainability was “no longer an initiative, it’s a business model”, Mr Liveris said Mr Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris accord should not halt international co-operation on greenhouse gas mitigation. “We cannot as citizens of the world let that move impede our collective progress and our determination to ­remove carbon from the atmosphere,” he said, to applause from the crowd of 1500 that turned out for the UQ ChangeMakers forum, put on by his alma mater the University of Queensland and supported by The Weekend Australian.

“Many businesses in the US, NGOs and states have re-upped and picked up the commitment of what’s become the slack left behind by the federal government.

“I believe the US will re-engage ultimately with Paris and I am certainly being part of the solution to make that happen.” But he distanced himself from Mr Trump’s handling of the issue, saying it was “very unfortunate” the President had said the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris agreement, when the aim was to “redefine its engagement”. Under the UN-backed accord, Australia is committed to reduce greenhouse emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Mr Liveris said: “They are actually not withdrawing, they just want to re-­engage on different terms. So if you think about it that way, I would say the odds would be very high of a re-engagement.”

Mr Liveris was one of the first business leaders to warn of the “gas cliff” that has deepened eastern Australia’s energy crisis, prompting intervention by the federal government to limit LNG exports and boost domestic gas supplies. He said yesterday that the gas price paid by Dow Chemical in Australia had rocketed from “roughly five or six dollars” to $20 in less than a year, jeopardising the business. “So my leader of Australia-Pacific … he’s got a proposal in front of us to look at exiting Australia right now in terms of uncompetitive energy prices.

We are not alone. We … can see the future in terms of the ­trajectory … you need to fix supply and you have got to basically recalibrate demand so that 90 per cent of the gas isn’t ­exported.”

Backing the controversial Finkel report to the government on energy security, Mr Liveris said it offered a “great series of policy ­solutions” and business would ­accept a target for renewables. The country, however, needed “policies that outlive” the government concerned. “What I would say is give me a policy that has a renewable target, give me time to develop it and I will develop a partnership model with you, in an innovation hub … to develop the technologies over time,” he said.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Quiet shipment of uranium from Australia to India – non signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty

Australia quietly makes first uranium shipment to India three years after supply agreement, ABC Radio The World Today By South Asia correspondent James Bennett, 18 Jul 17 Three years after signing a civilian nuclear supply treaty, the Federal Government confirmed overnight the first shipment of Australian uranium has left for India.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop provided little detail about the inaugural sale, saying only that it was subject to commercial negotiations.

The supply deal with India, signed in 2014, is the first of its kind Australia has made with a country not party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty…….

Details of inaugural shipment unclear

It is not clear how big the shipment is, where it departed from, or where in India it might be heading.

Indian officials were unable to immediately provide comment, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said only that the details were subject to commercial negotiation.

Parliament only passed the final legislation enabling sales last December, following years of debate about supplying uranium to a country with a strategic nuclear weapons program and that refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty.

Parliamentary hearings to ratify the supply treaty in 2014 heard the International Atomic Energy Agency still had concerns about India’s safeguards.

Ongoing tensions between India and its neighbour Pakistan, which also has not signed the non-proliferation treaty, have raised the spectre of armed confrontation in the past……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-19/australia-quietly-makes-first-uranium-shipment-to-india/8722108

July 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | 1 Comment

Australia should join UN nuclear weapons ban treaty, when it opens in September

Aust on ‘wrong side’ of nuclear weapon ban http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/aust-on-wrong-side-of-nuclear-weapon-ban/news-story/be98118f29f512aad05aac1134546ad4, Belinda Merhab, Australian Associated Press, July 8, 2017 Australia is accused of being on the wrong side of history after ignoring a United Nations vote to ban nuclear weapons.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Australia can play a role in promoting dialogue, not war, with North Korea

There is no point in Australia waiting to be a pallbearer at the ­funeral. We need to use what influence we have to shape a better ­response in Washington and other capitals.

We should also open a line of communication with Pyongyang — to see if there is any dialogue that might help to prevent conflict.

Australia can play a role here. Our embassy in Seoul is accredited to Pyongyang, where there hasn’t been a US embassy for years. We should co-ordinate this with key allies, but Australia should look to open a line of dialogue with the regime.

Australia has performed a similar role in Iran, where the US hasn’t had diplomatic representation since 1979. 

Has Australia got the gumption to do this, or will we just wait for the conflict to start and hope others fight the war for us?

Dialogue better than all-out war with unpredictable North Korea http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/dialogue-better-than-allout-war-with-unpredictable-north-korea/news-story/f471a9a09b1dae1fe0d2464f5501d03e?nk=ba26857f63080120cbd5fc74c94d3959-1499480511, PETER JENNINGS,The Australian,  July 8, 2017

The members of the G20 are meeting during one of the most ­serious global situations since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Then the Soviet Union was ­intent on deploying nuclear-armed missiles to an ­island a few minutes’ flying time from America’s southeast.

The risk was not only what missiles could be launched from Cuba but whether a conflict might spiral out of control and lead to an all-out nuclear war between Washington and Moscow.

Today the situation on the ­Korean peninsula is just as uncertain. With help from Pakistan and China, North Korea is within a sprint of developing a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, with a widely dispersed ­arsenal of such weapons able to be launched from silos, mobile vehicles and, in time, from submarines.

The North already has about 20 nuclear devices and although these may not fit on missiles, it is possible they could be detonated inside submarines sent on suicide missions to Seoul or Tokyo.

After an American strike in ­response, we don’t know how China might react to the destruction of its ally. Once the nuclear threshold is breached we face a global situation as dire as those 13 days in October 1962 when ­nuclear war seemed likely. Continue reading

July 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

If North Korea attacks USA with nuclear warhead, Australia will join US in fight – Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce

Australia will join US in fight against North Korea if war breaks out, Yahoo News, JULY 6, 2017 Australia would join military action against North Korea if the rogue nation fires a nuclear warhead at the United States, acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has confirmed.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam at nuclear weapons ban treaty talks

Ludlam, not Australia, in New York for nuclear weapons ban treaty talks, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has slammed Australia for not taking part in talks on a global ban on nuclear weapons. By Andrea Nierhoff, SBS News,  6 July 17, Senator Ludlam is in New York with delegates from 120 countries to discuss a treaty to ban nuclear weapons around the world.

He said Australia could have played a vital role in negotiations, but instead chose not to be involved.

“The Australian role has been disgraceful,” he told the ABC’s Lateline program.

“Australian diplomats were instructed, first under Prime Minister Abbott and then Prime Minister Turnbull, to try and obstruct or break up the talks, try to prevent this process from happening at all. Now this process is under way.”

“New Zealand is here. The Netherlands, a NATO country, is here. Why isn’t Australia here?”

Indigenous Australians have also criticised the government for not joining the historic discussions, accusing Australia of overlooking its own history of nuclear testing.

In an address to the United Nations, anti-nuclear campaigner Karina Lester described the impact the tests had on herself and her family, with her father going blind from the atomic fallout.

The senator says despite the lack of support from the world’s nuclear powers, as well as Australia, he is hopeful some progress will be made……. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/07/06/ludlam-not-australia-new-york-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-talks

July 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN poised to adopt nuclear weapons ban treaty today

The United Nations is set to adopt a global treaty to ban nuclear weapons (Friday 7 July (New York time)) – a long-awaited historic event marred by Australia’s boycott of negotiations.

“This is the biggest step towards nuclear disarmament that we have seen since the end of the Cold War,” said Associate Professor Dr Tilman Ruff, the Melbourne-based founding chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), who is attending the UN talks in New York.

“It comes at a time of growing international nuclear tension, where the risks of armed conflict escalating to the use of nuclear weapons is real and would be a humanitarian and environmental disaster,” he said.

“Pressure must now build on Australia to sign up to the treaty, as it has to treaties for the elimination of other weapons of mass destruction – biological and chemical, and other inhumane indiscriminate weapons such as landmines and cluster munitions.”

More than 130 nations are involved in the UN talks, including New Zealand and Indonesia, but Australia, at the behest of the United States, has boycotted the process. It is the first time ever that Australia has not participated in multilateral disarmament negotiations.

“If passed today, the treaty will stigmatise possession of nuclear weapons by any state, provide a source of legal, political, ethical, economic and civil society pressure on nuclear armed states to disarm, and encourage financial institutions to divest from companies that produce nuclear weapons,” said Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of ICAN.

“Of vital interest to Australia and the Pacific, it will also promote addressing the rights and needs of victims of nuclear use and testing, and of remediating contaminated environments,” he said.

“By failing to be involved in these negotiations, Australia has relinquished its responsibilities to its own Indigenous people, and to many others affected by nuclear testing in our region,” Mr Wright said.

Media please note:

Delegates at the UN will decide on Friday —by acclamation or vote—whether to adopt the treaty. If adopted, as is expected, it will open for signature on September 20, after which states will pursue ratification. Once 50 states have completed this process, the treaty will become binding international law.

ICAN Australia and Pacific representatives are available in New York and Australia for interviews, before and after the treaty’s expected adoption on Friday, New York time (likely Saturday morning, Australian time).

Video footage is available of addresses to the UN treaty conference plenary session (Thursday NY time) by: Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, Vanessa Griffen (Fiji), FemLINK Pacific, ICAN Asia-Pacific director Tim Wright.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea’ latest intercontinental ballistic missile would be able to hit Darwin

Australia now within range of new North Korean missile, as calculations show it could fly far enough to hit Darwin

  • The ‘landmark’ test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un
  • It was fired from a site in the North Phyongan province into the Sea of Japan
  • It is believed to have reached an altitude of 2802 km and flew 933 km
  • The North has long sought to build nuclear missiles capable of reaching the US
  • Weapons analysts say the missile has the capability to travel up to 6,700km
  • Darwin is only 5,750km from Pyongyang, putting Australia into the firing line

Experts say the missile could reach a maximum range of 6,700km on a standard trajectory, meaning it would be able to hit Darwin, which is 5,750km from Pyongyang.

David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organisation’s allthingsnuclear blog that the available figures implied the missile ‘could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory’.

‘That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.’ …………http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4664328/Australia-range-new-North-Korean-missile.html#ixzz4ltt8SE9M

July 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment