Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Victorian Liberal Democrat David Limbrick gets it wrong about nuclear power

” We are the only country in the OECD that does not produce nuclear energy,” Mr Limbrick said.”
All of these are current members of OECD.:

Denmark:  1985 law passed by the Danish parliament, prohibiting power production from nuclear energy in Denmark.

Austria has no nuclear power plants. As a result of a public referendum in 1978,Austria follows a strictly non-nuclear energy policy.

Greece
 has no nuclear power plants
Iceland has no nuclear power plants

Ireland  has no nuclear power plants

Victorian crossbenchers go nuclear, SBS  17 June 19, A couple of Victorian crossbenchers want to explore lifting the state’s bans around uranium and nuclear power in an effort to tackle climate change.

Two of Victoria’s crossbench want the parliament to explore lifting the state’s bans on nuclear activities in an effort to tackle climate change.

The Liberal Democrats this week in the upper house will table a motion to establish a parliamentary inquiry expand the nuclear industry including uranium mining, exploration and exports, power generation, waste management, industrial and medical applications.

“If we have these issues with climate change we need to look at all the options available to us and at the moment we’ve got laws prohibiting certain options and we think that those options should be on the table,” Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick told AAP….The minor party is still working to garner support for their inquiry, but would hope if it gets up it would be completed in about 12 months.  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/victorian-crossbenchers-go-nuclear

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June 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Home affairs minister Peter Dutton “knew nothing” about police raids on Australian media offices, and a home!!

Peter Dutton denies prior knowledge of AFP raids on ABC and News Corp, Guardian, Sarah Martin and Kate Lyons 5 Jun 2019  

Following two consecutive days of raids on journalists who had reported on defence matters, Dutton sought to distance himself from the police investigations, saying they were independent from government./////https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/05/peter-dutton-denies-prior-knowledge-of-afp-raids-on-abc-and-news-corp?CMP=soc_567&fbclid=IwA

June 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia heads for authoritarian rule, as Federal Police under government control, threatens press freedom

The AFP media raids aim to suppress the truth. Without it we head into the darkness of oppression   https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/05/the-afp-media-raids-aim-to-suppress-the-truth-without-it-we-head-into-the-darkness-of-oppression

According to the Australian Federal Police Association’s president, Angela Smith, there was a widely shared feeling across the AFP that the body had “lost autonomy”. “It’s an embarrassing situation,” Smith was quoted as saying. “We look the least independent police force in Australia.”

In the wake of the AFP’s raids on a leading News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst on Tuesday and the ABC on Wednesday, the position of the AFP has gone from embarrassing to deeply disturbing.

Even Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the cheerleaders of the re-election of the Morrison government, seemed in no doubt as to the political purpose of the raid on Smethurst two weeks after a federal election. It was, News Corp said in an official statement, a “dangerous act of intimidation”.

Implicit in News Corp’s statement is that this is not an act of policing, but an act of politics.

What are we to make of two raids in two days as anything other than a symptom of deeply disturbing developments at the heart of our democracy?Smethurst’s story was over a year old. It was about a plan to allow the National Signals Directorate, for the first time, to directly spy on Australians by “hacking into critical infrastructure”.

In a statement the AFP attempted to justify its raid on Smethurst by arguing the disclosure of “these specific documents undermines Australia’s national security”. But how can our knowing about a possible major change to our freedoms as citizens in any way threaten our national security? The AFP doesn’t tell us because there is no argument they can make, only an unfounded assertion that they can repeat, mantra-like.

If mass surveillance is brought in, how will we know about it? Is national security best served by the inevitable abuses of such a scheme about which we are never told and which would go unpunished? Would national security be enhanced or weakened were Mr Dutton to use such powers for political advantage or to enable political persecution without our knowledge?

And if we cannot know the truth of such fundamental matters, what security as a democracy do we have?

If one raid was “a dangerous act of intimidation” what are we to make of two raids in two days – the second of our national broadcaster – as anything other than a symptom of deeply disturbing developments at the heart of our democracy?

The story in this case was not one but two years old, a major exposé of how Australian special forces soldiers had killed unarmed men and children in Afghanistan. On what possible grounds is it a good thing to not know atrocities have been committed by our nation?

How is our national security threatened by revealing crimes done in our name? Surely we are best served as a nation by a military that we can be confident acts within certain boundaries that are deemed acceptable in war and does not go beyond them?

In all this we cannot pretend to be surprised. The repression and culture of lying, deceit and evasion of public accountability that cloaked previous Liberal governments’ refugees policy is now coming home to haunt us all.

It was after all under Scott Morrison’s stewardship of the immigration portfolio that the notorious section 42 of the Border Force Act was enacted, allowing for the jailing for two years of any doctors or social workers who bore public witness to children beaten or sexually abused, to acts of rape or cruelty. The new crime was not crime, but the reporting of state-sanctioned violence on the innocent.

National security was invoked then to justify the enforcement of a national silence over what were no more or less than crimes.

And so it is again.

The consecutive timing of these acts represents not just a moment when a government crackdown on journalism began. The method may be to intimidate any whistleblower or journalist who would wish to reveal crimes committed by our government or in the name of our government.

But the aim is to suppress the truth.

And without the light of truth shining on what happens in public life we head into the darkness of oppression.

The Morrison government will soon seek to assume the high moral ground by diverting public discussion to the need for religious freedoms. But until I see Hillsong being raided by Dutton’s stooges, with the feds occupying their offices, accessing all their phone and computer records, I am not buying any of it.

This is a new government uninhibited, and it would now seem, unhinged. It does seem extraordinary that two cases, each of long standing, would immediately after an election, suddenly be activated to this level of public attention without ministerial knowledge. And yet, we have Dutton’s word it is not so. And were a news organisation subsequently to report, based on government documents, that the truth is otherwise, who knows who might come knocking on their door in the interest of national security?

Under his home affairs super ministry, Peter Dutton has more overt and covert power than any minister in our history. And this week officers of his ministry have been willing to use their powers recklessly against those practices that make us a democracy.

After the raids of the last two days, Australians would be justified in feeling fearful about their future. The politicians who might speak for us have long ceased to do so. And the journalists who still can, now risk everything if they publish political secrets that may be in our interests to know but are in our political masters’ to keep hidden.

Tweeting live from the ABC boardroom in which he was sitting with the AFP officers as they were going through the ABC’s files, John Lyons, the ABC’s executive news editor, wrote: “I have to say, sitting here watching police using a media organisation’s computers to track everything to do with a legitimate story I can’t help but think: this is a bad, sad and dangerous day for a country where we have for so long valued – and taken for granted – a free press.”

The Morrison government could not have signalled its turn to the new authoritarianism that is poisoning so many other democracies with any clearer message. Get ready for the future, because it may already be here.

June 5, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Extraordinary Federal Police action! Raiding ABC offices and home of a News Corps editor

Mr Dutton’s office yesterday referred all queries to the AFP and did not responded to a list of questions from news.com.au from early this morning.

“Minister Dutton must explain what he knew about these two raids … freedom of the press is an essential component of our democracy.”

June 5, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Corruption in the Australian uranium industry

Radioactive Corruption Video 1

Gal Vanise, March 18, 2018 ·    PREPARE TO BE ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED ………………….Pilot Plant near Roxby 1996 . This was an elaborate Government and corporate cover up under the Lib Government of the day. If you think the mining companies are doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS…They are not. You only need to ask anyone who works in a mine how things don’t get reported..Out of sight out of mind.

This site was later ‘repatriated’ but no one can say where the contaminated waste was taken to other than ALLEGEDLY by the truckloads carried on trucks from Roxby Downs to Port Adelaide ….through townships and urban residential areas.. I fully expect I will get in trouble for this even though I haven’t committed any free speech crimes. SHARE TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.. NOW I ASK YOU THIS!.. WILL THIS NEW LIB GOV DO THE RIGHT THING IN REGARD TO THE PROPOSED RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP IRREGARDLESS OF WHERE IN SA THEY PLACE IT?.. NOT IF THESE VIDEOS ARE ANY INDICATION. THIS IS DYNAMITE… AND I WILL NEED A BLOODY GOOD LAWYER ONCE ITS OUT.

Radioactive Corruption Vid 2

Gal Vanise type in Radioactive Corruption on youtube bruz. It comes in 2 parts. otherwise here ya go… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpoNZQqXvb8https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV101C2aDoQ&t=36s .
  • Peter Jack I worked at Roxby Downs in 1986. I got to go underground. Back then there was about 60 kilometres of roads down there. As we drove around we were shown these massive caverns some were filled with water possibly direct access to the great artesian basin and others with floor to ceiling blue plastic barrels full of yellow cake. 

    I assume they were all transported through residential areas.

     

  • Brett Burnard Stokes These unsealed radioactive sources are highly dangerous and illegal. The dust is the big issue, along with radon gas which is heavy and collects in cellars etc,   What are the longer term health impacts, you might ask.  Radon and uranium dust can cause lung cancer and other issues.
    These and other radioactive poisons cause genetic damage and more. 
  • Trevor Vivian Outta sight, outta mind is the MO of all mining the world over and in Australia the state & Federal govt’s refuse to support whistleblowers. At Mt Todd (NT) photo evidence of unbunded drill pads with waste polluting local creeks caused A Senate review(early 90’s) which shut down this disasterous destruction of Jaywon Sacred sites. The hostility from Mine managers toward bird survey whistleblowers meant never working in Australian mining ever. To me it is a badge of honour to reveal these lying thieving Global Corporate miners outta sight, outta mind operations. 
  • Gal Vanise HERE IS A QUOTE FOR THE DISBELIEVERS.. I WONT REVEAL THE WHO’s OR IDENTIFY THE PARKERS IN THE SIN BIN. I GAVE MY WORD…………………………”I was XXXXXXXXXXXX I know where it is. 198X. I was told to never tell anyone. It’s worried me ever since We dumped the unprocessed concentrate into the main tailings dam. It’s was blowing all over the place as the nylon bags had broken. Took two nights. Myself xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxboss who oversaw the job.
    A couple of days later one of those 7:30 type shows questioned the ……….. mining on tv. He denied any waste dumped.
    xxxxxxxxxx only had about xxxxxxx working for xxxxxxxxx. But after we did that job he got all the contracts.
    Really shonky. Ive never heard what happened toxxxxxxxxxxxxx but one of the older xxxxxxxxx mining blokes had to take samples from the bags.
    Mr.xxxxxxxx went off at him because his radiation tag came back high.
    He accused him of putting it in the concentrate. I never wore mine. xxxx was also a lazy buggar.
    At the same time they had a ball mill break down.
    It was going to take forever to screen the steel balls from the mill. xxxxxxxx got us to dump this as well.
    We pushed the whole lot into the water and by day light it was covered.
    We then went back and covered the pilot plant with fresh crusher dust.

    and finished just before the inspector arrived.” MY ONLY HINT TO THIS IS… WHO WAS A PROMINENT COMPANY THEN AND ISNT ANYMORE? THANK YOU ELEMENTARY FOR YOUR STORY… I HOPE YOU CAN BREATHE NOW YOU GOT IT    https://www.facebook.com/danlee67/posts/587530574936680

May 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, safety, secrets and lies, uranium | Leave a comment

Why is UK govt covering up the records on nuclear bomb tests in Australia in the 1950s?

May 18, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies, wastes, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Resources Minister Matt Canavan has failed to comply with an order to process information about the nuclear waste dump plan

Susan Craig
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

• Sally Whyte Federal Politics
Resources Minister Matt Canavan has failed to comply with an order to process a freedom of information request by the Information Commissioner, with concerns the chance for scrutiny will be lost after Saturday’s election.
Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick first requested access to parts of the minister’s diary at the end of 2017, seeking information about who the minister met with regarding the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba and Hawker in South Australia.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan may avoid scrutiny if he loses his job on Saturday. The two towns are proposed locations for a nuclear waste storage site, and Senator Patrick said he wanted to know who was being consulted over the plans.
The request has been bogged down in bureaucracy for 18 months, culminating in an order on March 25 by Information Commissioner Angelene Falk to process the request within 30 days.
Senator Patrick has heard nothing from the minister’s office, despite repeated attempts by the Information Commission to contact the office. He is concerned the minister could dodge scrutiny if the Coalition loses the election and Senator Canavan is no longer minister.
Under a precedent set by the former information commissioner in 2013, if documents are requested from one minister, and then the minister changes, the documents are considered no longer subject to Freedom of Information laws because they are not held by a current minister.
“If Minister Canavan holds out until Saturday and the current polling correct, it is likely that he will have successfully avoided
disclosure, but in a manner contrary to law and in contravention of the Prime Minister’s Statement of Ministerial Standards,” Senator Patrick said.
Senator Patrick also believes the failure to obey the information commissioner’s order shows disregard for the law.
“The minister disobeying the lawful direction of the Information Commissioner shows a complete lack of respect for the Information Commissioner and my constituents,” Senator Patrick said.
“This sort of conduct shows the Coalition’s complete disregard for openness and transparency and to the FOI regime.”
A spokesman for the minister said Minister Canavan’s office received a large volume of requests under the FOI scheme.
“All applications are processed with adherence to the law, and
mindful of the other workload that must also be completed at the same time as processing FOI requests,” he said.
“This FOI request is being completed and all transparency
requirements will be met.”
Gaining access to ministerial diaries has been a fraught legal frontier for transparency advocates, with former attorney general George Brandis fighting a three-year legal battle to keep his diaries under wraps. The 34 pages of printouts from his Outlook calendar were released after he was threatened with contempt of court proceedings

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

A Maralinga nuclear veteran’s grim story

Maralinga nuclear bomb test survivor reveals truth of what happened in the SA desert  https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/maralinga-nuclear-bomb-test-survivor-reveals-truth-of-what-happened-in-the-sa-desert/news-story/697b17f6d3427a78aa0262b09727c169, 24 Apr 19

The nuclear bomb tests, under British Government control, at Maralinga in far west South Australia in the 1950s were conducted at the highest level of secrecy. But they had thousands of witnesses. Most were Australian servicemen, innocently used as guinea pigs and exposed to deadly radiation. Craig Cook talks to a survivor, one of the last of a group of men who built the Maralinga camp as part of 23 Construction Squadron and watched in awe as the bombs were exploded, little knowing they were risking their lives and the futures of their children.

Tony Spruzen knew the drill at the top secret Maralinga facility in the South Australian desert in the spring of 1956.

Just like hundreds of others at the nuclear site at 11-mile camp during Operation Buffalo, he was told to turn his back and cover his eyes to protect himself from the gigantic glare of the exploding atomic bomb.

What they didn’t tell the Australian Army sapper was, at the moment of the flash of detonation, he would see the bones of his hand through his tightly shut eyelids.

“It was like a massive x-ray,” Tony, 83, from Glengowrie says. ‘Unlike anything I’d ever known before.”

A week after One Tree, on October 6, 1956, Spruzen witnessed the detonation of Buffalo 2, named Marcoo.

The bomb was only a tenth the size of One Tree but this time was detonated directly above and just under the ground.

“The bomb was in an amphitheatre of hills and we were far closer to that one, maybe only 200 yards away,” he remembers.

“We were close enough to see the trenches with dummy soldiers in them holding rifles and fake aeroplanes and tanks used to test the blast effect.

“And we could see the scientists walking around in their white suits checking out the site before and afterwards but we were just in khaki shorts and short sleeved shorts. Even the dignitaries had no protection.”

Every hour, from five hours out, an elaborate PA system across the complex announced the timing of the bomb detonation.

In the final 30 seconds, and with a rising and excited inclination, the voice on the PA dramatically counted….ten, nine, eight…down to zero.

When Marcoo exploded at 7am it only took a few seconds for a heavy shower of dust to descend on the witnesses.

“We had this large piece of litmus paper attached to our shirts,” Spruzen recalls

Spruzen, originally from Victoria and a carpenter by trade, enlisted in the Army at just 16.

Four year later he was at Maralinga as part of a detachment of 23 Construction Squadron, an acclaimed unit of the Royal Australian Engineers and exclusively raised in South Australia.

Around 40 young men were selected from the unit to build a desert tent camp with cook houses and latrines for the Commonwealth military ‘high-ups’ who were having their first look at the impact of the devastating nuclear weapon.

Around 200km from the ocean, the tent city gained the facetious name of the ‘Sea View Holiday Camp’.

“It was an adventure…we were all excited,” he recalls.

“A lot of young single guys together and we had some fun.”

The lads knew it was serious too as this was a hush-hush operation. They weren’t even allowed to take a camera along for snapshots so Spruzen has no personal photos from Maralinga.

“Then we all turned around to see this mushroom cloud climbing into the sky. The next thing was the blast. The boom was deafening…and then the wind came about thirty seconds after that blowing dust and soil and debris all over us.”

But he does have a terrible reminder of his three months spent in far western South Australia.

“Of the 40 men who went up with me I only know of three of us still around,” he says. “The rest have all died – many from cancers.”

The first Maralinga bomb, Buffalo 1, with the nickname One Tree, was detonated after being dropped from a 31m high tower.

At 15 kiloton it was the same size as Little Boy, the bomb dropped by the US air force that demolished the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, killing more than 100,000 instantly and tens of thousands slowly in the aftermath from burns and radiation poisoning.

“They said, keep an eye on that and if it changes to pink come and see us. Well it turned pink for every one of us.

“Had I have known what I know now I wouldn’t have been so close.”

Transferred to Sydney on a training course, Spruzen missed the final two detonations at Maralinga that year: on October 11, 1956, Buffalo 3 (Kite) was released by a Royal Air Force Vickers Valiant bomber, the first drop of a British nuclear weapon from an aircraft; and then on October 22, and again dropped from the 31m tower, (Buffalo 4) Breakaway exploded.

There were a total of seven nuclear desert tests at Maralinga performed during Operations Buffalo and Antler.

The 1985 McClelland Royal Commission heavily criticised the detonations, declaring the weather conditions were inappropriate and led to the widespread scattering of radioactive material.

The radioactive cloud from Buffalo 1 reached more than 11,000m into the air and with a northerly wind blowing radioactivity was detected across Adelaide.

Radioactive dust clouds from other bombs were detected in Northern Territory, Queensland and across New South Wales, as far away as Sydney, 2500km from Maralinga.

Around 12,000 Australian servicemen served at British nuclear test sites in the southern hemisphere between 1952 and 1963.

In recent years, the British Government’s claim that they never used humans “for guinea pig-type experiments” in nuclear weapons trials in Australia has been revealed to be a lie.

Tony Spruzen has struggled to come to terms with being placed in danger by his own government who had full knowledge of the consequences of exposure to radiation.

“Once we all found out later what we’d been exposed to at Maralinga it makes you very angry,” he says.

“We believed them when we were told we would be safe — but we haven’t been.”

Spruzen met his wife Shirley, the daughter of an army veteran, in Adelaide where they settled after marriage in June 1960. He left the army seven months later to work in civil construction. He thought his Maralinga days were well behind him but soon after they came to haunt him.

In the first four years of marriage, the couple agonisingly suffered six miscarriages, including twins.

Alarm bells started ringing when he was sent a survey from Veterans Affairs asking about his general health and, specifically his history of cancers.

“It turned out those involved in the atomic tests had a 30 per cent higher chance than getting cancers than the general public,” he says.

“Most of those got them within the first five years and a majority of those were dead before a decade had passed.”

Spruzen, who eventually had three children with Shirley, didn’t get cancer at that time, although he has since had several melanomas removed.

But when his son was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 41, he wondered about the possibility of faulty genes, damaged by exposure to radiation, as has been documented in Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs, jumping a generation.

“My son was told by the QEH (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) there was nothing could be done for him but we went up to Queensland and after a bone marrow transfer from his sister he survived,” he adds.

“A decade on he’s working as strong as he has but I don’t think his condition was a coincidence given my history.

“There’s been nothing (compensation) for those of us who were there although they gave us a white card for our cancers and now we have a (full health) gold card.”

Ken Daly, President Royal Australian Engineers Association says it is the least the men, who literally put their bodies on the line, deserve.

“You get these young men, aged around 25-30, with a history of exposure to radiation, coming down with cancers in those numbers and you just know what has caused it,” he says.

“Many died within a few years of being exposed to the fallout and many passed on generational health problems and birth defects to their children.”

Mr Daly, who was based at Warradale Barracks for 15 years, where 23 Construction was based until being disbanded in the early 1960s, hadn’t heard of the Squadron until around five years ago.

Since then he has been central to the group gaining due recognition.

In its earliest days the Squadron, with a strength of eight officers and 160 in other ranks, built the El Alamein Army Reserve camp, part of which later became the Baxter Detention Centre, outside of Port Augusta.

It also assisted the South Australian community by providing aid during bush fires, the grasshopper plague of 1955, and significant infrastructure construction.

During the record flood of 1956, while those squad members were at Maralinga, the rest of 23 Construction were out sandbagging River Murray towns and then cleaning up after the water receded.

In 2011, the Royal Australian Engineers constructed a memorial at Warradale to all who have served in its ranks.

This year a bronzed engineer’s slouch hat, of actual size, by Western Australian sculptor and former army engineer Ron Gomboc will be incorporated into the memorial.

“The hat will be mounted on the memorial in such a way it will look like it’s suspended in mid-air,” Daly adds.

“It acknowledges the ultimate sacrifice of the more than 1250 engineers who died in World War I and the remarkable service and sacrifice of 23 Construction Squadron that has never been recognised before.”

The slouch hat, costing $6,000 and one of only six to have been cast, will be unveiled during a service at Warradale Barracks at midday on Sunday April 28.

Contact Ken Daly at dailydouble@bigpond.com for further details.

Subscriber only https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/maralinga-nuclear-bomb-test-survivor-reveals-truth-of-what-happened-in-the-sa-desert/news-story/697b17f6d3427a78aa0262b09727c169

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, personal stories, reference, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

About torture, about pyschology, about the persecution of Julian Assange

John Pilger speaks out for Julian Assange

an example of the sensitive, clandestine, real-world CIA psychology deployed against ‘terrorists’ and enemies of the state, as Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been branded.

In this case, the adversary in the US crosshairs has been not only Julian Assange and Wikileaks, but the global populations that Wikileaks seeks to inform. It is our own vulnerabilities – the vulnerabilities in the information processing systems of all human beings – that have been leveraged and exploited in order to undermine and discredit Wikileaks.

The fundamental psychological task is to render truth suspicious and deceit reassuring, war criminals virtuous and their critics corrupt, pacifism threatening and violence comforting, abuse of power righteous and resistance reprobate, torture forgivable and whistleblowing a crime, censorship a bastion of democracy and free speech a menace to be overcome. Much as George Orwell foresaw.

In order to justify the psychological war on Wikileaks, US powerbrokers have branded Wikileaks and Assange “anti-American” “terrorists”, a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and “enemy combatants”. Bolstered by these factually indefensible slurs, Julian Assange now faces imminent extradition to the United States to face secret charges, most likely for 2010 scoops exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peace is bad. War is good. Truth is dangerous. Censorship will set you free. These are the positions underpinning the war on Wikileaks.

The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange, Part 1: What’s Torture Got To Do With It?  https://newmatilda.com/2019/02/19/psychology-getting-julian-assange-part-1-whats-torture-got/   Dr Lissa Johnson on February 19, 2019

“…. Assange faces extradition to the United States and secret charges for his publishing activities should he step outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. This cross-border, extraterritorial persecution threatens not only Assange’s health, and possibly his life according to a recent UN statement, but poses grave legal risks both to journalism and dissent…..

The Australian rallies join a growing international chorus of organisations and individuals sounding increasingly urgent alarms over Julian Assange’s plight, and its implications for freedom of speech and democratic rights.

Late last year, as secret US charges against Julian Assange surfaced, and the threat of his imminent extradition to the US loomed, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) issued a strongly worded statement to the UK Government, having previously ruled twice that Assange is being arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

In its statement, the UNWGAD demanded that the UK abide by its “binding” legal obligations and “immediately” secure freedom for Julian Assange. The UN reminded the UK Government that “human rights treaty law is binding law, it is not discretionary law. It is not some passing fancy”.

The same fears prompted 33 EU parliamentarians to write a similarly strongly worded letter to the British Prime Minister, the Ecuadorian President and the UN Secretary General on December 10th, condemning the “very serious and egregious violations of human rights in the heart of Europe.” They called for Assange’s “immediate release, together with his safe passage to a safe country.”

Two German MPs followed with a visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy on December 20th, at which they denounced the violation of Assange’s “fundamental rights” and expressed their “demand that this case has to be solved: that no publisher, no editor, no journalist is detained because of publishing the truth”.

The politicians’ and UN statements added to previous condemnations of Assange’s persecution from Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and a former senior lawyer for the UNHCR and UN Expert on the Promotion of International Order.

All of these leading legal and human rights authorities have been making essentially the same fundamental point: that Julian Assange is being persecuted for publishing truth in the public interest, placing public interest journalism itself at risk, along with freedom of speech and other democratic and human rights principles.

It is the same fundamental point made by several speakers at an earlier Australian rally to free Julian Assange, held in Sydney in June last year. John Pilger spoke at that rally also.

Pilger’s important 2018 speech, however, like the rally itself, was subject to a near total, if not total, mainstream media blackout. So if you missed it, that may be why. And if you haven’t followed the US war on Wikileaks from the outset, as I hadn’t when I attended last year’s rally, Pilger’s speech is a powerful way to bring yourself up to speed. Continue reading

April 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

How Sky News and Peter Ridd try to mislead Australians about the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef: Sky News and Peter Ridd are deliberately misleading, Independent Australia, By Graham Readfearn | 6 April 2019According to misinformation from sources such as Sky News and scientist Peter Ridd, the Great Barrier Reef is in perfect health, writes DeSmogBlog’s Graham Readfearn.

AUSTRALIA’S GREAT BARRIER REEF is in some serious trouble, with the latest research in the journal Nature showing the number of new corals has dropped by 89%.

In 2016 and 2017, the Reef was smashed by back-to-back mass bleaching events and heat stress caused by global warming that killed about half the corals.

‘Dead corals don’t make babies,’ said James Cook University’s Professor Terry Hughes, the paper’s lead author.

‘We used to think that the Great Barrier Reef was too big to fail — until now,’ added colleague Professor Morgan Pratchett.

The paper was just the latest in a steady and, many would agree, depressing parade of findings for the World Heritage icon. And if the scientific papers don’t do it for you, then there are always the pictures.

But the release of the study served as a remarkable contrast to the way the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News, furnished with material from climate science denial think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, has been “reporting” on reef science in the past week.

On at least five occasions, the channel has interviewed the IPA’s policy director, Gideon Rozner, who has been updating the channel on the case of Dr Peter Ridd, a marine scientist specialising in sediments who was fired in March 2018 from James Cook University.

According to the various interviews, the Reef is in great shape, the science is probably wrong, and Ridd is a “world renowned” Reef expert in a historic fight for freedom. None of this is true, yet the claims have been allowed to stand unchecked.

The saga of Peter Ridd

Ridd’s saga is a long one, but here’s the short version (and, while we’re here, in the interests of full disclosure, in the time since I first started writing about Ridd’s case, I’ve taken a part-time job at an Australian marine conservation charity as a media adviser).

Ridd does not think that human-caused climate change is a problem and he thinks the Reef is in fabulous health. This has been his public position for at least a decade.

But in 2017, Ridd started to publicly accuse his scientific colleagues, some of who were based at his own university in Townsville, of being untrustworthy. This went against the university’s code of conduct. The university censured him. Ridd refused to back down and made more statements. He published “private” university correspondence on his website. He was further disciplined, so he sued his employer. Then they fired him.

Last week, Ridd’s case was finally heard in court with three days of hearings. A judgment is expected in the coming months.

Now, the IPA has gone all out to create a narrative around Ridd’s case. …….https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/great-barrier-reef-sky-news-and-peter-ridd-are-deliberately-misleading,12545

April 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia is to build new nuclear reactors, in partnership with China (does Parliament know?)

Australia is back in the nuclear game, Independent Australia,  By Noel Wauchope | 24 March 2019, One of Australia’s chief advocates for nuclear power Dr Adi Paterson, CEO of Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, (ANSTO), has done it again.

This time in China, he quietly signed Australia up to spend taxpayers’ money on developing a new nuclear gimmick — the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR).

This new nuclear reactor does not physically exist and there is no market for it. So its development depends on government funding.

Proponents claim that this nuclear reactor would be better and cheaper than the existing (very expensive) pressurised water reactors, but this claim has been refuted. The TMSR has been described by analyst Oliver Tickell as not “green”, not “viable” and not likely. More recently, the plan has been criticised as, among other things, just too expensive — not feasible as a profitable commercial energy source.

Paterson’s trip to China and his signing up to this agreement received no Parliamentary discussion and no public information. The news just appeared in a relatively obscure engineering journal.

The public remains unaware of this.

In 2017, we learned through the Senate Committee process that Dr Paterson had, in June 2016, signed Australia up to the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (also accessible by Parliament Hansard Economics Legislation Committee 30/05/2017).

This was in advance of any Parliamentary discussion and despite Australia’s law prohibiting nuclear power development. Paterson’s decision was later rubber-stamped by a Senate Committee……..

Dr Paterson was then obviously supremely confident in his ability to make pro-nuclear decisions for Australia.

Nothing seems to have changed in Paterson’s confidence levels about making decisions on behalf of Australia.

Interestingly, Bill Gates has abandoned his nuclear co-operation with China. His company TerraPower was to develop Generation IV nuclear reactors. Gates decided to pull out of this because the Trump Administration, led by the Energy Department, announced in October that it was implementing measures to prevent China’s illegal diversion of U.S. civil nuclear technology for military or other unauthorised purposes.

Apparently, these considerations have not weighed heavily on the Australian Parliament.

Is this because the Parliament doesn’t know anything about Dr Paterson’s trip to China and his agreement for Australia to partner with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) in developing Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?   https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/australia-is-back-in-the-nuclear-game,12488#.XJWdhxDqitc.twitter

March 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, secrets and lies, technology | Leave a comment

Independent report found ANSTO’s health staff lacking in knowledge about radiation exposure

Kazzi Jai  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA

“In addition, based on interviews with ANSTO Health staff working in high hazard areas, the majority of staff did not understand the various health effects of radiation exposures, this being appropriate to individual duties with respect to the hazardous areas in which they work. This is believed by the reviewers to put at risk the ability to verify all persons
performing high risk activities are fully competent to do so. More importantly, this puts the individual at risk.”
– (excerpt from page 7) “INDEPENDENT SAFETY REVIEW OF THE ANSTO HEALTH APPROACH TO OCCUPATIONAL RADIATION SAFETY AND OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES”
OCTOBER 2018

On 5 October 2018, following a direction from ARPANSA’s CEO Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) provided ARPANSA with a report produced by an independent expert review team outlining 85 recommendations to improve ANSTO’s occupational radiation safety processes and operational procedures.
Dr Larsson issued the direction to initiate an independent review on 29 June 2018 under section 41(1A) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act) following four separate events with safety implications at ANSTO Health in less than 10 months.

https://www.arpansa.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3086/f/independent_review_of_ansto_health.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2xPg2bd2radOa8-vobBySWY_kHUrKR3_FuVoKIo8IbrtNzRvwmg9UJl-U

 

Seems this report was somewhat “buried” in ANSTO’s bright new webpages..….but I got mine from ARPANSA’s webpage instead, since they are the regulator.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 23, 2019 Posted by | health, New South Wales, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Nuclear Shipment Truth Exposed

David Noonan 24 Feb 19, This shipment came in from France through Port Kembla to Lucas Heights. This was the first shipment ‘returned’ to Australia from previous ANSTO irradiated nuclear fuel waste shipments sent overseas for ‘reprocessing’ – to get it out of the country – while ANSTO continues to produce more… ANSTO have produced nuclear fuel waste for 60 years without a disposal capaciity, and intend to continue to do so for multiple decades to come, while targeting ‘indefinate’ above ground storage (said to be for up to 100 years) on communities in SA…

February 24, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Judge refuses to unseal criminal charges against Assange

January 31, 2019  FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a request to unseal criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that were mistakenly revealed in another case.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a 10-page ruling that free-press advocates seeking to unseal the charges have no proof Assange has actually been charged.

The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press sought to unseal the charges after a federal prosecutor inadvertently typed a reference to “the fact that Assange has been charged” in an unrelated case.

The government has acknowledged it made an error but has not publicly confirmed that charges against Assange have been filed.

After the mistake was made, news outlets including The Associated Press reported that Assange has indeed been charged. But those reports relied on anonymous sources.

The precise charges against Assange are unclear. The Wikileaks founder has been staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 under a grant of asylum and has long expressed fear of a U.S. prosecution. WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables. In addition, WikiLeaks’ role in releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 has also been under scrutiny as special counsel Robert Mueller has investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign was involved.

Criminal charges typically remain secret and under seal until a defendant has been arrested to prevent a target from fleeing prosecution or destroying evidence. Lawyers for the free-press foundation said that rationale for secrecy no longer exists given the inadvertent disclosure and the fact that Assange has long assumed he has been charged.

Brinkema, though, wrote in her ruling that the Reporters Committee “has not demonstrated with sufficient certainty that Assange has been charged. Unlike in other high-profile cases, the Government has not affirmatively disclosed that charges have been filed. Although the Government acknowledges that it made a mistake … the nature of that mistake is fundamentally unclear.”

Katie Townsend, a lawyer for the Reporters Committee, said no decision has been made on whether to appeal. “The disclosure of the nature of the charges against Assange are a matter of public interest and should be made public,” she said.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

UK “reviewing” files on nuclear bomb tests in Australia- this smacks of a cover-up

“To now withdraw previously available documents is extremely unfortunate and hints at an attempted cover-up.”

“worrying that properly released records can suddenly be removed from public access without notice or explanation.”

Review or ‘cover up’? Mystery as Australia nuclear weapons tests files withdrawn https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/11/australia/uk-australia-nuclear-archives-intl/index.html, By James Griffiths, CNN

More than 65 years since the UK began conducting secret nuclear weapons testing in the Australian Outback, scores of files about the program have been withdrawn from the country’s National Archives without explanation.

The unannounced move came as a shock to many researchers and historians who rely on the files and have been campaigning to unseal the small number which remain classified.

“Many relevant UK documents have remained secret since the time of the tests, well past the conventional 30 years that government documents are normally withheld,” said expert Elizabeth Tynan, author of “Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story”.

“To now withdraw previously available documents is extremely unfortunate and hints at an attempted cover-up.”

Withdrawal of the files was first noted in late December. Access to them has remained closed in the new year.

Dark legacy   The UK conducted 12 nuclear weapons tests in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly in the sparsely populated Outback of South Australia.

Information about the tests remained a tightly held secret for decades. It wasn’t until a Royal Commission was formed in 1984 — in the wake of several damning press reports — that the damage done to indigenous people and the Australian servicemen and women who worked on the testing grounds became widely known.

Indigenous people living nearby had long complained of the effects they suffered, including after a “black mist” settled over one camp near Maralinga in the wake of the Totem I test in October 1953. The mist caused stinging eyes and skin rashes. Others vomited and suffered from diarrhea.

These claims were dismissed and ridiculed by officials for decades — until, in the wake of the Royal Commission report, the UK agreed to pay the Australian government and the traditional owners of the Maralinga lands about AU$46 million ($30 million). The Australian authorities also paid indigenous Maralinga communities a settlement of AU$13.5 million ($9 million).

While the damage done to indigenous communities was acknowledged, much about the Totem I test — and other tests at Maralinga and later at Emu Field — remained secret, even before the recent withdrawal of archive documents.

“The British atomic tests in Australia did considerable harm to indigenous populations, to military and other personnel and to large parts of the country’s territory. This country has every right to know exactly what the tests entailed,” Tynan said. “Mysteries remain about the British nuclear tests in Australia, and these mysteries have become harder to bring to light with the closure of files by the British government.”

Alan Owen, chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, which campaigns on behalf of former servicemen, said “the removal of these documents affects not only our campaign, but affects the many academic organizations that rely on this material.”

“We are very concerned that the documents will not be republished and the (Ministry of Defense) will again deny any responsibility for the effects the tests have had on our membership,” Owen told CNN.

Unclear motives Responding to a request for comment from CNN, a spokeswoman for the National Archives said the withdrawal of the Australian nuclear test files was done at the request of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which has ultimate responsibility over them.

The NDA said that “a collection of records has been temporarily withdrawn from general access via The National Archive at Kew as part of a review process.”

“It is unclear, at this time, how long the review will take, however NDA anticipates that many of the documents will be restored to the public archive in due course,” a spokeswoman said.

Jon Agar, a professor of science and technology at University College London, said the withdrawal “is not just several records but two whole classes of files, many of which had previously been open to researchers at the National Archives.”

“These files are essential to any historian of the UK nuclear projects — which of course included tests in Australia. They have been closed without proper communication or consultation,” he added.

Agar shared correspondence he had with the NDA in which a spokeswoman said some files would be moved to a new archive — Nucleus — in the far north of Scotland. Howevethe Nucleus archives focus on the British civil nuclear industry, and it is unclear why files on military testing would be moved there, or why those files would need to be withdrawn to do so.

Nucleus also does not offer the type of online access to its records as the National Archives does.

“Why not just copy the files if the nuclear industry needs them at Nucleus for administrative reasons? Why take them all out of public view?” Agar wrote on Twitter.

Information freedom In correspondence with both CNN and Agar, the NDA suggested those interested in the files could file freedom of information (FOI) requests for them.

Under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act, British citizens and concerned parties are granted the “right to access recorded information held by public sector organizations.”

FOI requests can be turned down if the government deems the information too sensitive or the request too expensive to process. Under a separate rule, the UK government should also declassify documents between 20 and 30 years after they were created.

According to the BBC, multiple UK government departments — including the Home Office and Cabinet Office — have been repeatedly condemned by auditors for their “poor,” “disappointing” and “unacceptable” treatment of FOI applications.

Commenting on the nuclear documents, Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, a UK-based NGO, said it was “worrying that properly released records can suddenly be removed from public access without notice or explanation.”

“It suggests that the historical record is fragile and transient and liable to be snatched away at any time, with or without good reason,” he added.

January 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, history, secrets and lies, weapons and war | 2 Comments