Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s prominent role in USA’s web of climate denial

highly-recommendedliarUS Senators detail a climate science “web of denial” but the impacts go well beyond their borders Australians have been both helpers and victims of the fossil fuelled web of climate science denial being detailed in the U.S Senate, Guardian, , 12 July 16, By the middle of this week, about 20 Democratic Senators in the US will have stood up before their congress to talk about the fossil fuelled machinery of climate science denial.

The Senators are naming the fossil fuel funders, describing the machinery and calling out the characters that make up a “web of denial”……


Australia has been a consumer, a contributor and a victim of the web of climate science denial.Australia has long provided personnel and contributors to the efforts of several of the key groups being named in the US Senate.

The late Dr Robert Carter, once of James Cook University, was an advisor and active contributor to several of the groups, including the Heartland Institute and the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

Malcolm Roberts (the wannabe One Nation Australian Senator) and bloggers JoNova and her husband David Evans have all written reports for the SPPI that claim human-caused climate change is some sort of elaborate hoax.

Retired Australian meteorologist William Kininmonth is also an SPPI science advisor.

Australian politicians have flown over to the United States to speak at conferences for climate science denialists hosted by the Heartland Institute – the group that once compared the acceptance of human-caused climate science to the values of terrorist and mass murderer Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski.

Former Family First Senator Steve Fielding, current Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and the current Nationals MP George Christensen have all spoken at Heartland’s conferences. The conferences themselves have been enthusiastically sponsored by several Australian groups over the years.

Australia’s role in the web of denial has been running since the 1990s, when groups like the CEI flew staff to Australia to firm up opposition to greenhouse gas regulations around the world.

Partnerships were formed with groups like the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs, which has hosted and supported many visits from US-based climate science denialists.

Once here, those speakers will write columns for newspapers, do radio and television interviews and travel around the country to give talks.

In 2011 when the Gillard Government was trying to introduce laws to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the enlisted Pat Michaels, of the Cato Institute, as a science advisor. Cato is another member of the web of denial. Michaels once estimated that about 40 per cent of his funding came from the petroleum industry.

The impact of all this on the Australian public and the way the media covers climate science is clear.

There remains a split among Australians about the cause of climate change, despite multiple studies showing that more than 90 per cent of climate scientists are in agreement that it’s the burning of fossil fuels that’s driving up temperatures, fuelling weather extremes, raising sea levels, melting ice sheets and killing corals (and that’s just a few of the impacts).

The public becomes doubtful and the media, so often looking for controversy and conflict, has been a conduit for the fossil fuelled messages.

The fossil fuel companies, meanwhile, retain a grip on their so-called “social licence to operate.”

When Senator Whitehouse said the web of denial is “so big, because it has so much to protect” we might also think that we have so much to lose.

In failing to unravel the web of denial and by allowing our public discourse to be polluted by fossil fuelled PR outfits, ideologues and pseudo-science, who knows how much time we may have lost.

Twenty five years

July 13, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s deception about the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury

Weatherill nuclear dream

The Citizens’ Jury has delivered exactly what Jay Weatherill wanted- a summary of the Royal a-cat-CANCommission recommendations, with enough uncertainty to justify the nuclear lobby’s next step.

(I’m correcting a previous version of this post, here) The South Australian government already rushed through legislation that overturned  South Australia’s legislation against spending money on nuclear industry development, (making this retrospective of course – to cover the $millions already spent)

The next step is to overturn the whole Act, or at least those parts of it which prohibit importing a nd storing foreign wastes.

Weatherill is quoted in THE AUSTRALIAN today as saying ”

“they (the Citizens’ Jury) are asking us to also change the legislation to undertake that work”.

That is a lie. The jury was merely repeating what the Nuclear Royal Commission said. The jury kept to their brief – no decisions or recommendations – just regurgitate what the Commission said.

July 10, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews, Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Pro coal, nuclear John White still quietly running Liberal govt’s resources policy

White,-JohnTurnbull’s #Innovation and #IdeasBoom is to flog fossil fuels. KaBOOM! Independent Australia Tracey Anton 28 May 2016 “………In an article in Crikey by Paddy Manning, entitled ‘Hunt pins hopes on uncompetitive clean coal technology’, Manning writes:

John White chairs the DICE network of companies and agencies developing the technology, and is an executive and founding shareholder of Ignite Energy Resources,(IER)’ 

White told Manning:

‘..It halves CO2 emissions and will be eligible for Emissions Reduction Funding under Direct Action policies.’

Not only was White in financial trouble prior to receiving over $20 million in “grants” for the DICE project but he had also incurred a loss of $6 million in the 2012 calendar year.

White,John1White is an old Liberal heavyweight who was former Prime Minister John Howard’s right hand man in developing the Uranium Industry Framework for Australia’s nuclear future and just happens to hold dominion over thousands of square kilometres in Gippsland through the company he is shareholder and founder of, Ignite Energy Resources. He also has an uncanny knack of developing new coal technology which will reward him benefits under the Coalition’s Direct Action climate policy that he advised on.

Then there were the concerns over a $3 billion port in Gippsland when White, allegedly, was head of the (GRID) panel on transport infrastructure. That would go with his planned open cut coal minein the groundwater depleted area of Gelliondale.

Next, was the inclusion of biomass (another “clean” energy project) in the Renewable Energy Target securing White feedstock from our Gippsland forests. Now, he is telling government that his Gippsland Gas project will provide an abundance of “clean, agricultural quality” extracted water from his proposed biogenic coal gas project in the water stressed area of South Gippsland. Simply put, it is coal seam gas with the same destructive intrusions and the same hazards.

White’s most grandiose venture was to produce nuclear energy for the world by turning uranium into nuclear fuel rods, leasing them and bringing back the waste (including plutonium from the U.S. weapons industry). It’s interesting that Ignite holds leases for thorium adjacent to the iconic Ninety Mile Beach in Gippsland. Thorium – uranium’s young sister – is hailed by nuclear proponents as the green energy source of the future.

Only problem is, its exploration and mining is banned in Victoria. Bizarrely, when IA‘s Sandi Keane and I reported on White’s involvement in Ignite (‘Victorian government ignores Gippsland gasfield concerns’), the Minerals Council of Victoria rather stupidly tried to get the article pulled. They claimed we’d got the WRONG John White. We didn’t. It was a desperate act by MCA. You can find the whole story here. It seems the reason they wanted us to pull the article was because they’d applied to the former state LNP government to have the legislation banning exploration and mining of thorium and uranium repealed and didn’t want White’s name mentioned. Welcome to the shadowy world of Dr White.,9038

May 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia covered up plight of Tasmania wilderness and Kakadu in UN Report

see-no-evilAustralia covered up UN climate change fears for Tasmania forests and Kakadu
Fears about damage to the Great Barrier Reef were removed from UN report along with concern about a threat to the environment in two other heritage sites,
Guardian, , 29 May 16, A draft UN report on climate change, which was scrubbed of all reference to Australia over fears it could deter visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, also outlined possible threats to the Tasmania wilderness and Kakadu.

The draft report contained a chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, which described climate change as “the biggest long-term threat to the [reef] today, and to its ecosystems services, biodiversity, heritage values and tourism economy”.

It concluded that “without a comprehensive response more in keeping with the scale of the threat, the [reef]’s extraordinary biodiversity and natural beauty may lose its world heritage values”.

But before it was scrubbed, the report had two other key sections on Australian world heritage sites, and the threats they face from climate change.

One of those sections was on the Tasmanian wilderness…….the censored section of the Unesco report on Tasmania is clear about the “dire” nature of the threat.

It said: “A 2013 assessment of climate threats identified the same habitats as at high risk from greater fire frequency and drier conditions, with likely catastrophic implications for fauna. These dire predictions appeared to be playing out in January 2016, when tens of thousands of hectares of forest burned, sparked by lightning strikes that came in a month when temperatures were 2C above average and in the wake of the driest two-year period ever recorded for the region.”

The deleted section on Kakadu national park contained similarly dire warnings.

It described the important natural and cultural values of Kakadu, which has been inhabited by Aboriginal people for 50,000 years.

“The thousands of rock art sites in the park are at risk from damage by more extreme rainfall events, while sea level rise is happening at twice the global average along the northern Australian coast,” the draft report said.

It warned that fresh-water wetlands were at risk from sea level rise, as they are likely to be inundated with salt water. “Climate change threatens Aboriginal traditional use by altering the ecosystems of the vast wetlands of Kakadu and raising temperatures to a level likely to lead to more intense fire regimes,” the report said.

The final version of the report entitled “World heritage and tourism in a changing climate” was published last week by Unesco, United Nationsenvironment programme and the Union of Concerned Scientists, with all references to Australia removed.

The lead author of the report, Adam Markham, told Guardian Australia: “I was shocked when I read in the Guardian the reasons the Australian government gave for why they had pressured Unesco to drop the Australian sites.”

May 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian govt pressured UN to remove Australian topics from climate report

exclamation-see-no-evilAustralia scrubbed from UN climate change report after government intervention

Exclusive: All mentions of Australia were removed from the final version of a Unesco report on climate change and world heritage sites after the Australian government objected on the grounds it could impact on tourism

Revealed: Guardian Australia has obtained the Unesco report Australia didn’t want the world to see. Read it now  Guardian, , 27 May 16 

Every reference to Australia was scrubbed from the final version of a major UN report on climate change after the Australian government intervened, objecting that the information could harm tourism.

Guardian Australia can reveal the report “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate”, which Unesco jointly published with the United Nations environment program and the Union of Concerned Scientists on Friday, initially had a key chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as small sections on Kakadu and the Tasmanian forests.

But when the Australian Department of Environment saw a draft of the report, it objected, and every mention of Australia was removed by Unesco. Will Steffen, one of the scientific reviewers of the axed section on the reef, said Australia’s move was reminiscent of “the old Soviet Union”.

No sections about any other country were removed from the report. The removals left Australia as the only inhabited continent on the planet with no mentions.

Explaining the decision to object to the report, a spokesperson for the environment department told Guardian Australia: “Recent experience in Australia had shown that negative commentary about the status of world heritage properties impacted on tourism.”

As a result of climate change combined with weather phenomena, the Great Barrier Reef is in the midst of the worst crisis in recorded history. Continue reading

May 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

France’s submarine sales firm is notorious for corruption

“DCNS’s operations face questions across almost the entire globe, including in Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia and Chile, with bribes and kickbacks reportedly comprising 8 per cent to 12 per cent of DCNS’s entire budget.”


flag-franceFrench subs builder’s record of corruption, The Saturday Paper, HAMISH MCDONALD, 30 Apr 16  “…….The Defence Department has been dazzled by promises from shipbuilder DCNS of ultra-quiet pulse-jet propulsion, a powerful sonar array from Thales, a comfortable space for the crew, and a very long range. Now all that has to be done is design the new boat, replacing the nuclear reactor in the Barracuda with diesels, batteries and fuel cells, and fitting in fuel tanks.

For the politicians, it’s all about jobs and buckets of money − as much as an extra $20 billion for local production − to retain a few Coalition seats in South Australia. So soon after seeing off the car industry, the Liberal Party dominated by economic “dries” has embraced industrial policy in a big way, in alliance with the Socialists of President François Hollande……
Somehow, even though the subs will be built in Adelaide, the French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, also claims the contract as a “major victory for the French naval industry”, which would create thousands of new jobs in France.
Le Drian added that, “We are married to Australia for 50 years” − referring to the lifetime support for the submarines. So we had better be aware of the baggage our new partner brings. Unfortunately the Direction des Constructions et Armes Navales, now partly privatised and named DCNS, is a lady with a shady past,

Continue reading

April 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, secrets and lies | 2 Comments

Australia’s government completely beholden to fossil fuel industries

This is why Prime Minister Turnbull has no climate plan. His government is full of climate deniers and fossil fuel fanatics whose political life depends upon blocking climate action.
politiciansecret-dealsThe links between big polluters and politicians , The Saturday Paper, BILL MCKIBBEN, 16 Apr 16   “…….Despite the crisis unfolding around it, the current Australian government seems determined to ignore the role it has to play in preventing the planet from cooking.

Six months ago, Australia agreed to the Paris deal. Yet, since then, Australia has reapproved one of the world’s largest coalmines, opened a new research centre for the fossil fuel industry, cut funding for renewable energy, cut funding for climate research. The bewildering list goes on and on…..

Australia’s political system is …….becoming more and more American with each new donation. Until recently you had a prime minister who, between mouthfuls of onion, told the world that coal was good for humanity.

Granted, Malcolm Turnbull is no Tony Abbott. But Turnbull is also friendly with the fossil fuel industry. Just this week in Perth, he attended a dinner with the CEOs of Shell, Chevron and Woodside. Blocked by radical conservatives and wined and dined by the fossil fuel industry, Australia is now left adrift with a laughable climate strategy.

As the planet burns, Australia continues to dig up more fossil fuels. But it’s no surprise when you look at the amount of cash changing hands between your politicians and the big polluters.

In fact, for every $1 the fossil fuel industry has donated to Australia’s major political parties since your most recent federal election, they will be handsomely rewarded with $2000 worth of handouts in the upcoming federal budget. We have a similar crisis in the US. The more donations the industry gives to congress, the more they get back in subsidies.  Recent research shows members of the US house of representatives who voted in favour of the Keystone Pipeline got 13 times more in donations from Big Oil than those who voted against. All up, five key refinery companies spent $58.8 million lobbying.

Like the US, the companies that donate most in Australia are those that have the most to lose from your government taking action on climate. They’re companies such as Australia’s biggest carbon polluter, AGL; or Origin, whose existence depends on throwing a wrecking ball through the solar and wind sector; and Chevron, from the same family of companies as Exxon, which knew about the climate damage we were setting ourselves up for yet pushed its dangerous product onto the world.

And then there’s the revolving door between your government and the mining industry. One of your chief negotiators on the Kyoto Protocol left public service to become the head of the Australian Coal Association. Australia’s former climate change minister is now an adviser to AGL and Santos. The deputy prime minister to John Howard left parliament to sit on the board of Whitehaven Coal. Heck, one of your richest coal barons is a sitting parliamentarian. And this is just the tip of the melting iceberg: it doesn’t consider the many staffers and unelected individuals who walk back and forth between parliament and the fossil fuel industry. This is why Prime Minister Turnbull has no climate plan. His government is full of climate deniers and fossil fuel fanatics whose political life depends upon blocking climate action. …..

Parliamentarians such as Cory Bernardi, who has spent his time in Canberra questioning the weather bureau and running “grassroots” campaigns to axe the carbon price. Or Angus Taylor, who describes human-induced climate change as “religion” devoid of facts. People such as former oil and gas executive, now senator, Gary Gray, who helped found one of the world’s most notorious climate denialist think tanks…….

The incoming federal election means politicians currently have their ear to the ground. Right now is a perfect opportunity to begin calling for an end to polluter handouts and donations – and real action on climate change.

It will take a movement to break the link between Australia’s politicians and the big polluters. But the foundations for a pollution-free politics, here in Australia and around the world, are building by the day.

April 16, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2016, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian authorities covering up severity of Great Barrier Reef’s plight

barrier-reeefGreat Barrier Reef disaster: Marine biologist lashes out at reef authorities for ‘cherry-picking to try and paint a better picture’ IBT, By  @ritwikroy1985 on April 14 2016 The Great Barrier Reef is getting destroyed by massive coral bleaching, and marine biologist Glen Holmes is disappointed with the statements by the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC). Despite reports that the Great Barrier Reef may never recover from the extent of damage done by widespread coral bleaching, the RRRC has said that popular diving areas near Cairns have suffered only low levels of damage.

Recent underwater surveys have found that of the 32 reefs between Lizard Island and Cairns, only five percent have suffered from bleaching and that only has low level of damage. RRRC managing director Sheriden Morris said the bleaching was “patchy,” which means the corals have a good chance of recovery. However, Holmes believes it is too early to be passing such comments.

“It’s way too early to be hanging comments off reports on the level of mortality. I think they’re cherry-picking to try and paint a better picture,” said Holmes.

Morris on the other hand believes reefs off Cairns are more likely to recover than others, reports AAP.

Unfortunately, according to Independent Australia, the Great Barrier Reef may lose out to mining giant Adani as State and Federal governments are favouring the mining giant more than the world heritage site. This has irked conservationists around the globe and numerous Australians who want to preserve the natural wonder.

CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Kelly O’Shanassy said that if Federal and State governments side with Adani, there will be “hell of a fight.” The Queensland government had already given Adani the licence to dig Australia’s biggest ever coal mine.

Adani’s Carmichael coalmine will produce massive climate pollution and as the Great Barrier Reef can undergo coral bleaching with even a little temperature change, O’Shanassy is at a loss of words and she can’t believe how the licence was given as Carmichael will be raising Australia’s water temperatures greatly.

According to The National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, almost 95 percent of the reefs in the northern region are severely bleached. The convenor of the taskforce, Professor Terry Hughes, said every reef showed highly levels of bleaching “from the reef slope right up onto the top of the reef.”

“We flew for 4000km in the most pristine parts of the Great Barrier Reef and saw only four reefs that had no bleaching. The severity is much greater than in earlier bleaching events in 2002 or 1998,” Hughes added…….

April 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian oil and gas lobbies spent up big, to discredit science of climate change

corruption textAustralian oil and gas lobby spent millions advocating against climate action: report   Environment editor, The Age April 12, 2016  Australia’s peak oil and gas industry lobby group spent almost $4 million last year trying to “obstruct” more ambitious climate change policy, according to British research group InfluenceMap.

It was part of an overall $150 million spent globally in 2015 by five major oil companies and lobby groups.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) represents the domestic oil and gas industry and counts among its 70 members giant companies such as Woodside, Shell Australia and Chevron Australia.

According to the analysis, InfluenceMap estimated that APPEA spent about $5.5 million on climate-related advocacy in 2015 though expenditure on staff, public campaigns, advertising and other external public relations.

InfluenceMap then made an assessment of the position, tone and transparency of this work. They determined about $3.9 million of it went towards what they described as “obstructive spending”.

InfluenceMap took its definition of advocacy from a 2013 United Nations report that included activities beyond direct approaches to government, such as advertising, public relations, political contributions and industry group memberships.

The report cited APPEA’s support for less-stringent emissions targets, lobbying to remove Australia’s renewable energy target and its argument that the Turnbull government’s greenhouse gas “safeguard mechanism” should apply only to emissions above business as usual levels, as examples of its opposition to climate policies.

The report also points to consultation, messaging and two publicity campaigns by APPEA “to put pressure on policy makers to support unrestricted conventional & unconventional oil and gas production”. …….

The negative climate advocacy by APPEA calculated by InfluenceMap is a tiny fraction of the estimates it has produced for other major oil players that are assessed in the report. It says ExxonMobil may have spent $35 million in 2015, while Shell may have spent $29 million.

Alongside APPEA, the report also looked at the spending of two United States industry bodies, the American Petroleum Institute and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), finding negative climate advocacy spending of $85 million and $8 million respectively.

Charlotte Wood, campaigns director of anti-fossil fuels group Australia, said: “It is astounding that in the 21st century, when we know the scientific consequences of burning fossil fuels, that Australian oil and gas companies have still spent almost $4 million dollars to undermine consensus on climate change.”

Read more:

April 13, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia cuts aid to Africa, encourages Ugly Australian Mining Companies

Last year, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report called Fatal Extraction: Australian Mining Companies Digging a Deadly Footprint in Africa. It reported that Australian mining companies were the most rapidly expanding of all mining investors in Africa. From 2000 to 2009, prospecting licences held by Australian companies in Botswana alone increased from 14 to 260.

According to the report, Australian mining companies were responsible for multiple cases of negligence, unfair dismissal, violence and environmental law-breaking across Africa. It claims that since 2004 more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in offsite skirmishes connected to Australian mining companies in 13 countries in Africa.

In comparison with Australia, African tax regulations are relatively flexible, while wages and working conditions, environmental protection, and occupational health and safety laws are weak.

Last year Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the Australian government would actively promote the interests of the mining sector ahead of economic aid to Africa.

Australian miners in South Africa  In the wake of a local activist’s murder, Australian mining interests in Africa are being called into question.  PHILLIP WALKER 9 Apr 16   Thee assassination of South African community activist Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Radebe was shocking but sadly not surprising.

On the night of his death – March 22 – Radebe had warned his colleagues in the Amadiba Crisis Committee of a hit list. An hour later, two men masquerading as police arrived at Radebe’s house and shot him eight times in the head.

Radebe had been opposing titanium mining at Xolobeni, on the ancestral land of the Pondo people on South Africa’s east coast. The mining company involved is Australian-based Mineral Commodities Limited.

At Radebe’s funeral last weekend, Chief Cinani, representing the Queen and the Royal House of the amaMpondo, criticised the government’s acceptance of Australian investment and investment from the Indian business family the Guptas. “I am blaming the government because the government gave permits for those Australians, while people were saying ‘no’ to the government . It is clear that the business community is ruling the government. It is not only about the Guptas. Now we have seen the Australians. People are coming here with huge sums of money to divide the people.”

Through its director, Mark Caruso, Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC) and its South African subsidiary, Transworld Energy & Minerals Resources (TEM), have long been in dispute with the Amadiba community. The latest tragedy marks an escalation of hostility in a conflict now entering its 10th year. Continue reading

April 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Perth-based Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC) denies role in murder of South African activist

murderflag-S.AfricaAustralian mining company denies role in murder of South African activist
Campaigners claim death of Sikhosiphi Rhadebe is an escalation of violence against opponents of a mine owned by Perth’s Mineral Commodities Limited
, Guardian, , 25 Mar 16  An Australian-owned mining company has denied any link to the murder of an activist leading a campaign against its plans to mine titanium in South Africa.

Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe was gunned down at his home in Xolobeni on South Africa’s Wild Coast on Tuesday, in what fellow activists claimed was an escalation of violence and intimidation against local opponents of a mine owned by Perth-based Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC).

MRC, which has repeatedly denied inciting violence involving its supporters, said it was “in no way implicated in any form whatsoever in this incident”.

Mzamo Dlamini is a fellow activist who believes he is among the “prime targets” on the anti-mining Amadiba crisis committee following Rhadebe’s death.

Despite fearing for his life, Dlamini vowed to continue organising resistance to a project that campaigners said would force the relocation of an estimated 100 households and up to 1,000 people.

“The assassination affects us all,” he said. “There will be more Bazookas long after we have died.”

Six people associated with the mining venture were subject to court orders last May after a clash over land access, during which a TEM director fired a “warning shot” in the air.

Four people, including an alleged employee of another MRC mine at Tormin, are due to face court next month over alleged assault and intimidation, including with firearms, of mining opponents in Xolobeni in December. These allegations are yet to come before a court and there is no suggestion these or any other employees were involved in Rhadebe’s murder……..

Lawyer Henk Smith of the Legal Resources Centre, which has acted for landholders opposing MRC’s Tormin mine, said the killing of Rhadebe, a “principled democrat”, had likely ended the prospect of conciliation meetings between the miner and its opponents.

“I think the company has made a few statements condemning the violence but it comes after the event and the company has never taken any steps to encourage conciliation or mediation or consultation even a meeting,” Smith said.

“In fact the company shies away from meeting the community which as a result, there’ll be little chance of simply starting a process of meetings now.

“The company is in effect refusing to accept that it’s got to negotiate with the community and are relying on an interpretation of the law in South Africa that they must consult affected people about mitigation of environmental impact and their responsibility goes no further.

“For the rest, they’ve got [to] swallow what the company offers.”

April 11, 2016 Posted by | secrets and lies, Western Australia | Leave a comment

BHP Billiton in the Panama corruption papers

BHP Billiton And Wilson Security Linked To Panama Papers  04/04/2016. BHP Billiton, Wilson Security and a major electricity company in Australia are now targets of the Australian Tax Office, after leaked documents linked all three companies to a law firm in Panama and the British Virgin Islands.


Panama Papers: Australian companies BHP, Wilson security caught up in tax probe April 5, 2016.  More than 800 wealthy Australians are being investigated by the Australian Taxation Office over their dealings with a secretive Panama-based law firm used by the rich to hide money.

BHP Billiton and a security firm that guards major government buildings are among hundreds of Australian names linked to a Panama law firm that helps the rich hide money. …

Four Corners claimed that BHP used Mossack Fonseca offices in the British Virgin Islands to register five companies linked to its aluminium, diamonds, steel and finance arms.


Panama Papers Update: Law Firm Mossack Fonseca Listed BHP Billiton’s Two British Virgin Islands Companies As ‘Mandatory High Risk’ April 4, 2016.  Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is at the center of a massive leak, assessed BHP Billiton Ltd.’s two companies in British Virgin Islands as “mandatory high risk” after the Anglo-Australian mining giant authorized the businesses to receive huge sums of money, the Guardian reported Monday. The exposé related to Mossack FonsecaSunday revealed widespread international corruption connected to offshore tax shelters.


The Panama Papers: BHP Billiton’s face-off with Mossack Fonseca April 4, 2016. A financial representative for BHP Billiton threatened to fire notorious Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca if it went ahead with a due diligence investigation.


BHP-owned companies triggered ‘high risk’ alert at Panama law firm April 4, 2016.  Mossack Fonseca flagged concerns about two of mining giant’s companies in British Virgin Islands because ‘authorised capital is higher than the norm’


Panama Papers: ATO investigating more than 800 Australian clients of Mossack Fonseca April 4, 2016.  The Australian Taxation Office is investigating more than 800 high net wealth Australian clients of the controversial Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is the focus of an unprecedented leak of tax haven records released globally.

More than 11.5 million documents have been leaked from Mossack Fonseca’s files, revealing the secrets of hundreds of thousands of clients – including several thousand Australians – covering a period over almost 40 years, from 1977 until as recently as last December.

The release of the documents on Monday follows a 12-month investigation by media groups including The Australian Financial Review, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington.


Australian companies, taxpayers exposed after Panama Papers leak April 5, 2016. Australian companies BHP Billiton and Wilson Security are among those named in the massive document leak, detailing tax dealings of companies and people from around the world.

The cases are part of a leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama-based firm Mossack Fonseca, which reveals how the rich, including political leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, hide their money.


Australian companies BHP Bilton and Wilson Security among those named in Panama papers leak exposing the use of offshore tax havens

  • Australian Tax Office is investigating dealings of 800 high net individuals
  • It follows massive leak of Panama papers from law firm Mossack Fonseca
  • Secret documents show how law firm allegedly helped clients evade tax
  • Treasurer Scott Morrison says government is cracking on tax avoidance

The Australian Taxation Office is investigating more than 800 Australians after a massive leak of financial data revealed how 12 current or former world leaders, a host of celebrities and the global rich are using offshore tax havens to hide their wealth.

Australian-linked organisations and business leaders named in the huge leaks include BHP Billiton, Wilson Security, Gold Coast based company director Ian Taylor, and Hong Kong’s richest man and Australian energy market owner Li Ka-Shing, ABC’s Four Corners reports.

April 8, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Roundup of news on the Panama global financial corruption scandal

corruption 1Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca labels leak a ‘crime and attack’The revelation of the Panama Papers detailing the off-shore structures of many wealthy clients is a “crime” and an “attack” on Panama, the law firm at the heart of the scandal has said.

Panama Papers: FIFA officials, Lionel Messi, Michel Platini named in secret offshore files Disgraced FIFA officials, suspended UEFA chief Michel Platini and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi were amongst the names found the Panama Papers — leaked documents which reveal offshore financial dealings of the world’s rich and famous.

Panama Papers leak: Australian security company Wilson linked to Hong Kong corruption scandalLeaked documents have revealed that two brothers embroiled in a massive Hong Kong corruption scandal were ultimately in control of an Australian security company that earned roughly half a billion dollars in lucrative government contracts.

Panama Papers: Tax office investigating 800 Australians identified in financial record leak The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is investigating 800 Australian residents named in a massive leak of tax and financial records known as the Panama Papers.

Panama Papers: Iceland PM Gunnlaugsson urged to resign amid Mossack Fonseca data leak By International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and ABC staffPressure is mounting for Iceland’s Prime Minister to resign after an unprecedented leak of data revealed accusations he used an offshore company to hide millions of dollars in investments in Iceland’s major banks.

Panama Papers: Vladimir Putin associates, Jackie Chan identified in unprecedented leak of offshore financial records An unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents has revealed the hidden financial dealings of some of the world’s wealthiest people, as well as 12 current and former world leaders and 128 more politicians and public officials around the world.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ): The Panama Papers: Exposing the Rogue Offshore Finance Industry Leak of more than 11 million documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens.

Panama Papers: Greens call for Wilson Security to be stripped of contracts after corruption scandal links exposedThe Greens have called on the Federal Government to strip Wilson Security of its contracts for offshore immigration detention centres after revelations the company has links to a Hong Kong corruption scandal.

Panama Papers: Here’s who has been caught in the fallout of the Mossack Fonseca leak The unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has revealed some of the hidden financial dealings of the world’s rich and powerful.

Here’s a look at some of the more high-profile people feeling the heat after the scandal broke.

Panama Papers: Iceland PM Gunnlaugsson refuses to resign over tax leaks; protesters take to streets Iceland’s Prime Minister is refusing to resign after leaked tax documents known as the Panama Papers revealed accusations he and his wife used an offshore firm to allegedly hide million-dollar investments.  (Actually I think that he has now resigned)

Panama Papers: Fraudsters, former tax officials among Australians identified in Mossack Fonseca leak Convicted fraudsters, directors banned by the corporate regulator and former Australian Tax Office (ATO) officials are among hundreds of Australians linked to companies incorporated by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca

(Read more about this investigation by ICIJ journalists and more than a hundred other media partners at: – and check out the videos and reading list.)

April 6, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

The global oil corruption scandal  and Australia’s role in it

UNAOIL Why we Must Act , The Age, Nick McKenzie, 2 Apr 16 Australia is leagues behind the US when it comes to investigating corrupt multinational companies who bribe their way to success in third world countries.

This fact is even more concerning given that US prosecutors acknowledge that even they aren’t getting it right, and need to do more to send US corporate crooks to jail. If the US regime needs a jolt, Australia’s system needs a triple bypass.

Recently, when the CEO of the Australian Securities Exchange, Elmer Funke Kupper, stood down to deal with a police investigation over an alleged international bribery case, we even had the corporate cop saying what a “sad loss” it was.

Not a single Australian executive has been jailed for paying a bribe overseas, despite the introduction in 1999 of specific laws banning this practice…….

Unaoil is a Robin Hood in reverse. On steroids. It robs the poor of oil-rich nations such as Iraq, Libya, Angola and Iran. The citizens own the resources beneath their feet, but the money from exploiting them ends up lining the pockets of executives and crooked officials.

Among the Australian firms exposed in the leaked trove of documents is Leighton Offshore, the overseas arm of construction giant Leighton Holdings (since renamed CIMIC).

The emails show that Leighton Offshore promised to pay tens of millions of dollars in bribes in 2010 and 2011. These kickbacks were allocated by Unaoil to high-ranking Iraqi officials and politicians. In return, Leighton Offshore wanted these corrupt officials to help them win pipeline construction projects worth more than $1 billion.

This Australian-funded bribery is precisely the sort of illegal conduct the FBI’s McEachern says fuels inequality, anger and extremism…….

Both the US and UK have comprehensive anti-foreign bribery frameworks. Companies and whistle blowers have strong incentives to self-report corruption and co-operate with authorities – in the US, volunteering information can mean payments of millions of dollars to individual informers. High-quality inside knowledge makes it easier for authorities to hold the corrupt to account.

None of this applies in Australia. ra ra


UNAOIL – The Company That Bribed The World  The Age, HuffPost 31 Mar 16 

In the list of the world’s great companies, Unaoil is nowhere to be seen. But for the best part of the past two decades, the family business from Monaco has systematically corrupted the global oil industry, distributing many millions of dollars worth of bribes on behalf of corporate behemoths including Samsung, Rolls-Royce, Halliburton and Australia’s own Leighton Holdings.

Now a vast cache of leaked emails and documents has confirmed what many suspected about the oil industry, and has laid bare the activities of the world’s super-bagman as it has bought off officials and rigged contracts around the world.

A massive leak of confidential documents has for the first time exposed the true extent of corruption within the oil industry, implicating dozens of leading companies, bureaucrats and politicians in a sophisticated global web of bribery and graft.

After a six-month investigation across two continents, Fairfax Media andThe Huffington Post can reveal that billions of dollars of government contracts were awarded as the direct result of bribes paid on behalf of firms including British icon Rolls-Royce, US giant Halliburton, Australia’s Leighton Holdings and Korean heavyweights Samsung and Hyundai.

The investigation centres on a Monaco company called Unaoil, run by the jet-setting Ahsani clan. Following a coded ad in a French newspaper, a series of clandestine meetings and midnight phone calls led to our reporters obtaining hundreds of thousands of the Ahsanis’ leaked emails and documents.

The trove reveals how they rub shoulders with royalty, party in style, mock anti-corruption agencies and operate a secret network of fixers and middlemen throughout the world’s oil producing nations.

Corruption in oil production – one of the world’s richest industries and one that touches us all through our reliance on petrol – fuels inequality, robs people of their basic needs and causes social unrest in some of the world’s poorest countries. It was among the factors that prompted the Arab Spring.

Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post today reveal how Unaoil carved up portions of the Middle East oil industry for the benefit of Western companies between 2002 and 2012.

In part two we will turn to the impoverished former Russian states to reveal the extent of misbehaviour by multinational companiesincluding Halliburton. We will conclude the three-part investigation by showing how corrupt practices have extended deep into Asia and Africa……….

In continuing fallout from the joint Fairfax Media-Huffington Post investigation into corruption in the oil industry, the Monaco government revealed that it had raided the homes and offices of Unaoil’s principals, who ran the company exposed as the global bagman for the oil industry.

Unaoil executives “were also interviewed… in the presence of British officers in connection with a case of vast corruption with international ramifications that involves many foreign companies active in the petroleum sector,” the Monaco government’s statement said.
Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday that the British police had teamed up with the Australian Federal Police, the US Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate the vast cache of leaked Unaoil emails on which our stories have been based.
Unaoil was hired over almost two decades by large multinational firms, including the offshore arm of Australia’s Leighton Holdings, to pay bribes to top overseas officials in return for winning government funded contracts in oil-rich nations.
Police raids and more revelations: the fallout of the Unaoil scandal The Age, April 1, 2016 Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard, Daniel Quinlan “……. In continuing fallout from the joint Fairfax Media-Huffington Post investigation into corruption in the oil industry, the Monaco government revealed that it had raided the homes and offices of Unaoil’s principals, who ran the company exposed as the global bagman for the oil industry.
Unaoil executives “were also interviewed… in the presence of British officers in connection with a case of vast corruption with international ramifications that involves many foreign companies active in the petroleum sector,” the Monaco government’s statement said.
Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday that the British police had teamed up with the Australian Federal Police, the US Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate the vast cache of leaked Unaoil emails on which our stories have been based.
Unaoil was hired over almost two decades by large multinational firms, including the offshore arm of Australia’s Leighton Holdings, to pay bribes to top overseas officials in return for winning government funded contracts in oil-rich nations………
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We are becoming  a dumping ground for dirty money

The Age, Nick McKenzie, 1 Apr 16  

Anti-corruption experts in the US and Europe have urged Australia to properly resource and empower its anti-bribery regime as Australia emerges as the “dumping ground” for dirty money from Asia.

Officials believe that under-resourcing, ineffective laws and competing priorities between the federal police and corporate watchdog ASIC are a factor in the failure to resolve many cases.

The call comes after Fairfax Media revealed Australian involvement in one of the biggest bribery scandals to ever hit – a scandal that has implicated a number of Australian firms and executives including the offshore arm of Leighton Holdings and WorleyParsons…….

The Coalition government has focused on fighting union corruption, but has been all but silent on the major gaps in Australia’s anti-corporate corruption regime.

April 4, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

From politician to mining executive and back again: how miners control Australian government policy

revolving-door1Larissa Waters: Ban donations from mining companies and stop ministers working for them,  Larissa Waters, Guardian, 1 Mar 16 “……….The revolving door

Former politicians:

  • Former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister John Anderson became chairman of Eastern Star Gas, the company behind the Narrabri Gas Project (which is now owned by Santos) about two years after leaving politics.
  • Former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister Mark Vaile became a director and then chairman of Whitehaven coal.
  • Former Labor resources minister Martin Ferguson became chairman of the APPEA Advisory Board – in October 2013 – just six months after he stopped being the minister. (The lobbying code of conduct requires an 18-month cooling-off period for ex-ministers).
  • Craig Emerson, a former federal Labor trade minister went on to be a consultant for AGL Energy and Santos.
  • Former foreign minister Alexander Downer was at one point a registeredlobbyist with Bespoke Approach, which included the likes of Woodside Petroleum, Xstrata, Petrochina and Yancoal among its clients.
  • Greg Combet, the federal Labor climate change minister, went on to be a consultant to AGL Energy and Santos.

Political staffers:

  • Bill Shorten’s current chief of staff, former Queensland Labor state secretaryCameron Milnerhas also worked with Adani. He was director of Milner Strategic Services & Next Level Holdings, which is co-owned by former Liberal staffer David Moore and was reportedly providing advice to Adani on the controversial Adani Carmichael coal project.
  • Ben Myers worked for Queensland Gas Company, and went on be Queensland LNP premier Campbell Newman’s chief of staff.
  • Mitch Grayson worked as a staffer for Queensland LNP premier Campbell Newman in 2012 and, by early 2013, had joined Santos. Later, he re-joined Premier Newman’s office.
  • Stephen Galilee, who worked as chief of staff to Ian Macfarlane as Liberal federal resources minister for three years, and chief of staff to Mike Baird as NSW treasurer and shadow treasurer, went on to be CEO of the NSW Minerals Council.
  • Geoff Walsh, former adviser to Labor prime ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke, and a former national secretary of the Labor party, was made director of public affairs at BHP in 2007.
  • Claire Wilkinson, spent a year as a senior media adviser for Labor resources minister Martin Ferguson before getting a job as a senior external affairs adviser for Royal Dutch Shell. She is now at Total E&P.
  • Brad Williams, who spent four years as Mark Vaile’s chief of staff, went on to become the manager for government affairs at Inpex – an oil and gas company that has approval for a $34bn LNG project near Darwin. He is now working in government relations at another mining company, South32.
  • Shaughn Morgan worked as adviser to Jeff Shaw, NSW Labor’s attorney general, before becoming the manager of government and external relations at AGL.
  • Lisa Harrington was a senior adviser to Mike Baird before becoming the head of government relations at AGL Energy.
  • Sarah Macnamara worked at AGL before becoming chief of staff to federal Liberal resources minister Ian Macfarlane, and was resource policy adviser to Liberal PM Tony Abbott.
  • Robert Underdown was senior adviser to Liberal resources minister Ian Macfarlane before becoming the manager of the government and public policy group at Santos.
    • Caroline Hutcherson was senior media adviser to the then Liberal NSW resources minister Chris Hartcher before working as a senior adviser to Santos, and going on to work as a senior adviser to NSW Liberal premier Mike Baird.
    • Alexandra Gibson was an adviser to Christopher Pyne, before becoming a policy adviser to APPEA, the oil and gas lobby group.
    • Paul Fennelly was the director of the Queensland Department of State Development, Trade and Innovation before becoming the CEO of APPEA.
    • Chris Ward was an adviser to the Queensland treasurer and to the consumer affairs minister in the federal Labor government under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, before taking a job as media manager at APPEA.
    • Charles Perrottet was senior media adviser to the then Liberal NSW resources minister Chris Hartcher, then an executive of the NSW Liberal party before becoming a government affairs analyst at BP Australia.
    • Andrew Humpherson was chief of staff to the then Liberal NSW resources minister Chris Hartcher before working as a consultant to the NSW Minerals Council.
    • Emma Browning was a media adviser for the then Liberal NSW resources minister Chris Hartcher before becoming director of government relations at the NSW Minerals Council.
    • Brad Emery was a media adviser to federal Liberal minister Peter Dutton before working as director of media and public affairs at the NSW Minerals Council.
    • Chris Rath was media and public affairs manager at the NSW Minerals Council before working as an adviser to NSW Liberal resources minister Anthony Roberts.
    • Lindsay Hermes was media and communications manager at the NSW Minerals Council before working as an adviser to federal Liberal resources minister Ian Macfarlane.

March 4, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference, secrets and lies | Leave a comment


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