Australian news, and some related international items

The Institute of Public Affairs is seeking to harm the ABC’s reputation

helen caldicott @DrHCaldicott19mReplying to @Anthony_Klan

the IPA is closely affiliated with the Heritage Foundation in the US, which is funded by Hertz, Ocean Spray cranberries, Holiday Inns, Readers Digest, Coors Beer, Bechtel, Gulf Oil, Vicks, Amway, Hunt Oil, the Chicago Tribune Company

The IPA rolls out ugly campaign against the ABC, Independent Australia, By Anthony Klan | 9 December 2021  The Institute of Public Affairs is seeking to harm the ABC’s reputation, while questions linger over its own operations and purpose, writes Anthony Klan.

WELL-HEELED secretive lobby group the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which seeks to influence Australia’s public debate, sway government policy – and is running an aggressive campaign against the nation’s most trusted news outlet – is refusing to say who actually funds it.

The IPA is spending substantial sums of money – funds it is refusing to disclose the source of – in a long-standing, clinical and systematic campaign attacking Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC.

Yet the IPA and its Executive Director John Roskam – who is due to appear on ABC Q&A program – are steadfastly refusing to even disclose who actually funds the highly vocal operation. 

That is, who is ultimately calling the shots against Australia’s most trusted news source.

The IPA’s anti-ABC campaign includes outlandish claims, such as the ABC is “structurally and geographically biased against mainstream Australia”, is an “echo chamber disconnected from the mainstream” and has “obsessions” such as around climate change.

It produces anti-ABC “news” style articles and videos – and most recently has produced a five-part “documentary podcast” – all attacking the ABC’s procedures and its ethics.

Yet the IPA has refused to say whether it, as publisher of all the material, considers itself an adherent – in any way – to the basic ethical frameworks that underpin Australian journalism.

Further, Roskam has failed to provide the name of a single employee or contributor, behind the barrage of anti-ABC “news” items, who considers themselves to be an adherent to Australian journalism’s ethical guidelines.

Yet when we approached Mulholland asking if he – the person savagely attacking Australia’s most trusted media outlet – considered himself a “journalist”, or adherent to the Australian Journalist Code of Ethics, he steadfastly refused to comment.

The IPA’s attacks on the ABC are particularly remarkable given polls consistently show that the ABC is the most trusted news source in the country.

poll in March last year found 72% of Australians agreed the ABC was ‘Australia’s most trusted news source’ and a massive 84% agreed the ABC ‘is a valuable source of news to the Australian community’.

ABC newsrooms are widely known among professional journalists to be some of, if not the most, ethical in the country…………..

ASX-listed companies, even though influencing public debate and government policy is not their primary business – unlike the IPA – are required to disclose their 20 biggest investors.

That’s so market participants know who they’re dealing with. The IPA discloses none of this………………,15830

December 9, 2021 Posted by | media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Complicity of the corporate media in the defamation of Julian Assange’s character

Assange / December 2021 issue / Human Rights
New FOI responses confirm the British government’s media campaign against Julian Assangeby The Indicteron December 5, 2021  By Nina Cross, Acting chief-editor of The Indicter.

This article revisits the ‘The role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange. Part 1’ in light of relevant FOI responses we have received from the British government (linked to below). They confirm that Jeremy Hunt’s BBC interview on 11th April 2019 was specifically arranged in the Foreign Office for the purpose of commenting on Assange’s arrest.  Assange was arrested for the minor offence of breaching a police bail in 2012 as the result of seeking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. He feared persecution by the US government for Wikileaks’ publication of evidence showing US war crimes.

In order to recognise the significance of Hunt’s statement and its impact on Assange, we can measure it against the ECHR’s understanding of how the right to freedom of expression (Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights) can impact on the right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the same Convention):

“Article 10 of the Convention, includes the freedom to receive and impart information. Article 6 § 2 cannot therefore prevent the authorities from informing the public about criminal investigations in progress, but it requires that they do so with all the discretion and circumspection necessary if the presumption of innocence is to be respected…The Court has emphasised the importance of the choice of words by public officials in their statements before a person has been tried and found guilty of a particular criminal offence …As to press campaigns against an accused or publications which contain accusatory aspects, the Court has noted that these may prejudice the fairness of a trial by influencing public opinion and, consequently, the jurors called upon to decide on the guilt of an accused…”

With this clarification by the ECHR in mind, Hunt’s comments on Assange can be examined:

No one is above the law. Julian Assange is no hero.  He has hidden from the truth for years and years and it is right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.  What has happened today is the result of years of careful diplomacy by the foreign office and I commend particularly our ambassador in Ecuador, and Alan Duncan and his team here in London for their work but also the very courageous decision by President Moreno in Ecuador to resolve the situation that has been going on for nearly seven years I mean it’s not so much Julian Assange being held hostage in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it’s actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian embassy hostage in a situation that was absolutely intolerable for them so this will now be decided properly, independently by the British legal system respected throughout the world for its independent and integrity and that is the right outcome.”

There are no specific facts in Hunt’s statement regarding any charges, crimes or convictions.  His comments “no hero” “hidden from the truth” “holding the Ecuadorian embassy hostage” “absolutely intolerable” are speculative opinion.  His statement is designed to provoke disgust.

As we asked in Part 1 regarding the government’s statements the day Assange was arrested, what possible proportionate and legitimate reason could exist allowing senior ministers to make multiple public statements across government and which infer guilt: “It is only right he is facing justice.” “No one is above the law”.   The issue of public interest could have been addressed with a single objective statement of fact on Assange’s arrest.  But this was not about public interest; it was a strategy to protect the actions of the Ecuadorian government which had unlawfully stripped Assange of asylum.  It was a coordinated campaign by the senior Cabinet ministers to paint Assange as a serious criminal who should “face justice” thereby setting the scene for the US Department of Justice to launch its attack on Assange and set in motion the process to criminalise investigative journalism…………..

Should Assange’s case ever go to the European Court of Human Rights, the malevolent manipulation by politicians should be laid bare.  The extent to which senior politicians have abused their office to interfere with and frame public opinion of Assange should be set out in the Court, as should the role of the British corporate media. The connivance of politicians through the use of the media is further evidence that the persecution of Assange is state-sponsored and has relied on networks and relationships between powerful individuals in public office and powerful media figures and institutions.

The defamation of Assange’s character by the British government is institutional; to this day, over two and a half years after he was rendered by hostile states and placed in high security Belmarsh prison, treated as a terrorist, the government continues its disinformation and smearing campaign against him, as seen on the government website:……….

But only through the complicity of the corporate media has this abuse been possible.  Without its sustained collusion and servility, the powerful would not have impunity; they would not dare attempt what appears to be the slow assassination of a journalist in full public view for exposing their crimes.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey has misled South Australia, in greatly minimising the amount of Intermediate Level nuclear waste intended for Napandee farm site.

So on the basis of the above figures the amount of ILW contained in the big canister that Rowan mentioned is actually only 0.1 per cent by volume of the ILW intended for Napandee. (In other words the documented volume of ILW intended for Napandee is about 1000 times more than what he stated).

Andrew Williams, Fight to stop sa nuclear waste dump in South Australia, 1 Dec 21, Rowan Ramsey stated that the TN-81 canister in the Interim Waste Store at Lucas Heights is the only Intermediate Level Waste intended for Napandee. This is not correct.

The large canister that he mentioned contains reprocessed used nuclear fuel from the old decommissioned HIFAR reactor, which ARPANSA notes as having radioactivity at the higher end of the ILW range.

That means it must remain safe from people and the environment for 10,000 years according to International guidelines followed by the Australian regulator. Another load of reprocessed used nuclear fuel from the old HIFAR reactor is due back next year and is intended to end up at Napandee, in the same type of TN-81 container.

Of the waste intended for Napandee, this highly hazardous reprocessed nuclear fuel is the most radioactive. However there is a lot more intermediate level waste (ILW) than what is in these two big containers intended for Napandee. All of the reprocessed highly hazardous used nuclear fuel produced by the existing OPAL reactor over its operating life is intended for Napandee in years to come.

However during the production of radioactive isotopes (some of which are used in nuclear medicine) ILW is produced. The Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework (2018) reports total ILW at 1770 cubic metres, with 95% by volume as federal gov. wastes. It is intended to produce a further 1,960 cubic metres over the next 40 years (all intended for Napandee), most of which will be produced at Lucas Heights. (This is documented and can be checked).

All of this ILW is intended to go to Napandee for up to 100 years of above ground storage. A TN-81 container can hold up to 28 canisters, each containing 150 litres of vitrified reprocessed fuel waste. 28×150 litres = 4,200 litres = 4.2 cubic metres. So on the basis of the above figures the amount of ILW contained in the big canister that Rowan mentioned is actually only 0.1 per cent by volume of the ILW intended for Napandee. (In other words the documented volume of ILW intended for Napandee is about 1000 times more than what he stated).

December 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, reference, secrets and lies, spinbuster | Leave a comment

New files expose Australian govt’s betrayal of Julian Assange and detail his prison torment

The documents obtained by Tranter and provided to The Grayzone provide an unobstructed view of the Australian junior ally’s betrayal of one of its citizens to the imperial power that has hunted him for years. As Julian Assange’s rights were violated at every turn, Canberra appears to have been complicit. 

New files expose Australian govt’s betrayal of Julian Assange and detail his prison torment KIT KLARENBERG· NOVEMBER 17, 2021

Documents provided exclusively to The Grayzone detail Canberra’s abandonment of Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, and provide shocking details of his prison suffering

Was the government of Australia aware of the US Central Intelligence Agency plot to assassinate Julian Assange, an Australian citizen and journalist arrested and now imprisoned under unrelentingly bleak, harsh conditions in the UK? 

Why have the country’s elected leaders refused to publicly advocate for one of its citizens, who has been held on dubious charges and subjected to torture by a foreign power, according to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer? What does Canberra know about Julian’s fate and when did it know it?

The Grayzone has obtained documents revealing that the Australian government has since day one been well-aware of Julian’s cruel treatment inside London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison, and has done little to nothing about it. It has, in fact, turned a cold shoulder to the jailed journalist despite hearing his testimony of conditions “so bad that his mind was shutting down.”

Not only has Canberra failed to effectively challenge the US and UK governments overseeing Assange’s imprisonment and prosecution; as these documents expose in stark detail, it appears to have colluded with them in the flagrant violation of an Australian citizen’s human rights, while doing its best to obscure the reality of his situation from the public. 

Continue reading

November 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, reference, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Issue for The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA): IS ANSTO’s NUCLEAR REACTOR VIABLE?

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the national regulator of all federal government aspects of nuclear and radiation sources and activities with the prime objective of protecting and keeping safe the nation’s population and environment from the harmful effects of radiation and other nuclear pursuits.

In its regulatory role ARPANSA will shortly have to address issues linked to nuclear waste and collectively are probably the most important and significant situation that has had to be dealt with by ARPANSA since its foundation over twenty years ago

The first is the need for ARPANSA to obtain an independent andcomprehensive assessment and report on the proposed increased
production of nuclear medicine by reactor generation by the AustralianmNuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at its Lucas Heights precinct

The reason behind this is that ANSTO is relying on its production of nuclear medicine as the mainstay of its activities and intends to become a major international producer and exporter of reactor generated nuclear medicine.

However this appears to be a misconceived and purposeless intention since nuclear medicine generated by reactor isotopes is in significant decline throughout the world due to its dangerous inherent state in being used in medical diagnosis and treatment

There is a world wide turning away by the medical profession from using reactor generated nuclear medicine because of its sever danger to patients coupled with its extremely high production costs.

More alternatives to this form of nuclear medicine are already extensively used as they are far safer and pose little risk to patients and additionally are much cheaper to produce with the involvement of major international drug companies

ARPANSA should seek the independent and expert assessment and review of the proposal and intentions by ANSTO as part of the licensing process for the increased storage facility for nuclear waste at Lucas Heights recently proposed by ANSTO

The assessment and review must include a financial examination to determine commercial and economic viability of the activities and proposals by ANSTO as this is an essential ingredient of the qualifications for the licence for the increased storage capacity

Since the suitably qualified experts for the assessment are not in Australia (as in any case this could create a conflict situation) ARPANSA will need to rely on and engage the highly qualified experts in this field available
from overseas

From the general tenor and prescriptions of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 and applicable regulations – which are referred to as the enabling legislation – it seems quite certain that the commercial and financial aspects must be included by ARPANSAin considering an application for a licence

This should be even more imperative since the funds sought by ANSTO for the increased storage capability at Lucas Heights are being provided by the federal government which is in direct and colloquial terms taxpayers’ money and it is an obligation of the government to protect public revenue and expenditure

There has never been any publicly released information by ANSTO on the financial aspects of the production and sale of its nuclear medicine but as justification for the production ANSTO has relied on the emotivearguments that in their lifetime everyone has or will have a need for nuclear medicine.

ANSTO claims that it has given to the government a recently commissioned independent study into future nuclear medicine supply in Australia and this study should be given to ARPANSA with all supporting information for assistance for its assessment and review as part of the licensing process.

November 13, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, health, reference, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

U.S. House Intelligence Committee investigating CIA plot to kill or kidnap Julian Assange

Adam Schiff asks intelligence agencies for information about CIA’s targeting of WikiLeaksMichael Isikoff·Chief Investigative Correspondent, yahoo News Wed, October 20, 2021  The House Intelligence Committee is seeking information about a Yahoo News report that CIA officials plotted to kidnap Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2017 after WikiLeaks published documents describing the spy agency’s hacking tools.

“We are seeking information about it now,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee chairman, in an interview on the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast.

Schiff added that, as the ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel in 2017, he was never briefed about the CIA’s plans to target Assange. But he said the committee had reached out “to the agencies” — an apparent reference to the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — after reading about the Yahoo News account describing deep divisions within the Trump administration, including objections from White House lawyers, over the CIA’s plans for unusually aggressive measures to cripple WikiLeaks that had been proposed by then agency Director Mike Pompeo.

Asked if he had received any response to the committee’s inquiry, Schiff replied: “I can’t comment on what we’ve heard back yet.” (Spokespeople for the CIA and ODNI declined comment.)

The disclosure by Schiff that the committee is pursuing information about the CIA’s measures targeting WikiLeaks comes the day after the ACLU and more than 20 other human rights and press freedom groups wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to drop the criminal prosecution of Assange in light of what they called “shocking” reporting by Yahoo News “on the government’s conduct in this case.

It also comes on the eve of a critical hearing before a British appellate court in London next week over the U.S. Justice Department’s appeal of a lower court judge’s ruling rejecting its request to extradite Assange to the United States to face trial for publishing classified documents in violation of the World War I-era Espionage Act. The judge concluded that Assange, who is now in a British prison after spending years holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, would be at serious risk of suicide if he were incarcerated in an American prison.

But lawyers for Assange intend to raise the issue of what they view as the CIA’s misconduct, arguing that returning him to a country where some top officials once plotted to kidnap him strengthens the judge’s conclusions about the risk of suicide and should be an additional basis for turning down the U.S. extradition request………..

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

UK High Court Should Deny Extradition Because CIA Planned to Assassinate Assange

UK High Court Should Deny Extradition Because CIA Planned to Assassinate Assange,  BYMarjorie CohnTruthout October 24, 2021  

Why is Joe Biden’s Department of Justice continuing Donald Trump’s persecution of WikiLeaks founder, publisher and journalist Julian Assange?

Barack Obama, concerned about threats to the First Amendment freedom of the press, decided against indicting Assange for exposing U.S. war crimes. Trump did indict Assange, under Espionage Act charges that could garner him 175 years in prison. A district judge denied Trump’s request for Assange’s extradition from the U.K. to the United States because of the extremely high likelihood that it would lead Assange to commit suicide. Trump appealed the denial of extradition.

Instead of dropping Trump’s extradition request, Biden is vigorously pursuing his predecessor’s appeal against Assange, which the U.K. High Court will hear on October 27 and 28. At that hearing, the High Court should determine what effect the CIA’s recently revealed plan to kidnap and assassinate Assange will have on his fragile mental state in the event he is extradited to the United States.

Judge Baraitser’s Denial of Extradition

On January 6, U.K. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser issued a 132-page decision denying extradition. “Faced with conditions of near total isolation and without the protective factors which moderate his risk at HMP Belmarsh [where Assange is currently imprisoned],” she wrote, “I am satisfied that the procedures described by Dr. [Leukefeld] will not prevent Mr. Assange from finding a way to commit suicide.”…………………………..

The United States will be allowed to present “assurances” that if Assange is extradited, tried, convicted and imprisoned, he will not be subject to special administrative measures (SAMs) — onerous conditions that would keep him in virtual isolation — or be held at the ADX maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado. The U.S. intends to provide an additional assurance that it would not object to

Assange serving any custodial sentence he may receive in Australia. These so-called assurances, however, are conditional. The U.S. reserves the right to impose SAMs or hold Assange at ADX if his future behavior warrants it. Moreover, the U.S. cannot guarantee that Australia would consent to hosting Assange’s incarceration.

The High Court should give considerable weight to the way in which explosive new revelations of the Trump administration’s plot to kidnap and assassinate Assange will affect his mental health if he is extradited.

High Court Should Consider U.S. Plans to Kidnap and Assassinate Assange

The indictment against Assange stems from WikiLeaks’ 2010-2011 revelations of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. They included 400,000 field reports about the Iraq War, 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians, and evidence of systematic torture, rape and murder after U.S. forces “handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad,” the documents reveal. They included the Afghan War Logs, 90,000 reports revealing more civilian casualties by coalition forces than the U.S. military had reported. And the Guantánamo Files contained 779 secret reports revealing that 150 innocent people had been imprisoned there for years and documenting the torture and abuse of 800 men and boys, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Perhaps the most notable release by WikiLeaks was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” video, in which a U.S. Army Apache helicopter gunship in Baghdad targets and fires on unarmed civilians. At least 18 civilians were killed, including two Reuters journalists and a man trying to rescue the wounded. Two children were injured. A U.S. Army tank then drives over one of the bodies, cutting it in half. The video depicts three separate war crimes prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Army Field Manual.

It was WikiLeaks’ publication of CIA hacking tools known as “Vault 7,” which the agency called “the largest data loss in CIA history,” that incurred the wrath of Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Vault 7 materials revealed electronic surveillance and cyber-warfare by the CIA.

In 2017, Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and CIA and government officials hatched “secret war plans” to abduct and kill Assange, according to a stunning Yahoo! News report. Some senior CIA and Trump administration officials requested “sketches” or “options” for ways to assassinate Assange. Trump “asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him ‘options’ for how to do so,” according to the report.

Pompeo advocated “extraordinary rendition,” which the CIA used in the “war on terror” to illegally seize suspects and send them to its “black sites” where they were tortured. The scenario was that the CIA would break into the Ecuadorian Embassy in which Assange was staying under a grant of asylum and clandestinely fly him to the United States to stand trial. Others in the agency wanted to assassinate Assange outright by poisoning or shooting him to avoid the hassle of kidnapping him.

The CIA spied on WikiLeaks, and it aimed to sow discord among the group’s members and steal their electronic devices, according to the Yahoo! News report. The CIA also conducted illegal surveillance inside the Ecuadorian Embassy and spied on privileged attorney-client communications between Assange and his lawyers.

Concerned that the CIA might kidnap or kill Assange, which could jeopardize a potential criminal prosecution, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a secret indictment against him in 2018. To bolster the DOJ’s case for extradition, the FBI collaborated with informant Siggi Thordarson to paint Assange as a hacker instead of a journalist. Thordarson later admitted to the Icelandic newspaper Stundin that he lied about Assange being a hacker in return for immunity from prosecution by the FBI.

In 2019, after a new pro-U.S. president came to power in Ecuador, in order to facilitate the U.S.’s attempted extradition, London police dragged Assange from the embassy and arrested him for violating bail conditions. Assange remains in custody in London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison pending Biden’s appeal of the extradition denial.

The High Court should give great weight to the U.S. plans to kidnap and assassinate Assange. The knowledge of those revelations will put even more mental stress on Assange, whom former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer described as having suffered “prolonged exposure to psychological torture” during his confinement. The High Court should affirm the district court’s denial of extradition.

A Window Into U.S. War Crimes and Threats to Investigative Journalism

“When Assange published hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the public was given an unprecedented window into the lack of justification and the futility of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Assange Defense co-chairs Daniel Ellsberg, Alice Walker and Noam Chomsky wrote at Newsweek. “The truth was hidden by a generation of governmental lies. Assange’s efforts helped show the American public what their government was doing in their name.”

Recent revelations of Pompeo’s threats against Assange that appeared in Yahoo! News have shed light on the dangers the national security state poses to investigative journalism and the public’s right to know. In light of these new disclosures, a coalition of 25 press freedom, civil liberties and international human rights organizations have intensified their call for dismissal of the DOJ’s charges against Assange.

Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his committee has asked the CIA for information about plans to kidnap or assassinate Assange.

The High Court will decide whether to affirm or overturn district judge Baraitser’s decision denying extradition. If they affirm Baraitser’s ruling, the Biden administration could ask the U.K. Supreme Court to review the case. If the High Court overturns Baraitser’s decision, Assange could appeal to the U.K. Supreme Court and then to the European Court of Human Rights if the Supreme Court ruling goes against him.

Biden’s appeal of the denial of extradition should be dismissed. Julian Assange should be released and celebrated for his courage.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Deceived’: France says it had assurances from Australia on day subs deal cancelled

Deceived’: France says it had assurances from Australia on day subs deal cancelled, ABC, By Jack Hawke and Nick Dole in London 22 Sept 21,

Australian officials had written to their French counterparts to say they were “satisfied” with how a $90 billion submarine deal was progressing on the same day it was announced the deal was being cancelled, France’s defence ministry has claimed.

Key points:

  • Australia has terminated a $90bn deal to buy 12 conventionally-powered submarines from France in a deal brokered in 2016
  • Instead it has teamed up in a new alliance with the UK and US, which will deliver nuclear-powered submarines
  • France’s defence ministry says it feels “cheated” and “blindsided” by Australia’s decision

Herve Grandjean, a spokesman for the defence ministry, also told the ABC the French feel cheated and blindsided by the announcement.

It is the latest in a barrage of criticism from France following Australia’s decision last Thursday to pull out of the deal for 12, French-built submarines in order to forge a new defence relationship — AUKUS — with the United Kingdom and the United States, which will see Australia gain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

The fallout has also included France recalling its ambassadors to Australia and the US at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had tried to call Mr Macron on the evening before the announcement, but France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Canberra only informed Paris one hour before Mr Morrison joined a video link-up with British counterpart Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden to announce the new deal. 

Mr Grandjean told the ABC on the same day AUKUS was announced, the French had been reassured by Australian officials the submarine program was continuing as planned.

“We received an official letter from the Australian ministry of defence, saying that they were satisfied with the advancement of the project and with the submarine’s performance, which meant that we could launch the next phase of development of these submarines,” he said.

“We were very surprised by the announcement, which was not at all in line with the official letter we had received.

“So, yes, we do consider there was duplicity. We do consider we have been deceived.”………

…………… Mr Grandjean said that, in August this year, there was a meeting with Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her French counterpart in which there was no indication the contract was in jeopardy.

He said it also appeared none of the Australian engineers or military personnel involved in the French submarine program – which was being headed up by French defence contractor Naval Group – had any idea about the policy shift.

………. He said the AUKUS deal would be “bad news” for Australians and that, instead of getting new French submarines in 2030, Australia would likely have to wait until 2040 for nuclear-powered ones.,,,……….

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarine deal planned for 18 months – French ambassador says this is treasonous

Recalled French ambassador accuses Australia of ‘treason in the making’ By Anthony Galloway

 France’s recalled ambassador to Australia has likened Canberra’s actions to treason after the Morrison government dumped a $90 billion submarine contract with Paris and instead decided to build nuclear-powered submarines with the United States and Britain.

France on Saturday has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors from Australia and the US, as the fallout grows from a new defence pact that has infuriated French President Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age hours before he was recalled, France’s ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thebault, did not rule out suspending talks to allow French troops greater access to Australian military bases after his nation was “stabbed in the back”.

Adding insult to the process… we have very reliable reports from the independent press, which I thank, about the fact that all this was in the making for 18 months. Which means we have been blind-sided intentionally for 18 months…. The crime was prepared for 18 months,” he said.

France’s recalled ambassador to Australia has likened Canberra’s actions to treason after the Morrison government dumped a $90 billion submarine contract with Paris and instead decided to build nuclear-powered submarines with the United States and Britain.

France on Saturday has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors from Australia and the US, as the fallout grows from a new defence pact that has infuriated French President Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age hours before he was recalled, France’s ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thebault, did not rule out suspending talks to allow French troops greater access to Australian military bases after his nation was “stabbed in the back”.

“Adding insult to the process… we have very reliable reports from the independent press, which I thank, about the fact that all this was in the making for 18 months. Which means we have been blind-sided intentionally for 18 months…. The crime was prepared for 18 months,” he said.

He slammed Australia for allowing a meeting to go ahead between Mr Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne late last month with their French counterparts where they spoke about enhancing defence ties between the two countries.

“It is us, through letters that were sent by the President [Macron] some months ago to the Prime Minister [Scott Morrison], who proposed to look at more ambitious and new ambitious cooperations,” Mr Thebault said……….. The extraordinary move follows the Morrison government’s decision to tear up a $90 billion contract to buy 12 French submarines in favour of a new nuclear-powered fleet using technology from the US and United Kingdom under a new partnership called AUKUS.

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret nuclear submarine deal started in March

Like a scene from Le Carré’: how the nuclear submarine pact was No 10’s biggest secret
Only ten people in Britain knew about its plans to stand with Australia and the United States against Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific. This is how the deal was done
The Times UK 17 Sept 21,

When the First Sea Lord was invited to a meeting at the Australian high commission in March this year, he had no idea of the magnitude of what was about to unfold. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin — described by colleagues as a “doer” — was asked by Vice-Admiral Michael Noonan, the Australian Chief of Navy, whether the British and Americans could help their ally to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines………..  (subscribers only)

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Scrutiny on possible fraud in the process of the government bribery grants for South Australian communities to accept a nuclear waste dump

Recently information has become available that has indicates a new path of attack against the planned nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

It is is being reported to the Federal Police Fraud Investigation Branch that several individuals made application for a
community grant fraudulently. These individuals participated in a conspiracy with a “resource agency” who
assisted in making application for the grant fraudulently on behalf of an “Aboriginal Corporation” that does not meet the requirements or criteria for the grant.

Grant approval was obtained successfully and was publicly announced. What this proves is that the entire process was rushed and the money grab that divided and separated local communities was able to be manipulated so easily that some unscrupulous people could illegally take advantage.

The federal police will have all the available evidence shortly (there is a lot) and the corporation and persons involved
in the fraudulent funding application will be held to account and prosecuted under federal law.    A win for transparency in the local area.

But it will be a bigger win for the overall fight because it would put the entire grant bribery process and purpose under scrutiny. Hopefully it will lead to very publicly broadcasted news stories following the progress of the investigation and prosecution proceedings.

September 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Morrison government moves to strengthen secrecy around energy ministers meetings

Details of key energy policy decisions could remain secret, as the Morrison government moves to protect National Cabinet deliberations from transparency laws. The post Morrison government moves to strengthen secrecy around energy ministers meetings appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Morrison government moves to strengthen secrecy around energy ministers meetings — RenewEconomy Michael Mazengarb 2 September 2021 The Morrison government has moved to strengthen the level of secrecy around the proceedings of National Cabinet – including the meetings of energy ministers – proposing new legislative amendments that will ensure the National Cabinet is exempt from a range of transparency measures, including freedom of information laws.

The move will extend to the ‘sub-committees’ of the National Cabinet, including the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee chaired by federal energy minister Angus Taylor.

The new legislation, which will define the National Cabinet as a committee of the federal cabinet under a range of transparency laws, including the Freedom of Information Act, is designed to ensure the National Cabinet is protected from public disclosure obligations.

The legislation comes as a response to a landmark ruling of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on a freedom of information request lodged by independent senator Rex Patrick, which ruled the National Cabinet was not covered by freedom of information exceptions, and documents relating to National Cabinet meetings should be disclosed publicly.

But the Morrison government has sought to effectively overturn this decision through the legislative amendments, ensuring the proceedings of National Cabinet, and its sub-committees, remain secret.

“Like the Commonwealth cabinet and its committees, all proceedings and documentation of the National Cabinet and its committees are confidential,” federal education minister Alan Tudge said when presenting the legislation.

In response, Patrick described prime minister Scott Morrison as a ‘sore loser’.

“Having acted outside and contrary to the law with regard to National Cabinet secrecy, the Prime Minister now wants to change the law,” Patrick said.

“He’s a sore loser who does not accept long-established conventions of Cabinet responsibility and democratic accountability. He hates scrutiny and is allergic to transparency.”

The creation of the Nation Cabinet came at the same time as the abolition of the COAG system, including the COAG Energy Council meeting of energy ministers. The change has allowed the Morrison government to take greater control of the National Cabinet process – and in the case of energy reforms – as meant that little detail of what is discussed amongst energy ministers is known publicly.

While state and territory ministers often publicly vented their frustration about the lack of national action on climate and energy policy around meetings of the former COAG Energy Council, the new National Cabinet regime means ministers are bound by cabinet confidentiality rules and have since been largely mute about any dissatisfaction they may harbour about the proceedings of the new committee.

The Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee has taken oversight for the work of the Energy Security Board. Its secrecy requirements have resulted in key information about energy market reforms being proposed by the Energy Security Board being withheld from the broader energy market for weeks after reform recommendations were delivered to ministers.

Much of the energy market was reliant on leaked information as their main source of knowledge about the Energy Security Board’s post-2025 re-design of the National Electricity Market – which will amount to the most significant shake-up of the market’s design since its formation.

The control that Taylor wields over the energy committee also meant that the first official public release of information about landmark energy market reforms was first released to news outlet

sympathetic to the Morrison government before it was released to the wider public.

The added protections being sought by the Morrison government will further prevent the release of information about meetings of the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee – with the public left in the dark about even the agendas of meetings.

RenewEconomy has sought access to documents relating to meetings of the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee on several occasions – as well as a wide range of documents relating to other government decisions through freedom of information laws, but access has been denied in most cases.

A recent review of freedom of information requests completed by the Grata Fund found that the Morrison government has often unlawfully blocked access to documents, undermining laws intended to support public transparency and accountability of government decisions.

The latest legislation looks set to be opposed by both Labor and the Greens. The Morrison government will likely be reliant on One Nation senators to pass the laws through the senate.

September 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, legal, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

20 reasons why the Lucas Heights unviable production of medical isotopes is a sham and a dud.

The claim by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) that it requires additional storage
capacity for intermediate level nuclear or radioactive waste at its Lucas Heights operations is completely false and consequently unjustified in all respects.

  1. The present storage capacity at Lucas Heights is more than adequate for many years and even decades – this is the view of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANA) as the regulator and licensing authority
  2. The main undertaking representing 80% of its total operations and activity by ANSTO at Lucas Heights is the
    production of nuclear medicineThe main undertaking representing 80% of its total operations and activity by ANSTO at Lucas Heights is theproduction of nuclear medicine
  3. Only some 10% of this production annually is for local use in Australia
  4. The remainder is sold overseas but it is a very limited market
  5. The predominant purchasers of this production of nuclear medicine are third world countries
  6. These countries cannot afford to pay ANSTO for this nuclear medicine and hence it is treated as additional foreign aid by Australia
  7. The manufacture of nuclear medicine even in fully and proper commercial circumstances is a large loss making proposition
  1. It is estimated from authoritative overseas research that revenue from isotope production for nuclear medicine would likely offset only approximately 10% to 15% of the costs of the reactor used for the production and this does not include all the other costs associated with the production

9. Added to this ANSTO is regarded by world standards as an extremely high cost manufacturer of nuclear medicine

  1. ANSTO is fully funded as to its existence and operations by the federal government

11. On top of this ANSTO has proved to be a less than efficient producer of nuclear medicine due to the instances of shutting down of its reactor at Lucas Heights

  1. When this has occurred ANSTO purchased the nuclear medicine isotopes from overseas which has proved to be more efficient and cheaper than local production
  1. It was reported that ANSTO received $238 million last year as its annual funding from the federal government
  1. ANSTO because of this funding has no incentive or need to achieve profitability particularly in its production of nuclear medicine which represents its major undertaking and operational activity
  1. In any case there is a strong move in medicine throughout the world away from using nuclear medicine in all diagnosis and treatment due to its harmful nature
  1. Some countries are virtually banning nuclear medicine both in its manufacture and its use locally and for export because of its inherent dangerous nature
  2. An alternative permanent disposal would be better.
  1. The indisputable conclusion internationally is that the use of nuclear medicine generated by reactors is rapidly declining to a level where its future production will no longer be viable
  1. In view of the foregoing there are no justifiable or valid reasons or pretext for :
    (a) the continued production by ANSTO of nuclear medicine by using a nuclear reactor for whatever reasons at Lucas Heights or elsewhere in Australia;
    (b) the continuing loss making production of nuclear medicine by ANSTO at Lucas Heights for export overseas;
    (c) the need to increase the storage capacity at Lucas Heights for intermediate level waste generated by the production of nuclear medicine; and

20 No pretext for the establishment whatsoever of the nuclear waste management facility by the federal government at Napandee

August 31, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Some uncomfortable questions for Sam Chard · General Manager, Australian Radioactive Waste Agency.

Why was Manager Chard nearly two years ago referring to Whyalla as a port for the transport of nuclear material?

Was this to pave the way for using Whyalla for transport of nuclear material for the proposed Kimba facility? 

Had the Whyalla municipal administration been approached about the possible use of its port for transport of nuclear material?

Has Chard or someone else from the federal government approached or discussed possible transport arrangements for nuclear material with any transport or logistics contractors or consultants?

If so will Chard publicly and fully disclose the extent and details of the approaches or discussions including identifying the contractors or consultants? 

Was the Whyalla municipal administration involved in these approaches and discussions?

Did any of the contractors or consultants point out that the transport proposals by the federal government were in breach of international standards and prescriptions and did not follow the recognised best practices with respect to the transport ingredient of those proposals?

In seeking this information Chard should be warned that parts of it are already known and hence she should be careful about the veracity of her responses and waive any claims of confidentiality
Presumably the parties seeking any form of judicial review would be able to seek this information as a pre-trial disclosure

August 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Defence hides Australia’s weapon sales to Israel amid war crimes investigation into Palestine,

The Australian Centre for International Justice joined with the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council to write a submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the feasibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Israel. The organisations said Australia should not negotiate an FTA but should instead impose an arms embargo on Israel and suspend defence cooperation and defence industry partnerships.

This call was echoed in a petition signed by 22,000 Australians and tabled in federal parliament last week. The petition demanded targeted sanctions, an arms embargo, an end to defence cooperation and an end to all Australian support for Israeli settlements.

Defence hides Australia’s weapon sales to Israel amid war crimes investigation into Palestine, By Michelle Fahy Revolving Doors|August 16, 2021   

Defence has elevated “opportunities for Australian companies” over human rights and transparency in weapons sales, as an investigation by Michelle Fahy reveals 187 permits for military exports to Israel.

The Defence Department approved 187 permits for military exports to Israel in the six years to March 31, according to figures released under Freedom of Information (FOI).

The figures prompted questions about the ethics of Australia approving the export of weapons, military technology and other military goods to Israel, given its large number of documented violations of international human rights law in Palestine over decades.

In May, Israel conducted a devastating military campaign against the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bombardment lasted 11 days with the UN reporting more than 220 Palestinians killed, including 63 children, and thousands injured. At least 12 Israelis also died following indiscriminate rocket attacks by armed Palestinian groups.

There are Defence reports showing Australia has sent military exports to Israel from the early years of this century, but ties between the two countries have deepened in the past few years. Australia and Israel have recently expanded cooperation on national security, defence and cyber security. The two countries signed a defence industry cooperation agreement in October 2017. Eighteen months later, a new Australian Trade and Defence Office opened in West Jerusalem tasked with facilitating trade, investment and defence industry partnerships. Trade Minister Dan Tehan is also canvassing a free trade agreement with Israel.

“It is horrifying to learn that Australia is approving so many export permits to Israel – one of the most heavily militarised states in the world, which has been subjecting the Palestinian people to a brutal military occupation for over five decades,” said Rawan Arraf, Executive Director, Australian Centre for International Justice. “It’s highly likely then, that Australian goods are being used in aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. We have a right to know what is being exported and to demand that it ends.”

Continue reading

August 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment