Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s ICAN and Conservation Council of Western Australia commemorate Hiroshima Day

On August 5th, people from across Australia gathered, via Zoom, to commemorate the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, and to hear speakers from ICAN Autralia (International Campaign to Abolish Nucleat Weapons).

Medlissa Clarke spoke of the human effects of this catastrophe, and of the efforts over time, towards disarmament.  The biggest leap forward in this has been, in 2017, the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty now has over 200 nations signed up, with 40 ratifications – not far from the 50 required to make it international law.

Most Australians want a nuclear weapons free world.But Australia’s policy does endorse nuclear weapons. A future Labor government might change that.

Dimity Hawkins described the misery experienced by the Japanese, the agonising stories of the survivors.  Since Hiroshima, the nuclear bombs developed are greatly stronger, and have  been tested over many years, on the Marshall Islands, on Maralinga, South Australia, and on other Pacific Islands, in nuclear colonialism that has never properly been cleaned up.  Australia is part of that nuclear chain. But now,the survivors are speaking out. Red Cross and Red Crescent,  the world’s greatest non government emergency service is strongly behind the Treaty movement, and the indigenous people, particularly Australia’s Aboriginals .

Former Senator Scott Ludlam commemorated the Hibakusha, and the impact of the nuclear weapons industry on indigenous people world-wide. He drew attention to the ?proud statement of U.S. Strategic Command – that their nuclear weapons are to be used in a “safe, secure and lethal way”.

The Treaty was an Australian initiative, brought about by the work of, at first, a few, who by-passed official systems, and went out getting signatures, setting up ICAN, which became an international movement.-, – showing that people can do this, have an effect and an influence.  As cities will be the places to bear the catastrophe of nuclear annihilation,  many Mayors of many have City Councils have signed up to the Treaty.  The Treaty shows that no-one can now claim that nuclear weapons are acceptable, in the same way as biological and chemical warfare are unacceptable.

For information on the continuing  CCWA webinar series go to

August 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now 

Today, an unprecedented campaign of propaganda is shooing us all off like rabbits. We are not meant to question the daily torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric, which is rapidly overtaking the torrent of anti-Russia rhetoric. Anything Chinese is bad, anathema, a threat: Wuhan …. Huawei. How confusing it is when “our” most reviled leader says so.

The target is China. Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one US strategist told me, “the perfect noose”.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, tireless China-basher Peter Hartcher described those who spread Chinese influence in Australia as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows”. Hartcher, who favourably quotes the American demagogue Steve Bannon, likes to interpret the “dreams” of the current Chinese elite, to which he is apparently privy. These are inspired by yearnings for the “Mandate of Heaven” of 2,000 years ago. Ad nausea.

To combat this “mandate”, the Australian government of Scott Morrison has committed one of the most secure countries on earth, whose major trading partner is China, to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American missiles that can be fired at China.

Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now

by JOHN PILGER   6 Aug 20, When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open.

At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.

I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.

I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.”

Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukaemia.

“No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin” said The New York Times front page on 13 September, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.”

Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”.

“I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the London Daily Express  of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”.

For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America’s war propaganda in the 21st century, casting a new enemy, and target – China.

During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.

“Even without the atomic bombing attacks,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”

The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Nothing was done.

The US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US Air Force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. Stimson later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the [atomic] bomb”.

Stimson’s foreign policy colleagues — looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping “in our image”, as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it — made clear they were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the [atomic] bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Harry Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years. Continue reading

August 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Senate committee to report by August 31 re Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump plan

[Ed. According to some reports  – “Woomera has nothing to worry about, Defence say no, so they are safe.”]

Nuclear waste push for Woomera over Kimba ‘fails pub test’, local mayor saysMichelle Etheridge, Regional Reporter, The Advertiser

A push to swap Kimba for Woomera as the site of a new radioactive waste storage site is disrespectful and “fails the pub test” following years of consultation, the local mayor says.

Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson on Monday told a Senate committee that after much debate, the district was “the best informed community in Australia when it comes to radioactive waste and how it’s handled”.

His comments follow Senator Patrick’s suggestion that the contentious storage facility, planned for farming property Napandee, near Kimba, be built at Woomera instead.

Our community has engaged and invested in the process for a really long time and to throw it in another location now, like Woomera, is just disrespectful on so many levels,” Mr Johnson said.

It’s a bad idea that fails the pub test and the common sense test.”

Senator Patrick has said Federal Parliament should be given a choice to build the dump in the remote and highly-secure Woomera Protection area, where low and intermediate level waste has been stored for decades. However, Defence has argued building the facility at Woomera would “not align with Australia’s strategic interests”.

Kimba stands to receive a $31 million funding package under the plans.

Mr Johnson said the facility would deliver a new industry for the Eyre Peninsula town, and help the area “not just survive, but thrive”.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation have opposed the legislation on the basis that it removes the organisation’s right to seek a judicial review of the Government’s decision to go ahead with the site.

Its chairman Jason Bilney asked the committee to consider the impacts of a decision to go ahead as planned, despite traditional landowners objecting.

What does that say to indigenous people – we’ve won our country but we still don’t have a right to say what we need to about our country? It’s very disrespectful to the community and our elders,” he said.

Kimba Council last year ran a poll on whether locals supported the waste plan, but traditional landowners not living in the area were excluded.

Meantime, No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA president Peter Woolford said the waste site should be built somewhere it posed no risk to agriculture. “The sad thing that’s been forgotten here is the impact on people – people are thinking about whether they’re going to move out because of their mental health,” he said.

We’re (also) trying to stand up for people outside of Kimba that have been denied a say.”

The Senate committee will report back by August 31.


August 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian govt trying to keep its $1.3bn arms purchase a secret, a dangerous precedent

Coalition says making public parts of $1.3bn Thales arms deal audit would penalise weapons company

Australian government claims disclosure would damage chances of multinational Thales to sell Hawkei combat vehicle to other countries,  Guardian  Christopher Knaus,    The Australian government is arguing parts of an audit of a $1.3bn arms purchase must be kept secret because a multinational weapons company Thales would have trouble selling its product if they were disclosed.But the administrative appeals tribunal has heard that such an argument if allowed to stand would have a “devastating effect” on the auditor general’s ability to transparently and publicly criticise other government purchases.

The tribunal is hearing a case between the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and crossbench senator Rex Patrick, who is fighting through freedom of information for full release of a 2018 audit report examining the government’s acquisition of the $1.3bn Hawkei combat vehicle fleet from French-based manufacturer Thales.

After representations from Thales, the attorney general, Christian Porter, made an extraordinary and largely unprecedented intervention to redact sections of the audit on the grounds they unfairly prejudiced Thales’s commercial interests and threatened Australia’s national security and defence.

The Guardian has since revealed the redacted material included a cost-comparison suggesting that Australia could have saved money by purchasing a different vehicle – the joint light tactical vehicle – from the United States…….

July 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia should join regional nations in signing and ratifying the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

Push to join nuclear weapons banm Daryl Le Cornu, Member of the board of ICAN Australia 22 July 20, It was good to read William Stoltz’s ‘‘How Australia can help the world avoid nuclear war’’ (July 17) about the diplomatic initiative to push for a treaty of no-first-use based on the Chinese model.

His argument that Australia may be the only country that could lobby the US to agree to the principle of no-first-use has merit.
Furthermore, Stoltz argues that it is only through the ‘‘strength of principled examples and ambitious diplomacy that responsible nations can hope to make the legacy of Trinity and the nuclear threat to civilisation a thing of the past’’.

However, there is another potentially more effective ‘‘ambitious diplomacy’’ that Australia could pursue. This would be to join with the majority of the nations in the world and a majority of the people in the world in signing and ratifying the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that was created at the United Nations on July 7, 2017.

New Zealand has already done so, as have most of our regional neighbours. The Labor Party at its December 2018 national conference committed a future Labor government to such a diplomatic initiative. Furthermore, the organisation whose 10-year global campaign led to the creation of the TPNW – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – was born in Australia in 2007 and launched by former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who became ICAN’s first patron. With only 10 more ratifications for the TPNW to come intoforce in international law, it is surprising that Stoltz did not devote some time in his article reflecting on the 75th anniversary of the Trinity test to this citizen-initiated global campaign.


July 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia and nuclear weapons – theme for August 2020

Sad to say, but Australia, or at least the Australian government, is something of an international pariah  on the great issues of climate action, and nuclear disarmament.

In decades past, Australia took a leadership position on nuclear disarmament.   Not any more.The rot really set in with the dismissal of Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister.   That whole thing remains shrouded in secrecy, but Whitlam wanted Australia’s government to know what was going on at Pine Gap, and opposed having a USA  secret spy and military operations base operating in Australia.  I believe that it was Whitlam’s stand about Pine Gap that was the underlying reason for his dismissal.

After Whitlam, Australian governments kowtowed to USA, and continue to do so. As with climate action, the Australian government continues to sabotage international disarmament efforts.  That’s why we have U.S. military bases as targets in this country, and some Liberal and National MPs itching to buy nuclear weapons from US.

On a positive note, however, Australians can be proud of the initiation of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, (ICAN) which was started by Australians, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.  This led to the United Nations Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, voted in by 122 nations, now ratified by 40.  It is an important start, removing any pretense that such weapons could be considered ethical.  There are now 28 Australian councils that call for the federal government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons..

for page Andrew Wilkie

for International

for international – very good


July 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hope for a nuclear weapons free world  

Hope for a nuclear weapons free world  Mick & Deborah Stacey, Ballina

The 16 July, 75 years ago, was the date of the first atomic weapons test code named ‘Trinity’, at Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA, (part of the Manhattan Project). This led to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6 and 9 August, and over 2000 additional tests worldwide, exposing people and nature to deadly toxic radioactive particles.

Today, there are over 13,890 nuclear weapons worldwide, all far more powerful than the ones used on Japan.

But there is hope, thanks to an Australian initiated campaign ICANW (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), we now have 40 countries, Botswana being the latest, that have ratified the treaty in the United Nations, with 10 more required to make nuclear weapons,  illegal under International Law.

Thanks to the dedicated people who work tirelessly to make this happen. We can help by making a donation at ICANW, and encouraging your council to sign up to the ICAN Cities Appeal. There are now 28  Australian councils signed up, Adelaide being the latest.

So if local Councils could take some time out from being developers, just like Ballina Council they could add their support.

There is no future in a world,  held to ransom by these horrendous weapons of mass destruction.

People should be appalled by the governments’ announcement to spend $270 billion on so called defence.    Love is the answer.

July 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

40th ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Thanks to Botswana, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now reached 40 states parties. After just 10 more ratifications, it will enter into force. Botswana deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on 15 July, the anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Pelindaba, which established the whole of Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

In case you missed it, our neighbouring Fiji also ratified the ban treaty last week. You can read about the significance of this step and Fiji’s long history of activism against the bomb in the Guardian, thanks to Dr Vanessa Griffen and Talei Luscia Mangioni.

The 40th ratification is a significant milestone, dispelling any doubts over the treaty’s inevitable entry-into-force. The Australian Government simply cannot ignore the ban forever.

In more good news, on Tuesday night the City of Port Adelaide Enfield became the first South Australian council to endorse the ICAN Cities Appeal. There are now 28 Australian councils that call for the federal government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Congratulations Port Adelaide and thanks to the SA campaigners that made this happen!

Today is the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion, code-named “Trinity”. This event has significance for all people impacted by nuclear weaponry worldwide, including in Australia. Nuclear explosions don’t stay in the past, the effects of radiation continue through the decades and generations. In just a couple of hours we’ll begin our special Trinity video panel with three incredible women who are fighting against the bomb. Check the details and get the Zoom link here, or watch it later from the ICAN Australia Facebook page.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia was the guinea pig population for Britain’s nuclear weapons tests radiation fallout

Paul Langley  Facebook , 5 July 20
It was Operation Buffalo’s series final tonight, on the ABC, so Im interrupting my thread on Fuk ( a crime which, were I just, would see me ban myself from this page) and I want to point out , yea, the British were the spies, and we were the guinea pigs and we did what they said or else.
As late as the 80s the Poms were threatening us with jail in our own land for speaking out it. And yea, the false fallout maps that were published and the real ones hidden, and readings which were under valued by 50%. Here’s the nine maps publically released by the Royal Commission.
Once, years ago, I printed each one onto its own sheet of transparent plastic sheet. There were 12 bombs, but only 9 fallout maps.
But laying those 9 transparent maps on top of one another results in the final combined map, which proves how cunning the British spies were who used us, On Her Majesty’s Service, as guinea pigs. Whereas had the Soviets done the deeds, the nuclear veterans would have been elevated as heroes, instead of traitors for trying to speak. For at least 2 of the bombs, the Poms put a few ton of coal at the base of the bomb towers. The coal vapourised when the bomb went off, and when it condensed again it formed a black sticky goo in small droplets, containing speckles of fission product throughout it. That is what made the Black Mist of 1953 so sticky. Yep, pretty war like and cunning, the British. I am ashamed to say. I wonder why they spared Perth.

July 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics international, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia: USA’s Deputy Sheriff goes for bloated military expenditure

Defending Australia: The Deputy Sheriff Spending Spree, July 1, 2020, by: Dr Binoy Kampmark    There are few sadder sights in international relations than a leadership in search of devils and hobgoblins. But such sights tend to make an appearance when specialists in threat inflation either get elected to office or bumped up the hierarchies of officialdom. The sagacious pondering types are edged out, leaving way for the drum beaters. As the Roman general Vegetius suggested with solemn gravity in the 4th century, “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum,” an expression that has come to mean that those desiring peace best ready for war.

    Australia’s drum beating government has told its citizens rather pointedly that “we have moved into a new and less benign strategic era.” It is something that the federal government has never tired of stressing ever since the White Tribe of Asia developed fears of genetic and maternal abandonment, being thousands of miles from Britannia but uncomfortably close to the hordes of Asia. To the north lay the colours black, brown and yellow, tempered, for a time, by the powers of Europe. Henry Lawson, who had a fear or two tucked under his belt, reflected on this sentiment in his patchy Flag of the Southern Cross: “See how the yellow-men next to her lust for her, Sooner or later to battle we must for her.”
Such flag-wearing rhetoric can be found in the latest announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to commit $270 billion to the defence budget over the next ten years. In real terms, this amounts to an additional increase of $70 billion from initial projections based on the 2016 Defence White Paper. His speech at the Australian Defence Force Academy gives the impression that Australia is thinking as an independent, autonomous agent, rather than a deputy sheriff for the Stars and Stripes. “The strategic competition between China and the United States means there’s a lot of tension in the cord and a lot of risk of miscalculation.”

Instead of committing to an easing of that tension, Morrison is keen to throw Australia into an increasingly crowded theatre of participants in the Indo-Pacific on the mistaken premise that things have dramatically changed. “And so we have to be prepared and ready to frame the world in which we live as best as we can, and be prepared to respond and play our role to protect Australia, defend Australia.”

That defence is, invariably, linked to that of the United States, which sees Australia as an essential cog in the containment strategy of the PRC. The idea that this new round of spending will assist Australia’s own independence from this project is misleading in the extreme. For one, the continuing stress on interoperability between the Australian Defence Force and its US counterparts remains a feature of spending decisions. Deputy Sheriffs know where and from whom to take their cues and stock from. Such weapons as the United States Navy’s AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) are on the list of future purchases. There is also the promise of underwater surveillance systems, and research and development in what promises to be another frontier of an international arms race: hypersonic weapons or, as US President Donald Trump prefers to call them “super duper missiles.” (Some $9.3 billion has been allocated for the latter.)

The prime minister also revisits a term that is impossible to quantify, largely because of its fictional quality. Deterrence, ever elastic and rubbery, only has meaning when the hypothetical opponent fears retaliation and loss. To undertake any attack would, to that end, be dangerous. For decades, this fictional deterrent was kept up by the vast umbrella of the US imperium.

The sense that this umbrella might be fraying is being used as an excuse to beat the war drum and stir the blood. Senator Jim Nolan is one, insisting that “we must share some of the blame [for the likelihood of regional conflict] because we have ignored our century-long history of national unpreparedness, and have relied blindly on an assumed level of US power which, since the end of the Cold War, exists at a much lower and dangerous level, and looks less likely to deter regional conflict.” Nolan nurses a fantasy that seems to be catching: that Australia aspire to “self-reliance” and have “confidence that we could adjust in time required to defend ourselves and so, with a bit of luck, deter conflict impacting directly on us. At present, we are severely deficient.”

Morrison similarly opines that, “The ADF now needs stronger deterrence capabilities. Capabilities that can hold potential adversaries’ forces and critical infrastructure at risk from a distance, thereby deterring an attack on Australia and helping to prevent war.” To imagine that Australia would be able to deter a power such as China, even with projected purchases, is daftly entertaining. The term simply does not come into play.

This incoherence is of little concern to the family of strategists that inhabit the isolated climes of Canberra. When money and weaponry is promised, champagne corks pop. Peter Jennings of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute is duly celebrating, given his fixation with that one power “with both the capacity and the desire to dominate the Indo-Pacific region in a way that works against Australia’s interest.” He even has a stab at humour: “We’re not talking about Canada.”

Broad policy commitments to bloated military expenditure are always to be seen with suspicion. They come with warnings with little substance, and only matter because people of like mind find themselves on opposite sides of the fence warning of the very same thing. If you do not spend now, you are leaving the country open to attack. That most important question “Why would they attack us in the first place?” is never asked. Even at the height of the furious battles of the Second World War, Imperial Japan debated the merits of invading an island continent which would have needlessly consumed resources. Australia, in short, has never been an inviting target for anyone.

The dangers of adding to the military industrial complex, then, are only too clear. Countries who prepare for war in the name of armed security can encourage the very thing they are meant to prevent. Purchased weapons are, after all, there to be used. The result is the expenditure of billions that would better be spent on health, education and, ever pressingly, on redressing environmental ruination.

We are then left with the desperate sense of a psychological defect: the need to feel wanted and relevant on the big stage. This was very much the case when Prime Minister Robert Menzies committed Australian troops in 1965 to stem the Red-Yellow Horde in the steaming jungles of Vietnam. The language being used then was much as it is now: to deter, to advance national security, to combat an authoritarian menace in a dangerous region. Little weight was given to the subtleties of a nationalist conflict that was not driven by Beijing. Half-baked and uncooked strategy was served in the messes.

In adding their bloody complement to a local conflict that would eventually see a US defeat, Labor’s Arthur Calwell, himself a self-styled white nationalist, made a sober speech in denunciation. Australia was committing resources to “the bottomless pit of jungle warfare, in a war in which we have not even defined our purpose honestly, or explained what we would accept as victory.” Doing so was “the very height of folly and the very depths of despair.” Australia now finds itself committed to a defence strategy against a mirage dressed in enemy’s clothes masked in language that resists meaning or quantification.

July 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Agressive defence policy – Australian Strategic Policy Institute has too much influence on government and media

The recent announcement about a fresh  $270 billion to rev up the defence force – even one equipped with long range hypersonic missiles (an impossibility at this stage) – will tempt our Whitehall Warriors to overreach with their rhetoric and provoke a reaction from a much superior power that would be highly destabilising for us and for others. In the lead of this, stirring up the government, is the notorious Australian Strategic Policy Institute whose original purpose was to provide objective analysis of strategic issues but not to be a stentorian advocate of an aggressive foreign and defence policy. At its head is our very own ‘Secular Santamaria’, Peter Jennings, who gets disproportionate airplay on these matters by a susceptible government and media.

Militarism and Popularism, a dangerous mix, By ANDREW FARRAN | On 2 July 2020

Popularism in defence matters must have its limits. Being carried away on a wave of popularism may be exciting but when reality strikes the repercussions could be severe.Making the US ‘great’ again was stirring for some. Boris Johnson in Britain is about to ‘build, build build’ the country out of bankruptcy, citing ‘Rooseveltism’ as his inspiration (‘Nothing to fear but fear itself’), And here we are again recycling the ‘the enemy’ syndrome – whether real or imagined – whatever it costs. If may cost a lot, but to what end? The separation between our military/intelligence complex and civil society hasn’t been greater.

The recent announcement about a fresh  $270 billion to rev up the defence force – even one equipped with long range hypersonic missiles (an impossibility at this stage) – will tempt our Whitehall Warriors to overreach with their rhetoric and provoke a reaction from a much superior power that would be highly destabilising for us and for others. In the lead of this, stirring up the government, is the notorious Australian Strategic Policy Institute whose original purpose was to provide objective analysis of strategic issues but not to be a stentorian advocate of an aggressive foreign and defence policy. At its head is our very own ‘Secular Santamaria’, Peter Jennings, who gets disproportionate airplay on these matters by a susceptible government and media.

As the government has become heavily focussed on China, it being the military threat, what the government says and does from now on must be seen in that light. Considering the huge imbalance between Chinese and Australian military capabilities – our GDP is about 5% of China’s; the military comparison is much the same – one must ask if we were to engage militarily against China what optimum outcome would/could we seek? At the least it would be our survival, but the probability is that even that would incur great cost, involving great destruction.

Were we to engage in conjunction with the US, the outcome would be similar or worse as our most effective or currently valued capabilities (e.g. Pine Gap) would be picked out for destruction. To engage with the US in any case would be a mistake as we can assume that any such conflict would be initially and ultimately one directly between China and the US. Indications are that the US would not be exercising ‘leadership’, or what goes for leadership, for any purpose other than its own. That is the foreseeable and inexorable trend now. Australia, it must be stressed, does not lie naturally in the sphere of influence of either China or the US, which gives it the option of dealing with both pragmatically and rationally on a case by case basis.

Over time Australia has been, and continues to be, obsessed by an overriding sense of insecurity about its place in the region, and the world generally, causing its strategic policy to be fixated on the inevitability of conflict, discounting its ability to sustain an effective role in an orderly and stable world. Since the 1970s we have been engaged in wars of little or no strategic relevance, at a disproportionate cost in lives and substance. The only military examples of constructive relevance was our unarmed intervention in 1999 in East Timor under INTERFET, and peacekeeping operations in the Southwest Pacific under RAMSI in 2003, both with the full acceptance of the affected parties.

The strategic implications of Covid-19 are that we may be expected to do more on these lines and not more of the over-reaching interventionism of the kind witnessed in recent decades in the Middle East. We should act as an independent power within our own capabilities and not harness ourselves to the interests of any foreign power which complicates our relationships with others, especially our neighbours. If we continue to be connected ‘at the hip’ with one unreliable and irrational major power we will again be the first casualty of any misconceived adventurism.

What might justify a heightened build up of military capabilities, though not on the lines now proposed? It is said that the post-COVID-19 world will be poorer and more hand-to-mouth in nature than before, when there was a sense of order under a rules-based system. Hopefully elements of the rules-based system will be retained in the region, though it may break down in some places because of the pressures of poverty and dissatisfaction. As the much earlier UN Secretary-General, the late Dag Hammarskjold, famously remarked, the UN multilateral system “was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell”.

To have the ability to assist regional states threatened by poverty and disease within, and disorder from without, may be a good thing in which Australia could have an effective (essentially peacekeeping or stabilising) role.

For that role we should develop a force structure suitable for the purpose, not for extraneous long-range purposes as would now seem to be the case. We should also, militarily and otherwise, develop a top-class counter-cyber capability both for our own protection and the protection of others. With regard to supply lines, these are predominantly serviced by foreign owned planes and ships for whose protection others have responsibility. If picked on by unfriendly fire, that would elevate a conflict beyond the region.

Overall, in this less stable situation, Australia should work closely with Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam to shore up regional cohesion, and with New Zealand in specific projects for stability and development in the South Pacific. Punching above our weight could lead to brawls. Punching at our weight is the way to go.

July 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Costigan- another one revolving from tax-paid jobs to weapons industry!

Gabrielle Costigan MBE


A former Colonel in the Australian Army who led logistic operations for the Australian and US governments. Left the military to move into a US-based military industry company. Currently, CEO of BAE Systems Australia.

Current Positions

CEO, BAE Systems Australia (1.1.18-present)

Publicly funded
Chair, Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service (term: 17.5.19–14.5.2021)

Previous Positions

Corporate positions
CEO (designate), BAE Systems Australia (2.10.17-31.12.17)
CEO, Linfox International Group (May 2014-June 2017)
Vice President, Military Programs and Business Development Commercial Aircraft, VAS Aero Services, LLC (USA) (July 2013-Mar 2014)
Vice President, Military Programs, VAS Aero Services, LLC (USA) (July 2012-June 2013)

Publicly funded positions
Board member, Australia-ASEAN Council [Joined board while at Linfox; no longer listed on board. Emailed DFAT-AAC for dates 15.2.20; no reply]

Military positions
Director, Multi-National Logistics Division, United States Central Command (Jan 2010-July 2012)
Military Assistant to the Chief of Joint Operations Command, Australian Defence Force (Jan 2008-Dec 2009)
Australian Command and Staff College, Australian Defence Force (Jan 2007-Dec 2007)
Australian Army, various positions (Jan 2002-Dec 2006)

Defence departmental positions
Project Manager–Simulation, Defence Department (1999-2002)

Related Items

June 2019: Awarded MBE by the United Kingdom, Queen’s Birthday honours list, “for services to UK/Australia relations.”

June 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former weapons chief executive now South Australian Premier’s top advisor

This could shed some light on the South Australian government’s silence on the Federal plan for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.  We can expect the South Australian government to now support the nuclear waste dump at Napandee, and to promote schemes to make south Australia a nuclear hub, especially with nuclear submarines production.


June 13, 2020 Posted by | politics, secrets and lies, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

60 years ago, Aborginal people’s land desecrated by nuclear bombs. Now a new desecration – nuclear wastes?

Even I know off by heart the supercilious tones of the Chief Scientist of the British nuclear tests, Ernest Titterton’s on-screen completely false declaration: ‘No Aboriginal people were harmed.’  The discovery of Edie Milpuddie and family as they camped on the edge of the Marcoo bomb crater was dramatic exposure of that cruel fiction. It is extraordinary to see the actual footage of this moment in the film; and so sobering to hear again the terrible repercussions among her descendants.

‘No Aboriginal people were harmed.’ Add into that mix, English and Australian servicemen and the various pastoral landholders; and from the strong desert winds including across the APY Lands, we will never know the results of the further fallout across the state and nation.

Wind forward another 30 years again and the well being of another almost neighbouring group of Aboriginal people is threatened with nuclear repercussions: this time by the plan for the nation’s nuclear waste ‘stored’ (dumped) on their Country. Again as Traditional Owners, the Barngarla denied a say on their own Country, while a few white ‘latecomers’ were given theirs.

The nuclear fight: then and now,  Eureka Street  Michele Madigan, 04 June 2020 heeded?–then-and-now?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Eureka%20Street%20Daily%20-%20Thursday%204%20June%202020&utm_content=Eureka%20Street%20Daily%20-%20Thursday%204%20June%202020+CID_d497ae8df79099faf8643a0a84a8536d&utm_source=Jescom%20Newsletters&utm_term=READ%20MORE  On Sunday 24th May, the ABC showed the documentary Maralinga Tjarutja produced and directed by lawyer, academic, filmmaker and Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman Larissa Berendt. It was wonderful to see the Traditional Owners including the women given a current national voice as survivors of the British nuclear tests on their lands. Mima Smart OAM former long-term chairperson of Yalata Community was co-presenter with the chair of Maralinga Tjarutja, Jeremy Lebois; Mima’s Maralinga art, painted in collaboration with other Yalata minyma tjuta — women artists, becoming an integral background story — sometimes even in animation.

In the early 80s, after a monumental effort by the Aboriginal peoples of South Australia’s Far North West and their supporters, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunyjatjara Anangu gained their Land title. The Yalata people to the south at the time, I remember, had been discouraged by their then Community Advisor to take part. As a result, when the Yalata people’s will finally had their way, it meant that they had to make their own path Continue reading

June 6, 2020 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, history, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear missile submarines in the Indo-Pacific

Increasing Indo-Pacific nuclear boats and the impact on strategic stability  Defence Connect, Stephen Kuper, 5 June 20, As the Indo-Pacific continues to evolve economically and strategically, one of the traditional measures of great power status – nuclear attack and missile submarines – will become more prominent. For ASPI academic Stephan Fruehling, this will have a dramatic impact on the strategic stability and calculus Australia depends upon.

Much like the submarine competition between the US and Soviet Union, this new arms race is resulting in fleets of hunter-killers and strategic missile submarines stalking the depths, however the US and China are far from the only emerging and established Indo-Pacific nations seeking to leverage the power of nuclear submarines.

The growing proliferation of advanced nuclear weapons systems, including the relatively crude, yet still capable submarine launch ballistic missiles recently tested by North Korea, and the increasingly capable nuclear-powered submarine fleets introduced by China and Russia, South Korea has moved to address a tactical and strategic shortfall: a lack of nuclear-powered submarines.

While seemingly a shock move, the South Korean strategic policy institute, the Korea Defense Network (KDN), commissioned a research review into the feasibility of developing an indigenous nuclear-powered attack submarine.

It is reported that the results suggested that South Korea consider building a nuclear-powered attack submarine modelled after the French 5,300-tonne Barracuda Class submarine, the design model for Australia’s own fleet of $50 billion Attack Class submarines.

India also fields a growing array of domestic and foreign nuclear submarine designs in both the attack and ballistic missile variants providing an already tense regional balance of power with yet another platform to complicate the tactical and strategic decision making processes for many nations, including Australia……..

For Australia, this raises the question, can the nation depend on the nuclear umbrella provided by the US or, for that matter, the UK at a stretch? If not, what is the solution for Australia? ……..

June 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment