Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Maralinga Britain’s guinea pig land for toxic nuclear bomb testing

Australia’s Least Likely Tourist Spot: A Test Site for Atom Bombs, NYT, 

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April 18, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, personal stories, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

If a nuclear bomb were to be dropped on Sydney

New study reveals catastrophic death toll from a nuclear attack
WHAT would happen if a nuclear bomb went off in your backyard? A chilling new study estimates the death toll from an attack on Australia.Tom Livingstone, news.com.au, APRIL 15, 2018

“……Scientists from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have created simulations of a potential outcome if an attack did occur, and found the best course of action for people was to take shelter first and then take steps to escape afterwards.

Those who tried to seek out family members and “aid and assist” others were more likely to die.

In the study, it showed some people would look out for family, while others wold panic and run blindly away.

When humans carried out “shelter-seeking, evacuation, healthcare-seeking, and worry combined,” they were more likely to survive.

The simulation, which was first revealed by Science Magazine, shows that venturing away from a safe place leaves civilians subjected to a higher dose of radiation, which would likely prove fatal.

With President Trump’s consistent tweets threatening action against Russia and North Korea in a game of who has the bigger artillery, a dystopian future seems more and more possible.

Last month researchers created an interactive map that revealed the terrifying scope of a nuclear blast for any given area.

The map shows the extent of the fireball, radiation, shockwave, and heat spawned by different weapons, from the 15 KT ‘Little Boy’ dropped on Hiroshima to the largest weapon in the USSR’s arsenal, the 50,000 KT Tsar Bomba.

For example, if North Korea dropped the Hwasong-14, a 150 KT yield nuclear weapon on Sydney’s CBD, there would be more than 77,000 fatalities and 156,000 injured. The radiation from the blast would exceed 12 square kilometres and go further depending on wind patterns.

If Vladimir Putin dropped a 50,000 KT Tsar Bomba (Reportedly the biggest in his arsenal) on Sydney, there would be 1,513,303 fatalities, 1,111,725 injuries and radiation exceeding 80 square kilometres.

If the Aussies pissed off the US and Trump attacked us, it would most likely be with the 300KT W-87, which would kill an estimated 114,374 Sydneysiders, injure more than 227,000 and cause radiation exceeding 15 square kilometres on initial impact.

While scary to think about, it’s an important thing to get your head around in Trump’s 2018. Without coming off as alarmist we should understand the exact magnitude of a nuclear blast and how damaging it can potentially be.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/new-study-reveals-catastrophic-death-toll-from-a-nuclear-attack/news-story/0f50696ee563b5f9e977f30b4cb42494

April 16, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian professor and others from 30 countries call for ban on robotic autonomous weapons

We are locked into an arms race that no one wants to happen, global researchers warn
A CHILLING letter claims the world is on the cusp of opening a dangerous Pandora’s box — and there is no going back.  http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/we-are-locked-into-an-arms-race-that-no-one-wants-to-happen-global-researchers-warn/news-story/fc6dfa060c66ed876beb79d1b7530cc6  Nick Whigham@NWWHIGHAM  5 Apr 18 

The boycott comes in advance of a meeting next Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, of 123 member nations of the United Nations discussing the challenges posed by lethal autonomous weapons. Twenty-two of those nations have already called for an outright and pre-emptive ban on such weapons.

The open letter announcing the boycott against the South Korean university said autonomous weapons are the “third revolution in warfare” and warned about letting the genie out of the bottle.

“At a time when the United Nations is discussing how to contain the threat posed to international security by autonomous weapons, it is regrettable that a prestigious institution like KAIST looks to accelerate the arms race to develop such weapons,” the letter said.

“We therefore publicly declare that we will boycott all collaborations with any part of KAIST until such time as the President of KAIST provides assurances, which we have sought but not received, that the Center will not develop autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control,” the researchers said.

“If developed, autonomous weapons will be the third revolution in warfare. They will permit war to be fought faster and at a scale greater than ever before. They have the potential to be weapons of terror. Despots and terrorists could use them against innocent populations, removing any ethical restraints. This Pandora’s box will be hard to close if it is opened.”

Professor Walsh organised the boycott which involves researchers from 30 countries and includes three of the world’s top deep learning experts, Professor Stuart Russell from the University of California, Berkeley, who authored the leading textbook on AI and roboticist Prof Wolfram Burgard, winner of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the most prestigious research prize in Germany.

“Back in 2015, we warned of an arms race in autonomous weapons,” Professor Walsh said in a statement alongside the letter. “We can see prototypes of autonomous weapons under development today by many nations including the US, China, Russia and the UK. We are locked into an arms race that no one wants to happen.

“KAIST’s actions will only accelerate this arms race. We cannot tolerate this.”

Professor Walsh has long campaigned against the development of autonomous weapons.

He has previously travelled to speak in front of the United Nations in an effort to have the international body prevent the proliferation of so-called killer robots with the ability to think for themselves.

Speaking to news.com.au last year he said “the arms race is already starting.”

He believes it’s no longer a question of whether military weapons are imbued with some level of autonomy, it’s just a matter of how much autonomy — which poses a number of worrying scenarios, particularly if they fall into the wrong hands.

“They get in the hands of the wrong people and they can be turned against us. They can be used by terrorist organisations,” he warned.

“It would be a terrifying future if we allow ourselves to go down this road.

 

April 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Neighbours not happy as a man builds his nuclear war bunker in Victoria

Neighbours’ fury as man builds bunker for nuclear war, news.com.au, By Luke Mortimer • A Current Affair Producer Mar 20, 2018  He’s a former Yugoslavian who spent years guarding plutonium stockpiles and he refuses to be a sitting duck the day they may go off, preparing for all out nuclear war.

Jakov Loncarevic migrated to Australia in 1979 but in 1996 he fled Melbourne for Minyip, a tiny town 337 kilometres west. He purchased a block of land that he’s spent the past two decades making “nuclear proof” with a four-metre deep bunker in which he plans to wait out a nuclear winter.

Mr Loncarevic took A Current Affair reporter Martin King down into the bunker in which he claims he built by digging out 40,000 buckets of soil and constructing with 2500 bags of concrete, 40 tonnes of recycled steel and 20 tonnes of wood.

“(It’s my) emergency survival place,” he told King.“In case of unforeseen events … I will survive.“When the conditions become unbearable at floor level … I’m down here.

Mr Loncarevic says he has the supplies to wait out two years once a nuclear winter sets in, with a staggering 900 kilograms of sugar stored in industrial fridges, 200 kilograms of rice and dried beans, 6000 litres of water, 40 kilograms of washing detergent, 200 pairs of socks, 200 pairs of under wear, 100 t-shirts, and 120 kilograms of honey.

But despite being prepared for nuclear war, Mr Loncarevic is losing the war with his neighbours after council issued him with an order to stop building.

Neigbours fed up with living next door to the military-compound-style structure have told King of their embarrassment living next to it.

Mother Bec, a nurse who works in the nearby regional centre of Horsham, said her property’s value is in decline as no-one would want to buy in next to Mr Loncarevic’s house.

“It’s embarrassing. It’s frustrating. It’s wrong,” Bec said.

Her parents-in-law, Joe and Rae, lifelong Minyip residents who live another two doors up, told A Current Affair of how the house had transformed from a “lovely, little” weatherboard home owned by an elderly lady into a Soviet-style military compound.  And Mr Loncarevic is losing popularity with his neighbours by the day.………..https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/03/20/19/05/neighbours-fury-as-man-builds-bunker-for-nuclear-war

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Victoria, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Group of Montebello nuclear test veterans have no medical insurance, not entitled to gold card

Montebello nuclear testing veterans exposed to radiation vent anger over gold card refusal http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-15/nuclear-testing-veterans-hold-protest-at-wa-parliament/9551658 By: Jacob Kagi 

March 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, personal stories, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The hypocrisy of Ben Heard on nuclear weapons proliferation

Jim Green shared a link. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South , 4 Feb 18 Australia   Ben Heard – the paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group ‘Bright New World’ accepts secret corporate donations – claims that “Peace is furthered when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program. That is the finding of a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal International Security.”

That’s false twice over. Firstly, it isn’t true. Secondly, Heard’s assertion isn’t supported by the International Security journal article, written by Nicholas Miller from Dartmouth College.

Miller’s article downplays the power/weapons connections but much of the information in his article undermines his own argument. In Miller’s own words, “more countries pursued nuclear weapons in the presence of a nuclear energy program than without one”, “the annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with nuclear energy programs, if one defines an energy program as having an operating power reactor or one under construction”, and countries that pursued nuclear weapons while they had a nuclear energy program were “marginally more likely” to acquire nuclear weapons (almost twice as likely if North Korea is considered to have had a nuclear energy program while it pursued weapons).

Nuclear power/weapons connections are multifaceted, repeatedly demonstrated, disturbing and dangerous:

• Nuclear power programs were involved in the successful pursuit of weapons in four countries (France, India, Pakistan, South Africa) according to Miller (and India and North Korea could be added to that list) and have provided many other countries with a latent weapons capability.

• Power programs have provided ongoing support for weapons programs to a greater or lesser degree in seven of the nine current weapons states (the exceptions being Israel and North Korea).
• The direct use of power reactors to produce plutonium for weapons in all or all-but-one of the declared weapons states (and possibly other countries, e.g. India and Pakistan).
• The use of power reactors to produce tritium for weapons in the US (and possibly other countries, e.g. India).
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising enrichment and reprocessing programs that have fed proliferation.
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising research (reactor) programs which can lead (and have led) to weapons proliferation.
• And last but not least, the training of experts for nuclear power programs whose expertise can be (and has been) used in weapons programs.

 So why does Heard claim that “when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program”? He ignores most of Miller’s article (and Miller himself ignores much that is known about power/weapons connections) and focuses on these findings:


1. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with an operating power reactor or one under construction (a statistically-significant finding).
2. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is somewhat lower in countries with operating power reactors compared to countries without them (a statistically non-significant finding).

So why does Heard privilege the second of those findings when only the first is statistically significant? Why does Heard privilege the finding that excludes countries with power reactors under construction (but not in operation) when the inclusion of such countries provides a fuller, more accurate assessment of the power/weapons connections? Perhaps Heard’s selectivity is connected to his work as a paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group accepts secret corporate donations. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Connections between civil and military nuclear programs Detailed 2015 paper: The myth of the peaceful atom – debunking the misinformation peddled by the nuclear industry and its supporters Nuclear power and weapons – explaining the connections 2017 – nuclear industry body and lobbyists acknowl…

March 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia ignores ban on nuclear weapons, although these weapons testing blinded and killed Aussies

Nuclear weapon testing killed and blinded Aussies in our own backyard  But Australia isn’t among the 122 countries that banned them.  now to love, BY KATE WAGNER 

When we hear about nuclear weapons, we think of the notorious and devastating Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, but what about Australia? For years, Indigenous communities in South Australia endured extreme nuclear weapon testing at the hands of the British government. It resulted in devastating, long-lasting health effects, if not death. But unlike the bombings in Japan, Australia’s history of atomic testing is rarely discussed.

The British and Australian governments said they chose barren, largely unpopulated areas to conduct the testing. But people were living there and, in the fallout, some suffered immediate health problems like rashes and skin infections while others were hit with autoimmune diseases later in life.

From 1947 until 1996, the Pacific underwent 315 nuclear testsand it was Indigenous people who felt the brunt of the fallout.

In Australia specifically, the UK carried out 12 major nuclear tests, even dropping a 15-kilotonned atomic device in Maralinga – a weapon with the same explosive strength as the infamous Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima, although a completely different design.

Hundreds of nuclear tests were conducted in Australia

They also carried out a few hundred smaller scale tests at Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Although the testing was shrouded in secrecy for decades, through oral history the Yankunytjatjara, Anangu and Pitjantjatjara people remembered the day the ground shook and the suffocating black mist rolled in.

The devastating effects of nuclear testing in South Australia is something prominent anti-nuclear activist Karina Lester knows all too well. Her father, Yami Lester, was an Aboriginal elder blinded by nuclear fallout when he was a child and he spent his life raising awareness for the dangers of nuclear weapons.

“My dad spoke of that day a lot. People in the community had skin infections, rashes, people were violently vomiting. The nuclear tests would happen in the morning and by the evening, people were already sick,” Karina told Now To Love.

“The older generations really felt the brunt of that fallout, and the younger generation too. Our young that were there at the camp, infants and young children, were really exposed to that radiation fallout as well, so death – people passed on.

“My grandmother would tell her own story about digging the graves for her parents, my great-grandparents, and they are just horrific stories.”

Even 60 years later, the effects of the testing are far from a distant memory for Karina’s family. Her sister, and fellow anti-nuclear campaigner, Rose Lester, suffers from an autoimmune disease she says was caused by the nuclear tests, and the pair’s father Yami saw his life change irreversibly just years later.

“In 1953, they conducted their nuclear testing in Emu Field. By 1957, Dad’s world was in total darkness,” Karina explained.

But it was more than just physical wounds

“Many of my older generations were loaded on a truck and moved far from their traditional lands to Yalata and Ceduna communities, or even as far as Gerard on the River Murray and then up to Port Augusta and Coober Pedy,” Karina told Now To Love.

“They were relocated off their traditional lands, moved from their homes, and it had a devastating impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

“Those lands they tested on, they were lands we traditionally used for hunting and gathering; lands we were spiritually connected to, and that was proven by Royal Commission.”

The physical and emotional pain caused by the testing was only magnified by the Australian government’s refusal to accept any wrongdoing.

“My dad heard an interview with Ernest Titterton [a British nuclear physicist] on ABC Radio saying indigenous people were informed about the testing in advance. He said that Aboriginal people had been cared for and moved away,” Karina remembers.

“Mr Titterton may have gone and spoken to the white pastoralists, but no one ever spoke to the Aboriginal community. They couldn’t, they didn’t speak our language.

“It was after that interview Dad decided he had to do something – to hold someone responsible. He talked to our people and they decided it was finally time our story was shared.”

It’s because of people like Karina’s dad Yami Lester the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was founded…………..https://www.nowtolove.com.au/news/latest-news/nuclear-weapon-testing-aboriginal-communities-ican-nobel-peace-prize-45369

 

March 2, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The machinations of Australia’s military-industrial-nuclear complex macho men

Claudio Pompili Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 14 Feb 18, 

By Andrew Farra, a former diplomat, trade adviser, and international lawyer…

The most articulate and informed assessment of the machinations by and aspirations of Australia’s military-industrial machine to align our foreign ‘defence’ policy with that of the US and, insidiously, surreptitiously create an environment for the potential acquisition of tactical nuclear weapons, either in our own right or by proxy. The new proposed ‘state secrets’ legislation by the LNP government is a necessary step in this direction.

This explains the persistent campaigns in Australia over recent decades to develop nuclear power generation programs that are acknowledged, critical enablers of military nuclear programs. The nuclear aspirations of the Menzies LNP governments of the 50s to own ‘the bomb’ are alive and well in Canberra.

The recent purchase of French-design nuclear submarines converted to diesel-powered drives is an obvious contender for such initiatives. Inexorably, the pro-nuclear cheer squad and its strategists, both in military-intelligence, such as the Australia Strategic Policy Institute, or in civil society, such as Ben Heard’s ‘nuclear will save the environment’ astro-turfing initiatives, will be clamouring to have the ‘real deal’ nuclear-powered subs.

SA’s NFCRC, led by former Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, was an active promoter of nuclear military weaponry. His NFCRC demurred on outright recommending nuclear power generation, for now, but instead pushed for the world’s first international high-level nuclear waste dump in SA, based on a single, spurious economic cost-benefit analysis coupled with an illegal, publicly-funded propaganda juggernaut stemming directly from Premier Jay Weatherill’s department. This push was supported by powerful sectors of the Adelaide business establishment including Big Miners, such as BHP and Santos, and promoted by Murdoch’s The Adelaide Advertiser tabloid. A temporary reprieve in the nuclear industry campaign was effected by the majority report of the Second Citizen’s Jury that recommended ‘no expansion of the nuclear fuel cycle under any circumstances’.

Premier Weatherill has declared the nuclear dump initiative “dead” but Blind Freddy would add “for now”.

From the back-reaches of the ‘hidden state’ has come this latest batch of suppressive legislation ostensibly to protect our secrets and to counter surreptitious foreign influences. Instead it will …

February 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Atomic bomb survivors call on Australia and Japan to sign UN nuclear weapons ban treaty

‘End of nuclear weapons or end of us’: Survivors call on Australia,  As Japan’s Peace Boat arrives in Sydney, survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings advocate for nuclear disarmament. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/end-of-nuclear-weapons-or-end-of-us-survivors-call-on-australia By Rachel Lockart , 6 Feb 18

February 7, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s new weapons export industry – secret men’s business

Secret men’s business of the arms industry needs exposure The Age, Stephanie Dowrick, 5 Feb 18,   “…….. I woke to the news that the federal government had decided to unveil a new “defence export strategy” to propel Australia into the big league of global weapons exporters.

Then, in the wake of that news – which has left many speechless, even despairing – comes a newer announcement of a $3.8bn boost to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. This is a taxpayer-funded “national interest” loan facility that previously supported the exporting of wine and other relatively harmless products but is now set, with a massive boost to its funds, to finance loans to some of the world’s largest arms manufacturers. What’s more, those loans do not need to pass any test of “social risk evaluation” – a nod to caring for others – but can be approved at the discretion of Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

Oddly enough, on the Blue Mountains drive my friend and I had discussed the weapons industries and the influence they have on the global economy. Their power to affect, even to drive governments’ policies, is immense. It is also profoundly undemocratic. Governments keep a tight grip on media revelations. The weapons world is “secret men’s business” from which the public is definitely shut out. My best sleuthing efforts came nowhere near discovering what this industry is really worth or who profits most.

 What we can know is that these industries – and the governments that applaud them – depend on actual and perceived enemies, a fairly hysterical narrative of “terror” and a disturbing acceptance of the inevitability of armed conflict and war. We can also know that the No.1 exporter of major arms is the USA, followed by Russia. It was easy, too, to discover that between 2001 and 2014, reported global military expenditure rose from US$1.14 trillion to US$1.711 trillion. In a world ruled by greed and highly vulnerable to corruption, what chance does peace have?

“This strategy is about job creation,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assures us. His colleague Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Defence Industry in a cabinet lacking a minister for science, is already presiding over a submarine project set to cost us $50 billion. Pyne is promising “tens of thousands” of jobs could be involved in this weapons’ push. But the issue here is surely far less about job creation than it is about which industries the government, on our behalf, wishes to support. These opinions, these ideological choices determine where we are heading as a nation. This is where a government has huge power. It’s also where it most accurately reveals itself. ……

If “job creation” truly is our government’s motive, then let them choose honestly. The weapons industries lack accountability, transparency, moral and social value. They thrive in the presence or expectation of deadly conflict. Their cost to the world’s physical and social environments is incalculable.

There are many sectors in Australia and globally that produce jobs and social benefits. With generous investment, they could produce more. In land and agricultural regeneration alone, as well as high-tech research and manufacturing, in renewable energy, the arts, community development, health and education, defence-sized investment would undoubtedly pay employment dividends – while simultaneously boosting our social and moral wellbeing. These are choices that have profound consequences. They could make the world safer. Or not.  Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick is a writer and social commentator www.stephaniedowrick.com   www.facebook.com/StephanieDowrick http://www.theage.com.au/comment/secret-mens-business-of-the-arms-industry-needs-exposure-20180202-h0spx3.html

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Peace Boat with nuclear bomb survivors arrives in Sydney

Nuclear bomb survivors glide into Sydney on Japan’s Peace Boat  Japan’s 11-storey Peace Boat, that advocates for nuclear disarmament, has entered Sydney Harbour. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/nuclear-bomb-survivors-glide-into-sydney-on-japan-s-peace-boat 5 Feb 18, 

The 11-storey vessel is visiting Sydney as part of its ‘Making Waves’ tour, which is exploring the devastating humanitarian consequences of the use and testing of nuclear weapons.

Survivors from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were also onboard.

“The world is closer to nuclear war today than it has been in decades,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said in a statement .

The Peace Boat, welcomed by the Maritime Union of Australia and Uranium Free NSW, entered the harbour at 7am on Monday.

Later in the day, a rally will be held outside official government offices, urging the Australian and Japanese governments to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Japanese survivors and Indigenous survivors of the 1950s British nuclear weapons testing at Maralinga in South Australia will address the midday rally at the Australian Government offices and the Japanese Consulate-General.

February 5, 2018 Posted by | ACTION, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear macho men always wanted nuclear weapons, and they still do

What Dibb suggested is that Australia, under the guise of generating nuclear power or on another pretext, acquire the essential technology to produce the fissile material needed to build a nuclear weapon. The hypocrisy involved is staggering. Analysts making such proposals accuse countries like Iran and North Korea of putting such plans into practice, and support a US pre-emptive attack to eliminate the supposed threat.

Dibb is well aware that Australia is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

before signing the NPT in 1970 and ratifying it in 1973, the Australian government drew up plans for a commercial nuclear power plant at Jervis Bay, south of Sydney, that would covertly supply the enriched uranium needed to manufacture nuclear weapons. The Jervis Bay project, which was promoted by Prime Minister John Gorton, was mothballed after he was ousted in 1971 by Billy McMahon.

This discussion is tied to a broader push to boost military spending in preparation for war.

In its 2016 defence white paper the government already foreshadowed a multi-billion dollar military expansion, lifting the defence budget to at least 2 percent of gross domestic product and purchasing advanced weapons systems. In a related move, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced a vast expansion of military industries in the name of a drive to export arms and become one of the world’s top ten weapons exporters.

None of these steps has anything to do with “defence” or preserving peace.

Renewed push for Australia to build nuclear weapons https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/30/aust-j30.html#pk_campaign=sidebar&pk_kwd=textlink, By Peter Symonds , 30 January 2018

A discussion has begun over the past month in Australian strategic and military circles about the necessity of building nuclear weapons, or developing the capacity to do so, against the alleged threat posed by nuclear-armed powers, above all China.

The debate, in public at least, is quite cautious, given the widespread popular hostility to war and thus the potential for protests to erupt against any move to create a nuclear arsenal. However, the very fact that the issue is actively being discussed is another sign of rapidly sharpening geo-political tensions and the accelerating arms race by major powers around the world. Continue reading

February 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Recognising the people behind ICAN, and their vision

In Australia, ICAN began with Felicity RubyDimity HawkinsDr. Bill WilliamsDr. Tilman Ruff, and others who launched the global effort with a strong medical and scientific perspective. According to Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, a disarmament educator in the United States, and one of the campaign’s earlier members, “the initial thinking revolved around horror, humor, and hope—to amplify the need for a louder nuclear taboo, to educate the public, reignite the movement fueled more by what we love than what we fear.”

Tim Wright, director of ICAN Australia, was the very first volunteer back in 2006. Tim has advocated for ICAN in the Asia-Pacific region, and around the globe.

The People Who Made a Nuclear-Weapons-Prohibition Treaty Possible https://www.thenation.com/article/the-people-who-made-a-nuclear-weapons-prohibition-treaty-possible/  ICAN’s visionary work has brought us that much closer to a nuclear-free world—and won them a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.By Ari Beser  2 Feb 2018, 

February 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Merchants of Death’: Profiteering from the arms trade

Sisters of St Joseph   January 2018 ,  The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the religious Congregation founded by St Mary MacKillop, challenges the newly released plan of the Federal Government to increase weapons exports.

“Weapons are designed to kill and maim human beings,” said the Congregational Leader, Sister Monica Cavanagh. “We completely reject the philosophy which finds it acceptable to boost industry, create jobs, increase exports and protect local manufacturing via the arms trade.”

“We agree with Pope Francis that those who seek to benefit from trading in weapons are ‘merchants of death’,” she concluded.

Six major issues concern the sisters:

  • The “mutually assured destruction” of the last forty years cannot guarantee deterrence in the future. Violence is escalating in proportion to the availability and destructive effect of new weapons.
  • There is enormous difference between a defence manufacturing industry to protect Australia and the development of a weapons export industry.
  • It is a matter of great concern and sorrow that Australia’s overseas aid has dropped to its lowest level ever, while at the same time plans are underway to increase the sale of weapons.
  • The government’s assurances about establishing and maintaining “controls” over which nations access Australian weapons lack detail on methods of oversight and on how such controls would be policed.
  • Australian capacity to deal in arms ethically is not evident in Australian history. Australia continued to provide military hardware and training to Indonesia between 1975 and 1999 during the occupation of East Timor in which up to 182,000 people died violently.
  • Australia’s considerable design and production expertise would be better used in projects which promote peace among nations and care of earth, particularly in places and electorates where people lack employment opportunities.

The Sisters of St Joseph call on the Australian government to prioritise education, health and good governance initiatives among the deprived peoples and nations of the world, rather than spending billions of Australian people’s dollars on producing and exporting the means of destruction.

“We strongly urge the government to resist the hypocrisy of talking about peace while financing and supporting the arms trade,” Sister Monica reflected. “Over 90% of those who die in war zones are not soldiers, but civilians, including so many of the most defenceless humans – the children. It is reprehensible for government and industry authorities to pursue   financial and electoral gain through promoting the weapons which enable the escalation of violence.”

February 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, religion and ethics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Australia as a target, in nuclear war

Hawaii’s false alarm: we’re right to question our safety from nuclear annihilation, Brisbane Times, By Smriti Keshari, Hawaiians recently experienced the most unimaginable nightmare, when an accidental alert went out a statewide warning of a “ballistic missile system” heading to the island. It happened at 8.07am on a Saturday.

Distraught residents did their best to find safety, parents drove miles to see their children one last time and some surfers even decided to paddle out for what they imagined was their last wave.

It was a false alarm, caused by human error, when a technician clicked on the wrong prompt on a computer screen.

Yet it served as a global wake-up call, and many around the world have begun to question the reality of whether their own country could be vulnerable to a similar incident.

In Australia, statewide emergency systems regularly use text alerts and landline phone messages to warn about bushfires, floods and other natural disasters. But could residents be woken one day by the threat of a missile headed towards Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne or the Pine Gap military facility near Alice Springs?

With no nuclear weapons of its own and no real nuclear-armed adversaries, the idea of an atomic-bomb attack may seem abstract to most Australians. But no country is safe from the nuclear threat. Defence analysts believe North Korea’s longest-range missiles could reach Australia. And although Australia’s geographic location makes it seem safe, experts say it is vulnerable to the effects of an all-out nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Additionally, as an ally of the United States, relying not only on the protection of America’s nuclear umbrella but also home to a strategic site in the US missile-defense system, Australia could be among the first targets to be hit in a surprise nuclear attack against the US………

And the effects of nuclear weapons testing have had a lasting effect on the environment and countless communities around the world. In Australia, from 1953 to 1957, Britain’s nuclear tests caused lingering effects that affected the livelihood and health of Aboriginals years later. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/hawaiis-false-alarm-were-right-to-question-our-safety-from-nuclear-annihilation-20180126-h0p0yv.html

Smriti Keshari is co-creator of the multimedia presentation the bomb, which featured during the Sydney Festival last week.

January 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment