Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

How will Entry Into Force of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty impact non weapons states parties, including Australia?

January 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Treaty – a step on the long path towards nuclear disarmament.

January 7, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia joins with USA to get hypersonic missiles

December 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds announces hypersonic missiles for Australia

Australia to begin testing hypersonic missiles within months, The Age, By Anthony Galloway, December 1, 2020 Australia will begin testing hypersonic missiles that can travel at least five times the speed of sound within months under a new agreement with the United States to develop prototypes of the next-generation weapons…….

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds will announce the multi-billion-dollar plan on Tuesday, saying the Australian government is committed to “keeping Australians safe, while protecting the nation’s interests in a rapidly changing global environment”. …
The government hopes to begin testing prototypes of the air-launched, long-range missiles within months, with the Australian Defence Force wanting them as part of its arsenal in the next five to 10 years.
The new deal with the United States – known as the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) – is the culmination of 15 years of research between the two nations on hypersonic scramjets, rocket motors, sensors and advanced manufacturing materials.

The Australian government will now begin talking with Australian industry about rolling out a range of technologies to bring the hypersonic missiles from the testing phase to the production line for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Defence will not reveal the estimated cost of developing the new hypersonic missiles but it is expected to run into billions of dollars. A total of $9.3 billion was earmarked in this year’s Force Structure Plan for high-speed long-range missile defences.

The ADF also wants to develop hypersonic missiles that can be launched from the sea and land……

Under the plan, the hypersonic missiles would be carried by the RAAF’s existing arsenal of aircraft including the Growlers, Super Hornets, Joint Strike Fighters and Poseidon surveillance planes. The missiles could also be attached to unmanned aircraft such as the new Loyal Wingman drones.

Senator Reynolds discussed the agreement with her US counterpart Mark Esper at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations in Washington in July this year, but the deal was signed last week.

The Australian Defence Minister said the experiments with the US would include demonstrations to show how the weapon performs in operational conditions, which would then inform future purchases.

“Developing this game-changing capability with the United States from an early stage is providing opportunities for Australian industry,” she said…..

Michael Kratsios, the Acting Under Secretary for Research and Engineering for the US’s Department of Defence, said the agreement was “essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational war-fighting capability”. ….. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/australia-to-begin-testing-hypersonic-missiles-within-months-20201130-p56j5a.html

December 1, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian taxpayers now splurging bigtime on weapons

December 1, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian children targetted for propaganda by the weapons industry

Reputation Laundering: weapons companies infiltrating schools to promote education https://www.michaelwest.com.au/reputation-laundering-weapons-companies-now-infiltrating-schools-to-promote-education/, by Michelle Fahy | Nov 27, 2020  A Lockheed missile blows up a bus full of Yemeni children; in Australia Lockheed Martin gains kudos by sponsoring the National Youth Science Forum. BAE Systems sponsors underprivileged kids in Australia while being complicit in the killing of thousands of needy children in Yemen. All you see in industry marketing pitches is euphemism, with nary a mention of the word “weapons”. Michelle Fahy reports.

The UK’s largest weapons-maker, BAE, is working inside Saudi Arabia supporting Saudi-United Arab Emirates military operations in Yemen, a war that has killed or injured tens of thousands of civilians, including thousands of children.

Meanwhile in Australia, BAE sponsors The Smith Family’s STEM education program for under-privileged children.

Flagrant hypocrisy? Welcome to the weapons business.

Then there’s Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons-maker, also raking in billions from the Yemen war. A Lockheed missile blew up a bus full of Yemeni school children in 2018, killing at least 29 kids and injuring dozens more. Back in Australia, Lockheed was cultivating kudos with kids as major sponsor of the National Youth Science Forum, a registered charity.

US missile-making giant Raytheon also continues to supply the Saudi-UAE coalition, despite evidence of numerous attacks with Raytheon missiles that targeted and killed civilians, including children. No mention of that in Australia. Instead, Aussie school kids had fun hanging out with the young Australian snowboarding paralympian Raytheon hired to front the launch of its Maths Alive! STEM program.

The French company supplying Australia’s new submarines, Naval Group, is at the centre of multiple corruption scandals globally, some of which involved murder. That hasn’t stopped Naval promoting itself as a model future employer, with the help of Port Adelaide footy heroes, to 90,174 kids in 329 South Australian schools since 2017.

And let’s not forget the list of sponsors of the Australian War Memorial, Legacy, Invictus Games and Soldier On, which include numerous weapons-making corporations.

There’s a name for this cynical behaviour: reputation laundering. And nearly every weapons company is doing it.

Promoted as innovators

The world’s weapons producers have taken with gusto to promoting themselves as innovators in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Military industry has adopted the STEM mantra to target children and young people as future employees, usually with the willing partnership of respected educational institutions. Many, if not most, Australian universities now have joint agreements, strategic partnerships or some other form of collaboration with the weapons industry.

The sales pitch is, join us for an exciting and challenging high-tech career in science. This enthusiastic support of STEM serves two purposes: reputation laundering is one, the other is as a recruitment drive. STEM provides a socially acceptable way to promote the weapons industry to children, and parents, as a potential employer.

There’s nothing wrong with promoting STEM education, or seeking new employees. The issue is the way these companies are now targeting children as young as primary school age, with the full support of government. (eg. The MD of weapons-maker Saab Technologies is on the South Australian education board.) The problem is the spin and glamour applied to increased militarism, with pertinent information omitted from the marketing. Warfare isn’t mentioned, for starters.

There’s nothing about how the kids will use their STEM education to enhance the ‘lethality’ of their employer’s products. Or about a future where employees have eliminated the need for human involvement in the ‘kill chain’ by creating autonomous robotic devices to make those decisions. (This is not science fiction, these research and development programs are already under way.) Working on nuclear weapons isn’t discussed, either.

You won’t find the underlying arms manufacturing realities in the STEM marketing by weapons giants. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find the word “weapons” at all.

A world of euphemism

Instead, you’ll enter a world of euphemism: “high end technology company”, “leading systems integrator”, “security and aerospace company”, “defence technology and innovation company”. It’s also a fair bet you’re reading weapons company marketing if you see the phrase “solving complex problems”. Especially if there’s mention of working to make the world safer and more secure.

The following are a few examples of many in which multinational weapons corporations are co-opting organisations of good purpose in Australia.

BAE and The Smith Family

BAE operates inside Saudi Arabia, training Saudi pilots, maintaining Saudi’s BAE-supplied fighter jets, and supervising Saudi soldiers as they load bombs onto the planes. Indiscriminate bombing, a well-known feature of the Yemen war, has killed or injured tens of thousands of civilians, including children.

BAE has earned £15 billion from sales to the Saudis since 2015 when the Yemen war started. A BAE maintenance employee was quoted last year saying, “If we weren’t there, in 7 to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky.”

BAE’s role in helping the Saudis prolong the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen has been pointed out more than once to The Smith Family since news broke of its sponsorship by BAE. Understandably, The Smith Family has responded defensively along the lines that critics are trying to steal an education from needy Australian children.

But what about the tens of thousands of needy children starved, maimed, and killed on the other side of the world? BAE Systems has given The Smith Family a mere $100,000 –  about 0.3% of The Smith Family’s $36.3 million in non-government fundraising income.

Cheap reputational PR for a company that has gained tens of billions of dollars in defence contracts in Australia, while facilitating war crimes elsewhere.

Raytheon and Maths Alive!

Raytheon has marketed this program to children across America, the Middle East and Australia. Raytheon’s intention? To reach children at an early age and create a “healthy pipeline” from primary education, through secondary, to tertiary studies, to secure its future workforce.

The then Assistant Minister for Defence David Fawcett lent his support to the 2018 Australian launch of Maths Alive!, telling media: “I welcome the ongoing commitment by Raytheon to engage young Australians by helping them visualise what a career in science or engineering might look like.”

Lockheed Martin and National Youth Science Forum


The National Youth Science Forum
 was created by Rotary, which remains involved. The forum, now run by a board chaired by former senator Kate Lundy, has several programs, the flagship program being for Year 12 students interested in science.

Each year about 600 students complete the program, which exposes students to various career pathways in science. Since Lockheed started as major sponsor in 2015, students visit Lockheed Martin laboratories and speak with Lockheed staff as part of the program. (Watch a short video here from Lockheed’s website with some students.)

The National Youth Science Forum’s website does not mention Lockheed’s dominant influence as the world’s No. 1 weapons manufacturer or its significant role in producing nuclear weapons. Lockheed’s role in civil sectors is covered, however this work constitutes a minor aspect of its business. The most recent information from Stockholm International Peace Research says 88% of Lockheed’s revenue comes from arms sales.

Lockheed Martin and the Gallipoli Sponsorship Fund

This year Lockheed Martin became the first corporate partner of the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund. This partnership includes the new $120,000 Lockheed Martin Australia Bursary for the educational benefit of descendants of Australian veterans.

One of the aims of the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund is to contribute “to the future security of our nation and our national values of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law”.

Nuclear weapons will become illegal under international law in January 2021 when the new UN treaty prohibiting them comes into force. The world’s nine nuclear-armed countries haven’t signed it – nor their hangers-on, including Australia – so it won’t apply to them. But two-thirds of the world’s countries (including New Zealand) did vote to bring the treaty into being, banning the world’s worst weapons of mass destruction, and setting a new global norm.

Professor Ramesh Thakur, Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the Australian National University, has said, “The ban treaty embodies the collective moral revulsion of the international community.”

The awkward truth is that the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund’s new corporate partner, Lockheed Martin, is one of the largest nuclear-weapons-producing companies on the planet. Lockheed is all set to provide its 12 bursaries from now through to the end of 2023.

Such are the ethical dilemmas these weapons corporations create for organisations doing good work that are in need of funding.

Morally indefensible positions

Such sponsorships might appear less self-serving if weapons companies behaved consistently, and stopped supplying weapons to war criminals. Claiming they are just doing the bidding of the US or UK governments in supplying the Saudis, as these companies have, is not a morally defensible position, particularly in the face of evidence of ongoing war crimes in Yemen.

Similarly, claims that they are committed to serving the national interest might be more believable if they ceased bribing and scamming their way into the next arms deal, or concocting endless ways to extend and inflate government contracts and invoices for their own corporate financial benefit, blatantly siphoning funds from the public purse.

November 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Education, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Research on the intergenerational impacts of Maralinga nuclear tests

Research on the intergenerational impacts of Maralinga nuclear tests supported by Moran Awardhttps://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/research-intergenerational-impacts-maralinga-nuclear-tests

November 20, 2020  November 20, 2020

Henrietta Byrne from the University of Adelaide. Photo: suppliedHenrietta Byrne from the University of Adelaide is the recipient of the Academy’s 2021 Moran Award for History of Science Research.
She receives the award for her proposal entitled ‘Legacies of exposure: Tracing scientific and Indigenous understandings of exposures from the Maralinga atomic testing (1956–84)’.

Ms Byrne will explore how Australian science has responded to the question of intergenerational impacts of environmental exposures on bodies over time, focused around the British atomic testing conducted in Maralinga, South Australia between 1956 and 1968.

The National Archives of Australia and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies library, as well as interviews with leading anthropologists, will inform her research.

Her work will not only provide an important examination of scientific understandings of environmental exposure, but will also focus explicitly on the Indigenous aspects of this history.

Ms Byrne said that the award will allow her to study the relationships between Indigenous knowledges, settler colonial histories and science and technology studies.

“I’m honoured to have the support of the Australian Academy of Science to undertake this study. It is a great opportunity to engage with the archives in a way that highlights the experiences and ongoing activism of Aboriginal people whose land was exposed to radiation.”

This research is part of her broader PhD project in Anthropology and Gender Studies on environmental exposures and epigenetics in Indigenous Australian contexts.

The Moran Award for History of Science Research is worth up to $5000, and is aimed at postgraduate students and other researchers with expertise in the history of Australian science. Applications for the 2022 award will open in early 2021.

November 21, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s Department of Defence captured by foreign weapons makers Thales, BAE,

November 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian government ponders nuclear submarines

Why didn’t Australia consider nuclear propulsion for its new submarines?  The Strategist

10 Nov 2020|Peter Jennings  “………… ‘Why didn’t we talk about nuclear propulsion for submarines during the white paper process?’

Why indeed! I would venture that there hasn’t been a detailed discussion of nuclear propulsion around the Australian cabinet table since the nuclear crisis in ANZUS in 1984, in which New Zealand cast away the alliance over the vastly improbable risk that a US warship might sneak a nuclear weapon into Auckland Harbour. I was closely involved in the defence white papers produced in 2000 and 2016 and had a ringside seat at the 2009 white paper. To my knowledge, nuclear propulsion wasn’t part of any formal cabinet consideration. The 2009 white paper quickly dismissed any interest—‘The Government has ruled out nuclear propulsion for these submarines’—at the same time as it stressed the importance of range and ‘prolonged covert patrols over the full distance of our strategic approaches and in operational areas’.

At a major maritime conference in 2019, the chief of navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, tentatively ventured the thought that a slow build of 12 boats might allow nuclear propulsion to be considered at a later stage (‘A change in the propulsion system for the Attack-class submarines; it’s something that will no doubt be discussed over the next 30 years, bearing in mind that by the time we deliver No. 12 it will be 2055’), but the government quickly said that this wasn’t under consideration. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be a strong constituency for nuclear propulsion inside the navy, which is still culturally an organisation built around surface ships. The wider defence organisation has the Attack-class project to deliver, which is complex enough without adding a major new challenge to master nuclear propulsion.

Parliament is filled with many MPs on both sides of politics who will privately advocate for nuclear propulsion but publicly shy away from discussing the capability. The fear is that it isn’t possible to build a bipartisan consensus for nuclear propulsion in ways that prevent one side of politics rejecting the idea, leaving the other side with a potential political liability.

That was certainly the outcome of the 2019 House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy review of the future of nuclear technology in Australia. Government members of the committee recommended ‘adopting a strategic approach to the possibility of entering the nuclear energy industry’. This was countered with a Labor Party dissenting report claiming that ‘There is simply no case for wasting time and resources on a technology that is literally the slowest, most expensive, most dangerous, and least flexible form of new power generation.’

Nuclear propulsion for submarines wasn’t considered, but it’s clear at least in the short term that there’s no prospect for bipartisan cooperation on this issue………

The strategic ground is changing quickly under our feet, and those developments might, in future, force a more urgent government consideration of the submarine capability Australia needs. The 2016 white paper pointed to the need to keep the submarine capability under examination, stating that a review would be needed ‘in the late 2020s to consider whether the configuration of the submarines remains suitable or whether consideration of other specifications should commence’…….. https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/why-didnt-australia-consider-nuclear-propulsion-for-its-new-submarines/

November 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

315 nuclear bombs and ongoing suffering: the shameful history of nuclear testing in Australia and the Pacific

November 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, personal stories, reference, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Superannuation funds are leaving investments on nuclear weapons

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

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)- from a tiny group to an International Treaty

Nuclear weapons treaty backed by 50 nations to become international law  https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/nuclear-weapons-treaty-backed-by-50-nations-to-become-international-law,14455

By Dave Sweeney | 1 November 2020,   A treaty designed to ban nuclear weapons has become a major step in the elimination of global nuclear arms, writes Dave Sweeney.

2020 HAS BEEN a very tough year with fires, pestilence and massive economic and human disruption but amid the difficulties, an Australian-born initiative is steadily growing global support and offers our shared planet its best way to get rid of its worst weapons.

In October 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an initiative born in Melbourne and adopted, adapted and applied around the world, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

This was in recognition of its:

“…work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

Fast forward to October 2020 and the Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons has just cleared a big hurdle. Despite strong pressure from the nuclear weapons states, especially the U.S., 50 nations have now ratified the ban treaty. It will enter into force and become part of international humanitarian law on 22 January 2021.

At a time when the threat of nuclear war is more explicit than it has been in decades, the ICAN story is timely and shows the power of both the individual and the idea. When ICAN started in 2007, its founders could have fitted in a minibus. Ten years later, there are over 500 ICAN groups and formal partners in more than 100 nations. And a treaty. Continue reading

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

Australia should stop selling uranium to nuclear weapon states and not sell uranium into unstable regions.

David Noonan  Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, 27 Oct 20, 

 

Nuclear Weapons Treaty Ban to come into Force on 22 Jan 2021
Australia should stop selling uranium to nuclear weapon states and not sell uranium into unstable regions.
BHP Olympic Dam will soon bear near sole responsibility for Aust’s uranium sales supply chain issues.
Aust has signed uranium sales deals into India – in a regional nuclear stand off with Pakistan; to Ukraine – in cross border conflict with Russia & separatists & cyber hackers; and to the UAE – into the unstable Middle East.
Dept Foreign Affairs and Trade says this is good business.
Nuclear reactors are targets.
Attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia shows US military gear can not stop attacks on energy facilities in the region.
Aust and BHP Olympic Dam can stop selling uranium.

October 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Michelle Fahy blows open the disgraceful collusion between Australian politicians and weapons industries

October 13, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia needs a permanent war crimes investigation unit

Australia needs a permanent war crimes investigation unit, The Age, By Rawan Arraf

October 7, 2020 — The public has been shocked by revelation after revelation of serious allegations of war crimes committed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. There’s been a steady stream of statements from the Defence Minister and, most recently, the Chief of the Army, preparing us for worse to come.

At the conclusion of Justice Paul Brereton’s Afghanistan inquiry we know there will be more referrals to the Australian Federal Police for criminal investigation of war crimes allegations.

We know so far that Brereton’s inquiry has investigated more than 55 incidents of alleged unlawful killings and cruel treatment of Afghan civilians and captured combatants. We know that the AFP is investigating at least three incidents, and it has been put on notice to prepare for more.

Our legal centre was established to push Australia to undertake more investigations and prosecutions into international crimes and to contribute to the global effort to end the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of these crimes. It has been saying for some time that the AFP needs specialist training, skills, and resources to undertake such investigations. Experience shows that authorities often find the challenges involved in investigating and prosecuting crimes committed extraterritorially daunting, and consequently choose not to prioritise these cases………….

Rawan Arraf is principal lawyer and director of the Australian Centre for International Justice, a legal centre that has been working with survivor and victims’ communities on criminal complaints to the Australian Federal Police. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/australia-needs-a-permanent-war-crimes-investigation-unit-20201005-p562a2.html

October 8, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, weapons and war | Leave a comment