nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

For US government, exporting nuclear technology is more important than public safety

Buy-US-nukesUS opposes pos t-Fukushima nuclear safety proposal http://rt.com/usa/199024-cns-nuclear-safety-proposal/

October 24, 2014 The United States is reportedly trying to fend off an attempt out of Switzerland to change a multi-national nuclear safety agreement in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.Reuters and Bloomberg News both reported this week that Swiss officials are seeking addendums to the 77-nation Convention on Nuclear Safety, or CNS, so that countries around the globe are compelled to upgrade energy facilities in hopes of preventing fallout like the one spawned by the Fukushima meltdown more than three years ago.

But while Reuters says the Swiss-led initiative is tentatively being backed by other European countries, the newswire alleges that energy officials in the US, Russia and Canada are all opposed to the measure, which would likely increase industry costs.

Although details of the proposed pact have not been made public, Bloomberg reported that it would involve rewriting “international standards to ensure nuclear operators not only prevent accidents but mitigate consequences if they occur, by installing costly new structures built to survive natural disasters.” In a report published on Thursday this week by Reuters, the newswire said that the proposed changes would not only apply up-to-date safety standards for new reactors, but also carry out back-fitting measures on sites that are already in operation.According to this week’s reports, however, some of the world’s top energy powers are opposed because, as Reuters’ Fredrick Dahl wrote, any changes to the CNS could take years to be installed if, of course, they are ratified by the dozens of nations involved. “You are trying to drop a Ferrari engine into a Volkswagen. If you want a new car, let’s go to the show room” and buy one, a senior but unnamed Department of State official said to Dahl.

But experts have previously said American facilities, in particular, are in need of upgrades, with a July 2014 report published by the National Academy of Science that said the US “should access their preparedness for severe nuclear accidents associated with offsite-scale disasters.” Additionally, the authors of that study wrote that America’s current approach to nuclear safety is “clearly inadequate for preventing core-melt accidents and mitigating their consequences,” yet newly-initiated upgrades in the US are being conducted on a scale hardly comparable to what’s occurring overseas: according to Bloomberg, Electricite de France SA is spending around $13 billion on implementing safety measures on its 59 reactors, whereas American utilities will spend only $3 billion on portable generators and cooling reserves for roughly 100 reactors.

Nevertheless, officials in Berne remain optimistic that the countries currently opposed to the proposed changes will come to an agreement that makes facilities around the world more secure.

“Switzerland, as the initiator of the proposal, will continue to collaborate with all delegations and do everything to find a solution that is acceptable to all of us,” Georg Schwarz, deputy director general of the Swiss nuclear-safety regulator, ENSI, wrote to Bloomberg Business Week.

Russian officials did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment, and neither BusinessWeek nor Reuters included remarks from Canada in their report.

October 25, 2014 Posted by | marketing, safety, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s National Audit Office investigating subsidy price for Hinkley nuclear power electricity

scrutiny-on-costsHinkley C deal goes under scrutiny again Somerset County Gazette, 23 October 2014 

ANOTHER investigation into the controversial Hinkley C deal has begun.

Just two weeks ago, the European Commission approved plans for the £16bn nuclear power plant.

They had been investigating whether the subsidy deal between energy company EDF and the Government constituted as illegal State aid.

While the project was approved, the National Audit Office has now begun investigating the deal to make sure the subsidy price of £92 a megawatt hour represented value for money.

The NAO is a financial watchdog which scrutinises public spending on behalf of Parliament……….

The Stop Hinkley Campaign welcomed the news about the investigation. Spokesperson Allan Jeffrey said: “This is an extraordinarily bad deal, locking consumers into high prices until almost 2060.

“Worse still, it will use up most of the money available to subsidise non-fossil fuel energy, leaving almost nothing available for renewables at a time when their costs are plummeting.

“The European Commission’s ill-thought through decision has turned UK Energy Policy into even more of a dog’s breakfast than it was to begin with…….

Energy supplier Ecotricity has said it is considering taking legal action against the deal along with the Austrian Government and Germany………http://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/11554761.Hinkley_C_deal_goes_under_scrutiny_again/

October 25, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Volcanic activity increasing in area near Japan’s nuclera power plant

Japan warns of increased activity at volcano near nuclear plant TOKYO Fri Oct 24, 2014 (Reuters) Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Michael Perry- Japan warned on Friday that a volcano in southern Japan located roughly 64 km (40 miles) from a nuclear plant was showing signs of increased activity that could possibly lead to a small-scale eruption and warned people to stay away from the summit.

The warning comes nearly a month after another volcano, Mt Ontake, erupted suddenly when crowded with hikers, killing 57 people in Japan’s worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years.

Ioyama, a mountain on the southwestern island of Kyushu, has been shaken by small tremors and other signs of rising volcanic activity recently, including a tremor lasting as long as seven minutes, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency’s volcano division said……..

Ioyama lies in the volcanically active Kirishima mountain range and is roughly 64 km from the Sendai nuclear plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co, which the Japanese government wants to restart even though the public remains opposed to nuclear power following the Fukushima crisis.

Critics point out that the Sendai plant is located about 50 kms (31 miles) from Mount Sakurajima, an active volcano that erupts frequently. Five giant calderas, crater-like depressions formed by past eruptions, are also in the region, the closest one 40 kms (25 miles) away.

The plant still needs to pass operational safety checks as well as gain the approval of local authorities and may not restart till next year……..http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/24/us-japan-volcano-idUSKCN0ID0A320141024?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

October 25, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Secretive deals between Russia and South Africa about buying nuclear technology

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaSecret nuclear deal talks held in KZN, news 24,  2014-10-24 Rowan Philp, The Witness Pietermaritzburg - Twenty of Vladimir Putin’s top nuclear experts pitched for South Africa’s biggest-ever deal – with an estimated R1 trillion price tag – at a secret meeting in the Drakensberg on Thursday.

The Witness can reveal that 50 South African experts – including its nuclear chief, Zizamele Mbambo – grilled officials from Russia’s state atomic energy company, Rosatom, at a secretive four-day conference at the Champagne Sports Resort.

secrets-liesSecrecy

 Officials initially denied that Rosatom was present, and the secrecy blanket included the omission of the firm’s name from all workshop materials.

However, a Witness reporter gained access to one key meeting for 15 minutes before being ejected, and also traced the name of the South African head of Rosatom to a chalet at the hotel. Rosatom officials pitched eight of their “VVER” pressurised water reactors for South Africa’s massive “nuclear build” programme.

It is intended to add 9 600 megawatts to the grid by 2030.

In an interview at the hotel, Mbambo said a French company was expected to pitch six of its slightly larger reactors at a similar conference.

The Russians were given the opportunity to present the first workshop in which to “parade” their offering, and France and China are set to follow later.

However, Mbambo revealed that other invited countries – including South Korea and the US – could potentially miss out on consideration if their presentations were not ready in terms of an unspecified deadline.

‘Window dressing’

Echoing the concerns of unions and accountability watchdogs, the DA last week alleged that the secretive workshops with various countries were “window dressing”, and that “all evidence points to a done deal with the Russians”.

This follows the revelation that President Jacob Zuma had struck a private agreement with Putin in August, and a statement by Rosatom in September that a deal for “actual joint construction” had been struck with the South African government.

The department of energy later said the statement had been “misunderstood”, and Mbambo on Thursday said: “No vendor has been chosen, and the procurement process has not yet begun.”………

The event was so secretive that the name “Rosatom” did not appear on any conference badges or place cards, and Russian officials also refused to confirm who they were when they were questioned about their identities.

But two members of the Russian delegation wore “Rosatom” golf shirts at the breakfast buffet, and The Witness established that Rosatom’s Vladimir Polikarpov was staying in chalet 27.

An energy department official later confirmed they were the bidding vendor………http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Secret-nuclear-deal-talks-held-in-KZN-20141024

October 25, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Japan to sign up to convention that removes liability from companies making nuclear reactors

Abe,-Shinzo-nuke-1Japan to ratify international convention on nuclear accident compensation pact THE ASAHI SHIMBUN http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201410240041

Japan intends to ratify an international convention that sets a global uniform standard for compensating victims of nuclear accidents.

The move is in line with fears of an increasing risk of a nuclear accident abroad with developing nations accelerating their efforts to construct nuclear power plants.

The convention limits responsibility for nuclear accidents to the operator of the nuclear plant, meaning companies that manufacture nuclear plant equipment would not be liable. That provision would make it easier for Japanese manufacturers to export nuclear technology.

However, critics charge that Japan has not yet adequately assessed the reasons for the catastrophic triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011 and that it is wrong to join a convention that would promote nuclear technology exports.

The Abe administration will submit a bill to the extraordinary Diet session now in progress to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). Currently, five nations, including the United States, have ratified the treaty, which was adopted in 1997.

However, the treaty has still not entered into force because one provision has not been met–that the total installed nuclear capacity of the ratifying nations be at least 400,000 megawatts.

If Japan ratified the convention, that provision would be cleared. The United States has been lobbying Japan to join the pact. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

VIDEO: Obam to spend $1 Trillion on nuclear weapons upgrades

see-this.wayVIDEO: Obama Promised a “World Without Nuclear Weapons,” but May Now Spend $1 Trillion on Upgrades
Friday, 24 October 2014 By Amy GoodmanDemocracy Now! | Video Interview We are on the road in the historic city of Vienna, Austria, not far from the Czech Republic where President Obama gave a major address in 2009 that called for a nuclear-free world. His disarmament efforts were cited when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, but since then advocates say little progress has been made. A recent New York Times investigation found the United States is on pace to spend as much as $1 trillion over the next three decades to modernize its nuclear arsenal and facilities. This week, more than 150 countries at the United Nations signed a joint statement calling on nuclear powers to attend the third major conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons scheduled this December in Vienna. The United States has yet to attend one of the meetings. We are joined by Elena Sokova, executive director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

TRANSCRIPT:…….http://truth-out.org/news/item/27033-obama-promised-a-world-without-nuclear-weapons-but-may-now-spend-1-trillion-on-upgrades?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TRUTHOUT+(t+r+u+t+h+o+u+t+%7C+News+Politics)

October 25, 2014 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Human mission to Mars probably impossible, due to killer radiation

radiation-warningMars mission could expose astronauts to deadly levels of radiation while travelling to the red planet, study claims, Daily Mail 

    • A study from the University of New Hampshire suggests missions to Mars might be impossible due to an increased risk of radiation 
    • Research suggests when sun is less active cosmic rays increase
    • This lowers the amount of time an astronaut can safely stay in space
    • It is predicted solar activity will continue to decrease in future
    • This will mean male astronauts can only stay in space for 320 days
    • And for females this is reduced to just 240 days
    • These would be too short for a mission to Mars, particularly for women
    • Both would be susceptible to radiation sickness, cancer and more  

By JONATHAN O’CALLAGHAN FOR MAILONLINE 22 October 2014

Sending people to Mars may be impossible due to an increased radiation risk from cosmic rays, claims a study.

It’s thought that a predicted decrease in solar activity will raise the levels of radiation astronauts are subjected to from cosmic rays on a deep space mission.

This will increase the risk of suffering sickness, cancer and more on lengthy trips to the red planet lasting about a year to levels beyond what is considered safe……

the number of days a human could spend in space before reaching the limit is less than thought……a mission to Mars for a man difficult, but for women it would be all but impossible without them succumbing to serious effects of radiation. ……..http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2802937/mars-mission-expose-astronauts-deadly-levels-radiation-travelling-red-planet-study-claims.html

October 25, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

Japanese prosecutors delay decision on charging 3 former TEPCO executives, about Fukushima nuclear disaster

3/11 charges for Tepco execs delayed by three months, Japan Times, REUTERS, KYODO  OCT 25, 2014

Prosecutors have delayed for three months a decision on whether to charge three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. for their handling of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, an official with a panel that requested the indictments said Friday.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/25/national/crime-legal/311-charges-tepco-execs-delayed-three-months/#.VExlgiLF8nk

October 25, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Residents protest as nuclear dump site prepared in Miyagi

wastesflag-japanWork begins on nuclear dump sites in Miyagi as residents protest, Japan Times, KYODO OCT 25, 2014 SENDAI/SAPPORO – As nuclear workers on Friday geared up to take soil samples at two locations selected to store radioactive waste, ignoring residents standing by in protest, work at a third site was stalled by demonstrations……….http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/25/national/work-begins-on-nuclear-dump-sites-in-miyagi-as-residents-protest/#.VExlBCLF8nk

October 25, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan’s new Trade and Energy minister holds shares in TEPCO

conflict-of-interestflag-japanSuga downplays conflict involving new trade chief’s Tepco stake, Japan Times, BY REIJI YOSHIDA, 25 OCT 14  STAFF WRITER

 Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga brushed aside concerns Friday about the new trade and industry minister’s 600-share stake in Tokyo Electric Power Co. and said that the government guidelines in place to protect Cabinet ministers from conflicts of interest would be followed………http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/25/national/politics-diplomacy/suga-downplays-conflict-involving-new-trade-chiefs-tepco-stake/#.VExUqyLF8nl

October 25, 2014 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australia’s environmental law under threat, as Abbott govt ready to seal Trans Pacific Partnership agreement

The agreement poses a very real risk to the environment,” says Professor Jane Kelsey, an expert on globalisation and economic regulation from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “If Australia signs an agreement with these mechanisms in place it will make it harder for the government to put new regulations in place.”

That includes any subsidies we might put on renewable energy, or protection we might put in place to save an endangered species.”

Kelsey. “The Abbott government is basically be binding the hands of all future governments on environmental issues.”

So what is the likelihood of Australia ending up signing the agreement as it stands? Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated he’s extremely supportive of signing the deal, and Andrew Robb, has stated that negotiations are in the final stages and the treaty is“ready to be sealed”.

texy-TPP

flag-AustraliaTPP: the free-trade threat to Australia’s environment, ABC 24 Oct 14 FIONA MACDONALD Australia is preparing to sign an agreement that would give international corporations the power to go over the government’s head on environmental issues. Here’s what you need to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

STRETCHING WIDE, blue and deep, the St Lawrence River in Canada drains America’s Great Lakes to the sea. Along its shores, painted weatherboard cottages cradled by vibrant autumnal trees take in the view of the vast body of water.

This peaceful scene belies the legal battle for what lies underground along this river basin. The Canadian state of Quebec is being sued for CAD$250 million of taxpayers’ money after putting a pause on fracking.

To be clear, Quebec hasn’t decided to ban fracking, it’s simply asked for time to conduct environmental studies to find out whether the process is safe — but mining company Lone Pine Resources has taken the government to an international court, claiming it’s lost millions of dollars in profits as a result of the snap decision.

And if previous trials are anything to go by, there’s a good chance Lone Pine will win, even if it turns out fracking is dangerous to the environment and public health.

It sounds crazy, but it’s legal. And under an agreement Australia is set to sign within 12 months, companies operating in Australia will be able to sue the Government if it makes decisions that hurt their profits — for example, putting in new policies to protect the environment.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is being negotiated between 12 countries — Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore New Zealand, the US, Vietnam and Canada — with the aim of freeing up and regulating trade between the signatories.

The agreement contains ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) clauses. These give big companies who are invested in Australia permission to sue the government in international tribunals if it puts in place new regulations that hurt their profits. These are the same clauses that allowed Philip Morris International to sue the Australian Government for installing plain-packaging tobacco legislation. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

Planning for Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in 2016

safety-symbol1Stopping a Nuclear Nightmare: How We Can Secure Loose Nuclear Materials “Since the collapse of communism, there have been 664 reported incidents involving the theft or loss of nuclear and other radioactive materials…”
The National Interest, Kenneth N. Luongo

October 24, 2014 “……..The United States will host the fourth and likely final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in 2016, and later this month, representatives from over fifty nations will start planning the agenda. They need to overcome the prevailing complacency about the strength of the current security system and its ability to prevent a nuclear nightmare. The current system suffers from three fundamental weaknesses. It mostly relies on voluntary obligations that nations can take or leave. There are no mandatory international standards that would allow for effective evaluation of security consistency and competency across borders. And, there is no requirement for peer review or even communication among countries about their security strategy and practices. The result is an opaque global patchwork, with the weakest links offering tempting targets for increasingly emboldened terrorists………

Recognizing that the clock is running out on the high-level summit process, there are five priorities that need to be achieved at the 2016 summit……..http://nationalinterest.org/feature/stopping-nuclear-nightmare-how-we-can-secure-loose-nuclear-11542

October 25, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Patrick Moore, fossil fuel and nuclear mercenary, tours Australia, courtesy of front group Galileo Movement

Moore,Patrick-11Moore’s trip to Australia has been financed through the climate science denial organisation the Galileo Movement.

.Moore has been given favourable coverage in popular rural newspaper The Land and the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Australian.

Moore is almost always described as a co-founder of Greenpeace, despite Greenpeace itself contesting that he wasn’t a co-founder.

An archive of Moore’s CV shows his work for corporations and organisations in logging, pulp and paper and mining. He has also been an advocate for the nuclear energy industry.


Climate Science Denialist Patrick Moore Tours Australia After Comparing Students to the Taliban
http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/10/23/climate-science-denialist-patrick-moore-tours-australia-after-comparing-students-taliban#disqus_thread Canadian climate science denialist Patrick Moore is at the beginning of a tour around Australia speaking to audiences across the country.

But here’s a warning.

If you do find yourself in the audience and don’t want to be compared to the “Taliban” then don’t even think about walking out in protest.

Less than two weeks before flying to Australia, Moore spoke on the campus of Amherst Collegein Massachusetts.

When members of the college’s environmental group decided they had heard enough and walked, Moore said they had a “Taliban mindset”.

When he was later asked to apologise, a report in the Amherst College student newspaper says Moore instead chose to double-down on his remark.

“Fifty people walk out, and I say that’s a pretty Taliban thing to do,” Moore is reported to have said, characterizing the behavior of the young students to that of the fundamentalist regime that massacred thousands and committed brutal repression of women.

Who is Patrick Moore?

Moore has no scientific credibility on climate change and has never published a scientific paper on the issue.

Yet Moore claims there is “no scientific proof” that humans are causing global warming and that “throwing bones on the ground” would have a better predictive ability than most climate models.

His opinion on the science runs against all the major national science academies in the world and about 97 per cent of all the peer reviewed studies on climate change carried out since the early 1990s. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia

THE FORGOTTEN COUP Little Darwin, John Pilger 24 Oct 14 – How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth. …………………….
US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years……….Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House… a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”

Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”…………………..
The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”…………………
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.http://littledarwin.blogspot.com.au/

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Lest we forget: what was done to Australia’s greatest Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam

Whitlam, the CIA and Nugan Hand http://nuganhand.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/whitlam-the-cia-and-nugan-hand/ November 11: Coup? What coup? [Green Left Weekly], November 21, 2010 By John Jiggens“………Lest we forget.

Former Australian prime ministers Robert Menzies, Howard Holt, John Gorton, Bob Hawke and John Howard all compliantly sent Australian troops to fight US wars. But in the early 1970s, Whitlam’s government had the courage to bring Australian soldiers home from the US war in Vietnam.

For this audacious action, Labor would never be forgiven by then-US president Richard Nixon, the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, the CIA, and corrupt conservative premiers Bob Askin (NSW) and Joe Bjelke-Petersen (Queensland) — who all hated Whitlam as though he were Che Guevara.

Whitlam’s election in 1972 began a short-lived era in which the stated aims of the new Labor government were to promote equality and involve the people in decision-making processes.

Within two weeks of Whitlam’s election, conscription was abolished and draft resisters released from jail. Voting rights were extended to all Australians over 18, and university fees abolished.

Whitlam’s youth constituency also gained community radio stations, and the Whitlam government intended to decriminalise marijuana. Aborigines were granted land rights in the Northern Territory.

Whitlam was less subservient than his Liberal predecessors to Washington’s foreign policy directions. He took a more critical line in foreign policy, condemning Nixon’s 1972 bombing offensive against North Vietnam and warned he might draw Indonesia and Japan into protests against the bombing.

The People’s Republic of China was recognised and the Whitlam government spoke up in the United Nations for Palestinian rights. The French were condemned for testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, and refugees fleeing the CIA-backed coup in Chile were welcomed.

Nixon and the CIA found such independence intolerable. After Whitlam was re-elected in 1974, and Jim Cairns became his deputy, Nixon ordered the CIA to review US policy towards Australia. Although the CIA’s response to Nixon has never been released, it seems it began a covert operation to destabilise the Whitlam government began then.

The puppet masters who led the coup were Ted Shackley and Marshal Green. Nixon appointed Green as US Ambassador to Australia in 1973. Nick-named “the coup-master”, Green had been involved in several countries where the CIA had masterminded coups, such as Indonesia (1965) and Cambodia (1970).

Green’s goals were to maintain US bases in Australia and to protect US economic interests.

Green let it be known that if the Labor government honoured one of its key election pledges to reclaiming ownership of oil refineries and mining industries, the US would respond. Green carefully cultivated the Fairfax, Murdoch and Packer dynasties that controlled the Australian media.

Ted Shackley, known as the “Blond Ghost”, joined the CIA in 1951. Over the next two decades, he emerged as the agency’s “dirty tricks” specialist, directing the CIA’s campaign against Cuba and Fidel Castro’s government in 1962.

In 1966 he became Chief of Station in Laos and directed the US secret war there — earning his other nickname, “the Butcher of Laos”.

In 1971, he became head of the CIA’s Western Division (covering North and South America) where he plotted the overthrow of Allende. In 1974, Shackley became head of the Eastern Division of the CIA, covering Asia and Australia.

Shackley’s speciality was financing black operations through the drug trade and he learned the dark art of running drug armies during the secret war in Laos. One of his foot soldiers in Laos was Michael Hand, co-founder of the Nugan Hand bank.

Michael Hand helped forge documents used by the media to discredit the Whirtlam government, while his partner Frank Nugan was the conduit for CIA money to the Liberal Party. Millions of dollars flowed to the conservative parties via Nugan Hand.

Shackley played a key role in the security crisis of November 1975, which revolved around the US military base at Pine Gap. Whitlam had threatened that if the US tried to “bounce” his government, he would look at the presence of US bases in Australia.

The lease for Pine Gap was due for renewal in December 1975. On 10 November 1975, the day before Whitlam was sacked, Shackley sent an extraordinary cable from the CIA to ASIO’s director general, threatening to remove ASIO from the British-US intelligence agreement because he considered Whitlam a security threat.

The cable was published by the Financial Review in 1977 and has been widely reprinted. It shows Shackley’s involvement in the security crisis.

Shackley was furious that Whitlam had accused the CIA of funding the opposition conservative parties and had claimed CIA money was being used to influence domestic Australian politics. In particular, Whitlam was asking questions about the close relationship between Richard Stallings, who ran the so-called joint facility at Pine Gap, and National Party leader Doug Anthony.

“The CIA has grave concerns as to where this type of public discussion may lead”, Shackley’s cable said.

In his 1977 speech calling for a royal commission into the activities of the CIA in Australia, Whitlam called Shackley’s cable “a clear example of the attempted deception of the Australian Government by the American intelligence community … The message was offensive in tone, deceitful in intent and sinister in its implications.”

For the Australian media, the message of Remembrance Day 2010 was clear: sleeping dogs must be allowed to lie. There could be nothing nobler to aspire to than the service of our imperial overlords, and to remind the Australian people that these imperial overlords had subverted a democratically elected government was well off message.

[John Jiggens has been involved in civil liberties and anti-corruption campaigning for many years. He is the author of a number of books, including the recently released The Killer Cop & the Murder of Donald Mackay, about the drug trade, Nugen Hand Bank and the overthrow of the Whitlam government.]

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

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