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Nuclear Industry’s big lobbying push pays off at COP27, as politicians spout pro nuclear propaganda

The nuclear-military-industrial-government-complex must be paying up very big bucks for the lobbying effort at the climate conference – selling the lie that nuclear is clean and renewable.

Glowing pro nuclear recommendations from US presidential climate envoy John Kerry, Egypt’s oil minister Tarek el-Molla, French President Emmanuel Macron – it all sounds so good, doesn’t it?

IEA executive director Fatih Birol could hardly control his enthusiasm for nuclear – “nuclear is making a comeback”, with countries like the Netherlands, Poland and developing countries in Asia-Pacific finding a renewed appetite for new nuclear deals.

And yet, and yet, if you listen carefully, they cover their backs with the recognition that nuclear is really unaffordable, – “budget constraints” – they call it

Cop 27: Nuclear energy in focus, 10 Nov 22

Finance day at the Cop 27 UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh this week saw more focus put on developing nuclear energy, which has been touted in some quarters as the fuel for a carbon-free system and energy security.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said on the sidelines of the summit that “nuclear is making a comeback”, with countries like the Netherlands, Poland and developing countries in Asia-Pacific finding a renewed appetite for new nuclear deals. The IEA, which had predicted an atomic comeback in November last year, was no longer alone in “trying to show the world that nuclear has its place when it comes to addressing energy security and climate change”, Birol said.

But he lamented delays in delivery and budget constraints associated with the nuclear industry. He said international financial institutions have “failed” to aid developing countries with clean energy financing, and said: “I wouldn’t give them a passing grade”.

At Cop 27 there have been some signs of progress. The US Export-Import (Exim) Bank said it would provide a $3bn loan to Romania for construction of two units at the country’s 1.4GW Cernavoda nuclear power plant. The bank handed two letters of interest to Romania’s energy minister Virgil Popescu at the summit, outlining an initial $50mn loan to support development of a second phase of the new units, and a subsequent loan of $3bn that will cover the bank’s total contribution to the project.

US presidential climate envoy John Kerry called this financing a “bolster” for energy security and said it will help “expand carbon-free energy” in Romania.

Egypt’s oil minister Tarek el-Molla said at Cop 27 that the country is on track to achieve its goal of increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix, and that nuclear energy should be included in this. Construction at the country’s first nuclear power plant at El-Dabaa, northwest of Cairo, started in July.

Earlier in the week, French President Emmanuel Macron said nuclear energy, alongside renewables, was an important pillar for countries such as South Africa to move away from coal, and said Paris would invest €1bn in helping South Africa achieve that goal.

Countries like Romania, South Africa and Egypt adopting or increasing their nuclear generating capacity are essential if the IEA is to be proven right that there will be a doubling of capacity between 2020-50, as it estimated in its global pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.

“When we look at the world, electricity demand growth comes from emerging countries,” Birol said in Egypt. “And for these emerging countries to build large scale nuclear power plants may be a bit challenging for many reasons, including financial, in the first down payment and the technology.” He stressed the need for small modular reactors to be commercially available before or around 2030, which he said would give a “very good chance” for emerging economies to meet growing power demand.

By Florence Schmit, Nader Itayim and Rithika Krishna


November 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

A Father Fights for His Son & What’s Left of Democracy

The film Ithaka, about the quest of Julian Assange’s father to save his son, makes its U.S. premiere on Sunday in New York City. It is reviewed by Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

To the extent that the media has covered the tragedy of Julian Assange at all, the focus has been on politics and the law.

Consortium News, which has provided perhaps the most comprehensive coverage of the prosecution under the Espionage Act of the WikiLeaks publisher, has also focused more on the case and less on the man.

The great issues involved transcend the individual: war, diplomacy, official deception, high crimes, an assault on press freedom and on the core of what little democracy is left in a militarized and money-corrupted system.

Assange supporters sometimes also overlook the person and concentrate instead on the larger issues at stake. Ironically, it has been Assange’s enemies and detractors who’ve long focused on the person in the worst tradition of ad hominem assaults.

He has been attacked to deflect public attention from what WikiLeaks has revealed, from what the state is doing to him and to hide the impact on freedom in the media and standards in the courtroom.

There has been a steady and organized stream of smears against Assange, from ridiculous stories about him smearing feces on Ecuadoran Embassy walls to the widely reported falsehood that he was charged with rape. That case was dropped three times before any charges were filed, but the “rape” smear persists.

These personal attacks were planned as far back as March 8, 2008 when a secret, 32-page document from the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessment branch of the Pentagon described in detail the importance of destroying the “feeling of trust that is WikiLeaks’ center of gravity.” The leaked document, which was published by WikiLeaks itself, said: “This would be achieved with threats of exposure and criminal prosecution and an unrelenting assault on reputation.”

An answer to these slurs and the missing focus on Assange as a man is Ithaka. The film, which makes its U.S. premiere Sunday night in New York, focuses on the struggle of Assange’s father, John Shipton, and his wife, Stella Assange, to free him.

f you are looking for a film more fully explaining the legal and political complexities of the case and its background, this is not the movie to see. The Spanish film, Hacking Justice, will give you that, as well as the more concise exposition in the brilliant documentary, The War on Journalism, by Juan Passarelli.

Ithaka, directed by Ben Lawrence and produced by Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, humanizes Assange and reveals the impact his ordeal has had on the people closest to him.

The title comes from the poem of that name by C.P. Cavafy (read here by Sean Connery) about the pathos of an uncertain journey. It reflects Shipton’s travels throughout Europe and the U.S. in defense of his son, arguably the most consequential journalist of his generation.

The story begins with Shipton arriving in London to see his son for the first time behind bars after the publisher’s rights of asylum were lifted by a new Ecuadoran government leading to him being carried out of the embassy by London police in April 2019.

“The story is that I am attempting in my own … modest way to get Julian out of the shit,” Shipton says. “What does it involve? Traipsing around Europe, building up coalitions of friendship.” He meets with parliamentarians, the media and supporters across the continent. Shipton describes the journey as the “difficulty of destiny over the ease of narrative.”……………………………

We learn that Julian Assange’s frustration with the inability to stop the 2003 Iraq invasion, despite the largest, worldwide anti-war protests in history, motivated him to start WikiLeaks.

The releases he published about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, leaked by Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, were published not only by WikiLeaks but by its partners at The New York Times, Die Spiegel and The Guardian, yet only Assange has been prosecuted.

The main focus of the film is the extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrate’s Court that began in February 2020 and ended in September of that year…………………………

One of several scenes that drives home the personal side of the story is audio of Assange speaking from Belmarsh Prison to Stella about what children’s books to read to their two sons. The toll it is taking on her is seen as she breaks down emotionally during the recording of a BBC interview that has to be paused.

“Extraditions are 99 percent politics and one percent law,” Stella says. “It is entirely the political climate around the case that decides the outcome. And that is shaped by the media. For many years there was a climate that was deliberately created through false stories, smears; through a kind of relentless character attack on Julian to reduce that support and make it more likely to successfully extradite him to the United States.”

“This is the public narrative that has been spread in the media for ten years,’ Nils Melzer, the now former U.N. Special rapporteur on torture, says in the film.

“No one has been able to see how much deception there is. Why is this being done? For ten years all of us were focused only on Julian Assange, when he never wanted it to be about him. It never was about him. It was about the States and their war crimes and their corruption. That’s what he wanted to put a spotlight on – and he did. And that’s what made them angry. So they put the spotlight on him.”

“He just needs to be treated like a human being,” says Stella, “and be allowed to be a human being and not denied his dignity and his humanity, which is what has been done to him.”

Ithaka makes its first theatrical showing in the U.S. at the SVA Cinema, 333 W. 23rd St, New York, N.Y., on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7:45 pm. There will be a Q&A following the first screening with Ben Lawrence, Gabriel Shipton, Adrian Devant, cinematographer Niels Ladefoged, and John Shipton.

For ticket information:

November 11, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

EU Needs $460 Billion Investment Just To Maintain Nuclear Power Capacity, let alone build new

Oil By Tsvetana Paraskova – Nov 11, 2022, 

The European Union will need up to $462 billion (450 billion euros) in investment just to keep the current level of its nuclear power generation capacity, the EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said at a nuclear energy forum this week……..

This year, a year when surging energy prices have highlighted the importance of energy security, the EU is particularly focused on its nuclear power availability.

According to the EU modeling, nuclear power generation will account for around 15%-16% of the EU’s power output in 2030 and 2050, Simson said.

The EU needs a stable generation capacity, at the level of just over 100 GW, in the coming decades. Yet, a lot of investment will be needed to keep that generation capacity in the future.

“Our analysis shows that without immediate investment, around 90% of existing reactors would be shut down around the time when we need them most – in 2030,” Simson noted.

The EU will need between $360 billion (350 billion euros) and $462 billion (450 billion euros) of investment just to maintain the current generation capacity, and another up to $51.3 billion (50 billion euros) in the long-term operation of existing reactors, according to the EU commissioner………   EU Needs $460 Billion Investment To Maintain Nuclear Power Capacity |

November 11, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE | Leave a comment

G20 leaders to denounce use, or threat, of nuclear weapons – draft (?a pious hypocrisy in opposition to the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty).

The nuclear weapons countries, and their craven supporters deserve a hypocrisy certificate

Among the G20 countries are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, – all of whom have nuclear weapons and make veiled threats to use them

Australia, Canada, and the European Union also belong – supporting the ‘nuclear umbrella’ that might defend them.

Then there are Japan and Saudi Arbia – itching to get nuclear weapons themselves

By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies will next week denounce the use of, or any threat to use, nuclear weapons, according to an early draft of a G20 statement seen by Reuters.

G20 leaders are meeting in Indonesia on Nov 15-16 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine will top their agenda.

“Many members strongly condemned Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, and called on it to immediately end the war,” the draft, which may change and would need Moscow’s approval for unanimity, said.

“The use, or threat of the use, of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”

Concern about possible nuclear escalation during Russia’s war in Ukraine surged after two speeches by President Vladimir Putin in which he indicated he would, if needed, use such weapons to defend Russia……….

The leaders are also to say they would support all efforts conducive to a “just” peace.

November 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Subpoenas’ Served on US Weapons Manufacturers

These four corporations are representative of the modern-day piracy that is the U.S. war industry, a corporate capture of U.S. foreign policy, the Congress, the Departments of Defense and State, and the U.S. economic system. BRAD WOLF, November 11, 2022

What is it like to be so ashamed of the company for whom you work that you cannot bring yourself to admit you work there? Ashamed of the products they manufacture, the innocent people those products kill, the hundreds of billions of dollars of public taxpayer money squandered in a gluttonous pursuit of profits?

This is life as seen on November 10th, 2022, at Raytheon Technologies in Arlington, VA. Members and supporters of the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal, a public tribunal, served “subpoenas” on four United States weapons manufacturers charging them with War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Theft, and Bribery.

The other three corporations served that same day were Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Atomics. These four corporations are representative of the modern-day piracy that is the U.S. war industry, a corporate capture of U.S. foreign policy, the Congress, the Departments of Defense and State, and the U.S. economic system.

Raytheon Technologies occupies a towering office building in Arlington, a stone’s throw from the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, two sites commemorating death and the utter failure of war. Though the Raytheon building has its corporate logo plastered in blood-red letters at the top, once inside no sign exists evidencing this corporate war profiteer. No name, no logo, no receptionist. A sad attempt to hide their dealings in the black art of war.

When asked, security guards refused to acknowledge Raytheon was in the building. Of the dozens of employees who passed, none would admit they worked at Raytheon, averting their eyes as they hurried away. When police arrived to escort the Tribunal members and supporters off premises, the police would not acknowledge Raytheon was headquartered there. Just like the employees, they had their orders. Keep quiet, admit nothing.

It was silent as a tomb except for the voices of the Tribunal members speaking the truth about the trail of suffering and death Raytheon and its corporate brethren have left across Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, and the Palestinian Occupied Territory. Meanwhile, these Merchants of Death have left the United States financially, morally, and spiritually bankrupt.

Raytheon Technologies has a market capitalization of $96 billion. According to Macrotrends, Raytheon Technologies revenue for the quarter ending September 30, 2022 was $16.951B, a 4.55% increase year-over-year. For 2021 it was $64.388B, a 13.79% increase from 2020, for 2020 was $56.587B, a 24.78% increase from 2019, and for 2019 was $45.349B, a 30.68% increase from 2018. In four years, they have garnered almost a 70% increase in revenue. Marketing death is good for profits if you can live with yourself. Apparently, given their silence, many Raytheon employees struggle with this very issue.

Raytheon builds some of the most destabilizing, destructive, and expensive weapons on earth. The Hypersonic Missile which travels in excess of five times the speed of sound — Mach 5 — covering vast distances in minutes. It is “hard to stop and flies nimbly to avoid detection and dodge defensive countermeasures.” All these are attributes which make the missile so destabilizing to a foreign leader who has only minutes to determine whether they are being attacked with a nuclear weapon.

Raytheon makes the Peregrine Air-to-Air Missile which they claim “increases firepower, penetrates bad weather, and goes the distance.” Add to that their plans to use “high power microwaves” in war and we see the epitome of a Merchant of Death.

Boeing, General Atomics, and Lockheed Martin are the same. They too revel in blood money as they build for war and drain the U.S. economy. In fact, some $8 trillion in U.S. taxpayer money has been given to U.S. defense contractors over the last twenty years.

The U.S. War Industry plays a key role in fomenting war with their congressional lobbying, not just pushing for weapons contracts but influencing military strategy, thereby exacerbating and prolonging the anguish of civilians bearing the brunt of these wars of choice. On the issue of war in particular, Congress must be answerable to its citizens, not a handful of corporations.

With their silence on November 10, these weapons manufacturers revealed their shame. Their corporate mission statement is “War Begets Profit.” For the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal, the mission statement is “Come War Profiteers, Give Account.”  Stand before a Tribunal and be judged.

And so, what is it like to give your talents to a corporation which hides its very existence, to give all your efforts and education and experience in the creation of weapons which kill indiscriminately? Their loss of words, their averting eyes, the damning silence offered in their corporate crypt, is the devastating answer.

November 11, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

‘Tactical’ Nuclear Weapons Could Unleash Untold Damage, Experts Warn

By Ed Holt , BRATISLAVA, Nov 10 2022 (IPS) – Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict’s potential to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons has been highlighted by political analysts and military experts alike.

Now growingly bellicose rhetoric from Russian president Vladimir Putin, particularly following the illegal annexations of four parts of Ukraine at the end of September, has raised fears he may be seriously considering using them. He has been quoted in September this year as saying that Russia would use “all available means to protect Russia and our people”, but last month said there was no need to consider the use of nuclear weapons. This week Russia ordered troops to withdraw from the Dnieper River’s west bank near the southern city of Kherson.

But while much of the media debate around this prospect has focused on the expected use of a so-called low-yield “tactical” nuclear weapon and what this might mean strategically for either side in the war, anti-nuclear campaigners say any discussion should be reframed to reflect the devastating reality of what the use of even the smallest weapons in modern nuclear arsenals would mean.

They say that even if only one such bomb was dropped, be it in Ukraine or in any other conflict, the consequences would cause a country – if not a continent-wide catastrophe, with horrific immediate and long-term health effects and a subsequent humanitarian disaster on a scale almost certainly not seen before.

Moreover, they say, a single strike would almost certainly be met with a similar response, quickly igniting a full-scale nuclear war that would threaten much of human life on earth.

“There is no conceivable reality in which a nuclear weapon is used, and life goes on as normal. It is very, very likely that there would be escalation and additional nuclear weapons used, but even the use of one nuclear weapon would break a decades-long taboo on the use of the most catastrophic, horrific weapon ever created,” Alicia Sanders-Zakre, Research, and Policy Coordinator,  at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) told IPS.

“We have already seen the global impacts of the war in Ukraine just using conventional weapons, including worldwide rising inflation, and energy and food shortages. But the use of a nuclear weapon would really have consequences beyond what any of us can imagine,” she added……………………………………………

Campaigners against nuclear weapons worry the global public is not being made properly aware of the scale of the loss of life and ecological damage which would be wrought by the use of such a weapon.

“There has been a lot of discussion about using a tactical nuclear bomb in Ukraine. But the use of the word ‘tactical’ is no more than a rebranding exercise to make a nuclear weapon sound like a conventional one,” Dr Ruth Mitchell, Board Chair of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), told IPS.

“A tactical nuclear weapon would be about the same size as the one dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we don’t need to imagine what the effects would be; we have already seen them,” she added.

The death toll itself would be massive, but authorities would also have to deal with radioactive fallout possibly contaminating large areas, while the event itself would trigger massive population dislocation.

And a report by ICAN also shows that even the most advanced healthcare systems would be unable to provide any effective response in such a situation, highlighting the likely destruction of local healthcare facilities and staff and pointing out that the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima destroyed 80% of its hospitals and killed almost all its doctors and nurses………………………….more

November 11, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The definitive case against nuclear submarines for Australia

Australia needs submarines, but conventional ones are more than adequate for the nation’s security. Australia’s north is archipelagic, which means smaller, shorter-ranged submarines can close maritime avenues of approach.

Australia needs submarines, but conventional ones are more than adequate for the nation’s security. Australia’s north is archipelagic, which means smaller, shorter-ranged submarines can close maritime avenues of approach.

The Saturday Paper, Albert Palazzo -adjunct professor at UNSW Canberra. He was a former director of war studies for the Australian Army. November 12, 2022

It’s more than a year since Australia scuttled its submarine deal with France in favour of the nuclear-powered submarine arrangement Scott Morrison announced as part of the AUKUS agreement. There’s been a change of government and more announcing, yet any real detail on why we need such boats, how we’ll get them, which ones they’ll be and how much they’ll cost remains unknown. What has become increasingly clear, however, is that these warships are a massive boondoggle for which there is little strategic justification.

Australia maintains its defence forces to provide for the nation’s security. Every capability the Australian Defence Force acquires undergoes a detailed decision process that includes an examination of how the weapon meets national security requirements. With the nuclear-powered submarine program, however, Australia’s starting point was an announcement confirming the acquisition and the AUKUS agreement, an order of proceedings that conveniently bypassed the messy and challenging aspects of justification for the purchase.

Perhaps skipping this phase was necessary because the rationale given for the acquisition is unsound. At best, it is a desire to be seen to be supporting the ANZUS Treaty. What is not being asked is whether support for the alliance should be the main basis for the acquisition of such expensive platforms with such narrow utility.

Like a kid in a lolly shop, Australia has been given permission to buy the biggest treat on display … What is missed, however, is that being in the inner sanctum generates a massive obligation – and some day that bill may fall due.

What does Australia intend to do with its fleet of nuclear-powered submarines? The answer seems to be that we’ll project power into the East and South China seas, in order to deter our largest trading partner, China, from taking actions inimical to Australian and American interests.

If China is a threat today, why is the government planning to acquire a platform that will not be available for 15 years or more? Shouldn’t the priority be on more readily available weapons? These would include off-the-shelf conventional submarines, additional long-range strike missiles, and drones of all kinds.

Even once Australia has acquired its entire fleet of eight submarines, only two or three are likely to be available for operations at any one time. Deterrence necessitates the ability to intimidate one’s opponent. China is a large country with great industrial depth and a population accustomed to hardship. It also has 66 submarines of its own and more on the way. It is hubris to expect Australia will be able to intimidate a great power, at least on its own.

More worryingly, the seas in which Australia aims to operate are within China’s anti-access/area denial zone, an area guarded by missiles, mines, aircraft and ships, and of such lethality that even the United States is unsure it could penetrate without massive losses. Even if our future submarines did get inside this defensive zone, they would not last long. Essentially, these submarines should not be expected to return home.

Survivability is an important criterion for such an expensive purchase. Enthusiasts point to the better survival potential of nuclear-powered submarines because they remain submerged for longer periods, thereby making detection harder. By contrast, conventional subs must periodically surface to recharge their batteries. But this is an advantage that is fast becoming irrelevant. Sensor technology is improving and becoming pervasive, as demonstrated daily in the war in Ukraine. It is a very big gamble to act on a presumption that sub-surface sensors will not improve in the 15 to 20 years before Australia’s submarines become operational. In fact, a study from Australian National University’s National Security College expects that before 2050 the oceans will become fully transparent to hunters from above. 

Any defensive advantage currently possessed by nuclear-powered submarines will be gone.

More questions need to be asked: What is the strategic benefit of being able to operate off the Chinese coast? How do nuclear-powered submarines improve Australia’s security? And are there better options for the nation’s defence?

The answers to the first two questions are: “There is none” and “They don’t.” The third answer is: “Yes, there are indeed better options.” Australia needs submarines, but conventional ones are more than adequate for the nation’s security. Australia’s north is archipelagic, which means smaller, shorter-ranged submarines can close maritime avenues of approach. …………

Supporters of the nuclear-powered submarine pay too little attention to the project’s opportunity cost. According to experts at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the eight planned submarines will cost at least $116 billion, and likely much more – upwards of $200 billion, according to some analysts. Australia needs submarines, but conventional ones are more than adequate for the nation’s security. Australia’s north is archipelagic, which means smaller, shorter-ranged submarines can close maritime avenues of approach………………………….. more

November 11, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change, not China, is Australia’s real security danger

The definitive case against nuclear subs The Saturday Paper, Albert Palazzo -adjunct professor at UNSW Canberra. He was a former director of war studies for the Australian Army. November 12, 2022 “……………………………………………………………. Too many security officials hold to the mistaken belief that China is the most significant threat Australia faces. In fact, climate change deserves the top spot. Climate scientists, United Nations officials and military commanders themselves, including current US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, consider climate change an existential threat to survival. Any threat posed by China is much more limited. At worst, China’s challenge to the US-led world order could result in America’s withdrawal from the Western Pacific. Climate change could lead to the end of the human project and take countless other species down with us.

China represents, at most, a second-order threat, but it is China that draws the obsessive focus of much of the current generation of security thinkers. It does not make sense for Australia to invest so much in a weapon system that has no utility against the nation’s most dangerous threat, yet this is what is happening.

Advocates of nuclear-powered submarines also propose that constructing these vessels in Adelaide will help sustain a sovereign shipbuilding industry. In fact, the opposite is the likely result. Once in service these vessels will actually increase Australia’s dependence on the US and foreign contractors. This is because many of the sub’s critical components, weapons and systems will be made by foreign parties. Australian sailors might even need shadow US sailors to co-staff technical positions until Australia generates enough nuclear-savvy personnel of its own.

The government has announced it will invest between $168 billion and $183 billion in what it has called a national naval shipbuilding enterprise, with the goal of sustaining and growing a domestic shipbuilding capability and securing Australian jobs for the future. Such a capability is a noble goal, but what has been left unexplained is why it should be such a priority compared with foreign-dominated industries that are more critical to the nation’s future wellbeing.

Last summer, for example, Australian transport risked grinding to a halt as a result of the urea crisis, which led to a serious shortage of AdBlue, a vital diesel fuel additive. Without AdBlue, the nation’s fleet of long-haul trucks would have stopped moving, resulting in supermarkets running out of food, farmers not harvesting their crops and the mining industry coming to a halt. Yet there has been no talk of taxpayer-supported AdBlue production in Australia. Similarly, many medicines are imported, as are a host of important everyday items, such as baking powder and matches. Unlike shipbuilding, these industries apparently warrant no support.

If one wanted a truly sovereign defence industry, then the product that might mandate the level of support proposed for the subs is microchips. Virtually all military and civilian technology contains chips, yet Australia is happy to remain fully reliant on overseas suppliers for this most important of components. Establishing a domestic industry would require a huge subsidy, as well as additional investment in tertiary education and precursor manufacturing processes. Without these chips, however, no weapon system is truly sovereign.

So why the nuclear-powered subs, if they make so little sense? The obvious answer is to support the alliance. Instead of aiming for self-reliance, Australia has always preferred to seek the protection of a great power. But there is another reason: like a kid in a lolly shop, Australia has been given permission to buy the biggest treat on display. Nuclear-powered subs are one of America’s most closely guarded technologies. If Australia gets them, it will be a clear sign that, like Britain, we have been admitted to a very exclusive club, the inner sanctum of US security. What is missed, however, is that being in the inner sanctum generates a massive obligation – and some day that bill may fall due.

November 11, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Pentagon exploits post 9/11 laws to wage ‘secret wars’ worldwide: Report

By abusing ‘security cooperation authorities,’ the US Department of Defense has waged war on dozens of fronts without the need to report to congressional authorities. ByNews Desk- November 09 2022,

report released last week by the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice details how the US Department of Defense (DoD) has been allowed to covertly deploy troops and wage secret wars over the past two decades in dozens of countries across the globe.

Among the nations in West Asia affected by these so-called ‘security cooperation authorities’ are LebanonIraqSyria, and Yemen; however, they also include many African and Latin American nations.

Known as ‘security cooperation authorities,’ they were passed by the US Congress in the years following the 11 September attacks, and are a continuation of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), a piece of legislation that has been stretched by four successive governments.

According to the report, the AUMF covers “a broad assortment of terrorist groups, the full list of which the executive branch long withheld from Congress and still withholds from the public.”

Following in this tradition, the ‘security cooperation authorities’ being abused by the Pentagon are Section 333 and Section 127e of Title 10 of the United States Code (USC).

Section 333 authorizes the US army to “train and equip foreign forces anywhere in the world,” while Section 127e authorizes the Pentagon to “provide support to foreign forces, paramilitaries, and private individuals who are in turn supporting US counterterrorism operations,” with a spending limit of $100,000,000 per fiscal year.

However, thanks to the vague definition of ‘support’ and ‘training’ in the text of these laws, both Section 333 and Section 127e programs have been abused to target “adversarial” groups under a strained interpretation of constitutional self-defense; they have also allowed the US army to develop and control proxy forces that fight on behalf of – and sometimes alongside – their own.

As a result of this, in dozens of countries, these programs have been used as a springboard for hostilities, with the Pentagon often declining to inform Congress or the US public about their secret operations under the reasoning that the incidents are “too minor to trigger statutory reporting requirements.”

However, thanks to the vague definition of ‘support’ and ‘training’ in the text of these laws, both Section 333 and Section 127e programs have been abused to target “adversarial” groups under a strained interpretation of constitutional self-defense; they have also allowed the US army to develop and control proxy forces that fight on behalf of – and sometimes alongside – their own.

As a result of this, in dozens of countries, these programs have been used as a springboard for hostilities, with the Pentagon often declining to inform Congress or the US public about their secret operations under the reasoning that the incidents are “too minor to trigger statutory reporting requirements.”

“Researchers and reporters uncovered Section 127e programs not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen,” the report highlights.

Researchers also point out that defense authorities “have given little indication of how [they] interpret Section 333 and 127e.”

Even more concerning, and ignoring the damage caused by these ‘anti-terror’ laws, the US Congress recently expanded the Pentagon’s security cooperation authorities, particularly with Section 1202 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Section 1202 allows the US army to allow “irregular warfare operations” against “rogue states” like Iran or North Korea, or “near-peers,” like Russia and China.

The report comes at a time when the US army and its proxy militias are accused of illegally occupying vast regions of Syria and Yemen, looting oil from the war-torn countries, just over a year after their brutal occupation of Afghanistan ended. Moreover, a former US official on Tuesday revealed that anti-Iran militias are being armed in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), where both the CIA and the Mossad are known to operate.

November 11, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another US nuclear marketing deal done ay COP27 – $3billion for Romania reactors project

The US Export–Import Bank said it intends to provide USD 3 billion for a project for two additional reactors in Romania’s Cernavodă nuclear power plant.

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă announced at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 that a third of the required funds for units 3 and 4 in the Cernavodă nuclear power plant would be provided by the United States Export–Import Bank. The preparatory phase will be completed by the end of March, he said.

The US Exim Bank issued letters of intent for USD 50 million for the second phase and USD 3 billion for the construction of the two reactors, the prime minister revealed at the event in Egypt. The plan is to implement the second phase in the third quarter of 2025 and build the units in 2030, Ciucă said…….

The Cernavodă nuclear power plant operates under state-owned Nuclearelectrica. A contract was signed for the preparatory stage last November with Candu Energy, a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin from Canada, through Romania’s project firm EnergoNuclear.

In addition, Nuclearelectrica intends to deploy US-based NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology for a 462 nuclear power plant on the site of a former coal plant.

November 11, 2022 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Germany refuses to build nuclear Uniper plant in Sweden

By Charles Szumski |, Nov 11, 2022  Nikolaus Kurmayer contributed to reporting

Energy giant Uniper will not build any power plants in Sweden, the company that will be wholly owned by the German state from next year announced Thursday, flouting plans of its Swedish subsidiary Barsebäck Kraft to build a Clean Energy Park.

No new nuclear power plant will be built in Sweden by the German energy company Uniper, Sveriges Radios Ekot reported on Thursday.

“Neither in Sweden nor elsewhere does Uniper have any plans to build a new nuclear power plant, that’s a fact”, spokesman George Oppermann told the radio.

Uniper is part owner of all three active nuclear power plants in Sweden, Oskarshamn, Ringhals and Forsmark. It is also the owner of the Barsebäck powerplant, which is being dismantled…….

From the start of next year, Uniper will be taken over by the German state, who decided to close all remaining nuclear power plants in the country from April next year………..

The three parties making up Sweden’s new ruling right-wing coalition, as well as the supporting far-right Democrats of Sweden, signed a pro-nuclear coalition accord, promising 400 billion SEK (€36 billion) for new nuclear power, with Vattenfall to immediately start planning new nuclear power at Ringhals and other sites.

November 11, 2022 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

Concealing US Militarism By Making It Sacred

The depth of the militarization of the United States and the harshness of its wars abroad have been concealed by converting death into something sacred, writes Kelly Denton-Borhaug in an address to U.S. veterans on Veterans Day. 

Consortium News. November 11, 2022 By Kelly Denton-Borhaug

Dear Veterans,
I’m a civilian who, like many Americans, has strong ties to the U.S. Armed Forces. I never considered enlisting, but my father, uncles, cousins, and nephews did.

As a child I baked cookies to send with letters to my cousin Steven who was serving in Vietnam. My family tree includes soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Some years before my father died, he shared with me his experience of being drafted during the Korean War and, while on leave, traveling to Hiroshima, Japan. There, just a few short years after an American atomic bomb had devastated that city as World War II ended, he was haunted by seeing the dark shadows of the dead cast onto concrete by the nuclear blast.

As Americans, all of us are, in some sense, linked to the violence of war. But most of us have very little understanding of what it means to be touched by war. Still, since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as a scholar of religion, I’ve been trying to understand what I’ve come to call “U.S. war-culture.” For it was in the months after those terrible attacks more than 20 years ago that I awoke to the depth of our culture of war and our society’s pervasive militarization.

“American civilians deceive themselves by insisting that they’re a peaceful nation desiring the well-being of all peoples.”

Eventually, I saw how important truths about our country were concealed when we made the violence of war into something sacred. And most important of all, while trying to come to grips with this dissonant reality, I started listening to you, the veterans of our recent wars, and simply couldn’t stop.

Dismantling the Justifications……………………………………………………

U.S. political leaders annually approve a military budget that’s apocalyptically high (and may reach a trillion dollars a year before the end of this decade). The U.S. spends more on its military than the next nine nations combined to finance the violence of war.

Political leaders in the U.S. and many citizens insist that having such a staggering infrastructure of war is the only way Americans will be secure, while claiming that they’re anything but a warring people. Analysts of war-culture know better. As peace and conflict studies scholar Marc Pilisuk puts it: “Wars are products of a social order that plans for them and then accepts this planning as natural.”     

Learning War Is Like Ingesting Poison

I’ve personally witnessed the confusion and conflicted responses of many veterans to this mystifying distortion of reality. How painful and destabilizing it must be to return from your military deployment to a society that insists on crassly celebrating and glorifying war, while so many of you had no choice but to absorb the terrible knowledge of what an atrocity it is.

“War damages all who wage it,” chaplain Michael Lapsley wrote. “The United States has been infected by endless war.” Veterans viscerally carry the violence of war in their bodies. It’s as if you became “sin-eaters” who had to swallow the evil of the conflicts the United States waged in these years and then live with their consequences inside you…………………………………………

The unimaginable losses to families, communities, infrastructure, and culture in the lands where such conflicts have been fought in this century are invisible to most citizens, while typical Veterans Day commemorations recast you as messianic redemptive figures who “have paid the price for our freedom.”

“War-culture in this country leaves us with a residual collective trauma that weighs us all down and is only made worse by a national blindness to it.”

But to convert war-making into something sacred means fashioning a deceitful myth. Violence is not a harmless tool. It’s not a coat that a person wears and takes off without consequences.

Violence instead brutalizes human beings to their core; chains people to the forces of dehumanization; and, over time, eats away at you like acid dripping into your very soul. That same dehumanization also undermines democracy, something you would never know from the way the United States glorifies its wars as foundational to what it means to be an American.

Silencing and Commodifying Veterans……………………………………………………………………

Addiction to War

More often than not, the invisible wounds of returning veterans are shrouded in silence. For some of you, unbearable pain led to disastrous consequences, including self-harm, loss of relationships, isolation, and self-destructive risk-taking. At least 1-in-3 female members of the armed forces has experienced sexual assault or harassment from fellow service members.

More than 17 of you veterans take your own lives every day. And you live with all of this, while so much of the rest of the nation fails to muster the will to see you, hear you, or face honestly the American addiction to war.

The truths about war that you might tell us are generally rejected and invalidated, cementing you into a heavy block of silence. Military chaplain Sean Levine describes how the U.S. must “deny the trauma of its warriors lest that trauma radically redefine our understanding of war.” He continues, “Blind patriotism has done inestimable damage to the souls of thousands of our returning warriors.”

If we civilians paid attention to your honesty, we would find ourselves slammed headlong into a conflict with a national culture that glorifies war, conceals the political and material interests of the titans of weaponry and war production, and successfully distracts us from the depth of its destruction.

We civilians are complicit and so lurch away from facing the inevitable revulsion, sorrow, mourning, and guilt that always accompany the reality of war.

An Alternative for Veterans Day  

Honestly, the only way forward is for you to tell — and us to compassionately take in — the unadulterated stories of war. ……………………..

November 11, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

On Nuclear Treaty, at Least, Biden Aims for Fresh START With Russia

Washington and Moscow look set to keep New START alive with working-level talks, despite historic tensions.

Foreign Policy, By Robbie Gramer, a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. 11 Nov 22

The Biden administration has announced that it will restart nuclear arms control talks with Russia, even as tensions spike over the latter’s war in Ukraine, coupled with the threat of Moscow using nuclear weapons.

The talks are expected to take place in Cairo in the near future, current and former U.S. officials said, and represent the first move by both sides to revive their mutual arms control agenda since U.S. President Joe Biden first halted dialogue after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February…………………………………

The existing arms reduction treaty, New START, caps the number of intercontinental-range nuclear weapons in both Washington’s and Moscow’s arsenals and allows each side to conduct on-site weapons facility inspections in the other country. This allows experts from each country to visit the other country’s weapons sites to view the number of nuclear weapons, launch vehicles, and other details to confirm that both sides are adhering to the treaty. The treaty allows up to 18 on-site inspections per year.

It is the last remaining arms control treaty in place between Russia and the United States, which respectively have the first- and second-largest nuclear arsenals in the world. Under the terms of the treaty, which was first signed in 2010, both countries agreed to cap the number of nuclear warheads they could deploy on delivery systems to 1,550…………………..

Reviving the New START talks has been a quiet goal of the White House and State Department since at least this summer, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter, and scheduling a new meeting with the Russians on the issue has been in the works for months. Rose Gottemoeller, a former NATO deputy secretary-general and top U.S. arms control envoy who helped negotiate New START in 2009-10, welcomed the move and said the latest nuclear discussions shouldn’t be seen as any sort of concession to Russia.

“We don’t always get to choose with whom we negotiate, but if we’ve got an issue that’s in our national security interest, we have to work it,” said Gottemoeller, now a scholar at Stanford University. “We’ve achieved agreements with the Russians during some very dark hours in our bilateral relationship in the past.” ……………..

November 11, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Global Zero, and Black Lives Matter- the reinvigorated anti-nuclear movement

Fresh effort to ban the bomb as new generation bids for nuclear-free world,

Today’s disarmament activists are applying a new set of tactics to respond to threats including those from Putin in Ukraine

Guardian Julian Borger in Washington, Thu 10 Nov 2022

As nuclear dangers gather momentum three decades after the cold war, a disarmament movement is rising to meet them, with a new generation of activists.

In the late 50s and early 60s, and then again in the early 80s, when the US and the Soviet Union were pointing their missiles at each other in Europe, there were mass street protests against governments making plans for global annihilation.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was born in the UK and staged large-scale marches to the heart of the British nuclear weapons establishment at Aldermaston. More than four decades ago, a million Americans converged on New York’s Central Park to call a halt to the arms race and a nuclear freeze. At the end of 1982, more than 30,000 women formed a human chain around the Greenham Common air force base as an act of resistance to the deployment of US cruise missiles there. In October 1983, CND staged the biggest march through London the city had ever seen.

With Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and his repeated threats that he would use nuclear weapons if his regime felt in peril, the danger is every bit as real as it was during the Cuban missile crisis or the missile standoff in Europe. This time, there have not been any mass protests but there has been a popular response that has found other channels to express itself.

At the vanguard of the new movement is the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), which successfully canvassed support for a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) at the UN general assembly, leading to its adoption in 2017.

Since then, more than 90 countries have signed the treaty and 68 have ratified it. It has not stopped the US and Russia from upgrading their arsenals and China from pursuing plans to become a third leading nuclear weapons power, but Beatrice Fihn, Ican’s executive director, said the ultimate aim was something more enduring: the delegitimization of nuclear weapons around the world.

“It makes it harder to see what is happening as you’re maybe not seeing so many people out on the streets,” said Fihn, who accepted the 2017 Nobel peace prize on Ican’s behalf. But she added: “The movement is very much here, and we’re definitely growing and building.”

While continuing the work of CND and the nuclear freeze movement, Ican and its 652 partner organisations around the world are seeking inspiration from other forms of civil society action, including the campaigns to ban landmines and cluster munitions, which sought to lay down new norms, and redraw the red lines of what is acceptable on the international stage.

“We’re trying to undo the brainwashing of accepting nuclear weapons as normal,” Fihn said. The movement’s greatest source of leverage, she argued, was the need of nuclear weapons for legitimacy.

“We see that with Russia right now. They’re fighting hard to re-establish legitimacy around the nuclear weapons and their security council seat and around the narrative of this war. And to me, it’s a sign that they are vulnerable.”

Kate Hudson, CND’s general secretary, says new membership has surged since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine was unleashed.

“Activism is there in a big way, but it’s taking new forms, and it’s more fluid than previously: the way people understand and act on the links between issues, politically and in campaigning terms,” Hudson said.

The nuclear disarmament movement is no longer in a silo of its own, she argued, as it shares common concerns for those fighting to stop climate crisis, or to uphold social justice in a world where governments are spending huge amounts on nuclear stockpiles while the poorest people in their society are cold and hungry.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is now framing nuclear disarmament as a social justice issue for many newly recruited activists, making it a far more diverse field……………………………………

Mari Faines, partner for mobilisation in the Global Zero disarmament advocacy group, said BLM prompted her to see more clearly the “correlation between the systems of policing and militarism”, and the overlap between the nuclear weapons complex, social justice struggles and other existential threats.

Hurley is experimenting with new ways to talk about geopolitical threats. While working on her art degree, she writes a column on the Inkstick website, and her latest was about what the US and China might learn from the enemies-to-lovers trope in romantic fiction.

“You cannot fear-monger your way to a mass movement,” Molly Hurley said, arguing that what has been perceived as apathy within her generation was really a “coping mechanism for hopelessness”. The solution, she argued, was to offer some grounds for hope.

“There are things that we can do and we need to make clear all these feasible, very concrete steps that can be taken.”

November 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

A bigger-than-ever pack of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27.

New research from CEO, Corporate Accountability and Global Witness shows
there were over 100 more fossil fuel lobbyists registered to attend the
COP27 climate talks in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, than last year in Glasgow,
UK. Data analysis of the UN’s provisional list of named attendees
identified at least 636 fossil fuel lobbyists, affiliated with some of the
world’s biggest polluting oil and gas giants such as Shell, Chevron and BP.
This is an increase of over 25% from COP26, showing a rise in the influence
of the fossil fuel industry at the climate talks that are already rife with
accusations of civil society censorship and corporate influence.

 Corporate Europe 10th Nov 2022

 There are more than 600 fossil fuel lobbyists at the Cop27 climate
conference, a rise of more than 25% from last year and outnumbering any one
frontline community affected by the climate crisis.

 Guardian 10th Nov 2022

 Gas producers and their financial backers see Cop27 as an opportunity for
discussions about rebranding natural gas as a transition fuel rather than a
fossil fuel, experts have said. The push is coming from the host Egypt and
its gas-producing allies amid a global energy crisis compounded by
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 Guardian 11th Nov 2022

November 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment