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New Zealand PM says Australian nuclear subs will NOT be welcome in country’s waters

New Zealand PM says Australian nuclear subs will NOT be welcome in country’s waters,  https://7news.com.au/politics/federal-politics/australian-nuclear-subs-not-welcome-in-nz-c-3978704 7 News, Ben McKay, 16/09/20

Australia’s planned nuclear submarine fleet won’t be welcome in New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The new submarines are the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security tie-up of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

NZ has been left out of the AUKUS alliance, despite being a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with AUKUS members and Canada.

The country has been staunchly nuclear-free for decades, earning the ire of treaty partner US by declining visits from its nuclear-powered ships.

“We weren’t approached by nor would I expect us to be,” Ardern said.

“Prime Minister Morrison and indeed all partners are very well versed and understand our position on nuclear-powered vessels and also nuclear weapons.

Australia’s planned nuclear submarine fleet won’t be welcome in New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The new submarines are the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security tie-up of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

NZ has been left out of the AUKUS alliance, despite being a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with AUKUS members and Canada.

The country has been staunchly nuclear-free for decades, earning the ire of treaty partner US by declining visits from its nuclear-powered ships.

“We weren’t approached by nor would I expect us to be,” Ardern said.

“Prime Minister Morrison and indeed all partners are very well versed and understand our position on nuclear-powered vessels and also nuclear weapons.

That of course means that they well understood our likely position on the establishment of nuclear-powered submarines and their use in the region.”

Ardern said by law, and by a consensus of NZ’s major political parties, nuclear-powered vessels would not be welcome. 

“Certainly they couldn’t come into our internal waters,” she said.

Ardern declined to say whether it would be appropriate for Australia’s new fleet to sail in the Pacific but welcomed interest from the US and the UK in the “contested region”.

“I am pleased to see that the eye is being tuned to our region, from partners that we work closely with.”

Some Kiwi experts believe the AUKUS formation shows an Australian acquiescence to US foreign policy.

“It highlights that much deeper level of Australian integration into US defence and security planning and thinking,” Victoria University professor David Capie told The Guardian.

“New Zealand and Australia were in a different space to begin with and this has perhaps just made that look sharper again.”

Ardern said the new alliance “in no way changes our security and intelligence ties with these three countries”.

NZ’s opposition is less sure, with leader Judith Collins saying other aspects of the defence alliance would be worth involvement.

September 18, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mururoa nuclear test veterans fight for their children and grandchildren

Mururoa nuclear test veterans fight for their children and grandchildren, Stuff Jimmy Ellingham, Sep 11 2021  Forty-eight years after 500 Kiwi sailors were sent to French Polynesia to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific the effects on their health and families continue to reverberate.

Those aboard the HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Canterbury were several dozen kilometres away from the atmospheric tests they witnessed at Mururoa Atoll.

The sailors drank, washed in and cleaned their clothes in desalinated water from the fallout zone, and the ships’ decks were washed down with it.

In 2020, an Otago University study of 83 sailors and 65 children published in the New Zealand Medical Journal found they were at higher risk of transferring genetic illnesses across generations.

The research found 30 per cent of veterans had cancer and 31 per cent joint problems. Among their children, 40 per cent reported fertility problems, while many chose not to have offspring of their own because their fathers were exposed to radiation.

The veterans can get help or certain health conditions. Their descendants can’t get anything.

The Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group, an incorporated society representing the men from the two frigates and HMAS Supply, is working to change this.

Retired Rear Admiral Jack Steer, who didn’t serve at Mururoa but works with the group to advocate for veterans, said children and grandchildren were affected by their fathers and grandfathers being exposed to radiation on the protest mission.

The group wants to see as many veterans and descendants as possible tested to see if there is a link.

“A number of the veterans have died of various forms of cancer and some of them are very unwell. They believe they were eradiated. This test will prove beyond reasonable doubt whether they were.”

The group wanted to collect blood samples, so they’re available for scrutiny as science advances. It’s a costly process. Each sample costed $117, although the group had secured a place to store them, Steer said.

The group was hoping to secure government funding for testing, as had happened for Operation Grapple veterans, who witnesses British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 1950s.

Steer said the Mururoa veterans weren’t after compensation.

“What they want is that testing proves that their children and grandchildren were exposed to radiation or affected by their dads’ exposure to radiation.”

The group had recently secured $50,000 funding from the Returned and Services’ Association to start the testing project……. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300404527/mururoa-nuclear-test-veterans-fight-for-their-children-and-grandchildren

September 11, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pacific environmentalists call on Japan not to empty radioactive wastewater into the Pacific

 This year marks the 76th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons
for the purpose of war. As the world solemnly observes the tragic
anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we wish to highlight
the Pacific’s own and often overlooked nuclear history that followed.

Asguardians of the world’s largest ocean, we emphasise again our continuing
concern for our region and the irreparably damages on our people and the
environment from 318 nuclear weapons tests undertaken by the United States,
United Kingdom and France.

Today, we acknowledge that our region has still not healed from this trauma and that we did not consent. Given this legacy, we call on Japan to not repeat this brutality through its proposed act of
discharging over a million tonnes of radioactive wastewater from Fukushima.

 Pasifika Environews 6th Sept 2021

September 7, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

No apology from France, as new report reveals the harm done to Pacific islands by atomic bomb tests

Although testing stopped more than two decades ago, its legacy lives on in French Polynesia’s politics, health, economy and environment,

“In every other Pacific Island, you have the same,” said Colombani, who also spent more than a decade working in French Polynesia’s tourism sector. “You have the postcard, but if you look beyond that, there’s something you cannot even imagine.”

New study on nuclear testing in French Polynesia reveals France’s ‘censorship and secrecy’ https://www.pri.org/stories/2021-08-06/new-study-nuclear-testing-french-polynesia-reveals-france-s-censorship-and



More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government for nuclear tests on French Polynesia between 1966 and 1996. Scientists say about 110,000 people have been affected by radioactive fallout.  
It’s been nearly two decades since France stopped testing nuclear weapons in French Polynesia.

But many across French Polynesia’s 118 islands and atolls across the central South Pacific were disappointed last month when President Emmanuel Macron, on his very first trip to the territory France has controlled since 1842, failed to apologize for the nearly 200 nuclear tests conducted between 1966 and 1996.

“Faced with dangerous powers in the concert of nations, I wish to say here that the nation owes a debt to French Polynesia,” Macron said in a July 27 speech. He went on to admit that the tests on the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls were “not clean in any way” — but stopped short of an official apology.

Guillaume Colombani, who works for Radio Te Reo-o-Tefana, said while they weren’t expecting an apology, it was still devastating not to get one.

“So, when you do something wrong, whatever it is, if you go and see the people you have hurt and you say, ‘Listen, I’m sorry for what I’ve done,’” said Colombani, “it is easier for the community to say, ‘OK, we accept, here’s forgiveness,’ or ‘No, we don’t accept. You have to do something for us.’”

Colombani, 41, grew up in Tahiti during the last decades of the nuclear tests and said he remembers seeing images of blue lagoons turning white after bombs were set off. He can recount the hyper-polarization of the issue and the anti-nuclear demonstrations spurred across the Pacific.

Although testing stopped more than two decades ago, its legacy lives on in French Polynesia’s politics, health, economy and environment, he said.

Underestimated exposure levels 

Scientists have long estimated some 110,000 people were affected by the radioactive fallout — many of them French Polynesians who worked at the testing sites. However, a study released earlier this year revealed that France underestimated the level of toxic exposure during the atmospheric tests that took place in the 1960s and ’70s.

The Mururoa Files was based on a two-year investigation of more than 2,000 declassified French state documents as well as various interviews conducted in French Polynesia.

“We found that they underestimated the level of exposure by factors of two to 10, depending on the tests and locations,” said Sebastien Philippe, a researcher and lecturer at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with the program on science and global security and co-author of the study.

That’s two to 10 times higher than the estimates given by France’s Atomic Energy Commission in a report produced nearly a decade after testing stopped. The findings compiled by Philippe and his team found, among other things, that one reason the estimates of radiation exposure were so low is that France did not take into account contaminated drinking water.

Ultimately, this systematic underestimation not only made it more difficult to link cases of cancer to the nuclear tests, but it also made it harder for victims to get compensated.

“The compensation process was scientifically broken, and I think the reason for that is the government really realized how much money it was going to cost them, and decided it would be easier to deal with this in court,” Philippe said.

More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government, but only about half have been settled in the last 10 years. Philippe said this was allowed to happen because of the French government’s “censorship and secrecy” surrounding the nuclear testing.

One upside of the release of this study, he said, was the French government’s commitment to open more government archives to the public — a commitment that President Macron made on his recent trip. The French government did not respond to The World’s request for comment about Macron’s trip.

Irreversible environmental damage

The underestimation of the radioactive fallout also made it difficult to fully understand the scope of irreversible environmental damage from the nuclear testing.

Keitapu Maamaatuaiahutapu, a physicist and climate scientist at the University of French Polynesia, said the destruction was particularly bad when the testing went underground in the mid-’70s and bombs were set off in boreholes drilled into the atolls

These bombs had power “100 to 1,000 times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima,” he said.

Whole lagoons full of coral were decimated and fish populations were poisoned for years. Now, there’s also a concern that the atolls may break apart — a process being sped up by rising ocean levels due to climate change, he said.

“And the release of the radioactivity from those holes,” Maamaatuaiahutapu said. “Not only would that create [a] tsunami, but it would pollute the ocean.”

France continues to control all of the information about the damage caused by nuclear testing, including heavily guarding the test sites themselves, he said, so there might not be a way to tell when something might happen. Both the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls are more than 700 miles away from the main island of Tahiti.

Maamaatuaiahutapu also said that he doesn’t believe that French Polynesia will never get an official apology from Paris, and that also creates political problems.

Experts said that French Polynesians who are loyal to France don’t want to criticize Paris, because it supports the territory with some $2 billion a year.

On the other hand, the independent movement, which both Maamaatuaiahutapu and Colombani are part of, supports every effort to hold France accountable, and to spread the word about nuclear tests across the Pacific — a place known mostly for its beauty.

“In every other Pacific Island, you have the same,” said Colombani, who also spent more than a decade working in French Polynesia’s tourism sector. “You have the postcard, but if you look beyond that, there’s something you cannot even imagine.”

August 23, 2021 Posted by | environment, France, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

An expert explains that the Philippines’ nuclear power plant would be OK, but solar power would be faster and better.


Instead of nuclear power, why not solar power?  
https://opinion.inquirer.net/143165/instead-of-nuclear-power-why-not-solar-power Philippine Daily Inquirer  August 17, 2021,   Last July 8, Peter Wallace wrote in his column about nuclear power plants being safe and that there are many countries operating their nuclear power plants safely over the last 50 years: the United States, Germany, Taiwan, Japan. etc.

I agree about recommissioning the Bataan nuclear plant. As a chemical engineer, I can say that we have enough controls to operate it safely.

However, reviving the Bataan plant will take at least five years. Why not recommend the use of solar panels instead, per Republic Act No. 11285 or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, which requires building owners to use renewable sources like solar? The Philippines is the only country in the world with 2,000 hours of sun per year.

Germany went on to use solar panel systems on roofs and, in a short period of time, four million houses have been generating power, resulting in the shutdown of many coal plants. In the United States, New York appointed an energy czar to speed up the use of renewable energy.

Australia gives incentives to households that use solar batteries. lberdrola Spain has made tremendous progress on the use of renewable energy, becoming one of the top five electric utility companies in the world. Portugal and Spain have invested in photovoltaic battery storage systems.

August 17, 2021 Posted by | Philippines, renewable | Leave a comment

France’s secrecy and censorship on the atomic bomb tests in the Pacific

New study on nuclear testing in French Polynesia reveals France’s ‘censorship and secrecy’  https://www.pri.org/stories/2021-08-06/new-study-nuclear-testing-french-polynesia-reveals-france-s-censorship-and

More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government for nuclear tests on French Polynesia between 1966 and 1996. Scientists say about 110,000 people have been affected by  
The WorldAugust 06, 2021 · 12:30 PM EDT

By Ashley Westerman   It’s been nearly two decades since France stopped testing nuclear weapons in French Polynesia.

But many across French Polynesia’s 118 islands and atolls across the central South Pacific were disappointed last month when President Emmanuel Macron, on his very first trip to the territory France has controlled since 1842, failed to apologize for the nearly 200 nuclear tests conducted between 1966 and 1996.

“Faced with dangerous powers in the concert of nations, I wish to say here that the nation owes a debt to French Polynesia,” Macron said in a July 27 speech. He went on to admit that the tests on the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls were “not clean in any way” — but stopped short of an official apology.

Guillaume Colombini, who works for Radio Te Reo-o-Tefana, said while they weren’t expecting an apology, it was still devastating not to get one.

“So, when you do something wrong, whatever it is, if you go and see the people you have hurt and you say, ‘Listen, I’m sorry for what I’ve done,’” said Colombini, “it is easier for the community to say, ‘OK, we accept, here’s forgiveness,’ or ‘No, we don’t accept. You have to do something for us.’”

Colombini, 41, grew up in Tahiti during the last decades of the nuclear tests and said he remembers seeing images of blue lagoons turning white after bombs were set off. He can recount the hyper-polarization of the issue and the anti-nuclear demonstrations spurred across the Pacific.

Although testing stopped more than two decades ago, its legacy lives on in French Polynesia’s politics, health, economy and environment, he said.

Underestimated exposure levels 

Scientists have long estimated some 110,000 people were affected by the radioactive fallout — many of them French Polynesians who worked at the testing sites. However, a study released earlier this year revealed that France underestimated the level of toxic exposure during the atmospheric tests that took place in the 1960s and ’70s.

The Mururoa Files was based on a two-year investigation of more than 2,000 declassified French state documents as well as various interviews conducted in French Polynesia.

“We found that they underestimated the level of exposure by factors of two to 10, depending on the tests and locations,” said Sebastien Philippe, a researcher and lecturer at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with the program on science and global security and co-author of the study.

That’s two to 10 times higher than the estimates given by France’s Atomic Energy Commission in a report produced nearly a decade after testing stopped. The findings compiled by Philippe and his team found, among other things, that one reason the estimates of radiation exposure were so low is that France did not take into account contaminated drinking water.

Ultimately, this systematic underestimation not only made it more difficult to link cases of cancer to the nuclear tests, but it also made it harder for victims to get compensated.

“The compensation process was scientifically broken, and I think the reason for that is the government really realized how much money it was going to cost them, and decided it would be easier to deal with this in court,” Philippe said.

More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government, but only about half have been settled in the last 10 years. Philippe said this was allowed to happen because of the French government’s “censorship and secrecy” surrounding the nuclear testing.

One upside of the release of this study, he said, was the French government’s commitment to open more government archives to the public — a commitment that President Macron made on his recent trip. The French government did not respond to The World’s request for comment about Marcon’s trip.

The underestimation of the radioactive fallout also made it difficult to fully understand the scope of irreversible environmental damage from the nuclear testing.

Keitapu Maamaatuaiahutapu, a physicist and climate scientist at the University of French Polynesia, said the destruction was particularly bad when the testing went underground in the mid-’70s and bombs were set off in boreholes drilled into the atolls

These bombs had power “100 to 1,000 times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima,” he said.

Whole lagoons full of coral were decimated and fish populations were poisoned for years. Now, there’s also a concern that the atolls may break apart — a process being sped up by rising ocean levels due to climate change, he said.

“And the release of the radioactivity from those holes,” Maamaatuaiahutapu said. “Not only would that create [a] tsunami, but it would pollute the ocean.”

France continues to control all of the information about the damage caused by nuclear testing, including heavily guarding the test sites themselves, he said, so there might not be a way to tell when something might happen. Both the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls are more than 700 miles away from the main island of Tahiti.

Maamaatuaiahutapu also said that he doesn’t believe that French Polynesia will never get an official apology from Paris, and that also creates political problems.

Experts said that French Polynesians who are loyal to France don’t want to criticize Paris, because it supports the territory with some $2 billion a year.

On the other hand, the independent movement, which both Maamaatuaiahutapu and Colombini are part of, supports every effort to hold France accountable, and to spread the word about nuclear tests across the Pacific — a place known mostly for its beauty.

“In every other Pacific Island, you have the same,” said Colombini, who also spent more than a decade working in French Polynesia’s tourism sector. “You have the postcard, but if you look beyond that, there’s something you cannot even imagine.”

August 7, 2021 Posted by | depleted uranium, France, OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

French President acknowledges France’s debt to Polynesia, but no apology.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Paris owed “a debt” to
French Polynesia over nuclear tests conducted in the South Pacific
territory between 1966 and 1996, but stopped short of apologising.

 Daily Mail 28th July 2021

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-9833889/France-owes-French-Polynesia-debt-nuclear-tests-Macron.html

July 29, 2021 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Emmanuel Macron in French Polynesia – not likely to satisfy campaigners resentful of France’s nuclear tests legacy

In French Polynesia, Macron tackles nuclear test legacy, China dominance,  President Emmanuel Macron is visiting French Polynesia to showcase France’s commitment to the region amid concerns about the impact of climate change on the Pacific island territory, the legacy of French nuclear testing on its atolls — and most of all, growing Chinese dominance in the region……Residents in the sprawling archipelago of more than 100 islands located midway between Mexico and Australia are hoping Macron confirms compensation for radiation victims following decades of nuclear testing as France pursued atomic weapons.

The tests remain a source of deep resentment, seen as evidence of racist colonial attitudes that disregarded the lives of islanders.

Analysis: France’s efforts to redress effects of nuclear testing unlikely to satisfy campaigners

French officials denied any cover-up of radiation exposure at a meeting earlier this month with delegates from the semi-autonomous territory led by President Édouard Fritch.

The meeting came after the investigative website Disclose reported in March that the impact from the fallout was far more extensive than authorities had acknowledged, citing declassified French military documents on the nearly 200 tests.

Only 63 Polynesian civilians have been compensated for radiation exposure since the tests ended in 1996, Disclose said……….

Climate change, pandemic also on the cards

Macron also plans to address risks for the islands from rising sea levels as well as cyclones that some scientists warn could become more dangerous due to climate change………. https://www.france24.com/en/france/20210725-in-french-polynesia-macron-tackles-nuclear-test-legacy-china


July 26, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Maohi Lives Matter’: Tahiti protesters condemn French nuclear testing legacy 

Maohi Lives Matter’: Tahiti protesters condemn French nuclear testing legacy  https://globalvoices.org/2021/07/23/maohi-lives-matter-tahiti-protesters-condemn-french-nuclear-testing-legacy/
France conducted 193 nuclear tests in the South Pacific by Mong Palatino 23 July 20217

More than 1,000 people gathered in the Tahiti capital of Papeete to condemn the failure of the French government to take full accountability for its nuclear testing program in the South Pacific.

France conducted 193 nuclear tests from 1966–1996 in Mā’ohi Nui (French Polynesia). France’s 41st nuclear experiment in the Pacific led to catastrophe on July 17, 1974, when France tested a nuclear bomb codenamed “Centaure.” Because of weather conditions that day, the test caused an atmospheric radioactive fallout which affected all of French Polynesia. Inhabitants of Tahiti and the surrounding islands of the Windward group were reportedly subjected to significant amounts of ionizing radiation 42 hours after the test, which can cause significant long-term health problems.

The July 17, 2021 protest was organized under the banner of #MaohiLivesMatter to highlight the continuing fight for nuclear justice. Campaigners said that despite the statement of former French President François Hollande in 2016 recognizing the negative environmental and health impact of the nuclear tests, the French government has done little to provide compensation or rehabilitation to French Polynesia.

After analyzing 2,000 pages of declassified French military documents about the nuclear tests, in March 2021 a group of researchers and investigative journalists from INTERPRT and Disclose released their findings on the health implications of the experiments.

According to our calculations, based on a scientific reassessment of the doses received, approximately 110,000 people were infected, almost the entire Polynesian population at the time.

The report has revived public awareness in France about the impact of their nuclear testing program. The French government held a roundtable discussion about the issue in Paris in early July. Though some criticized the French government for their alleged lack of transparency around the clean-up efforts in French Polynesia, officials denied these claims.

Protesters in Tahiti insisted that the French government should do more to address the demands of French Polynesian residents. Some noted that if French President Emmanuel Macron was able to seek forgiveness for the role of France in enabling the Rwanda genocide in 1994, he should at least make a similar apology for the harmful legacy of the nuclear tests in the Pacific.

The #MaohiLivesMatter protest has inspired solidarity in the Pacific.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN) Australia issued this statement of support:

As you gather in Maohi Nui on the 17th July we offer our deep respects to your leaders and community members who have long spoken out against the harms imposed by these weapons. We have heard your calls for nuclear justice. We continue to listen closely when you speak of the lived experience of the testing years and the on–going harms.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to tackle the legacy of nuclear testing during his visit to Tahiti this month.

July 24, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear-free Asia Pacific Report 

Nuclear-free  Asia Pacific Report 
By APR editor – July 19, 2021   Over the past 50 years, France has continued to deny the tragedies of nuclear testing in French Occupied Polynesia by propagating the theory of “clean nuclear tests”. Image: Youngsolwara Pacific

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk    Moana activists, campaigners, scholars, researchers and Green MPs gathered today in a show of solidarity for Tahiti’s Ma’ohi Lives Matter rally at Auckland University of Technology and vowed to work towards independence for the French-occupied Pacific territory.

A live feed from the Tahitian capital of Pape’ete was screened and simultaneous events happened across the Pacific, such as in Fiji.

Many of the Auckland participants were stalwarts from the early days of the Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement from the 1970s and 1980s and declared their support for pro-independence Tahitian leader Oscar Temaru.

Many speakers protested that Tahitians were still awaiting compensation for the legacy of health problems and the devastation of Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls during 30 years of testing and 193 nuclear blasts, both atmospheric and underground.

The speakers said it was appalling that serious attempts for compensation and a state apology had not happened in the two decades since the tests ended in 1996.

However, reports from Paris at the weekend hinted that the French Polynesian President had indicated that France had for the first time conceded it should compensate Tahiti’s social security agency CPS for the medical costs caused by the tests.

The agency had repeatedly said that since 1995 it had paid out US$800 million to treat a total of 10,000 people suffering from cancer as the result of radiation from the tests.

French PM’s letter
Tahiti’s territorial President Édouard Fritch said he received a letter from French Prime Minister Jean Castex, in which he admitted that the demand for a re-imbursement of the outlays was legitimate…………….

Environmental journalist, author and academic Dr David Robie denounced the “decades of lies, bluster and cover-ups” by French authorities, saying recent allegations published by the book Toxique and investigative website The Moruroa Files were a “game changer” forcing action from Paris…………

The rally participants acknowledged the connection between indigenous struggles in Mā’ohi Nui, Aotearoa, Australia, Hawai’i, Kanaky New Caledonia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, Solomons, Vanuatu, West Papua, and the rest of Moana.,,,,,,,    https://asiapacificreport.nz/2021/07/19/nuclear-free/

July 19, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

US and Allies’ military machine – out of Afghanistan (where it’s needed) and into the Pacific – against its new enemy – The Great Barrier Reef

War games on despite pandemic, threat to Great Barrier Reef  https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/war-games-despite-pandemic-threat-great-barrier-reef, Kerry SmithJuly 16, 2021  Lurking off the coast of China’s eastern seaboard now are three United States aircraft carrier battle groups (each with about 30 support vessels).

They will be joined by a British aircraft carrier group and Australian and Canadian warships as part of biennial military exercises, which start on July 18 and last until the end of the month.

Talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21) will involve a US expeditionary strike group from the USS America, the amphibious assault ship based at Sasebo Naval Base in Japan, and 17,000 Australian, US and foreign troops in combined land, sea and air war exercises.  

According to Stars and Stripes, for the first time, there will be live-fire training: the US Army will fire a Patriot missile defense system from Shoalwater Bay in Queensland at a pair of drone targets on July 16.

This is within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and other environmentally and culturally significant areas.

The war games will also take place in Darwin in the Northern Territory and Evans Head, New South Wales. 

All are thousands of kilometres away from their home base, and provocatively close to the new declared enemy — China.

Forces from Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea will take part and Australia-based personnel from India, Indonesia, France and Germany will observe.

Meanwhile, the ABC’s “defence correspondent” hyperventilated on July 14 that a solitary Chinese military ship, outside Australian territorial waters, poses a threat to national security.

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is concerned about both the war games and its impact on environmentally and culturally significant sites.

“TS21 will involve amphibious assaults, movement of heavy vehicles, use of live ammunition as well as the use of U.S. nuclear-powered and nuclear-weapon capable vessels,” IPAN spokesperson Annette Brownlie said.

“These activities are incompatible with the protection of the environment and, in particular, the Great Barrier Reef.

“During Talisman Sabre 2013, the US jettisoned four unarmed bombs on the Great Barrier Reef when they had difficulty dropping them on their intended target, Townshend Island,” Brownlie said.

The objective of Talisman Sabre is to further integrate the Australian military with the US — now ranked among the world’s worst polluters.

IPAN said the ADF did not engage in a Public Environment Report process for TS21 and has yet to release an environmental assessment for the areas in which TS21 will take place.

However, the Department of Defence did produce an environmental awareness video for visiting troops that promotes the military use of the Great Barrier Reef. The video reminds troops to consider the reef and not to litter.

“Talisman Sabre is a threat to the reef and to the environment. Putting out a video is a completely inadequate response,” Brownlie said.

This comes as federal environment minister Sussan Ley is lobbying to keep the Great Barrier Reef off the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Committee’s “in danger” list.

Despite a global pandemic, about 1800 foreign military personnel have arrived in Darwin to participate.

July 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Seychelles Votes to Ratify the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,

Seychelles Votes to Ratify a Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, allAfrica, 5 July 21,

Seychelles is set to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons after the National Assembly overwhelmingly approved a motion in support of the treaty, which has gained significant support among non-nuclear nations.

The Leader of Government Business, Bernard Georges, presented the motion last Wednesday and said the aim is to see nuclear weapons completely eliminated in the near future.

Seychelles has always been vulnerable to nuclear weapons,” Georges said. “Ever since the island of Diego Garcia became a military base, Seychelles has been at the centre of nuclear weapons and with numerous other military bases being set up in the region, we are surrounded by a nuclear presence.”…………………..

The treaty entered into force on January 22, 2021, after Honduras became the 50th country to ratify it.

Signatories to the treaty are barred from transferring or receiving nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, control over such weapons, or any assistance with activities prohibited under the Treaty.

Member states are also prohibited from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. They also cannot allow the stationing, installation, or deployment of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices in their territory.

In addition to the Treaty’s prohibitions, States Parties are obligated to provide victim aid and help with environmental remediation efforts.

Read the original article on Seychelles News Agencyhttps://allafrica.com/stories/202107050623.html

July 6, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. militarisation of the Pacific

Countering the “China Threat”–At What Price?   The Pentagon is upgrading its full-spectrum dominance, with China as the primary target. Organising Notesthe Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.By Koohan Paik-Mander     27 June 21

”…………………. to accommodate the JADC2,   Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2)  even more expansive swaths of the ocean are being set aside for year-round military exercises.

The most egregious example is the MITT (Mariana Islands Training and Testing), a plan to transform over a million square miles of biodiverse ecosystems into the largest-ever range complex for bombing and firing practice. The impacted area would be larger than the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, and New Mexico combined.

The largest multinational open-ocean military exercises in history will take place here, home to 26 species of cetaceans. The navy itself estimates that its activities will maim or kill over 81,000 whales and dolphins per year. And that doesn’t count the ecological casualties anticipated in other existing exercise ranges, such as those around Hawaii, California, Alaska, Australia, in the Sea of Japan, and in the Bay of Bengal.

For their part, thousands of residents of the Marianas are protesting the plan to turn their ancestral archipelago into a year-round war zone. Large portions of Guam and Tinian would become dedicated firing ranges, placed right next door to towns and neighborhoods. Practice-bombing on the islet of Farallon de Medinilla, a migratory-bird hotspot, will increase from 2,150 strikes a year to 6,000 strikes a year. And most tragically, the whole of the astonishingly pristine island of Pagan is slated to undergo perpetual full-spectrum assaults from air, land, and sea. The island is expected to endure continuous bombing from mortars and missiles, its wildlife damaged by sonar, torpedoes, hand grenades, reef-crushing amphibious landing practice, and countless experimental detonations. Because of the colonial status of the Mariana islanders, they have not been able to legally demand transparency and accountability from the U.S. government…………http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2021/06/countering-china-threatat-what-price.html

June 28, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans,

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Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans, STUFF, Jimmy Ellingham , June 12 2021 

 More than 500 young Kiwi sailors were unwitting witnesses to British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the late 1950s. Jimmy Ellingham talks to three men who were there.

One by one they spoke of cancers and birth defects in their children.

Four decades after Operation Grapple, hydrogen-bomb tests off Christmas Island witnessed by New Zealanders on two frigates, HMNZS Rotoiti and Pukaki, the stories were harrowing and the suffering unbearable.


It was the early days of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, created through the efforts of navy veteran Roy Sefton, from Palmerston North.

At the city’s Returned and Services’ Association home, Grapple sailors shared their stories of the tests’ after-effects.

“I knew people were sick. I didn’t know how sick. I didn’t know about the generations,” says Pukaki veteran Clive Strickett.

“That really broke me up.”

Sefton told veterans to bring their wives and children. They told stories of miscarriages and, in extreme cases, babies born with missing limbs.

“There wasn’t a dry face in the place,” Strickett says, remembering the moment when the terrible effects of what they were exposed to hit them.

“Everyone cried. It was so terrible. We decided that we’ve got to do something about this.”

That gathering in the late-1990s was also when fellow Pukaki sailor John Purcell learned what his old mates and their families were going through.

“A person speaking had throat cancer. He was in terrible trouble.

“As I sat there and listened to all the other disabilities that our members and their families have had, I suddenly realised that I had a story to tell as well.”…………….

In the fallout zone

In August and September 1958, there were five nuclear tests off Christmas Island, south of Indonesia, as Britain looked to match the arsenals held by the United States and Soviet Union.

Strickett saw three, the second of which was huge, 20 times bigger than Hiroshima, he says.

“That’s a huge explosion. That created a huge vapour cloud across the Pacific we had to monitor. We had to monitor it until it evaporated.

“It took days and days to evaporate, so we were under that cloud for a long time.”

It rained. Hard. Pukaki had a problem with its salt water condenser, so an awning was put up to collect rain water for washing and drinking. This potentially exposed the crew to more radiation.


Strickett remembers the explosions as horrific, although they were an amazing sight. Beautiful, some said.

“It was picturesque, but it wasn’t for me. I can’t say I enjoyed it. I don’t think we were prepared for it.”

Sailors were told to tuck trousers into socks and cover their eyes. Those on deck sat with their backs to the detonation zone and waited.

“We did that and the bomb went off, and that was it for me. I could see the bones in my hand. It was scary.”

For that second, big bomb, after two minutes the men were told to open their eyes and look towards the blast.

“It was right in front of us… It was huge.”

Purcell saw four tests. Two smaller ones and two big ones, equivalent to 800,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes of TNT, respectively.

Protective clothing wasn’t up to much, he says – a pair of trousers, hat and gloves.

“It’s so archaic they thought this was the uniform that would assist us with the blast..

“The biggest blast was a huge mushroom that climbed. It took up the whole horizon.”

Purcell also remembers sitting with his back to the blasts, waiting for them to explode as naval officers counted from one to 40.

“The explosions were rumblings in the distance. Then you felt the heat on your back.”

He also saw the bones of his hands, a common memory of Grapple veterans. “That’s the biggest memory I had, really.”

Toomath was below deck for two or three explosions. In recent years he’s learned that may have been the worst place to be, as the boiler room sucked in air from outside.

“We had all the radiation coming down.”

But at the time he felt safe.

“I was in the boiler room for one of them. I think that was the biggest one. I know it got pretty hot down there. It was that hot I couldn’t even touch the handrails on the ladders.”

Above deck he saw the Pukaki steaming towards a huge mushroom cloud full of lightning and thunder, but was told not to worry.

“We were just young, innocent. We were up there for adventure.”

The aftermath

Purcell spent 8½ years in the navy before joining the prison service, including being in charge of Napier Prison.

His list of medical ailments is substantial. He doesn’t want to delve into the detail, but it includes cancer.

Purcell gets a war veterans’ pension because of his health, but such support, which was hard-won, does not extend to children or grandchildren of veterans.

In 1966, Purcell’s daughter Lynette was born with a hole in her heart and cerebral palsy. She was never able to sit up unsupported and died in her mid-40s……………………..

Waiting for an apology

Sefton, the Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association’s chairman, died in January, aged 82. Bulls Grapple veteran Tere Tahi, who was aboard the Rotoiti in 1957, has taken over his mate’s mantle and is determined to meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

He estimates about 60 veterans survive and the association wants an apology for the young men who were put in harm’s way and the effect the blasts had on their health.

It also wants research undertaken and medical help for children or grandchildren of veterans.

Association patron Al Rowland is a retired Massey academic involved in research that found there was long-term genetic damage to the veterans and their families, but this hasn’t been enough to convince the New Zealand or British Government.

Toomath says support for veterans’ children and grandchildren is crucial, as is understanding the effects of radiation exposure down the generations. He would like to see research into this.

Strickett says he doesn’t need money from a payout, but would like an apology.

Like Toomath he wants the Government to fund research into Grapple veterans’ descendants and for it to push the British Government into acknowledging it was wrong to risk the young sailors’ lives.

Purcell says he’ll write a letter to the latest Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Meka Whaitiri, as he has done to her predecessors.

“What I find hard to accept is the lack of recognition from the Crown that these young boys were handed over to the Government to be treated like guinea pigs.

“If the testing was so safe why didn’t the British carry it out on their own shores?

“All we want is simply a public apology for the treatment of all navel test veterans and their whānau. That’s not hard.”

Purcell and Toomath are featured in a photography exhibition at Te Manawa Art Gallery, Palmerston North, until August.   https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300330166/harrowing-stories-reveal-decades-of-fallout-for-nuclear-test-veterans

READ

June 12, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA still has ban on major foodstuffs from Fukushima region. Why did Philippines lift their ban?

Silence on Japan’s dumping nuclear wastes and historical revisionism risks world environment, Manila Times, 
Kim Chui, June 8, 2021

JAPANESE Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s recent announcement of Japan’s unilateral decision to dump 1.2 million tons of nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean should be of real concern to everyone. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that the US supported Japan’s announcement, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended its import ban on major foodstuff from the Fukushima region that has been in effect since 2011.

More worrisome is Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s announcement in January 2020 during the visit of Japan Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, that the Philippines had lifted all import bans of food products from Japan without reporting whether any proper scientific tests had been done. Were there safeguards established to protect Filipino consumers, or were we made to be the dumping ground of rejects again just to extend goodwill to a “friend?”    Is the Philippine FDA more capable of testing radioactive foodstuff than the US FDA?…………….  https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/06/08/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/silence-on-japans-dumping-nuclear-wastes-and-historical-revisionism-risks-world-environment/1802316

June 8, 2021 Posted by | environment, Philippines | Leave a comment