nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Just like Australia, disinformation is thriving during the US fire crisis- Muroch media and Facebook

With its stranglehold on daily newspapers and online news, News Corp in Australia has created the most rightwing media culture in the English speaking world, and they aren’t really accountable to anyone.

Facebook is also the place where we see the two disinformation crises overlap.

Just like Australia, disinformation is thriving during the US fire crisis  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/19/just-like-australia-disinformation-is-thriving-during-the-us-fire-crisis

Jason Wilson  20 Sept 20 In both countries, fake news about arson proliferated while the role of climate change was obscured.

isinformation successfully obscured the real causes of Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season. Now the same thing is happening around me, as I report on a disastrous wildfire season in the American west.

In both countries, the response to a pandemic is also being complicated by disinformation, as conspiracy theorists refuse isolation, refuse masks, and ready themselves to refuse vaccines.

A lot of the fundamental problems are the same, but there are differences in detail.

In the western United States in recent days, backroads vigilantism has seen civilians set up armed road blocks, and journalists held at the point of loaded assault rifles.

Australia does not have the complication of American gun culture, which is itself one marker of the clash of ideologies and identities in a deeply divided nation, and also raises the stakes on every other social conflict.

That may be, but it’s easy to forget that one of the major stumbling blocks to stricter gun laws in the United States is a bill of rights.

We can argue whether the right to bear arms is a sensible thing to constitutionally enshrine, but Australia has no such constitutionally defined individual rights, beyond those that the high court has seen fit to torture from the document.

The absence of such rights also contains the real world effects of conspiracy theories – the people recently arrested for incitement in Victoria over the promotion of Covid conspiracy theories and anti-lockdown protests would likely enjoy first amendment protections in the US. Whether or not people ought to have the liberty to promote ideas which are, frankly, insane, and a threat to public order, is beyond the scope of this article.

In other ways, Australia is worse off. It is easy to make the mistake of thinking that Fox News, or other skewed or tabloid media, is representative of US media as a whole. Continue reading

September 21, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, media, USA | Leave a comment

BHP betrays international safety efforts

Above – uranium  tailings dam – Olympic Dam, South Australia

September 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Brazil, environment, Legal | Leave a comment

In South Australia, Farmers, Traditional Owners fight radioactive waste dump

As Woolford pointed out, of 2789 submissions received in a public consultation 94.5% oppose the facility.

Farmers, Traditional Owners fight radioactive waste dump  https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/farmers-traditional-owners-fight-radioactive-waste-dump, Renfrey Clarke, Adelaide, September 8, 2020

In a marginal grain-growing district of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, construction for a national repository for Australia’s radioactive wastes will begin soon — or so the federal government hopes.

A 160-hectare tract of farmland has been purchased near the small town of Kimba and, as inducement to deliver support for the plan, local residents have been promised a $31 million “community development package.” A non-binding ballot conducted last November among residents of the Kimba District Council area recorded 62% in favour of the scheme.

But opponents of the dump remain active and vocal. As well as farmers and townsfolk concerned for their safety and for the “clean and green” reputation of the district’s produce, those against the plan include the Barngarla First Nations people, who hold native title over the area. Continue reading

September 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian government’s cowardly double standards: saves its citizens from Chines oppression, but not Assange from American oppression

DOUBLE STANDARDS!     What a glaring example of kowtowing to USA!

The Australian government has just deftly extricated two journalists from probably gaol in China.  But what about Australian citizen Julian Assange.  As usual, Australia kowtows to the mighty USA.

Julian Assange is not getting fair treatment at the Old Bailey (London) hearing about whether or not he should be extradited to the USA, to face 175 years of gaol, on “espionage” charges.   Independent journalists, people from Amnesty, or anyone else likely to give Assange’s side of the story, in reporting this bizarre hearing, is excluded from the courtroom.  That’s despite the Old Bailey’s tradition of an open courtroom.

As far as I can ascertain, they’re now charging Julian with publicising the names of USA agents.   But in fact, Assange gave the documents to newspapers, I think it was the Guardian and the New York Times, with an express request to NOT publish those names. And the papers went ahead and published them. Julian didn’t.    I also understand that, even then no harm came to any of those agents.

It’s all a trumped up thing.  Julian being oppressed because he revealed evidence of USA military atrocities.  So, like Wilfred Burchett, decades ago, he must be punished by almighty America, and Australia must dutifully follow suit.

September 9, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Christina's notes, civil liberties, legal | Leave a comment

Australia entangled in America’s military-industrial-intelligence-security complex 

August 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Gas is not a transition fuel to a safe climate. That ship has sailed

Gas is not a transition fuel to a safe climate. That ship has sailed, https://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/gas-is-not-a-transition-fuel-to-a-safe-climate-that-ship-has-sailed-20200826-p55pec.html, Penny Sackett, 27 Aug 20

Australia’s chief scientist from 2008 to 2011   If gas-fired electricity emissions can be lower than that from coal-fired plants, should Australia expand its fossil gas industry as a means of combating climate change? The answer is a clear no if we want to avoid the worst climate change outcomes.

Science has repeatedly demonstrated that the most important action to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees is to begin to reduce all fossil fuel consumption – coal, yes, but oil and gas too – in this decade.

The primary difficulty is the large mismatch between what is required to meet that stated climate goal of the Paris Agreement and what nations have actually pledged to do. Worse still, the current policies of many countries, Australia included, would increase their national production of fossil fuels, increasing emissions above their own weak pledges.

This so-called “production gap” is the subject of a recent multi-institutional, multi-national report led by the Swedish Environment Institute. Its analysis shows that governments are planning to produce about 50 per cent more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 2-degree pathway and 120 per cent more than would be consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway. This means that plans for fossil fuel development or extension that are already on the table must be shelved to hold warming to the Paris target range.

Consistent with other research, the report demonstrates that to have a 66 per cent chance of holding warming to well below 2 degrees, coal, oil and gas production must all decline significantly in the next decade. That is why increasing gas development to displace coal is no longer a viable approach to maintaining a reasonably safe climate.

Over the past 30 years, coal-to-gas “fuel-switching” has played a role in reducing emissions in the United States and Britain. However, the latest information from the US Energy Information Administration shows that the US energy grid has decreased its emissions from a shift to non-fossil fuel sources by almost as much as a shift to gas. Despite the shale boom, non-carbon energy sources have now overtaken any other single source of fossil fuel in supplying energy to the US grid.

In Britain, renewables played a large role in reducing emissions in the electricity grid. Between 2006 and 2016, the renewables share of electricity production rose from 2 per cent to 25 per cent, even excluding large hydro. While the 1990’s “dash for gas” was responsible for the largest cumulative amount of avoided greenhouse emissions in Britain since 1990, the situation is different now. In 2017, the transition to renewable energy was the largest driver in its electricity sector’s emission reductions. In second place was lower electricity demand (think what we could do with energy efficiency in Australia), while coal-to-gas switching came in third.

The world we live in has already changed dramatically with global average temperatures now 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Cyclones and storm surges are more intense. Droughts are more damaging. Fire seasons are longer and bushfires more fierce. Billions of animals died in last year’s Australian bushfires alone. Entire species are becoming extinct at rates far above normal. The point of no return may have already passed for Arctic sea ice – in 15 years, globes in schoolrooms may show white ice at only one pole.

At 2 degrees of warming, heatwaves would be even more severe and more deadly to humans, animals and agriculture. Sydney and Melbourne would need to brace for 50-degree days. The fire weather that produced Australia’s Black Summer would become at least four times more likely, the amount of water available to feed dams and rivers in NSW would be reduced by 30 per cent from what was typical mid last century, and coral reefs around the world would almost certainly be eliminated.

We have all the tools to avoid that future of 2 degrees of warming. What has been lacking is coherent, science-based action that does not add yet more fuel to the climate fire. Today, when the enormous human, economic and ecological costs of even 1.1 degrees of warming are so clear, when prices of renewable energy have plummeted, and several non-fossil energy storage options are available, gas is not a transition fuel to a safe climate. That ship has sailed.

Planned and rapid coal-to-renewables switching is now the responsible path. Gas will have a role in the near term, certainly, but the science is clear. The role of gas needs to be a significantly declining one, not a growing one, if we are to avoid the worst of climate change so that Australia’s future is safe, sustainable and competitively modern.

Penny Sackett was Australia’s chief scientist between 2008 and 2011. She is an honorary professor at the Climate Change Institute, Australian National University.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Torres Strait Islanders claim climate change affects their human rights – Australia govt tries to stifle their claim

Australia asks UN to dismiss Torres Strait Islanders’ claim climate change affects their human rights

Complaint argues Morrison government has failed to take adequate action on emissions or adaptation measures, Guardian, Katharine Murphy Political editor 14 Aug 20  The Morrison government has asked the human rights committee of the United Nations to dismiss a landmark claim by a group of Torres Strait Islanders from low-lying islands off the northern coast of Australia that climate change is having an impact on their human rights, according to lawyers for the complainants.

The complaint, lodged just over 12 months ago, argued the Morrison government had failed to take adequate action to reduce emissions or pursue proper adaptation measures on the islands and, as a consequence, had failed fundamental human rights obligations to Torres Strait Islander people.

But the lead lawyer for the case, Sophie Marjanac, says the Coalition has rejected arguments from the islanders, telling the UN the case should be dismissed “because it concerns future risks, rather than impacts being felt now, and is therefore inadmissible”.

Marjanac said lawyers for the commonwealth had told the committee because Australia is not the main or only contributor to global warming, climate change action is not its legal responsibility under human rights law.

“The government’s lawyers also rejected arguments that climate impacts were being felt today, and that effects constituting a human rights violation are yet to be suffered”.

A spokesman for the attorney general, Christian Porter, said submissions to the human rights committee were not publicly available……

Lawyers for the islanders have alleged that the catastrophic nature of the predicted future impacts of climate change on the Torres Strait Islands, including the total submergence of ancestral homelands, is a sufficiently severe impact as to constitute a violation of the rights to culture, family and life.

The challenges associated with sea level rise in the Torres Strait have been well documented. A report from the Climate Council on the risks associated with coastal flooding notes that Torres Strait Island communities are extremely low-lying and are thus among the most vulnerable in Australia to the impacts of climate change.

The report concludes the shallowness of the strait “exacerbates storm surges and when such surges coincide with very high tides, extreme sea levels result”. It cites sea level data collected by satellite from one location in the Torres Strait between 1993 and 2010 that indicated a rise of 6 mm per annum, “more than twice the global average”,

Although the report notes this was a single dataset, low-lying islands in the Pacific – and Torres Strait islands such as Masig and Boigu – are likely to be at the forefront of forced displacement. Some forecasts have predicted up to 150 million people could be forcibly displaced by climate change by 2040 – larger than the record number of people already forced from their homes globally.

The non-profit group ClientEarth is supporting the complaint. A spokesman for the group said: “It is shameful that Indigenous communities on Australia’s climate frontline are being told that the risk of climate change to their human rights is merely a future hypothetical issue, when scientists are clear these impacts will happen in coming decades”.

“Climate change risk is foreseeable and only preventable through immediate action in the present. States like Australia have legal duties to protect the human rights of their citizens”. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/aug/14/australia-asks-un-to-dismiss-torres-strait-islanders-claim-climate-change-affects-their-human-rights

August 15, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

The lingering human suffering after nuclear testing in Australia and Oceania

Death in paradise: the aftermath of nuclear testing in Australia and Oceania    https://diem25.org/death-paradise-the-aftermath-nuclear-testing-australia-and-oceania/ 10/08/2020   by Aleksandar Novaković   The United States of America is the first nuclear power — and the only one to have used its weapons for a military purpose. During World War 2 in 1945,  two Japanese cities were bombed by US nuclear bombs (Hiroshima on August 6th  and Nagasaki August 9th ). The devastating result was approximately 225,000 people either dead or  wounded. The number of deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to exposure to lethal radiation is still being discussed, but it is certainly in the thousands.

However, even though nuclear weapons were never used again for military purposes, nuclear testing took (and continues to take) a toll on thousands of lives in Australia and Oceania. 

The United States conducted about 1,054 nuclear tests from 1945 to 1992, and 105 of them (1945-1962) were made at Pacific Test Sites (Marshall Islands, Kiribati) causing the contamination of huge areas controlled by US troops. In the Pacific, this caused rising numbers of cancer and birth defects, especially on the Marshall Islands where 67 tests were made and many Marshallese were forced to leave their homes in contaminated areas.

European nuclear powers, such as France and the UK,  have also “contributed” to the deaths of thousands.

France has made over 193 nuclear tests in the Pacific between 1960 and 1996, mostly on Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls that belong to French Polynesia, as well as 17 tests in Algerian Sahara. Tahiti, the most populated island of French Polynesia, was exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation. The impact has spread as far as to the tourist island of Bora Bora.

Civilians and the military participating in nuclear tests (more than 100,000 of them) have experienced diarrhea, skin injuries, blindness, and cancer. Their children have additionally suffered from birth defects. 

From 1953 to 1963, there were over 20 bigger and smaller British  A- bomb tests in Emu Farm, and the Maralinga and Montebello Islands of Australia. Overall, over 1200 peoples were exposed to radiation in the country, most of them Anangu people living in the Maralinga area. The UK has also made nuclear tests on overseas territories such as the Malden Islands and Christmas Island ( the present Republic of Kiribati).

So, what was done by the governments of the US, UK, Australia and France to help those who have suffered from radiation related illnesses, or those who lost their loved ones?

There are two answers. One is that loss of  loved ones, of the way you live your life, of the nature that surrounds you, the loss of home cannot be repaid or replaced with anything else. The other is that aforementioned governments did little.

The US has awarded more than $63 million to Marshallese with radiogenic illnesses despite the fact that the Tribunal only has $45.75 million to award for both health and land claims. France is still avoiding paying reparations to Tahitians.

As for the “joint venture” of the UK and Australia, the truth is that tests were approved and conducted in the first place because British officials were misinforming Australians. The Maralinga Tjarutja (Council) of  Anangu people has a compensation settlement with the Australian government, and they are receiving $13.5 million.

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must ask ourselves: Why are we so callous about many “Hiroshimas” and “Nagasakis” that happened over the following decades? Did we let them happen just because they took place in far-off islands in the Pacific or in the Australian desert? 

The only way to deal with these existing and future horrors that can eradicate life on Earth is to heal these existing wounds.

This means that the governments of the US, UK, France and Australia must pay just reparations to the affected countries and regions. Progressives of the world must act united against the threat of nuclear holocaust and create a political climate in which it would be possible to take action on an international level in order to ban the production, storage and use of nuclear weapons.

This can be done if nuclear powers, followed by all member states, sign the United Nation’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Aleksandar Novaković is a historian and dramatist. He is a member of DSC Belgrade 1 and the thematic DSC Peace and International Policy 1

 

August 11, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, OCEANIA, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s ICAN and Conservation Council of Western Australia commemorate Hiroshima Day

On August 5th, people from across Australia gathered, via Zoom, to commemorate the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, and to hear speakers from ICAN Autralia (International Campaign to Abolish Nucleat Weapons).

Medlissa Clarke spoke of the human effects of this catastrophe, and of the efforts over time, towards disarmament.  The biggest leap forward in this has been, in 2017, the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty now has over 200 nations signed up, with 40 ratifications – not far from the 50 required to make it international law.

Most Australians want a nuclear weapons free world.But Australia’s policy does endorse nuclear weapons. A future Labor government might change that.

Dimity Hawkins described the misery experienced by the Japanese, the agonising stories of the survivors.  Since Hiroshima, the nuclear bombs developed are greatly stronger, and have  been tested over many years, on the Marshall Islands, on Maralinga, South Australia, and on other Pacific Islands, in nuclear colonialism that has never properly been cleaned up.  Australia is part of that nuclear chain. But now,the survivors are speaking out. Red Cross and Red Crescent,  the world’s greatest non government emergency service is strongly behind the Treaty movement, and the indigenous people, particularly Australia’s Aboriginals .

Former Senator Scott Ludlam commemorated the Hibakusha, and the impact of the nuclear weapons industry on indigenous people world-wide. He drew attention to the ?proud statement of U.S. Strategic Command – that their nuclear weapons are to be used in a “safe, secure and lethal way”.

The Treaty was an Australian initiative, brought about by the work of, at first, a few, who by-passed official systems, and went out getting signatures, setting up ICAN, which became an international movement.-, – showing that people can do this, have an effect and an influence.  As cities will be the places to bear the catastrophe of nuclear annihilation,  many Mayors of many have City Councils have signed up to the Treaty.  The Treaty shows that no-one can now claim that nuclear weapons are acceptable, in the same way as biological and chemical warfare are unacceptable.

For information on the continuing  CCWA webinar series go to  http://www.ccwa.org.au/yellowcake_country_webinar_series

August 8, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now 

Today, an unprecedented campaign of propaganda is shooing us all off like rabbits. We are not meant to question the daily torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric, which is rapidly overtaking the torrent of anti-Russia rhetoric. Anything Chinese is bad, anathema, a threat: Wuhan …. Huawei. How confusing it is when “our” most reviled leader says so.

The target is China. Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one US strategist told me, “the perfect noose”.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, tireless China-basher Peter Hartcher described those who spread Chinese influence in Australia as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows”. Hartcher, who favourably quotes the American demagogue Steve Bannon, likes to interpret the “dreams” of the current Chinese elite, to which he is apparently privy. These are inspired by yearnings for the “Mandate of Heaven” of 2,000 years ago. Ad nausea.

To combat this “mandate”, the Australian government of Scott Morrison has committed one of the most secure countries on earth, whose major trading partner is China, to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American missiles that can be fired at China.

Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now    https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/5856084/posts/416010
by JOHN PILGER   6 Aug 20, When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open.

At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.

I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.

I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.”

Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukaemia.

“No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin” said The New York Times front page on 13 September, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.”

Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”.

“I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the London Daily Express  of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”.

For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America’s war propaganda in the 21st century, casting a new enemy, and target – China.

During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.

“Even without the atomic bombing attacks,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”

The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Nothing was done.

The US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US Air Force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. Stimson later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the [atomic] bomb”.

Stimson’s foreign policy colleagues — looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping “in our image”, as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it — made clear they were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the [atomic] bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Harry Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years. Continue reading

August 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia gets anti-China propaganda, funded by USA, in cahoots with Falun Gong

Before becoming Australia’s Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds worked as a project director at Raytheon  (weapons manufacturer).

Propaganda Wars: US state department funds anti-China news outlet in Australia   https://www.michaelwest.com.au/propaganda-wars-us-state-department-funds-anti-china-news-outlet-in-australia/

by Marcus Reubenstein | Aug 4, 2020  Office bearers of US-backed Chinese language news service Decode China are linked with Falun Gong, the spiritual group that has spent millions backing Donald Trump through fake social media accounts. The same people are on the board of the National Foundation for Australia China Relations, raising scepticism about its ability to repair fractured relationships. Marcus Reubenstein investigates US state funding of anti-China media in Australia and links to global arms dealers via ASPI.

The US State Department is quietly funding a Chinese-language news service in Australia, a move more typically associated with China’s state media propagandists.

And two of the three office bearers of the news service, Decode China, are members of a taxpayer-funded independent board advising the Australian government on engagement with China.

Corporate records show Dr Wai Ling Yeung and Maree Ma became secretary and director, respectively, of Decode China Pty Ltd just eight weeks before Foreign Minister Marise Payne appointed them to the board of the National Foundation for Australia China Relations. The NFACR replaced the Australia China Council (ACC), which was set up by the Fraser government in 1978 and later chaired by former prime minister Gough Whitlam.

The retired Curtin University academic Dr Yeung is a vocal critic of the Chinese government, while Ma is the general manager of the Falun Gong-aligned, largely anti-Chinese government Vision Times newspaper. According to journalist and former Australian Falun Gong practitioner Ben HurleyVision Times is part of the apparatus of Falun Gong media in Australia, led by The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television.

The spiritual group Falun Gong is banned in China and there is substantial evidence that its mainland Chinese followers are harshly persecuted by the Chinese government.

However, former practitioners say it’s a dangerous cult, whose leaders claim to have the power of levitation and tell followers that aliens from other planets are responsible for interracial marriage and mixed-race children.

Falun Gong-aligned media affiliates in the US have been accused of pouring millions of dollars into fake social media accounts and Facebook advertising, since banned, supporting Donald Trump. A recent investigation by the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent and Background Briefing programs revealed Falun Gong-affiliated media in the US have spent more than US$11.5 million in social media advertising to promote Trump.

ASPI lurking in the background Continue reading

August 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

When it comes to nuclear waste dumping, the Australian government sees black people as flora and fauna, not citizens

Barngarla continue fight against plan to dump nuclear waste on Country,    SBS News 29 July 20, Barngarla mob say they were not properly consulted by federal government for plans to store radioactive waste on Country at Kimba in SA, and that their concerns continue to be ignored. By Royce Kurmelovs, NITV News   29 July 20

Jeanne Miller smiles as she gets to the punchline of her story.

The 50-year-old Barngarla woman is talking about the enduring connection she has to Kimba when she tells how on the day she was born, her parents had been waiting for an ambulance that never came.

Forced to make their own way to the hospital, she says her mum made it as far as the tree outside before giving birth.

“So I’m born on Country,” she says.

Though she may not live there today, Jeanne says a part of her has never left. It is a detail that underscores the significance of the moment she learned Kimba was being considered as a dump for radioactive waste.

“I used to be a carer for my mum. When I first heard [about the facility], I told her. She goes: ‘no, no, no’ and got angry,” Jeanne says. “She said; ‘we don’t want it there’. She said to me: ‘you got to fight for this. You got to fight for it, we can’t have that place there. It’s a special place for us.’”

Most among the Barngarla have a similar story about the shock and confusion at learning their traditional Country was under consideration as part of a proposal to build a nuclear waste storage facility that would take in samples from 100 sites across the continent.

No one, they say, from the federal government contacted them beforehand to talk about the proposal, leaving most to find out through the news media or word of mouth.

Instead it was up to the Barngarla themselves, through the the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) to take the initiative and write to the government in April 2017 to find out what was going on.

‘Wasn’t interested in our views’

That first letter would plunge them into a fight that has so far lasted three years, until it entered a new phase in February when former Industry Minister Matt Canavan announced – a day before he resigned – that he had selected a site just outside of Kimba to situate the nuclear waste facility…….

Over the course of its operating lifetime, the site would house low-to-intermediate level nuclear waste made up of medical waste drawn from 100 sites across the country. This material would include medical waste, but also the more serious TN81 canisters – casks of material once exposed to high levels of radiation that require containment for several hundred years.

If supporters of the proposal celebrated the financial windfall it would bring, critics worried the decision represented the thin end of a wedge that would eventually see the site expand to house higher-level toxic waste.

For the Barngarla people, however, the proposal represented something more significant: yet another decision where they have been overlooked, ignored and overruled in a process they describe as “divide and rule”.

“It’s like the government’s not listening to us,” Jeanne says. “It’s like if the government picks a place where they want to put rubbish like that, they’ll just go and do it and they don’t care what the people think. And that’s wrong. They should be listening to what the people want too.”….

After their early efforts to find out more, the Barngarla say they were stonewalled from the very beginning by both the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA). That stance would become a pattern…….

They basically created hurdles,” Bilney says. “The catchphrase was ‘rateable property’ – that’s white man’s terms ‘rateable property’. We’re the native title holders. That holds more weight than ‘rateable property’, so we should have been included.”

Around the time the Barngarla filed their lawsuit to challenge the vote, the first meeting with the department took place in August 2018 – a moment Bilney recalls with frustration.

He says Mr Canavan spoke for fifteen minutes before he left, taking all the government representatives with him.

“That’s it,” Bilney says. “He wasn’t interested in our views, he just wanted us to hear what he had to say.”

When the poll of Kimba residents was counted, it returned a result that saw 61.6 per cent of 824 participants vote in favour of the proposal.

BDAC responded by organising is own poll, asking its 209 members the same question that was asked of the broader Kimba residents.  The result would be a unanimous “No” from the 83 participants – a turnout figure explained by cultural and logistical factors that make it difficult to gather in any one place…….

Aliens in our own country’

What happens now is up to the Senate economics reference committee and a clutch of Labor, Greens and independent senators.

The Barngarla say the recent approach of the federal government – to legislate the precise location of the site – represents a new twist as it departs from the process established by the Gillard government under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.

Worse still, the Barngarla say the provisions of the bill will stymie their rights to seek a judicial review of the minister’s decision in the courts. The Parliamentary joint committee on human rights also raised concerns about the bill in April this year that it says may extinguish Native Title……..

So far it has taken two decades for the Barngarla to have their Native Title claim to a 45,000 square kilometre stretch of the Eyre Peninsula recognised by the courts – a process during which they were once informed that they did not exist as a people.

Neither have they forgotten the horror at Maralinga when the British army tested nuclear weapons after falsely declaring there were no Aboriginal people in the area.

To the Barngarla, the government has only decided to talk after the big decisions have been made.

“We’re still flora and fauna to these people,” Bilney says. “They should have included us from the start. We heard about it on the news. We weren’t included in the vote.

“You know, the Barngarla [native title] claim was basically an unwinnable case, they said. It’s taken us 21 years. Twenty-one years to win Native Title under white man’s law. And yet we’re still classed as second-class citizens? Flora and fauna.

“We’re basically aliens in our own Country.”    https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2020/07/29/barngarla-continue-fight-against-plan-dump-nuclear-waste-country

 

 

July 30, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia to retain its environmental laws prohibiting the nuclear industry

In summary
no change to nuclear power prohibition
uranium to stay a “matter of national environmental significance”
– federal government should maintain powers to intervene in uranium mining

 Mineral Policy Institute and Friends of the Earth Australia,  20 July 2020
National and state environment groups have given a cautious welcome to the continuation of long-standing protections against nuclear risks in the current statutory review of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act – Australia’s federal environmental laws. The interim report released today has stated that the Commonwealth should maintain the capacity to intervene in uranium mining and made no recommendation to change existing prohibitions on nuclear activities, including domestic nuclear power.

Civil society groups made a joint submission to the EPBC review calling for the retention of the long standing ban on nuclear power and continuing federal oversight of uranium mining. The EPBC review committee’s interim report has flagged an intention to continue both protections despite lobbying from the Mineral Council of Australia to weaken these.

However, environment groups are concerned about a possible weakening of uranium mining regulations flagged in the interim report. Associate Professor Gavin Mudd, Chair of the Mineral Policy Institute, said: “The interim report proposes the further devolution of uranium mining regulation to states and territories, coupled to the establishment of ‘National Environmental Standards’. An obvious risk is that the standards will be weak, enforcement will be deficient as is already the case, and devolution will weaken the already inadequate oversight of uranium mining.”

“Uranium mining is different to other types of mining. Australia’s uranium mining sector has been dominated by license breaches, accidents, spills and a persistent failure to rehabilitate as promised. The last thing we need is a weakening of regulations and oversight. Apart from SA and NT every state and territory have a ban or prohibition on uranium mining. It is unsafe and unpopular and needs greater scrutiny, not less,” Assoc. Prof. Mudd said.

The Review’s interim report makes no recommendation to repeal the long-standing prohibition on domestic nuclear power. “Nuclear power is expensive, dangerous and unpopular,” said Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia. “The prohibition in the EPBC Act reflects this. Nuclear is thirsty, produces high level nuclear waste for which there are no safe storage options and produces materials that can be diverted into nuclear weapons. It is a profound security and safety risk. And nuclear power is absurdly expensive.”

“Recent comments from the current Environment Minister and Opposition Leader show a clear bipartisan rejection of nuclear power. There is broad opposition among civil society as shown through a joint statement by over 60 organisations representing millions of Australians. Given the lack of social license for nuclear power in Australia we welcome the continuation of this prudent prohibition,” Dr Green said.

Following the Australian uranium-fuelled Fukushima nuclear disaster the UN Secretary General called for all uranium producing countries to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the industry. Groups have called on the Morrison government to now hold an independent review of the uranium sector.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australia becomes world’s biggest exporter of fossil fuels

Passing the pollution: Australia becomes world’s biggest exporter of fossil fuels, https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/07/09/australia-export-fossil-fuels/    Cait KellyAustralia is now the  biggest exporter of climate change, leading the world in selling fossil fuels, a new report reveals.Emissions from nations which bought our gas, coal and oil increased by 4.4 per cent between 2018 and 2019, with Australia now the world’s biggest fossil fuel producing country, the report from UNSW says.

Our exported emissions are now greater than the domestic pollution of Germany, Canada, Turkey and the UK.

“Not only is Australia a laggard in meeting its UN Paris emission reduction targets, but it is also now the world’s largest exporter of coal and gas,” the authors wrote.

“In fact, the emissions from Australia’s exported fossil fuels are now greater than Germany’s domestic emissions.”

Australia has been on track to become the world’s bigger carbon dioxide polluter for a while, with a report from The Australian Conservation Foundation last year warning we would hit the milestone soon.

Russia and Saudi Arabia were both above Australia as recently as August last year.

Using new data from the Office of the Chief Economist, emissions from exported fossil fuels were 1.2 times greater than global aviation emissions in 2018 and 1.4 times greater than all the CO2 emissions produced by the summer bushfires in 2019.

When Australian fossil fuels are burned overseas, the amount of carbon dioxide they produce is higher than the exported emissions of the world’s biggest oil and gas-producing nations, like Iraq and Kuwait.

“Despite Federal Government claims that our national emissions have only a minimal impact on the global climate, Australia is, in fact, a major contributor to global climate change.”

“The massive emissions that result from our fossil fuel exports are not counted in Australia’s national carbon budget under our UN climate obligations, nor do we take responsibility for the impact these emissions are having globally.” 

Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal and our exported emissions should be counted towards our overall emissions footprint, said lead researcher and professor of political philosophy Jeremy Moss.

“We’re the Saudi Arabia of coal and gas. That’s not a good situation to be in,” he told The New Daily.

“People say we’re not responsible for exports, the government spends a billion dollar to recycle our waste which otherwise would have gone to other countries. These emissions are also our problem.

“Responsibility doesn’t stop at the border. We have the same view about plastic waste, uranium and live sheep exports.”

The report calls for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, removal of the $47 billion worth of subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and phasing out production constant with climate goals,” Professor Moss said.

“At least two-thirds of the known reserves of fossil fuels must be left in the ground if climate targets are to be met (IEA, 2012).

“Production of fossil fuels must, therefore, be phased out rapidly. Countries such as Australia should not get a free pass to produce and export as much fossil fuels as they are able to.”

The report follows the announcement that the COVID-19 economic recovery committee has made recommendations that the government underwrite a massive gas industry expansion.

Australia’s Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, is proposing a gas led recovery out of the pandemic-induced recession.

But a report from the Australia Institute revealed last week that fossil fuel was the worst-performing sector in the ASX 300 over the last decade.

“The poor performance of fossil fuel companies is probably surprising to most Australians, who are routinely told by industry and political leaders that coal is the “bedrock” of Australia’s prosperity, or that gas will “fire” the recovery from COVID19,” it read. 

July 9, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s father calls on Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help this Australian citizen

Assange’s father calls extradition process ‘disgrace’  https://telanganatoday.com/assanges-father-calls-extradition-process-disgrace?fbclid=IwAR1a7bQ0W_Xcgc9EIeGaAHVP7Zmm2cM6nNV65ZXtkhCwNUlarqIYTJVw6xo1 July 20, The 80-year-old is organizing public events in Australia despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and hopes to travel to London in August to support Assange during his extradition trial.  

Sydney: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, is fighting tirelessly for the release and return of his son, who is facing an extradition trial in London for publishing classified information, a process he described as abuse.

“We maintain that the extradition request is a fraud in the English court… It’s a fraud in the English legal system, it’s a case of abuse of process, it is a disgrace,” Shipton, who travelled from Melbourne to Sydney to campaign for his son’s release, told Efe news in an interview.
The 80-year-old is organizing public events in Australia despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and hopes to travel to London in August to support Assange during his extradition trial which, he says, is being carried out under “dire” circumstances.

In May 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, said, after visiting Assange in the Belmarsh prison along with two medical experts, that he showed “all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma”.

Assange has spent almost a decade in confinement, first under house arrest in a British town and then at the Ecuadorian embassy in London between 2012 until 2019, when Ecuador withdrew his political asylum status.

Shipton has urged the Australian government to mediate with the UK administration for the release of his son, who is wanted in the US on 18 charges of espionage and computer intrusion, for which he could be sentenced to prison for up to 175 years.

“I believe the government can, if it wishes to, assist us in bringing Julian home. I believe that (it) is very simple for the Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) to pick up the phone and ring (his UK counterpart) Boris Johnson and say Julian Assange is an Australian citizen in dire circumstances.

“This will resolve this immediately and that’s easily possible,” he told Efe news during the interview.

July 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, legal, politics international, UK | Leave a comment