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Australia’s foreign minister warns of ‘catastrophic’ impact of Indo-Pacific war during UN address

9 News, By Savannah Meacham • Associate Producer Sep 24, 2022

Foreign minister Penny Wong has used her first major speech to the United Nations to warn of the impact of a war in the Indo-Pacific region, invoking the China-Taiwan tensions in all but name.

Wong not only condemned the invasion of Russia in Ukraine in her speech but she also forewarned the “catastrophic” impact conflict in the Indo-Pacific would have on Australia and the other Asia-Pacific nations.

“In my own region, where geopolitical contest becomes ever sharper, we must ensure that competition does not escalate into conflict,” Wong said.

“Because if conflict were to break out in the Indo-Pacific, it would be catastrophic – for our people and our prosperity.

“And with the Indo-Pacific’s centrality to global prosperity and security, the cost would extend far beyond our region and reach into every life.”

Wong questioned how countries can “apply the brakes” against rising tensions, like the one in the Indo-Pacific.

“It is up to all of us to ask ourselves how can we each use our state power, our influence, our networks, our capabilities, to avert catastrophic conflict?” she asked.

“How do we acquit our responsibilities to constrain tensions – to apply the brakes before the momentum for conflict in our region or beyond becomes unstoppable?”

In recent months, tensions have been developing between China and Taiwan.

Wong is addressing the UN to remind the group of Australia’s desire to have a seat on the council in 2029. She will support this by outlining Australia’s “resolve” to battle growing conflicts in the Asia Pacific.

“The Australian people want to be better, more involved, and more helpful members of the Pacific family,” Wong said.

“Australians want to enhance our defence, maritime and economic cooperation with Pacific Island Countries. And we want to be the Pacific’s partner of choice for development and security.

“It is why we seek a seat on the UN Security Council for 2029-2030. It is why we seek reform of the Security Council, with greater permanent representation for Africa, Latin America, and Asia, including India and Japan.”

‘We cannot leave it to the big powers’

She outlined Australia’s goal to become a significant player on the world stage and urge smaller countries to set their own fate aside from the one allegedly decided by global superpowers.

“It reminds us that each nation must make its own choices, and exercise its own agency. We cannot leave it to the big powers. And we cannot be passive when big powers flout the rules,” she said……………………. more https://www.9news.com.au/national/australian-foreign-minister-penny-wong-warns-of-impact-of-war-in-indo-pacific-united-nations-speech/e514adc1-9b31-4ed6-8d48-62f4b3cbb324

September 22, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory consumers reap rewards of 100 pct renewables as wind and solar farms hand back windfall profits.

The ACT is the only region of Australia’s main grid spared from sharp
increases in electricity bills, and its consumers can thank the shift to
100 per cent renewables and the structure of their deals with wind and
solar farms.

The ACT government has written contracts with 11 wind and
solar farms to provide the equivalent amount of electricity consumed by
homes and businesses in the ACT each year. The nature of these deals –
called contracts for difference (CfDs) – means that if the wholesale market
trades below the agreed strike price, the government (and consumers), top
up the difference to the wind and solar farms.

But if the wholesale prices are above the strike price – as they have been by a big distance over the
last six months – then the wind and solar farms must return these windfall
gains to ACT consumers. And in the last quarter, as wholesale prices soared
to record highs – and an average of more than $300/MWh in NSW – the wind
and solar farms paid back a total of $58 million to electricity consumers
in the ACT, shielding them from any significant bill hikes.

Renew Economy 22nd Sept 2022

September 22, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics, renewable | Leave a comment

China, and others, see the International Atomic Energy Agency as biased in supporting AUKUS nuclear submarines plan

Ed note. My problem with the IAEA is that it is NOT an impartial body, on matters nuclear

China accuses IAEA of issuing a ‘lopsided’ report on AUKUS nuclear submarines plan, more https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-14/china-iaea-lopsided-aukus-nuclear-submarines-report/101441254 By foreign affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic 15 Sept 22

China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has launched a furious attack on the UN nuclear watchdog over AUKUS, accusing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of issuing a “lopsided” report about Australia’s plan to build nuclear submarines while ignoring widespread concerns about its ramifications for non-proliferation.

Key points:

  • The IAEA issued a report to member states which said it was “satisfied with the level of engagement” from Australia, the UK and US
  • A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman slammed the report, saying China was “gravely concerned about the substance” of it
  • China has lobbied against AUKUS accusing the three countries of undermining the non-proliferation treaty

Last week the IAEA sent member states a confidential report on Australia’s move to develop the submarines drawing on nuclear submarine technology provided by the United States and the United Kingdom.

China has lobbied relentlessly against the deal in international forums, accusing the three countries of undermining the non-proliferation treaty and fuelling a regional arms race.

However Reuters reported last Friday that the IAEA issued a confidential report to member states which said it was “satisfied with the level of engagement” with the agency from all three nations so far.

Earlier this week the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi struck a similar tone while addressing the agency’s Board of Governors, saying the Secretariat had held four “technical meetings” with the three AUKUS members so far and suggesting it was comfortable with the way they were handling the matter.

But on Tuesday Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning slammed the report, saying China was “gravely concerned about the substance.”

“This report lopsidedly cited the account given by the US, the UK and Australia to explain away what they have done, but made no mention of the international community’s major concerns over the risk of nuclear proliferation that may arise from the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation,” she said.

“The report turns a blind eye to many countries’ solemn position that the AUKUS cooperation violates the purpose and object of the NPT.”

IAEA report finds AUKUS non-proliferation risks ‘limited’

While China has repeatedly attacked Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom over the agreement, this is the first time it has publicly excoriated the IAEA over the matter.

US and Australian officials have privately accused Beijing of gross hypocrisy over its public attacks on AUKUS, pointing out that China has been rapidly developing its own fleet of nuclear powered submarines — including submarines capable of launching nuclear weapons.

But nuclear non-proliferation advocates have also raised serious concerns about AUKUS, suggesting that it will establish a dangerous precedent by allowing a non-nuclear state to acquire nuclear propulsion technology for the first time.

Indonesian diplomats have also repeatedly made it clear they’re uneasy about the plan, and the country’s foreign ministry recently claimed recently that it won widespread support at the United Nations nuclear non-proliferation review conference for its plan to monitor nuclear material in submarines more closely.

Reuters reported last week that the IAEA report acknowledged Australia’s argument that the non-proliferation risks posed by AUKUS were limited because it would only be provided with “complete, welded” nuclear power units which would make removing nuclear material “extremely difficult.”

It reportedly also said the material within the units could not be used in nuclear weapons without chemical processing which requires facilities which Australia does not have and will not seek.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia needs a non-nuclear submarine – the TKMS TYPE 218SG would be fine – just do it, Richard Marles!

This article is definitely worth the read! Highly possible we may not be getting nuclear subs in Australia – and the reasons why!

National Times The Answer is staring Richard Marles in the Face. ( Article by Politics Australia) 17 Sept 22

It was fomer Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s rank incompetence, stupidity and arrogance that has landed Australia in its Submarine replacement program dilemma.

But all this goes back the Liberal Party and its bizarre idea to buy French Nuclear Submarines and have them convert back to a conventional propulsion system. This meant a complete redesign of the existing hull to accommodate diesel engines, fuel tanks and bank of batteries.

Just what were our Defence Planners thinking, obviously the French must have been laughing all the way to the bank.

All this was done in the face of existing and proven conventionally designed submarines. Submarines that were available at the time.

It was only because Scott Morrison wanted to appear the big man by cancelling the French submarine contract and tugging his forelock to the British and the Americans who held out the distant promise of Australia buying British or American Nuclear Submarines. In reality it was about basing existing American submarines here for them to operate out of Australia.

As it turns out the current and forecast British and American building programs have no scope to add in an extra eight or so submarines for Australia’s needs and never intended to.

Then there was Peter Dutton’s desperate political pitch that Australia could lease a couple of Nuc Boats from the Americans, another stupid idea.

At present Richard Marles is doing an ‘all the way with LBJ’ routine, sticking to the script with Australia purchasing Nuclear Submarines. Having Nuc Boats isn’t just a matter of tying them up at the Port of Darwin, Freemantle, or Sydney. There needs to be specific infrastructure to accommodate, service and maintain these expensive pieces of kit and that is something Australia does not have.

Sure, the proponents of Nuclear Submarines will argue that Nuc Boats have unlimited range and would be able to conduct long range patrols right up into the South China Sea, in cooperation with the Americans, and remain on station undetected for weeks and weeks on end.

While in theory this is true, Nuc Boats and to a lesser degree conventional submarines are governed by the same logistical problem that faced the Germans in WWII and that is the amount of food they need to carry.

Politics Australia can assure our readers that a Nuc Boat’s endurance is governed by the amount food it can carry which obviously limits its time on station.

So, let’s look at some basic economics.

If it were to occur, Australia might purchase a current Virginia class submarine which costs $US3.6 billion ($5.2 billion) but as reported in the Australian Financial Review by Andrew Tillett who reports that estimates for the new design put the price tag at between $US5.8 billion ($8.4 billion) and $US6.2 billion ($9 billion) per boat.

However, the cost of a German 218 class submarine is $1.36 Billion.

For instance, the German 212A, 214 and 218 class submarines are very capable and are equipped with Air Independent Propulsion.

The Air Independent Propulsion allows submarines to stay underwater longer before surfacing to recharge the battery that powers its systems. The battery is charged by a diesel engine that needs air to operate.

As such, the Type 218SG Submarine can last underwater two times longer than Australia’s current Collins Class submarines. “That makes the submarine even more stealthy and mysterious because it can be all over the place without coming up,”

They have a crew of 30 and can stay submerged for 3-4 weeks.

Australia could buy 10 class 212A or 218 submarines off the shelf for approximately $15B by around 2030,

It’s widely known the Germans are very keen to do a deal with Australia over Submarine purchases.

The conventional Submarines are quieter than nuke boats and could be maintained in Australia.

Nuclear submarines are unmaintainable in Australia and would have to be maintained in the USA. Crews in the vicinity of 100 to 137 add to the costs, and if ever delivered, it won’t be until at least 2045 at a cost of more than $150B.

Food for thought, isn’t it?

Richard Marles has to stop dithering and tugging his forelock to the Americans and think about Australia’s needs first and not those of the Americans and their anti-China stance.

Richard Marles can order German, Japanese, Spanish or Swedish conventional submarines and have them delivered in a timely manner whilst still maintaining Australia’s best interests.

Stop dithering Richard Marles and just ‘do it’

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Aw gee shucks – Australia can be IMPORTANT if we lead USA’s attacks with our AUKUS submarines !

Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”,

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023, Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success

Guardian, Josh Butler, Thu 15 Sep 2022 The defence minister, Richard Marles, says Australia’s pathway to acquiring nuclear submarines is “taking shape”, flagging key decisions within months about which ship to use, how to build it and boosting the country’s defence-industrial capability.

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023

Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success…………………………….

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

“The optimal pathway is taking shape. We can now begin to see it,” he said. “With Aukus there’s a really huge opportunity beyond submarines of pursuing a greater and more ambitious agenda.”……..

Marles, also the deputy prime minister, said the first steps toward acquisition of nuclear submarines were on track. In a briefing call with journalists this week, he said the current timeline had Australia slated to make initial announcements in the first part of 2023.

The government plans to give answers to five questions by that time: the final design; when it can be acquired; what capability gap that timeline will create and solutions to plug it; the cost; and how Australia’s plans comply with nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

The government is said to be choosing between building American or British ships, or some hybrid. Marles said the government was not ready to announce which type of submarines would be built but hinted Australia’s design could be “trilateral” in nature………..


In a press conference with Marles in the UK earlier this month, the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said future submarine designs may see a combination of British, American and Australian components.

“We are on to our next design and our new one and that might well be fully shared with all three nations as a collaborative design,” he said.

The cost of the submarine program is not yet known but is expected to be in the tens of billions. Marles linked the Aukus arrangement not only to military but economic security, saying a boosted submarine fleet would protect freedom of navigation through vital shipping routes.

“We need a highly capable defence force which has the rest of the world take us seriously and enables us to do all the normal peaceful activities that are so important for our economy,” he said………

V Adm Jonathan Mead, the chair of the nuclear submarine taskforce, also spoke of protecting “sea lanes” on the call.

Mead said the navy was investigating workforce challenges, such as how to build and crew the ships – which may involve placing Australian staff in British and American nuclear schools or agencies, laboratories and shipyards

“The exchange of these personnel will be both ways and won’t just involve our submariners,” he said.

Facilities to build and maintain the submarines in Australia are part of the equation. Defence this year pinpointed Brisbane, Newcastle and Port Kembla as possible sites for an east coast nuclear base and consultation with those communities is said to be in its early stages.

Marles also spoke of building Australia’s defence-industrial capability on the back of the nuclear process…………………..“We hope Aukus can help develop a genuinely seamless defence industrial base across the US, the UK and Australia.”…………………….

A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Aspi), released on Thursday, recommended further investment in other Aukus streams like hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence technology, to help plug a capability gap while the submarines are built………..

Such short-term investment may force government to make “difficult choices and trade-offs” in its defence strategic review, also slated for March, Aspi said.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/sep/15/final-design-and-cost-of-australias-nuclear-submarines-to-be-known-in-early-2023

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Defence Strategic Review – Australia is becoming a proxy or is it a patsy for the US in a possible conflict with China

Pearls and Irritations By John Menadue, Sep 16, 2022

The Defence Strategic Review must warn Minister Marles about the dangerous path he is committing Australia to. We are becoming a spear carrier for the US.

  • Fearing its world hegemony is under challenge the US is goading China at every opportunity. Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was but the most recent example of this goading.
  • The threat we face from China is if we continue to act in our region as a proxy for the US. Other regional countries are not doing so.
  • The ‘China’ threat is a rerun of the shameful and earlier ‘yellow peril’. China is not a military threat to Australia.
  • The US is the most violent and aggressive country in the world, almost always at war. Its  military empire includes 800 foreign military bases.

  • We need a strong US presence in our region but not the provocative and dangerous behaviour we see time and time again.
  • We are attaching ourselves uncritically to a declining  but dangerous hegemon.
  • Our ‘Washington Club’ has been on an American drip feed for a long time.It has a ‘colonial’ mind set.It accepts without serious thought the US view of the world.
  • Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony.These points are developed further below.

Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony

In some political difficulty in 2011 Julia Gillard was anxious for President Obama to visit Australia and address the Parliament. Kim Beazley, our Ambassador in Washington was very keen to help. As part of the deal to lock in the Obama visit Gillard agreed to the rotation of Marines through Darwin with US hopes for more future basing in Perth and Cocos-Keeling.

This was the real door opening for the Americans.

The colonisation has continued apace since then with more and more Marines rotating through Darwin and USAF operations in Northern Australia.

But putting the foot on the accelerator of US military colonisation really came in September 2021.

On 16 September 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton in Washington D.C. for the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2021). The Secretaries and Ministers endorsed the following areas of force posture cooperation:

Enhanced air cooperation through the rotational deployment of U.S. aircraft of all types in Australia and appropriate aircraft training and exercises.

Enhanced maritime cooperation by increasing logistics and sustainment capabilities of U.S. surface and subsurface vessels in Australia.

Enhanced land cooperation by conducting more complex and more integrated exercises and greater combined engagement with Allies and Partners in the region.

Establish a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high end warfighting and combined military operations in the region.

See the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) joint statement.

We have committed ourselves to ‘high end warfighting and combined military operations and unfettered access for US forces and platforms’ in northern and western Australia.

Only yesterday the AFR highlighted the US focus on western and northern Australia. ‘Former foreign policy adviser to president George W. Bush and new United States Studies Centre chief executive Michael Green predicts the US will become more dependent on Australia for its military operations and intelligence. A shift in foreign policy focus from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific meant that areas of western and northern Australia would be ‘‘critical’’ for the US and its allies. ‘‘We need access: we need purchase on the Indian Ocean and, so geographically, in technology, in terms of military operations and intelligence, the US is going to be more dependent on Australia,’’ Mr Green said. ‘‘There’s no two ways around it.’’

We have not seriously debated or considered the enormous and very risky consequences of all of this. Our sovereignty and integrity as a nation is on the line and at the whim of the US, a country that does not really know which path it is on, crypto-fascism, civil war or anarchy.

In AUKUS, at enormous cost and with great delay we are planning to fuse our future nuclear powered submarines with the US Navy to operate in the South China Sea against China.

Minister Marles has told us that we are not only working ‘inter-operatively’ with the US military in numerous ways but we are now committed to ‘inter-changeabilty’ with US forces. We are locking ourselves even more to a ‘dangerous ally’. Minister Marles seems unconcerned about the dangerous path we are on.Even worse he seems careless about surrendering our national sovereignty. He should be watched very carefully.

The US is the most violent country in the world and almost always at war

There is an enormous and powerful US constituency committed to continual war. We joined those wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. All were disastrous. Now the US is continually goading and provoking China and wants us to join it. And we are obliging…………….

In this blog, Is war in the American DNA?, I have drawn attention repeatedly to the risks we run in being “joined at the hip” to a country that is almost always at war. The facts are clear…………………..

Despite all the evidence of wars and meddling, the American Imperium continues without serious check or query in America or Australia………………………………………………………………

Australia is trapped within the American Imperium

This complex co-opts institutions and individuals around the globe. It has enormous influence. No US president, nor for that matter any Australian prime minister, would likely challenge it. Morrison and Albanese have the same view on the US imperium.

Australia has locked itself into this complex. Our military and defence leaders are heavily dependent on the US Departments of Defence and State, the CIA and the FBI for advice. We act as their branch offices.

…………………………………… AUKUS has locked us in even more. In AUKUS we are effectively fusing our Navy with that of the US so that we can operate together in the South China Sea and threaten China. We are surrendering more and more of our strategic autonomy by encouraging the US to use Northern Australia as a forward base against China as if the US does not have enough giant military bases ringing China in Japan, ROK and Guam.

A ’rules-based international order’; but not for America

The third reason for the continuing dominance of the American Imperium is the way the US expects others to abide by a “rules-based international order”………………………….

Derivative media compounds Australia’s lack of autonomy

A major voice in articulating American extremism and the American Imperium is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch who exert their influence not just in America but also in the UK and Australia. ………………………. But it is not just the destructive role of News Corp in the US, UK and Australia. Our media, including the ABC are so derivative. It is so pervasive and extensive, we don’t recognise it for its very nature. We really do have a ‘white man’s media’. We see it most obviously today in the way legacy media spew out an endless daily conveyor belt of anti-China stories…………………………………..

Read more in our Defence Strategic Review series of articles.  https://johnmenadue.com/the-defence-strategic-review-we-are-ceding-our-sovereignty-to-the-us/

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

World BEYOND War Volunteers to Reproduce “Offensive” Peace Mural

 https://worldbeyondwar.org/world-beyond-war-volunteers-to-reproduce-offensive-peace-mural/By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, September 14, 2022

A talented artist in Melbourne, Australia, has been in the news for painting a mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging — and then for taking it down because people were offended. The artist, Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton, has been quoted as saying he was raising funds for our organization, World BEYOND War. We want to not only thank him for that but offer to put the mural up elsewhere.

Here is a small sampling of the reporting on this story:

SBS News: “‘Utterly offensive’: Australia’s Ukrainian community furious over mural of Russian soldier embrace”
The Guardian: “Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia calls for removal of ‘offensive’ mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Artist to paint over ‘utterly offensive’ Melbourne mural after Ukrainian community anger”
The Independent: “Australian artist takes down mural of hugging Ukraine and Russia soldiers after huge backlash”
Sky News: “Melbourne mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging painted over after backlash”
Newsweek: “Artist Defends ‘Offensive’ Mural of Ukrainian and Russian Troops Hugging”
The Telegraph: “Other wars: Editorial on Peter Seaton’s anti-war mural & its repercussion”

Here is the artwork on Seaton’s website. The website says: “Peace before Pieces: Mural painted on Kingsway close to the Melbourne CBD. Focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia. Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet.” We couldn’t agree more.

World BEYOND War has funds donated to us specifically for putting up billboards. We would like to offer, should Seaton find it acceptable and helpful, to put this image up on billboards in Brussels, Moscow, and Washington. We would like to help with reaching out to muralists to put it up elsewhere. And we would like to put it on yard signs that individuals can display around the world.

Our interest is not in offending anyone. We believe that even in the depths of misery, despair, anger, and revenge people are sometimes capable of imagining a better way. We’re aware that soldiers try to kill their enemies, not hug them. We’re aware that each side believes that all the evil is commited by the other side. We’re aware that each side typically believes total triumph is eternally imminent. But we believe that wars must end with the making of peace and that the sooner this is done the better. We believe that reconciliation is something to aspire to, and that it is tragic to find ourselves in a world in which even picturing it is deemed — not just unliklely, but — somehow offensive.

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. World BEYOND War was founded on January 1st, 2014, when co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson set out to create a global movement to abolish the institution of war itself, not just the “war of the day.” If war is ever to be abolished, then it must be taken off the table as a viable option. Just as there is no such thing as “good” or necessary slavery, there is no such thing as a “good” or necessary war. Both institutions are abhorrent and never acceptable, no matter the circumstances. So, if we can’t use war to resolve international conflicts, what can we do? Finding a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence, is the heart of WBW. Our work includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and shows people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. Our work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, culture and arts, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Pine Gap a target as Ukraine invasion raises nuclear war risk, Australian defence expert warns

A humiliated Russia could be driven closer to China in a ‘grand coalition’, former Joint Intelligence Organisation director says

Guardian, Ben Doherty 7 Sept 22,

Australia could become a nuclear target due to its hosting of a US military base at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory, one of Australia’s leading defence strategists has warned.

Prof Paul Dibb, an emeritus professor at the Australian National University and former director of Australia’s Joint Intelligence Organisation, said the current Russian invasion of Ukraine carried potential global nuclear consequences, with the possibility of a defeated and humiliated Russia pushed closer to China in “a grand coalition … united not by ideology but by complementary grievances”……….

Australia should not feel its geographic distance from the epicentre of the conflict affords it any significant protection, Dibb argued.

“We need to plan on the basis that Pine Gap continues to be a nuclear target, and not only for Russia. If China attacks Taiwan, Pine Gap is likely to be heavily involved,” he said.

“We need to remember that Pine Gap is a fundamentally important element in US war fighting and deterrence of conflict.”

Pine Gap is a highly secret US-Australian military installation near Alice Springs. It serves as a major hub for US global intelligence interception, and for satellite surveillance operations for military and nuclear missile threats in the region.

Russia is unlikely to be able to subjugate Ukraine in its current invasion, Dibb said, but Ukrainian military is unlikely to succeed in driving out Russian troops entirely. “Most likely there’ll be a negotiated conclusion, probably at the ceasefire talk.”

Regardless, Dibb argued, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was unlikely to be deposed as a result, but he would be a leader grown increasingly isolated, and the threat of nuclear escalation was real.

“There’s little doubt that Putin is the sort of person who won’t resile from the use of nuclear weapons, particularly if it looks as though he’s losing this war. But he must surely realise that there’s no such thing as the limited use of tactical nuclear weapons in isolation from their escalation to a full-scale strategic nuclear war.

“Once we enter the slippery slope of even limited nuclear exchanges, the end result will be escalation to mutual annihilation – something about which both Putin and Xi Jinping may need reminding.”

The comprehensive defeat of Russia in Ukraine would bring its own dangers, Dibb argued.

A severely weakened, isolated and smaller Russia might then become more – not less – dangerous for the world.”

A Russia left humiliated would be driven closer to China, Dibb said, with the nuclear powers forming what he described as a “grand coalition”, unified “not by ideology but by complementary grievances”.

Dibb told the Guardian: “The most serious threat to America would be a de facto alliance between China and Russia, united in the common cause of their hatred for the west.” ………………….https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/sep/07/pine-gap-a-target-as-ukraine-invasion-raises-nuclear-war-risk-australian-defence-expert-warns?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other&fbclid=IwAR0C13ws8uQOEBEW6RVAReW1B96DyhginkTX1ujZ-CEeLKm1ePkchpnKzr4

September 20, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Australia, Anti-AUKUS campaign ramps up over U.S.-China war talk

Independent Australia By Bevan Ramsden | 1 September 2022,

Given our massive commitment to military spending and continuous “war talk”, protests within the peace movement are growing to prevent Australia from entering another disastrous U.S.-led war, writes Bevan Ramsden.

INDICATORS THAT preparations are being made for war are coming thick and fast.

The 2021 announcement of the AUKUS (Australia, UK and the U.S.) military pact and Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines (either from the USA or the UK) has heightened and broadened public concerns about Australia’s deeper involvement in another potential U.S.-led war — this time with China.

Intensifying war talk and massive spending on war preparations have not gone unnoticed in the Australian community. It has provoked a response which is rapidly spreading that our foreign policies may be taking us into an unnecessary and avoidable war, not heading towards security and peace.

A recent Lowy Institute poll showed that just over half the Australian population is not in favour of supporting the United States in a war against China.

The city councils of both Newcastle and Wollongong are united in opposing the establishment in their cities of port facilities for nuclear-powered submarines and the Brisbane City Council has reaffirmed its commitment to a nuclear-free city.

A number of trade unions – the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Queensland branch, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the NSW Teachers Federation to name only a few – have strongly condemned AUKUS and the planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines. 

Community organisations including Friends of the Earth, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Pax ChristiAustralians for War Powers Reform and the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) have likewise condemned the planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines.

Heightened public concerns and opposition to a war with China come largely in response to the formation of the Australian Anti-AUKUS Coalition (AAAC). 

More than 25 community, peace, faith organisations, trade unions and hundreds of individuals have united to campaign nationally against preparations for a possible war with China and to oppose nuclear submarines and the AUKUS war pact. Public anti-AUKUS protests have occurred in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Darwin with more planned in coming months.

The AAAC is currently coordinating the gathering of hundreds of signatures from individuals and organisations for a national advertisement to be published in a major national newspaper on 16 September, the anniversary of the announcement of AUKUS and the purchase of nuclear submarines. 

The proposed advertisement reads as follows:

We call on the Government of Australia in the interests of peace and security for the Australian people and the region:

  • to advise its AUKUS partners that Australia will not be involved in a war against China over Taiwan or disputed territorial waters in the South China Sea or any other country and will not allow use of Australian territory for that purpose;
  • to sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
  • to cancel military spending for AUKUS war preparations, including cancellation of the acquisition of nuclear-propelled submarines, so that urgent domestic social needs (climate change mitigation, education, health including public hospitals and housing) can be better addressed.

Further, a petition initiated in November 2021 by IPAN in conjunction with the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition has received 25,500 signatures.

The petition is headed ‘No Nuclear Submarines; End U.S dominance; Healthcare not Warfare’ and reads in part:

‘The Australian Government must withdraw from AUKUS, stop the development of nuclear submarines and end integration into the U.S. military.’

The Australian Government’s commitment to purchasing billions of dollars in weaponry, mainly designed for offensive war and interoperability with the U.S. military – not specifically for the self-defence and sovereignty of Australia – is evidence of the Government’s preparations for a potential war against China thousands of miles away from Australia.

Previous governments have committed close to one-quarter of a billion dollars on so-called defence but these items suggest war preparations coordinated with the United States, aimed at containing and/or confronting China militarily.

Some of these commitments include:

  1. Upgrading the (RAAF) Royal Australian Air Force’s Tindal aircraft runway to take U.S. B1 bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, at a cost of $1.1 billion.
  2. Building a huge fuel site in the Northern Territory to power U.S. fighter jets (estimated $270 million).
  3. Acquiring 135 U.S. M-1A2C Abrams tanks at a cost of $3.5 billion.
  4. Developing high-speed, long-range missile defence systems at a cost of up to $9.3 billion.
  5. Acquiring eight nuclear-propelled submarines at a cost that experts predict will blow out to $170 billion-plus (these hunter-killer subs are designed for operation at long distances from Australia and are too large to be effective in the relatively shallow coastal waters of Australia).
  6. $10 billion to build a port on the east coast of Australia to service nuclear-powered submarines — and we are told it will be made available to the U.S. and UK for servicing their nuclear-powered and probably nuclear-armed submarines.
  7. Seventy-two F-35 fighter bombers will be purchased from the U.S. at a cost of about $16 billion.
  8. Purchasing nine frigates at a cost of $35 billion.

The costs to Australia of having over 2,000 U.S. marines stationed in the Northern Territory each year are unknown as questions by IPAN to the Federal Minister for Defence evoked the answer: “It is a matter of national security and cannot be divulged.”

These foreign troops stationed on our soil are not under the control of the Australian Government. They take their orders from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command which has recently established a regional headquarters in Darwin.  

………………………………….. The strongest indicator of preparation for war has been Australia joining with the U.S. and UK in what purports to be a war pact – AUKUS – but appears purpose-built to contain and/or confront the Chinese militarily. This new alliance was entered into without any parliamentary or public discussion and has been imposed dictatorially upon the Australian people.

The change of government has not seen, as yet, any change in this general thrust to prepare for war. The Albanese Government supports AUKUS. And while PM Albanese and Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong have sought to use more moderate language towards our neighbours on their recent overseas tours in an attempt to heal relations broken by the previous Coalition Government, the thrust of their foreign policy has not changed.

In a speech recently in the USA, Defence Minister Richard Marles called for the integration of our ADF with the U.S. military rather than interoperability, which was the policy of the previous Australian Government.

This would mean loss of sovereign control of our own ADF to the U.S.

………………………………………….. Every stop should be pulled out to prevent Australia from being drawn into yet another disastrous U.S.-led war. The peace movement is growing rapidly to do its best to prevent that from happening.

If you wish to add your signature to the national newspaper advertisement protesting the military spending for AUKUS war preparations, including cancellation of the acquisition of nuclear-propelled submarines, click here…………………….
more https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/anti-aukus-campaign-ramps-up-over-us-china-war-talk-,16718

August 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s Air Force is already ‘operating against China’


 https://johnmenadue.com/our-air-force-is-already-operating-against-china/ Pearls and Irritations By Mike Gilligan, Aug 26, 2022

Australia is seemingly as eager as ever to be pushed out on a plank by our American friends, professionally. Ever the faithful “patsy”.

What’s got into Australia’s defence administration, when our military believe that warlike actions against China is what is required of them daily in the South China Sea? The government has not declared China to be a military threat to Australia. How can there be such a disconnect between the Australian government’s policies and our military’s actions?

On 22nd August, ABC News reported that Air Marshal Chipman met with US Secretary for the Air Force Frank Kendall. The RAAF Chief warned China had established a “formidable aerospace capability” in the South China Sea, but military operations could still be conducted there:

“It doesn’t make it impenetrable and it doesn’t mean you can’t deliver military effects to achieve your interests when you are operating against China,”

At the highest level, our Air Force is planning and acting to penetrate China’s air defences. And publicly enthusiastic about it. While complaining that Chinese pilots were not behaving “professionally”. All within a ruse of preserving “rules”.

There is a well- known Australian military syndrome found mainly at the footslogger level whereby the infectious American military mindset induces our military to identify unquestioningly with US goals. The Service chiefs and Secretary of Defence have long had an important role in containing it. Yet here we find a Chief infected. The disease has grown to an epidemic with repeated US joint military exercising in northern Australia over recent months.

Apart from undermining foreign policy and diplomacy it is structurally damaging to our defence. Any sober strategic view of our security always returns to Australia having to stand alone. We cannot count on the US for a variety of substantial reasons.

A lot of effort and money has gone into creating that independent capacity. Much of it is idiosyncratic. The Jindalee surveillance network is an example, which has enabled a quantum leap in effectiveness of Australia’s defences. The US initially had embarked on that same surveillance course but changed tack to a space-based system. The two forces depend on entirely different systems for operations, in fundamental ways. So limits to interoperability exist which must be preserved if we are to retain a self-reliant defence.

The danger in wholesale embrace of the American way is that we are gutted of the hard-won pillars of self reliance. Who is looking out for that?

Indeed, is anyone in charge of Defence in Canberra? Once, a strong Secretary would have called a meeting of the Defence Committee to ask the military Chiefs how their organisations behaviour is furthering government’s security objectives. With the Secretary of Foreign Affairs alongside, who might have talked of the aim to “reset” with China.

However, as our military is already at war against China with the US, let’s get a fix on how it’s going. The US response to the Pelosi visit to Taiwan makes an interesting comparison with its reaction to the last Taiwan crisis in 1996. Then the US sailed an aircraft carrier force through the Taiwan Strait in a “get out of my way” demonstration of power. With no China military response. Now, twenty five years later China has reacted to Pelosi with a demonstration of defensive power – exercising with live firings in the same waters around Taiwan. America’s Nimitz-class super aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and an accompanying strike group were tucked well out the way in the Philippine Sea before heading back to port in Yokosuka Japan. The US claims it chose not to over react. Others say it knew that reacting as previously was not an option because of China’s defences. And it shows the US is already on the retreat. At least this notion would occur to Taiwan, and allies Japan and Korea.

It was President Lyndon Johnson who worried, sixty years ago, about sending “good American boys to fight for Asian boys” in its proxy war with China through Vietnam. Today a conflict with China which consumed American troops would be politically unthinkable (if anything is unthinkable today). If America can’t find a proxy to contain China then it will relent. The penny might drop for America’s Asian allies, the front-line proxy candidates. But not for Australia, seemingly as eager as ever to be pushed out on a plank by their American friends, professionally. Ever the faithful “patsy”.

August 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Terrifying nuclear bomb prediction as world tensions rise

As the prospect of nuclear war rises, experts have made a terrifying prediction about what this means for Australia.

news.com.au Jamie Seidel@JamieSeidel, August 16, 2022 

It’s been 77 years since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s been 33 years since the Berlin Wall’s fall and the Cold War’s end.

But the bomb is back.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making thinly veiled threats. China’s embarking on a massive nuclear weapon-building campaign. And the menace of atomic annihilation coming out of North Korea is so common as to become background noise.

Has the world forgotten how close these weapons can bring us to extinction?


A new study in the science journal 
Nature Foodhas built upon recent lessons from Australia’s and Canada’s catastrophic 2019-20 forest fires to anticipate the impact of nuclear detonation on global food production.

Estimates place the amount of smoke produced by the recent fires as up to 1 teragram (1 trillion grams). Heavier soot ejecta was up to 0.02Tg. Both quickly encompassed the globe – lingering in the sky for months afterwards.

This adds confidence to our simulations that predict the same process would occur after a nuclear war,” reads the research published today (Tuesday, August 16) in Nature Food, from lead author Lili Xia of Rutgers University, along with contributors including Dr Ryan Heneghan of the Queensland University of Technology.

The study’s not without immediate relevance.

The bomb is back……………..

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”. Ukraine. Asia. The Middle East. The Koreas. All are experiencing heightened levels of nuclear threats.

With 13,000 nuclear weapons sitting in stockpiles worldwide, the secretary-general warned delegates “the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening”.

“Future generations are counting on your commitment to step back from the abyss.

“This is our moment to meet this fundamental test and lift the cloud of nuclear annihilation once and for all.”

Such a war would reach far beyond the battlefield.

We’re seeing that right now.

The fighting between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted more than 20 per cent of global grain exports – threatening famine in Africa and the Middle East while causing prices to soar globally.

Even a “small” nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India would have catastrophic implications. The handful of weapons both nations possess would kill some 52 million people instantly. They would also eject more than 16 teragrams (16 trillion grams) of soot into the stratosphere.

National borders will not constrain this. Instead, the soot will quickly be picked up by high-altitude jet streams and circle the world.

The result would be a global famine killing an additional 926,000,000 people within two years.

Australia, however, appears to get off relatively lightly. At least at first.

Food for thought

The study, Global food insecurity and famine from … nuclear war soot injection, examines the implications of wars scaling up from 100 warhead detonations through to 4400.

Only Australia and some other southern hemisphere nations would potentially avert starvation.

And that may include the worst-case “all-out exchange” scenario.

Some 360 million would die in the initial blasts. Two years later, an additional five billion would be dead of hunger…………………………… more https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/terrifying-nuclear-bomb-prediction-as-world-tensions-rise/news-story/938f4ed66c8f38b8b9cbbb2147500400

August 23, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia and China policy- David Bradbury interviews strategy expert Hugh White

August 22, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

How even small nuclear war would kill billions in apocalyptic famine

 https://www.9news.com.au/national/even-small-nuclear-war-would-kill-billions-from-famine/0aadd094-e5be-471f-8278-b8bf485f759a By Mark Saunokonoko • Senior Journalist Aug 16, 2022,

Australia may be the best place in the world to shelter if nuclear war broke out, a study has predicted, although an “influx of refugees” from Asia and other regions would likely rush the country to try and survive the atomic holocaust.

Various apocalypse scenarios showed even a small nuclear war would cause devastating climate chaos, plunging the world into mass famine and starving billions to death.

The study estimated more than 2 billion people would die from a contained nuclear war between India and Pakistan, while more than 5 billion around the world would perish inside two years if the US and Russia launched thousands of nukes at each other.

Nuclear strikes on major cities and industrial areas would unleash massive firestorms, the peer-reviewed study said, injecting soot into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface and severely limiting food production.

Such catastrophic “soot loadings” would cause at least 10-15 years of disruption to global climate, researchers said.

As land and ocean food production faltered, and in the face of worsening hunger, the study said food exporting countries such as Australia would hunker down and hoard supplies.

“Wherever there’s scarcity, you start to see more conflicts,” Dr Ryan Heneghan, a co-author of the study from Queensland University of Technology, told 9news.com.au.

“Whether that makes Australia a (post-nuclear war) target, I don’t know.”

Being a food exporter and its location in the southern hemisphere, away from likely conflict zones, were the key factors that meant Australia was able to weather a nuclear catastrophe better than most, Heneghan said, with New Zealand not far behind.

“Australia has some resilience if there were drops in food productivity because of changes in climate caused by a nuclear war,” he said.

“We already produce more than enough food for our population.”

But waves of migrants would inevitably put “pressures” on any Australian stockpiles.

One factor not included in the models, but which could seriously affect Australia’s ability to cope, was the country’s lack of domestic fuel supplies, Heneghan said.

“Australia isn’t energy independent.

“So we would probably have shortages of fuel.”

Australia, the planet’s sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the US and Brazil, would face huge challenges trying to transport food from agricultural heartlands into big, densely populated urban centres, he said.

“Even though we might make enough food, we might not be able to move it to where it needs to go,” he said, calling that a “big caveat” to the study’s models.

Researchers modelled the impacts of six atmospheric soot-injection scenarios, based on one week of nuclear war, on crop and fish supplies and other livestock and food production.

Even if humans reduced food waste reduction and began to eat crops grown primarily as animal feed and biofuel, researchers predicted livestock and aquatic food production could not compensate for reduced crop output in most nations.

Any nuclear weapon detonation that produces more than 5 teragrams (5 trillion grams) of soot, such as 100 warheads fired between India and Pakistan, would likely cause mass food shortages in almost all countries, the study said.

A nuclear war between the US and Russia could send more than 150 teragrams of soot into the stratosphere.

The bushfires that swept across Australia in 2019-20 generated 0.3 – 1 teragrams of smoke, which swirled around the world and lingered for many months.

August 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Elon Musk’s SpaceX now leaving junk in Australia’s backyard

Independent Australia, By Darren Crawford | 10 August 2022 After a SpaceX capsule crashed onto an Australian farm, we’re left wondering if Elon Musk will clean up his own mess, writes Darren Crawford.

ACCORDING TO the ABC, the Australian Space Agency (ASA) has confirmed that debris found in a sheep paddock in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia, belongs to Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon capsule, which was launched in November 2020.

Local authorities were alerted after nearby residents heard a loud bang earlier this year on 9 July. It is now thought the bang was the noise of the capsule re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. New South Wales Police and the ASA visited one of the sites on Saturday 31 July and confirmed that two of the pieces are from a SpaceX mission.

According to the ABC, the ASA is continuing to engage with its counterparts in the U.S. as well as other parts of the Commonwealth and local authorities.

An ASA spokesperson said:

“The agency is operating under the Australian Government Space Re-entry Debris Plan which outlines roles and responsibilities for key Australian government agencies and committees in supporting the response to space re-entry debris.”

So who is responsible for the clean-up?

According to the ABC report, the space debris will remain in place for now. However, the pieces could eventually be returned to U.S. soil.

Australian National University’s Institute of Space deputy director Dr Cassandra Steer said there was an obligation under international space law to repatriate any debris to the country from where it originated.

Dr Steer went on to confirm that “Any space object, or part thereof, has to be repatriated” and should be sent back to the U.S. However, SpaceX has only confirmed that the debris is theirs and is yet to commit to the costs associated with returning it to the U.S.

Dr Steer added:

“We have clarity in terms of lines of responsibilities. The U.S. is liable for any damage that is caused by this space debris… and Australia could go to the U.S. and seek some form of compensation if there are any costs involved in cleaning it up.”

Elon Musk and SpaceX have a poor environmental record

As reported earlier this year, Elon Musk and fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are currently participating in a dick-swinging rocket contest to see who can get to Mars first. Suffering from massive rocket envy, these three men are speeding up the climate change process by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with every launch.

The Guardian reports that one rocket launch alone can release up to 300 tons of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and it can stay there for years. This is in comparison to a standard long-haul flight which produces three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger/per flight, into the lower atmosphere.

These impacts do not include what happens on the ground during a launch, including the heat and noise pollution in the immediate area, or the impacts on local wildlife.

There appear to be few controls put in place to protect the planet and its inhabitants from falling space junk by Elon Musk and SpaceX. In March 2021, a SpaceX rocket blew up on launch and debris was scattered throughout the protected area. According to a local non-profit environmental group, it took three months to clean up the mess.

According to the report, launch site ditches on SpaceX land and public property in the U.S. have dumped runoff water directly into the tidal flats threatening local fish breeding grounds, and public beaches and roads have been closed for longer than the agreed times.

Finally, at an earlier launch in 2018, a jettisoned SpaceX booster rocket missed its target drone ship a few hundred kilometres out to sea and destroyed itself on impact slamming into the ocean at 500 km/hour.

So, will Elon Musk and SpaceX clean up their mess down under?

This is the great unknown, as Elon Musk’s environmental record in relation to his SpaceX program is extremely poor.

It is also clear, as can be seen by his recently abandoned Twitter purchase, that Elon Musk doesn’t care who he burns, or how hard he burns them, to get his own way.

It is apparent that Elon Musk sees the increasing amount of pollution produced by his SpaceX endeavours as little more than collateral damage and less of a threat to our civilisation. Similarly, he doesn’t care whose backyard he trashes (as long as it’s not his, obviously).

Instead of turning his immense intelligence (and wealth) to solving our current problems, Elon Musk (and his billionaire space mates) seek to exacerbate these problems by polluting the planet further.

It will be interesting to see whether he does the right thing by the Australian Government and its people and pays for the clean-up of his mess.

Update, 10 August 2022:

The ABC is reporting that SpaceX has confirmed that the space debris spread throughout an Australian sheep paddock is indeed remnants of their Dragon Capsule and is sending a team down under to investigate………………………….

What was not stated was whether any ASA or government agencies were aware of or engaged in any of SpaceX’s planning. Space Law Lecturer at UNSW Canberra, Duncan Blake, wondered if they had coordinated with Australian agencies prior to their risk assessment — “If they didn’t, then that seems somewhat arrogant to make a decision that affects Australia without consulting Australians,” he said.

There has been no mention of the cost of removal or the debris, or as to whether Elon Musk and SpaceX will be more honest and open in the future and advise all Australians about the potential damage falling SpaceX junk may cause in their country.
 https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/elon-musks-spacex-now-leaving-junk-in-our-own-backyard,16650

August 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, space travel, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga triggered Hedley Marston to study fallout over Australia

ABC Radio Adelaide / By Daniel Keane 10 Aug 22,

Hedley Marston could be charming, genial and witty but he was not above fulmination, especially where fulminations of a different kind were concerned.

In the mid-1950s, the CSIRO biochemist emerged as arguably the most significant contemporary critic of Britain’s nuclear weapons testing program, which was launched on Australia’s Montebello Islands almost 70 years ago in October 1952.

Despite the imminent anniversary Marston remains an obscure figure, but his biographer Roger Cross believes that should change.

“He appears to be totally unknown to the Australian public and, of course, to South Australians — he was a South Australian after all,” Dr Cross said.

Marston’s reservations about the nuclear program were far from spontaneous; indeed, his strongest concerns weren’t voiced until several years after the first test, when he recorded a radioactive plume passing over Adelaide.

The source of that plume was Operation Buffalo, a series of four nuclear blasts in 1956, and Marston was especially outraged by the fact that the general population was not warned.

“Sooner or later the public will demand a commission of enquiry on the ‘fall out’ in Australia,” he wrote to nuclear physicist and weapons advocate Sir Mark Oliphant.

“When this happens some of the boys will qualify for the hangman’s noose.”

What made Marston’s fury difficult to dismiss, especially for those inclined to deride opposition to nuclear testing as the exclusive preserve of ‘commies’ and ‘conchies’, was the fact that he was no peacenik.

Detractors might have damned him as an arriviste, but never as an activist: his cordial relations with Oliphant and other scientific grandees demonstrate that Marston was, in many respects, an establishment man.

Dr Cross has described Marston’s elegant prose as “Churchillian”, and the adjective is apposite in other ways.

While the roguish Marston might not have gone as far as the British wartime leader’s assertion that, during conflict, truth is so precious “that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”, he had, in a 1947 letter to the editor, publicly defended scientific secrecy:

Under present conditions of fear and mistrust among nations it is obvious that military technology must be kept secret; and to achieve this end it should be conducted in special military laboratories where strictest security measures may be observed.”

But by late 1956, Marston’s alarm at radioactive fallout across parts of Australia was such that he was privately demanding greater disclosures to the general public.

Much of his ire was aimed at the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee — a body established before the Maralinga tests, but after blasts had already occurred at Emu Fields* and the Montebello Islands.

“He was the only senior Australian scientist to express concerns and, because of his character, the concerns that he expressed were very forthright,” said Dr Cross, whose biography of Marston, aptly entitled Fallout, inspired the documentary Silent Storm.

“When the safety committee after each explosion said there was absolutely no effect on Australians, he believed that they were lying.”

‘If the wind changes, we need to go’

The experiments that led Marston, whose reputation largely rested on his expertise in sheep nutrition, to reach this conclusion were two-fold.

In the more protracted one, he analysed the presence of radioactive iodine-131 — a common component of nuclear fallout — in the thyroids of sheep.

“One group he kept penned up under cover eating dried hay, which had been cut some time before. The other group, he put outside eating the grass,” Dr Cross said.

“He tested the thyroids in each group – the ones on the hay only had background amounts of iodine-131.

“But the ones in the fields had a tremendously high concentration of this radioactive isotope, both north and south of the city.”

A fallout map from the 1985 royal commission, which stated that while fallout at Maralinga Village from the October 11, 1956,  test was “considered to be ‘negligible from a biological point of view’ it does suggest difficulties with the forecast prior to the test”.(Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia)

For the other experiment, Marston conducted air monitoring in Adelaide.

He was especially alarmed by what he found for the period following the Maralinga test of October 11, 1956.

“There was a wind shear and at least part, maybe the major part, of that cloud, blew in a south-easterly direction and that took it towards Adelaide and the country towns in between,” Dr Cross said.

“The safety committee — who must have known of the wind shear — had done nothing about warning Adelaide people perhaps to stay indoors.”……………………………………………………

Despite Marston’s reservations, the nuclear program carried on regardless.

Less than a year after the Operation Buffalo tests, Maralinga was hosting Operation Antler.

In September 1957, newspapers around Australia reported on an upcoming “second test” that would, weather permitting, proceed as part of a “spring series”.

If it hadn’t been for the presence of the words “atomic” and “radioactive”, a reader might easily have inferred that what was being described was as commonplace as a game of cricket.

 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-10/hedley-marston-maralinga-nuclear-bomb-tests-and-fallout/101310032

August 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, weapons and war | 1 Comment