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North Korea says America is preparing for war: highlights 1250 US marines to Darwin, Australia

North Korea highlights 1250 US marines in Darwin to claim America is preparing for nuclear war, SMH, Kirsty Needham and James Massola,  25 Apr 17, North Korea’s state newspaper has singled out the United States’ deployment of 1250 marines to Darwin to claim America is preparing for nuclear war.

And as regional tensions escalate and a US carrier strike group approaches the Korean peninsula, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the secretive regime “must be stopped” as it represented a threat to the region and, potentially, globally.

In a phone call with US president Donald Trump, Chinese president Xi Jinping said China opposed any actions that went against UN security council resolutions, as Japan confirmed it was joining drills with the strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson that is headed to Korean waters.

Pusan National University associate professor Robert Kelly told Fairfax Media North Korea’s missiles might have the range to reach northern Australia, but played down the threat as “the question is guidance, not range”.

Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the Worker’s Party of North Korea, highlighted the US marines’ arrival in northern Australia on April 18. The marines will be joined by 12 military helicopters including five Cobra helicopters and four Osprey carriers.

“This is the largest scale US military presence in Australia after World War 2,” the newspaper reported on Monday. “America is fanatically, crazily trying to optimise its nuclear war readiness,” it claimed.

The story, on page six of the North Korean newspaper, was headlined: America prepares for nuclear war in different overseas military deployments. Darwin was the only city named…….

Australia-based defence experts believe it is unlikely North Korea has the capacity to strike Australia yet, though they may do within the next three years. The nation’s most recent missile test, earlier this month, failed just seconds after launch…….

The deployment of 1250 marines is the largest to Darwin since the former prime minister Julia Gillard and former president Barack Obama struck a deal back in 2011 to undertake the yearly rotation of troops.

with Sanghee Liu, AAP http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/north-korea-highlights-1250-us-marines-in-darwin-to-claim-america-is-preparing-for-nuclear-war-20170424-gvrbzl.html

April 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s prime targets for a nuclear attack

Pine Gap is more than a giant electronic vacuum cleaner. The facility is also involved in tactical warfare, through programs like “The Red Dot Express”

More controversial is Pine Gap’s role in drone strikes.

Instead of trying to pump up hysteria over a non-existent North Korean missile strike, The Turnbull Government should take a hard look at the very real threat that Pine Gap and Northwest Cape pose to Australia.

 


Pine Gap is still there — bigger and badder than ever,
Independent Australia Norm Sanders 25 April 2017 With Donald Trump putting a blowtorch to the Cold War, it is time to take another look at all the U.S. bases in Australia, including Pine Gap, writes Dr Norm Sanders

PINE GAP, Northwest Cape and Nurrungar were the focus of the Australian Peace Movement in the 1980’s. Then the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock crept slowly away from midnight and the removal of the bases didn’t seem so urgent. The clamour to close the bases died down………

I actually knew quite a bit about what Pine Gap was up to at the time, but it was child’s play compared to what they are doing at present. A simple place to start is Pine Gap’s assumption of the function of Nurrungar in 1999. Nurrungar was located at Island Lagoon, Woomera and was crucial to America’s defenses during the Cold War. Nurrungar furnished “Launch on Warning” surveillance of ICBM or other rocket launches anywhere on the globe. Analysts regarded it as one of the USSR’s top ten targets.

Now, Pine Gap has probably surpassed Nurrungar in the rankings. It is one of the largest satellite ground stations in the world, with over 33 satellite antennas. Pine Gap houses a number of U.S. Government agencies, such as the National Reconnaissance Office (spy satellites,) the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Geospatial-intelligence Agency. In addition, all branches of the U.S. Military are represented.

Pine Gap is a major element of ECHELON, a signals intelligence collection and analysis network. Echelon can eavesdrop on faxes, computers and telephones, and can even scan bank accounts. It can actually pick up enemy combat forces talking to each other in the field. The U.S. Government says Echelon doesn’t exist and never did. In fact, it may have now merged with XKeyscore, another system at Pine Gap. It is run by the National Security Agency and shares data with the Australian Signals Directorate.

XKeyscore was exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013.

In an interview with a German TV station in 2014, Snowden answered the question of what he could do with XKeyscore by saying:

You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.

…You can tag individuals… Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.

No wonder Snowden has to stay in Russia!

But Pine Gap is more than a giant electronic vacuum cleaner. The facility is also involved in tactical warfare, through programs like “The Red Dot Express”.

Red Dot uses a plethora of imaging techniques, signal intercepts and other sources to identify IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) by their electronic emissions. All this data passes through Pine Gap, gets analysed and, ultimately, is displayed as a red dot on a Humvee computer as a warning that there is a possible IED just ahead on an Afghan road.

More controversial is Pine Gap’s role in drone strikes. This prompted the late Des Ball, a leading ANU intelligence expert, to criticise the Pine Gap facility which he formerly supported.

On the 7:30 Report, broadcast 13/08/2014, he said:

“I’ve reached the point now where I can no longer stand up and provide the verbal, conceptual justification for the facility that I was able to do in the past. We’re now linked in to this global network where intelligence and operations have become essentially fused and Pine Gap is a key node in that whole network, that war machine, if you want to use that term, which is doing things which are very, very difficult, I think, as an Australian, to justify.”………

Pine Gap is still there.

So is Northwest Cape. The facility is officially known as “Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt”. There is a certain irony in the name because rumours circulated at the time of Holt’s death that he was assassinated by the CIA as he was intending to pull Australia out of the Vietnam War.

The base is six kilometres north of the town of Exmouth, Western Australia. Exmouth itself was built to support the base and be a home to dependent families of the U.S. Navy personnel.

The station is a key link in the communication capability with U.S. Navy and Australian ships in a vast area of the Western Pacific and Eastern Indian Ocean. It transmits on VLF (very low frequency,) at 19.8 kHz with a power of 1 million watts, which makes it the most powerful transmitter in the Southern Hemisphere. For comparison, commercial TV transmitters have about 1⁄10 the power.

The powerful transmitter has been linked to two incidents in which Qantas airliners had equipment failures while flying in the area. Qantas Flight 72 had to make an emergency landing at Learmouth, near Exmouth, after uncontrolled pitch-downs which caused fractures, lacerations and spinal injuries to passengers and crew.

In order to transmit this massive power, Northwest Cape has a huge spiderweb array of antennas supported by 13 towers, each almost 400 meters high. Buried underneath the antenna is 386 kilometres of bare copper mat as a ground plane.

The combination of the very low fequency and immense power means that Northwest Cape can communicate with nuclear armed submarines while they are submerged to at least 20 meters to avoid detection. The orders to launch nuclear missiles in time of war in the region would be sent through the base. It is this function which makes Northwest Cape an obvious prime nuclear target.

Instead of trying to pump up hysteria over a non-existent North Korean missile strike, The Turnbull Government should take a hard look at the very real threat that Pine Gap and Northwest Cape pose to Australia. https://independentaustralia.net/article-display/pine-gap-is-still-there–bigger-and-badder-than-ever,10231#.WP92gQsXvE0.twitter

April 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea issues nuclear warning to Australia’s hawkish Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop

North Korea issues nuclear warning to Australia, Camden Narellan Advertiser ,23 Apr 2017 Beijing: North Korea’s foreign ministry has lashed out at Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and warned Australia was “coming within the range of the nuclear strike”. The threats were reported by the North Korean state news agency KCNA as being made on Friday, in response to a radio interview given by Ms Bishop.

According to a translation of the KCNA report, which was dated Friday, the same day US Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Australia, Ms Bishop had said in the radio interview that North Korea seriously threatens regional peace and she supports the US policy that “all options are on the table”.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of North Korea – officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – was quoted as saying: “The present government of Australia is blindly and zealously toeing the US line. It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such government.”….

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”….

The KCNA report continued: “The Australian foreign minister had better think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the US.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday pledged support for the US policy on North Korea and again urged China to do more to place economic pressure on North Korea.

China has turned back coal shipments to North Korea in recent weeks, one of the regime’s few sources of funding. Chinese media have speculated the Chinese government is also considering cutting oil supplies.

There are renewed concerns that North Korea may conduct its sixth nuclear test on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of its military, and China said this week it was “gravely concerned”.

China’s official People’s Daily newspaper on Saturday evening reported online that new satellite images of the North Korean nuclear test site had shown probable new trailer activity, citing US research website 38 Northhttp://www.camdenadvertiser.com.au/story/4614177/north-korea-issues-nuclear-warning-to-australia/?cs=5

April 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

USA tries to block UN nuclear-weapons-ban -talks, backed by its “Deputy Sheriff” Australia.

UN nuclear treaty: Australia plays deputy as US ‘sheriff’ baulks at ban Daniel Flitton, The Age, 29 Mar 17   Nikki Haley marched in on her first day as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations with a blunt warning to the world: “For those who don’t have our backs, we’re taking names.”

Australia has now gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure its name stays off Trump’s naughty list. With negotiations for a new treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons kicking off on Monday (New York time), Haley called an extraordinary press conference outside the UN to declare the US opposition to the talks.

And there, at her heels, was Australia.

At the very moment representatives from more than 120 countries were starting their negotiations inside, Australia stood with Trump’s appointee and a group widely known as the “weasel countries” who are opposed to banning the bomb.

According to anti-nuclear campaigners, 21 countries joined Haley’s protest. They included Albania, Turkey, Croatia, Romania, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary and South Korea. Britain and France, both nuclear armed, also spoke against a ban. Other NATO allies joined in, although not all……

Back in January, Haley had made plain the attitude the Trump administration would take to the world body. “Our goal … is to show value at the UN, and the way to show value is to show our strength, show our full voice,” she declared. “Have the backs of our allies and make sure our allies have our backs as well.

“For those who don’t have our backs, we’re taking names, and we will make points to respond to that accordingly.”

On Monday, after the protest at the UN, she told a key lobby group for Israel in Washington: “For anyone who says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”

And she made the nuclear issue personal…….

Tilman Ruff, of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, told Fairfax Media from New York that the US action was alarming and Australia was “aligning itself with the extremes of the Trump administration”.

“What credibility does Australia have to criticise North Korea’s reckless nuclear proliferation when it continues to claim protection itself through the very same weapons, and oppose efforts to ban them?” Dr Ruff said. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/un-nuclear-treaty-australia-plays-deputy-as-us-sheriff-baulks-at-ban-20170328-gv8bge.html

March 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Great Barrier Reef bleaching? No, according to Breitbart, that is fake news

Breitbart’s James Delingpole says reef bleaching is ‘fake news’, hits peak denial.more https://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2017/mar/24/breitbarts-james-delingpole-says-reef-bleaching-is-fake-news-hits-peak-denial Graham Readfearn  A claim like this takes lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at   24 March 2017 


I
t takes a very special person to label the photographed, documented, filmed and studied phenomenon of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef“fake news”. You need lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Donald Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at.

It also helps if you can hide inside the bubble of the hyper-partisan Breitbart media outlet, whose former boss is the US president’s chief strategist.

So our special person is the British journalist James Delingpole who, when he’s not denying the impacts of coral bleaching, is denying the science of human-caused climate change, which he says is “the biggest scam in the history of the world”.

Delingpole was offended this week by an editorial in the Washington Post that read: “Humans are killing the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, and there’s nothing Australians on their own can do about it. We are all responsible.”

Delingpole wrote:

Like the thriving polar bear, like the recovering ice caps, like the doing-just-fine Pacific islands, the Great Barrier Reef has become a totem for the liberal-left not because it’s in any kind of danger but because it’s big and famous and photogenic and lots and lots of people would be really sad if it disappeared. But it’s not going to disappear. That’s just a #fakenews lie designed to promote the climate alarmist agenda.

Now before we go on, let’s deal with some language here.

When we talk about the reef dying, what we are talking about are the corals that form the reef’s structure – the things that when in a good state of health can be splendorous enough to support about 69,000 jobs in Queensland and add about $6bn to Australia’s economy every year.

The Great Barrier Reef has suffered mass coral bleaching three times – in 1998, 2002 and 2016 – with a fourth episode now unfolding. The cause is increasing ocean temperatures.

CORAL BLEACHING

“Is the Great Barrier Reef dying due to climate change caused by man’s selfishness and greed?” asks Delingpole, before giving a long list of people and groups who he thinks will answer yes, including “the Guardian” and “any marine biologist”.

“Have they been out there personally – as I have – to check. No of course not,” says Delingpole.

Yes. James Delingpole has been out there “personally” to check, but all those other people haven’t. He doesn’t say when he went but he has written about one trip before. It was back in late April 2012. Everything was fine, he said, based on that one visit. I can’t find any times when he has mentioned another trip since.

So here’s the rhetorical question – one that I can barely believe I’m asking, even rhetorically.

Why should there not be equivalence between Delingpole’s single trip to the reef (apparently taken 10 years after a previous severe case of bleaching and four years before the one that followed) at one spot on a reef system that spans the size of Italy [takes breath] and the observations of scientists from multiple institutions diving at 150 different locations to verify observations taken by even more scientists in low-flying aircraft traversing the entire length of the reef?

I mean, come on? Why can those two things – Delingpole making a boat trip with mates and a coordinated and exhaustive scientific monitoring and data-gathering exercise – not be the same?

So it seems we are now at a stage where absolutely nothing is real unless you have seen it for yourself, so you can dismiss all of the photographs and video footage of bleached and dead coral, the testimony of countless marine biologists (who, we apparently also have to point out, have been to the reef ) and the observations made by the government agency that manages the reef.

Senator Pauline Hanson and her One Nation climate science-denying colleagues tried to pull a similar stunt last year by taking a dive on a part of the reef that had escaped bleaching and then claiming this as proof that everything was OK everywhere else…….

Government ministers at federal and state levels, of both political stripes, claim they want to protect the reef.

They are running this protection racket, somehow, by continuing to support plans for a coalmine that will be the biggest in the country’s history.

That’s some more hubris right there.

March 27, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, media, USA | 1 Comment

Grid scale storage for power reliability – 2 Australian States choose this energy method

Two Australian states embrace grid-scale storage for power reliability, http://www.utilitydive.com/news/two-australian-states-embrace-grid-scale-storage-for-power-reliability/438073/ Dive Brief:

  • Two Australian states are ramping up energy storage to address rising electricity costs and rolling blackouts, according to media reports.
  • In South Australia, the government says it will hold a competitive solicitation for a 100 MW battery storage installation and construct a 250 MW gas plant, according to Energy Storage News reports.
  • The state of Victoria is also investing $20 million in an effort to boost energy storage to 100 MW by the end of next year, ABC News reports.
Dive Insight:The government announcements come days after Tesla told South Australia officials that it could install a 100 MW battery system in 100 days that would solve the state’s power problems.South Australia has been suffering from rolling blackouts brought about by high heat and a lack of baseload power. The situation has attracted developers like ZEN Energy and Tesla, who say that battery storage could go a long way toward integrating renewables into the state’s grid and solving grid instability problems.

South Australia officials also announced plans for a 250 MW gas-fired generator to act as backup for intermittent renewables.

Officials said the gas plant would be turned on only when power shortfalls are forecasted, according to ABC. A bill is reportedly in the works to give the state energy minister more control over power dispatch, after criticisms of the Australian grid operator stemming from the power outages.

Victoria, meanwhile, is looking at a range of energy storage solutions, including batteries, pumped hydro storage and solar thermal technology. The $20 million investment will come on top of a separate $5 million solicitation for a 20 MW energy storage system issued last month.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, energy storage | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear waste agency promoting nuclear dump to South Australia, despite its dodgy record at home

a-cat-CANIt is extraordinary that some French wine producers are accompanying the Australian and French nuclear promoters spruiking the benefits of nuclear waste dumping to the community in the Barndioota region of South Australia.   Not only are many vital questions unanswered as ENuFF SA (Everyone for a Nuclear Free Future SA) has shown, but this  propaganda campaign completely ignores both the opposition to nuclear waste dumping, in France and the radioactive danger to France’s  Champagne vineyards

“The Champagne producers are facing two nuclear timebombs – one already leaking at Soulaine, and one planned at Bure. The wine producers in the Rhone region stood up to the nuclear state in France and won. The Champagne region needs to act fast before it’s too late,” said Fred Marillier of Greenpeace France. “The French Government must stop this madness. The new facility must not accept any more waste, and an immediate investigation launched into how to stop further contamination of ground water.”

Radioactive waste leaking into Champagne Water Supply, Levels set to rise warns Greenpeace, Greenpeace 30 May, 2006  Greenpeace today revealed that France’s iconic sparkling wine, Champagne, is threatened by radioactive contamination leaking from a nuclear waste dumpsite in the region. Low levels of radioactivity have already been found in underground water less than 10 km from the famous Champagne vineyards.

Problems at the dumpsite, including water migration leading to fissures in the storage cells have been reported to French nuclear safety agency in recent weeks (1). Greenpeace has written to the Comita des Producteur de Champagne to warn them that their production risks contamination, as experienced by dairy farmers in la Hague, Normandy.

wine threat

The waste dump, Centre Stockage l’Aube (CSA) in Soulaine eastern France, contains mostly waste from Electricite de France (EdF) and AREVA, but also includes foreign nuclear waste disposed of illegally under French law (2). Every week nuclear waste is trucked across France to the Champagne site. Once full, the dumpsite will be one of the world’s largest with over 1 million cubic meters of waste, including plutonium and other radionuclides.

ANDRA, the national nuclear waste agency operating the site, stated that it would not release any radioactivity into the environment when given permission for the dumpsite in the late 1980’s. Greenpeace research released last week showed levels of radioactivity leaking from another dumpsite run by ANDRA in Normandy were up to 90 times above European safety limits in underground water used by farmers, and that the contamination was spreading into the countryside (3). The Champagne site will receive a total of 4 thousand terabequerels of tritium; more than three times the amount of tritium waste as the dumpsite in Normandy.

“We have been told for decades that nuclear dumpsites will not leak and that the best standards are being applied. In reality the dumpsite in Normandy is a disaster, and radioactivity is already leaking from the dumpsite in Champagne,” said Shaun Burnie nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace International. “The authorities know they have a problem in Champagne already, with mistakes in the design. This is only the beginning of the problem, the bigger picture is that France has a nuclear waste crisis out of control that is threatening not only the environment and public health but also the economy of the Champagne region.”

In addition to the problems with the waste stores at the site, Greenpeace has learnt recently that French nuclear safety agency DGSNR has written to AREVA seeking clarification of the type of waste being disposed of at the Champagne site (4).

In addition to the low and intermediate waste site, a new high-level waste dumpsite is being planned in Bure also in the Champagne region, in which the most radioactive material in France would be deposited. Plans to build a high level waste facility in the Rhone Valley were scrapped a few years ago after strong opposition by the wine producers due to the threat to their vines and wine production.

“The Champagne producers are facing two nuclear timebombs – one already leaking at Soulaine, and one planned at Bure. The wine producers in the Rhone region stood up to the nuclear state in France and won. The Champagne region needs to act fast before it’s too late,” said Fred Marillier of Greenpeace France. “The French Government must stop this madness. The new facility must not accept any more waste, and an immediate investigation launched into how to stop further contamination of ground water.”……http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/radioactive-waste-leaking-into/

February 10, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Victoria, Australia, shows how to develop energy efficiency

text-relevantenergy-efficiency-manVICTORIA ENGAGING WITH SMES ON RESOURCE EFFICIENCYflag-Australia https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/victoria-engaging-smes-resource-efficiency
New case study shows how the Australian state is supporting businesses on energy and materials efficiency  by Virginia Bagnoli 
24 January 2017 LONDON: The Climate Group has published a new case study, showing how the Australian state of Victoria is engaging small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to support them in improving energy and materials efficiency.

The new study demonstrates how SMEs can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while substantially improving energy efficiency by applying sustainable resource management and energy efficient production processes.

The state of Victoria identified these gaps and designed a new program tailored to SMEs to help them change inefficient practices, save money and increase productivity through energy and materials efficiency measures.

VICTORIA’S APPROACH

SMEs have historically been difficult to reach and engage with on environmental programs due to company priorities and a traditional focus on shorter-term business requirements. Victoria understood that the program needed to align with fundamental business needs and provide multiple points of entry to make participation accessible.

Victoria’s program is also being viewed as particularly innovative due to its multi-faceted approach to addressing the challenges of information, understanding the business case and accessing capital. This approach was delivered by assessing and understanding the barriers for SMEs, communicating effectively to channel the multiple benefits associated with energy and materials savings, and leveraging existing policies and programs.

The program components targeted businesses at different stages of ‘readiness’ – ranging from businesses at an exploratory stage wanting to determine how they could benefit from energy and/or materials efficiency, through to businesses ready to implement specific projects.

Eligible businesses could apply for a grant to partly cover the cost of a materials efficiency or energy efficiency assessment. A competitive, merit‑based application process provided three rounds of grants of up to A$50,000 to support businesses in managing the costs of implementing materials efficiency projects. Grants of up to A$25,000 were available for energy efficiency projects (with businesses contributing at least half the cost of the project).

MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The program ran from 2012 to 2016 and since its launch it has achieved tangible results: three rounds of grants over the past two years have provided A$3.8 million in funding to over 140 projects and these businesses are expected to save a combined A$4.74 million a year.

Recruiting businesses to the program was the greatest challenge encountered. According to the Victorian government, SMEs typically have little time to devote to what is not seen as a strategic priority for them. The key solution to this has been to convince businesses that energy and materials efficiency will help with business-critical issues and to provide financial support in order to create efficiency change and transform business performance.

Through the program, Victoria has implemented an effective method of approaching businesses and making the program attractive to them; a considerable challenge giving that materials efficiency in particular is a new concept to most businesses and service providers.

Using what was learned from the program, Victoria also recently embarked on a new initiative for SMEs, SV Business – Boosting Productivity, which will work with an additional 1,000 SMEs.

Download the Victoria case study here and find all the Policy Innovation program case studies here.

The Climate Group supports state and regional governments in developing effective climate change and clean energy policies through its Policy Innovation program. State and regional governments around the world are developing a new generation of innovative climate and energy policies and our Policy Innovation program showcases and explores these emerging models, working closely with governments for them to scale globally.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, ENERGY | Leave a comment

US ‘threatens to involve Australia in war with China’

flag-AustraliaAtomic-Bomb-Sm US ‘threatens to involve Australia in war with China’: Paul Keating condemns US secretary of state nominee’s comments, The Age, Fergus Hunter, 14 Jan 17  

 Former prime minister Paul Keating has rounded on President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee, accusing him of threatening to bring on war with China and making “ludicrous” comments on the tense South China Sea dispute.

In a statement released on Friday, Mr Keating warned the Australian government to reject Rex Tillerson’s declaration this week that a “signal” needed to be sent to Beijing that the construction of artificial islands in the contested region must stop and “access to those islands also is not going to be allowed”. The remarks from the former chief of Exxon Mobil, in which he also called for regional allies “to show backup”, have set the stage for sharply increased tensions between the US and China as the Asian superpower builds up its military presence on the islands to defend against competing territorial claims from neighbouring countries.

According to Mr Keating, Mr Tillerson’s testimony to his US Senate confirmation hearing “threatens to involve Australia in war with China”. And he has urged the Australian people to “take note” and recommended the government tell the Trump administration, which will take over on January 20, “that Australia will not be part of such adventurism, just as we should have done in Iraq 15 years ago”. “That means no naval commitment to joint operations in the South China Sea and no enhanced US military facilitation of such operations,” the former Labor prime minister said.

“Tillerson’s claim that China’s control of access to the waters would be a threat to ‘the entire global economy’ is simply ludicrous. No country would be more badly affected than China if it moved to impede navigation. On the other hand, Australia’s prosperity and the security of the world would be devastated by war.”……… http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/us-threatens-to-involve-australia-in-war-with-china-paul-keating-condemns-us-secretary-of-state-nominees-comments-20170113-gtqy0k.html

January 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s Lucas Height’s nuclear reactor security boss arrested for unauthorised documents and illegal gun

secret-agent-AustSMH, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clearance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on February 7  http://www.smh.com.au/national/lucas-heights-security-boss-anthony-haddad-charged-over-official-secrets-gun-20161223-gthdwv.html

December 26, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australian government subsidising Giant Indian conglomerate Adani’s coal project despite its web of tax avoidance

13a47-corruptionAdani’s Galilee Basin complex corporate web spreads to tax havens, ABC News 21 Dec 16  Stephen Long It is an intriguing corporate web that spreads from North Queensland, across Asia to the Caribbean.

Giant Indian conglomerate Adani, which plans to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, has set up a complex network of companies and trusts in Australia which are owned in one of the world’s major tax havens, the Cayman Islands.

The Adani Group is also attempting to shift ownership of the existing Abbot Point coal port — which it bought for $1.8 billion — to a Singaporean company ultimately owned in the Cayman Islands.

An exhaustive search of company filings and documents across the globe has cast light on this opaque structure of ownership and control.

It has alarmed environmental activists and legal experts, who fear it could make it harder to gain compensation from Adani in the event of an environmental disaster from Adani’s planned mine and port expansion on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

“I’ve been a businessman for most of my life, as well as an environmental activist, and the risks are great,” said Geoff Cousins, former Optus CEO and chairman of the George Paterson advertising agency, now a board member of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“With these kinds of approvals of big mining operations or port operations, you always get a set of conditions that the Government puts on.

“But those conditions aren’t worth anything if, when something goes wrong, you try to find the company responsible and either it has no money or if it has money it’s in a tax haven and you can’t reach it.”

It is a view echoed by David Chaikin, a professor of business law at the University of Sydney.

“The advantage of having the money in tax havens is that you are able to conceal the source of money, the use of money, and also to minimise tax,” he said.

Coal infrastructure owned through opaque structures

As well as building Australia’s biggest coal mine in north Queensland, Adani is planning a huge expansion of the existing coal terminal at Abbot Point, near Bowen, to ship coal across the Great Barrier Reef to India — turning it into one of the world’s biggest coal ports.

It also wants to build a new railway linking the mine, about 400 kilometres inland, to the port.

All the planned developments are based on corporate structures involving tax havens.

Control of the railway — which the Federal Government is preparing to support with a $1 billion publicly subsidised loan — ultimately resides in the Cayman Islands, one of the world’s most notorious and secretive tax havens………

Transferring ownership of the critical port infrastructure to a Caymans Islands’ company “means it will be unregulated, unaccountable,” Tim Buckley, director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analytics told the ABC.

“It will be non-transparent to the Australian Government as to what is going on, who owns it, who are the directors. To me it is a matter of national security.”

Companies and trusts created by Adani for the proposed Carmichael mine are ultimately owned by Adani Enterprises, a publicly-listed company in India, but the control flows via a company registered in the tax haven of Mauritius, Adani Global Ltd.

A $5 billion fund the Federal Government set up for the development of northern Australia, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility or NAIF, is considering a request from Adani for a $1 billion subsidised loan for its rail development.

The NAIF refused to disclose which Adani entity had applied for the finance when approached by the ABC.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-21/adani-corporate-web-spreads-to-tax-havens/8135700

December 21, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australian uranium companies facing oblivion

burial.uranium-industryWriting on the wall for Paladin Energy Ltd, Mike King – December 1, 2016 Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) faces the prospect of being unable to repay US$212 million due in April 2017 and being forced into liquidation.

The troubled company has seen its share price slump more than 65% this year alone. The planned sale of 24% of its Langer Heinrich Mine (LHM) to CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings (COUH) for US$175 million appears unlikely to complete before the end of 2016. Now Paladin has been forced to consider other ‘contingencies’ to repay the 2017 convertible bonds.

Not only that but Paladin also needs to raise working capital as it struggles to generate positive cash flow with uranium prices trading under US$20 per pound – the lowest prices in more than 12 years. As Paladin admits, that’s a level that no producer in the world can sustainably break even, and most producers are experiencing negative cash flows.

That’s a long way away from Paladin’s all-in cash expenditure of extracting uranium of US$38.75 per pound (lb). Even the company’s C1 cash costs of US$25.88/lb are well above the spot price of uranium. Paladin is forecasting all-in costs of around US$30/lb for the 2017 financial year, but it’s clear that even at that level, the company is going backwards.

Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX: ERA), majority owned by Rio Tinto Limited(ASX: RIO) faces a similar prospect to Paladin and is likely to shut up shop in 2021, once it has finished processing stockpiles at its Ranger uranium mine.

The problem for uranium miners around the world is that since the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011, uranium prices have steadily fallen from above US$60/lb to its current price under US$20/lb……

Paladin faces the prospect of sinking into administration unless it can find a white knight willing to take a minority stake in its mine – or make an outright bid for the whole company.

That appears highly unlikely.  http://www.fool.com.au/2016/12/01/writing-on-the-wall-for-paladin-energy-ltd/

December 9, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Australia’s pivotal role in the global nuclear lobby’s pitch for survival

So – the Australian public dreams on – preoccupied with the Melbourne Cup and other sporting events. And the global nuclear lobby continues its machinations. It would be such a strong selling point, to be able to tell South Asian countries that they can go ahead with nuclear power, as Australia will take out the radioactive trash.

australia-nuclear-toilet

The machinations of the global nuclear lobby  http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/27-27/40006-the-machinations-of-the-global-nuclear-lobby-qdown-underq  Noel Wauchope  , 31 October 2016 

Australia has been pretty much of a forgotten player in the global nuclear “renaissance”.  Not any more.  The big nuclear players – USA, Russia, Canada, France, China , Japan South Korea are busily marketing nuclear technology to every other country that they can.  Strangely enough little ole non-nuclear Australia, (population 23 million) has a starring role to play in all this.

You see, the global nuclear lobby’s problem is – what to do with the radioactive wastes?   I know that the new geewhiz guys and gals are pushing hard for Generation IV reactors that will “eat the wastes”.  The trouble is – there is an awful lot of the stuff. World total of high level radioactive wastes was estimated at 250,000 tonnes in 2010 .  There must be quite a bit more by now.  The other trouble is that even the most geewhiz of the as yet non- existent Gen IV nuclear reactors still would leave a smaller but highly toxic volume of radioactive trash, which would still require disposal.

This leads to a serious marketing issue. If countries such as USA, Japan, Canada, South Korea, are still having trouble dealing with their own domestic accumulation of nuclear waste, how can they persuasively sell nuclear reactors to Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries? The waste problem must be solved!

The wizards of the global nuclear lobby have come up with what they see as the perfect answer. A far away land, with lots of space that’s owned by “unimportant” indigenous people, could import the wastes, and thus remove the problem.  It’s a sort of variant on the old “toilet way down the back”. Continue reading

November 2, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian government pushes the global nuclear lobby’s agenda

Ultimately, this dump is about helping the global nuclear industry. The current build-up of site-by-site waste acts as a brake on investment. They want somewhere to dump it forever so they can go on producing more of it.

australia-nuclear-toilet

South Australia to become global nuclear waste capital https://redflag.org.au/node/5521 Sixty years ago, Maralinga went up in a mushroom cloud. The British government had been given permission to test atomic weaponry in South Australia.

That is to say, they had been given permission by the right wing Menzies government. The local Maralinga Tjarutja people had no say in it at all. Many of them were not even forewarned of the first blast. Thunderous black clouds condemned them to radiation exposure, illness and death, the survivors being driven from their homeland during the long years of British testing and fallout.

South Australia has a dark history with the nuclear industry. Maralinga remains contaminated, despite cheap clean-up efforts. Uranium tailings have leaked from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs. Fukushima’s reactors held South Australian uranium when catastrophe struck in 2011.

Today, Jay Weatherill’s state Labor government is trying to open a new radioactive chapter. He wants South Australia to construct the world’s first international high-level nuclear waste dump. This would mean no fewer than 138,000 tonnes of waste (one-third of the world’s total) being shipped from the world’s reactors into South Australian ports, to be permanently buried in Aboriginal land.

This would be history’s largest nuclear dumping operation, and make South Australia the hazardous waste capital of the world.

Weatherill, aware of most people’s instinctive and rightful mistrust of anything nuclear, has launched a meticulous, expensive PR campaign. He is trying to fit a Hello Kitty mask onto Mr Burns.

The propaganda machine was put into motion by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, at a cost of $7.2 million. Headed by Kevin Scarce, a former naval officer and South Australian governor, the commission imagines a lip-licking profit to be made by importing and burying the waste. It also recommends expanding uranium mining and laying the groundwork for nuclear power generation.

To soothe concerns, the government is periodically erecting “Know Nuclear” stalls across the state. These stalls spread misinformation. For instance, the government pamphlet “What is Radiation?” boasts that bananas contain potassium-40, a low-level radionuclide found in nature. But they make no comparison to human-made fission products such as strontium-90, which releases almost 20 million times more radiation than your friendly fruity isotope.

In August, more than 150 high school students were whisked to a secretly organised forum about the future of nuclear industry in the state. Secrecy was justified by the suggestion that violent anti-nuclear protesters might endanger the pupils.

Why does the state need to pour such big bucks into this festival of confusing roadshows, misleading science, TV ads and youth re-education sessions? Because most people who know anything about nuclear waste will recognise the danger posed by the proposed dump.

We live in a country in which black lung disease has re-emerged. Mining companies, in a world of competition, refuse to pay for basic safety measures to prevent excessive coal dust inhalation. This logic of cutting costs infuses all business under capitalism; nuclear waste dumps are no exception. As the MUA correctly stated: “Maritime workers – seafarers and wharfies – will be the first exposed to this toxic waste … Nowhere on this planet has a country designed a safe repository for nuclear waste”.

Indeed, the most technologically advanced repositories in the world, no matter how deep underground, have failed. Over many years, German radioactive waste had been disposed of in a deep facility in Lower Saxony. In 2008, it was discovered that some of the 126,000 barrels of waste had been leaking into ground water for decades. In 2014, New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant suffered a burst drum, contaminating the whole facility, including ventilation and surrounding air. Soon after, workers at the plant tested positive for radiation exposure.

This is the most hazardous waste ever produced by industry or the military. The royal commission explains that this stuff “requires isolation from the environment for many hundreds of thousands of years”. That makes the Roman Empire seem like yesterday; it is longer than the human race has existed.

Moreover, previous projects have involved only national waste storage; to transport waste by sea to an international dump has never been attempted and involves multiple dangers of accidental spillage.

Ultimately, this dump is about helping the global nuclear industry. The current build-up of site-by-site waste acts as a brake on investment. They want somewhere to dump it forever so they can go on producing more of it.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Solar power in Australian desert farm – producing tons of tomatoes

sundrop-farms

Desert farm grows 180,000 tomato plants using only sun and seawater http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/desert-farm-grows-180000-tomato-plants-using-only-sun-and-seawater

Farms that grow food in arid deserts, without groundwater or fossil fuels, could be the future of agriculture. BRYAN NELSON October 10, 2016, No soil, no pesticides, no fossil fuels, and no groundwater. And yet, a thriving farm in the heart of the arid Australian desert. How is this possible?

An international team of scientists has spent the last six years fine-tuning a system that pipes seawater in from the ocean and desalinates it using a state-of-the-art concentrated solar energy plant. The water is then used to irrigate 180,000 tomato plants grown in coconut husks instead of soil, kept in a network of greenhouses.

sundrop-farms-david-prattThe result is Sundrop Farms, a commercial-scale facility located just off the Spencer Gulf in South Australia that began construction in 2014. Today it’s producing an estimated 17,000 tons of tomatoes per year to be sold in Australian supermarkets.

Given the increasing demand for fresh water around the world — a problem that’s particularly apparent in the sunburned landscape of South Australia — this might just represent future of large-scale farming, especially in coastal desert regions that have previously been non-arable.

The heart of the farm is the 23,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight towards a 115-meter high receiver tower. All of that concentrated sunlight produces an immense amount of power, up to 39 megawatts. That’s more than enough to cover the desalination needs of the farm and supply all the electricity needs of the greenhouses.

The seawater, too, has other purposes besides just irrigation. During scorching hot summers, seawater-soaked cardboard lines the greenhouses to help keep the plants at optimal temperature. Seawater also has the remarkable effect of sterilizing the air, meaning that chemical pesticides are unnecessary.

All in all, the facility cost around 200 million dollars to get up and running. That might sound excessive, but in the long run the facility should save money compared to the costs of conventional greenhouses that require fossil fuels for power. It’s a self-sustaining, cost-efficient design so long as the initial investment can be provided. Facilities similar to the Australian one are already being planned for Portugal and the U.S., as well as another in Australia. Desert areas like those seen in Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates could be next in line.

“These closed production systems are very clever,” said Robert Park of the University of Sydney, Australia, to New Scientist. “I believe that systems using renewable energy sources will become better and better and increase in the future, contributing even more of some of our foods.”

October 17, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, decentralised | Leave a comment