Documents show no sign Albanese government lobbied the US to bring Julian Assange home

January 26, 2023

 https://michaelwest.com.au/documents-show-no-sign-albanese-government-lobbied-the-us-to-bring-julian-assange-home/, by Rex Patrick | Jan 24, 2023

The government is hosting a media freedom roundtable yet Freedom of Information inquiries show no evidence of entreaties to the Biden administration to free Australia’s number one victim of political and media persecution, Julian Assange. Actions speak louder than words, writes Rex Patrick.

When Independent MP Monique Ryan stood up in the Parliament in late November and asked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese if his Government would intervene to bring Australian journalist Julian Assange home, those in the community that care about freedom of the press were provided with a glimmer of hope.

The PM answered: “I, some time ago, made my point that enough is enough. It is time for this matter to be brought to a conclusion. In that, I don’t express any personal sympathy with some of the actions of Mr Assange. I do say though that this issue has gone on for many years now, and when you look at the issue of Mr Assange and compare that with the person responsible for leaking the information, Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning, she is now able to participate freely in US society.”

He went on to say:

The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member for Kooyong that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government. My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration that it is time that this matter be brought to a close.

Press protections or press protection?

When the Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus MP, KC announced on the 19th of this month that he was calling together media organisations to discuss improved protections for press freedom, Assange supporters could also reasonably crack a smile. Dreyfus pronounced:

“The Albanese Government believes a strong and independent media is vital to democracy and holding governments to account. Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs.”

But it’s now clear there’s a big difference between saying, and doing. A set of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests has bought the Government’s Assange façade crumbling to the ground.

In response to a Freedom of Information request to the Prime Minister for all correspondence or other records of communication sent after 23 May 2022 by or on behalf of the Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, to United States President Joe Biden that related to Julian Paul Assange, his office has come up with nothing.  

In response to a Freedom of Information request to the Attorney General for correspondence or records of communication between him and his US counterpart Merrick Garland that relates to Assange his office also came up bare.

FOI Response from Houston Ash, Senior Adviser to the Attorney-General

It’s a response that’s left independent MP Monique Ryan disturbed. 

“The US Government’s prosecution of Australian journalist and publisher Julian Assange poses a major threat to press freedom around the world. Unfortunately, the evidence now available shows that, contrary to their statements, Prime Minister Albanese and his Ministers have done little to secure Mr Assange’s freedom. None of them has written to their US counterparts to press for the espionage prosecution to be dropped”said Ms Ryan.

She’s now rightly called on the government to disclose exactly what they have done, and will do, to secure Assange’s release.

In media statements she referred also to a further request made to Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s office for Assange related correspondence between her and United States Secretary of State Antony J Blinken. It also drew a blank.

Ms Ryan observed:

If the Albanese Government was serious about working to secure an end to the US prosecution and Mr Assange’s release, then he and his Ministers would have raised the matter formally, in writing, with their counterparts at the top levels of the US Government”, It is now confirmed that they have not done so via any formal means.”

Ms Ryan went on to highlight the Attorney’s duplicitous stand. “Last week, in announcing a forthcoming national media roundtable, Attorney-General Dreyfus declared that ‘Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs‘.” Julian Assange is an Australian journalist who faces lifelong imprisonment for doing his job.

The Independent MP for Kooyong has signalled her intent to take the matter further. “When the Federal Parliament reconvenes in February, the Government will need to explain – in much more detail – when we can expect to see Mr Assange return to Australia”

The Albanese Government has been caught out saying something but not meaning it. They just want to appear that they’re doing something, when behind the scenes they’re doing very little, if anything much at all.  

Nothing is to be gained by the continuing prosecution of Julian Assange. The US espionage prosecution sends precisely the wrong message at a time when freedom of the press is under threat in many countries worldwide. 

The Albanese Government serve the United States better, and promotes a solid position itself, in pressing for the attack on Assange and media freedom to stop.

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January 26, 2023


Chris Hedges, The Real News Network, Fri, 20 Jan 2023 

Thirteen years ago, WikiLeaks published extensive leaked US government documents detailing a range of criminal and unethical acts, from the slaughter of civilians in the “War on Terror” to acts of espionage against foreign heads of state. Since then, the persecution of Julian Assange has not ceased. This year, Assange is expected to stand trial in the US for violations of the Espionage Act. Journalist Kevin Gosztola joins The Chris Hedges Report to review the cases of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and discuss Washington’s wider war against whistleblowers and the truth itself.

Kevin Gosztola is the managing editor of Shadowproof, where he writes The Dissenter. He is the author of Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange.


TRANSCRIPT

Chris Hedges:  The long persecution of Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, is set to culminate in its final act: a trial in the United States, probably this year. Kevin Gosztola has spent the last decade reporting on Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers. His new book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case against Julian Assange, methodically lays out the complex issues surrounding the case, the gross distortions to the legal system used to facilitate the extradition of Julian, now in a high security prison in London, the abuses of power by the FBI and the CIA, including spying on Julian’s meetings when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with his family, doctors, and attorneys, and the dire consequences, should Julian be convicted, for the press.

Joining me to discuss his new book is Kevin Gosztola. So Kevin, you do a very… I think your book and Nils Melzer are the two books I would recommend for people who don’t understand the case. I use this show in this interview to really lay out for people who are unfamiliar with the long persecution of Julian and the legal anomalies that have been used against him. You know, what those are. So let’s just start with what are the charges, what are the allegations, which is where you begin your book.

Kevin Gosztola:  Yeah. And the intention was to look ahead and say, Julian Assange is likely to be brought to the US by the end of 2023, maybe 2024. We need something out there for the general public so they can wrap their head around the unprecedented nature of what’s unfolding. And so the charges against Julian Assange, he was first indicted back in April of 2019. Or sorry, that was when it was unveiled. He was charged first with a computer crime offense. They alleged, essentially, a password cracking conspiracy. And that was of intrusion, of essentially agreeing to help Chelsea Manning anonymously access military computers.

And then the other charges were 17 espionage act offenses. …………………………………………………………  https://therealnews.com/julian-assange-and-the-us-governments-war-on-whistleblowers

This week’s nuclear news

January 24, 2023

Some bits of good news. Eight things that went right this week, including big energy and health wins. Once Biologically Dead, the River Mersey in England is “Best Environmental Story in Europe”.

Pandemic. The world needs a COP-like process for pandemic preparedness

Climate.  A few pieces of good news on climate change (and a reality check)

Nuclear.  Am I the only one who thinks that it’s a bit bizarre to see the World Nuclear News bragging about new nuclear reactors going ahead in Ukraine –     just as the IAEA staff are tearing their hair out about the dangers of nuclear reactors in Ukraine?

AUSTRALIA. Greens Senator Barbara Pocock ‘s reminder that the Kimba nuclear waste storage has no longterm plan for removal of that waste to permanent disposal. Media keeps mum about earthquake near planned nuclear waste dump. 

Nuclear submarines deal an exercise in futility and should be sunk. Nuclear submarines are not going to have ‘any effect’ at all. Australia to become major hub for US submarines, [and target?].      Push in US Congress to exempt Australia from International Traffic in Arms Regulations, so that it can import nuclear submarines. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a good step towards a nuclear-free world.

Christina notes: Nuclear toys for the boys. What fun! To ramp up militarism, (and the USA weapons corporations) the US Congress might decide to dump Regulations on Traffic in Nuclear Weapons.

CLIMATE. The first breach of 1.5°C will be a temporary but devastating failure. Absurd that we listen to those causing the climate crisis’ in Davos, says Greta ThunbergThe ‘all-of-the-above’ story used to sneak nuclear power in as a climate-action technology along with renewables . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU6vQXif5Xo Suffolk: Sizewell C nuclear ‘should not get licence’ due to coastal erosion.

CIVIL LIBERTIES. UK police powers increased, to shut down climate protestsUK govt to tighten anti-protest restrictions, despite criticism from human rights groups .

ECONOMICSAs the war rages on and military spending booms, the US arms industry is a big winner in Ukraine.    Marketing: South Korea keen to market nuclear technology to United Arab Emirates, and missile technology, too. Poland’s energy company agrees to buy France’s NOT YET DESIGNED so-called “small” Nuward nuclear reactor!  

The British government’s Regulated Asset Base – the test case for reviving its nuclear power dream. “Great British Nuclear “- it’s high time that they came clean on what this will cost.       David Schlissel: Small modular reactor project likely to end badly for Utah utilities.

EMPLOYMENT. The French nuclear sector up against the wall in terms of recruitment.

ENERGY. Germany aims for faster expansion of wind energy, not nuclear. Prolonged outages of France’s nuclear reactors. Renewable energy is the only credible path forward -António Guterres. Four separate reports show that the UK could save over €120 bn by 2050 by switching to a renewable energy strategy.

HEALTH. Investigation underway after nine nuclear missileers develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

LEGAL. Fukushima: court upholds acquittals of three Tepco executives over disaster. UK High Court to hear challenge against plans for Sizewell C nuclear station

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. The Nuclear Fallacy: Why Small Modular Reactors Can’t Compete With Renewable Energy. U.S. approves design for NuScale small modular nuclear reactor, but significant problems remain.

OPPOSITION to NUCLEARDemonstrators gather in Hamburg against threat of nuclear confrontation in Ukraine.

POLITICS

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACYThe Problem With Primacy – America’s Dangerous Quest to Dominate the Pacific.     Diplomatic Cables Show Russia Saw NATO Expansion as a Red Line. Pacific islands urge Japan to delay release of nuclear plant waste water.

SAFETY.

SECRETS and LIES. Man arrested on suspicion of terror offences after uranium found at Heathrow.

SPACE. EXPLORATION, WEAPONSNATO activating space war center in France. New NASA Nuclear Rocket Plan Aims to Get to Mars in Just 45 Days

SPINBUSTERA bit of panic in the UK small nuclear reactor lobby?

TECHNOLOGY. Canadian MP Charlie Angus Questions the Claims of SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7nR4P39ALo

WASTES

      WAR and CONFLICT. US may assist Ukrainian strikes on Crimea – NYT.       Ukraine: Is the Hammer About to Fall?.

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES. CNN: Ukraine Has Become a ‘Weapons Lab’ for Western Arms . Ukraine Narrative Fraying, But Weapons Will Continue To Flow. Ukraine war boon/boondoggle for U.S. arms makers, Pentagon’s warfighting capabilities.        Germany Says US Must Lead Way On Tanks For Ukraine, As Republican Party Also Piles On Pressure         Nuclear Notebook: United States nuclear weapons, 2023.

 Plutonium Pit Bomb Plans Excoriated by General Accounting Office.  Pentagon can’t account for $220 billion in govt property, fails fifth audit. US Installs New Nukes in Europe: As Destructive as 83 Hiroshima Bombs.    

The US has a new nuclear proliferation problem: South Korea. The Disastrous Downsides of South Korea Building Nuclear Weapons. It comes down to weapons.

Push in US Congress to exempt Australia from International Traffic in Arms Regulations, so that it can import nuclear submarines

January 21, 2023

Democrat push to grant Australia a waiver to import nuclear subs earlier than expected


SMH, ByFarrah Tomazin, January 21, 2023 —

Washington: A maze of US regulations and export control laws stand between Australia and the multibillion-dollar AUKUS submarine agreement, prompting a key ally of the pact in Congress to propose a blanket exemption to accelerate delivery of the nuclear-powered fleet.

Democratic congressman Joe Courtney, who recently spearheaded a bipartisan defence of the Australia-UK-US pact amid jitters from some of his Washington colleagues, wants Australia to be given a waiver from strict US export controls that could otherwise derail the agreement.

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations is one set of rules which could delay for years the transfer of crucial technologies at a time when Australia is racing to bolster its submarine capacity before the retirement of its Collins-class fleet.

Defence Minister Richard Marles has said the government will announce by March which type of submarine it will acquire, after receiving a recommendation from Jonathan Mead, the head of the Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce.

The announcement is expected to provide the first concrete insights into the cost, timing and procurement of the AUKUS deal. The modelling so far has suggested that if the submarines are produced in Australia, as the government has suggested, the earliest possible delivery date would be 2055.

While President Joe Biden supports AUKUS, he needs the backing of a divided Congress to make good on his promise to share American submarine secrets with Australia.

Courtney, who co-chairs the bipartisan “AUKUS caucus” and is regarded as one of Congress’ top navy experts, said a potential solution to the difficulties posed by US law would be to pass an exemption, with the support of the Pentagon, allowing Australia to bypass rules such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and related nuclear submarine laws, for the strict purpose of advancing AUKUS……………………………….

Australian officials have for years been pushing their US counterparts to reform their treatment under arms regulations, and the issue was front and centre of the December Australian-US Ministerial consultations between Marles and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin…………

In response to questions from this masthead, a spokesman for the Australian Department of Defence said it was anticipating that export arrangements would need to change “to ensure technology and expertise could be transferred seamlessly and effectively among AUKUS partners, as well as their respective industrial bases, within a suitably designed protective framework”…………

At a seminar last week, Democratic congressman Adam Smith, a ranking member of the House of Representatives armed services committee, also warned that while AUKUS was “a great idea, with a lot of promise” it “could also go bloop” unless some regulatory restrictions were eased.

And Mark Watson, the director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Washington office, suggested that “an AUKUS express lane is what we need” to avoid delaying or derailing the project due to the maze of red tape and complex US laws surrounding it.

But the regulatory hurdles are not the only difficulty the alliance faces.

One of the concessions Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy made this month to secure the speakership of the House of Representatives was a vote on a framework that caps discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels. Some fear that this could result in the US defence budget being cut in real terms, which Courtney warned “could have a very negative effect on AUKUS”.

Helping Australia acquire nuclear submarines will also test America’s submarine manufacturing industry, which has already been strained by the COVID pandemic.  https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/democrat-push-to-grant-australia-a-waiver-to-import-nuclear-subs-earlier-than-expected-20230120-p5ce4e.html

Nuclear submarines deal an exercise in futility and should be sunk

January 19, 2023

This decision – conceived in secrecy, born in controversy, and destined to become the hallmark of futility – will damage Australia for generations to come.

 https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/nuclear-subs-deal-an-exercise-in-futility-and-should-be-sunk-20230117-p5cd3y.html David Livingstone Former diplomat 18 Jan 23,

The decision for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines has taken on a life of its own, divorced from disciplined considerations such as cost, effectiveness, and alternatives. At best, the decision is ill-considered. At worst, it’s Treasury-busting lunacy.

Former head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings has claimed that Australia’s purchase of the subs – eight in total at an estimated cost of an additional $20 billion per year, out to about 2050 – is necessary to “deter” China. That’s a big call in a number of ways.

In particular, what would the submarines deter China from doing? Is it to deter China from attacking Australia? There is no evidence that China even dreams of such a misadventure.

Australia is thousands of kilometres from China, and its approaches are characterised by maritime choke points and potential killing zones. That’s thousands of kilometres where its forces would be exposed to attack; thousands of kilometres of stretched supply lines requiring enormous and sophisticated logistics.

We have seen Russia’s logistical challenges in conducting a land war just across its border, logistical failures have been a key reason for Russia’s military underachievement. The challenge for China in attacking Australia would dwarf anything Russia has experienced in Ukraine.

China would clearly fail in any attempt at a meaningful maritime assault on Australia. And that outcome is within Australia’s existing military capabilities, including the conventionally powered Collins class submarines. With the acquisition of advanced missiles and drones, Australia will be even more secure.

So, what are nuclear-powered submarines supposed to deter China from doing? The answer, apparently, is to prevent China from attacking Taiwan.

But where in the universe of rational thought is Australia’s acquisition of fewer than 10 submarines over the next two or three decades meaningful in China’s equation about attacking Taiwan? By even generous estimates, the first boats are years away. The full complement of eight could be several decades away. And then what is the actual impact of the new additions to the fleet?

Operationally, you can expect that only one-third of the nuclear-powered submarines would be actively deployed at one time. That is likely to be about three submarines, somewhere closer to the turn of the mid-century than today. Is that really the defining regional capability that will keep China in check?

To think it might be is to cringe at the folly of the idea. To say it out loud is to invite ridicule.

Has Australia suddenly and mistakenly taken on the mantle of the “indispensable country”? Does Taiwan’s future hang on Australia’s purchase of a few eye-wateringly expensive submarines?

The balance of submarines that Australia’s acquisition is claimed to upend so dramatically as to “deter” China includes: China, up to 79 submarines; the US, 68 submarines; Japan, about 20 (and growing); and South Korea, about 20. And that does not include Taiwan’s submarines, or those of the self-proclaimed Indo-Pacific power, the UK. That is well over 100 for Australia’s friends, and they are generally of better quality than the Chinese subs.

Moreover, the US and Japan are taking significant and meaningful steps to increase their capacity to defend Taiwan. Foremost among them is the restructuring of US Marines to counter a Chinese maritime threat, and deploying to islands close to Taiwan.

And Japan, long constrained by its non-aggression constitution, will double its defence spending over the next five years. That is a massive increase for a country that already has one of the largest and best equipped maritime forces in the world.

If this brief review of some of the characteristics of the military balance affecting China’s calculations about attacking Taiwan indicates that Australia’s purchase of nuclear-powered submarines is insignificant, it is because that is precisely what it is. Militarily meaningless. Now and into the future.

It is Australia’s version of Don Quixote jousting with windmill sails.

But this folly would come at a ridiculous cost. Projections of $170 billion are likely well off the mark, with the potential for double that cost.

The opportunity cost foregone would include the acquisition of more meaningful defence capabilities, including smart sea mines that lie undetected in strategic approaches, only activating in times of conflict and only targeting enemy vessels; off-the-shelf conventional submarines; long-range missiles and rockets; more fighter aircraft to dominate the sea-air gap between Australia and Indonesia; aerial and maritime drones.

And with the amount saved there would be money to retire national debt, build and adequately equip and staff schools and hospitals, and rebuild Australia’s failing national transport infrastructure. Greater national security would be achieved through investing in a better Australia than in throwing vast amounts of national wealth at the chimera of security through acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

But there is one aspect on which both proponents and opponents of the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines agree. The purchase will deeply integrate Australia’s Defence Force with the US to the point where Australia’s participation in a conflict between the US and China would be automatic.

The only difference is that the proponents cite it as a benefit to be celebrated, while opponents rail against the derogation of one of the most important elements of Australia’s national sovereignty – the decision to commit Australia to war.

This decision – conceived in secrecy, born in controversy, and destined to become the hallmark of futility – will damage Australia for generations to come.

The news on nuclear, and climate, this week

January 16, 2023

Some bits of good news.  Here are all the positive environmental stories from 2023 so far.  How the world fixed the ozone layer. The hole over the pole will be closed by 2066.

Coronavirus. Covid cases in China touch 900 million – study.

Climate. Look –  this whole issue is mind-boggling. Glaciers are melting fast. It’s probable that the cleanup of atmospheric pollution by China and others will, for a while, contribute to global heating. I recommend that everyone follow RADIO ECOSHOCK. It’s the best place for getting the most up-to-date and thorough analyses of what is going on with our heating planet.

Nuclear. This week, I’m a bit overwhelmed with the climate stuff – actually more terrible than nuclear. But hey!  the big tennis is on in my country  – so nobody seems to care. (Except perhaps the flooded-out people).  Christina’s notes. NO – Sir Keir Starmer – nuclear power is NOT clean. Strange and contradictory messages from the global nuclear authority IAEA.

AUSTRALIABrian Toohey -on Australia’s new arms race. Australia’s ‘optimal pathway’ on AUKUS. Australia’s nuclear submarine plan – a source of disagreement in US Congress.  Population growth is not a good thing: it’s a bad thing. Mining lobby tricks government with its big taxpayer fairytale.

        ……………………………………………….

CIVIL LIBERTIES.  Julian Assange denied permission to attend Vivienne Westwood funeral

CLIMATEEurope recorded its hottest ever summer in 2022. Worlds oceans were the hottest ever recorded in 2022. Extreme weather is pushing more people to flee their homes.

DECOMMISSIONING REACTORS. Lithuania deal to dismantle Soviet-era nuclear reactors could be world first.

ECONOMICS.

Small nuclear reactors:  Eye-popping new cost estimates released for NuScale small modular reactor. The PG and E plan to sell non-nuclear generation assets could improperly increase rates, groups tell FERC. UK should not be building Sizewell C, and rollout of small nuclear reactors will be a nightmare – energy boss. Uncertainty over government funding for Rolls Royce’s small nuclear reactors . 

The Delusion of Infinite Economic GrowthSlew of companies keeping watch on DOE nuclear cleanup work for small biz. Team Korea to bolster exports of nuclear energy systems.

EMPLOYMENT. The renewable energy transition is creating a green jobs boom.

HEALTHAn unacceptable risk to children.

LEGALPacific states entitled to claims against Japan for discharge of radioactive nuclear wastewater.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. Shouldn’t a new and experimental reactor deserve a federal impact assessment? Adam Tooze: Why Nuclear Fusion Is Not the Holy Grail. How close are we to developing commercial nuclear fusion reactors? The problem with nuclear energy advocatesJapan and USA to develop small nuclear reactors “within each country and third countries.”

OPPOSITION to NUCLEARScottish campaign groups hit back over claims nuclear power is cheaper and more reliable. Significant environmental victory for Savannah River Site Watch in stopping import of high level nuclear waste from Germany.

POLITICS

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY. 

SAFETYDeal on safe zone for Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant getting harder -IAEA. IAEA plans “continuous presence” at all Ukraine nuclear power plants “to help prevent a nuclear accident” amid Russia’s war . Irish Republic monitoring nuclear risk as a consequence of fighting in Ukraine. Nuclear convoys: 40 safety reports in three years. Terror police investigate after uranium found in package at Heathrow airport. Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear plant startup delayed due to vibrating pipe.

SPACE.  Space junk cowboys are ruining our night sky.

WASTES

WAR and CONFLICT.The Ukraine War Should Alert Us to The Need to Ban Nuclear WeaponsUkraine on ‘NATO mission’ – defense minister. NATO to train hundreds of Ukrainian troops in US and Germany, in operating Patriot missile system . Ukraine legalizes foreigners in AZOV neo-Nazi regiment. Gordon M. Hahn: The West has been reckless with Vladimir Putin Britain sending first NATO nation tanks to Ukraine .

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES

to 9th January – nuclear news this week

January 9, 2023

A bit of good newsQuitea shortage of good news this week. I’m reduced to falling back on stories of individual goodness. Well, why not?  Individuals in their millions are doing kind things every day – that just doesn’t get into the news media. The Top 10 Acts of Kindness in 2022 Warmed Our Hearts and Restored Our Faith in Strangers and Neighbors.

Coronavirus.  Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19

Climate.  Climate change could cause ‘disaster’ in the world’s oceans.

Nuclear. Not much happening, except hype for small nuclear reactors. Australia’s nuclear submarines project is beginning to sound less like a goer, and more like something of a 171$billion ego-trip by former PM Scott Morrison, in a bid to look important on the world stage

Christina’s notes: They’re at it again! The nuclear industry dazzles journalists with its newest hogwash – “inflection point”.         Corporate media focusses on ‘new’ nuclear solutions. Are they stupid? Or is it just what they’re paid to write?

AUSTRALIA.  

                      *************************************

CIVIL LIBERTIES. Guilty of Journalism. Key US Allies Collaborate On Espionage Laws Considered Harmful To Whistleblowers And Journalists.

CLIMATE.  Coal 2 Nuclear: From the fossil fuel frying pan into the fission fire.   Under present conditions, a huge loss of the planet’s glaciers will happen in the next 30 years. Writers protest against UK’s imprisonment of climate activists


ECONOMICS
  

ENERGY. Analysis Shows U.S. Wind and Solar Could Outpace Coal and Nuclear Power in 2023.    European Energy Crisis: France Close to Electricity Rationing Over Problems with Local Nuclear Plants.  The Future Remains Uncertain For Nuclear Energy.   Nuclear is not the answer to the UK’s energy requirements, and honesty about Sizewell is needed.  Solar power innovation by two British local councils. Great Britain produced a record amount of wind-powered electricity in 2022. 

ENVIRONMENT. Namibia orders Russian uranium exploration to stop due to environmental concerns.

HEALTHElectromagnetic radiation – cellphones as a health hazard.  Ionising radiation. Return to studying baby teeth for radioactivity from nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities.

HISTORYIt’s all about the bomb: why civilian nuclear power is merely a cover for producing more nuclear weapons. Why Did Portland General Electric Want to Build Trojan Nuclear Plant in the First Place?

LEGAL. John LaForge Set to Be First US Activist Jailed in Germany for Anti-Nuke ProtestsTake Japan to court for nuclear water dumping.

MEDIAUnder Musk, Twitter Continues to Promote US Propaganda Networks. Zelensky Expands Crackdown on Ukrainian Media. Media Silent as Latest Twitter Files Expose Flagrant Misconduct in Govt. & Journalism.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY.  

PERSONAL STORIES.Beatrice Fihn – a decade fighting to ban nuclear weapons. This man saved the world from nuclear war. His story is a heart-pumper.

POLITICSGerman minister reignites coalition row with call to review nuclear exit.

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACYUS and South Korea hold talks on “nuclear sharingSouth Korea asks US for greater role in managing nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons and the resistance to reality.  U.S. President Biden contradicts South Korea’s President‘s claim that the two countries are planning joint nuclear exercises.   

 Pakistan supplies India with a list of its nuclear facilities.  US Says ‘All Options’ On Table As Iran Nuclear Talks Remain Deadlocked.

SAFETY

SECRETS and LIES.   

SPINBUSTERCountering nuclear industry propaganda by telling the facts – Joshua Frank’s book “Atomic Days”.      Workington under siege from new nuclear plans.

WASTES

WAR and CONFLICTBefore the Bombs Come the Platitudes. Cold War estimates of deaths in nuclear conflict. A Secret War in the Making: Americans Should Not Die to Defend Taiwan

Number of civilians killed in Donbass revealed. Ukraine – The Big Push To End The War. CODEPINK calls on Zelensky, Biden and Congress to seize this chance for peace in Ukraine. Donetsk shelled in first minute of Christmas truce .  Los Alamos National Laboratory’s record $4.6B budget will still mostly fund nuclear weapons. 


WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALES
Pentagon pressures NATO allies to boost arms flow to Ukraine. Defensive and offensive operations: “tank-killers” part of new U.S. $45b arms package to Ukraine

North Korea to have “exponential increase” in its nuclear arsenal. Raytheon sells long-range missiles to Romania for war in Black Sea 

Nuclear news to January 2nd

January 2, 2023

Some bits of good news.      What went right in 2022: the top 25 good news stories of the year  – Climate action – Return of threatened species –   The rights of nature were strengthened  – Land was returned to nature – and indigenous people – and more.

Coronavirus. Three years since coronavirus was detected in China, and how it changed the world.

Climate.  Environmental review of 2022: another mile on the ‘highway to climate hell’.

Nuclear.  In reality – not much is happening. The corporate media is still banging on about nuclear fusion ,  a complete distraction from anything that is really happening in energy and climate issues. In fact, the most interesting thing that is happening is the Europe-wide cutting down on energy use – “demand reduction” – the most unsexy but effective way to address global heating.  The other thing that the corporate media is banging on about is –   small nuclear reactors (SMRs). They faithfully regurgitate nuclear industry handouts – even though these SMRs actually don’t exist, and investors hold back – waiting for governments to pour even more tax-payer money into SMRs.

However, lurking all the time, is the risk of nuclear accident, especially in Ukraine.  And as USA and NATO promise more advanced weapons for the Ukrainians, and Putin flexes his “unrivalled” nuclear-powered missile cruisers, the world could be now teetering on the brink of nuclear war.

AUSTRALIA.

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CLIMATE. Growing climate, nuclear risks spark doomsday fears. Growing urgency and intensity — Weather extremes won’t be solved by nuclear power.

CULTURE and ART. MIND OF THE MACHINE Chilling AI predicts what nuclear war would look like with attacks on London, Moscow and Washington .

ECONOMICS. How did the US nuclear industry fare in 2022?

ENERGY. As France’s nuclear energy sector falters, Britain’s wind and solar power booms. France’s nuclear headache – Macron on the brink of rationing electricity. Europe shows how to cut demand for energy use.

ENVIRONMENT. Hot water — radiation in drinking water.

MEDIA. US spies pushed Twitter to censor ‘anti-Ukraine narratives’ – media.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGYNuclear Fusion:  Don’t Believe the Hype!. Small modular reactors will not save the day. The US can get to 100% clean power without new nuclear. Japan’s Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing project delayed again – for the 26th time.

OPPOSITION to NUCLEARCivil society groups urge feds to ban reprocessing used nuclear fuel. No new nuclear weapons in Europe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgfckOtqWb8

POLITICSCanada’s first new nuclear power reactor in 30 years has embarked on a crucial review. Can it pass quickly?

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY. The 2022 nuclear year in review: A global nuclear order in shambles.     Tucker “Gets It” – Putin Doesn’t Want American Missiles on His Border.  Ukraine became de facto member of NATO in 2022: DM .     What the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Know About China.  Europe’s nuclear industry heavily dependent on Russian fuel and technology – no sanctions there.

RADIATION. Marie Curie’s Belongings Will Be Radioactive For Another 1,500 Years.

SAFETY. German residents told to prepare for nuclear emergencies.

SECRETS and LIESThis Year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners are deeply connected to the CIA. Every social media firm censors for US government – Musk.

SPACE. EXPLORATION, WEAPONS. Military satellites add to Earth’s orbit, which is already crowded with satellites.

SPINBUSTERCalling nuclear fusion a potential ‘climate solution’ may undermine actual solutions.

WASTES. In the Pacific, Outcry Over Japan’s Plan to Release FukushimaWastewater.

WAR and CONFLICT. 3,000 civilians dead in Mariupol – Russian officials investigating – and claim that Ukrainian troops are responsible.        Germany assumes command of NATO’s 12,000-troop strike force EU.               Britain to train 15,000 Ukrainian “warfighters” in Lithuania.                100,000 U.S. troops, 20,000 new, to stay in Europe, train Ukrainian counterparts . Historic Golden Rule Peace Boat On Its Way to Cuba.

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALESMore weapons to Ukraine “to bring peace” – says NATO chief. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2_ktxVQooQ                 Under pressure from Washington, Japan rearms.             Increasing kill chain speed: Pentagon augments HIMARS for Ukraine, Latvia, Taiwan .             North Korea says it will boost nuclear warhead production ‘exponentially‘, as another missile fired.            Russia Adds ‘Unrivaled’ Nuclear-Powered Missile Cruisers To Its Arsenal; Putin Says Has No Analogs In The World.

Nuclear news in Christmas week

December 27, 2022

It’s that time of year, and I hope that you all did have a really lovely time, despite the madness of the festive season  – and will continue to survive and enjoy the rest of it. And on to a good 2023, one can only hope.

Roberto Prusso’sCopy of painting by PreRaphaelite artist Frederick Sandys

I feel that I should change my name from Christina to Cassandra. Not that I’m a princess, nor  look like her!   And indeed, I’m not as unlucky as Cassandra, in that nobody believed her warnings.   Many do now realise the perils that the world is in.  But still, for 2023,  there’s a prevailing complacency about pandemics. climate change, the “progress” of the Ukraine war, and about nuclear reactors and weapons .

Some readers have complained that this newsletter is too long. (Well, sorry – it’s hard to prune it, and anyway, I hope that you just pick out the topics that interest you).  I put outstanding stories in larger green text.

Recently there have been two remarkable articles that absolutely stood out  – stuff that people really need to know.

This one –  Dismantling Sellafield: the epic task of shutting down a nuclear site – this one is must.  If anyone ever tells you that nuclear waste is “manageable” – this article would enlighten them.

The other article has a much more subtle tone. It’s about small nuclear reactors (SMRs). You could read it even as being in favour of SMRs.  It is enlightening as it rather quietly suggests all the problems about SMR development. It touches ever so lightly on the nuclear weapons connection –  “security” is the codeword for the military aspect.  And even more interesting, it shows the mindset of the corporate leaders and politicians who are pushing for SMRs. The article is Building promises of small modular reactors—one conference at a time.

Meanwhile, over the past week –   2 things stand out.  Both of them illustrate the gullibility, the lack of imagination, or the sheer subservience of the corporate press.

1,  the fawning of the USA Congress, and the West in general – over the visit of  Volodymyr Zelenskyy  to get more weapons. 

2. the euphoria over a tiny, and hugely expensive, experiment in nuclear fusion.

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Herewith – the dreary old real newsletter. (things don’t stop happening for Christmas, Hannukkah …….)

AUSTRALIA. The nuclear lobby is revving up its campaign, with submissions to the Senate to remove legal bans on nuclear activities. Australia has a new nuclear lobby front group “REPLANET Australia” . Fake, dishonest ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ group. Mining lobby tricks government with its big taxpayer fairytale.

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CLIMATE. Greenland’s glaciers are melting 100 times faster than estimated.

ECONOMICSBank of America, investors, thrilled and delighted with the nuclear arms race. National Guard informs troops last paycheck before Christmas will be late as Biden admin sends $billions to Ukraine. Zelensky’s diaspora delegation led by economic hit-woman who led plunder of Ukraine. The Ukraine Arms Drain.           Never mind about sanctions – Russia’s export of nuclear products and services is soaring.

EDUCATIONPropaganda drive: Nuclear Power 2.0 Eyes Opportunity, Steep Climb in Coal Country.

ENERGY. UK tipped to export even more energy to France despite blackout fears. Sunak’s wrongheaded renewables tax risks trashing Britain’s wind and solar ambitions..

ENVIRONMENT

ETHICS and RELIGIONU.S. Faith Leaders Call for Xmas Truce in Ukraine as Zelensky Visits D.C. Seeking More Arms & Money.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. 

OPPOSITION TO NUCLEAR.  In protecting the biosphere from plutonium and other wastes, the first step is to stop producing them.

POLITICS.

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY. 

SAFETY. In a blow to France’s electricity supply, EDF extends maintenance at nuclear reactors.

SECRETS and LIESAtomic Bomb Effects Cover-up Reported in New York Times. Dishonesty: British authorities knew it was wrong to proceed with the thermal oxide reprocessing plant (Thorp) at Sellafield.

SPINBUSTERDespite the hype, we shouldn’t bank on nuclear fusion to save the world from climate catastrophe. Media hype about nuclear fusion is designed to make research on thermonuclear weapons look acceptable. 

The Claim That The Ukraine War Advances US Interests Discredits The Claim That It’s “Unprovoked”. Why all the hysteria over not clapping for Zelensky?

WASTES   America’s complicated problem of disposing of tons of plutonium bomb cores, as the government to spend $1.7 billion on more plutonium bomb cores. Getting rid of plutonium pits — so many questions. Trawsfynydd as a nuclear waste dump? Campaign groups want answers on increase in radioactive particles found on Dounreay foreshore. Exposing the dishonest spiel that nuclear waste is “manageable”.

WAR and CONFLICT. Feverishly Racing Toward Our Own Destruction.            Kremlin: “US & Russia On The Brink Of A Direct Clash” In Ukraine. While others are preparing for their holidays, NATO is preparing for war in Black Sea Ukraine: * Congress as War Prop * Christmas Truce  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd-RvfQfUJI It’s worse than they’re telling you in Ukraine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLh0KYZB9qM&t=249s

“Eva Bartlett: Western Silence As Ukraine Targets Civilians in Donbass” — In Gaza https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETpa-W0lJMc

WEAPONS and WEAPONS SALESU.S, €100b European next-generation warplanes to carry U.S. nuclear warheadsFusion Energy: the Nuclear Weapons Connection. Over 500 U.S. military personnel have sought Washington’s okay to work for foreign governments: case of Azerbaijan.

Fake, dishonest ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ group

December 26, 2022

 https://nuclear.foe.org.au/fake-greens-group/?fbclid=IwAR0HrgSSduu8dLrYSebJa7MAFIcjTWvqjewphjAGjpQI3PTswPfzm6_JN0E

The Australian Greens have strong, principled anti-nuclear policies (with some obvious allowances for the beneficial uses of nuclear technology e.g. nuclear medicine).

A group called ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy‘ has nothing to do with the Australian Greens. The spokesperson for the group, Tyrone D’Lisle, is NOT a member of the Australian Greens. He resigned as convener of the Queensland Young Greens in 2013 following behaviour which he attributed to stress and exhaustion. A Greens representative said: “Mr D’Lisle’s views do not represent Greens policies.” D’Lisle resigned from the Greens altogether in 2017.

It is unclear if there are ANY members of the Australian Greens in ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’. The group is either partially fake (it includes non-members of the Greens) or completely fake (with NO members of the Greens). We do not know if the group is breaking any state or federal laws by calling itself ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ when some or all members of the group are not members of the Australian Greens.

We’ve only come across two people who identify as members of ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’. They may be the only two people in this group. ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ acknowledge that they are a “relatively small group”.

Update: ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ claim that the ‘real’ name of their group is ‘Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia’ but they can’t change their facebook group name ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’! Evidently the group has tried to change its name, an implicit acknowledgement that they have been falsely misrepresenting themselves as members of the Australian Greens and as a sub-group of the Australian Greens political party.

Furthermore, they are shifting their propaganda over to new sites called ‘Australians for Nuclear Energy’ … another implicit acknowledgement that they have been falsely misrepresenting themselves as members of the Australian Greens and as a sub-group of the Australian Greens political party.

It was only after Friends of the Earth exposed the fakery of this ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ group that they announced that their ‘real’ name is ‘Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia’ and decided to shift their propaganda to new sites which make no mention of the Greens.

What to make of the new name ‘Australians for Nuclear Energy’? As far as we know there are only two members in the group, so it should be called ‘Two Australians for Nuclear Energy’. Or to use their own terminology, ‘A Relatively Small Number of Australians for Nuclear Energy’.

The Big Lie

‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ lie. For example, they claim that “senior people within environmental organisations like Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth have stated they don’t want to change [their position regarding nuclear power] because they will lose funding.”

D’Lisle has been asked on countless occasions to substantiate or retract that claim but he has done neither. There is no truth to the claim. It is a fabrication. It is a lie.

D’Lisle claims he was not responsible for the lie but he refuses to say 1) who was responsible for it, 2) who else apart from him posts on facebook as ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’, and 3) whether anyone other than D’Lisle posts on facebook as ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’.

The claim about Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace is a dishonest fabrication and it is also defamatory. Perhaps that is why ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ are concealing authorship of the lie.

Perhaps D’Lisle was responsible for the lie, in which case he has lied about Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace and then lied about lying. Or perhaps another member of ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ was responsible for the lie, in which case D’Lisle is concealing the deceit of another member of his group.

D’Lisle acknowledged in correspondence with Friends of the Earth that he has zero evidence to support the accusation against Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. So why no public retraction and apology?

As for the contributions of ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ to energy debates, it’s a concoction of misinformation, half-truths and outright lies:

* They claim that “civilian nuclear energy programs don’t lead to nuclear weapons programs” even though they repeatedly have.

* D’Lisle thinks “the world is going nuclear”. In fact, nuclear power has been stagnant for the past 30 years and its future is bleak, largely because nuclear power is far more expensive than renewables (including storage and transmission costs).

* They claim there were no radiation deaths from the Fukushima disaster DESPITE BEING WELL AWARE of the World Health Organization report which concluded that for people in the most contaminated areas in Fukushima Prefecture, the estimated increased risk for all solid cancers will be around 4% in females exposed as infants; a 6% increased risk of breast cancer for females exposed as infants; a 7% increased risk of leukaemia for males exposed as infants; and for thyroid cancer among females exposed as infants, increased risk of up to 70%.

* They make dishonest claims about the Chernobyl death toll. They suggest a death toll of less than 100. Blatant deceit. They ignore studies such as: the estimate of 16,000 cancer deaths across Europe in a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, and the World Health Organization’s estimate of “up to 9,000 excess cancer deaths” in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. For a longer discussion on pro-nuclear deceit regarding Chernobyl, click here.

* ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ trivialise Chernobyl (and other nuclear disasters) by peddling the argument that the psychological trauma was greater than the biological effects from radiation exposure. There’s no dispute that, as the World Health Organisation states, the relocation of more than 350,000 people in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster “proved a deeply traumatic experience”. How to compare that psychological trauma to estimates of the cancer death toll from radiation exposure, such as the UN/WHO estimate of 9,000 cancer deaths in ex-Soviet states or the International Journal of Cancer study estimating 16,000 deaths across Europe? They can’t be compared. Apples and oranges. Most importantly, why on earth would anyone want to rank the biological damage and the psychological trauma from the Chernobyl disaster? Chernobyl resulted in both biological damage and psychological trauma, in spades. Psychological insult has been added to biological injury. One doesn’t negate the other.

* And they make false and indefensible claims about numerous other nuclear-related topics.