Archive for the ‘politics international’ Category

Aukus plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear sub construction an act of nuclear proliferation under ‘naval nuclear propulsion’ cover: Chinese mission to UN

September 26, 2022
Image from Global Times

 https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202209/1276076.shtml By Leng Shumei and Hu Yuwei , Sep 26, 2022 , The Chinese mission to the UN in Vienna warned in an exclusive statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday that the latest move by AUKUS to plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear submarine construction is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, and is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion.” 

A spokesperson of the Chinese mission to the UN and other international organizations in Vienna made the comment after leaders of the US, UK and Australia said on Friday marking the one-year anniversary of the AUKUS security pact that they have made “significant progress” toward Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine. 

In disregard of the serious concerns of the international community on the trilateral nuclear submarine deal, the US is insisting on and even making reckless remarks about accelerating the deal, which is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, the spokesperson told the Global Times in the statement. 

China has repeatedly pointed out that the nuclear submarine deal among the three countries violates the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and Additional Protocols (AP). It is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion,” the statement noted.

The US regards China as an “imaginary enemy.” The act of inciting Indo-Pacific competition seriously undermines regional peace and stability, which shows that the US has a wrong understanding of China, of the world and of itself, it said.  

We hope that the US side will abandon the Cold War mentality, abandon the use of nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries to contain China, abandon the trampling of international rules for geopolitical purposes, and work with China to implement the important consensus of the two heads of state, and practice mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation, and shoulder the responsibility of a major country, read the statement.

Leaders of the US, UK and Australia said in a statement on Friday “We are steadfast in our commitment to Australia acquiring this capability at the earliest possible date,” according to Reuters.

The Biden administration is exploring an arrangement to expedite Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines to respond to China’s growing military might by producing the first few submarines in the US, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing some Western officials.

The idea is to provide Australia with an initial nuclear-powered fleet by the mid-2030s, while a longer-term effort is under way to give Australia the capability to produce nuclear-power submarines at home, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chinese experts warned that Australia should also be alert that it is sleepwalking into a US trap to serve as the latter’s pawn in the US’ strategy against China. But they also believed that it would not be easy to implement the plan given the lack of spare shipbuilding capacity in the US and in Britain. 

In August, the US admiral in charge of building new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines said producing nuclear-power subs for Australia would interfere with the US’ efforts to build its own submarines unless a major effort was made to expand the American industrial base, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It is questionable how feasible the plan actually is, Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday.   

The nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS is a blatant, irresponsible act of nuclear proliferation, and once again proves that AUKUS countries are practicing a “double standard” on nuclear non-proliferation and using the deal as a tool for geopolitical gamesmanship, Ambassador Wang Qun, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview.

Song Zongping, a Chinese TV commentator, warned it is already a fact that the US is dedicated to nuclear weapons proliferation. 

But more importantly, the US is pushing its frontier against China to Australia by weaponizing Australia with nuclear submarines. The Australia’s nuclear-submarine fleet would be a squadron of and be controlled by the US, Song noted.    

In the Friday statement, the AUKUS leaders – US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – also said they had made “significant strides” in other areas, including hypersonic weapons, cyber, electronic warfare capabilities and additional undersea capabilities, according to Reuters.

Chen warned that by enhancing cooperation under AUKUS in these aspects, Australia does not understand that it is actually sleepwalking into a trap to serve as a pawn for the US’ strategy against China.    

Currently, the nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS attracts the most attention, but cooperation under AUKUS is far more complex as the organization’s long-term strategic aim is to contain China’s development, Chen noted.       

Australia is being pushed into the teeth of the storm in the US’ strategy against China. It should be on high alert that it probably is sacrificing its own national security for other countries’ national interests, Chen warned.

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

September 17, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China, AUKUS clash over nuclear subs

September 17, 2022

By Francois Murphy, South Coast Register, September 17 2022  China has clashed with the countries in the AUKUS alliance at a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog over their plan to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, capping a week in which Beijing has repeatedly railed against the project.

Under the alliance between Washington, London and Canberra announced last year, Australia plans to acquire at least eight nuclear submarines that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has said will be fuelled by “very highly enriched uranium”, suggesting it could be weapons-grade or close to it.

To date no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) other than the five countries the treaty recognises as weapons states – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – has nuclear submarines.

The vessels can stay underwater for longer than conventional subs and are harder to detect.

“The AUKUS partnership involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials, making it essentially an act of nuclear proliferation,” China said in a position paper sent to IAEA member states during this week’s quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors……………………

The AUKUS countries and the IAEA say the NPT allows so-called marine nuclear propulsion provided necessary arrangements are made with the IAEA.

China disagrees in this case because nuclear material will be transferred to Australia rather than being produced by it.

It argues the IAEA is overstepping its mandate and wants an unspecified “inter-governmental” process to examine the issue at the IAEA instead of leaving it to the agency.

In its seven-page position paper, China said AUKUS countries were seeking to take the IAEA “hostage” so it could “whitewash” nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear submarines are a particular challenge because when they are at sea their fuel is beyond the reach of the agency’s inspectors who are supposed to keep track of all nuclear material.

IAEA chief Grossi has said he is satisfied with the AUKUS countries’ transparency so far……………………

https://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/7906718/china-aukus-clash-over-nuclear-subs/?cs=202

The Defence Strategic Review and the loss of our strategic autonomy to the US

September 8, 2022

 https://johnmenadue.com/the-defence-strategic-review-and-the-loss-of-australias-strategic-autonomy-to-the-us/, Pearls and Irritations, By John Menadue, Sep 8, 2022

Over the next two weeks we will be running a series of articles to focus on the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) which is headed by Sir Angus Houston and the Hon. Stephen Smith.

In becoming a US proxy, even patsy, we are on a risky and dangerous path.

Smith was Minister for Defence when the Gillard Government committed to US Marines in Darwin. As Minister he told us in 2011 that ‘Australian troops are making good progress in Uruzgan province…the Taliban is losing ground’. On the domestic front he told us in 2016 that Mark McGowan was a failed party leader. He offered himself, unsuccessfully, for ALP preselection for a State seat in order to defeat McGowan.

The review was announced on 3 August with submissions closing on 30 October.

But is it a genuine review? Minister Marles called it a ‘snap review’. Stephen Smith has told the Western Australian newspaper that a ‘draft report with initial findings would be given to the Minister for Defence Richard Marles on November 1’. That is one day after submissions close!

My major concern however is that this Review will be dominated by the Washington Club and its derivative media followers with the mistaken but widespread and spurious view that China is a military threat to Australia. The Club is very ignorant of Chinese history. It trash talks and goads China day after day.

This Review takes place against a successful anti China campaign in Australia waged by organisations like the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Office of National Intelligence, politicians and importantly by our media including the ABC. There has been a colonisation of the mind by western media.

Our new Prime Minister is also not immune to the anti China infection. His first rushed overseas trip was to join the anti China group at QUAD and NATO.

As set out in the terms of reference for the Review on Critical information Requirements. ‘the review is to be informed by the intelligence and strategic assessment of the most concerning threats which challenge Australia’s security’.

It’s clear to everyone that the unstated assumption in setting up this Review is that China is a threat in some undefined way.

Although not naming China, Angus Houston was quickly out of the blocks after the announcement of the Review by commenting that ‘the deteriorating strategic environment facing Australia is the worst I have seen in my lifetime’.

But is that so? Is China a threat?

China may be a threat to the United States Empire with its 800 bases world wide, including 19 in Japan and ROK ringing China, but it is not a threat to the United States or Australia.

Countries of our region have built more balanced and better relations with China than we have.

In the last forty years the US has waged numerous illegal wars resulting in the death and displacement of millions of people. In that time China has not waged a single war.

China will become a threat to us if we continue on our present very dangerous path of acting as a US proxy and tying ourselves ever more closely to the United States a county that is the most violent in the world and almost always at war.

As Jeffrey Sachs put it in a recent interview, ‘A new database …has just shown that there have been more than 100 military interventions by the United States since 1991. It’s really unbelievable’.

On the domestic front the US is more and more a failing or failed state.

Will the US fall into the Thucydides Trap by refusing to accept its own decline and fearful of a rising power, China.

In considering the ‘China threat’ what is the evidence? What is China’s intent? What is its capability to threaten Australia? How does Chinese history inform us? Are China’s security concerns largely limited to its own borders and relations with buffer states?

In Australia today we are witnessing a new version of the “yellow peril’. We seem unable to shake ourselves free of our racist history.

As Hugh White has described it, our unthinking alliance with America means that we may be sleep walking to war with China.

We need to take resolute action to slow the rapid ceding of our national sovereignty to the US. In becoming a US proxy, even patsy, we are on a risky and dangerous path.

The series starts tomorrow.

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

August 23, 2022

Defence Minister Richard Marles is confident about AUKUS, nuclear submarines, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Not everyone is so sure.

July 23, 2022

Australian National University emeritus professor of strategic studies Hugh White argues there are risks in making the AUKUS agreement at all.

In his new Quarterly Essay, Sleepwalk to War – Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America, White warns it takes the alliance too far in the strategic contest with China.

Richard Marles on AUKUS nuclear safeguards , The Saturday Paper, By Karen Middleton. 23 Jul 22

” …………………………… “Non-proliferation was a condition of our support for AUKUS from the outset, when we were in opposition,” Marles says in an interview with The Saturday Paper, on his return from Washington, DC, this week.

While there, he discussed progress on the trilateral nuclear technology transfer agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States……..

The first non-nuclear country to seek nuclear-powered submarines, Australia will be required to sign a special International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement. The document is likely to run to hundreds of pages, specifying in minute detail how the material will be handled – accounting for every gram – and with the tightest restrictions on its use. Amid some concern among international law specialists about exploiting existing treaty language around “peaceful use”, the wording will be designed to leave no wiggle room for more malign countries wanting to follow suit.

The greatest potential legal obstacles lie in the fact that the nuclear material is for use on a military platform. Australia’s lack of a nuclear power industry could be a reassurance, reducing the risk. Every aspect of the use and management of the enriched uranium – including in the event of an emergency – will need to be codified.

Marles says Labor’s party room will demand further assurances before consenting to move to the agreement’s next stage, which will involve the choice of future submarine design and how to resolve any capability gap in the meantime. He is confident the concerns can be addressed……………..

Navigating the non-proliferation safeguards with the IAEA is just one of the challenges for the new government in seeking to enact the monumental security agreement it has inherited.

Marles will not say if a Labor government would have taken the same decision as then prime minister Scott Morrison and his Defence minister Peter Dutton to dump the multibillion-dollar French contract for conventional submarines and switch to an American or British nuclear-powered option instead………………

“We have been supportive of the AUKUS agreement when it was announced, and we are supportive now.”

It’s clear that it wouldn’t have happened the same way, not least because of Labor’s volatile internal politics around nuclear energy.

In senior levels of the new government, there is a view that this is part of what motivated Morrison in pushing for the nuclear option to be sealed and announced with such haste. Some are convinced he believed it would wedge Labor on nuclear energy, an intergenerationally contentious issue within the party and particularly in Albanese’s Left faction.

……………….. in Labor’s upper ranks, suspicion about Morrison’s motivation raised further questions about the then prime minister’s attitude to national security.

Now in government, Labor is focused on bringing the wickedly complex submarine acquisition to completion and ensuring national security is not compromised any further along the way.

There’s a high pile of issues to be resolved before Australia has nuclear-powered submarines in the water. With the contract to buy up to 12 Attack-class submarines from France now scrapped in favour of the AUKUS agreement, the government has to decide whether to opt for the American Virginia-class boat or the British Astute-class alternative. While it hopes to get the first of whichever it chooses by the late 2030s, Marles has warned it could be the early 2040s.

That means filling the gap in the meantime.

With the existing six Collins-class submarines already extended from their initial retirement date of 2026 into the 2030s, there is a growing view in government that they will have to be extended again. What else may be required – in the form of some other possible stopgap purchase – is still unclear.

In an apparent bid to force Marles to clarify options, Peter Dutton wrote last month that he had planned to buy two American submarines to plug the capability gap. He said he had “formed a judgment that the Americans would have facilitated exactly that”.

The Saturday Paper understands that Dutton’s public commentary angered Britain, because of its presumption that Australia would choose the American option…………..

Just back from US consultations, Marles dismisses outright Dutton’s assertion about planning to buy two early American boats……………………

there are expensive decisions to be made with enormous consequences for Australia’s security.

By March next year, Marles wants to be able to announce which submarine he has chosen and when the first one will be in the water, quantify the capability gap and explain how it will be filled, outline the cost, describe industry arrangements for construction and detail the undertakings to be given to the IAEA to meet non-proliferation obligations. All this in the next eight months.

He has also vowed to produce a new force posture review in the wake of the 2020 Defence strategic update, which raised fresh questions about the strategic landscape in the region. …..

Delivering submarines makes AUKUS central to that. There is much debate on what else the agreement is meant to be and whether it makes Australia more or less dependent on the US.

In the AUKUS paperwork that has gone before the parliament so far, the submarine deal is described as its “first initiative”.

“AUKUS is about much more than submarines,” says Asia Society Australia executive director Richard Maude, who was foreign policy and security adviser to prime minister Julia Gillard and chief author of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

“AUKUS is a central platform for more co-operation and sharing of technologies that the Australian Defence Force wants.”

Maude says the issue is the nature of the submarines, not AUKUS. “The risk in AUKUS stems not from the agreement itself but from the decision to jump from a conventional to a nuclear-powered submarine.”

He points to concerning reports from the US that the Virginia-class submarine program’s production time line and costs are blowing out, raising further questions about delivery of an American boat.

“So, it’s not just our capability,” Maude says. “It’s our partner’s capability.”

Australian National University emeritus professor of strategic studies Hugh White argues there are risks in making the AUKUS agreement at all.

In his new Quarterly Essay, Sleepwalk to War – Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America, White warns it takes the alliance too far in the strategic contest with China.

Maude says the issue is the nature of the submarines, not AUKUS. “The risk in AUKUS stems not from the agreement itself but from the decision to jump from a conventional to a nuclear-powered submarine.”

He points to concerning reports from the US that the Virginia-class submarine program’s production time line and costs are blowing out, raising further questions about delivery of an American boat.

“So, it’s not just our capability,” Maude says. “It’s our partner’s capability

Defence Minister Richard Marles downplays any broader binding role for AUKUS.

“AUKUS is not a security alliance. That’s not what it is,” he says. “Sharing capability and building technology – it doesn’t seek to be any more than that.”

Asked if it will mean an expansion of the US bases at Pine Gap or North West Cape, he would not comment…………………..

At the top of the decision pile for the “first initiative” is which submarine to buy. Neither the British nor the American version is exactly the right fit in size, crewing requirements or capability.

Whichever way they turn, the cost is horrendous at a time when the nation is a trillion dollars in debt…………………….

In Jakarta, there were assurances about respect, in the wake of Indonesian anger that it was not given an AUKUS heads-up. When AUKUS was announced last year, Indonesia said it intended at the next NPT review conference to seek to address what it calls the treaty’s “loophole” that would allow Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Dealing with nuclear weapons, proliferation and “peaceful use”, the NPT does not specifically go to the issue of nuclear-powered vessels. Rescheduled from January, the conference is in the US next month.

The new government has also had to reassure the nations of the Pacific.

At the recent Pacific Islands Forum, secretary-general Henry Puna, from Cook Islands, presented a report on the South Pacific nuclear treaty, known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, and “other nuclear issues”. The Saturday Paper asked the forum secretariat this week for a copy of the report but did not receive a response before time of press.

Ahead of the forum – and after a visit from Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong – Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa voiced the concerns of some Pacific countries that they were not consulted on AUKUS.

Dr Tess Newton Cain, project leader of the Pacific hub at Griffith University, says there is some unhappiness about a US pattern of using Australia as a diplomatic and defence conduit instead of approaching Pacific nations directly.

“Some of this reflects a belief in the US administration and the US policy community that a good way of understanding the Pacific is to listen to Australia and New Zealand,” Cain says. “From the Pacific side of things, that’s not necessarily how people would see it.”

Overlaying that, Pacific nations have a heightened sensitivity to nuclear matters. Having been the unhappy historical hosts of nuclear testing, they’ve had their own experience with the mushroom cloud.  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2022/07/23/exclusive-richard-marles-aukus-nuclear-safeguards#mtr

AUKUS – contrived to foster the unrealistic and unattainable aims of American foreign policy

July 21, 2022

The wounded bison is thrashing about with its sole survival plan to wreck the China shop and it doesn’t care if it takes us with it. In fact, it is better to set Australia up as a primary target than Hawaii and the west coast of the US.

Anthony Albanese has not attempted to get his head around foreign relations, in particular China. He is stupidly relying on the people who advised Morrison. People like the head of ONI, the LNP favoured, Shearer and the US arms funded, ASPI. Neither should be allowed near a Labor government. They continue to push the LNP/AUKUS agenda.

 https://johnmenadue.com/aukus-contrived-to-foster-the-unrealistic-and-unattainable-aims-of-american-foreign-policy/ By Bruce Haigh, Jul 20, 2022 ,

In all of my experience, AUKUS is the worst example of abuse within the so-called American alliance.

It is a prescription for failure and considerable loss of face for Australia amongst its neighbours, friends in the region and more widely spread friends and trading partners. In fact, the region has shown no support for the proposal and indicated disquiet.

Involvement with the US in the disastrous Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars should have given cause for thought, but no, a supine media, lack of debate within academic institutions and amongst what remains of an intellectual class has seen the AUKUS proposal gain ‘acceptance’ by politicians without so much as question or query. And this in the complete absence of planning detail and cost analysis.

There has been a lot of poppycock about acquiring nuclear submarines and of having them built in Australia with a lead time to delivery of 20 to 30 years. Only child politicians and their puerile advisers would be prepared to swallow such rubbish. The submarine deal was always a smokescreen to get US nuclear armed submarines based in Australia. The so-called deal was a sop to public opinion and for the moment it has worked with a China hating, US loving, Murdoch led MSM. Where is the sense in spending over $200 billion in the face of a one Trillion-dollar debt? The money would be far better spent on health, education and infrastructure.

AUKUS is nothing more than a US takeover of northern Australia as an operational base against China. Australia has rolled over and the new Minister for Defence, Marles, has gone so far as to offer full integration of the ADF into US force structures.

The most appalling defence acquisition program over 20 years has left Australia without a viable fighting force. Whose decision was it to buy the upgraded version of the Abrams tank? As an ex-tank man, I can say the decision is entirely without merit and smacks of lining US pockets at Australian taxpayer’s expense. The US has a history of foisting rubbish on the ADF, such as the F35, and Australia under leaders such as the toadying and incompetent, John Howard, of rolling over and accepting them.

Instead of weeks, which the US proposed, Labor was given just 24 hours to consider the AUKUS ‘proposal’ by the devious Morrison; it agreed in order to avoid a wedge in the face of the election. Anthony Albanese agreed to something that he knows nothing about. And to prove it he continues to grind on about nuclear submarines.

The Americans thought they were very clever in dragging the British in on the deal. Anyone but the arrant, arrogant and colonial Johnson would have demurred. The UK in AUKUS is unlikely to survive the departure of the incompetent Johnson. The British east of the Suez is the material for jokes. After Brexit they are much reduced and once the Queen dies their prestige will be on sale in second hand shops. The US made a mistake in dragging the UK  in. They probably thought it would add some weight to their containment of China.

AUKUS is all about the US and its rivalry and competition with China. It wants to use what Australia has on offer, a base to confront, and when the time comes, to attack China. There is nothing in it for Australia. We are not threatened by China. It is and should remain a major trading partner.

The wounded bison is thrashing about with its sole survival plan to wreck the China shop and it doesn’t care if it takes us with it. In fact, it is better to set Australia up as a primary target than Hawaii and the west coast of the US.

Darwin will become the centre of a US centre monitoring (controlling) all sea and air movements in a wide zone embracing much of the north of Australia with what will be termed a joint operations command. Tindal is being expanded along with Stirling in order to take US arms and delivery vehicles.

The QUAD is a quad in name only. India with its strong ties to Russia was never in it beyond the extent of Modi’s ego. South Korea and Japan will always play their own game depending on who is in power in Washington and Beijing. NATO moving into the so-called Indo-Pacific is little more than a US induced wet dream on the part of Stoltenberg who has absorbed nothing of Nordic notions of social justice and dialogue. No doubt the US is pleased with the NATO announcement seeing further China containment as having been achieved.

Anthony Albanese fans the fires of AUKUS with incomprehensible talk of submarines and staying in step with allies but much more so with his inflammatory statements about China.  Penny Wong has outdistanced her Coalition predecessor by leagues. She took on the very difficult task of rebuilding the relationship with China after the oafishness of Morrison and Payne over Wuhan and Covid. She is succeeding. She has deployed a nuance which is a pleasure to watch She has brought her considerable intelligence to bear. She has been subtle and tough minded. She is the person of the moment. Australia got what it needed.

Not so with Anthony Albanese. He has done his best to wreck Wong’s good work.  He talks of the continuing danger posed by China, forgetting the AUKUS takeover. He says China has changed and we haven’t? What does he think Morrison did? He trashed twenty years of relationship building, including a most successful visit to Australia by Xi Jinping in November 2014. And he and Dutton banged the drums of war as an election ploy.

Anthony Albanese has not attempted to get his head around foreign relations, in particular China. He is stupidly relying on the people who advised Morrison. People like the head of ONI, the LNP favoured, Shearer and the US arms funded, ASPI. Neither should be allowed near a Labor government. They continue to push the LNP/AUKUS agenda.

Penny Wong is not in that camp, which is lucky for the rest of the country. Albanese must learn to do his own thinking and to find the courage to sack and distance himself from the pernicious influence of Morrison’s dangerous and undermining advisers.

MP Susan Templeman represents Australia at landmark nuclear weapons ban treaty in Vienna 

June 24, 2022

MP Susan Templeman represents Australia at landmark nuclear weapons ban treaty in Vienna ttps://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/7791272/mp-susan-templeman-represents-australia-at-landmark-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-in-vienna/Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has attended the first Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Joining the conference as an observer, the Labor MP’s attendance was welcomed by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). A spokesperson said they see see it as “recognition the newly-elected federal government is willing to engage with this critical meeting as a step towards signature and ratification [of the treaty]”.

Held from June 21 to 23 in Vienna, Austria, Australia’s attendance as an observer will provide insights into how states parties intend to address serious questions about the treaty, including:


  • the adequacy of the TPNW’s verification and enforcement regime;
  • interaction with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which the Australian Government considers to be the cornerstone of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime;
  • how states parties will work to achieve universal support, especially that of nuclear-weapon states.

“It was great to be in Austria to observe the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on behalf of Australia,” said Ms Templeman.

“Australia shares the ambition of TPNW states parties of a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Australia is not a party to the TPNW and Ms Templeman’s attendance as an observer does not represent a decision to join the treaty.

ICAN Australia campaigner Jemila Rushton, who is also in Vienna this week for the historic meeting, welcomed the Australian government’s decision to participate.

“We’re delighted that Australia will be officially represented at this important meeting. It’s a first step towards our country becoming a TPNW state party,” she said.

Australia will also attend the fourth Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, hosted by Austria.

Australian government lobbying behind the scenes for Assange’s freedom

June 18, 2022
  “in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”.

“It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing,” she said in a statement. “Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

further appeals in British courts could rely on media reports last year that the CIA had planned to assassinate the Wikileaks founder. “There’s absolute validity to these matters .

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/federal-government-lobbying-behind-the-scenes-for-assange-s-freedom-20220618-p5auq3.html By James Massola and Latika Bourke, June 19, 2022

The federal government is lobbying US counterparts behind the scenes to secure the freedom of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, after the United Kingdom’s decision to approve his extradition to the United States.

The Trump administration brought charges against Assange under the Espionage Act relating to the leaking and publication of the WikiLeaks cables a decade ago.

The UK Home Office announced late on Friday (AEST) that “after consideration by both the Magistrates Court and High Court, the extradition of Julian Assange to the US was ordered”.

“In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange.

“Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

Assange’s legal team has 14 days to appeal the decision to the High Court and will do so while he remains in Belmarsh prison.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, while still opposition leader in December, said “enough is enough” and that it was time for Assange to be returned to Australia.

Asked about Assange’s extradition on Saturday, he told The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that he stood by the comments he made in December.

At the time, Albanese said “he [Assange] has paid a big price for the publication of that information already. And I do not see what purpose is served by the ongoing pursuit of Mr Assange”.

Albanese met US President Joe Biden at the Quad meeting in Tokyo in late May, days after the federal election, but there has been no indication that he raised the Assange matter with him during their meeting.

A source in the federal government, who asked not to be named so they could discuss the matter, has confirmed to The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that Assange’s case has been raised with senior US officials.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr said the discussions over Assange’s release would be “governed by sensitive, nuanced alliance diplomacy appropriate between partners”.

“I trust the judgment of Prime Minister Albanese on this, given his recent statement cautioning against megaphone diplomacy and his comments last December,” he said.

But Carr predicted that “in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”.

“The Yank has had her sentence commuted; the Aussie faces an extradition and a cruel sentencing.”

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Friday that “Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and that it should be brought to a close. We will continue to express this view to the governments of the United Kingdom and United States”.

Albanese is due to attend the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month, which US President Joe Biden will also attend, though it is not clear if he will raise the matter there.

Assange’s wife, Stella Moris, hit out at UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for approving the extradition.

“It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing,” she said in a statement. “Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd tweeted that he disagreed with the decision to approve the extradition, even though he did not support Assange’s actions and “his reckless disregard for classified security information”.

“But if Assange is guilty, then so too are the dozens of newspaper editors who happily published his material.”

Labor MP Julian Hill said there could never be a legal solution to the case as it was inherently political and that “we should speak up for our fellow Australian and request that these charges be dropped and he not be extradited”.

Greens senator Jordon Steele-John said the extradition to the United States would set a dangerous precedent for press freedom and called on the prime minister to pick up the phone to his British and American counterparts.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, the chair of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, has called Britain’s decision an outrageous betrayal of the rule of law, media freedom and human rights.

“This matter is so deeply wrong on so many levels … time’s up for the new federal government hinting at caring and then doing nothing,” he said.

“The new Australian government is now to be condemned for abandoning an Australian hero journalist facing the very real prospect of spending the rest of his life rotting in a US prison.”

Amnesty International is urging the UK to refrain from extradition and the US to drop all charges.
The secretary-general of the human rights organisation, Agnes Callamard, says allowing the Australian to be sent to the US for trial would put him at great risk.

“Assange faces a high risk of prolonged solitary confinement, which would violate the prohibition on torture or other ill treatment,” Callamard said.

“Diplomatic assurances provided by the US that Assange will not be kept in solitary confinement cannot be taken on face value given previous history.”

Adviser to the Australian campaign to free Mr Assange, Greg Barns SC, says Britain’s decision is unsurprising given past approaches.

“The UK does not regard the extradition as being political when it clearly is,” he told ABC News on Saturday.

He says further appeals in British courts could rely on media reports last year that the CIA had planned to assassinate the Wikileaks founder.

“There’s absolute validity to these matters … the real issue is do we let this matter go back into the court system for another couple of years or do we say there are important principles here.”

There had been a change in rhetoric on the matter from the new government and statements from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Ms Wong had heartened the campaign, Mr Barns said.

“We’re certainly urging and hoping that now is the time for Australia to get involved with its key allies in London and Washington and bring this matter to an end.”

Today’s thought: Australia, Liberal and Labor, mindlessly toes the USA propaganda line.

March 31, 2022

UKraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Australian Parliament – to enthusiastic applause, a standing ovation. Fair enough. He’s a brave guy, with a good cause.

Did any of those donkeys in the Parliament understand that Zelensky has been trying to negotiate a peace deal with Russia? A dea lthat would involve Ukraine NOT joining NATO, and would involve fair treatment and some autonomy for the ethnic Russian areas in the Donbas, and recognition of Crimea as part of Russia. (nb. Crimea was not ”annexed” by Russia. They overwhelmingly voted to join Russia).

Do Australia’s sycophantic politicians understand that Joe Biden refuses to join in those negotiations? Do they understand that this war could have been prevented by the USA? That this is another, more sophisticated version of the proxy wars that USA has been orchestrating for decades?

Anthony Albanese, spineless opponent of the Liberal’s blustering bully Scott Morrison, joined in the fervour, comparing Putin to Hitler. All agreed that Australia must send more weapons so Ukraine – must join USA in continuing its lucrative, preferably endless, fight against Russia – a fight to the last Ukrainian!