Archive for the ‘politics international’ Category

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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Australia a”pot of gold” for America’s military section to wage war in space

December 3, 2022

US Space Force eyes ‘prime’ Australian real estate for future warfare operations, ABC News, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene 3 Dec 22

Visiting senior US military officers believe Australia is a “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”, as they eye off this continent’s “prime” geography for future space operations.

Key points:

  • US military officials visiting Australia say conflict in space in the next few years is a very real prospect
  • They believe the war in Ukraine is demonstrating the growing importance of space as a new war-fighting domain
  • Australia’s southern location and potential launch sites near the equator make it an attractive prospect for future operations

Top-ranking members of the US Space Force are warning of China’s growing capability in the emerging military domain as they meet defence counterparts and local industry representatives.

“I’m visiting my allies and we’re talking about future partnerships that we can have,” US Space Force Lieutenant-General Nina Armagno told reporters in Canberra.

“This is prime country for space domain awareness,” the director of staff of the US Space Force added while speaking at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.  

The three-star general has travelled to Canberra along with Lieutenant-General John Shaw, the deputy commander of the US Space Command who is responsible for America’s combat capabilities above Earth……………………………..

Both of the visiting military officers believe the war in Ukraine is demonstrating the growing importance of space as a new war-fighting domain…………………………..

Australia’s own Defence Space Command was only formally stood up in March, but General Armagno says this country already has the natural advantage of its southern-hemisphere geography and potential launch sites close to the equator.

“It seems as [if] Australia is sitting on a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, really, for our common national security interests,” she said.   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-02/us-space-force-eyes-australian-real-estate-future-warfare/101724368

Australian PM Anthony Albanese urges US government to end pursuit of Julian Assange

December 1, 2022

Prime minister says he raised Wikileaks co-founder’s case with US representatives recently and will continue to push for it to be ‘brought to a close’

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/nov/30/australian-prime-minister-anthony-albanese-us-government-julian-assange-wikileaks Daniel Hurst 30 Nov 22

The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, says he has personally urged the US government to end its pursuit of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange.

In his most in-depth comments about the diplomatically sensitive issue in months, Albanese said he had raised the Assange case “recently in meetings” with US representatives and he vowed to continue to press for it to be brought to a close.

Assange, an Australian citizen, remains in Belmarsh prison in London as he fights a US attempt to extradite him to face charges in connection with the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars as well as diplomatic cables.

Albanese was responding to a parliamentary question from the independent MP Monique Ryan, who said public-interest journalism was “essential to democracy” and declared that Assange’s freedom “will only come from political intervention”.

Ryan asked: “Will the government intervene to bring Mr Assange home?”

The prime minister acknowledged the case was “an issue of great interest to many Australians and of interest to people across this chamber”.

“The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member … that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government,” the Labor leader told parliament on Wednesday.

“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.”

He did not state explicitly whether he had raised it with the US president, Joe Biden, or with other US representatives such as the ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, with whom he also met recently.

Albanese’s most recent meeting with Biden was in Bali, Indonesia, two weeks ago.

Albanese contrasted Assange’s legal situation with that of the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was released in 2017 when Barack Obama commuted her 35-year military prison sentence for leaking the information.

Albanese said he did not have sympathy for Assange’s actions “on a whole range of matters”, but he asked: “What is the point of this continuing this legal action which could be caught up now for many years into the future?”

The UK’s minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and its high commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell, were in the audience in the House of Representatives during Albanese’s comments.

When he was the leader of the opposition, Albanese spoke out against the ongoing pursuit of Assange, declaring “enough is enough”.

But since being sworn in as prime minister, Albanese has indicated he would pursue quiet diplomacy, saying: “My position is that not all foreign affairs is best done with the loudhailer.”

The White House has previously said Assange was facing an “ongoing criminal case” and Biden was “committed to an independent Department of Justice”.

USA intimidating Australia – warning Australia not to join the U.N. Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

November 10, 2022

Australia “should not face intimidation from so-called allies under the auspices of defense cooperation,” said Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. “The TPNW offers the best chance for lasting global peace and security and a clear road map for nuclear disarmament.”

So Irresponsible’: US Condemned for Warning Australia Against Joining Anti-Nuclear Treaty.

Australia “should not face intimidation from so-called allies under the auspices of defense cooperation,” said one advocate. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/11/08/russia-us-eye-nuclear-arms-reduction-talks-in-coming-weeks-kommersant-a79313 JULIA CONLEY, November 9, 2022, Anti-nuclear weapons campaigners rebuked the Biden administration on Wednesday over its opposition to Australia’s newly announced voting position on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which could signal the country’s willingness to sign on to the agreement.

As The Guardian reported, the U.S. Embassy in Canberra warned Australian officials that the Labour government’s decision to adopt an “abstain” position regarding the treaty—after five years of opposing it—would obstruct Australia’s reliance on American nuclear forces in case of a nuclear attack on the country.

Australia’s ratification of the nuclear ban treaty, which currently has 91 signatories, “would not allow for U.S. extended deterrence relationships, which are still necessary for international peace and security,” the embassy said.

The U.S. also claimed that if Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government ratifies the treaty it would reinforce “divisions” around the world.

Australia “should not face intimidation from so-called allies under the auspices of defense cooperation,” said Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. “The TPNW offers the best chance for lasting global peace and security and a clear road map for nuclear disarmament.”

The TPNW prohibits the development, testing, stockpiling, use, and threats regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

The Australian chapter of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) noted that Albanese’s vocal support for achieving nuclear disarmament puts him in line with the majority of his constituents—while the U.S., as one of nine nuclear powers in the world, represents a small global minority.

According to an Ipsos poll taken in March, 76% of Australians support the country signing and ratifying the treaty, while only 6% are opposed.

Albanese has won praise from campaigners for his own anti-nuclear advocacy, with the prime minister recently telling The Australian that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling “has reminded the world that the existence of nuclear weapons is a threat to global security and the norms we had come to take for granted.”

“Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane, and indiscriminate weapons ever created,” Albanese said in 2018 as he introduced a motion to commit the Labour Party to supporting the TPNW. “Today we have an opportunity to take a step towards their elimination.”

Labour’s 2021 platform included a commitment to signing and ratifying the treaty “after taking account” of factors including the development of “an effective verification and enforcement architecture.”

Australia’s decision to change its voting position comes as the U.S. is planning to deploy nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the country, where the weapons will be positioned close enough to strike China.

Gem Romuld, Australia director of ICAN, said in a statement that “it’s no surprise the U.S. doesn’t want Australia to join the ban treaty but it will have to respect our right to take a humanitarian stance against these weapons.”

“The majority of nations recognize that ‘nuclear deterrence’ is a dangerous theory that only perpetuates the nuclear threat and legitimizes the forever existence of nuclear weapons, an unacceptable prospect,” Romuld added.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, called the U.S. embassy’s comments “so irresponsible.” “Using nuclear weapons is unacceptable, for Russia, for North Korea, and for the U.S., U.K., and all other states in the world,” said Fihn. “There are no ‘responsible’ nuclear armed states. These are weapons of mass destruction and Australia should sign the TPNW!”

Australia changes policy tack – moves in the direction of supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

October 29, 2022

Australia drops opposition to treaty banning nuclear weapons at UN vote

After former Coalition government repeatedly sided with US against it, Labor has shifted position to abstain

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/29/australia-drops-opposition-to-treaty-banning-nuclear-weapons-at-un-voteDaniel Hurst, 29 Oct 22,

Australia has dropped its opposition to a landmark treaty banning nuclear weapons in a vote at the United Nations in New York on Saturday.

While Australia was yet to actually join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the shift in its voting position to “abstain” after five years of “no” is seen by campaigners as a sign of progress given the former Coalition government repeatedly sided with the United States against it.

The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, said through a spokesperson that Australia had “a long and proud commitment to the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime” and that the government supported the new treaty’s “ambition of a world without nuclear weapons”.

The previous Coalition government was firmly against the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a relatively new international agreement that imposes a blanket ban on developing, testing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons – or helping other countries to carry out such activities.

Australia voted against opening negotiations on the proposed new treaty in late 2016 and did not participate in those talks in 2017. Since 2018 it has voted against annual resolutions at the UN general assembly and first committee that called on all countries to join the agreement “at the earliest possible date”.

That changed early on Saturday morning when Australia shifted its voting position to abstain. Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Ireland were among countries to co-sponsor this year’s supportive UN resolution.

Australia traditionally argued the treaty would not work because none of the nuclear weapons states had joined and because it “ignores the realities of the global security environment”.

It also argued joining would breach the US alliance obligations, with Australia relying on American nuclear forces to deter any nuclear attack on Australia.

 But the treaty has gained momentum because of increasing dissatisfaction among activists and non-nuclear states about the outlook for disarmament, given that nuclear weapons states such as the US, Russia and China are in the process of modernising their arsenals.

The treaty currently has 91 signatories, 68 of which have formally ratified it, and it entered into force last year.

The Nobel peace prize-winning International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (Ican) had been urging Australia to vote in favour of the UN resolution on Saturday – or at least abstain in order to “end five years of opposition to the TPNW under the previous government”.

Three in four members of the Labor caucus – including Anthony Albanese – have signed an Ican pledge that commits parliamentarians “to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries”.

Labor’s 2021 national platform committed the party to signing and ratifying the treaty “after taking account” of several factors, including the need for an effective verification and enforcement architecture and work to achieve universal support.

These conditions suggest the barriers to actually signing may still be high. But Gem Romuld, the Australia director of Ican, said the government was “heading in the right direction” and engaging positively with the treaty.

Romuld said it “would be completely self-defeating to wait for all nuclear-armed states to get on board” before Australia joined.

“Indeed, no disarmament treaty has achieved universal support and Australia has joined all the other disarmament treaties, even where our ally – the US – has not yet signed on, such as the landmine ban treaty,” Romuld said.

In 2017 the US, the UK and France declared that they “do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party” to the new treaty, and the Trump administration actively lobbied countries to withdraw.

Wong told the UN general assembly last month that Australia would “redouble our efforts” towards disarmament because Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “weak and desperate nuclear threats underline the danger that nuclear weapons pose to us all”.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/29/australia-drops-opposition-to-treaty-banning-nuclear-weapons-at-un-vote

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