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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Cardinal George Pell wades into nukes where angels fear to tread
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: nuke threats

Here is cleric George Pell on the strength of one PR sponsored visit to the new expensive Lucas Heights reactor such that he thinks he has a good handle on this big big white elephant: 

Nuclear over-reaction By Cardinal George Pell February 04, 2007 http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/opinion/story/0,22049,21164182-5001031,00.html

So much so he rushes into print without being briefed by the no case.  That's a high risk approach to public policy if ever I saw one. Or a biased approach.

One visit with the PR merchants gives the Cardinal about as much credibility on this issue as it does this writer on theological matters having once been an alter boy, 30 years ago at the local Catholic church in Warrnambool.

For instance Pell ignores waste problems: The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority http://www.nda.gov.uk in 2006 estimated 70 billion pound$ clean up cost for their old nuclear gear, admittedly a much bigger sector there:

 http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/press/pr20060314.html

As for medical uses, cyclotron technology (ANSTO spruikers for their new reactor even have one at Royal Prince Alfred hospital) can do that job:
http://www.ansto.gov.au/ari/facility/cyc.html
or simply import medical isotopes like most other parts of the world do, instead of a billion dollar white elephant.
But the truth really is the Lucas Heights Reactor is for it's dual use potential, just like Iran's nuke development projects in "the national interest". Just like Indonesia wants reactors by 2015 (on an earthquake zone no less), Taiwan, Japan, South Korea also as North Korea scares the bejesus out of everyone, and China regularly menaces Taiwan democracy.
What is the Cardinal's view of Australian Weapons of Mass Destruction in a USA strategic defence network? Never happen? We already have their spy bases at Pine Gap and other places here, as per the radical lefty website http://www.anti-bases.org/ below.
Nor is it simply their objections: Paul Dibb the respected defence analyst and academic, and former 25 year veteran of domestic security agency ASIO, was quoted recently in The Australian that his research in 1976 'proved' Australia was on the Soviet Russia nuke weapon target priority list. That's what the US Alliance means, the rough and the smooth. But how many people actually know what their government has signed us up to, or plans to?

Postscript #1

As if to reinforce the real dual use purpose of nuclear power programmes, the Epoch Times (Australia) runs a biggish story "UK's atomic quest goes on" p5 31 Jan-6th Feb 07, noting the renewed debate over trident nuclear missiles on a new generation of submarines, and noting the UK nuclear arsenal is about 200 strong. Link to story asap, general link here http://en.epochtimes.com


Posted by editor at 8:12 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 7:56 AM EADT
Tuesday, 6 February 2007
Desal plant is democracy 4 sale: Rhiannon, Greens
Mood:  rushed
Topic: election nsw 2007
 [SAM editor: Premier Iemma appears desperate to pump prime 'economic activity' at any cost, no matter how cynical as below, and almost certainly ignores scientific predictions of serious sea level rise at the construction location, as for all of coastal Sydney. What a mess.]
MEDIA RELEASE 6 February 2007

Desal plant tender process corrupted by $1 million donations to NSW ALP

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon today revealed that NSW Labor has received over $1 million from the Iemma Government*s preferred builders of the proposed desalination plant.

"It's no surprise that these companies are the preferred tenderers for the desalination plant - the process is corrupted by political donations before it even starts," said Ms Rhiannon.
 
"John Holland, Sinclair Knight Merz, Multiplex and Theiss have been massive donors to the NSW ALP. Their combined donations for the last eight years have been over $1 million.

"We knew the Kurnell desalination plant was bad news for the environment and for the economy, now we know it is bad news for democracy. 

"We don't know what deals these companies did with Premier Morris Iemma and his ministers behind closed doors, but we believe they did not give more than $1 million in donations without a plan to boost their own
profits.

"The desalination plant was already on the nose. But the Premier's invite to top ALP donors to tender has just added to the stink.

"Theiss' donations alone went up four fold last year to $33,000. Veolia donated to the ALP last year for the first time.

"The Government will continue to make planning blunders so long as it does business with its big donors," Ms Rhiannon

For donation figures, see: 
www.democracy4sale.org

For more information:  9230 3551; 0427 861 568
Postscript #1 7th Feb 2007

Posted by editor at 9:04 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007 6:49 AM EADT
Monday, 5 February 2007
NASA director agrees sea rise is the major threat
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: globalWarming

http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=07-P13-00005&segmentID=1

 Gorilla of Sea Level Rise   Air Date: Week of February 2, 2007

Glaciers like this in Greenland are melting and contributing to the rise in sea level. (Courtesy of the NOAA Photo Library)

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report on the state of scientific knowledge on climate change. But some say the scientists who wrote the report were overly conservative in their predictions, particularly those for sea level rise. NASA scientist James Hansen tells host Steve Curwood why melting ice sheets could lead to rising sea levels and global catastrophe.

 

CURWOOD: From the Jennifer and Ted Stanley Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts - this is Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. The newest consensus statement of the thousands of scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there's little doubt that the earth will be a much hotter place by the end of the century.

 

The pronouncement is the result of five years of collaborative work assessing what lies ahead for our warming planet. But some of the world's leading climate experts say there is a glaring omission regarding another key impact of global warming, sea level rise.

 

The panel predicts a sea level rise of about a half a meter, or roughly 18 inches, over the next century. But NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen has just written an article in the Journal Science asserting, among other things, that this estimate may be far too low. Dr Hansen joins us now. Welcome to Living on Earth.

 

HANSEN: Glad to be here.

 

 

CURWOOD: And we should probably point out that you are expressing your own opinions here not those of NASA, correct?

 

HANSEN: Yes, that is right.

 

CURWOOD: So in your article in Science you looked at what past Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports predicted. What did you find?

 

HANSEN: Well, we looked at carbon dioxide how the rate of growth of carbon dioxide, the change of global temperature, and the change of sea level. And contrary to what critics have often said, IPCC has not overstated or overestimated those changes. The changes of carbon dioxide have been very accurate. Temperatures actually increased somewhat faster than projections. And sea level has increased notably faster than the prior estimates by IPCC.

 

CURWOOD: So with that in mind how should we view predictions from this latest IPCC assessment? What did the report leave out or underplay from your view?

 

HANSEN: Well I think that there is a natural reticence which may derive from the scientific method which says you should be skeptical. You should check all sides of a story and before you make a very strong conclusion. The difficulty here is that I think we have very limited time to get on a different path with our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions or we're going to end up with unstoppable problems in the future. And I would have preferred an even clearer statement about the dangers of future sea level rise if the ice sheets begin to disintegrate. And I think that a business as usual scenario will guarantee future disintegration of West Antarctica and parts of Greenland.

 

CURWOOD: So your concern about the chance of loss of large sheets of ice and the considerable impact that that could have on sea level rise is echoed by, um, Ohio State University scientist Lonnie Thompson and he says that those issues are gorillas in the room that the IPCC isn't paying as much attention to as he thinks it ought to.

 

HANSEN: Well that's a very good point because IPCC addresses a lot of things but there are a small number which deserve very great attention. And this, I think, is the number one item just because of the inertia of the system. If we get it started it will become very difficult to stop it, perhaps impossible to stop it.

 

CURWOOD: Well, how do scientists relay the risk there when there is frankly a lot of uncertainty about what might happen?

 

HANSEN: Well, you know we do have a lot of information available to us both from paleoclimate; the history of the earth and how ice sheets responded in the past and also the new data from satellites, and on surface measurements on the ice sheets which shows that there are processes beginning to happen there, exactly the processes that we're afraid will accelerate. The last time a large ice sheet melted sea level went up at a rate of five meters per century. That's one meter every 20 years. And that is a kind of sea level rise, a rate which the simple ice sheet models available now just cannot produce because they don't have the physics in them to give you the rapid collapse that happens in a very nonlinear system.

 

CURWOOD: Could you explain what you mean by a nonlinear event?

 

HANSEN: Well, it's one in which the response begins slowly but you reach a certain point and suddenly things collapse. So you get a very rapid change. And you can imagine that in the case of large ice sheets. There are several processes that contribute to more rapid loss of ice. As you have melt on the surface of the ice sheet it descends through holes and crevasses to the surface and lubricates the base so that the ice sheet begins to move faster. There's ice at the edge of the continent, both Greenland and especially West Antarctica, which holds back the ice streams but as the ocean warms and those ice shelves melt that's like taking the cork out of a bottle and stuff can come out much more rapidly. And even as the ice sheet begins to decrease in size the surface lowers to a lower altitude where it's warmer and so it melts faster. So you get these multiple positive feedbacks and then you get a sudden collapse and sea level goes up very rapidly. We're going to guarantee that that happens eventually. If we get warming I would argue of more than 1 degree Celsius additional above that of year 2000.

 

CURWOOD: Now the present IPCC physical assessment has a center point of about 3 degrees Centigrade increase in temperature.

 

HANSEN: Yeah so that's inconsistent with the numbers that they gave for sea level. Now IPCC could not estimate the ice sheet contribution because it is a nonlinear problem and they don't know how to do it. Ah, but I think they should warn people more strongly about that danger because I think it's the greatest danger that humanity faces in the global warming problem. [bold added, editor]

 

CURWOOD: Professor Hansen how do you see this report affecting policy? What do you expect to happen among policy makers now that this latest assessment is out?

 

HANSEN: Well, I think it will have a very positive effect. I think there's already movement among policy makers and there's a better understanding of the public. Things are moving in the right direction and I think this could give an added impetus to that. The thing that we need to guard against is ineffective incrementalism. What we need is strong actions not some weak actions that slow down the growth rate a bit. We've got to get on a path where emissions are actually decreasing.

 

CURWOOD: Dr. James Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Thank you so much sir.

 

HANSEN: It's great to be here.

 

SAM editor: The link to the recent IPCC report said to downplay ice melt ocean rise is here http://www.ipcc.ch/

 

Postscript #1

 

A contributor Stevie Bee refers us to this amazingly good feature article late 2006 in Mother Jones, a heavy weight alternative media source in the USA http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/11/13th_tipping_point.html

 


Posted by editor at 8:31 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 7:58 AM EADT
Sunday, 4 February 2007
Sea level rising 12 metres if Greenland and West Antarctic ice melt , and likely they will
Mood:  sharp
Topic: globalWarming

Yesterday SAM posted its scornful view of local ABC radio and tv news parroting of the ‘½ metre sea rise, don’t scare the political economy' mantra sourced to the already out of date IPCC report of February 2nd on climate change.

 

Ironically at the same time as these broadcasts the flagship radio national Science Show in its 32nd year of trusted broadcasting (below) confirms a 12 metre sea rise if the above suggested melting occurs. And Professor Tim Flannery in Australia agrees it will whether it be 2010, 2020, 2040 or 2050:

 

7:40: Tim Flannery 2nd Feb Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly

 

The Science Show has a couple of stories about hobbits on Flores, and parthogenetic reproduction in reptiles, but the rest is all rolled gold climate change horror story in gentle tones, which somehow makes it all worse. In particular one UK senior government scientist Chris West Director UK Climate Impacts Programme
http://www.ukcip.org.uk/
states the worst case scenario is unknown but if Greenland and West Antarctic ice melts then its 6 or 7 metre ocean rise each.

 

This is the reality the big old parties and dinosaurs in big industry and media don't want voters to hear because they can't cope with it. Nor can anyone else really.

 

This inspires SAM to reproduce these full on images relating to storm surge which also features in the Science Show. The first is of the biggest hurricane yet in North America, cyclone Wilma in 2004, off the newswires at the time, and featured front page Sydney Morning Herald at the time, given storms are thought to become extreme:

 

The second is the huge surf we saw in Sydney from cyclone Wati 1000 km north east of Sydney, with ripples arriving some days later, taken by this writer (I paricularly like the helicopter above the surfers image):

 

 

The Science Show starts with an amusing grab from this

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_West_Wing_(TV_series)

 

specifically the Republican ‘progressive’ character in this episode about corn generated ethanol:

 

"King Corn" first broadcast January 26th 2005, which shows corn based ethanol is only a marginal reduction in greenhouse impacts, and compares it with the recent State of the Union speech by George Bush promoting exactly that kind ethanol production.

 

(We at SAM did a review of the whole insightful series 1 to 5 at the local DVD shop and counting with Series 6 on the ABC Monday nights (now in its last 7th series) first post January 3rd 2007 (see date buttons top right) in a misspent Christmas New Year break.)

 

 

 

ABC Science show follows

Rising sea level in Britain

 

Listen Now - 03022007Download Audio - 03022007

 

Climate change is causing real problems in England's north-east coast. The ground is water-logged and the rising sea is causing the coast to crumble, taking roads and houses with it.

Naomi Fowler reports from Aldborough in Yorkshire.

 

Guests

 

Mike Ball Principal engineer the East Riding of Yorkshire UK

 

Chris West Director UK Climate Impacts Programme
http://www.ukcip.org.uk/

 

Malcolm Tarling The Association of British Insurers
http://www.abi.org.uk/

 

Professor James Curran Scottish Environment Protection Agency
http://www.hie.co.uk/professor-james-curran.html

 

Naomi Fowler http://www.naomifowler.org/

 

Presenter Robyn Williams, Producer David Fisher 

 

Pictures at right: Taken 27 March 2006 at Tamarama beach front, a popular Sydney area of the eastern suburbs. The first image reflects the aspirated salty sea droplets on the Anzac bridge next to the CBD still 15 km away at about 9.30 am. It was similar walking down the gully to the ocean side descending to just above ocean level - an ethereal misty veil over the view.

 

There were crowds lining the cliff tops to watch and one new age flighty young woman was dancing with exhiliration, or maybe drugs, at the display and no one actually seemed to be very surprised: Conditions of normality were suspended just as the air was filled with salty suspension. I went down onto the rocks with a very cautious eye on the surge as I did so to get some more dramatic images.

 

The last imge of the child seemed metaphorical given the risky future we all face, and was taken with the parent's permission.

 

Postscript #1 5th Feb 2007

 

A version of the above article was emailed to networks and senior politicians yesterday before going out on indy press delivery work (Sydney City Hub). Now it's hammer and tongs in federal politics with Opposition leader Rudd leading the tv news (which I taped) calling for a climate change summit, more detail here:

 

PM, Rudd in a race for the summit

 

Dueling summits indeed, Rudd's climate change, PM Howard's water summit. But the PM has raised the stake in the game of poker chips with a carbon trading scheme here today 5th Feb:

 

"Carbon tax to hit miners A CARBON tax of up to $25 a tonne is being considered by the West Australian Government in a move that would cost the resource-rich state's alumina industry more than $200million a year. "

 

And pro Establishment business The Australian is getting nervous over the creeping realisation that its anti ecological economic religious fervour has caused climate change beyond their political control unlike conventional power games of western society. Here they editorialise to proceed cautiously on economic adjustments, literally as the end game for western civilisation stares us in the face:

Editorial: Look before leaping in climate decisions

How pathetic they are under cover of moderation. Which reminds of the mid January 2007 Davos World Economic Forum duly reported on in the Australian Financial Review (Sat 27th Jan 2007): Apparently the consensus in the social chit chat of the western worlds "winners", the billionaires, world 'leaders', crooks, spivs and killers in suits, was that climate change is not an urgent issue at all and that 'market forces' will deal with it.

For 'market forces' we assume this means 'law of the jungle' with rich folks moving to enclaves of luxury, and little people say in Shanghai and most of Bangladesh, Sydney, and London, in short desperate grim lives fighting for scraps of liveable land to survive on, or an even quicker one way ticket to Davy Jones locker. So much for the monsters of Davos, and their fossil fool puppeteers like Exxon Mobil. Moral pygmies? You can say that again.

What has become apparent too in the last few months to this writer is that the USA under W Bush captured as he is by Big Oil (and with PM Howard in his pocket) is playing a horrendous version of global chicken with China and India over greenhouse emissions: In the illegal street racing world beyond the Kyoto protocol, these three charioteers threaten to crash head on, and destroy the world's ecology and all the world's people sadly locked in the boot.


Posted by editor at 8:47 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 7:59 AM EADT
Saturday, 3 February 2007
1/2 metre sea rise? Try 5+ metres and ignore Big Media deception
Mood:  irritated
Topic: globalWarming

This writer has published (on then viable Sydney Indy Media in late 2006, and) here on SAM, that all this minimalist talk about a small sea rise (as bad as that is for beach erosion and coastal flooding during storm surge) as per ABC radio news this morning, is a form of denial and saccharine deception to the mainstram political economy.

As if to underline the point a report with more scientific integrity by Deborah Smith, Science editor in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald entitled "Sea rises faster than gloomiest predictions" is tucked away on page 6 and is not available online on their text archive.

The International Panel of Climate Change has released it's latest report on 2nd February 2007 which is already out of date, as new research on rapid levels of ice melt at both North and Southern Poles comes in. Every scientist we have heard in the last 24 hours keeps hammering the point that the real rate and extent of ice melt is unknown, or rather is known to be much faster and worse than the IPCC report has been able to address. Their conservative 50 to 80 cm rise by 2100 is all just so much false minimalism.

The serious climate scientists know the IPCC process is the most conservative consensus model of reporting from the science community.

Professor Tim Flannery recently awarded Australian of the Year said on Radio National and PM show yesterday that the 3 million year old ice caps of the North and South Pole could well be gone in 5 to 15 years at the most recent rates of melting measured.  More conservative estimates are 2050.

This writer has read several estimates of 5 to 10 metre sea rise with the melting of the ice caps. Really. This is game over for large sections of coastal Sydney.

And it is sooner not later. And all the warnings have been correct so far. Many serious scientists, like this one here:

"UN blames humans for climate change

A United Nations climate report warns the world is heating faster than earlier predictions. It says ice caps are melting faster, seas will rise faster and the certainty has grown that human activity is the culprit. The report also spells out a series of grim scenarios in Australia. Leading Australian climate change consultant Dr Graeme Pearman discusses the dire assessment."

.....can see the stubborn determination of western civilisation to live like modern royalty in their lifestyles will mean the oppressive process of climate change will only get faster and worse.

Get the picture? Coastal cities are going to be hit with big sea rises and 1/2 a metre sea rise is a dangerous under reporting to avoid economic panic, and postpone financial and social upheaval around major restructure (that is inundation) of our coastal suburbs.


Posted by editor at 7:51 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:01 AM EADT
Iemma Govt cops some big hits from Big Press, the real Opposition?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: election nsw 2007

In a rerun of the Marrickville Byelection farce in October 2005

 

Marrickville by-election gallery 9/05

 

the NSW Govt have been caught out suppressing very sensitive urban land use information in a front page mugging by the Sydney Daily Telegraph in it's Friday 2nd of Feb 07 issue. Back in 2005 this writer lodged a $40 Freedom of Information request for the Kevin Cleland Commission of Inquiry Report into the expansion of Port Botany, which is a long way from Marrickville until you realise the trebling (and more) container traffic will transit the marginal seat, and indeed raises the real proposition of a truck tunnel.

 

And with a truck road tunnel come ventilation stacks, and with those toxic air pollution like the long running sore of the M5 East pollution stack and health studies for the last 3 years. Planning Minister Sartor refused to release the tax payer funded report, and had been considering it for months. It was a shocking abuse of open government principles. The ALP beat off the Greens by a few percentage points in the vote.

 

The tough, honest, negative Cleland report was released (by way of rejection of its finding) by Sartor two weeks after the vote getting the ALP's Tebbutt over the line.

 

Now Marrickville and many other suburbs are in the news over another secret infrastructure disruption of social amenity just as the Green Party are back with electioneering in Marrickville and Balmain seats in particular prior to the general State election:

Picture: Cr Fiona Byrne, Green Party candidate fields press and other barrackers in front of a recycled computer pyramid at Reverse Garbage (Addison Rd Community Centre, Marrickville) next to Ian Cohen MP, last Thursday. Press release below.

 

The Daily Tele “TWO YEARS OF TOTAL CHAOS” carries the proverbial black background with large type bullet points

 

“EXCLUSIVE: What Labor didn’t tell you about its water desalination plant”

 

“Hundreds of streets dug up for pipes”

 

“Houses demolished, roads closed”

 

“15 suburbs hit by noise and pollution”

 

“Plans kept secret ahead of election”

 

The satellite map on pages 4 and 5 show the snaking pathways of disruption. The government disingenuously argues in radio reaction that they took 700 submissions on the project from the public in “consultation”. But there was no real notification of the literally tens of thousands affected. Premier Iemma is on ABC TV news at 7 pm saying the report is “wrong” but it looks anything but on the detail and past form. The 7.30 Report runs interviews with editors of both major press on the travails of the NSW Govt.

 

And well the ABC should. The conventional wisdom is that if the ALP lose in NSW they will likely win in the Federal election later in 2007 which is the real prize in Australian politics.

 

But what the damaging coverage doesn’t address is the reality, whether it is massive recycled water interventions, or an Opposition desalination plant at Malabar rather than Kurnell, there will be massive infrastructure disruptions to “drought proof Sydney”.

 

In this sense the Daily Telegraph is right to expose the subterfuge of the politicians but also opportunistic in loading up the ALP alone for the inevitable disruptions of any equivalent project. The truth is there is no easy way out of our water worries in Sydney.

 

Greens Media release relating to their photo op above follows:

 

The Greens NSW - Media Release - 1 February 2007

Greens build computer pyramid to highlight e-waste

Today the NSW Greens are using 150 old computers, supplied by Reverse Garbage, to construct a dramatic pyramid to highlight the problems of toxic 'e-waste'. Greens MP Ian Cohen is calling on the Iemma government to make it mandatory for producers to take responsibility for collecting and recycling old computers.

"Less than 2% of computers in Australia are recycled by individuals or businesses. The rest go into landfill or are shipped offshore," said Ian Cohen, who gave notice of the Greens E-waste bill in NSW Parliament last November.

"This amount of e-waste is an appalling toxic legacy to leave future generations.

"The Iemma government should act to force this billion dollar industry to do more than just produce and distribute computers and pocket the cash.

"NSW already has legislation in place that allows the Government to implement a mandatory scheme if the computer industry fails to implement its own voluntary code on e-waste. The NSW government, at a Federal and State meeting in November 2006, admitted the voluntary scheme is not working but has failed to act.

"The Greens bill proposes a simple amendment that would make it compulsory for manufacturers to take responsibility for their products to the very end," Mr Cohen said.

Greens candidate for Marrickville, Councillor Fiona Byrne, says, "The Iemma government has been captured by this powerful industry and is reluctant to compel manufacturers to tackle the problem of e-waste.

"Some impressive efforts been made at the grassroots level. For instance Reverse Garbage, the Marrickville co-op, has employed a full-time worker to restore old computers and send them out to people in need," said Cr Byrne.

"Unfortunately initiatives like this by Reverse Garbage are the exception.

"The Greens on Marrickville Council have decided to push the issue along by asking Council to audit the amount of e-waste collected in our LGA and the cost of disposing of it in an environmentally sensitive way.

"We will present this information to the government and industry bodies to illustrate the need for change," Clr Byrne said.

*Media conference and photo opportunity at 12.30pm, Reverse Garbage, Addison Rd Centre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville. *

*Contact:*  Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466; Derek Maitland (for Fiona Byrne) 0406 316 612


Posted by editor at 7:31 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007 8:20 AM EADT
Friday, 2 February 2007
VP Cheney visiting aircraft carrier USS Australia to firm up nuke weapon silos?
Mood:  blue
Topic: nuke threats

SAM has been reporting China's massive economic dependence on Iranian oil, and China's not very coincidental awesome demonstration of ability to knock USA military satellites out of the sky, which would be necessary for the USA to effectively menace or even politically annexe Iran as it has other Middle East states.

VP Cheney who is visiting here in the next month (refer below), was quoted a few days ago in the major press regarding USS Stenner aircraft carrier steaming into the Persian gulf as 'evidence' of the US intent to curb Iran's influence in Iraq. This reads like putting a brave face on China's frightening warning to back off their oil investment in Iran, that is, to physically stay out of Iran itself.

Now all the chatter in the Big Media is not about military strikes on Iran's dual use peace/weapon nuke research and development sites but a new vicious cold war 'shoot to kill' policy for any 'Iranian agents' found in Iraq, which is after all a neighbour to the war torn country with sympathy over religion and ethnicity.

This reads like something of a tantrum by Secretary of Defence Gates and the US military industrial complex after the China 'test' for being blocked in their escalation agendas against Iran by the next biggest (mostly soft but also hard military) power on the planet .

If these massive geo political players can't fool little old SAM website here about this full on power struggle over US/Iranian influence in the Middle East and its oil resouce or relations with Israel they are not fooling most other serious observers.

Further this scary unstable reality feeds into little old Australia. Paul Dibb ex ASIO for 25 years, now ANU academic, in The Australian newspaper recently reported his 1976 research 'proving' Australia was a nuke target priority of the Soviets back then.

Australia today is surely in the nuke geo politik strategic balance. There was a rumour that US Secretary of State Rice and Australian PM Howard talked about 10 or 15 nuke silos in Australia last June 2006. It's a logical suggestion. We have US military communications sites at Pine Gap, North West and some others from memory. We have Dibb's advice back to 1976, and now we have strategic movement in all of the East Asia: Japan, let alone South Korea, debating nuke weapon deterence on North Korea. Taiwan with nuke power similarly vis a vis China menaces of their democracy. Indonesia, a huge Islamic country, seeking nuke power capacity which again is dual use by 2015 (only 8 years from now), earthquake zone notwithstanding. Iran arming up nuke wise vis a vis Israel already 2nd or 3rd in the world nuke weapon capacity.

Anyone who thinks either the United States Govt or the Australian Govt is not looking at nuke weapons here as part of their global network of super power control has not been paying attention. And Cheney's visit is surely not for holiday talk. World scale politicians like Cheney are not like that. They visit to do serious things.

More here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/cheney-to-visit-australia/2007/01/30/1169919313080.html

including these quotes:

"A statement issued by the White House said Mr Cheney would travel to Australia and Japan during the week starting February 19.

"He will meet with (Japanese) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and (Australian) Prime Minister John Howard to discuss issues of mutual interest including Asian security and the global war on terror," it said....

"Mr Howard later confirmed that Mr Cheney would visit Australia from February 22 to 27.

"The Australia-US alliance is of enduring importance to both countries and makes a significant contribution to international security," the prime minister said in a statement.

"Australia and the United States continue to work together toward our common goals.

"We are cooperating closely to fight terrorism, address global environmental challenges and enhance energy security, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and promote an open international economic order."

Mr Howard said the visit would be an important opportunity to reinforce the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Australia.

"(It will allow us) to consult on major international issues such as regional security challenges, Afghanistan, Iraq and the war against terrorism," he said."


Posted by editor at 7:48 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:02 AM EADT
Germany closing down it's coal industry: The Times
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: globalWarming

The local Australian newspaper quietly reports this massively significant news story yesterday February 1st 2007 in its World section, sourced to The Times in the UK, which relates directly to Australia's problem with our own huge greenhouse generating white elephant coal sector. Not least in NSW the Anvil Hill coal project which is an issue playing in marginal seats like Marrickville and Balmain in Sydney.

Here is the full story for its historic value:

Germany to bury its coal industry

THE coalmines of Germany were condemned to death yesterday when Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to end state subsidies for the industry.

The decision to end the payment of E2.5 billion ($4.2 billion) a year of taxpayers' money will wipe out 37,000 jobs at the nation's eight surviving pits. It effectively shuts down what was once Germany's most powerful industry, providing jobs for 500,000 workers and exerting huge influence on policy.

The threat of industrial action, and even a national stoppage similar to the miners' strike that blighted the early years of the Thatcher government in Britain, has been averted. Ms Merkel's coalition Government secured the reluctant support of unions by agreeing to direct part of the subsidies into creating jobs in the worst-hit regions of Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The scheme will not be fully implemented until 2018, and can be reviewed in 2012 in light of conditions in the European energy market.

"No miner need be scared he is about to be dumped on the street," Economics Minister Michael Glos said, revealing some of the Government's nervousness over the issue.

The miners appeared beaten yesterday, faced with the stark reality of cheaper imported coal. The cost of production in Germany is three times higher than in China or Australia.

"They seem to be deeply resigned to their fate," said Thomas Hunsteger-Petermann, Mayor of Hamm in the Ruhr coalmining belt.

"None of us can understand why domestic coal is being eliminated from our national energy mix."

A spokesman for the German Trade Union Federation said: "These closures could lead to an erosion of the labour market from which the Saarland will never recover."

Ms Merkel's decision to end coal subsidies was supported by the two main factions in her "grand coalition" Government, comprising the Chancellor's Christian Democrats and their Social Democrat partners.

Many union members feel a sense of betrayal at the way the Social Democrats, who have traditionally drawn support from mining communities, failed to defend the state subsidies for coal. The fallout from the decision is likely to weigh on the next round of pay talks, with unions demanding the Social Democrats live up to their left-wing heritage and break ranks with Ms Merkel to demand a generous inflation-busting wages settlement for 2007.

That means not surrendering ground on demands for a minimum wage. The unions want E7.5 an hour to be paid to all workers in all industries, which would entail a pay rise for about five million workers. In the EU, only Germany and Cyprus have no minimum wage, and Ms Merkel, intent on being business-friendly, has always resisted the measure.

Figures released by the German Federal Statistics Office showed last year's pay rises had been almost entirely offset by inflation. The discontent over the pit closures may thus gain a sharper edge when the next wage round begins.

The Times

From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21151238-2703,00.html


Posted by editor at 7:36 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:03 AM EADT
Thursday, 1 February 2007
Iemma, Garrett, and 'mate' Angel spin an exclusive climate googly at Howard government in his favourite newspaper
Mood:  loud
Topic: globalWarming

On the PM show last night Peter Garrett as Shadow Minister gave a somewhat waffly interview to hard head Chris Uhlmann here:

 

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2007/s1837613.htm

 

leaning on the front page story on climate change story in the Sydney Daily Telegraph lifting out to another 2 page spread with colourful graphics:

 

PETER GARRETT: Well look, just think about where we would be if John Howard had done something about greenhouse gas emissions 10 years ago. I mean, the front page of The Daily Telegraph today …”

  

 The PM show ran the same story from the Daily Telegraph just prior

 

But the city's been given a dire warning about the impact of climate change on its future from the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).


It's a report commissioned by the New South Wales Government. The study predicts temperature rises of up to five degrees, and a decrease in rainfall of up to 40 per cent, over the next 70 years.”

 

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2007/s1837611.htm

 

Premier Iemma is quoted about this “doomsday” scenario and their seems little doubt the whole exercise was aimed at hurting the Howard federal government, widely viewed as a failure on this policy area, having been a repackaged CSIRO 2004 report trimmed to focus on Sydney’s future and released by Iemma’s office.

 

Not only hurt Howard perhaps but marginalise the attack being worked on by the Herald using the Angel TEC research:

 

Water crisis plan sinks in red tape

.

 

But today the Tele rival Sydney Morning Herald is very not amused  for being trumped yesterday

 

Climate data fit for recycling

THE State Government's green credentials were under scrutiny yesterday after it was caught out recycling 2004 data on climate change and was forced to admit its own agencies were too slow to make water savings.

 

And here

 

Analysis: All hot air: Iemma's reign of hypocrisy

 

And here

 

Editorial: In a spin over climate change

 

Hell hath no fury like a newspaper scorned for their rival.

 

But it also echoes the lengthy story we wrote yesterday about one Jeff Angel who similarly ran on abc 702 radio news bulletins both early and late though curiously not in the middle, boosting the message that ‘politicians have to start behaving themselves’ in light of the CSIRO report. That story here on SAM

 

Angelic greenwashing of water guzzling cyanide gold mine at Lake Cowal posted 31st January 2007

 

goes on to analyse the very ALP NSW Govt friendly history of Angel in the past around the Lake Cowal gold mine for one, and many parallel green concerns, particularly while Carr was Premier.

 

This has to be balanced against Angel’s attacks on the Iemma government in the Herald yesterday for their water inefficiency and their policy of long wall underground mining for coal on abc radio.

 

Perhaps Peter Garrett is effectively the pro ALP brand greenie now who can defend or neutralise anything Angel serves up at least in PR terms, The Green Party have annexed the role of powerful honest brokers and the ALP know it, and thus Angel is finally losing his protection racket modus operandi.

 

Perhpas Angel is only left now with actually building public support if he can for a position like Milo Dunphy always did, not just co opt others campaign work burning them in the process  in order to draw down government sinecures? Which calls up why did he take the wrong path originally? Was it for being stuck in the shadow of a giant like Milo Dunphy who took pollies head on, or genuine lack of ability? Time will tell.

 

Postscript #1

 

And as angry as the Herald is for being cut out of the CSIRO report story exclusive attacking Howard, this report today in conservative The Australian by Mike Steketee, is also very negative but not very persuasive, and virtually concedes the election to Iemma regardless 

"Mike Steketee: Iemma's banana republic

01 February 2007

IF you were writing a script for how to get in trouble in the run-up to an election, you simply could not go past NSW. It has the lot, including a child sex scandal, a flagging economy and the fallout from the Government's long neglect of capital spending in areas such as water and public transport. ...

The Iemma Government is not mainly to blame for the NSW economy lagging behind the rest of the nation. Rising interest rates have hit the housing market harder in Sydney and the resources boom is sucking jobs and investment interstate. But a government prepared to scare off investors for short-term political gain does not help.

The state election will not hang on this issue, particularly because the Opposition is even more irresponsible. So large is the Government's electoral margin, so powerful the benefits of incumbency and so discredited the Opposition that the Government on present indications will be returned with a reduced majority. But the ramifications of its behaviour are much more serious and longer lasting than any of the issues on which voters will be asked to exercise their choice.

Mike Steketee is The Australian's national affairs editor."

Postscript #1

An amusing article ran bottom left of page 4 of Daily Telegraph the following day 2nd Feb 07: "Scoopful of sour grapes"

"Having been scooped again on a major exclusive, The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday resorted to lying to deflect its failure to cover the CSIRO climate change report. The Daily Telegraph beat its rival on Wednesday with a page 1 exclusive on the CSIRO report commissioned  by the State Government. To cover its embarrassment at being beaten, The SMH wrongly claimed the report was old."

They similarly quote Premier Iemma accussing the SMH of "petty jealousy".


Posted by editor at 8:56 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:20 AM EADT
Big Brother Feds oppressing ngo dissent, just like Little Brother NSW govt?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

The well written and idealistic comment piece by Sarah Maddison and Clive Hamilton  January 27, 2007 which leads in with

 

"Many welfare organisations have discovered that criticising policy is unacceptable to this Government"

 

was a good read, and mostly true to this writer with some 15 years in the non government group sector. It was circulated to us by environmentalist David Lockwood. The article is here:

 

The repression of the bleeding hearts

 

One comment regarding the complexity of the situation from this ngo minnow with no govt funding: The NSW ALP govt does the same thing.

 

Clive Hamilton is on the happy side of that favouritism as regards state largesse. Ex Premier Carr is on his Climate Institute and was cued to launch his sustainability book in 2005 at Parliament House in Macquarie St while as Premier overseeing woodchipping of a million tonnes of natural forest per year in breach of an election promise made in 1995.

 

Clive didn't see the inconsistency of that and wrote to me to the effect of 'You have a chip on your shoulder'. Which of course is true too regarding that issue.

 

A case in point was defunding of the 'NSW Ethnic Communities Council' as a way of conservative Carr addressing the momentum of the One Nation challenge to right wing voters. The other case in point is sidelining the far more representative and bigger membership The Wilderness Society versus the 700 size Total Environment Centre which was far more compliant to the then Carr govt as

 

"the greenest premier in the history of Australia"

 

to quote Jeff Angel in late 2002 in the Sydney Morning Herald prior to the March 2003 vote. That was an outrageous pre emption of the green movement in an election cycle.

 

Conclusion: Both major parties are corrupt when they can get away with it as regards robust discipline of critical comment by the NGO sector.

 

The difference is that the Howard Govt are bigger and have been there the longest and thus are most guilty of oppressing non govt groups.

 

Postscript #1 5th Feb 2007

 

And the Establishment chill, possibly via Howard Govt contacts in business, against Clive Hamilton's Australia Institute is in this article following, while noting the legal timing of the court action reported is back in November 2006 is before this latest book of Maddison and Hamilton about 'Silencing Dissent' in early 2007:

 

DJs sues over child exploitation claims

Images from David Jones kids summer catalogue ADELE HORIN | David Jones is suing the Australia Institute over claims the giant retailer's advertising sexually exploited children.


Posted by editor at 7:59 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007 7:26 AM EADT

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