Saturday 4th of December 2021

silly walk by silly men...

locksteplockstep

‘We’re in lockstep’: Biden hails Australia at meeting with Morrison

 

New York: US President Joe Biden has declared Australia is America’s closest and most reliable ally during his first one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Biden and Morrison sat down in New York for their much-anticipated meeting as European leaders intensified their criticisms of Australia and the US for breaking the $90 billion contract with France to build a fleet of submarines.

The United States will instead help Australia develop a fleet of nuclear-powered subs as part of the new AUKUS partnership with the United Kingdom.

Biden referred to the Prime Minister as “Scott” during a brief exchange before the meeting. At a virtual press conference last week he appeared to forget Morrison’s name and described him as “that fella Down Under”.

 

“The United States has no closer or more reliable ally than Australia – our nations have been together for a long time,” Biden said as Morrison sat beside him at the Intercontinental New York Barclay hotel in Manhattan shortly after the President’s address to the United Nations General Assembly.

“The United States and Australia are working in lockstep on the challenges that I laid out today in my speech to the United Nations: ending COVID, addressing the climate crisis, defending democracy and shaping the rules of the road for the 21st century.

“Because I mean what I said: we are at an inflection point. Things are changing. We can grasp the change and deal with it or be left behind, all of us.”

Addressing Biden directly, Morrison said: “I want to thank you for your leadership and your focus on the Indo-Pacific region. There’s no doubt you get it.”

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/we-re-in-lockstep-biden-hails-australia-at-meeting-with-morrison-20210922-p58tnf.html

 

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walking sillier with global warming...

Scott Morrison's decision to scrap the $90 billion French submarine deal to more closely align with the US and UK was orchestrated with masterful secrecy.

The deal was negotiated behind hermetically-sealed doors and presented to the public as a fait accompli.

There is no such luxury for the Prime Minister when it comes to re-setting Australia's emissions reduction target.

The need for a recalibration is accepted, given the global shifts towards stronger climate action by allies.

UK and Australian prime ministers on climate change 

It would seem Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his UK counterpart walked away with very different impressions after this meeting on climate change.

Read more

But instead of plotting a new course in the secure confines of the National Security Committee of Cabinet, this one is being negotiated in concert with a long-running, and very charged, public debate.

There is little time left for the Prime Minister to manoeuvre — the UN climate talks in Glasgow are just six weeks away. So, where will Australia's policy on climate change land?

Gambit thrown out by Liberal MP

The baseline is Australia's current target of a 26-28 per cent reduction of emissions on 2005 levels by 2030.

It was Australia's "Nationally Determined Contribution" to the Paris Agreement when it was struck in 2015, with the aim of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celcius, preferably below 1.5C.

While some government MPs are resisting any change from the current commitment, others are trying to pave the way for more substantive ambition.

Liberal backbencher Dave Sharma, a moderate Liberal with a climate-conscious electorate in Sydney, has thrown out a gambit.
 
"A 2035 target of 40-45 per cent below our 2005 levels is achievable on the technology and policy levers available today," he said in a web address to the UNSW Energy Institute on Tuesday.

"And [it] will put us on a managed transition to net zero by 2050."

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-22/scott-morrison-submarine-deal-climate-targets-net-zero-5050/100480928

misunderstanding the pathway to peace...

After first suffering a seeming “brain snap” to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) some years back, at long last Australia has been promised a fleet of eight SSNs by the Biden administration under the newly minted and awkwardly named AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) alliance against China.

Fresh from an ignominious debacle in Afghanistan that led to that bedevilled country once again falling under the repression of the murderous Taliban, the Biden administration has capped off its recent Afghan escapade by driving a stake through the global nuclear non-proliferation regime through its ill-advised decision to supply SSNs and related technology to Australia.

 

The problem

Nuclear-powered submarines of the United States (and the United Kingdom) reportedly are fuelled with highly-enriched uranium (HEU) of 93% to 97% enrichment level that can last for up to 33 years – this is the same enrichment level as for use in nuclear weapons. In contrast, French nuclear-powered submarines run on low-enriched uranium 5% to 7.5% enrichment level and need to be refuelled on average after about 10 years but do not need weapon-grade enriched uranium.

Nuclear ship propulsion technology and reactor design for military vessels as well as the isotopic composition and quantity of their nuclear fuel remains highly classified. When Canada was considering acquiring a fleet of SSNs in 1987, the two potential suppliers were France (Rubis/Améthyste-class) and the United Kingdom (Trafalgar-class).

In the case of the United Kingdom, Canada was informed that US Congressional approval would be required for the UK to construct and supply SSNs (with US design reactors and nuclear fuel) to Canada. The nuclear ship propulsion reactor design and nuclear fuel information would be subject to a high level of classification. With this requirement for secrecy, Canada would not have been able to provide detailed information to the IAEA under its NPT safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/164) thereby creating a loophole or gap in IAEA safeguards coverage in Canada. A certain (likely unspecified) large quantity of HEU for naval nuclear fuel would be taken out of safeguards for use in the SSNs and the spent fuel coming out the boats after 30 years or more also would be subject to secrecy. Thus the IAEA would not be able to measure the quantity or isotopic composition or to verify the HEU in naval use.

 

Australian SSNs

Now that under AUKUS the US has agreed to provide SSNs and SSN technology to Australia, not only would Congressional approval be required but also Australia would be prevented from declaring the quantity and isotopic composition of the HEU naval fuel to the IAEA under its NPT safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/217). Thus, Australia would be creating a black hole, as regards significant quantities of HEU in naval nuclear propulsion use which would remain outside IAEA safeguards (reporting and verification). Therefore, in my view, Australia should not qualify for the IAEA’s “broader” safeguards conclusion for Australia that, “the [IAEA] Secretariat found no indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities and no indication of undeclared nuclear material or activities. On this basis, the Secretariat concluded that, for [Australia], all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities” (emphasis added).

The IAEA Additional Protocol, to safeguards agreements, provides for the “broader conclusion” regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities. As such, to be clear and precise, were Australia to withhold from the IAEA information on and access to its naval nuclear fuel, then the IAEA would be unable to provide a broader conclusion for Australia under its additional protocol INFCIRC/217/Add.1.

This would set a really bad precedent, as for many years Brazil has been avoiding concluding an additional protocol with the IAEA citing its naval nuclear propulsion research and development programme. Iran has claimed that one requirement for its uranium enrichment activities is the possibility of acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

Australia and the two other AUKUS States have communicated to the IAEA Director General their intention for the Royal Australian Navy to acquire a fleet of SSNs and this means that at some future time Australia would be invoking paragraph 14 of its NPT safeguards agreement to exclude significant quantities of highly-enriched uranium for naval nuclear fuel. Thus, the claim by AUKUS States “that a critical objective of this cooperation will be to maintain “the strength of both the nuclear non-proliferation regime and Australia’s exemplary non-proliferation credentials” and that they will be “engaging with the IAEA throughout the coming months” is at best an oxymoron.

It should be matter of serious concern for the IAEA Board of Governors that the “IAEA will engage with them [AUKUS] on this matter in line with its statutory mandate, and in accordance with their respective safeguards agreements with the Agency” – as this does not make much sense in that the paragraph 14 provisions on keeping HEU naval nuclear fuel out of safeguards apply only to Australia and not to the UK and the US (the latter two being nuclear-weapon States).

The only responsible course for the IAEA Board of Governors should be to warn Australia regarding the deleterious effects on safeguards should it implement paragraph 14 provisions and keep large quantities of HEU for its fleet of SSNs outside of IAEA safeguards. The IAEA Board would be well advised to reject any request placed before it from Australia or from any other NPT non-nuclear-weapon State to implement paragraph 14 provisions. Rather, the Board should take the responsible decision to revoke application of paragraph 14 of INFCIRC/153 (Corr.) and in all related safeguards agreements, much like the Board rescinded the original provisions of the Small Quantities Protocol in 2005.

Australia’s acquisition of SSNs under AUKUS could well open a Pandora’s Box of proliferation with non-nuclear-weapon States such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea among others also going in for nuclear-powered submarines and keeping nuclear fuel (both low- and highly-enriched uranium) outside the scope of IAEA safeguards. This would weaken the IAEA safeguards (verification) system already facing challenges from new technologies and open up possibilities of diversion of nuclear material for nuclear weapons. The AUKUS decision to equip Australia with SSNs not only is a fool’s errand but also could pose a grave threat to regional and international security.

 

Read more: https://toda.org/global-outlook/australias-nuclear-powered-submarines-will-risk-opening-a-pandoras-box-of-proliferation.html

 

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miraculous coincidences...

Introducing The Morrison Parallel Universe 

There is a string of Morrison government 'coincidences' that appear to be forming a pattern.

 

The alleged rape of Brittany Higgins occurred on Saturday 23 March 2019 just hours after ABC election analyst Antony Green called the NSW state election for the Berejiklian-Barilaro LNP government. 

 

On the same day the Australian Federal Court revealed the total cost of Morrison's failed Robodebt scheme (13th June 2021) Scott Morrison gatecrashed the G7 meeting in the UK.

 

On the same day (September 16 2021) Liberal Party spin doctor Bruce Lehrman appeared before an ACT court charged with rape, Morrison announced a nuclear submarine deal with the US.

 

 

Read more...: https://www.insidetasmania.com

 

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polishing US boots...

Australia has just confirmed that its allegiance to the United States exceeds its own interests, and even its relationship with other, previously friendly nations, such as France. The triggering point for this degradation of Australia’s position in the world was the decision, announced this past week by prime minister Scott Morrison, to ditch the planned purchase of French submarines and replace them with a nuclear-powered option from the United States.

The agreement with France has existed for several years, although the actual construction of the planned submarines had not actually started. They were not expected to become available to the Australian Navy for at least a decade, although there has never been a publicly available explanation as to why their construction should take so long.

To compound the betrayal of the French contract, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had held talks with his French counterpart Emanuel Macron as recently as the summit of western leaders held in England earlier this year. Unknown to the French, the Australians had already agreed a deal with the Americans and the British. As recently as August 30 this year the French and Australian defence ministers had held a meeting and had issued a statement confirming their bilateral cooperation, including on matters of defence.

Yet only 16 days later the French discovered that the Australians had in fact made a deal with the Americans and the British, the immediate consequence of which was the cancellation of the $90 billion deal with France. The French foreign minister Jean Yves De Drian was furious, calling it “a stab in the back. We had established a trusting relationship with Australia and this trust was betrayed.”

A loss of French friendship was only one of the consequences of the United States – United Kingdom – Australia deal. The British and United States versions of the submarines that Australia had agreed to purchase used a nuclear reactor that runs on highly enriched uranium (HEU 60%). Australia does not have the means to produce uranium at this level of enrichment. It means that in order to operate the submarines, Australia will be dependent upon the United States and the United Kingdom for that fuel.

To further add to Australia’s dependence upon the Americans it was also announced that the submarines will be equipped with the United States manufactured Tomahawk missiles, which are an old technology and vastly inferior to their Russian counterparts.

The purchase of the submarines is clearly part of the United States strategy against China which only adds to the absurdity of the purchase. China is far and away Australia’s largest trading partner, yet the submarines are professed to include the role of protecting Australia’s trading interests. This merely highlights the absurdity of the Australian position.

The real reasons for Australia’s conflicting role with China lie in the demands of the United States security partnership. In a speech given two years ago to an Australian audience of security and defence writers, the United States academic John Meirsheimer spelt out the political reality to his audience.

“Right”, said Meirsheimer to his audience, “you have a choice here: you can go with China rather than the United States. There are two things I will say about that. Number one, if you go with China you want to understand that you are our enemy. You’re either with us or against us and if you’re friendly with China, you are undermining the United States in this security competition.”

This warning calls to mind the well-known quote from Henry Kissinger. “to be an enemy of United States can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.”

This is a truism that successive political leaders in Australia have taken to heart. It helps to explain Australia’s eager participation in the United States wars of choice, from Vietnam in the 1960s and nineteen seventies to Afghanistan 2001-2020 and participating in the wholly illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, 2003-to the present.

It is a subservience reflected in both major political parties. Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam withdrew Australian troops from their participation in the Vietnam war in 1972. The Americans never forgave him for that and together with their lackey the Governor General John Kerr, engineered the overthrow of the Whitlam government in 1975. It was an experience that has influenced Australian politics ever since. It helps to explain the extraordinary subservience of the Labor Party to United States foreign policy misadventures.

The reaction of China’s governing party was also brutally frank. In an editorial in the party mouthpiece, the Global Times, on 16 September 2021 the Times said that the United States is “hysterically polarising its alliance system.” It publicly doubted the claim by Washington that the submarines would not carry nuclear weapons describing such assurances as “not reliable”.

The editorial further said that “Washington is losing its mind by trying to rally allies against China, creating antagonisms and destruction beyond its control.” The editorial noted that there used to be no grudges between China and Australia, but that in pursuing its one-sided policy tilting towards the United States “Australia has turned itself into an adversary of China.”

The editorial went on to issue a blunt warning to Australians. If the latter becomes involved in the disputes in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, then “military targets in Australia will become targets of Chinese missiles.” Is advised Australia “to prepare for the worst” as a consequence of becoming an anti-China spearhead. Australia cannot claim that it has not been warned. Unfortunately, those warnings are likely to fall on deaf ears. Australia effectively sold its soul to the United States more than a generation ago, and there is absolutely no sign in the political leadership of any party except the Greens, that the dangers of continuing along this path are recognised.

The latest decision by the Morrison government even more firmly entrenches Australia within the American view of the world. In a little noticed additional comment made at the same time as the submarine decision was announced, the government said that there would be an increase in the United States use of naval facilities in the country.

There has been no public debate about this decision and indeed most Australians are aware of the extent to which the Americans already use Australian facilities. United States satellite spying facility at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory is already a “no go” zone for Australians. The submarine decision really confirms that to all practical intents and purposes Australia has no independent foreign policy, but is simply a lackey of the United States.

 

 

James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Read more: https://journal-neo.org/2021/09/20/australian-foreign-policy-becomes-even-more-closely-wedded-to-the-united-states/

 

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boiled freedom spew...

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON: Well, good morning from Australia. I’m very pleased to join two great friends of freedom and of Australia: Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden.

Today, we join our nations in a next-generation partnership built on a strong foundation of proven trust.

We have always seen the world through a similar lens. We have always believed in a world that favors freedom; that respects human dignity, the rule of law, the independence of sovereign states, and the peaceful fellowship of nations.

And while we’ve always looked to each other to do what we believe is right, we have never left at — each other. Always together. Never alone.

Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific. This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures.

To meet these challenges, to help deliver the security and stability our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level — a partnership that seeks to engage, not to exclude; to contribute, not take; and to enable and empower, not to control or coerce.

And so, friends, AUKUS is born — a new enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. AUKUS: a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our defense forces are all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all.

AUKUS will also enhance our contribution to our growing network of partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region: ANZUS; our ASEAN friends; our bilateral strategic partners, the Quad; Five Eyes countries; and, of course, our dear Pacific family.

The first major initiative of AUKUS will be to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia. Over the next 18 months, we will work together to seek to determine the best way forward to achieve this. This will include an intense examination of what we need to do to exercise our nuclear stewardship responsibilities here in Australia.

We intend to build these submarines in Adelaide, Australia, in close cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States.

But let me be clear: Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability. And we will continue to meet all our nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

Australia has a long history of defense cooperation with the United States and the United Kingdom. For more than a century, we have stood together for the course of peace and freedom, motivated by the beliefs we share, sustained by the bonds of friendship we have forged, enabled by the sacrifice of those who have gone before us, and inspired by our shared hope for those who will follow us.

And so, today, friends, we recommit ourselves to this cause and a new AUKUS vision.

PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON: I’m delighted to join President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison to announce that the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States are creating a new trilateral defense partnership, known as AUKUS, with the aim of working hand in glove to preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

We’re opening a new chapter in our friendship, and the first task of this partnership will be to help Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, emphasizing, of course, that the submarines in question will be powered by nuclear reactors, not armed with nuclear weapons. And our work will be fully in line with our non-proliferation obligations.

This will be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, lasting for decades and requiring the most advanced technology. It will draw on the expertise that the UK has acquired over generations, dating back to the launch of the Royal Navy’s first nuclear submarine over 60 years ago; and together, with the other opportunities from AUKUS, creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the United Kingdom, including in Scotland, the north of England, and the Midlands, taking forward this government’s driving purpose of leveling up across the whole country.

We will have a new opportunity to reinforce Britain’s place at the leading edge of science and technology, strengthening our national expertise. And perhaps most significantly, the UK, Australia, and the U.S. will be joined even more closely together, reflecting the measure of trust between us, the depth of our friendship, and the enduring strength of our shared values of freedom and democracy.

Only a handful of countries possess nuclear-powered submarines, and it is a momentous decision for any nation to acquire this formidable capability and, perhaps, equally momentous, for any other state to come to its aid. But Australia is one of our oldest friends, a kindred nation and a fellow democracy, and a natural partner in this enterprise.

Now, the UK will embark on this project alongside our allies, making the world safer and generating jobs across our United Kingdom.

Thank you. Over to you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you, Boris. And I want to thank that fellow down under. Thank you very much, pal. Appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister.

I’m honored today to be joined by two of America’s closest allies — Australia and the United Kingdom — to launch a new phase of the trilateral security cooperation among our countries.

As Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Johnson said, I want to thank you for this partnership, your vision
as we embark together on this strategic mission.

Although Australia, the UK, and U.S. partnership — AUKUS — it sounds strange with all these acronyms, but it’s a good one, AUKUS — our nations will update and enhance our shared ability to take on the threats of the 21st century just as we did in the 20th century: together.

Our nations and our brave fighting forces have stood shoulder-to-shoulder for literally more than 100 years: through the trench fighting in World War I, the island hopping of World War II, during the frigid winters in Korea, and the scorching heat of the Persian Gulf. The United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom have long been faithful and capable partners, and we’re even closer today.

Today, we’re taking another historic step to deepen and formalize cooperation among all three of our nations because we all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term.

We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve. Because the future of each of our nations — and indeed the world — depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead — ahead.

This is about investing in our greatest source of strength — our alliances — and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow.

It’s about connecting America’s existing allies and partners in new ways and amplifying our ability to collaborate, recognizing that there is no regional divide separating the interests of our Atlantic and Pacific partners.

Indeed, this effort reflects a broader trend of key European countries playing an extremely important role in the Indo-Pacific.

France, in particular, already has a substantial Indo-Pacific presence and is a key partner and ally in strengthening
the security and prosperity of the region.

The United States looks forward to working closely with France and other key countries as we go forward.

And finally, this initiative is about making sure that each of us has a modern capability — the most modern capabilities we need — to maneuver and defend against rapidly evolving threats.

AUKUS will bring together our sailors, our scientists, and our industries to maintain and expand our edge in military capabilities and critical technologies, such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and undersea domains.

You know, as a key project under AUKUS, we are launching consultations with Australia’s acquisition of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines for its navy — conventionally armed.

I want to be exceedingly clear about this: We’re not talking about nuclear-armed submarines. These are conventionally armed submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors. This technology is proven. It’s safe. And the United States and the UK have been operating nuclear-powered submarines for decades.

I have asked Secretary Austin and the Department of Defense
to lead this effort for the U.S. government in close collaboration with the Department of Energy and Department of State.

Our governments will now launch an 18-month consultation period to determine every element of this program — from workforce, to training requirements, to production timelines, to safeguards and nonproliferation measures, and to nuclear stewardship and safety — to ensure full compliance with each of our nation’s commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

We’ll all undertake this effort in a way that reflects the longstanding leadership in global nonproliferation and rigorous verification standards, in partnership and consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

So, I want to thank the Prime Minister — Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Johnson for their friendship, but mostly important for their leadership and partnership as we undertake this new phase of our security cooperation.

And the United States will also continue to work with ASEAN and the Quad, as was stated earlier; our five treaty allies and other close partners in the Indo-Pacific; as well as allies and partners in Europe and around the world to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, and build a future of peace, opportunity
for all the people of the region.

We’re joining together. Partnerships are getting stronger. This is what we’re about.

I want to thank you all. And I look forward to seeing both of you in person very soon, I hope.

Thank you. Thank you.

 

 


Boris Johnson
Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Scott Morrison

 

 

https://www.voltairenet.org/article214085.html

 

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