Wednesday 24th of April 2024

the new cash-class nuclear submarine of the orstrayan navy — delivery post-neverever.....

The purchase of nuclear submarines via AUKUS is turning into an open–ended nightmare in terms of cost that will deliver nothing positive for Australia’s security. Meanwhile, the need for action both on disarmament and on nuclear risk reduction has never been more pressing. Even at the height of the Cold War, the metaphorical hands of the Doomsday Clock have never been at 90 seconds to ‘midnight’, writes John Hallam in an open letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.


Our highest national security priority     By John Hallam


Dear Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and Defence Minister Richard Marles:

I am writing because I note that ICAN has recently lobbied you in respect to the TPNW (Ban Treaty).

This letter is written quite independently of ICAN who have had no input into it. It is written entirely on my own initiative. Nonetheless, I am sure we are both urging the same thing – signature, ratification, and the urging of others including the United States itself (not to mention Russia and China) to sign and ratify, the TPNW. In addition I urge prioritisation of nuclear risk reduction initiatives.

I also wish to draw your attention to issues with respect to nuclear risk reduction/No First Use, and the acquisition of submarines.

The Government has expressed certain concerns over whether or not the TPNW might be in some way, quite mysterious to the workings of commonsense, be incompatible with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.(NPT)

There is, bluntly, zero evidence that this could be the case, and absolutely no legal foundation for such a claim. Rather, signature and ratification of the TPNW is in fulfilment of our Art VI NPT obligations.

It is also simply not possible that signature and ratification of the TPNW could dilute or degrade Australia’s nonproliferation commitments. Whatever standard is adopted by the TPNW itself for nonproliferation obligations, nothing prevents a Government from adopting commitments that are MORE STRINGENT than those of the TPNW if indeed that is the case.

The need for action both on disarmament and on nuclear risk reduction has never been more pressing. The metaphorical hands of the Doomsday Clock have never – even at the height of the cold war – been at 90 seconds to ‘midnight’, where midnight denotes the use of nuclear weapons in numbers that end ‘civilisation’. There seems to be a notion that – both on disarmament and on nuclear risk reduction – ‘now is not the time’ for measures that would fulfil the need to diminish the risk of an (accidental or deliberate) apocalypse.

Yet disarmament and risk reduction measures are designed precisely, to lower the risk in times of crisis such as this.

And such measures are binding precisely on governments such as Russia who repeatedly and explicitly threaten to bring about the end of the world if geopolitical realities do not bend to their will.

I urge that the government see at least nuclear risk reduction and preferably risk reduction measures AND signature/ratification of the TPNW, as greater priorities than ever in the light of the current fraught geopolitical situation, in which nuclear threats and nuclear blackmail are so freely bandied around.

It is vital NOT to succumb to such nuclear blackmail. To fail to press for measures that make the outbreak of global thermonuclear war less rather than more likely is to succumb to that blackmail. To refrain from pressing as an absolute existential priority for both the signature and ratification of the TPNW and for effective measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war in the current geopolitical situation is an incomprehensible failure of nerve, and an abandonment of our international obligations – one that will profoundly negatively impact Australia’s own security. Finally, the purchase of nuclear submarines via AUKUS is turning into an open – ended nightmare in terms of cost that will deliver nothing positive for Australia’s security.

Initially costed at an eye-watering $368 billion, it seems poised to deliver submarines at a minimum, ten years AFTER the immediate-term threats they are supposedly being purchased to counter.

The claim that Virginia class subs are overall quieter that Collins or ‘Son of Collins’ is belied by a number of instances in which Collins Class subs have evaded Virginia class subs, as well as the one in which a Swedish sub of the class that Collins is derived from, ‘sank’ a US aircraft carrier.

It is a naval commonplace that whereas nuclear submarines always make some
noise that can be minimised but never completely eliminated, an advanced nonnuclear sub becomes a ‘black hole in the water’. Of course in surface running of a not-so-advanced conventional sub (without AIPS) there are thumping diesels but
even these are completely silent in ‘silent running’. To claim that nuclear submarines are across the board ‘more silent’ than advanced conventional (i.e.,’Son of Collins’) is entirely misleading and verges on the fraudulent.

The reasons for nuclear subs relative noisiness is simple – reactors require pumps that are always running even at dockside. When operating nuclear subs have a huge number of such pumps plus turbines, gears, and generators. Hence,
ineradicable noise.

The bottom line of this is that we are being ‘sold’ at a horrendous and ever Increasing price, a piece of technology that no matter how ‘advanced’ is in reality LESS silent (contra to what we are being told) than what we have now and that will
arrive so late in the piece that according to one former Prime Minister, we may not have subs at all for up to 10 years.

We should abandon the AUKUS submarine project forthwith, and replace it with ‘Son of Collins’, if a replacement is indeed necessary for Australia’s security. Australia should, as a matter of the highest national security priority:

    • Sign, ratify immediately, and urge others to sign and ratify, the TPNW.
    • Promote a variety of nuclear risk reduction measures including but not limited
      to, No First Use, reductions in operational readiness, and restoration of mil to mil
      communications especially between the US and Russia.
    • Drop the AUKUS submarine project immediately and replace it with something more continuous with our existing capabilities, experience and skills that can be delivered in a much shorter timeframe.

(Institutional affiliations for identification purposes only)

John Hallam, Co-Convenor, Abolition 2000 Nuclear Risk Reduction Working Group; Convenor, PNND Australia; Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner, Human Survival Project, People for Nuclear Disarmament.


it's time for being earnest.....


Jan 28, 2024

Doomsday clock stays at 90 seconds to midnight: Still poised on the brink, closer than we’ve ever been    By John Hallam


Nuclear risk reduction, abolition, more, urgent than ever.

With the iconic ‘Doomsday Clock’, curated by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists founded in 1947 by Einstein and others associated with the Manhattan Project, seemingly stuck at 90 seconds to ‘midnight’ (midnight being the catastrophic end of civilisation) for at least another 12 months, we are not only closer to doomsday than we have ever been, but we will have been poised on the brink of the abyss for longer than we have ever been.

This should be sobering, even frightening, news. Instead we seem to be getting used to it.

It was widely predicted in fact, that far from moving the clock back from midnight, the Bulletin might even inch it a few seconds nearer. One reason they did not is perhaps, that they are running out of seconds – We are running out of time.

A major factor in BAS’s decision at least to keep the clock-hands where they are – indicating that mankind’s situation is as perilous as ever – has been the war between Russia and Ukraine, with its ever – present possibility of escalation to nuclear war and the destruction of ‘civilisation’.

Lack of progress on Global Warming and the headlong rush to an unregulated development of AI without regard for the possible consequences will have played a significant role in the Bulletin’s decision. However, the possibility of global nuclear war should be seen as the most immediate and pressing concern.

Its worth reminding ourselves that:

As few as half a dozen relatively small nuclear warheads optimised for gamma ray production and exploded in outer space above Europe, Japan, China, India, the US and Australia would end hi-tech ‘civilisation’ in a nanosecond via electromagnetic pulse

The explosion of a number of hundreds of larger weapons on major cities would kill most humans in roughly 90 minutes and blanket the globe in dark black soot that would be lofted to the upper stratosphere where it would blot out the sun causing a ‘nuclear winter’ that would drop global temperatures (currently the highest they’ve been in the last millennium or so) to lower than during the last ice-age, where they would remain for decades.

The overwhelming majority of humans would perish.

Even during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, or during the twin crises of 1983 the Serpukhov-15 incident of 26 Sept 1983, and then the more prolonged Able Archer crisis, the participants never directly threatened each other with nuclear war.

Yet this seems to take place on almost a weekly or at least a monthly timescale over the last 2 years. Nuclear threats are becoming commonplace.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the STRATCOM ‘Defcon’ at one stage got to ‘Defcon-2’. ‘5’ is ‘normal’, and ‘1’ would be missiles incoming.(We have never been at ‘1’ – ‘2’ is as bad as it has ever gotten.) Yet the ‘DEFCON’ we are told, was at ‘2’ and then at ‘3’ during all of March and much of April 2022, and has wandered up and down since.

There is little prospect either for meaningful (or even cosmetic) arms control measures, and little immediate prospect for meaningful risk reduction measures such as No First Use, or reductions in operational readiness, commonsense as these are. Instead we are being actively threatened with the apocalypse.

No First Use if it could be adopted either by both sides of a strategic equation, or even if adopted unilaterally by one side only, would greatly reduce the risk of an (accidental or other) catastrophe.

A possible glimmer of light is the adoption by the G20 in Bali and Delhi, of language on strategic stability saying that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. This wording was reiterated by the final declaration of the TPNW (Ban Treaty) Meeting of States Parties. It needs to be repeated ad nauseam, everywhere. A good starting place would be the next session of the UN General Assembly in October.


(see the Doomsday Clock statement that follows)

PRESS RELEASE: Doomsday Clock remains at 90 seconds to midnight





it's time for being earnest.....



aukus nuz....

Earlier reports had indicated that the administration of US President Joe Biden was pushing hard to gain momentum on the AUKUS Pillar 2 stage before the US elections in November. It was also noted that Japan and Canada were in line to join the second - non-nuclear - pillar of the trilateral security partnership.

The US is pushing for Japan to be included in Pillar II of the AUKUS agreement, despite disagreements that have plagued the trilateral pact, the Financial Times reported.

The defense ministers of the United States, Britain and Australia are expected to issue a statement on Monday announcing the start of talks on new members joining the security pact. The talks would be on the non-nuclear Pillar II of the trilateral security agreement, insiders were quoted as saying. Expansion of Pillar I is not on the table, they added.

The statement comes ahead of a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House on April 10. The two sides are expected to announce closer military cooperation as Japan's prime minister pushes a massive defense buildup rationalized by US-driven claims of alleged threats from neighboring countries. A trilateral meeting between the US, Japan and the Philippines will follow on Thursday.

Pillar II involves the sharing of a range of technologies, including underwater robotics, quantum electronics, cybersecurity and electronic warfare capabilities, hypersonic weapons, and defenses against them.

Announced on September 15, 2021, the AUKUS trilateral partnership between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia promised to bolster Australia's fleet with nuclear-powered submarines and increase defense cooperation among countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The deal led to a diplomatic rift between Australia and France after Canberra reneged on a $66 billion contract with Paris to develop 12 advanced conventionally powered attack submarines.

Under the three-phase deal, Australia is expected to buy at least three Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines, with an option to acquire two more in the early 2030s. Before that, Canberra would host the "rotational force" of US and British submarines from 2027. In December 2023, the US Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorized the transfer of the Virginia-class submarines to Australia.




it's time for being earnest.....

US hellgemony.....

 A craven acceptance of US strategic hegemony in Asia    By Paul Keating


The Financial Review, if it wishes to remain relevant, requires a monster dose of reality – a de-lousing of its misplaced strategic ideology and its craven acceptance of US strategic hegemony in Asia, a region where not one US state resides.


In the mid-1980s, a young and enthusiastic Michael Stutchbury was a permanent attendee at my often two-hour press conferences as treasurer, drumming into the Canberra press gallery that the presence of large economic forces was more important and more newsworthy than the gallery’s normal diet of election speculation, leadership changes, tax cuts and cigarette prices.

And Michael lapped it up. He was an early graduate of my school of advanced economic and entrepreneurial thinking. And while he has become more conservative as he has become older, his stewardship of The Australian Financial Review provides an attestation that those economic lessons were an anchor, a ballast, for the wider presentation and contemporary dissertation of economic news and events.

In short, Michael’s close proximity to and at the reformation of the Australian economy in the 1980s and early 1990s has made his views and leadership on economic issues today to be of substantial national value. But economic insight is where Michael’s experience shutters. On foreign policy, as in The AFR View ‘‘JAUKUS shows Australia seeks security in Asia’’ (April 9), Michael is away with the pixies – a sugar plum fairy in the Australian strategic fantasy.

And that fantasy goes to asserting that an Atlantic power, the United States, along with other Anglos, Britain and Australia, but topped up with some resentment sauce from Japan, in some way fashions a new Asia construct – a construct in which Australia is or can be part. Distorting my policy that Australia could find its security in Asia by being tied up and indentured to a particularly un-Asian bunch.

Unlike Europe, which after the Thirty Years’ War hit upon the Westphalian model of collective security among states of roughly equal size, Asia has always been a hierarchy of countries with China at its top. This remains the case today.

So, the policy of any nation, particularly a Pacific one, thinking it can deal with Asia by ignoring China or pretending it doesn’t exist or that it is in some way illegitimate, is a policy of fantasy. A policy of fools.

But if you are a sugar plum fairy, as in foreign policy Michael seems happy to be, you will believe almost anything. Like AUKUS nuclear subs will belong to Australia and be sovereign to it, despite US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell’s regular and blatant assertions that he expects the subs to be at the beck and call of the United States whenever it wishes to hop into China over Taiwan.

The Financial Review, if it wishes to remain relevant, requires a monster dose of reality – a de-lousing of its misplaced strategic ideology and its craven acceptance of US strategic hegemony in Asia, a region where not one US state resides.


First published in the Australian Financial Review, April 10, 2024.









AUKUS to JAUKUS or JAUKUSI – what’s next? The Indians are coming!

    by Kim Wingerei 


Japan mooted as the next to join the AUKUS pact? India too, encouraged to join the anti-China team. But first, another set of Indians wants in. What’s the scam?

The scam is the AUKUS Forum – a self-appointed ‘interest group’ hungry to share in the submarine loot. Their ‘AUKUS Connect USA‘ program recently announced the inclusion of Chad Johnson’s Akana Group in Ann Arbour, Michigan.

The Akana Group is a ‘100% Native owned small business enterprise [which] specializes in providing strategic and reliable operational support services for tribal, government and private sector partners’. The group is keen to ‘build allyship with First Nations businesses and Communities around the world,’ and it has recently established an operation in Australia.

Ann Arbour is landlocked, a long way from the oceans where submarines roam, but at least it is not far from Lake Erie, from where the shortest voyage to the Atlantic is via Niagara Falls.

They are said to work closely with John Deere – a tractor manufacturer – among other companies in the areas of Agriculture, Forestry, Seasonal Maintenance, Construction, Roads, Service Trucks and Commercial Cleaning equipment. The submarine sector must be a natural extension of those … maybe?

It joins some of the other AUKUS partners in Bathurst and Queensland’s Banana Shire, all clamouring for a share in that $368B AUKUS pot of gold.