Home » Posts tagged 'australia'

Tag Archives: australia

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

McCarthyism Down Under

McCarthyism Down Under

UPDATE: 5 Eyes media have been amplifying the story. BBC quoted Sydney Morning Herald saying, “No allegations had been proven.” The New York Times, which rarely reports on Australia, ran a staff-written story, writes Joe Lauria.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a somber press conference on Friday to announce that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) had conducted a raid on a sitting member of the New South Wales parliament all because, so far, he’d said favorable things about China and had traveled to the country.

The Murdoch-owned Australian newspaper reported that the office and Sydney home of NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane had been raided because he “has repeatedly praised Beijing, even describing Chinese President Xi Jingping’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as ’emphatic’ and ‘decisive.’”

Moslemane was portrayed as an “extremely serious” threat because he had written about China: “Failure to contain the epidemic could mean thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives would be lost. The combined phenomenal effort of the state and the people in the fight to contain the virus was breathtaking.”   The MP was also deemed a threat because, as The Australian reported: 

“In April, Mr Moselmane resigned as Upper House assistant president after being caught on camera again praising President Xi’s handling of the virus, even as concerns arose that China had underplayed the severity of the crisis.

He has also said China needed to ‘force a change to the rules and create a new world order’. Mr Moselmane was the honorary chair of the Australian Shanghainese Association and a member of the Australian Chinese Association, both linked to Beijing’s secretive network of foreign influence operations known as the United Front.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: ’60 Minutes’ Gives Assange Fair Shake

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: ’60 Minutes’ Gives Assange Fair Shake

The Australian version of the CBS News program ’60 Minutes’ presented a segment on Julian Assange Sunday night that was missing the usual mainstream media smears and distortions about his case.

Consortium News

Australia’s 60 Minutes newsmagazine Sunday night aired an extensive interview with Stella Morris, Julian Assange’s partner, and featured the two boys the couple have had together.  While the promos for the segment during the week indicated it would focus on salacious questions such as, “How does one get pregnant in an embassy?” and “Did Pamela Anderson give your relationship cover?,” the 24-minute spot ditched the usual smears against the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher and instead humanized him to a large national audience. 

The segment made clear Assange was never charged with rape in Sweden, was only wanted for questioning, and that that inquiry has been closed. It reports that the CIA surveilled Assange 24/7 in the embassy, including on privileged conversations with his lawyers; that the CIA plotted to kidnap Assange, poison him and steal one of his boy’s diapers for DNA to prove it was his child. The interview with Australian MP Andrew Wilkie makes clear why the U.S. espionage charges against Assange are really an assault on journalism.

The program ends with an appeal from Morris to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison to apply pressure on the British government to release Assange from high-security Belmarsh prison where he is isolated 23-hours a day on remand waiting a decision on a U.S. extradition request.

An article Monday in Australia’s Murdoch papers about the 60 Minutes’ report was largely factual, except that it repeated the canard that Assange faced rape “charges” in Sweden. 

WikiLeaks, Christine Assange, Julian’s mother, and Assange supporters have tweeted recognition that this was a mainstream treatment of the Assange case like few others. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australia outsources its oil reserve problem to the US

Australia outsources its oil reserve problem to the US

From the Energy Minister’s media release:

Australia to boost fuel security and establish national oil reserve

The Australian Government is boosting the nation’s long-term fuel security by taking advantage of dramatic falls in global oil prices and building on our historic agreement with the United States to access their Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

Australia has been negotiating access to the SPR since 2018, with Minister Taylor and US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette signing the first arrangement of its kind to facilitate this deal in March of this year.

Australia will spend $94 million to buy oil at the current low global prices. Australia has access to hold oil in the US SPR for an initial period of 10 years.

https://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/taylor/media-releases/australia-boost-fuel-security-and-establish-national-oil-reserve

Fig 1: Location of SPR caverns

https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2019/02/f59/EXEC-2018-001277%20-%202017%20SPR%20Report.pdf

Bryan Mound: Freeport, 19 caverns, 247 MMbbl

Big Hill: 14 caverns, 170 MMbbl

West Hackberry:  21 caverns, 220 MMbbl

Bayou Choctaw: Mississippi,  9 caverns, 76 MMbbl

Drawdown rates and type of oil see Fig 12

Australia boosts oil reserves, but how many barrels does $94 million get?

24/4/2020

Federal Minister for Energy Angus Taylor told ABC News Breakfast on Thursday the country would go through about 1 million barrels — roughly 159 million litres — a day. This figure has been consistent for at least the past five years according to the Australian Petroleum Statistics.

On Thursday, crude oil was trading at roughly $22 per barrel in Australia, which resulted in roughly 4.2 million barrels for a $94 million purchase. So, Australia has purchased roughly four to five days’ worth of crude oil from the United States.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-24/explainer3a-australia27s-oil-purchase/12177060

In fact, consumption of petroleum products has been increasing (before Corona virus):

Fig 2: Fuel consumption

But the SPR is about replacing lost crude oil imports, not product imports.

Fig 3: Australia’s crude imports by country

Crude imports from neighbouring Asian countries have been in decline for 10 years because production in these countries has peaked as shown in this graph:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How To Understand All This China Stuff

How To Understand All This China Stuff

China is in the news every day now. Today here in Australia we’re pretending to be offended because a Chinese tabloid published the accusation that our nation is a “giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US”, even though we all know that’s completely true and we should be flattered that at least they said “giant”. Before that we were getting indignant over a hefty barley tariff in response to our facilitation of America’s global anti-China spin campaign, which it turns out Washington screwed us on.

Anti-China sentiment has been thriving in Australia, aided by our Murdoch-dominated news media, State Department-funded think tanks explicitly geared toward manipulating the China narrative, and of course our own deep-seated racism and xenophobia. Because of its geographical location, the US military/intelligence asset conventionally known as Australia has been a major focal point for the US-centralized empire’s propaganda campaign against the most powerful unabsorbed nation in the world.

China is in the news constantly now, and it’s not because of any virus. It’s not because of Hong Kong, it’s not because of Uighurs, it’s not because of intellectual property violations or any of the other scattershot, unrelated hodgepodge of excuses you’re being fed as to why the Chinese government must be regarded as the latest Actual Hitler all of a sudden.

China is in the news all the time because of imperialism.


Caitlin Johnstone @caitoz

Imperialist Russia hysteria had a hard time finding serious purchase in Australia, but sinophobia has had plenty of propaganda primer here and there’s a State Department-funded think tank in Canberra dedicated to inflaming China hysteria
(https://johnmenadue.com/myriam-robin-the-think-tank-behind-australias-changing-view-of-china-afr-15-2-20200/ …). https://twitter.com/SBSNews/status/1253239688430673922 …MYRIAM ROBIN. The think tank behind Australia’s changing view of China.(AFR 15.2.20200 -On Tuesday in the Australian Senate, Labor’s Kim Carr rose to his feet, thundering about “hawks intent on fighting a new cold war”. In his sights was the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which…johnmenadue.com


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“It’s an Atomic Bomb”: Australia Deploys Military as ‘Firenados’ Wreak Havoc, Fire Crisis Grows

“It’s an Atomic Bomb”: Australia Deploys Military as ‘Firenados’ Wreak Havoc, Fire Crisis Grows

Australia’s fires have grown so monstrous that they are now generating their own weather. 

Firenados

(TMU) — Australia’s government has announced that it would call up 3,000 military reservists to confront an unprecedented bushfire crisis that is producing nightmarish “firenados”—cyclonic fire-tornadoes—and conditions that some are comparing to the aftermath of nuclear warfare.

On Saturday, beleaguered Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to reassure the country’s population that his government would take unprecedented measures to contain the fires, which have raged since September. According to AFP, Morrison said:

“Today’s decision puts more boots on the ground, puts more planes in the sky, puts more ships at sea.” 

The addition of 3,000 reservists to firefighting efforts, which have already seen the deployment of roughly 2,000 military personnel, amounts to what authorities say is most likely the largest maritime rescue operation in Australia’s history, reports the New York Times. Military aircraft, naval ships, and other materiel will also be made available to assist evacuation and firefighting efforts.

Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said:

“The government has not taken this decision lightly … It is the first time that reserves have been called out in this way in living memory.”

The environmental calamity has been stoked by a combination of extreme winds, record-shattering heat waves, and drought-parched forests, grasslands, and brush.

Australia’s bushfires have also grown so monstrous that they are generating their own weather in the form of pyro-cumulonimbus clouds—dry thunderstorms that create more fires—according to Victoria’s Bureau of Meteorology. Fire-generated thunderstorms have appeared over the fires in two different locations. NASA describes them as the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Dire Circumstances”: Aussie Wildfires Intensify After Killing Half A Billion Animals; Record Numbers Evacuate

“Dire Circumstances”: Aussie Wildfires Intensify After Killing Half A Billion Animals; Record Numbers Evacuate

The brushfires raging across Australia which have killed an estimated 480 million animals have intensified over the last 12 hours, according to NASA, causing a record number of residents evacuate as forecasters predict worsening conditions.

Authorities on Friday urged evacuations for Australians living in parts of New South Wales and Victoria to avoid brushfires which are expected to rage out of control over the weekend. Temperatures in the area topped 104 F across much of the state, and no end to the destruction is currently in sight. According to NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, this is “the largest evacuation of people out of the region ever.”

I would love some big creators to help raise awareness for our beautiful country. AUSTRALIA is on fire, and we need all the help we can get. 500m animals dead. Thousands stranded on beaches. Pls RT with link to @RedCrossAUpic.twitter.com/2CwHp4CqRi— Pia (@piamuehlenbeck) January 3, 2020

Conditions are set to mirror or even deteriorate beyond what we saw on New Year’s Eve,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s Jonathan How, adding that strong and dry winds would pick up over the weekend.

Over 1,300 homes have been destroyed, while 17 deaths have been reported.

In a harbinger of the searing conditions expected, a number of fires burnt out of control in South Australia as temperatures topped 40 degrees C (104 F) across much of the state and strong winds fanned flames.

Victoria declared a state of disaster across areas home to about 100,000 people, with authorities urging people to evacuate before a deterioration expected on Saturday. –Reuters

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

State Of Emergency Declared In NSW Australia As Deadly Bushfires Rage; Military Deployed

State Of Emergency Declared In NSW Australia As Deadly Bushfires Rage; Military Deployed

A seven-day state of emergency has been called in the Australian state of New South Wales amid raging wildfires that have killed eight people in the region since Monday, including volunteer firefighters, according to officials.

Military helicopters and naval vessels have been deployed to deliver water, food and fuel to remote areas which are difficult to reach by road. The Australian Defense Force has sent navy ships to Mallacoota on a two-week supply mission, according to Victoria Emergency Commissioner Andrew Crisp, who added that firefighters would be flown in via helicopter do the the lack of access.

Via The Guardian

Conditions are expected to worsen in coming days, with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicting temperatures to soar above 104 degrees in NSW, Victoria and western parts of the country.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Asian oil production peaked above 8 mb/d for the period between 2008 and 2016 (with spikes in 2010 and 2015). The 2015 peak was mainly caused by peak oil in China. Since then Asia’s decline  was almost 800 kb/d or 9%.

Asia-Pacific-oil-production_BP-1965_2018
Fig 1: The Asian oil peak lasted 8 years

The rest of Asia peaked already in 2000 (the year Australia peaked) followed by a very modest decline of 1.1% pa. Let’s go through the countries one by one.

In the following, net oil imports are defined as the difference between oil consumption and production. Please see the note at the end of this post.

Indonesia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 2: Indonesia is in terminal production decline since the 1990s
Australia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 3: Australia’s net oil imports
Malaysia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 4: Malaysia is a net importer since 2010
Vietnam_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 5: Vietnam’s net imports are increasing fast
Thailand_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 6: Thailand was always a net importer

Thailand’s consumption increases faster than production.

India_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 7: India’s consumption exceeded 5 mb/d in 2018

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Use of “Hidden Debt Loophole” Spreads Among Australian Corporations

Use of “Hidden Debt Loophole” Spreads Among Australian Corporations

Situation already so bad that hiding debt becomes a priority?

Australian engineering group UGL, which is working on large infrastructure projects such as Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and Melbourne’s Metro Trains, recently sent a letter to suppliers and sub-contractors informing them that as of October 15, they will be paid 65 days after the end of the month in which their invoices are issued. The company’s policy had been, until then, to settle invoices within 30 days.

The letter then mentioned that if the suppliers want to get paid sooner than the new 65-day period, they can get their money from UGL’s new finance partner, Greensill Capital, one of the biggest players in the fast growing supply chain financing industry, in an arrangement known as “reverse factoring”. But it will cost them.

Reverse factoring is a controversial financing technique that played a major role in the collapse of UK construction giant Carillion, enabling it to conceal from investors, auditors and regulators the true magnitude of its debt.

Here’s how it works: a company hires a financial intermediary, such as a bank or a specialist firm such as Greensill, to pay a supplier promptly (e.g. 15 days after invoicing), in return for a discount on their invoices. The company repays the intermediary at a later date. This effectively turns the company’s accounts payable into debt that is owned a financial institution. But this debt is not disclosed as debt and remains hidden.

In its letter to suppliers, UGL trumpeted that the payment changes would “benefit both our businesses,” though many suppliers struggled to see how. One subcontractor interviewed byThe Australian Financial Reviewcomplained that the changes were “outrageous” and put small suppliers at a huge disadvantage since they did not have the power to challenge UGL. Some subcontractors contacted by AFR refused to be quoted out of fear of reprisal from UGL.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australia Deploys World’s First Law To Fight Online Extremism

Australia Deploys World’s First Law To Fight Online Extremism 

In the first application of a controversial new law passed in the wake of the March terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Australian authorities have ordered five websites to remove extremist content or face prosecution, according to the Financial Times. 

The material includes video taken by the Christchurch attacker, as well as videos showing the beheading of a Scandinavian tourist in Morocco. All five sites are based outside Australia, according to the country’s eSafety Commission, which was granted the power to investigate and order the removal of extremist content back in April.

Under the new law, social media companies, websites and even ISPs can be fined up to 10% of their annual revenue, or see their chief executives sent to prison, if they fail to remove  ‘abhorrent’ or ‘extremist’ material.

Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety commissioner, said on Monday that three of the five websites Canberra was targeting had taken down the offensive material, and no prosecutions had yet been initiated. She said the decision by the three sites showed the potential of threats of prosecution and fines.

“These are fringe websites that revel in gore and hatred. All of them are based overseas,” Inman Grant said.

In a separate move, Canberra ordered Australian ISPs to block access to eight other websites that continued to allow access to the video of the Christchurch attacks or the shooter’s manifesto.

Inman Grant said that while there were jurisdictional challenges involved in overseas prosecutions, “I expect in the next five years we will see a proliferation of similar regulators seeking to do the same thing.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australia Lowers Rate to Historic Low of 1%

Australia Lowers Rate to Historic Low of 1% 

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the official cash rate for the second month in a row to 1%. As we head into the turning point of the Economic Confidence Model come January 2020, the unemployment rate increased to 5.2% in April. GDP growth remains very low at 0.4%, wage growth is sluggish, inflation is well below target, and retail sales are struggling. None of this will change until after the ECM turns as people begin to see that central banks are incapable of managing the economy.

Lawlessness

Lawlessness

Pablo Picasso Rest (Marie-Thérèse Walter) 1932

With the news that Julian Assange is “wasting away” in Belmarsh prison hospital, and with UN rapporteur Professor Nils Melzer’s report detailing how this happens, I’m once again drawn towards the lawlessness that all “authorities” involved in his case have been displaying, and with impunity. They all apparently think they are literally above the law. Their own laws.

But they can’t be, nowhere, not above their respective national laws nor the international ones their countries have signed up to. They can’t, because that would instantly make any and all laws meaningless. So you tell me where we find ourselves today.

There’s this paragraph in an article by Jonathan Cook entitled Abuses Show Assange Case Was Never About Law, which lists “17 glaring anomalies in Assange’s legal troubles”, that sums it all up pretty perfectly:

Australia not only refused Assange, a citizen, any help during his long ordeal, but prime minister Julia Gillard even threatened to strip Assange of his citizenship, until it was pointed out that it would be illegal for Australia to do so.

See, Cook is already skipping a step there. Gillard didn’t take Assange’s citizenship away, because that is against Australian law, but it’s just as much against Australian law for a government to let one of its citizens rot in some kind of hell. Still, they did let him rot, but as an Australian citizen. At that point, what difference does anything make anymore?

This is a pattern that runs through the entire Assange “file”, and it does so to pretty astonishing levels. Where you’re forced to think that the countries involved effectively have no laws, and no courts, because if they did, the actions by their governments would surely be whistled back by parliaments or judges or someone, anyone. They’re all essentially lawless.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More Police Raids As War On Journalism Escalates Worldwide

More Police Raids As War On Journalism Escalates Worldwide

The Australian Federal Police have conducted two raids on journalists and seized documents in purportedly unrelated incidents in the span of just two days.

Yesterday the AFP raided the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, seeking information related to her investigative report last year which exposed the fact that the Australian government has been discussing the possibility of giving itself unprecedented powers to spy on its own citizens. Today they raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corp, seizing information related to a 2017 investigative report on possible war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan.

In a third, also ostensibly unrelated incident, another Australian reporter disclosed yesterday that the Department of Home Affairs has initiated an investigation of his reporting on a story about asylum seeker boats which could lead to an AFP criminal case, saying he’s being pressured to disclose his source.

AFP: I’m still staggered by the power of this warrant. It allows the AFP to “add, copy, delete or alter” material in the ABC’s computers. All Australians, please think about that: as of this moment, the AFP has the power to delete material in the ABC’s computers. Australia 2019.

“Why has AFP suddenly decided to carry out these two raids after the election?” tweeted Australian Sky News political editor David Speers during the Sydney raid. “Did new evidence really just emerge in both the Annika Smethurst and ABC stories?!”

Why indeed?

“If these raids unconnected, as AFP reportedly said, it’s an extraordinary coincidence,” tweeted The Conversation chief political correspondent Michelle Grattan. “AFP needs to explain ASAP the timing so long after the stories. It can’t be that inefficient! Must be some explanation – which makes the ‘unconnected’ claim even more odd.”

Odd indeed.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australian Police Raid National Broadcaster Over Leaked Afghan War Crime Stories

Australian Police Raid National Broadcaster Over Leaked Afghan War Crime Stories

Australian federal police officers raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) over a series of 2017 reports known as The Afghan Files, which exposed crimes committed by special forces in Afghanistan based on hundreds of pages of leaked defense documents marked AUSTEO (Australian Eyes Only). 

The AFP officers arriving at the ABC on Wednesday. CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY (via Sydney Morning Herald)

The incident marks Australia’s second such move against journalists in just two days, after police raided the home of a News Corp editor over an April, 2018 Exposé on government spying. 

According to the police, the raid was “in relation to allegations of publishing classified material, contrary to provisions of the Crimes Act 1914,” while the warrant names the authors of the report, Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, along with ABC news director Gaven Morris. 

“It is highly unusual for the national broadcaster to be raided in this way,” said ABC Managing Director David Anderson in a statement, adding: “This is a serious development and raises legitimate concerns over freedom of the press and proper public scrutiny of national security and defense matters.” 

During the raid, ABC staff members were rounded up and asked to assist in examining their email server to look for “a series of key words.” Others searched a hard drive, according to ABC executive director John Lyons – who live-tweeted the raid. 

After four hours, authorities had collected more than 9,200 files and were deciding which ones were allowed to be seized under the warrant, according to RT

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Floods And Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet – Could A Global Food Crisis Be Coming?

Floods And Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet – Could A Global Food Crisis Be Coming?

It looks like global food production could be well below expectations in 2019, and that could spell big trouble in the months ahead.  In recent weeks, I have written extensively about the problems that we have been experiencing here in the United States.  As many as a million calves were lost to the flooding that hit the state of Nebraska in March, farmers have planted less than half of the corn that is normally in the ground by this time of the year, and a lot of the crops that have been planted in the middle of the country are really struggling due to extremely wet soil.  But it isn’t just the United States that is facing a very troubling year.  Earlier today, one of my readers sent me an article entitled “Global food crisis ahead as extreme weather events devastate crops and fields around the world”which I would encourage everyone to read.  In that article, we are told that after the worst drought in 116 years Australia has actually been forced to import wheat.  And according to the Guardian, this is the first time in 12 years that this has happened…

Australia is planning to import wheat for the first time in 12 years after drought across the eastern states saw grain production fall 20% last year.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources confirmed this week it had issued a bulk import permit to allow wheat to be brought in from Canada to be processed for the domestic market.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase