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Thread: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

  1. #91

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    Review or 'cover up'? Mystery as Australia nuclear weapons tests files withdrawn

    By James Griffiths, CNN


    Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT) January 11, 2019


    Just when it seemed that all the news on these events had subsided.......................here we go again...............just like the film "The Never Ending Story"


































    Review or 'cover up'? Mystery as Australia nuclear weapons tests files withdrawn


    CNN Digital Expansion 2017. James Griffiths

    By James Griffiths, CNN


    Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT) January 11, 2019






























































    A mushroom cloud rises over a nuclear testing range at Maralinga in South Australia in 1956. Many indigenous people who lived near the site knew nothing of the tests or their dangers.


    A mushroom cloud rises over a nuclear testing range at Maralinga in South Australia in 1956. Many indigenous people who lived near the site knew nothing of the tests or their dangers.





    (CNN) — More than 65 years since the UK began conducting secret nuclear weapons testing in the Australian Outback, scores of files about the program have been withdrawn from the country's National Archives without explanation.

    The unannounced move came as a shock to many researchers and historians who rely on the files and have been campaigning to unseal the small number which remain classified.

    "Many relevant UK documents have remained secret since the time of the tests, well past the conventional 30 years that government documents are normally withheld," said expert Elizabeth Tynan, author of "Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story".



    "To now withdraw previously available documents is extremely unfortunate and hints at an attempted cover-up."

    Withdrawal of the files was first noted in late December. Access to them has remained closed in the new year.




    Dark legacy

    The UK conducted 12 nuclear weapons tests in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly in the sparsely populated Outback of South Australia.

    Information about the tests remained a tightly held secret for decades. It wasn't until a Royal Commission was formed in 1984 -- in the wake of several damning press reports -- that the damage done to indigenous people and the Australian servicemen and women who worked on the testing grounds became widely known.

    Indigenous people living nearby had long complained of the effects they suffered, including after a "black mist" settled over one camp near Maralinga in the wake of the Totem I test in October 1953. The mist caused stinging eyes and skin rashes. Others vomited and suffered from diarrhea.

    These claims were dismissed and ridiculed by officials for decades -- until, in the wake of the Royal Commission report, the UK agreed to pay the Australian government and the traditional owners of the Maralinga lands about AU$46 million ($30 million). The Australian authorities also paid indigenous Maralinga communities a settlement of AU$13.5 million ($9 million).

    While the damage done to indigenous communities was acknowledged, much about the Totem I test -- and other tests at Maralinga and later at Emu Field -- remained secret, even before the recent withdrawal of archive documents.

    "The British atomic tests in Australia did considerable harm to indigenous populations, to military and other personnel and to large parts of the country's territory. This country has every right to know exactly what the tests entailed," Tynan said. "Mysteries remain about the British nuclear tests in Australia, and these mysteries have become harder to bring to light with the closure of files by the British government."

    Alan Owen, chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, which campaigns on behalf of former servicemen, said "the removal of these documents affects not only our campaign, but affects the many academic organizations that rely on this material."

    "We are very concerned that the documents will not be republished and the (Ministry of Defense) will again deny any responsibility for the effects the tests have had on our membership," Owen told CNN.



    Unclear motives

    Responding to a request for comment from CNN, a spokeswoman for the National Archives said the withdrawal of the Australian nuclear test files was done at the request of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which has ultimate responsibility over them.

    The NDA said that "a collection of records has been temporarily withdrawn from general access via The National Archive at Kew as part of a review process."

    "It is unclear, at this time, how long the review will take, however NDA anticipates that many of the documents will be restored to the public archive in due course," a spokeswoman said.

    Jon Agar, a professor of science and technology at University College London, said the withdrawal "is not just several records but two whole classes of files, many of which had previously been open to researchers at the National Archives."

    "These files are essential to any historian of the UK nuclear projects -- which of course included tests in Australia. They have been closed without proper communication or consultation," he added.

    Agar shared correspondence he had with the NDA in which a spokeswoman said some files would be moved to a new archive -- Nucleus -- in the far north of Scotland. However the Nucleus archives focus on the British civil nuclear industry, and it is unclear why files on military testing would be moved there, or why those files would need to be withdrawn to do so.

    Nucleus also does not offer the type of online access to its records as the National Archives does.

    "Why not just copy the files if the nuclear industry needs them at Nucleus for administrative reasons? Why take them all out of public view?" Agar wrote on Twitter.




    Information freedom

    In correspondence with both CNN and Agar, the NDA suggested those interested in the files could file freedom of information (FOI) requests for them.

    Under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act, British citizens and concerned parties are granted the "right to access recorded information held by public sector organizations."

    FOI requests can be turned down if the government deems the information too sensitive or the request too expensive to process. Under a separate rule, the UK government should also declassify documents between 20 and 30 years after they were created.

    According to the BBC, multiple UK government departments -- including the Home Office and Cabinet Office -- have been repeatedly condemned by auditors for their "poor," "disappointing" and "unacceptable" treatment of FOI applications.



    Commenting on the nuclear documents, Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, a UK-based NGO, said it was "worrying that properly released records can suddenly be removed from public access without notice or explanation."

    "It suggests that the historical record is fragile and transient and liable to be snatched away at any time, with or without good reason," he added.





    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/11/a...ntl/index.html

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  3. #92

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    Last edited by 1938 Observer; 16th January 2019 at 19:46.

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    [B]This is a good article from "The Mirror" UK, it contains a lot of detail and is worth a quick Look [/


    The Damned

    The human fallout of Britain’s nuclear bombs







    “
    How many more generations of the damned will our politicians allow to suffer before they accept the calamities of their predecessors and the consequences of their own cowardice?

    Former Mirror and People editor Richard Stott, 2002


    More than 60 years ago, the UK ordered its servicemen to stand and watch as it exploded the deadliest weapons known to man. Today it is the last nuclear power on Earth to insist its radiation experiments were harmless. But a black cloud now hangs over 1,500 surviving veterans and an estimated 155,000 descendants. Mirror writer Susie Boniface, who has reported on the scandal since 2002, investigates six decades of denial.

    Qite a good article from "The Mirror" [UK].................... good stories and pertinent links [once again. just for those interested.]

    The link is @ https://damned.mirror.co.uk/?fbclid=...7UOCbOiU-x60_k

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    Further to the above post the following is just a small section.



    The UK is the last nuclear power on Earth to deny its bomb tests caused any harm. The Ministry of Defence insists hardly anyone was exposed.

    But a black cloud still hangs over the 1,500 surviving veterans and an estimated 155,000 descendants. Many mistrust their government, fear every new pregnancy, and have laboured for decades with the growing belief that they were used as guinea pigs.

    The psychological effect has been immense. Families also report suicides, marriage breakdowns, alcoholism and mental illness. Throughout it, the Ministry of Defence has fought its own veterans – arguing every war pension, fighting every court battle, and even denying the existence of documentary evidence only for it later to be found in their archives.

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  7. #95

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    I've seen film of them standing with their backs to the explosion and you can see the mushroom cloud rising.

    Elda

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    50,000 Plus views


    Who would have ever guessed that this number of views would be achieved

  9. #97

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    Here are a couple of interesting items on Nuclear Testing, two are partially associated with British Tests.............the third covers American use of Nuclear Testing


     The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


    Atomic Tests (British Service Men)

     Next





    Share
    12 March 1984

    Volume 56








    3.49 am













    Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)




    Share


    I am sorry that the Minister of State who has just replied to the previous debate should have the invidious task of replying also to this one. He could be forgiven for a sense of deja vu, since only last July, in another Consolidated Fund Bill debate on this same subject—atomic explosions in the south Pacific in the 1950s — he also drew the short straw.

    I make no apology for having sought to raise this important issue again. I want to return to some of the questions that I put to the Minister last July. First, I want to press him on the orders which were issued to our service men and the conditions which prevailed during those tests. Secondly, I want to question him about the faltering progress which the long-awaited survey of the personnel involved in those tests is making. Thirdly, I want to ask him what redress he believes should be made available to service men or their widows and whether he will be prepared to look again at section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, which prevents service men from seeking compensation through the courts.
    The Minister will have received from me a copy of the report of the Defence Research Policy Committee, circulated on 20 May 1953, which has been made available through the Public Record Office under the 30-year rule. This document was written in May 1953, six months after Britain's first nuclear explosion off the coast of the Monte Bello Islands in Western Australia. In October 1953 Britain tested two more devices at Emu Field in South Australia. This is among the first official records to be released on the atomic bomb tests. It says:
    “"Many of these tests are of the highest importance to departments, since on their results depend the design of equipment, changes in organisation and administration, and offensive and defensive tactics."”
    The report says that the Navy required information on the effects of various types of atomic explosions on ships, their contents and equipment. The RAF similarly wanted information on the effects of explosions on airfields, submarine bases and the oil industry.


    Full and very extensive text is at the link


    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Common...ight=australia

  10. #98

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    The Northern Eye documentary about Christmas Island Nuclear test Veterans and their descendants


    Children of the Bomb



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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    Benchmarks: August 27, 1958: Operation Argus creates first anthropogenic space weather



    Sixty years ago this month, a fleet of nine U.S. Navy ships with 4,500 people aboard maneuvered into the Atlantic. Eight of these ships continued to the South Atlantic, about 1,800 kilometers southwest of Cape Town, South Africa, while the ninth headed to the North Atlantic, near the Azores. The clandestine military operation — code-named Operation Argus — was not an invasion, but a scientific mission, carried out at a staggering pace and inspired by an unpublished research paper by an elevator engineer with an interest in accelerator physics.

    Secrecy was critical considering the nature of the mission: detonating multiple low-yield nuclear weapons high in the atmosphere to study the explosions’ effects on Earth’s magnetosphere. The task force launched three 1.7-kiloton bombs — one each on Aug. 27, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6, 1958 — detonating them, respectively, at altitudes of 200, 240 and 540 kilometers. The experiments marked the first time that humans altered space weather.



    The article once again is quite extensive, but interesting.......................especially in regards to climatic changes and the effects of Nuclear Testing

    It may be all read at the link https://www.earthmagazine.org/articl...Xd8b9AKQIAaF84

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    Maralinga No More: The British Nuclear Bombing of First Nations Lands


    As former Australian Conservation Foundation anti-nuclear campaigner David Noonan put it in 2005, “Australia is the only society to have ever provided its own uranium to an overseas nuclear weapons state to make nuclear weapons to then bomb back on their own land.”

    And it was Scott Morrison’s pin-up boy, former prime minister Robert Menzies, who in 1950 said yes to the British government carrying out secret nuclear weapons tests without initially consulting cabinet, whilst making assurances that no negative radioactive impact would occur.

    Around 800 kilometres northeast of Adelaide, Maralinga was chosen as the main nuclear testing site, as the government found that the Maralinga Tjarutja people – who’d been living there since time immemorial – weren’t actually using the land.

    The local Indigenous peoples were never consulted about the testing. Many were forcibly removed from their lands and taken to Yalata mission in SA, which effectively served as a prison camp. Some remained in the vicinity of the test site. Signs written in English were erected warning them to leave.

    Indeed, on 27 September 1956, when the first nuclear device, One Tree, was detonated at Maralinga, First Nations peoples had no rights under Commonwealth Law. The vote didn’t come until 1962, while citizenship rights weren’t granted until the 1967 Referendum.

    A toxic legacy

    The Menzies Liberal government passed the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952, which effectively allowed the British to access remotes parts of Australia to test atomic weapons. The general public for the most part had no awareness or understanding of what would take place.

    British and Australian servicemen built a test site, airstrip and township at Maralinga known as Section 400. Australian troops signed documents under Australian secrecy laws that required them never to divulge any operational information, with the threat of harsh prison sentences.

    Between September 1956 and October 1957, the British set off seven above ground nuclear bombs ranging from 1 to 27 kilotons. The first four were part of Operation Buffalo, while the last three made up Operation Antler.

    Following these tests, the British continued to carry out around 600 minor nuclear warhead tests up until 1963. And it was these that caused the greatest contamination. The most dire being the Vixen B tests that led to massive contamination of plutonium, which has a half-life of over 24,000 years.

    The impact upon First Nations

    Around 1,200 Aboriginal people were exposed to the radioactive fallout of the tests. This could lead to blindness, skin rashes and fever. It caused the early deaths of entire families. And long-term illnesses such as cancer and lung disease became prevalent amongst these communities.

    As for those who were moved away from their homelands, their way of life was destroyed. The Maralinga Tjarutja Land Rights Act was passed by the SA parliament in 1984, which ensured the damaged land was handed back freehold to traditional owners, as soon as it became “safe” again.

    The Maralinga Tjarutja people, as well as other First Nations peoples, gradually returned to their homelands. Australia and reluctant British governments carried out initially terribly shonky clean-ups, that got progressively better, of the Maralinga site in 1967, 2000 and 2009.

    And the British government eventually paid affected Aboriginal peoples $13.5 million in compensation for the loss and contamination of their lands in 1995.

    Prior to Maralinga

    The late Yankunytjatjara elder Yami Lester was just a boy living at Walatinna in the South Australian outback, when at 7 am on 15 October 1953, the British detonated a nuclear bomb at a test site at Emu Fields, northeast of Maralinga.

    Mr Lester watched as a long, black cloud of smoke stretched out from the bomb site towards his homelands. In the wake of two tests carried out at Emu Fields within 12 days of each other, Yemi permanently lost his site, sudden deaths occurred, and his people suffered long-term illnesses.

    The Emu Fields blasts were not the first on Australian soils. The initial nuclear bomb blast was carried out on the Monte Bello Islands in October 1952, while two more blasts took place in this Indian Ocean region in 1956.

    And just like the Maralinga and Emu Fields blasts, the radioactive waste from these islands travelled across the entire continent. Two hotspots of excessive radioactive fallout resulting from the Emu Fields blasts were the NSW towns of Lismore and Dubbo.

    Adding insult to injury

    In 1989, the federal government announced it was establishing a nuclear waste dump near Coober Pedy in SA on the lands the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a senior women’s council representing the local peoples, many of whom had directly suffered the impacts of British nuclear testing.

    As opposition to the dump grew, the government used the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act 1989 to seize the land, where it proposed to store the waste that was being produced at Sydney’s Lucas Heights reactor.

    In July 2004, after a six year long battle the Kungka Tjuta senior women brought a stop the nuclear waste repository being situated on their land. And the federal government then turned to the NT’s Muckaty Station to dump the NSW waste. However, after that fell through, it’s still looking for a site.

    The global threat continues

    Maralinga took place at the height of the Cold War, after the US government refused to continue its nuclear program with British participation. And following World War Two, the crumbling empire sought to develop its own nuclear capacities in its faraway colonial backyard.

    But, while many believe the threat of nuclear war faded with the end of the Cold War, renowned political analyst Noam Chomsky still warns that the two major threats in the world today are climate change and nuclear war.

    Chomsky has pointed to a March 2007 article published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences that revealed the “extremely dangerous” threat the Trump administration’s nuclear forces modernisation program is creating.

    And as of January this year, the Doomsday Clock – which measures the likelihood of human-made global catastrophe – is still set at two minutes to midnight, as it first was 12 months prior. Based on the two threats identified by Chomsky, this setting is the closest to midnight it’s been since 1953.



    https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.co...nations-lands/

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