FUK U SHIMA! Media and Meltdowns (Part One)

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Controversial journalist and contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence drops the 'F' bomb in a compelling two-part essay on the media and contextual meltdowns of Fukushima Daiichi.


by Tess Lawrence

A specialist in ethical media services and crisis management, her diverse experiences include twice surviving trespass onto minefields in the middle east shortly after the first Gulf War and personally funding and directing national pro-bono media campaigns including 'The Choir of Hard Knockbacks' and seeking sanctuary for Iraqi and other asylum seekers and refugees. Today marks Independent Australia's first anniversary. Here is her birthday present and a warning, this parcel contains a ticking time bomb.



Fuk u shima Daiichi!


In name and in deed.

What are you doing to our Japanese brothers and sisters, let alone Planet Earth and all flora and fauna who rely upon her?

What have you already done to our unborn and their children?

And what in the name of Emperor Akihito is the paralysed Japanese Government actually doing about the nuclear radiation urinating into the seas and waterways of our dear world?

It's the only one we've got.

And what is our own Government doing about it? Yes, our Government. And yours. And yours. And yours.

And what are we doing about it? Me. And you. And you. And you.

How are we helping the citizens of Japan in terms of radioactive contamination – in humans – and everything else?


In Australia, our venal and irresponsible export of live uranium makes an unsurprising twin to our expedient complicity in the disgusting live humanimal export trade; both now boomeranging back to us in bombs of another kind and of our own making.


Refugees and asylum seekers – whether shoeless or hooved – are so often treated with a contemptuous dead heart and seemingly do not evoke sadness or shame from our legislators and regulators.

Or even regret for not having done things better and with honour.

The other day, a stranger on the telephone came up with a compassionate solution to a major problem.

When I enquired as to whether I should expect a written letter of confirmation, he said no—

because he was as good as his word and he accepted mine.

It brought tears to my eyes that he would never see. Just to hear such a thing evoked a powerful and sentimental nostalgia for the affirmation that a person's word is their bond.

That Australia still exists. That kind of person still exists and with many others, is still among us.

Whether it is the Malaysian Solution or the Indonesian Final Solution, we can't seem to all speak the truth at the same time.

Why can't we sit together at the same table, talk the talk and get matters sorted?

And why are we the people constantly being locked out of the public debate?


Meat and Livestock Australia, its spin doctors and like-minded collaborators are trying to divide the nation into two feuding parts — the city versus the country.


We should resist such insulting PR campaigns. They are destructive and lazy.

This is about us. All of us. Not them and us. And the respect we have for human beings, for one another and for animals under our guardianship. And, like it or not, Brand Australia is tied up in all of this. And not just Brand Australia – Commercial Division, but also Brand Australia – Ethical Division.

We can kill live export off without killing off the meat and livestock industry in this country.

And of course, we can initiate and fund new add-on businesses and create more jobs here.

I've gone off eating things that bleed at the moment, but I note I still wear leather shoes.


And to think that Joe Ludwig van Winkle, our Minister for Agriculture has only now visited Indonesia!


What's going on? Can we see his job description? Has he ever seen a cow close up? Or only on a plate? Or in a Lyn White horror movie, right there on the TV, shocking us right out of our brain; those horrifying images forever remaining carcasses slung on those hooks in the sky and the mind's eye.

What does it take to get Ludwig on the road? Crikey, on the other hand we've got the likes of Deputy Slopposition Leader Julie Bishop and Senator Barnaby Joyce and others being political 'walkers' for mining magnate Gina Rinehart, enjoying her hospitality and private jet to attend a small wedding of a family member of an Indian billionaire who just might be buying a couple of Ms Rinehart's considerable assets in Oz and needs his chin tickled.

The small Bollywood-type wedding of about 7,000 close friends was a bigger and more opulent pageant than the recent Royal Wedding of Kate and Wills. Who said the Raj was dead!

As is her femocratic right, Ms Rinehart has publicly campaigned against the Government's mining tax.

The party was only a bit of Bollywood fun wasn't it? All great schmoozing and bipartisan support too, for when Martin Ferguson and his mates Hawkie and Ziggy make their strategic move to sell our uranium to India.

I'm just jealous that I wasn't invited. I'm always up for a wedding. Even if it's not mine. Even if I've never met the bride and groom before. I've even been to weddings where the bride and groom hadn't met each other before. In some countries it's called an arranged marriage; in others, it happens even after the couple have met one another. Some call that a deranged marriage. I've been to a marriage when a proxy stood in for the bride. Not sure what happened on the first night.

Would Barney and Julie have attended if it was a same-sex Bollywood wedding?

Did Barney and Jules take a pressie? I bet they pooled their miserly parliamentary allowances to buy a little stuffed koala for their new best friends. Something that symbolises our Parliament.


Demonstrators protest against Muckaty Station waste dump in 2010; the Government has admitted it will create on 6 jobs


Or maybe it was a map of Muckaty Station with an X to mark the spot where pro-nuclear traffickers want us to consolidate Australia as Class A idiots and dig a dirty big hole for ourselves in this great Southern land to bury the world's radioactive waste. As if. Probably take all Chernobyl's leftovers and Fukushima's too. Why not?

And it would make a fabulous international nuclear waste dump, fair dinkum. It's not as if you can get Maccas there. No Chaddy.

For us in Oz, it's a dead set win-win-we-win more situation. When you think about it, we're just selling air. A hole. And the world will pay us millions. What fools. Eminent scientists will sign off on it, no sweat. Attest that it's a 100 per cent safe. Like Fukushima was. Until it became 100 per cent unsafe.

It will be state of the Australian heart technology. Guaranteed no leaks. Even if we get accidentally bombed by friendly fire in whatever new coalition war we'll be involved with by then.

It's only Blackfella land, and they're fighting over it anyway. Whitefellas didn't want a bar of it before. Now that the world nuclear deadbeats in posh suits want to dump their radioactive waste at Muckaty, suddenly Whitefellas want a slice of the action. Geezus, those whitefellas wouldn't work in an iron ore lung if there wasn't a dollar in it for someone else overseas.


They want to have their yellowcake and eat it too.


Anyway, with a name like that, Muckaty's halfway there, innit?

We're known as good sports. We'll roll over for a freebie here and there. Sell our country. Sell our dreams to other people and then pay them to make them come true. How does that work? Works a treat for Halliburton and Serco.

The world loves us right now. Sometimes I think the rest of the world loves us more than we love us. Even those Frenchies. They've got a lease to mine uranium in our backyard you know. Not just any old part of our backyard either. One of our best parts, Koongarra, near Kakadu National Park, on the World Heritage List.

We want to include this area in Kakadu's World Heritage listing - and the huge publicly listed multi-national nuclear energy behemoth, the Paris-based Areva, is trying to stop us.

Excusez moi. How dare they stick their big nez into our business.

They'll be punching the table even as I speak, at the 35th session of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, now being held in Paris instead of Bahrain, for obvious reasons. Here's a report by The Age's Lindsay Murdoch.

And as if that is not enough, while I'm trawling through the San Francisco Chronicle I discover that at the same time Areva is building a solar power plant in Queensland!

What's going on here? They've bought an Australian company (good enviro folksy look for a multi-national) and the Solar Dawn project is being generously supported by the Federal Government to the tune of $491 million and the Queensland state government is apparently tossing in $79 million, according to the article in Anti-Nuclear.

I do not believe in a splendid isolation mentality, but why couldn't this project be achieved by some sort of government bond system, where Australian citizens could both invest in and be stakeholders in renewable energies.


Areva r Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Australian PM Julia Gillard handing them $570M of Australian taxpayers money. Then Areva takes them to court to stop Australia extending the Kakadu world heritage area. Pardon moi?


So we pay mega millions of Australian money to a French company on the other side of the world to use the sun that shines out of our bottom of the earth in our country.


How come we don't do it ourselves? Are we too stupid? Why won't our Australian Federal and State Governments give its own Australian people the money to set up a Solar Rainbow Serpent Project?

Not only could we harvest energy from our own sun but we could harvest hundreds of jobs, including offering employment and leadership to indigenous/local communities, as well as offer alternative employment and industries to anyone who might lose their jobs as a result of the live export debacle.


It may be a long message stick to read, but a lot of us – and not just peace and anti-nuclear activists – still grieve over the loss of Fernando Pereira who was murdered by French Secret Service operatives who planted bombs on the Rainbow Warrior's hull whilst it was berthed in Auckland harbour.


The Rainbow Warrior was to Greenpeace what the Sea Shepherd is to whales.

Next month, on July 10, we will acknowledge the 26th anniversary of what the French SS called 'Operation Satanique'. No sobriquet required.

In no way is any of this to promulgate animus. It is simply to acknowledge the shared history that bears down upon on us all. And to acknowledge the murder of an innocent peace activist and father, killed in the prime of his life by a state sanctioned hit squad. And to acknowledge the ongoing sacrifice that peace and anti-nuclear activists continue to make in our world.

There is much disquiet, even from certain government bureaucrats, that Areva's prime ambition is to secure a stranglehold on Australia's uranium – and that its solar and wind projects and various alliances provide an important opaque eco-friendly Public Relations backdrop for its nuclear activities – a reputation enhancer for any nuclear purveyor, especially when you can get the host country to pay for it.


And for that host country to become an outback nuclear waste porta-loo to boot. How good is that?


Areva can both feast upon and defecate deadly waste in the same spot and at the same time.

How much of any of this does the Australian community know about? Not a lot. That's because these things are 'controlled' subjects. Often announcements are made offshore, or withheld by consenting governments and corporations, so as not to antagonise local and other activists.

The first shipment of radioactive waste is due in 2015. Its very carriage overland, by implication alone, is fraught with deadly menace. Ethically, we need to have that public debate about taking ownership and responsibility for the waste that is produced from our own uranium.

But of course, it won't stop at that.

Our Governments and politicians daily prove to us that they are pathological liars. We do not and cannot trust them and we the people must force our voice into the debate and public discourse.

We did not vote for this Federal Government and we did not vote for this Prime Minister.

Decades ago, I recall hearing an older woman's voice on talkback on ABC Radio saying that she knew of plans to build a nuclear waste dump in outback Australia. I recall the presenter almost guffawing at her and responding in such a way as to suggest she was a dopey old lady and off her rocker.

No, the presenter wasn't Piers Akerman and the caller wasn't Dame Elisabeth, but you get the picture.

I wish she'd call the ABC again. She was spot on.


For decades, one of my heroes has been the defiant and relentless anti-nuclear crusader Dr Helen Caldicott. At times she seems to have been a solitary voice and certainly one of the few prepared to speak up against her tribe and peers.


Her powerful and well-moneyed enemies invariably try to misrepresent Helen as a cot case. But the Helen Caldicott case continues to prove resilient to contamination from nuclear radioactivists.

She is far better known and respected outside of her own country — a not untypical scenario.

The establishment in Australia – at least in her particular field of endeavour – is basically terrified of her. She is a fierce but eloquent opponent and she splits the atom in an argument with amazing alacrity.

If multi-nationals and nuclear advocates don't want to be in the same room as her, they sure as hell don't want to be on the same TV screen as her. For the most part, media minders and spinmeisters wouldn't allow their wards to contemplate such a thing. Best to follow her on radio, because then they've got a chance to try and demolish her arguments.

Here's a link to her world a favour and check it out.

She is a passionate woman. For some men, that's a taboo even if you're having sex with them. Unless it's online.

And such women can cause untidiness in the minds of some.

I recall a well-known female interviewer saying she was never going to have Helen on her show again because 'she took over the show'.

I have little doubt that Caldicott has paid dearly both personally and professionally for her beliefs and for her overriding concerns for humanity.

I remain dismayed at how she is so often neglected in public and media debate. Take a look at this 2007 article by The Australian's Caroline Overington.

Caroline writes about the ' ice' and 'fire' debate between nuclear advocate Dr Ziggy Switkowski and his nemesis, Dr Helen Caldicott. Please read it here, so you get the picture as well as the mood. I missed the debate, but look at what Helen said.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see she made some salient assertions. And nuclear physicist Zygmunt's stated belief that nuclear power is among the safest industries in the world, citing Japan - and other countries in our region as an example- just confirms the stark reality that no-one can ever make such a statement with any scientific or moral authority.

The reality is that no-one can give us an iron clad guarantee against nuclear war and radiation contamination.

We 'ordinary' people are constantly being told we are disallowed comment or participation in decision making because we are not 'qualified'. Bollocks. We are human beings. We qualify.

We have a right to be questioning and we have a right to answers.

Like freedom of speech and democracy, the right to a nuclear free world is ours to ponder and debate and consider. Question everyone. Including Dr Caldicott. Get off the beaten track and try the road less travelled.

You will be surprised at the calibre of ordinary people, scientists and doctors, engineers and agriculturalists who have legitimate concerns and arguments against nuclear reactors.

Try out http://nuclearfreeplanet.org/.

There is nothing that Dr Caldicott said on that night four years ago that is not reflected today in Japan in this very hour.


And I'm not talking just about Fukushima.


I'm talking about the wholesale murder and injury of hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese children and adults upon whom the United States unleashed not one but two atomic bombs in August 1945.

I'll pray to anyone who'll listen – and even anyone who won't – that those nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and three days later on Nagasaki remain the only nuclear bombs we ever drop on our own species. Or any other species for that matter. Or the organ that is our earth.

I've always thought that amongst the more arrogant words ever written are 'And God made man in His own image and likeness.'


What petty god of malevolence directed three empires to enforce the July 26 Potsdam Declaration and the signing of an executive order by President Harry S. Truman to send his 'Little Boy ' and ' Fat Man' to thus smite Japanese citizens. Adult males often have pet names for their phallus.


How did Harry and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Chairman Chiang Kai-shek sleep the night before the bombings?

No-one can say that Japan wasn't warned. The Declaration was unequivocal. If Japan didn't surrender it would face prompt and utter destruction.

Right now, in Vienna, more than 150 nations are meeting at the headquarters of The International Atomic Energy Agency. I hope Australia is among them, but you wouldn't know. And we're such a gutless nation, we're probably abstaining from voting anyway.

The chief of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Yukiya Amano, has asked all countries to carry out risk assessments on their reactors within 18 months, given the public anxiety caused by the Fukushima disaster.

But what has really put the wind up everyone is Amano's call for UN experts to conduct random safety checks on reactors. These reactors are the real weapons of mass destruction.

Fukushima is the future. And we don't want to go there. Or do we? Japan has twice been to the future. And it's coming soon to a neighbourhood near you.


Includes ' Big Media Won't Mention the 'F' Word and ' Fukushima, the Greatest Story Never Told'.


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