In case you don’t know who David Bradbury is, check out his profile here. We hung out with him a bit up at Talisman Sabre and he’s been doing this stuff for years – amazing stories, but most of all an incredibly knowledgeable person. So this is well worth a read – it’s a letter he wrote to all of us regarding uranium mining and the nuclear issue:
A message to all Activists from David Bradbury:
Yeppoon June 20,2007
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your commitment to make the big effort to come to Shoalwater for these actions of the past week. Please keep ‘the faith’ on this issue when you return home. Let your friends know so they will come to the actions in 2009. Inevitably it will be an ongoing campaign to chase the US military out of our country and alert our fellow Australians to the moral and environmental consequences of supporting a US military ‘lifestyle’ based on an ongoing commitment to war.
As you know, any US administration whether its Bush (Republican) or the Democrats uses the military to advance its economic and political goals to dominate the world. And as Helen Caldicott pointed out in her speech at the Yeppoon townhall, the next step in that plan is to use space to control everything that moves on land, on sea or through the air.
Rumsfeld, Downer and co when they signed. that secret pact in 2004 to exploit Shoalwater Bay and Australia euphemistically called it a missile ‘defence’ system. But its ‘offensive’ in nature and intent. In order to put space platforms up there and maintain them all year round, they need tremendous amounts of energy. Fossil fuels won’t do it. They need our uranium to power the space platforms into orbit. They need our uranium to make the nuclear warheads. And like Shoalwater Bay with its ‘wide open spaces’ and the deserts of NT to test their latest space age guided missiles, they need a place to dump the nuclear waste that nobody on mainland America is willing to take.
Step one is already in place. As you know, both major parties are now committed to open slather uranium mining. Step five is in place. The Federal government has paid $12million and bought Aboriginal approval for a nuclear waste dump at Tennant Creek right next to the Halliburton built and controlled rail link from Darwin.
Australia sits on 40% of the world’s uranium. I cannot stress enough how critical the coming months are going to be leading into the federal election. If the nuclear lobby has its way it will be disastrous for Australia, disastrous for the world. We have to get candidates elected to the Senate who can block the legislation approving more uranium mines. Labor and Howard won’t do it.
In making A Hard Rain (my latest anti-nuclear doco) I explored the latest research on radiation exposure. Scary stuff. It reveals that a double strand break occurs in the DNA – the blueprint of life itself – at radiation exposure levels far lower than what the health authorities are leading us to believe. Scientists agree that the double strand break (DSB) in the DNA is the precursor to cancer and birth defects.
If like the Labor party, we selfishly put aside the morality of shipping our yellowcake overseas to impact on others, there’s still a huge ‘what’s in it for us?’ reason to oppose uranium mining. Our very survival.
When uranium is mined, 80% of the radiation is left behind in the discarded tailings once the yellow cake (uranium oxide) is taken out for export. Radioactive lead, bismuth, polonium, radium and thorium. The miners just dump it at the mine site in huge mountains because it has no commercial value. The great concern for us as Australians is the radiation is now up on the surface in finely pulverised form to blow in the wind to any corner of Australia. Easily. It can and will also enter the underground water table via the tailings dams to travel far off site. Its blowing in the wind and weeping into the water.
Like exploded ‘depleted’ uranium particles, these tiny dust size specs from uranium mining waste are alpha radiation emitters. The most deadly form of radiation. Once breathed in or ingested into the body, they have dire consequences. They impact on the cells and potentially damage the DNA. The double strand break. Radiation doesn’t have to come to you in the air from a nuclear power plant or bomb.
Consider this one fact alone: BHPBilliton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia is seeking to triple its uranium output. If approved, the company will bring to the surface of Australia 40 million tonnes of radioactive ore each year for the next 50-100 years. Forty million tonnes of radioactive waste ground into dust form and dumped there each year! Radioactive to blow around Australia in the wind for the next 250,000 years. A cancer epidemic of unquantifiable proportions emitting from the centre of Australia coast to coast is what we’re looking at. The radiation genie out of the bottle that cannot be put back.
What can I say? The politicians aren’t listening. Like the impossibility of stopping Talisman Sabre overnight, I haven’t got many immediate answers in the face of a similar mainstream media blackout on the uranium/nuclear issue that we’ve faced on Talisman. I do know that we have to oppose it with all our might. And there is strength in numbers and our collective imagination when we come together with a common purpose as we have for Shoalwater.
You are the’ shock troops’ who had enough concern and awareness to come to Shoalwater Bay. I’m appealing to you now when you go home to switch your energy immediately over to fight for this big one before the federal elections.
In the coming weeks go to http://www.frontlinefilms.com.au/blog website and other links from that site as we build an overnight campaign of what we need to do. In lieu of any mainstream media coverage to generate publicity or genuine debate on ‘our side’ to the nuclear issue, we will have to use the internet and word of mouth with friends to build a big grassroots movement virtually overnight to fight the mainstream parties on this issue. I’m knackered myself. Not just from helping organise the Shoalwater campaign. It hasn’t stopped since I made Blowin’ in the Wind. But we can’t give up and take a break just yet. Not until the federal election is over at least.
Regards and hang on for the ride!
So if you get a chance, get along to the screening of his new film on Thursday at 6:30. It’s called “A Hard Rain” and will be showing at Trades Hall (corner Lygon and Victoria Sts Carlton). It’s a film giving the “other side of the nuclear debate”. Entry $10/$8. More info at http://www.nukefreeaus.org/.