August 28, 2019

Different Account of the Nyonoksa Explosion - No Nuclear Rocket Engine

Scott Rittera former Marine Corps intelligence officer, writing in the The American Conservative, August 26, 2019, has a different account regarding the August 8, 2019 Nyonoksa (aka Nenoksa) explosion. Ritter's account is partly in line with Pete's belief (part expressed here) that there is no way, with Russia's limited military budget, and competing weapons' project demands, that it could be up to the nuclear reactor rocket engine test phase for the Skyfall cruise missile. 

Ritter's full report is at 

The Media’s Russian Radiation Story Implodes Upon Scrutiny

What really happened at Nenoska was less explosive than everyone, including Trump, wanted you to believe.

How the mainstream media reported an August 8 [2019] accident at a top-secret missile test facility in northern Russia should serve as a cautionary tale regarding the dangers of rushed judgments via institutional bias.

In the days following the initial report of the accident, the media exploded with speculation over both the nature of the device being tested at the Nenoksa State Central Marine Test Site and the Russian government’s muted response.

...They’re all wrong. Here’s the real story of what actually happened at Nenoksa.
...Russia has long been pursuing so-called “autonomous” weapons that can be decoupled from conventional means of delivery—a missile silo or a submarine—and instead installed in canisters that protect them from the environment. They would then be deployed on the floor of the ocean, lying in wait until remotely activated. One of the major obstacles confronting the Russians is the need for [constant temperature of rocket fuel and oxidizer and electrical/electronic] system equilibrium, including the onboard communications equipment, prior to activation. The power supply for any system must be constant, reliable, and capable of operating for extended periods of time without the prospect of fuel replenishment.
The solution for this power supply problem is found in so-called “nuclear batteries,” or radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG). [also see Wiki] An RTG generates electricity using thermocouples that convert the heat released by the decay of radioactive material. RTGs have long been used in support of operations in space. The Russians have long used them to provide power to remote unmanned facilities in the arctic and in mountainous terrain. Cesium-137, a byproduct of the fission of U-235, is considered an ideal radioisotope for military application RTGs.
On August 8 [2019], a joint team from the [Russian] Ministry of Defense and the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics, subordinated to the State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM), conducted a test of a liquid-fueled rocket engine, in which electric power from Cesium-137 “nuclear batteries” maintained its equilibrium state. The test was conducted at the Nenoksa State Central Marine Test Site (GTsMP), a secret Russian naval facility known as Military Unit 09703. It took place in the waters of the White Sea, off the coast of the Nenoksa facility, onboard a pair of pontoon platforms.
The test had been in the making for approximately a year. What exactly was being tested and why remain a secret, but the evaluation went on for approximately an hour. It did not involve the actual firing of the engine, but rather the non-destructive testing of the RTG power supply to the engine. 
The test may have been a final system check...
When the actual testing finished, something went very wrong. According to a sailor from the nearby Severdvinsk naval base, the hypergolic fuels contained in the liquid engine (their presence suggests that temperature control was one of the functions being tested) somehow combined. This created an explosion that destroyed the liquid engine, sending an unknown amount of fuel and oxidizer into the water. At least one, and perhaps more, of the Cesium-137 RTGs burst open, contaminating equipment and personnel alike. 
...The Russian Meteorological Service (Roshydromet) operates what’s known as the Automatic Radiation Monitoring System (ASKRO) in the city of Severdvinsk. ASKRO detected two “surges” in radiation, one involving Gamma particles, the other Beta particles. This is a pattern consistent with the characteristics of Cesium-137, which releases Gamma rays as it decays, creating Barium-137m, which is a Beta generator. The initial detection was reported on the Roshydromet website, though it was subsequently taken offline. 
Specialized hazardous material teams scoured the region around Nenoksa, Archangesk, and Severdvinsk, taking air and environmental samples. All these tested normal, confirming that the contamination created by the destruction of the Cesium-137 batteries was limited to the area surrounding the accident. Due to the large amount of missile fuel that was spilled, special restrictions concerning fishing and swimming were imposed in the region’s waters — at least until the fuel was neutralized by the waters of the White Sea. The damage had been contained, and the threat was over.
The reality of what happened at Nenoksa is tragic. Seven men lost their lives and scores of others were injured. But there was no explosion of a “nuclear cruise missile,” and it wasn’t the second coming of Chernobyl. America’s intelligence community and the so-called experts got it wrong — again. The root cause of their error is their institutional bias against Russia, which leads them to view that country in the worst possible light, regardless of the facts.
At a time when the level of mutual mistrust between our two nuclear-armed nations is at an all-time high, this kind of irresponsible rush to judgement must be avoided at all costs.
Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West’s Road to War.

There being no photos of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs)that support Russian missiles, available, see the Cassini space probe RTG in the photo (above) and diagram (below) (courtesy NASA via Wikipedia).


August 27, 2019

The Reactor Blew Up during the Nyonoksa Skyfall Missile Test

On from Submarine Matters' Claim Russia's Nuclear Cruise Missile 9M730 Skyfall is "SUBSONIC" of August 18, 2019 on the Skyfall nuclear-powered cruise missile test explosion Ryan Pickrell for Business Insider Australia has written an interesting August 27, 2019 article, titled: 

"Russia’s state weather agency said on Monday [August 26, 2019] that a cloud of radioactive gases that swept across a Russian town earlier this month was produced by fast-decaying radioactive isotopes released by an explosion at the Nyonoksa testing range.

     Though Russia’s explanations for what occurred have varied, the blast has been tied to a failed missile test.

     A Norwegian nuclear expert told The Barents Observer that these isotopes – of strontium, barium, and lanthanum – were caused by a “nuclear chain reaction,” saying it was evidence that it “was a nuclear reactor that exploded.” 

...A mysterious explosion at a Russian weapons testing site earlier this month released various radioactive isotopes, creating a cloud of radioactive gases that swept across a nearby town, the country’s state weather agency said Monday, and experts said the mixture removes all doubt about what blew up.

The deadly August 8 [2019] blast at the Nyonoksa military weapons testing range released a handful of rapidly decaying radioactive isotopes – strontium-91, barium-139, barium-140, and lanthanum-140 – which have half-lives ranging from 83 minutes to 12.8 days, the Roshydromet national weather and environmental monitoring agency said in a statement.

...Alexander Uvarov, the editor of the independent news site, told the news agency RIA Novosti that these isotopes were products of nuclear fission involving uranium, Agence France-Presse reported Monday. This collection of radioisotopes could be released by a reaction involving uranium-235.

...In the aftermath of the explosion, Russia’s explanation of the accident and its risks varied, several nuclear monitoring stations in Russia mysteriously went offline, doctors treating the wounded said that they were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements and that hospital records were destroyed, and one doctor was found to have a radioactive isotope in his muscle tissue. Russia has insisted that the cesium-137 detected was the result of something the doctor ate..."


But there is a new theory, pointing to a totally different reason for the Nyonoksa explosion, to be examinined tomorrow.


August 26, 2019

Small Modular Reactors No Quick Nuclear Path for Australia

There is an ongoing debate in Australia to finally adopt nuclear reactors for "carbon free" electricity needs. This debate is heightened by reactor companies (eg. GE Hitachi and Rolls-Royce) marketing small reactors.

Tristan Prasser at ON LINE opinion, August 22, 2019 argued

"...Nuclear power could prove to be the circuit breaker needed for Australia to resolve its current energy and climate woes. It is a technology that is already proven to decarbonise large electricity grids in combination with hydro and/or renewable technologies as has been achieved in FranceSweden and Ontario Canada

According to data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019, countries that have the highest shares of nuclear power also have some of the cleanest electricity grids on the planet. Their ability to generate large flows of electrons cleanly, affordably, and reliably means citizens of these countries continue to enjoy modern and energy-rich lives, without worrying about whether they are killing the planet.

...Should Australia choose to go down the nuclear power path, it will be considering designs of the future, not the past. Nuclear reactor designs have evolved since the days of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Today numerous companies...are working on smaller, safer, and more efficient designs often referred to as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). 

Such reactors promise to overcome the financial burdens and safety concerns that have long plagued conventional reactors, particularly in the West. The ability of SMRs to be deployed as single or multiple modules provides wider flexibility in their applications, from supporting remote and regional communities to combining with other clean energy technologies to provide grid-scale generation. This makes them ideally suited to Australia's diverse range of energy needs..."


Tristan Prasser points to France, Sweden and Ontario, Canada as successful users of nuclear energy. But this success is not from using small (up to 300 MW), new technology, reactors but instead they use VERY LARGE CONVENTIONAL REACTORS. It also needs to be noted that civilian nuclear power in these countries gained initial impetus from nuclear knowledge and facilities for military purposes, ie:

-  "France" where:

  ;  all reactor complexes are VERY LARGE conventional multi GW. A Gigawatt being 1,000
     Megawatts. Note France is now constructing reactors
     of 1.6 GW.

  ;  France mainly began its nuclear investment as a military activity in the late 1940s. France
     continues to cross subsidise its knowledge and civilian reactor base with its nuclear
     weapon/submarine propulsion base. 

-  "Sweden", which:

   ;  first embarked on reactors for its 1940s-ended 1970s nuclear weapon

    ;  which provided a lower cost knowledge/infrastructure base for Sweden's civilian nuclear sector 

    ;  where all reactor complexes are VERY LARGE conventional multi
       GW and

-  "Ontario Province, Canada". Noting: 

    ;  Canada first embarked on nuclear reactors in support of the US MANHATTAN NUCLEAR
       WEAPONS PROJECT which
       subsequently provided a lower cost knowledge/infrastructure base for Canada's civilian nuclear

     ;  reactors that are operational in Ontario are at the Pickering complex of reactors
        equalling 3GW and Darlington complex equalling 3.5GW. 

So for France and even for SWEDEN and CANADA they cut some costs by beginning with Nuclear weapons reactor knowledge-infrastructure bases which then transitioned to VERY LARGE civilian electricity reactors

So the author falls down when he suggests NON-COMMERCIALLY proven VERY SMALL MODULAR REACTORS (SMRs) (which are up to 300MW)

Australia's low nuclear knowledge/reactor base and very small electricity market compared to the main reactor building nations (US, UK, France, China, Japan, Canada, Russia, India) means AUSTRALIA by itself CANNOT DEVELOP AND DEPLOY Small Modular Reactors without spending maybe $100+ Billions.

Australia needs to wait for Small Modular Reactors to be:

-  developed
-  legally/publically accepted
-  then cheaply deployed en masse

in North America, Europe and/or Asia.

Visions of SMALL Modular Reactors being deployed in SMALL Australian country towns-small cities (Alice Springs? Longreach? Kalgoorlie? Broken Hill?) forget

the HUGE public/political/legal/police security opposition that would descend AGAINST EVEN VERY SMALL, HIGH COMMERCIAL RISK, reactor proposals 

and delay them at Australian Federal, State and Local GOVERNMENT and COURT (Supreme and High Court) can levels for DECADES.


August 18, 2019

Claim Russia's Nuclear Cruise Missile 9M730 Skyfall is "SUBSONIC"


Following on from the August 14, 2019 article on Russia's failed liquid rocket fuel and nuclear powered cruise missile booster+engine test at Nyonoksa.  The missile's Russian designations include
Burevestnik 9M730 and "Petrel". NATO reporting names are SSC-X-9 and Skyfall. I'll call it simply "Skyfall".

Russia has always culturally been secretive, especially about its latest weapon systems. As an authoritarian country (Tsar-Communist-Putin) Russia does not need to inform its citizen-taxpayers much about its latest expensive missile or submarine disasters. Disaster details are only drip fed once details have been discovered by the Western press/internet, which ordinary Russians now have access to. 

Most Russian research on Skyfall is taking place at Sarov  closed city of around 100,000 "inmates" east of Moscow, but still in European Russia. A "closed city" since 1946 because Sarov is a center of  Russian nuclear weapon and propulsion research as well as missile research (a bit like Los Alamos, Oak RidgeSandia and Huntsville all rolled into one).

With that in mind the article below looks too good to be true concerning its details of Russia's Skyfall technology and strategy. So I'm treating the article below as mainly (Russian derived word) "disinformation". This includes the article implying the Skyfall program is more advanced than is  actually the case. Given the US' 7 years to cancellation Project Pluto it is highly unlikely Russia could field a Skyfall prototype in under 10 years.

Also the article's description of Skyfall as "subsonic" flies in the face of its rumoured hypersonic ramjet nature. Skyfall requires hypersonic speed to keep it aloft on its nuclear engine stage and make Skyfall a viable short time to target, global strike weapon.

I have therefore bolded and redded suspicious parts, with some [..] brackets for extra comments.


/Kjell has kindly located from Russian website New Defence Order Strategy (see About us) the following Russian language article, of August 15, 2019 at . Pete has now translated it into English (there being no New Defence Order Strategy article on Skyfall in English).

"Nuclear-powered strategic cruise missile 

[Skyfall] was supposedly being created by the Novator Design Bureau (Yekaterinburg [Russia's 4th largest city, which is east of the Urals]) [see NPO Novator] together with one of the [Russian Atomic] Rosatom research centers. The creation of a rocket with an air-jet [turbofan? ramjet? or what?] engine with a nuclear power plant became possible as a result of successful work to create a new generation small-sized nuclear reactor.

“At the end of 2017, a successful launch of a rocket with a nuclear power plant took place at the Central [Novaya Zemlya?] training ground of the Russian Federation. During the flight, the power plant reached its predetermined power and provided the necessary level of thrust. The flight tests, coupled with ground tests, allow us to move on to creating a strategic nuclear weapon complex with nuclear power plant "(from a speech by V.V. Putin before the Federal Assembly, 03/01/2018).

[Skyfall?] Missile tests have been conducted at least since 2017. As of mid-2019, according to Western data[where?] at least 13 missile launches have been completed. During launches at the Novaya Zemlya training ground, launches were monitored by IL-976 SKIP [Il-76/A-50 based Range Control and Missile tracking platformRosatom aircraft.

Work with the Burevestnik cruise missile in the assembly and test building of the training ground (

Work on Skyfall in a training ground assembly and test building ( [a pointy nose for a merely
The NATO name for the Petrel missile system is SSC-X-9 SKYFALL.
 Skyfall in the Russian Armed Forces
If the missile test program is successfully completed, and if there is a political decision to deploy the missile, Skyfall missiles can become an important part of Russia's nuclear deterrence forces. Launch sites for Skyfall can be built in any - even the most remote - region of Russia.
The composition of Skyfall
Probably, if Skyfall enter service, they will include the following components:
  • transporter erector launchers (TELs) or stationary missile launchers
  • a flight information training center
  • long-range radio communications for adjusting flight and target designation
  • reconnaissance and target designation systems
  • facilities for Skyfall maintenance and preparation and nuclear power plants
  • [Skyfall Warhead?] Arsenal equipment and vehicles
During the tests, presumably wheeled 9P113 transporter erector launchers (TELs) were used (with 9P113s aleady being used for short range 9K52 Luna-M artillery rockets).  With the Skyfalls being fired from launch containers previously used for P-35B GRAU 4K44B GLCMs.
Skyfall design
Skyfall's design is similar to the designs of most modern land and sea-based cruise missiles, but differs from them in size and layout. Presumably the rocket has the following layout: 

- the central body of the fuselage 
- a propulsion system with side air intakes and side nozzles 
- folding swept wings and plumage.
The rocket uses a solid fuel launch booster. [not liquid?]
The main engine of the rocket is supposedly a nuclear air-jet engine (NAR) in which atmospheric air heated by a nuclear power plant acts as a working medium. On the tested rocket prototypes, a valid non-nuclear prototype of this engine was probably installed.
TTX missiles Skyfall
Length - not less than 12 m;
Case diameter - not less than 1 m;
Case width - about 1.5 m;
Plumage height - 3.6-3.8 m;
Maximum speed - subsonic or transonic
[transonic being Mach 0.72 to Mach 1]

Range of action - unlimited
One of the first test launches of the prototype of the Petrel rocket (
One of the first test launches of the Skyfall (

Combat equipment
Presumably, the missile will be equipped with a megaton class 
thermonuclear warhead 
Preparation of samples of Burevestnik missiles for testing in the assembly and testing building of the test site (

Preparation of Skyfall components for testing in the assembly and testing building of the test site (
Control and guidance system
Skyfall's control system is autonomous inertial - with the flight reajusting using 
navigation system adjustment and ground HQ commands. Perhaps Skyfall's flightpath can be  updated and re-aimed midflight. 


The Skyfall prototype is the first experimental prototype "of the rocket demonstrator." 
Skyfall  "- is an experimental series of cruise missiles for testing." Ends

 [no mention of the "13" alleged "completed" flights here.]


Article identified by /Kjell and translated from Russian by Pete

Rick Joe China aircraft expert: China J-20 Stealth Fighter's Status

August 16, 2019

Excellent StrategyPage article on Barracuda Sub & Attack class

Strategy Page has penned an excellent article of August 14, 2019,

“Submarines: Barracuda

On July 12 [2019] the first of six new French Barracuda class SSN's (nuclear attack submarines), the SNA Suffren, was launched [see]. This first one is scheduled to enter service in 2020. All six will enter service in the 2020s [see wiki]. Back in 2006, France decided to buy six new Barracuda class SSNs, for about $1.5 billion each. The 4,700 ton (surface displacement) boats are smaller than America's new 7,300 ton Virginia class subs (which cost about $2.8 billion each). A new [Husky?] class of Russian SSNs will displace 6,000 tons. The older American Los Angeles class boats were about 7,000 tons. Size does matter, as it indicates how much space you have available for sensors and weapons. Larger boats are better equipped and more heavily armed. The new Russian SSN construction was delayed by shortages of cash and qualified shipyard personnel. The U.S. already had two Virginia's in service by 2006 and now there are 17 with 11 under construction. Two Virginia's a year are entering service, for an eventual total of about 60 subs.

Construction on the first Barracuda began in 2007 and it was supposed to be launched by 2012. That launch date was tentative because the development of the Barracuda nuclear power plant began in 2003 and soon ran into problems [see Pete’s earlier article]. Problems with the power plant were no surprise because France, unlike Britain, did not license the American sub-power plant. This would make it more difficult to export French nuclear subs and so on. The French chose a different design that used commercial [actually LEU] (not weapons) grade nuclear fuel. This meant French nuclear subs had to be refueled more often but this was made easier by building the hull with special large hatches that could be quickly opened for the once every 7-10 refueling then sealed again. France is the only nation using this type of ship power plant and has to handle development and maintenance procedures [by] itself. With a small fleet of nuclear subs, this drives up the cost per sub. Britain, by licensing the American tech, [see] gets the benefit of a much larger American nuke fleet and the larger budget for work on the power plants. Ever since the first Barracuda began construction, the delays have come from power plant problems. By 2012 it was believed that launch date could be 2017 but delays perfecting the power plant continued. The sub could not be launched until the power plant was completed and the hull made watertight

The Barracudas will rely on a lot of automation and have a crew of sixty, plus berths for 12 passengers. These will usually be commandos and their gear will be stored in a pod attached to subs sail. The Barracuda design emphasized silencing, making it more difficult to detect. The Barracuda's have four 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes, which can also be used to launch missiles, mines or torpedoes. Twenty weapons are carried, the mix of torpedoes, mines and missiles depends on the mission. French SSNs have two crews which each having the boat for three months. Enough food is carried to sustain the crew for 70 days. The nuclear power plant must be refueled every ten years. Two more Barracudas are under construction,

In early 2016 Australia selected a French firm (DCNS [now renamed Naval Group]) to build twelve new submarines for the Australian Navy. Australians preferred the French design because it was a larger boat than those offered by Germany and Japan. The French proposal was a diesel-electric version of their new Suffren (Barracuda) class SSNs. This “Shortfin [Attack class]” design [will be 4,500 ton] (in surface displacement) [hence less] than the 4,700 ton nuclear powered Suffren but was otherwise very similar with a crew of about 60, four [to eight?] 533mm torpedo tubes and 24 torpedoes, missiles or [around 48] mines.

A major selling point for the Barracuda was the proven silencing technology France had developed for their SSNs [eg. the propulsor/pumpjet]. This would now be added to an inherently quietly diesel-electric design. The [Attack class] are being built in Australia and will cost about $2.4 billion each. This [may] include an AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) system that will allow these boats to operate submerged for two weeks at a time. French firms will only control about [a third to a] half of that, with much of the rest going to American firms that will provide the [combat system, sensors] electronics and weapons. The twelve [Attack class] will replace six Collins-class boats and the first [Attack class] [may] begin construction in 2022 and enter service in [the early to mid] 2030[s], about when first of the six Collins-class subs are four decades old and very due for retirement. France is offering the Shortfin Barracuda to India as well.”


Another great StrategyPage article is Submarine: Russia Got The AIP Blues of March 18, 2019 at

August 14, 2019

Russia's White Sea Missile Reactor + Hydrogen(?) Explosion

On Thursday night, August 8, 2019, an explosion occurred at Nyonoksa naval rocket/missile test site on the White Sea coast (map below) in extreme northwest Russia. This killed 5 and injuring 6 test site workers (reported so far). The explosion caused an unexplained spike in radiation levels. This in turn caused alarm and then a temporary or permanent evacuation of nearby Nyonoksa village. Both the test site and village are effectively under the control of the Russian Navy (Northern Fleet area).

According to the Russian nuclear agency (Rosatom) the explosion happened on a sea platform/pontoon at Nyonoksa Russian Navy rocket/missile launch facility when a "liquid-propellant engine" was tested. Those killed were allegedly working on "isotope power source”. While Russian authorities refuse to identify the missile engine tested, Russian media and the US suspect that the explosion was a test of the 9M730 Burevestnik (aka “Skyfall”), nuclear propelled, nuclear armed cruise missile. That missile is part of (evidently) a dangerously accelerated development effort due to Putin's March 1, 2018 boast that this missile is a Russian wonder weapon.

"Skyfall's" under development nuclear fission   nuclear thermal engine is centred around a mini-reactor using enriched Uranium 235, to create extreme heat. The reactor may have super-heated a "liquid-propellant" in the form of highly explosive hydrogen.

Rocket thrust is a controlled explosion. The Skyfall engine explosion may have been an uncontrolled reactor explosion alone - and/or one boosted by a super-heated hydrogen explosion

Western nuclear sample collection technology (like this) with computer modelling in the US, can ascertain what type of explosion took place. 

Since 1965 the Nyonoksa facility has been the site of many SLBM and SLCM tests including R-27s, R-29s and R-39s.

Josh, in Comments below, has brought to my attention that video footage of the “Nyonoksa” explosion all seems to be an unrelated east Siberian munitions dump or military warehouse explosion.

I've been trying, without success, to find fully credibale still or moving imagery of the August 2019 Nyonoksa explosion. The public media all seem to be using pre-existing video images of an east Siberian ammunition dump/warehouse explosion instead of any Nyonoksa explosion.


Alarm and Confusion

There was major initial alarm and confusion in Nyonoksa village (2km from the test site). This was heightened by the Russian Government issuing contradictory Press Releases on a Little Increase In Background Radiation and then a Major Release (Evacuate Nyonoksa Now).

(Map courtesy Moscow Times, Reuters and TASS).

Severodvinsk and Arkhangelsk

Residents of the naval base/shipyard cities of Severodvinsk and Arkhangelsk may have been close enough to see the flash and hear the Nyonoksa test site explosion. Confusion continues in those cities regarding  how dangerous the Russian Government admitted radiation is and what to do about it.

In mid August 2019 “Russia's state weather service said radiation levels spiked in the Russian city of Severodvinsk, about [47] kilometres west of Nyonoksa, by up to 16 times [greater than average background radiation level] following the explosion.”

There are reports of panic buying of iodine drops in Severodvinsk [and Arkhangelsk]. Emergency officials reported a spike in background radiation. The White Sea bay where both the shipbuilding port and the regional capital, Arkhangelsk, are located has been ordered closed for swimming and fishing because of the presence of toxic rocket fuel [or, more secretly, radiation].”


August 12, 2019

Hong Kong's Government appears to be closing Hong Kong Airport


In a serious escalation of the Hong Kong crisis - the Hong Kong Government appears to be closing Hong Kong Airport. It is not yet known whether Chinese People's Armed [paramilitary] Police (PAP) from the Chinese mainland will soon clear the airport of protesters.

The PAP have been drilling with armoured vehicles (see ominous video) and massing just inside the Chinese border with Hong Kong.

See my earlier articles on the Hong Kong crisis of August 1, 2019 and July 1, 2019.


Australia's government owned ABC News, August 12, 2019, 5pm Hong Kong time reports:

"Hong Kong Airport cancels flights as protests continue

Hong Kong's airport has cancelled all remaining flights as several thousand pro-democracy protesters peacefully demonstrate at the terminal for a fourth day.

The international airport, one of the world's busiest, said in a statement on Monday that the demonstration has "seriously disrupted" airport operations.

All check-in services for departing flights have been suspended and only flights that have already completed the check-in process will move ahead the airport said.

Members of the public have been warned to avoid the area.

Traffic on roads to the airport was very congested and car park spaces were full, the airport said.

The increasingly violent protests have plunged Chinese-ruled Hong Kong into its most serious crisis in decades and presented a serious challenge to Beijing."
Courtesy Australia's ABC News based on News Agency Wires.
Later Report

About 7pm (Hong Kong time) August 12, 2019 Chinese state media organ Global Times ominously reported the release of the video (below).

Pete Comment

The video is apparently about training of China's paramilitary People's Armed Police (PAP) (who wear green and camouflage uniforms, unlike the blue-black uniforms of normal police). The PAP, in wheeled armoured vehicles and trucks have been training, drilling and massing in the large Chinese city of Shenzhen – just across the border from Hong Kong.


August 11, 2019

What Andrew Hastie MP actually wrote about the China threat.

So what did Andrew Hastie actually say about (what a wide range of ill-informed pundits in Australia claim) was a comparison of China with Nazi Germany? Well the reality is less dramatic than the version of those who place trade with China higher than the American alliance.

Andrew Hastie is Federal Member for [like a Congressman for a Federal District of] Canning in Western Australia. More importantly Hastie is Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee for Intelligence and Security in Canberra. See the right sidebar for some details about the Committee. 

In the Sydney Morning Herald, on August 8, 2019, Hastie wrote an Opinion piece which contained many newslinks and photos, so you can see the original here

But the actual text of what he wrote is most important. Here it is below:

“We must see China - the opportunities and the threats - with clear eyes
By Andrew Hastie [federal member for [like a Congressman for a Federal District of] Canning [Western Australia] and the chair of the parliamentary joint committee for intelligence and security.]

Like many people across the world, I saw 9/11 as the geopolitical moment that would shape the 21st century. It shaped the next decade of my own life. But I was wrong.
The most significant geopolitical moment of the 21st century had already happened, five months earlier. And most of us, distracted by more dramatic events, failed to see it. It came on April Fool’s Day, 2001.
A J-8 fighter jet from the People’s Liberation Army Navy collided with a US Navy EP-3 signals intelligence aircraft, 70 kilometres off the coast of Hainan Island. Both planes began plummeting toward the South China Sea. The PLAN fighter pilot did not survive. The 24 crew of the badly damaged US EP-3 managed a hard landing on the island, and, after being offered water and cigarettes, were held for 11 days by the Chinese government.
The crew was released to the US, but the aircraft was returned much later – in many small pieces – via a Russian Antonov cargo plane. This was an early test for the Bush administration, only 10 weeks old. It was faced with brinkmanship, intelligence plundering and technology transfer.

All this took place over what are now contested waters — where today the PLAN has forged unsinkable aircraft carriers, out of reefs and atolls.
The Hainan Island incident laid down the contours for the present challenge facing Australia. It portended the agonising security and economic balancing act we must now perform. That clash, almost 20 years ago, has now grown into overt geopolitical rivalry across the Indo-Pacific. The US seeks to remain the dominant power in the region and the People's Republic of China works to supplant it.
Australia must now, somehow, hold on to our sovereignty and prosperity. We must balance security and trade. But most importantly, we must remain true to our democratic convictions while also seeing the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.
This will be immensely difficult. It is impossible to forsake the US, our closest security and investment partner. It is also impossible to disengage from China, our largest trading partner. This is the central point: almost every strategic and economic question facing Australia in the coming decades will be refracted through the geopolitical competition of the US and the PRC.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made that much abundantly clear when he said "the world has been asleep at the switch".
We must be clear-eyed about our position in the world. We are resetting the terms of engagement with China to preserve our sovereignty, security and democratic convictions, as we also reap the benefits of prosperity that come with our mutually beneficial trade relationship.
Last year, the Coalition government secured bipartisan passage of laws countering espionage, foreign interference and influence. Tough decisions were made on our future 5G network to safeguard our digital sovereignty for the generations to come. Critical assets, such as ports and gas pipelines, are now monitored much more closely, in recognition of their importance to our national life together.
But there is more to be done. Right now our greatest vulnerability lies not in our infrastructure, but in our thinking. That intellectual failure makes us institutionally weak. If we don’t understand the challenge ahead for our civil society, in our parliaments, in our universities, in our private enterprises, in our charities — our little platoons — then choices will be made for us. Our sovereignty, our freedoms, will be diminished.
[The following paragraph is the alleged Nazi Germany bit] 

The West once believed that economic liberalisation would naturally lead to democratisation in China. This was our Maginot Line. It would keep us safe, just as the French believed their series of steel and concrete forts would guard them against the German advance in 1940. But their thinking failed catastrophically. The French had failed to appreciate the evolution of mobile warfare. Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become.
Even worse, we ignore the role that ideology plays in China's actions across the Indo-Pacific region. We keep using our own categories to understand its actions, such as its motivations for building ports and roads, rather than those used by the Chinese Communist Party.
The West has made this mistake before. Commentators once believed Stalin’s decisions were the rational actions of a realist great power. But the Princeton Professor of History, Stephen Kotkin, found otherwise, after years of sifting through the archives of top Soviet meetings. He discovered that Stalin and his advisers “said the same things as they said in their propaganda … [using] all the Marxian categories, because it turns out the Communists were Communists! They believed in the ideas and it’s only by taking the ideas and politics seriously, can you understand the phenomenon.”
We must be intellectually honest and take the Chinese leadership at its word. We are dealing with a fundamentally different vision for the world. Xi Jinping has made his vision of the future abundantly clear since becoming President in 2013. His speeches show that the tough choices ahead will be shaped, at least on the PRC side, by ideology – communist ideology, or in his words, by "Marxist-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought".
Xi’s view of the future is one where capitalism will be eclipsed and "the consolidation of and development of the socialist system will require its own long period of history … it will require the tireless struggle of generations, up to 10 generations".
With history as our guide, we have no reason to doubt President Xi Jinping. Our next step in safeguarding Australia’s future is accepting and adapting to the reality of the geopolitical struggle before us – its origins, its ideas and its implications for the Indo-Pacific region.
The next decade will test our democratic values, our economy, our alliances and our security like no other time in Australian history.
Andrew Hastie is the federal member for Canning and the chair of the parliamentary joint committee for intelligence and security.”


See the original Sydney Morning Herald, piece with many newslinks and interesting photos, here