The journal that gave in to climate deniers’ intimidation The Conversation, Elaine McKewon, Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney 1 April 14,
In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Predictably enough, those people didn’t like it.The paper, which I helped to peer-review, is called “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”. In it, cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues survey and analyse the outcry generated on climate skeptic blogs to their earlier work on climate denial.
The earlier study had also linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking. And so by reacting with yet more conspiracy theorising, the bloggers rather proved the researchers’ point.
Yet soon after Recursive Fury was published, threats of litigation started to roll in, and the journal took the paper down (it survives on the website of the University of Western Australia, where Lewandowsky carried out the study).
A lengthy investigation ensued, which eventually found the paper to be scientifically and ethically sound. Yet on March 21 this year, Frontiers retracted the paper because of the legal threats.
The episode offers some of the clearest evidence yet that threats of libel lawsuits have a chilling effect on scientific research………
the journal’s management and editors were clearly intimidated by climate deniers who threatened to sue. So Frontiers bowed to their demands, retracted the paper, damaged its own reputation, and ultimately gave a free kick to aggressive climate deniers.
I would have expected a scientific journal to have more backbone, certainly when it comes to the crucially important issue of academic freedom. http://theconversation.com/the-journal-that-gave-in-to-climate-deniers-intimidation-25085
Move to limit ideological objections to Qld mining projects, ABC News, 28 Feb 14 By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer The Queensland Government is looking to restrict who can object to mining applications, in a bid to crack down on what it calls philosophical opposition to projects.
Currently any group or person can object to applications, potentially sending the decision to the Land Court.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was “frustrating” for the Government.
“It’s obvious that the current process allows individuals or groups who are fundamentally opposed to the coal industry – for whatever reason – to use the objection process to frustrate and delay those projects,” he said. “The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”
In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications….
“The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”
In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-27/move-to-limit-ideological-objections-to-qld-mining-projects/5289246
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Exhibition dates: Wed 22 January to Sat 1 February 2014 View the artworks http://damienmintongallery.com.au/artists/asio-through-the-looking-glass
Australia spy photos: Australia stalked Aboriginal activists ‘Persons of Interest’ Australia stalked Aboriginals By Brenda Norrel Censored News, 23 Jan 14, Australian Aboriginals were secretly photographed under surveillance by the government of Australia. Now, the spy photos of Aboriginal land rights activists, authors, playrights and artists are the subject of a photo exhibit.
“The 70 photos of people such as author Frank Hardy, Aboriginal activists Eddie Mabo and Gary Foley, film critic David Stratton and actor Bob Maza, among a range of Australians who went on to become prominent in public life,” Business Insider reports.
The director of the documentary series, Haydn Keenan, said the photos are “… images with no author, created by the State, of those who threatened it. They are secret political images, stolen to gain power over the subject. Here is a machine aesthetic. No artful frame or composition proposed, but uncannily appears.”
The gallery said the photographs were created as documents and records of surveillance by secret ASIO operatives going about their work monitoring the activities and meetings of people who the state considered to be ‘a person of interest’……(PHOTOS below in the original article) http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/australia-spy-photos-australia-stalked.html
ASIO and NT cops spied on, meddled with careers of Territorians BY ALISON BEVEGE NT NEWS JANUARY 21, 2014 AUSTRALIA’S secret service spied on Territorians – including the NT News editor – files released under the Archives Act show……
Those targeted had spoken out against the Vietnam War, campaigned for Aboriginal land rights or opposed Indonesia’s brutal invasion and occupation of East Timor.
Their partners, friends and colleagues were followed, their phones tapped and mail was intercepted…….http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/asio-and-nt-cops-spied-on-meddled-with-careers-of-territorians/story-fnk1w5xx-1226806880023
Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement favours foreign investors over citizens’ rights Canberra Times, January 4, 2014 Without debate, increased rights for foreign investors will undermine our way of life, writes Thomas A. Faunce. All the indications from the recent Singapore meeting on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) are that Australian society is about to undergo a momentous shift in its governance arrangements. The recent Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) gives a pointer.
It includes an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. This provides rights of foreign investors (additional to those of local businesses) to challenge our legislation where it impedes their profits overseas before panels of trade arbitrators. Our government claimed it had ”ensured the inclusion of appropriate carve-outs and safeguards in important areas such as public welfare, health and the environment.”
The Australian government has no mandate to introduce such a significant change in our sovereignty and governance. Though the present author and others raised the issue of such greater rights of foreign investors over local businesses during the preceding electoral campaign it was never the subject of major policy debate or positioning.
The insertion of such foreign investor rights into our governance system is a momentous event in the history of our democracy.According to the central document in our social contract, fundamental alterations in Australia’s governance arrangements require not just legislation but a referendum. Thus, a majority of Australian citizens in a majority of states were needed to support the creation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme or the citizenship of Aboriginal Australians.
Yet, as a result of the TPPA, this country risks displacing the authority of citizens who live and support families, friends, local communities and ecosystems in this land, in favour of a system privileging artificial people called corporations.
The multinational corporations to which the KAFTA and the TPPA will be ceding rights to challenge our democratic laws are regarded by the law as ”people”. They can sue in courts to protect their rights. But they lack conscience, empathy, the capacity to develop virtues though consistent application of generally applicable principle, that constitute the richness of our character. Corporations can never marry or have children. They seek to fulfil a monomanical basic craving – to maximise shareholder profit.
Perhaps the big issue in our nation should not be gay marriage, but corporate marriage – using the corporations law to link a broader public purpose.
It is ironic and sad that the privileging of corporate elites over the rights and interests of our citizens implicit in such foreign investor rights was rejected by conservative former prime minister John Howard at the time of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement in 2004. It also has been deprecated by Pope Francis as part of his recent apostolic exhortation……
At the same time as foreign investors are gaining these extra rights, our government is preparing to turn more of our social infrastructure over to them. The new era for infrastructure financing involves projects financed by taxpayers and superannuants, that then are sold to private corporations who manage them…..
The deliberate disengagement of Australian citizens from the governance changes being wrought on Australia through the TPPA may mark a turning point in a wider disengagement of citizens from the political process in this country.
♦ Thomas A. Faunce is professor, jointly in the college of law and college of medicine, biology and the environment at the Australian National University. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-favours-foreign-investors-over-citizens-rights-20140103-309nb.html#ixzz2peyYTVFd
New law to expand police powers to ‘move on’ protester, THE AGE December 12, 2013, Jane Lee Legal Affairs Reporter Unions say a plan to enable police to order people in picket lines and blockades to “move on”, and arrest those who do not, erodes the right to political protest.
The Coalition introduced reforms on Wednesday extending police powers to issue “move on” orders to people who prevent access to buildings, commit offences in public places, cause others to have a “reasonable fear of violence” or who behave in ways “likely to cause damage to property.”
Police would be able to ask such people for their names and addresses, and arrest and fine those who do not comply $720 under the new law. They could also apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an exclusion order, banning protesters from entering certain places if they have been given more than one “move on” order in the same place.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said the proposed changes were excessive and unnecessary: “Current legislative provisions governing industrial action are comprehensive and effective for unions and employers.”……
Liberty Victoria president Jane Dixon, SC, similarly opposed the reforms: “The anti-war demonstrations in the City of Melbourne may well have impacted on shops and businesses in the vicinity but Liberty [Victoria] believes that political protests in public places are an important feature of a functioning democracy……
The reforms follow long-running protests, including against the east-west link and builder Grocon.
They come a month after the Abbott government announced it would re-introduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which could fine people picketing building sites up to $34,000. The reforms follow long-running protests, including against the east-west link and builder Grocon. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/new-law-to-expand-police-powers-to-move-on-protesters-20131212-2z8ip.html#ixzz2nP5F4ucS
the draft was ”very prescriptive” and strongly reflected US trade objectives and multinational corporate interests ”with little focus on the rights and interests of consumers, let alone broader community interests”. ”One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish list for major corporations
The full transcript of the leaked negotiating text can by found at www.wikileaks.org.
Australians may pay the price in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement The Age, November 14, 2013 Philip Dorling A leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal looks to have worrying intentions.Australians could pay more for drugs and medicines, movies, computer games and software, and be placed under surveillance as part of a US-led crackdown on internet piracy, according to details of secret trade negotiations exposed by WikiLeaks.
A leaked draft of a controversial chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement reveals the negotiating positions of 12 countries including Australia on copyright, patents and other intellectual property issues, with a heavy focus on enforcement measures against internet piracy.
Intellectual property experts are critical of the draft treaty, which they say would help the multinational movie and music industries, software companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers to maintain and increase prices Continue reading
Mr Assange is the lead WikiLeaks Party candidate for a Senate seat in Victoria. Since June, 2012, he has resided at Ecuador’s London embassy where he was granted political asylum on the grounds that he is at risk of extradition to the US.
Carr accused of meddling in Assange case http://www.watoday.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/carr-accused-of-meddling-in-assange-case-20130905-2t847.html#ixzz2e8ycDLrt September 6, 2013 Philip Dorling Australian diplomats in Washington immediately stopped reporting to Canberra on the trial of WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, after Foreign Minister Bob Carr declared he would not allow ”over-servicing” of Julian Assange’s consular case.
Australian diplomatic cables released under freedom of information law reveal that the Australian embassy in Washington reported on the first two days of US Army Private Manning’s two-month trial, which began on June 3, and highlighted numerous references to Mr Assange, who has been targeted by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies in a long-running espionage investigation.
However, a response by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to a freedom of information application by Fairfax Media shows that the Washington embassy stopped reporting on the Manning trial after Senator Carr told a Senate estimates hearing on June 6 that the WikiLeaks publisher’s case ”doesn’t affect Australian interests”. Continue reading
WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong – UPDATED http://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-Statement-On-Edward,253.html?updated Sunday June 23 Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.
Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives in Ecuador his request will be formally processed.
Former Spanish Judge Mr Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Julian Assange has made the following statement:
“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange – for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest – is an assault against the people”.
Assange no concern of ours, says Carr, The Age, 7 June 13
- The Australian government has washed its hands of Julian Assange as prosecutors at the trial of US soldier Bradley Manning have openly targeted the WikiLeaks publisher as a conspirator engaged in espionage.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has told a Senate budget estimates committee that the government would make no more representations to the US on Assange’s circumstances because his case “doesn’t affect Australian interests”.
Senator Carr’s declaration that he would not “over-service” Assange’s consular needs came after US military prosecutors left no doubt that they regard the WikiLeaks chief not as a journalist dealing with sources but as a conspirator in the theft of classified information. Continue reading
Assange, Manning and WikiLeaks, by making public in 2010 half a million internal documents from the Pentagon and the State Department, along with the 2007 video of US helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, effectively exposed the empire’s hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence and its use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation
US government officials quoted in Australian diplomatic cables obtained by The Saturday Age described the campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks as “unprecedented both in its scale and nature.”
The global assault—which saw Australia threaten to revoke Assange’s passport—is part of the terrifying metamorphosis of the “war on terror” into a wider war on civil liberties. It has become a hunt not for actual terrorists but a hunt for all those with the ability to expose the mounting crimes of the power elite
An Interview With Julian Assange, The Nation, 8 May 13 Corporate totalitarianism is spreading rapidly, and it’s not just Assange or Manning they want. It is all who dare to defy the official narrative. Chris Hedges May 8, 2013 London—A tiny tip of the vast subterranean network of governmental and intelligence agencies from around the world dedicated to destroying WikiLeaks and arresting its founder, Julian Assange, appears outside the red-brick building on Hans Crescent Street that houses the Ecuadorean Embassy. Assange, the world’s best-known political refugee, has been in the embassy since he was offered sanctuary there last June. British police in black Kevlar vests are perched night and day on the steps leading up to the building, and others wait in the lobby directly in front of the embassy door. An officer stands on the corner of a side street facing the iconic department store Harrods, half a block away on Brompton Road. Another officer peers out the window of a neighboring building a few feet from Assange’s bedroom at the back of the embassy. Police sit round-the-clock in a communications van topped with an array of antennas that presumably captures all electronic forms of communication from Assange’s ground-floor suite. Continue reading
No compensation for Maralinga radiation victims, SMH, April 29, 2013 Bianca Hall The British government has ruled out paying ”act of grace” compensation to Australian soldiers deliberately exposed to nuclear bomb testing at Maralinga in South Australia 61 years ago.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam wrote to Foreign Secretary William Hague in January seeking an undertaking that Britain would pay compensation to victims of its nuclear testing program.
”Of the British and Australian veterans who were involved in the testing, and the Aboriginal people in the area at the time of the blasts, only 29 Aboriginal people have ever received compensation from the Australian government and veterans continue to struggle to obtain the medical support they need,” Senator Ludlam said.
A 2006 report commissioned by the Australian government showed the Australians at the Maralinga and Emu Field sites were 23 per cent more likely than the general population to develop cancer, and 18 per cent more likely to die from cancer. But it found it was impossible to conclude whether that was due to radiation…….http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/no-compensation-for-maralinga-radiation-victims-20130428-2imrw.html#ixzz2RteYnZ00
Letter from UK Ministry of Defense http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/18059953/1363946993/name/maralinga.pdf
We failed our duty’ to Prisoner X http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/we-failed-our-duty-to-prisoner-x-20130214-2eg06.html#ixzz2L0Juuy7X February 15, 2013 David Wroe The Melbourne man dubbed ”Prisoner X” received no consular assistance from Australian officials despite the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade having been told of his detention by Israeli authorities nearly 10 months before he killed himself in jail.
And Australia’s forgiving response to Israel’s failure to formally advise that it had jailed dual-citizen Ben Zygier could imperil other dual citizens arrested in other countries, a top international law expert says.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr revealed on Thursday that ASIO informed the department in February 2010 that Israeli authorities were holding Mr Zygier because of ”serious offences under Israeli national security legislation”. He told a Senate estimates hearing the government had ”relied on” assurances by Israel that Mr Zygier was being well treated, that his family knew of his detention and that he was getting legal representation.
Mr Varghese said because Mr Zygier was a dual national, he was ”not under the relevant conventions” and there was ”no obligation on the Israeli government to commit to prison visits”.
But Australian National University international law professor Don Rothwell said Israel had broken the international convention on consular relations – and Mr Varghese’s response could imperil other dual citizens.
”If Mr Varghese is making that concession, it’s a very significant concession with respect to every other country where Australia has dealings with dual nationals at the moment, and, in particular, China,” he said.
Senator Milne asked: ”My question is just why did the Australian government hand over the welfare of one of our citizens to the spooks? Why?”
David Hicks’ former lawyer, Dan Mori, now with the Australian firm Shine Lawyers, said Australia had failed in its basic duty to look out for one of its citizens. ”It boggles my mind that they sit back and not say, ‘He’s one of our citizens and we’re not going to have a consular visit?’ ” he said. ”You would want them to at least put eyes on them. It’s that basic service.”
In several developments on the case, senators grilled the minister and secretary over what the government knew and when.
Senator Carr’s office admitted the Minister’s incorrect statements to the ABC and Fairfax Media that his department knew nothing of the case until after Mr Zygier had died in December 2010 had been based on written advice from DFAT.
The ABC’s Foreign Correspondent sent Senator Carr’s office written questions prior to his interview for the program, which had been forwarded on to the department. Yet the department replied with incorrect answers.
Here’s what Roger Helbig sent me today: ” Your first immediate action is to take my name out of your
e-mail subject line. I have already advised WordPress and I will make
every possible effort to take down your WordPress blog and eliminate
your ability to ever have another WordPress blog.” along with a lot of other threats of legal action.
This humble little website is now in the company of some much more illustrious sites. For example – “It has come to our attention that an individual by the name of Roger Helbig, has been going to great effort to damage our reputation” http://www.salem-news.com/
There are dozens more .. you see, Roger Helbig makes a profession of harrassing and preferably shutting down, any voices that criticise the use of depleted uranium.
With Assange in Diplomatic Limbo, Sweden in No Rush to Press Rape Charges , 01 February 2013 By Alissa Bohling, Truthout | News Analysis With Julian Assange remaining in diplomatic limbo in London, Sweden refuses his offer for an interview, leading some to suspect they are not anxious to pursue allegations of rape that have been lodged against him……
In an October 2012 letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, they asked the Department of Justice to give its word that Assange will not be extradited, subject to indefinite detention or prosecution under the Espionage Act for the activities of WikiLeaks, but with no response, he and his Swedish accusers remain in legal limbo, calling into question whether Assange’s civil liberties and the women’s right to take their accusations through the criminal justice process can both be upheld.
Government Tactic of Smearing Whistleblowers Continue reading