Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Gross injustice! Ecuador to hand over Assange’s entire legal defense to the United States 

Ecuador to hand over Assange’s entire legal defense to the United States  20 May 2019  https://wikileaks.org/Ecuador-to-hand-over.html

Three weeks before the U.S. deadline to file its final extradition request for Assange, Ecuadorian officials are travelling to London to allow U.S. prosecutors to help themselves to Assange’s belongings.

Neither Julian Assange nor U.N. officials have been permitted to be present when Ecuadorian officials arrive to Ecuador’s embassy in London on Monday morning.

The chain of custody has already been broken. Assange’s lawyers will not be present at the illegal seizure of his property, which has been “requested by the authorities of the United States of America”.

The material includes two of his manuscripts, as well as his legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment. The seizure of his belongings violates laws that protect medical and legal confidentiality and press protections.

The seizure is formally listed as “International Assistance in Criminal matters 376-2018-WTT requested by the authorities of the United States of America”. The reference number of the legal papers indicates that Ecuador’s formal cooperation with the United States was initiated in 2018.

Since the day of his arrest on 11 April 2019, Mr. Assange’s lawyers and the Australian consul have made dozens of documented demands to the embassy of Ecuador for the release and return of his belongings, without response. Continue reading

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May 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Sweden wants Detention of Assange, meanwhile USA seizes his property. DOES AUSTRALIA CARE?

May 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All 

May 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

More evidence that US may seek to prosecute Julian Asssange under the Espionage Act 

    https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2019/04/28/more-evidence-that-us-may-seek-to-prosecute-julian-asssnge-under-the-espionage-act/  Tom Coburg , 28th April 2019  More evidence has emerged that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be prosecuted for offences under the US Espionage Act. Although testimony provided by a digital forensics expert raises questions about the prosecution.

Threat to former WikiLeaks staff/volunteers

A copy of a letter has been released, indicating that charges relating to the US Espionage Act maybe under consideration against one former WikiLeaks staffer, if not more. The letter is from the US Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice (DoJ), to former WikiLeaks employee and spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

Here is a translation by Netzpolitik.

In the letter, the DoJ admits it is also investigating WikiLeaks for the “unauthorized receipt and dissemination of secret information“, which reportedly can be charged under the Espionage Act. The letter offers Domscheit-Berg immunity from prosecution, providing he fully co-operates. However, when Domscheit-Berg’s lawyers requested access to the proceedings, the DoJ prosecutors responded by withdrawing their offer of immunity.

WikiLeaks staffer Jacob Appelbaum was also requested to testify, but he reportedly refused. David House, a computer programmer and campaigner for Chelsea Manning ,was subpoenaed by the Grand Jury in May 2018. According to one media outlet, he’s reportedly co-operating with the DoJ in exchange for immunity.

Faulty indictment

So far, Assange has been formally indicted for offences relating to computer misuse. Basically, he is charged with assisting Manning in the hacking of US government computers. A guilty verdict could mean up to five years imprisonment.

deconstruction of that indictment indicates the validity of the charges listed can be challenged. Indeed, the so-called offences merely equate to practices conducted by journalists worldwide (communicating with a source, respecting a source’s anonymity, etc), though the technologies have changed.

But with regard to the alleged cracking of a password, in an affidavit provided to the WikiLeaks Grand Jury, an FBI agent admitted:

there is no other evidence as to what Assange did, if anything, with respect to the password”.

Espionage charge

There has long been suspicion that once in the US, Assange could face more serious charges under the Espionage Act. That act carries the death penalty. However, under UK law an extradition request can be rejected if the destination country (e.g. the US) uses such a penalty, and offers no assurance it will not be applied. An extradition request can also be rejected if charges raised are seen as ‘political’.

But that means life inside the US gulag would still be on the cards:

23 hour daily confinement in a concrete box cell with one window four inches wide, six bed checks a day with a seventh at weekends, one hour of exercise in an outdoor cage, showers spraying water in one-minute spurts and “shakedowns” at the discretion of prison staff..

The late Michael Ratner, Assange’s US lawyer, was certain such a charge was planned all along:

[T]he Grand Jury’s number is 10, standing for the year it began, GJ which is Grand Jury and then 3793. Three is the Conspiracy Statute in the United States. 793 is the Espionage Statute. So what they’re investigating is 3793: conspiracy to commit espionage.

A December 2010 New York Times article argued that Assange could be prosecuted with offences beyond those under the Espionage Act, if it’s shown he provided technical assistance to Manning.

And journalist Chris Hedges believes that the theft of classified documents may end up as a charge:

f Manning, a former Army private, admits she was instructed by WikiLeaks and Assange in how to obtain and pass on the leaked material, which exposed US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the publisher could be tried for the theft of classified documents.

Evidence in doubt

However, not all is cut and dry.

At the trial of whistleblower Chelsea ManningMark Johnson, a digital forensics contractor for ManTech International and who also works for the Army’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit, was called to provide testimony. Reportedly, Johnson testified he had not seen any evidence that Nathaniel Frank, also known as ‘@pressassociation’ – both of whom the US authorities believe was Assange – encouraged Manning to seek or provide documents.

The prosecution then reportedly argued that evidence was likely deleted by Manning. That might partly explain why she has been subpoenaed to testify to the WikiLeaks Grand Jury.

And, again, this is why Manning is key to what happens next in the US prosecution of Assange.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Journalist Glenn Greenwald defends Assange

Journalist Glenn Greenwald defends Assange: The Hill,  Julia Manchester 24 Apr 19   ‘Things that journalists do every single day’ Journalist Glenn Greenwald on Monday defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after he was charged by the Justice Department earlier this month for allegedly conspiring to hack a government computer in connection with the organization’s release of sensitive government files in 2010.

“So much of what’s in the indictment, encouraging a source to get more documents, helping a source cover her tracks in order not to be detected, are things that journalists do every single day,” Greenwald, co-founding editor at The Intercept, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton in an appearance on Hill.TV.

“You can say journalists don’t typically help a source hack into a password in order to get you know, a better way of hiding her identity, but helping a source avoid detection is definitely something journalists are not just entitled to do, but obligated to do,” he continued. ……https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/439992-greenwald-defends-assange-these-are-things-that-journalists-do-every-single-day

April 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Countering the smears against Julian Assange

Julian Assange: Within Washington’s grasp? | The Listening Post (Full)

Debunking All The Assange Smears, by Caitlin Johnstone  , Robert Gore, STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC,21Apr19

This is the definitive and comprehensive source for anyone who wants to defend Julian Assange in an argument and win. From Caitlin Johnstone at theburningplatform.com:

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It’s true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it’s true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it’s true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I’m going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and caitlinjohnstone.com as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

Here’s a numbered list of each subject I’ll be covering in this article for ease of reference:

0. How to argue against Assange smears. Continue reading

April 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Whatever you think of Julian Assange, his extradition to the US must be opposed

April 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics international | Leave a comment

The Assange prosecution threatens modern journalism

The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain The US government’s indictment of Julian Assange is about far more than a charge of conspiring to hack a Pentagon computer. Many of the acts detailed in the indictment are standard journalistic practices in the digital age. How authorities in the UK respond to the US extradition request will determine how serious a threat this prosecution poses to global media freedom.

Journalistic scrutiny is a key democratic safeguard against governmental misconduct. Strong reporting often depends on officials leaking information of public importance. That is why, although many democratic governments prohibit officials themselves from disclosing secret information, few prosecute journalists for publishing leaked information that they receive from officials. Similarly, because electronic communications are so easily traced, today’s investigative journalists often make extraordinary efforts to maintain the confidentiality of their sources, including setting up communication avenues that cannot easily be detected or intercepted.

The Assange prosecution threatens these basic elements of modern journalism and democratic accountability. Superficially, the single charge in the indictment concerns an alleged conspiracy between Assange and Chelsea Manning, at the time a US army intelligence analyst, to download Pentagon files for publication on WikiLeaks. Assange is accused of trying – ultimately unsuccessfully – to help Manning crack a password that would have enabled her to bypass security mechanisms that would identify her as the person downloading the files.

But beyond this alleged hacking attempt, the indictment details “manners and means of the conspiracy” that read like standard procedure for today’s journalists who receive information from a confidential source. It alleges that “Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure of classified records to WikiLeaks, including by removing user names from the disclosed information and deleting chat logs between Assange and Manning.” It says they “used a special folder on a cloud drop box” for the leaked information. And it charges that “Assange encouraged Manning” to provide the information.

It is dangerous to suggest that these actions are somehow criminal rather than steps routinely taken by investigative journalists who communicate with confidential sources to receive classified information of public importance. It is not difficult to imagine how autocratic governments, eager to undermine media scrutiny, will use this indictment to punish such journalists.

The Trump administration also poses a threat. So far, the administration has not charged Assange for the disclosure of the information he received from Manning, but that remains a possibility.

The administration filed the hacking charges against Assange a year ago, just days before the eight-year statute of limitations was about to expire for the alleged acts in 2010, but the 10-year statute of limitations has not yet run for the Espionage Act, which has been mooted as a way to prosecute Assange despite the severe implications for journalism of applying it to a public vehicle such as WikiLeaks. The indictment lists violation of the Espionage Act as one of the purposes of the alleged hacking conspiracy.

Manning already served nearly seven years of a prison term for leaking Pentagon files to Assange, until Barack Obama pardoned her. But Manning is now back in prison as part of the Trump administration’s effort to coerce her to testify before a grand jury. Because it is unlawful for the US government to use a grand jury simply to prepare for trial, the Trump administration may well be contemplating additional charges against Assange.

British authorities have the power to prevent any US prosecution from eroding media freedom. The extradition treaty between Britain and the United States requires extradition only if “the conduct on which the offense is based” is punishable in both countries. And the treaty prevents the US government from filing additional charges after extradition unless they are based on the same set of facts or the British government consents.

These provisions empower British authorities to insist that the hacking charges are not a subterfuge for – or a first step in a frontal attack on – legitimate journalistic activity. In other words, Britain can refuse to extradite Assange unless the Trump administration gives a binding guarantee that the prosecution, now and in the future, would not extend beyond the narrow charge of conspiring to hack a government computer.

This is not a theoretical matter. Donald Trump openly and regularly rejects any form of critical media scrutiny. And he has shown little willingness to defer to the norms of democratic accountability. The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.  Kenneth Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch

April 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Police drag Julian Assange from Embassy. Scott Morrison says “no special help”, Bill Shorten pleads ignorance of the matter

https://www.rt.com/news/456212-julian-assange-embassy-eviction/ 12 Apr, 2019

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has spent the last seven years. That’s after Ecuador’s president Moreno withdrew asylum.

That’s only a day after WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson claimed that an extensive spying operation was conducted against Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy. During an explosive media conference Hrafnsson alleged that the operation was designed to get Assange extradited.

Assange’s relationship with Ecuadorian officials appeared increasingly strained since the current president came to power in the Latin American country in 2017. His internet connection was cut off in March of last year, with officials saying the move was to stop Assange from “interfering in the affairs of other sovereign states.”

The whistleblower garnered massive international attention in 2010 when WikiLeaks released classified US military footage, entitled ‘Collateral Murder’, of a US Apache helicopter gunship opening fire on a number of people, killing 12 including two Reuters staff, and injuring two children. 

The footage, as well as US war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 200,000 diplomatic cables, were leaked to the site by US Army soldier Chelsea Manning. She was tried by a US tribunal and sentenced to 35 years in jail for disclosing the materials.

Manning was pardoned by outgoing President Barack Obama in 2017 after spending seven years in US custody. She is currently being held again in a US jail for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury in a case apparently related to WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange ‘won’t get any special treatment’: Scott Morrison, SMH , By Michael Koziol and Latika Bourke
April 12, 2019  Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia is providing consular assistance to Julian Assange following his arrest in London but the Wikileaks founder will receive “no special treatment”, even in the wake of a US extradition request.

An Australian citizen, Assange had been living in the Ecuadorian embassy for more than six years until that country ended his political asylum on Thursday for “discourteous and aggressive behaviour” and WikiLeaks’ “hostile and threatening declarations” against Ecuador.

He was charged with skipping bail by entering the embassy in 2012. Appearing in Westminster Magistrates’ Court four hours later, he pleaded not guilty, claiming he had a reasonable excuse for seeking asylum as his arrest would end in his extradition to the US.

That extradition request, on charges related to the publication of vast quantities of classified information by Wikileaks, is forthcoming but will be fought by Assange’s lawyers…..

Scott Morrison – “He won’t be getting any special treatment from Australia, he’ll be getting the same treatment that any other Australian would get.”

Asked whether Australia would fight a move to extradite Assange to the US, Mr Morrison said the Wikileaks founder was at the mercy of the British justice system. ……
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, also commencing the election campaign in Sydney, said Assange was entitled to his day in court but had no view on his extradition to the US.
“I think he should receive consular assistance, beyond that I don’t know all the facts of the matter,” Mr Shorten said. “He should deserve the ability to be represented in court which he will be.” …….https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/julian-assange-won-t-get-any-special-treatment-scott-morrison-20190412-p51dfg.html

April 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and the campaign to criminalise whistleblowing

Collateral Murder?

Chelsea Manning and the New Inquisition Truth Dig, Chris Hedges, 3 Apr 19

The U.S. government, determined to extradite and try Julian Assange for espionage, must find a way to separate what Assange and WikiLeaks did in publishing classified material leaked to them by Chelsea Manning from what The New York Times and The Washington Post did in publishing the same material. There is no federal law that prohibits the press from publishing government secrets. It is a crime, however, to steal them. The long persecution of Manning, who on March 8 was sent back to jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury, is about this issue.

If Manning, a former Army private, admits she was instructed by WikiLeaks and Assange in how to obtain and pass on the leaked material, which exposed U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the publisher could be tried for the theft of classified documents. The prosecution of government whistleblowers was accelerated during the Obama administration, which under the Espionage Act charged eight people with leaking to the media—Thomas Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Kim, Manning, Donald Sachtleben, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou and Edward Snowden. By the time Donald Trump took office, the vital connection between investigative reporters and sources inside the government had been severed.

Manning, who worked as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009, provided WikiLeaks with over 500,000 documents copied from military and government archives, including the “Collateral Murder” video footage of an Army helicopter gunning down a group of unarmed civilians that included two Reuters journalists. She was arrested in 2010 and found guilty in 2013.

The campaign to criminalize whistleblowing has, by default, left the exposure of government lies, fraud and crimes to those who have the skills or access, as Manning and Edward Snowden did, needed to hack into or otherwise obtain government electronic documents. This is why hackers, and those who publish their material such as Assange and WikiLeaks, are being relentlessly persecuted. The goal of the corporate state is to shroud in total secrecy the inner workings of power, especially those activities that violate the law. Movement toward this goal is very far advanced. The failure of news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post to vigorously defend Manning and Assange will soon come back to haunt them. The corporate state hardly intends to stop with Manning and Assange. The target is the press itself………

Manning has always insisted her leak of the classified documents and videos was prompted solely by her own conscience. She has refused to implicate Assange and WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, although President Barack Obama in 2010 commuted her 35-year sentence after she served seven years, she was jailed again for refusing to answer questions before a secret grand jury investigating Assange and WikiLeaks ……

The New York Times, Britain’s The Guardian, Spain’s El País, France’s Le Monde and Germany’s Der Spiegel all published the WikiLeaks files provided by Manning. How could they not? WikiLeaks had shamed them into doing their jobs. But once they took the incendiary material from Manning and Assange, these organizations callously abandoned them. No doubt they assume that by joining the lynch mob organized against the two they will be spared. They must not read history. What is taking place is a series of incremental steps designed to strangle the press and cement into place an American version of China’s totalitarian capitalism……….

“The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation,” Assange writes, “has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.”

That is where we are headed. A few resist. Assange and Manning are two. Those who stand by passively as they are persecuted will be next.  https://www.truthdig.com/articles/chelsea-manning-and-the-silencing-of-the-press/

April 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australia increasing protection for whistleblowers, (at least on matters financial)

Australia ramps up whistleblower protection, International Adviser, By Kirsten Hastings, 21 Feb 19 “…..Individuals who expose illegal or unethical behaviour at Australian institutions will be granted greater protections following updates to the law.

The changes follow a particularly damning period for Australia’s financial services industry, which has been hammered by a Royal Commission into banking, superannuation and financial services…..

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) welcomed the passing of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whilsteblower Protections) Bill 2018, which was approved on 19 February.

What are the reforms?

Collectively, they will:

Broaden the whistleblower definition to include both current and former employees, officers and contractors, as well as their spouses and dependents, and anonymous disclosures.

Extend the protections to whistleblower reports that allege misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances about any matter covered by financial sector laws, as well as all commonwealth offences punishable by imprisonment of 12 months or more.

Create civil penalty provisions, in addition to the existing criminal offences, for causing detriment to (or victimising) a whistleblower and for breaches of confidentiality.

Provide protections for disclosures to journalists and parliamentarians in certain circumstances.

Provide whistleblowers with easier access to compensation and other remedies if they suffer loss…….. https://international-adviser.com/australia-ramps-up-whistleblower-protection/

February 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australian rallies in defense of Julian Assange – March 3 and 10

The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange, Part 1: What’s Torture Got To Do With It?  New Matilda, By Dr Lissa Johnson on February 19, 2019  “…Next month rallies will be held in Sydney and Melbourne in defence of Julian Assange. Protesters will call upon the Australian government to uphold its obligations to its citizens and secure freedom for Assange, whose health is failing is in his ninth year of UN-declared arbitrary detention.

Assange faces extradition to the United States and secret charges for his publishing activities should he step outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. This cross-border, extraterritorial persecution threatens not only Assange’s health, and possibly his life according to a recent UN statement, but poses grave legal risks both to journalism and dissent.

Among the speakers at the Sydney rally will be renowned journalist and film maker John Pilger, who will address protesters in the Amphitheatre at Martin Place on Sunday, March 3rd, from 2pm. The Melbourne rally will be held at the State Library on Sunday March 10th, from 1pm.

The Australian rallies join a growing international chorus of organisations and individuals sounding increasingly urgent alarms over Julian Assange’s plight, and its implications for freedom of speech and democratic rights.

Late last year, as secret US charges against Julian Assange surfaced, and the threat of his imminent extradition to the US loomed, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) issued a strongly worded statement to the UK Government, having previously ruled twice that Assange is being arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

In its statement, the UNWGAD demanded that the UK abide by its “binding” legal obligations and “immediately” secure freedom for Julian Assange. The UN reminded the UK Government that “human rights treaty law is binding law, it is not discretionary law. It is not some passing fancy”.

The same fears prompted 33 EU parliamentarians to write a similarly strongly worded letter to the British Prime Minister, the Ecuadorian President and the UN Secretary General on December 10th, condemning the “very serious and egregious violations of human rights in the heart of Europe.” They called for Assange’s “immediate release, together with his safe passage to a safe country.”

Two German MPs followed with a visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy on December 20th, at which they denounced the violation of Assange’s “fundamental rights” and expressed their “demand that this case has to be solved: that no publisher, no editor, no journalist is detained because of publishing the truth”.

The politicians’ and UN statements added to previous condemnations of Assange’s persecution from Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and a former senior lawyer for the UNHCR and UN Expert on the Promotion of International Order…..https://newmatilda.com/2019/02/19/psychology-getting-julian-assange-part-1-whats-torture-got/

February 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Surveillance of anti-nuclear writers in Australia

Dan Monceaux shared a link.Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 13 Feb 19, 
During 2016, towards the end of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, it became abundantly clear that I was under watch day and night.

Now in 2019, after nearly three successive years of detectable surveillance, I finally got around to requesting my ASIO file. You might like to do the same… especially if you’ve been following or participating in political or scientific discussions related to nuclear energy or weapons for longer than I have.

When I inquired about the process, the National Archives advised me “If you think ASIO may hold records on yourself, please complete and submit this Intelligence or surveillance records inquiry form http://reftracker.naa.gov.au/reft100.aspx?key=05ASIORef. “

February 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australian mining companies dominate in human rights abuses in African countries

Dirty deeds: how to stop Australian miners abroad being linked to death and destruction, The Conversation, Julia Dehm
Lecturer, La Trobe UniversityJanuary 23, 2019 
 Australian companies dominate African mining. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade counts 175 ASX-listed companies operating in 35 African countries. Professional services company PwC reckons there are more than 200, and that “a golden age of Australia-Africa relations has begun”.
But Australian miners also arguably stand implicated in both human rights and environmental abuses in pursuit of Africa’s mineral wealth.

The Human Rights Law Centre has documented serious human rights abuses in the overseas operations of a number of prominent Australian companies. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has linked Australian mining operations to deaths, destruction and displacement across Africa. ……….
Despite the Australian government endorsing the UN declaration – along with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which also covers human rights obligations – there is no real legal obligation for Australian companies operating overseas to abide by such principles.
…….In June 2017 the Australian government established an advisory group for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The group quickly recommended developing a national action plan, in line with international standards. But in October the government announced it was “not proceeding with a national action plan at this time”.

We can do better

Other countries are doing more.

France has introduced a “duty of vigilance” law requiring companies ensure their supply chains respect labour and other human rights.

In Switzerland there is a push for a constitutional amendment obliging Swiss companies to incorporate respect for human rights and the environment in all their activities.

Canada is soon to appoint an independent Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity overseas.

It’s increasingly recognised on a purely pragmatic level there are legal, reputational and financial risks if companies attempt to operate without community consent. Studies show the huge financial costs of conflicts with Indigenous communities, which can delay projects significantly.
Australia law makers, therefore, can do both local communities overseas and domestic investors at home a favour by putting in place adequate mechanisms to ensure Australian companies cause no harm overseas.  https://theconversation.com/dirty-deeds-how-to-stop-australian-miners-abroad-being-linked-to-death-and-destruction-109407

January 24, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian Julian Assange in new danger as Ecuador caves in to USA pressure (and Australian govt does nothing)

More troubles for Julian Assange as ecuador bows to pressure to extradite him following this letter, http://thewikidaily.com/more-troubles-for-julian-asange-as-ecuador-bows-to-pressure-to-extradite-him-following-this-letter/  We have been monitoring Julian asange’s asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in britain to outline the dangers the computer proggrammer and  wikileaks founder face in coming future and it seems alot have been happening lately than the mainstream media’s  are reporting.

Ecuador has begun a “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and citizenship as it looks to the IMF for a bailout, the whistleblowing site reports, with conditions including handing over the WikiLeaks founder.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa tweeted an image of the letter he received from the State Comptroller General on December 19, which outlines the upcoming examination by the Direction National de Auditoria.

The audit will “determine whether the procedures for granting  asylum and naturalization to Julian Assange were carried out in accordance with national and international law,” and will cover the period between January 1, 2012 and September 20, 2018.

Assange has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since he sought asylum there in 2012. He was granted Ecuadorian citizenship last December in a bid to protect him from being extradited to the US where he fears he faces secret charges for publishing US government cables and documents.

WikiLeaks tweeted the news on Wednesday, joining the dots between the audit and Ecuador’s consideration of an International Monetary Fund bailout. The country owes China more than $6.5 billion in debt and falling oil prices have affected its repayment abilities.

According to WikiLeaks, Ecuador is considering a $10 billion bailout which would allegedly come with conditions such as “the US government demanded handing over Assange and dropping environmental claims against Chevron,” for its role in polluting the Amazon rainforest.

Assange’s position has increasingly been under threat under Correa’s successor, President Lenin Moreno, with Ecuadorian authorities restricting his internet access and visitors.“I believe they are going to turn over Assange to the US government,

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment