Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Julian Assange and family suffer as unjust detention continues.

Independent Australia By Binoy Kampmark | 16 June 2022,

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian………………………..

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian…………………..

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian……………………………….

Soft, a voice of reed and bird song, Shipton urged activists and citizens to join the fray, to save his son, to battle for a cause imperishably golden and pure. From this summit, power would be held accountable, institutions would function with sublime transparency, and citizens could be assured that their privacy would be protected. 

In the documentary Ithaka, directed by Ben Lawrence, we see Shipton, Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, the two children, the cat and glimpses of brother Gabriel, all pointing to the common cause that rises to the summit of purpose. The central figure, who only ever manifests in spectral form – on-screen via phone or fleeting footage – is one of moral reminder, the purpose that supplies blood for all these figures. 

Assange is being held at Belmarsh, Britain’s most secure and infamous of prisons, denied bail and being crushed by judicial procedure.  But in these supporters, he has some vestigial reminders of a life outside.

The film’s promotion site describes the subject as ‘the world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’ a figure who has ‘become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes’. ………..

 suffer he shall, if the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel decides to agree to the wishes of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). 

The DOJ insists that their man face 17 charges framed, disgracefully and archaically, from a U.S. law passed during World War I and inimical to free press protections. The Espionage Act of 1917 has become the crutch and support for prosecutors who see, in Assange, less a journalist than an opportunistic hacker who outed informants and betrayed confidences. ……………………..

Through the film, the exhausting sense of media, that estate ever-present but not always listening, comes through. This point is significant enough; the media – at least in terms of the traditional fourth estate – put huge stock in the release of material from WikiLeaks in 2010, hailing the effort and praising the man behind it. 

But relations soured, and tabloid nastiness set in. The Left found tell-all information and tales of Hillary Clinton too much to handle while the Right, having initially revelled in the revelations of WikiLeaks in 2016, took to demonising the herald. Perversely, in the United States, accord was reached across a good number of political denizens: Assange had to go, and to go, he had to be prosecuted in the United Kingdom and extradited to the United States.

The documentary covers the usual highlights without overly pressing the viewer.  A decent run-up is given to the Ecuadorian stint lasting seven years, with Assange’s bundling out, and the Old Bailey proceedings covering extradition. But Shipton and Moris are the ones who provide the balancing acts in this mission to aid the man they both love……….

The film has faced, as with its subject, the usual problems of distribution and discussion. When Assange is mentioned, the dull-minded exit for fear of reputation, and the hysterical pronounce and pounce. 

In Gabriel Shipton’s words

“All of the negative propaganda and character assassination is so pervasive that many people in the sector and the traditional distribution outlets don’t want to be seen as engaging in advocacy for Julian.”

Where Assange goes, the power monopolies recoil. Distribution and the review of a documentary such as Ithaka is bound to face problems in the face of such a compromised, potted media terrain. Assange is a reminder of the plague in the patient of democracy, a pox on the body politic. ……….. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/julian-assange-and-family-suffer-as-unjust-detention-continues,16470#.YqqqxM6TP0M.twitter

June 16, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Book. Fact or Fission? The truth about Australia’s nuclear ambitions. 

Scribe Publications has published a second, updated edition of former Australian Ambassador Prof. Richard Broinowski’s 2003 book Fact or Fission? The truth about Australia’s nuclear ambitions

The book has just been published with two new chapters addressing the implications of the AUKUS announcement that Australia would purchase nuclear-powered submarines fuelled on highly-enriched uranium — see https://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/books/fact-or-fission-9781922585745

Richard is planning to launch the updated Fact or Fission? at bookshops in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. The Sydney launch will be at Gleebooks, Glebe Point Rd, on Tuesday 14 June at 6 pm for 6:30 pm — see https://www.gleebooks.com.au/event/richard-broinowski-fact-or-fission/. The other launches are still to be finalised. The launches offer the opportunity for discussion about Australia’s potential role in nuclear proliferation and Australia’s capture by the US military and the US armaments industry.


Richard Broinowski – Fact or Fission – Gleebooks.com.au
This book examines Australia’s chequered nuclear history – from assisting the United States develop the first atomic bomb in the 1940s, wanting its own nuclear weapons in the 1960s, and then, in sudden reversal, being at the active forefront of international non-proliferation activities in the 1970s and 1980s.www.gleebooks.com.au

June 2, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, media | Leave a comment

Far from having a leftwing bias, the ABC has been tamed by cuts and incessant attacks

So what is to be done? One recommendation I have made to the parliament is to enshrine in legislation the ABC’s funding so that it cannot be stood over by future conservative governments. Such legislation would set a minimum level of ABC funding, indexed for the future, which the government could not fall short of without passing legislation through the Senate.

Second, the independent selection panels for the ABC must be strengthened. When Labor designed the panels, we did not imagine that a future government would be so brazen in ignoring their recommendations. This could include legally limiting the proportion of directors who could be appointed outside the panel process.

Finally, the ABC’s leaders need to toughen up and actually show some leadership in defence of their own institution. They are under attack every single day – whether by the Liberal party, the National party, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Murdoch media, or myriad other arms of the rightwing establishment – and should learn to fight back.

The alternative is to continue seeking to appease the far right. And that only ends badly.

 

Kevin Rudd,  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/10/far-from-having-a-leftwing-bias-the-abc-has-been-tamed-by-cuts-and-incessant-attacks?CMP=share_btn_tw 10 May 22, Under the Coalition, the national broadcaster has been domesticated to the point of overcorrecting for perceived partisanship.

When your opponent is determined for war, history teaches us appeasement does not work. Indeed, unilateral concessions are often counterproductive: they weaken your position and embolden your adversary.

Sadly, these are lessons that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, by and large, has failed to learn. Over the past decade of conservative rule, the national broadcaster has been gradually tamed by an unrelenting campaign of bullying, intimidation and delegitimisation.

The clearest example is the ABC’s budget. Despite a crystal-clear election promise in 2013 of “no cuts to the ABC”, the national broadcaster is facing $1.2bn of cumulative cuts over a decade. These cuts have felled two television programs that were crucial to government accountability, Lateline and the state-based 7.30 program (once known as Stateline), among many others.

Most government ministers, no matter their level of ability, can navigate a short daily press conference or a local radio interview. But you can’t fake your way through a 15-minute grilling on live television where premiers and prime ministers have their mastery of the issues put to the test. Also gone are statewide radio bulletins, digital transcripts and programs like the Media Report, which examined the rapid changes to how information flows in our democracy.

The cuts have not stopped at our water’s edge. Our national security has been undermined by the axing of the ABC’s Australia Network, which broadcast high-quality television throughout the Pacific while adding to the ABC’s overall pool of foreign correspondents. Radio Australia’s shortwave radio service – an essential lifeline that amplified our national interests and democratic values to remote Pacific Island countries – has also been axed. And while Australia has retreated, China has spent billions to expand its global media presence with Xi Jinping vowing to “tell Chinese stories well” and “make the voice of China heard”.

The Coalition government also exerts control by quietly stacking the ABC’s board with directors hand-picked by the minister, directly ignoring the recommendations of independent merit-based selection processes established under legislation by my government. This includes Ita Buttrose, a former Murdoch editor and Liberal party fundraiser, as its chair. At one stage, five of the eight government-appointed board members were not recommended on merit.

These appointments risk affecting decision-making at the highest levels. One apparent example was when Buttrose’s predecessor, Justin Milne, responded to government complaints by demanding journalist Emma Alberici’s head. “They hate her,” Milne reportedly wrote in an email to then managing director Michelle Guthrie. “We are tarred with her brush. I think it’s simple. Get rid of her. We need to save the ABC – not Emma. There is no guarantee they will lose the next election.” Alberici was eventually forced out. Milne denied there had been any interference by the government in the ABC and said the “interests of the ABC have always been utmost in my mind”

But the most insidious way the government domesticates the ABC isn’t through budget cuts or board appointments; it is through incessant attacks on the national broadcaster over alleged systemic leftwing bias in its news and current affairs.

These attacks have always been fanciful. There have always been prominent conservatives at the ABC. Consider two of the ABC’s recent chief political correspondents: Mark Simkin later became Tony Abbott’s press secretary; Chris Uhlmann was a protege of deeply conservative MP Paul Osborne. Other presenters include Tom Switzer, who sought preselection for the Liberal party and runs the Centre for Independent Studies. Some ABC staff, like Phillip Adams, have been involved in left-of-centre causes over the years.

Nonetheless, the Liberal party attacks persist because they serve multiple purposes. First, they delegitimise the ABC, fuelling the idea that reporting that exposes the government’s failures cannot be believed. The ABC’s critics often claim to detest cancel culture, but they would love nothing more than to cancel the ABC.

Second, by doing so, the Liberals curry favour with Rupert Murdoch, who has a direct financial stake in undermining public broadcasters, be they the ABC in Australia, PBS and NPR in the United States, or the BBC in the United Kingdom. Murdoch hates any media he can’t control, and he wants the ABC privatised.

Third, they normalise the idea that Murdoch’s national stranglehold on print media is OK because it’s merely a rightwing counterbalance to the leftwing ABC. This is ludicrous; the ABC has robust standards, rigorous complaints processes, and is accountable to parliament. News Corporation is functionally unregulated, its political bias is way off the Richter scale, and it acts like a petulant child at the very suggestion that it be compelled to answer questions at a commission of inquiry about their monstrous levels of monopoly.

The Murdochs insist they have nothing to hide, while claiming the ABC is compromised. If they actually believed this, they would have welcomed a wide-ranging media royal commission years ago.

Fourth, and most importantly, the Liberals use these tactics because they subtly condition the ABC’s staff to be hyperconscious about confirming the stereotype. You can see it in the eyes of television reporters who, having caught themselves in the act of saying something that could be construed as vaguely leftwing, will rush to invoke a Coalition talking point (even if they know it is false) or engage in facile “both sides” arguments that draw a false equivalence between the two parties.

Continue reading

May 10, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

The US Cries About War Crimes While Imprisoning A Journalist For Exposing Its War Crimes

 https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/the-us-cries-about-war-crimes-while?s=w. 20 Apr 22, In what his lawyers have described as a “brief but significant moment in the case,” a British magistrates’ court has signed off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, bringing the WikiLeaks founder one step closer to a US trial under the Espionage Act which threatens press freedoms worldwide.

The extradition case now goes to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval, which will likely be forthcoming as Patel is a reliably loyal empire manager. After that point, Assange’s legal team will be able to launch an appeal. 

This is happening at the same time the United States and the United Kingdom are loudly demanding accountability for alleged war crimes by the Russian military in Ukraine, which is interesting because attempting to bring accountability for war crimes is precisely why Julian Assange is in prison.

“He is a war criminal,” President Biden said of Vladimir Putin following allegations of war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine earlier this month. “I think it is a war crime. … He should be held accountable.”

Biden: Putin should face war crimes trial for Bucha killings 4 April 2022

Wikileaks 5 April – 12 years ago today 5 Julian Assange published the Collateral Murder video detailing the gunning down of civilians, children & 2 Reuters journalists. Assange faces a 175 year sentence if extradited for revealing this and other war crimes

This is why the US government is trying to extradite Julian Assange: for revealing the US massacre of civilians, including two Reuters journalists in Iraq

And that’s all I’d like to say here today, really. That this discrepancy is very interesting.

I mean, can we take a moment to deeply appreciate the irony of this? Because it’s so obscene and outrageous it’s actually hard to take in unless you really let it absorb. The most powerful government in the world, which serves as the hub of the most powerful empire that has ever existed, is working to extradite a journalist for exposing its war crimes while simultaneously rending its garments over war crime allegations against another government.

I mean, damn. You would think a power structure that had recently been caught red-handed committing war crimes and is currently in the process of imprisoning a journalist for exposing those war crimes would at least have the sense not to yell too loudly about war crimes for a little while. But this is how confident the empire is in its ability to control the narrative.

Really take it in. Really digest it. The more you think about it, the freakier it gets. Not only is the empire persecuting a journalist for exposing its war crimes while at the same time demanding that others be held accountable for war crimes, it is also attacking the free press for reporting the truth about the powerful while at the very same time engaging in a massive propaganda operation which holds that it is involved in Ukraine to protect its freedom and democracy.

I mean, the gall. The absolute temerity. The balls on this empire, man.

I have said it before and I will say it again: Assange exposed many ugly realities about the powerful in his work with WikiLeaks, but everything that he has managed to expose thereafter simply by forcing them to prosecute him far surpasses the revelations in those publications.

If the highest form of journalism is exposing the darkest secrets of the most powerful people in the world, then Julian Assange is the highest form of journalist.

April 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

The Australian media colludes with USA, UK and Australian governments’ persecution ofJulian Assange -”Crikey journal” typifies this

Australian media must stand up for Assange’s freedom, https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/australian-media-must-stand-up-for-assanges-freedom,15918 By Matilda Duncan | 10 January 2022,  For far too long the Australian media has remained silent in the face of Julian Assange’s persecution and that must change, writes Matilda Duncan.

LAST MONTH, Crikey’s legal correspondent Michael Bradley wrote a bizarre analysis of Julian Assange’s impending extradition to the U.S. without any regard for basic facts.

It’s worth examining, as it typifies the failures and absurdities of Australian press responses to Assange going back a decade — filled with lies, smears and false narratives that prevent the public from understanding the significance and substance of his case.

In writing about one of the gravest threats to press freedom in years, Bradley went as far as to include a cringeworthy – if not downright pernicious, given Assange recently suffered a stroke and is in precarious health – reference to a Monty Python quote being inscribed on Assange’s tombstone that ‘he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy’. 

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

In allowing his thoughts to remain mired in diversionary debates and myths about WikiLeaks and Assange, Bradley completely misses the point of the U.S. extradition case and fails to mention the dire threat to investigative journalism around the world it presents.

He does not confront or condemn the alarming legal precedent of the United States charging a foreign national, one of our citizens, with espionage under U.S domestic law — despite Assange not being a U.S. citizen and WikiLeaks not being a U.S.-based publication.

Bradley writes:

‘WikiLeaks broke new ground but mainly in volume and approach, not content.’

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks – in partnership with numerous mainstream media outlets, including The New York TimesThe Guardian and Der Spiegel – published a curated cache of 250,000 diplomatic cables revealing the corruption and destruction of the Bush-era and early Obama-era wars, into which Australia so subserviently followed.

Without Assange’s work, numerous war crimes, mass surveillance schemes and unreported civilian casualties would have gone uncovered. In one year, he generated more consequential journalistic scoops confronting Western centres of power than the rest of the world’s news organisations combined.

Some of the information published by Assange has since become the subject of criminal investigations into the CIA and U.S. authorities before the International Criminal Court, which, as lawyers for Assange testified during his extradition hearing, is further evidence that the U.S. case against him is politically motivated.

Further, irrefutable illustrations of the significance of the “content” of Assange’s work can be found in comparisons between it and the lies and deceptions fed to the Australian population by this country’s press in the Iraq War years. Consider, as just one example of many, WikiLeaks’ publishing of the detainee assessment briefs and manual for Guantanamo Bay, where children as young as 15 were held, in contrast with the vapid first-hand account of the illegal prison presented by one of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s top foreign correspondents, Leigh Sales.  

In 2007, Sales wrote of her second visit to Gitmo:

‘At the same time, my own eyes and ears led me to believe that Guantanamo wasn’t as barbaric as it was made out to be either. None of the detainees came running to the wire, begging for help to get out.’

One Guantanamo Bay prisoner has recently waived his right to appear in court on numerous occasions because he suffered “rectal damage” while in custody of the CIA that makes it too painful for him to sit.

According to Bradley, it’s Assange that’s the “problem”, not the CIA spying on Assange and planning to kidnap or assassinate him with the help of UC Global as he held political asylum inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. After UC Global installed microphones in 2017, all of Assange’s conversations were recorded, including those he had with his lawyers outlining his defence strategy for the current case against him.

This is likely a violation of attorney-client privilege in itself and might be reason enough to throw out the U.S. case against him.

Bradley wasted his words on puerile arguments about Assange being a “tarnished hero” instead of communicating the most pressing things to know about Assange: six of the 18 counts against him are Espionage Act charges that criminalise the obtaining of ‘national defense information’, something journalists that report on their governments do every day.

Ten other counts relate to  the disclosure of national defense information. Again, a regular task for many journalists. One further ‘conspiracy to commit computer intrusion’ count relates to Assange allegedly offering to help Chelsea Manning crack a security code to help her avoid detection while she was obtaining U.S. Government documents.

This is a charge that amounts to an attempt to criminalise a journalist assisting a source to protect themselves, yet another activity that responsible journalists regularly engage in.

Even more terrifyingly, the case against Assange centres around “national defence information”, a nebulous term that might be applied to whatever information the U.S. Government so chooses. It doesn’t even have to be classified or top-secret information — much of the information leaked by Manning was unclassified and widely accessible to others in government.

It has been recognised with press awards around the world for over a decade now, including a Walkley, and exposed human rights abuses globally. It is plain wrong to say that Assange did not redact the information he released — the compelling eyewitness testimony from Mark Davis can directly attest to that.

Further, there is no evidence of anyone becoming endangered by his reporting. In fact a 2013 investigation by McClatchy found officials couldn’t point to any examples of lives being endangered by WikiLeaks and in 2010, Obama officials privately admitted that any damage from the leaks was “limited” and that their public comments about the leaks having “seriously damaged American interests” were intended “to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers”.

‘Like anyone who attains the status of iconic mystery, Assange  not actually seen freely moving in public in a decade  has become less person and more mirror reflecting the meanings we choose to attach to him and his experiences. What he actually thinks is known only to him, and his lawyers presumably.’

Bradley was correct on one thing: using the word “mirror” in connection with Assange. This citizen of ours bravely risked his life and liberty to tell us ugly truths about U.S. imperial power and military machinery, which this country so strongly enables and supports.

He reflected right back at this country snippets of the destruction and mass civilian deaths we willingly participated in. His brave journalism exposed the bulk of our country’s media as the petty, unserious talking heads they are: journalists that don’t actually serve the public, but parrot the lies they are told by governments.

Contrary to what Bradley says, what Assange “actually thinks” has been well-documented for years now.

After seven years of arbitrary detention followed by three years of solitary confinement and other tortures in London’s Belmarsh Prison, Assange thinks of suicide constantly. That the U.S. is slowly killing this Australian journalist, partner and father before our eyes for exposing war crimes while the Australian Government does nothing and the majority of our press either remains silent or – when they say anything at all – write flippant and inaccurate stories about him demonstrates just how broken this country’s media is.

It shows how unaware we are of the press freedom we are about to lose and how deeply needed the work of Julian Assange and others of his ilk is.

April 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, secrets and lies, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Why the ABC cannot rely on the coalition

April 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

Friendlyjordies allegations against Dutton met with silence.


Friendlyjordies allegations against Dutton met with silence, Independent Australia
,

By Victoria Fielding | 7 March 2022  An exposé on Peter Dutton by independent journalist Friendlyjordies has been ignored by the mainstream media, writes Dr Victoria Fielding.

On Friday last week, independent investigative journalist, Jordan Shanks (Friendlyjordies), released an explosive video about one of the most powerful Ministers in the Morrison Government. Since then, the story has sunk without a trace. What is going on?

Is this the mainstream news media refusing to admit Friendlyjordies has beaten them to a scandal, or is Defence Minister Peter Dutton being protected from scrutiny by his mates in the media?

As of writing, over 300,000 people have watched the Friendlyjordies piece. The investigation intricately maps out some very specific allegations about the business dealings of Dutton’s friends, including sources alleging sex scandals, drugs and dodgy dealings in lucrative government contracts.

One of the people involved in the web of intrigue exposed by Shanks is Ryan Shaw, who up until Wednesday was the Liberal National Party’s candidate for the marginal seat of Lilley. Shaw, an Army veteran, has been campaigning in the seat for months, including with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The seat is held by Labor MP Anika Wells by the wafer-thin margin of 0.64 per cent. Not just any candidate gets placed in a must-win marginal seat. Shaw’s withdrawal, citing family and mental health issues, is a big loss to the L-NP considering they are left without a candidate weeks out from the Election and after the much-wasted investment of time and resources.

Although it is impossible to know exactly why Shaw withdrew, it is more than a little coincidental that the decision was made at the exact same time as Shanks and his team were questioning Shaw about his involvement with people in the incredibly suspect chain of events detailed in the video.

I’ve spent a lot of time around politics and I know a candidate doesn’t withdraw their cand

I’ve spent a lot of time around politics and I know a candidate doesn’t withdraw their candidacy over any small thing. The Friendlyjordies allegations, if they could be batted away, no doubt would have been to save Shaw’s position. Yet they weren’t.

But it isn’t just Shaw who had questions to answer over his association with people directly implicated by allegations in the explosive story. Peter Dutton is also associated with key players.

Not only does Dutton hold the powerful position of Minister for Defence, but he is also a contender for leader of the Liberal Party, should Morrison choose to step down after the Election. This scandal therefore has all the ingredients you would think the mainstream media would need to make it top priority for journalist follow up.

Senior Minister in the Morrison Government — check. A high profile candidate stepping down seemingly for no reason weeks out from the Election — check. Allegations of government contracts being used to enrich Liberal Party donors — check. Allegations of drug-fueled parties and drug-taking — check…………..

On Sunday, by chance, Peter Dutton was interviewed at length by David Speers on ABC’s Insiders program. It is true that there is much on the Defence Minister’s agenda, what with the war in Ukraine and the Queensland and NSW floods, but there was plenty of time for at least one question about the Shanks allegations in the video. The Minister is not meant to define the agenda of the interview; the whole point of such questioning is to hold the Minister to account. This opportunity was missed.

So, what makes this story so untouchable by mainstream journalists?…………………

Whatever role Dutton has played in this scandal, he should be answerable to the public. And if the news media refuses to even mention the story, let alone pressure Dutton to explain his involvement, then it is a very sad day indeed for democracy. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/friendlyjordies-allegations-against-dutton-met-with-silence,16122

March 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

Caitlin Johnstone: Freedom & Democracy Via Censorship. Australian government and media join in

You’d think a free society would have no objection to people trying to learn about the other side of  a war in which NATO powers very plainly had a hand in starting. By Caitlin Johnstone 4 Mar 22,  Consortium News

CaitlinJohnstone.com              Kremlin-backed media outlets have been banned throughout the European Union, both on television and on apps and online platforms. RT has lost its Sky TV slot in the U.K., where the outlet is also blocked on YouTube.

Australian TV providers SBS and Foxtel have dropped RT, and the federal government is putting pressure on social media platforms to block Russian media in Australia.

In the Czech RepublicSlovakia and Latvia, speaking in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will get you years in prison.

Twitter, historically the last of the major online platforms to jump on any new internet censorship escalation, is now actively minimizing the number of people who see Russian media content, saying that it is “reducing the content’s visibility” and “taking steps to significantly reduce the circulation of this content on Twitter.” This is exactly what I speculated might emerge after former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey resigned in November, due to previous comments supporting the tactic of censorship-by-algorithm by his successor Parag Agrawal.

Twitter is also placing warnings labels on all Russia-backed media and delivering a pop-up message informing you that you are committing wrongthink if you try to share or even “like” a post linking to such outlets on the platform. It has also placed the label “Russia state-affiliated media” on every tweet made by the personal accounts of employees of those platforms, baselessly giving the impression that the dissident opinions tweeted by those accounts are paid Kremlin content and not simply their own legitimate perspectives. Some are complaining that this new label has led to online harassment amid the post-9/11-like anti-Russia hysteria that’s currently turning western brains into clam chowder

(Many Tweets quoted here)

This is all on top of all the other drastic escalations in censorship which came roaring in at the beginning of the Ukraine war, and I personally find it a bit scary how fast it’s all happening, how fine people are with it, and how much worse it seems likely to get.

Others agree.

“The purge of RT and other Russian media outlets in the US and Europe is 100% censorship,” tweets journalist Michael Tracey. “Go ahead and argue it’s justified, but at least don’t be a coward and admit you are advocating censorship.”

“The western world believes that it has a monopoly on what constitutes ‘political truth’ and that their ideological worldview is the only correct, valid and authoritative one,” writer and analyst Tom Fowdy observed. “They preach freedom of speech and the press to other countries, but exempt themselves from it.”

And I can’t help but find it odd that the fight for freedom and democracy should require such copious amounts of censorship. You’d think a free society would have no objection to people trying to learn the other side of the debate about a war which NATO powers very plainly had a hand in starting, rather than being forced to consume only Western mass media narratives which tell us this is happening exclusively because Russian President Vladimir Putin is evil and Hitlery and hates freedom…………..

It makes you wonder if we have foolishly consented to a reality where the most powerful people in the world get to control the information people consume in order to shut down dissent against a murderous and oppressive globe-spanning oligarchic empire.

And it kind of makes you wonder, as we watch the same empire that just destroyed Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen being entrusted to carefully navigate extremely delicate nuclear brinkmanship escalations without ending the world, if we might perhaps be better off with a lot more dissent, rather than a lot less. https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/03/caitlin-johnstone-freedom-democracy-via-censorship/

March 5, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

The ABC is under the biggest attack in its history 

The ABC is under the biggest attack in its history  https://www.sarahhansonyoung.com/save_our_abc_petition?recruiter_id=759870

Our ABC is facing death by a thousand cuts – totalling over half a BILLION dollars – from the Liberals who can’t handle the public broadcaster doing its job and holding those in power to account. Sadly, our democracy is going to be far worse off for it.

Not only has the Morrison Government failed to restore the millions of dollars of funding they have cut from the ABC year after year, there is now no future funding for the Enhanced News Gathering program.

Our ABC is facing death by a thousand cuts – totalling over half a BILLION dollars – from the Liberals who can’t handle the public broadcaster doing its job and holding those in power to account. Sadly, our democracy is going to be far worse off for it.

Not only has the Morrison Government failed to restore the millions of dollars of funding they have cut from the ABC year after year, there is now no future funding for the Enhanced News Gathering program.

The ABC has been a vital source of information during the pandemic and helped save lives during the catastrophic summer bushfires immediately before that.

To do its job as the public expects, to continue producing the new Australians trust and the stories we love, the ABC must be well-funded. 

The ABC needs allies, now more than ever.

February 5, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

Information wars: are we getting a fair view of China’s treatment of Uyghurs?

Information wars: are we getting a fair view of China’s treatment of Uyghurs?
MICHAEL WEST MEDIA|By Michael Sainsbury|February 3, 2022 ”…………………….. 

The Five-Eyes/China Propaganda War,

There is a propaganda war. It pits the China Communist Party against the West, led by the Five Eyes – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. To these we can also add Japan and South Korea, China’s mutually wary north Asian neighbours.

The latest battle in the war is being fought here in Australia over the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s report Uyghurs for Sale: ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang. Its main theme is the re-education camps in Xinjiang and subsequent sending Uyghurs out for what it describes as forced labour in factories in the east of China in tough conditions, although they are paid rather than enslaved.

Considering that many of these factories are used by well-known Western clothing and retail brands, the report has sent shockwaves through the industry, with some withdrawing work from these factories.

Lawyer and activist Jaq James has prepared a lengthy rebuttal. Her paper,  The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Uyghurs for Sale Report: Scholarly Analysis or Strategic Disinformation?, offers as a detailed unpicking ASPI’s reporting as loose/fudged and often second and third hand, as well as resulting in Uyghurs losing their jobs.

Lead author on ASPI’s report is analyst, journalist and comedian Vicky Xu. Xu and her work have received widespread publicity in mainstream media. Yet the coverage has been devoid of scrutiny. Scrutiny has come however in independent media, particularly in John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations, which has run   stories by Jaq James and others questioning Xu’s claims.
The biggest problem with both the reports is a lack of context…………https://www.michaelwest.com.au/information-wars-are-we-getting-a-fair-view-of-chinas-treatment-of-uyghurs/

February 3, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Channel 10’s ”The Project” did have the guts to show Australia the Kimba nuclear waste dump story

How happy was the nuclear lobby, to keep this under wraps from the Australian public.!

In typical form, the nuclear lobby chooses a rather remote small rural community, and then blankets thenm with propaganda from ANSTO and any other pro nuclear institution they can find. Only the pro nuclear spin got to that community.along with lovely financial ”incentives”.

In the current floods, no media mention is made of the clear threats to a Napandee nuclear waste dump, from flooding – to add to the other threats, such as the ruination of the local agricultural reputation.

Only Channel 10 has had the guts. And I write as a person who is biased against the commercial TV channels. Always a fan of the ABC – I now see it as a rather timourouis organisation, always in dread of having their funding cut – as the Scott Morrison government continues in the good old Liberal tradition of death to the ABC by a thousand cuts.

February 2, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, media | Leave a comment

The past decade has seen stunning change. The next 10 years will be breathtaking

the share of renewables in January, 2022, in Australia’s main grid is 34.4 per cent. Wind and solar alone account for 28 per cent. Solar accounted for 12.6 per cent of generation over the last 12 months, and will now likely deliver half of all generation by 2050 – not three per cent.

That 1.5°C is the only target that really matters. The federal Coalition government insists we need new technology to get us there. But nearly all the tools we will need are already at our disposal. The only thing missing, at least at the federal level, is leadership. And in a few months’ time, at the next federal election, there will be an opportunity to get that right.

The past decade has seen stunning change. The next 10 years will be breathtaking, https://reneweconomy.com.au/the-past-decade-has-seen-stunning-change-the-next-10-years-will-be-breathtaking/ Giles Parkinson 30 January 2022.

They said it couldn’t be done. There was no way Australia could reach 20 per cent renewables by 2020, we were told. And yet we did. And then we were told there was too much wind and solar. Now it is clear there is not nearly enough.

It is now exactly a decade since the RenewEconomy website appeared and published its first articles. Australia, at the time, was yet to build its first large-scale solar farm; the carbon price had not yet been put in place, the finishing touches were being put on a re-booted renewable energy target and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and geothermal and solar thermal were supposed to be the next big thing.

At the time, the transition to a grid dominated by wind and solar appeared as some sort of flight of fancy.

Sure, some utilities like Origin spent tens of millions on solar and geothermal technologies, before throwing billions into LNG. The then chief executive of AGL, Michael Fraser, used to indulge our questions with responses such as “seeing it’s you guys, I guess we better talk about solar.” A few months later, AGL spent billions becoming the biggest generator of coal in the country and the biggest emitter. It is still trying to find a way out of that mess.

But there was no doubt that many legacy utilities could already see what was coming and how much was at stake. The small amounts of rooftop solar in the grid were already pointing to a future of deep duck curves and negative prices, and the incumbents used their regulatory and political influence to fight furiously against any moves to encourage rooftop solar or energy efficiency. Some of them still are.

Big business didn’t want the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to intervene in the market, because they wanted new technologies to be kept in the lab. Some still do. The coal lobby was arguing that it shouldn’t be expected to invest in carbon capture and storage because it was clearly not commercial, and wouldn’t be for another couple of decades. It’s too late for coal, but now the gas and oil industry are trotting out a similar argument.

In the month that RenewEconomy first published, with a team of just two (myself and still deputy editor Sophie Vorrath), there was a negligible amount of renewables in the grid – an average of 4.6 per cent over the month of January, 2012. Most of it was hydro. The official forecasts were equally dismissive – a federal government white paper predicted that solar, might, at best deliver 3 per cent of generation by 2050, or one per cent by 2030.

RenewEconomy, even in those early days, sensed that the transition might go a lot quicker than that. Firstly, because it needed to, secondly because it was clear it would be supported by great licks of capital, and thirdly  because learning curves pointed to a future of low cost renewables.

Fast forward a decade and the share of renewables in January, 2022, in Australia’s main grid is 34.4 per cent. Wind and solar alone account for 28 per cent. Solar accounted for 12.6 per cent of generation over the last 12 months, and will now likely deliver half of all generation by 2050 – not three per cent.

That transition has brought extraordinary change. Coal fired power stations, if they couldn’t before, now see the writing on the wall and are preparing for closure, although they are still using their regulatory and political clout to make the case for one more major handout as the transition accelerates around them.

South Australia, thanks to its good resources and a government that made it clear it would welcome investment in renewables, leads the way with the a world-topping 62.5 per cent share for wind and solar (as a percentage of local demand) in the last 12 months.

South Australia has already delivered a week long period where wind and solar delivered more than local demand, and it is expected to reach “net 100 per cent” renewables (calculated over a year), well ahead of the official state target of 2030.

Remarkably, that net 100 per cent renewables will come from wind and solar only. It will be an extraordinary achievement and the knowledge gained from operating such a system will set a blueprint for the world to follow.

Yes, it will rely on storage, demand management, links to other states for exports and some imports, and some fossil fuel generation in wind and solar droughts, but having a gigawatt-scale grid in a modern economy meet the equivalent of 100 per cent of its demand over a year will be extraordinary.

And as stunning as the last decade has been, the next decade could be breathtaking because the market is now looking at green exports, in the form of electricity and hydrogen and ammonia, and green manufacturing, which can all focus their demand on when the sun shines and the wind blows. As the big utilities now admit, you can say goodbye to “baseload”.

As we look to the next decade, it is clear that coal generation may have disappeared from NSW by 2032, and fossil fuel cars will make up only a tiny fraction of new vehicle purchases. The share of renewables in the grid will be well above 80 per cent and could be heading towards 100 per cent.

Just to be clear on that point, the Australian Energy Market Operator expects the share of renewables to be around 80 per cent by 2030 according to what the overall industry considers to be the new “most likely” scenario, known as “step change.”

Crucially, mainstream politics is embracing it. Labor’s emissions targets, still well short of what’s needed for 1.5°C, assume an 82 per cent share of renewables in the main grid by 2030. Even the federal Coalition is dialing in a 69 per cent share of renewables in its woefully inadequate emissions targets.

Australian billionaires such as Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes have already helped change the public discourse on the green energy transition, and if their bold plans – and those of others – come true, Australia will be an exporter of green hydrogen, green ammonia, green electricity, and green materials in the form of steel and other manufactured products.

Continue reading

February 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, media | Leave a comment

Does Channel 10’s ”The Project” have the guts to tell the truth about the government’s planned Kimba nuclear waste dump?

You would have thought, with the present flooding of the Kimba area, and indeed, of much of Northern South Australia, that concern about planning a nuclear waste dump there would be an ‘‘urgent item of news”

Indeed, Channel 10’s ”The Project” had 2 hours of interview s about the dump sll ready.

In a rare media event, they had interviewed No Dump advocates Kimba farmers Peter & Sue Woodford & Barngarla Traditional Owner Jason Bilney 

Of course they’d also interviewed pro-dumpers.

But anyway, Channel 10 decided that this matter is not ”urgent” – and it’s gone on the back burner.

But instead, they’ve managed to put a reassuring spiel from The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, (just in case the wider world in Australia might get a bit worried about the situation)

  • Roni Skipworth, No nuclear waste dump anywhere in South Australia , 31 Jan 22, Was told today the Interviews Peter and Sue were involved with was 2 hours long and was suppose to be shown tonight on the Project though they got a message saying they will view it later in the week as an urgent report needed to go first.
  • Let’s see how long they take to telecast it and also they just didn’t interview the Woolfords from No Nuclear Waste Dump on Agriculture Land. They interviewed the Yes Group also where Ramsay visited Kimba as well to put his bit in. Be interested to see what replaced the time slot tonight. This interview should had happened 6 years ago not just now!
  •  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929

January 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, media | Leave a comment

Is US extradition inevitable for Julian Assange? | The Stream

Aljazeera English, 14 January 2022, It’s been more than a decade since the website WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos – some of which revealed possible US war crimes. Now WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has one more chance to appeal a UK ruling that would allow him to be extradited to the US.

Last month, a UK High Court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking and violating the US Espionage Act. The ruling goes against a lower court that previously said harsh US prison conditions would endanger Assange given his worsening mental and physical health.

Assange’s legal team has since filed an appeal to Britain’s Supreme Court, but in order for the appeal to be considered, it must be deemed of “general public importance”.

n 2019, the Trump administration indicted Assange for violating the US Espionage Act on counts related to the WikiLeaks release of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables. The US argues the release of classified information put the lives of American allies in danger.

Twenty-four civil liberties and press freedom groups, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, PEN America and Reporters Without Borders have called on the Biden administration to stop its prosecution against Assange. In a joint letter to the US Justice Department, they argue that Assange’s prosecution could set a precedent that would harm press freedom and the safety of journalists reporting on national security issues.

Assange spent seven years in refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and was eventually arrested in 2019. Last week, Assange’s supporters marked his 1,000th day of imprisonment at London’s Belmarsh high security prison.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss the outlook for Assange’s case and its broader implications for press freedom worldwide.

January 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

Australian government and Labor opposition ignore the suffering of Julian Assange. Can they afford to, as election looms?

If he dies, his death will have been caused by, among others, politicians in Australia who have the diplomatic power to bring him home,” Pilger said.“Scott Morrison, in particular, will have Julian’s life and suffering on his hands, along with those in the Labor opposition who have kept a cowardly silence.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, among others, has said that Scott Morrison must urge the US and Britain to release Assange and let him return to Australia.

the “noise” in parliament combined with more public awareness of Assange’s dire state may present a headache for the government as polls loom.

Saving Julian Assange,  Last week, the British High Court ruled that Julian Assange can be extradited to face charges in the United States. His fiancée, Stella Moris, vows to continue the fight alongside his network of supporters. By Amy Fallon.  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2021/12/18/saving-julian-assange/163974600013099?fbclid=IwAR2dLaNxKG0FTyBvywjYpL_HpxPb8RWA6rF0mQwIE-X8Pnd8TMbAzkWed2Y#mt This week, Stella Moris said she and Julian Assange still intended to marry in the new year, although they have not set a date. She is currently speaking to the prison about arrangements. Moris hopes it will be a ceremony attended by close family and friends, with their children, Gabriel, 4, and Max, 2, taking part.

“The High Court ruling has made things even more precarious than before,” she tells The Saturday Paper.

“But that has only strengthened our determination to celebrate what is constant and certain in our lives – our love and support for each other.”

Moris is a South-African born lawyer and an activist in her own right. Her family were involved in the anti-apartheid battle. After the British High Court ruled that her fiancé could be extradited to the United States, her response was simple: “We will fight.”

“History will not spare them if we lose a man who is not only innocent of any crime but a genuine hero in the extraordinary public service he has performed for millions of people.”

She sees the case in these terms: “Every generation has an epic fight to fight, and this is ours, because Julian represents the fundamentals of what it means to live in a free society.”Last week’s decision was made after two of Britain’s most senior judges ruled Assange, earlier deemed a suicide risk, had received assurances from the US that he would not face the strictest measures before a trial or once convicted. They found a lower court had erred in offering him protection.

“That risk is in our judgement excluded by the assurances which are offered,” one of the judges, Lord Burnett, said. “It follows that we are satisfied that, if the assurances had been before the judge, she would have answered the relevant question differently.”

British Home Secretary Priti Patel must now approve Assange’s extradition. Lawyers for the 50-year-old are appealing the decision. Subsequent hearings are likely to raise the issue of free speech, which campaigners say is at the heart of the case involving the Walkley Award-winning journalist.Many around the world are now calling on the Australian government to intervene and save Assange’s life before it’s too late.

“There seem to be no limits to the savagery of the Anglosphere – US, UK, Australia – in exacting revenge for the crime of informing the population of what the powerful want to conceal,” the intellectual and activist Noam Chomsky later told The Saturday Paper.

He urged followers of Julian Assange, wanted by the US for breaking espionage laws after publishing hundreds of thousands of Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and diplomatic cables, to “get organised”.

“And act,” added Chomsky, because there was “not much time”.
Another two to three years may drag on before the extradition is resolved. Australian journalist John Pilger, who described Assange as “frail and skeletal” the last time he hugged his friend in 2020, said the fact he was still alive was remarkable.

Last weekend’s revelation, that Assange had suffered a stroke in October, didn’t shock the veteran reporter. A month earlier, a Yahoo News report revealed that the CIA allegedly planned to assassinate Assange.

“If he dies, his death will have been caused by, among others, politicians in Australia who have the diplomatic power to bring him home,” Pilger said.“Scott Morrison, in particular, will have Julian’s life and suffering on his hands, along with those in the Labor opposition who have kept a cowardly silence. History will not spare them if we lose a man who is not only innocent of any crime but a genuine hero in the extraordinary public service he has performed for millions of people.”

To Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, Julian, is a “bad dancer” with a “dorky sense of humour”. But, he says, “he is very sweet with his children, very good with kids, and a very principled man”.

Shipton produced the recent documentary Ithaka, which tells the story of Gabriel and Julian’s father’s struggle to have Assange freed.“Often people lose sight that these are actual real people involved, not just a head on a screen, or a headline, that this is a person’s father, brother, partner,” Shipton says. “Once people find out about how tragic the actual injustice that Julian suffered [is], and through no fault of their own his family are suffering, they’re quite confronted that they’ve allowed it to carry on for as long as it has.”

Shipton concedes the fight is just as much or even more political than legal, and others echo this. “There is no doubt that [this] aggressive and relentless pursuit is driven by the US security and defence state,” said Greg Barns, a barrister and adviser to the Australian Assange campaign.

A bipartisan Australian Parliamentary Friends of the Bring Julian Assange Home group comprises 25 senators and MPs, but was adding “about one member or so monthly”, says Shipton. In the past week, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has spoken out against Assange being sent to the US. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, among others, has said that Scott Morrison must urge the US and Britain to release Assange and let him return to Australia. The opposition has urged the government to encourage the US to close the matter, although it has not elaborated on what it means by this.According to Kellie Tranter, a Maitland-based lawyer, human rights activist, researcher and former WikiLeaks Party candidate, the “noise” in parliament combined with more public awareness of Assange’s dire state may present a headache for the government as polls loom.

“If the level of interest keeps increasing, the government may feel obliged to act as the Howard government did in the case of David Hicks,” she says, referring to the former Guantánamo Bay detainee. “The last thing the government wants is this case soaking up oxygen in place of its policies. It’s public criticism, which is exactly what they wanted to avoid in the case of Hicks.”Tranter points out that progressive campaign group GetUp! played a critical role in Hicks’s repatriation by making his detention by the US an election issue, mobilising public opinion against his mistreatment. They may be the only organisation capable of doing the same in this case, she said. GetUp! said they had no comment on Assange.

In Britain, Assange has admirers from all walks of life. Sadia Kokni, 40, is British-born with African, Indian and Middle Eastern heritage and the managing director of a cosmetics company. Despite having a disability, she attends twice-weekly protest vigils at the Australian high commission with “Team Assange”, comprising about 50 people, including bus drivers, graphic designers, nurses and artists.

“I campaign for nothing, I only campaign for Julian,” Kokni says. “Unlike when people campaign against a war – it’s a nation against a nation – when it comes to Julian it’s the most powerful nation in the world against one man and he’s exposing the atrocities of global governance and things that every living person should be aware of.”

Although Kokni acknowledges Assange’s predicament could be treated with greater urgency by the British parliament, she also feels disbelief over Australia’s inaction.“They could be doing a lot more, Australia. I find it ridiculous,” she said, singling out the high commissioner, George Brandis. “Brandis – what is he actually doing? Has he written any letters?”

The Australian high commission in Britain did not respond to requests for comment.

December 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment