Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Media keeps mum about earthquake near planned nuclear waste dump.

Kazzi Jai, Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia 20 Jan 23

Port Augusta had a magnitude 3.2 earth tremor Sunday morning with epicentre near Port Paterson and not a peep in the media!

It was just below 4.0 (and above)which is considered an earthquake …

Only Geoscience Australia officially recorded it.

So, surely there should have been noise about it in the media….or is it just “selective” news these days?

Port Augusta isn’t that far from Kimba…and we’ll remember the greedy landowner commenting once that the nuclear dump would only “bounce up and down” in the event of SEISMIC ACTIVITY!!

Don’t know about anyone else…but concrete and steel drums bouncing up and down results in cracking of concrete and possible breaching of steel drums (steel and concrete interfaces results in concrete corrosion …not to mention the corrosion caused by interaction of radiation emissions contained within)!

Not SAFE AT ALL considering this dump is meant to FULLY CONTAIN this nuclear waste from the environment FOR 300 YEARS!!!

….IN A FLOOD PRONE AREA!!!!

January 23, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, media | Leave a comment

Guilty of Journalism

The Political Prosecution of Julian Assange

by Kevin Gosztola https://www.sevenstories.com/books/4493-guilty-of-journalism?fbclid=IwAR2np9Ku9WHMKuJ7xTPkrrolJRvbkxdWcmyac0FnEZqKSduuhH2g2M-zPaM 7 Jan 23

From an acclaimed independent journalist, this carefully-documented analysis of the government’s case against Julian Assange and its implications for press freedom acts as a crucial, compelling guidebook to Assange’s upcoming trial.

The legal action against Julian Assange is poised to culminate in a trial in the United States in 2023, and this book will help the public understand the proceedings. The establishment media’s coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case has focused on his deteriorating health and what CBS News called his “secret family,” but most of this coverage failed to detail the complex issues at stake against Assange.

Guilty of Journalism outlines how WikiLeaks exposed the reality of American wars, the United States government’s unprecedented indictment against Assange as a publisher, and the media’s role in persuading the public to “shoot the messenger.” This new book by Kevin Gosztola, who has spent the last decade covering Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers, tells the full story based on testimony from dozens of witnesses.

It examines abuses of power by the CIA and the FBI, including a spying operation that targeted Assange’s family, lawyers, and doctors. Guilty of Journalism offers a balanced and comprehensive perspective on all the events leading up to what press freedom advocates have called the trial of the century.

January 9, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

The Australian government joined enthusiastically into America’s espionage law attack on whistle blowers and journalists

Key US Allies Collaborate On Espionage Laws Considered Harmful To Whistleblowers And Journalists

 Since the legislation was passed, Australian Federal Police have raided the homes and offices of journalists who reported on war crimes in Afghanistan and the monitoring of Australian citizens’ communications.

Groups, such as Reporters Without Borders and the National Union of Journalists, wrote to lawmakers and warned that the bill conflated journalism with spying, expanded the definition of classified information, and disproportionately increased the penalty of espionage to life imprisonment.

Many of these new elements align existing laws with the United States Espionage Act, an antiquated law that was adopted over a century ago.

Richard Spence, Jan 5, 2023  https://thedissenter.org/us-allies-collaborate-to-write-new-espionage-laws/

Ministers and security officials in Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have coordinated with the United States to develop new espionage laws.

Each of the countries have faced criticism from news media and civil society organizations for proposing laws that will harm journalists and whistleblowers’ ability to report on abuse and corruption in their own and each other’s countries.

These states have close intelligence ties to each other and the United States, and they have played some role in the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose prosecution is widely recognized as a threat to global press freedom. In fact, disclosures of the kind that Assange published have been cited as what the laws aim to make illegal.

FBI Director Christopher Wray had several days of meetings with “law enforcement partners in the United Kingdom” during July 2022. After these meetings, MI5 chief Ken McCallum promoted the “National Security Bill,” the first change to UK espionage laws since 1989.

The law would purportedly address the perceived threats Wray and McCallum discussed.

McCallum and other intelligence officials’ warnings and suggestions were frequently referenced by parliament members and government ministers who supported the bill when it was debated in the UK Parliament in November 2022.

Priti Patel, when she was UK Home Secretary, said the bill “was designed in close consultation with security services.”

In Sweden, the 2022 Foreign Espionage Act, which was adopted last November, specifically criminalized disclosures that cause “substantial damage” to Sweden’s relations with other countries or organizations. That led reporters to warn that journalists revealing war crimes committed by the US government could be prosecuted.

The Australian espionage bill also defined information that “harm[s] or prejudice[s] Australia’s international relations” as illegal to disclose.

Australia Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) Director Duncan Lewis, who advised the country’s premier on their legislation, was asked at a parliamentary committee hearing, “Is there a connection, in your view, between our diplomatic and economic relations and our national security? In other words, if someone causes harm to our diplomatic relations with a foreign country, like the United States, can that harm our national security?”

“Absolutely,” Lewis responded. “You would need [to] go no further than perhaps the case of [Edward] Snowden to think about that—the enormous damage that was done to various diplomatic relations as a result of the leaks that came out of Snowden.”

The Espionage and Foreign Interference Act of 2018 introduced a range of measures the Australia government claimed were meant to combat Chinese interference.

A collection of media outlets, including The Guardian and News Corp, opposed the law, saying that “journalists and their support staff continue to risk jail time for simply doing their jobs” due to the possibility of being prosecuted for dealing with classified information.  

Since the legislation was passed, Australian Federal Police have raided the homes and offices of journalists who reported on war crimes in Afghanistan and the monitoring of Australian citizens’ communications.

The ASIO gave “extensive operational briefings” on foreign interference to Malcolm Turnbull, when he was Australia’s prime minister, and Turnbull noted their input as he introduced the legislation in Parliament.

ASIO Director Duncan Lewis explained what in part motivated the push to expand the country’s espionage law. “Our international allies and partners with whom we share threat information tell us resoundingly that Australia is not alone in confronting a new threat environment, one that’s different from what we’ve seen before. In ASIO’s view, we must now adjust to this harsh reality.”

Lewis pointed to UK Prime Minister Theresa May who had urged allied powers to do more to “clamp down on the hostile activity of foreign agents.”

During parliamentary debate in the UK, Patel referred to these discussions.

“Let me say something about the legislation we want to introduce. We are learning from other countries, such as Australia—indeed, I had a bilateral meeting just last week. This is also part of the work of Five Eyes,” Patel shared. “A lot of work is being done to look at the institutional impacts of hostile state activity, alongside issues such as foreign agent registration. We want to get this right through future legislation, and that is what we are working on.”

Groups, such as Reporters Without Borders and the National Union of Journalists, wrote to lawmakers and warned that the bill conflated journalism with spying, expanded the definition of classified information, and disproportionately increased the penalty of espionage to life imprisonment.

Many of these new elements align existing laws with the United States Espionage Act, an antiquated law that was adopted over a century ago.

During a Novembr 2021 speech for the right-wing Heritage Foundation on the US-UK alliance, Patel acknowledged this fact.

“We will modernize existing counter-espionage laws to better reflect the contemporary threat; and we will improve our ability to protect official data and strengthen the associated offenses,” Patel declared “Our strategic partnership must continue to address all this activity – which is uninhibited and growing along with all the other threats we see day in, day out.”

The UK’s proposed legislation updates the current espionage laws to now be applicable to non-UK citizens. Press organizations have complained, “The lack of geographic limits and the overly broad definition of the safety and interests of the United Kingdom can extend the reach of the bill across the globe.”

Australia’s new laws also apply outside of the country and like the UK include assisting (or benefiting in the UKs case) foreign entities, leading to criticism that officials are criminalizing those who work with foreign press outlets.

According to the Australian chair of the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Committee, the organization will arrest those who have committed espionage “no matter where those criminals are in the world.”

Swedish military and intelligence officials studied changes to espionage legislation at the behest of the Swedish government and used WikiLeaks’ release of US diplomatic cables in 2010 as an example of a kind of leak that would harm Sweden’s relationship with other countries if it happened today.

Officials also singled out the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US as powers that were important to protect from damaging leaks.

In June 2022, Conservative Party parliamentary member Sir John Hayes asked Damian Hinds, who was the UK minister of state for prisons, parole, and probation, if “a WikiLeaks-type disclosure dressed up as being by a guardian of liberty or some such other nonsense” would be illegal.

“The defenses in part one of the bill provide law enforcement with several options for prosecuting disclosures, where the person is acting for or on behalf of a foreign power or where the disclosure would materially assist a foreign intelligence service,” Hinds responded. “That can include bulk disclosures.”

“To be clear, with this bill, the maximum sentence for an indiscriminate disclosure—a bulk data dump—will be higher than it is today if that act is done for a foreign power or the disclosure would materially assist a foreign intelligence service, even if not procured by that foreign intelligence service itself,” Hinds further stated.

Canada, which is a Five Eyes country like Australia and the United Kingdom, has also followed their lead.  Canadian security officials briefed the press and politicians, claiming that China aims to influence Canadian democracy.

Security officials in Canada have submitted reports to their government requesting new security laws to prevent Canada from becoming a “weak link” amongst its allies.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Pursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. 

It’s possible that pursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. As the years have passed, we have learned that a Spanish security firm recorded his every move and those of his visitors and legal counsel in the Embassy of Ecuador. This was passed to the CIA, and was used in the US case for his extradition. The trial of Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers failed because his psychiatrist’s records were stolen by investigators, and this should set a precedent for Assange.

Enough is enough for Albanese on Assange: our allies may respect us if we say this more. https://johnmenadue.com/enough-is-enough-for-albanese-on-assange-our-allies-may-respect-us-if-we-say-this-more/ By Alison Broinowski, Dec 2, 2022

The Prime Minister’s surprise revelation that he has raised the case against Julian Assange with US officials and urged that charges of espionage and conspiracy be dropped opens up many questions.

Mr Albanese thanked Dr Monique Ryan for her question on Wednesday 31 November, giving what appeared to be a carefully prepared and timed answer. The Independent MP for Kooyong sought to know what political intervention the government would make in the case, observing that public interest journalism is essential in a democracy.

The news flashed around between Assange supporters in and outside Parliament, and reached the Guardian, the Australian, SBS, and Monthly online. Neither the ABC nor the Sydney Morning Herald carried the story, even the next day. SBS reported that Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed support for the campaign to free Assange.

But two days earlier, on Monday 29 November, the New York Times and four major European papers had printed an open letter to the US Attorney-General Merrick Garland, deploring the assault on media freedom which the pursuit of Assange represented.

The NYT, the Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais were the papers which in 2010 received and published some of the 251,000 classified US documents provided by Assange, many revealing American atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning gave them to Assange, who redacted names of people he considered could be harmed by publication. A senior Pentagon serving officer later confirmed that no-one had died as a result. Manning was imprisoned, and then pardoned by Obama. Assange spent seven years in diplomatic asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London before British police removed him and he was imprisoned for breach of bail condition.

Assange has been in Belmarsh high security prison for three years, in poor physical and mental health. Court proceedings against him over extradition to face trial in the US have been farcical, biased, oppressive, and excessively prolonged.

In Opposition, Albanese said ‘Enough is enough’ for Assange, and he has at last done something about it in Government. What exactly, with whom, and why now, we don’t yet know. The PM’s hand may have been forced by the major dailies’ letter to Attorney-General Garland, which made Australian politicians and media appear to be doing nothing. Or he may have raised the Assange case in his recent meetings with Biden, at the G20 for example.

Another possibility is that he was talked into it by Assange’s barrister, Jennifer Robinson, who met with him in mid-November and spoke about the case at the National Press Club. When I asked if she could say if she and Albanese discussed Assange, she smiled and said ‘No’ – meaning she couldn’t, not that they didn’t.

Monique Ryan made the point that this is a political situation, requiring political action. By raising it with US officials, Albanese has moved away from the previous government’s position that Australia couldn’t interfere in British or American legal processes, and that ‘justice must take its course’. That wasn’t the approach Australia took to secure the freedom of Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, imprisoned for espionage in Iran, or of Dr Sean Turnell from jail in Myanmar. It isn’t Australia’s approach in China either, where a journalist and an academic remain in detention.

By taking up Assange’s case, Albanese is doing nothing more than the US always does when one of its citizens is detained anywhere, or than the UK and Canada quickly did when their nationals were imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Australia allowed Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks to spend much longer in US custody before negotiating their release. We might gain more respect from our allies if we adopted their speedy approach to these cases, than we do by subservience to British and American justice.

It’s possible that pursuing Assange in a US court could cause even more embarrassment than the WikiLeaks’ publications. As the years have passed, we have learned that a Spanish security firm recorded his every move and those of his visitors and legal counsel in the Embassy of Ecuador. This was passed to the CIA, and was used in the US case for his extradition. The trial of Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers failed because his psychiatrist’s records were stolen by investigators, and this should set a precedent for Assange.

Even though Biden once called Assange a ‘hi-tech terrorist’, as President he is now an advocate of human rights and democratic freedoms. This might be a good time for him to put them into practice. Doing so would make both Biden and Albanese look better than their predecessors.

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

‘Publishing is not a crime’: media groups urge US to drop Julian Assange charges

First outlets to publish WikiLeaks material, including the Guardian, come together to oppose prosecution

Guardian, Jim Waterson Media editor, 28 Nov 22

The US government must drop its prosecution of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange because it is undermining press freedom, according to the media organisations that first helped him publish leaked diplomatic cables.

Twelve years ago today, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País collaborated to release excerpts from 250,000 documents obtained by Assange in the “Cablegate” leak. The material, leaked to WikiLeaks by the then American soldier Chelsea Manning, exposed the inner workings of US diplomacy around the world.

The editors and publishers of the media organisations that first published those revelations have come together to publicly oppose plans to charge Assange under a law designed to prosecute first world war spies.

“Publishing is not a crime,” they said, saying the prosecution is a direct attack on media freedom.

Assange has been held in Belmarsh prison in south London since his arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019. He had spent the previous seven years living inside the diplomatic premises to avoid arrest after failing to surrender to a UK court on matters relating to a separate case.

The then UK home secretary, Priti Patel, approved Assange’s extradition to the US in June but his lawyers are appealing against this decision.

Under Barack Obama’s leadership, the US government indicated it would not prosecute Assange for the leak in 2010 because of the precedent it would set. The media outlets are now appealing to the administration of President Joe Biden – who was vice-president at that time – to drop the charges.

The full letter sent by the media organisations

Publishing is not a crime: The US government should end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.……………………………………………………………….. more https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/nov/28/media-groups-urge-us-drop-julian-assange-charges?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

November 29, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Nukes Corp Australia carries on

 https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/89854964/posts/4401845915 25 Nov 22

Several times in the months since voters blatantly defied Rupert Murdoch’s direction to return the government of Scott Morrison, News Crap Australia has demonstrated its willingness to continue campaigning for the Liberal and National parties.

Not long after voters got it so very wrong and dared to elect a Labor Party government, new Opposition Leader Peter Dutton floated the idea of Australia adding nuclear power to its energy mix.

……………. one thing is clear, on the nuclear issue Mr Dutton has – as usual – enjoyed the active support of the Coalition parties’ advertising agency of choice, News Crap Australia.

Further evidence of the Murdoch media’s handiwork on behalf of Mr Dutton and his nuclear campaign has been on show in the national broadshit The Australian in just the past few days. (below on original)

Given that a group of pro-nuclear scientists will present their case at an event in Canberra today, we’ll no doubt see more and more Liberal Party advertisements… sorry, we’ll no doubt see more news stories and commentary in News Crap Australia outlets right up to the next federal election

It is difficult to fathom the commercial logic behind the nuclear push by News Crap Australia.

Surely, as our MGH researchers argue, young Australians are likely to be the strongest advocates of action to tackle climate change through the wider embrace of renewable energies.

They are also likely to be the last to support nuclear power with its long-term problems of waste storage and disposal and its ability to impact the health of individuals when things go wrong. Just think Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima.

So does News Crap Australia really believe it will attract the next generation of news consumers to its side by peddling the nuclear option?

Or does its obligation to the Coalition parties outweigh even the long-term size of its subscriber base?

November 25, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

A Father Fights for His Son & What’s Left of Democracy

The film Ithaka, about the quest of Julian Assange’s father to save his son, makes its U.S. premiere on Sunday in New York City. It is reviewed by Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

To the extent that the media has covered the tragedy of Julian Assange at all, the focus has been on politics and the law.

Consortium News, which has provided perhaps the most comprehensive coverage of the prosecution under the Espionage Act of the WikiLeaks publisher, has also focused more on the case and less on the man.

The great issues involved transcend the individual: war, diplomacy, official deception, high crimes, an assault on press freedom and on the core of what little democracy is left in a militarized and money-corrupted system.

Assange supporters sometimes also overlook the person and concentrate instead on the larger issues at stake. Ironically, it has been Assange’s enemies and detractors who’ve long focused on the person in the worst tradition of ad hominem assaults.

He has been attacked to deflect public attention from what WikiLeaks has revealed, from what the state is doing to him and to hide the impact on freedom in the media and standards in the courtroom.

There has been a steady and organized stream of smears against Assange, from ridiculous stories about him smearing feces on Ecuadoran Embassy walls to the widely reported falsehood that he was charged with rape. That case was dropped three times before any charges were filed, but the “rape” smear persists.

These personal attacks were planned as far back as March 8, 2008 when a secret, 32-page document from the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessment branch of the Pentagon described in detail the importance of destroying the “feeling of trust that is WikiLeaks’ center of gravity.” The leaked document, which was published by WikiLeaks itself, said: “This would be achieved with threats of exposure and criminal prosecution and an unrelenting assault on reputation.”

An answer to these slurs and the missing focus on Assange as a man is Ithaka. The film, which makes its U.S. premiere Sunday night in New York, focuses on the struggle of Assange’s father, John Shipton, and his wife, Stella Assange, to free him.

f you are looking for a film more fully explaining the legal and political complexities of the case and its background, this is not the movie to see. The Spanish film, Hacking Justice, will give you that, as well as the more concise exposition in the brilliant documentary, The War on Journalism, by Juan Passarelli.

Ithaka, directed by Ben Lawrence and produced by Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, humanizes Assange and reveals the impact his ordeal has had on the people closest to him.

The title comes from the poem of that name by C.P. Cavafy (read here by Sean Connery) about the pathos of an uncertain journey. It reflects Shipton’s travels throughout Europe and the U.S. in defense of his son, arguably the most consequential journalist of his generation.

The story begins with Shipton arriving in London to see his son for the first time behind bars after the publisher’s rights of asylum were lifted by a new Ecuadoran government leading to him being carried out of the embassy by London police in April 2019.

“The story is that I am attempting in my own … modest way to get Julian out of the shit,” Shipton says. “What does it involve? Traipsing around Europe, building up coalitions of friendship.” He meets with parliamentarians, the media and supporters across the continent. Shipton describes the journey as the “difficulty of destiny over the ease of narrative.”……………………………

We learn that Julian Assange’s frustration with the inability to stop the 2003 Iraq invasion, despite the largest, worldwide anti-war protests in history, motivated him to start WikiLeaks.

The releases he published about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, leaked by Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, were published not only by WikiLeaks but by its partners at The New York Times, Die Spiegel and The Guardian, yet only Assange has been prosecuted.

The main focus of the film is the extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrate’s Court that began in February 2020 and ended in September of that year…………………………

One of several scenes that drives home the personal side of the story is audio of Assange speaking from Belmarsh Prison to Stella about what children’s books to read to their two sons. The toll it is taking on her is seen as she breaks down emotionally during the recording of a BBC interview that has to be paused.

“Extraditions are 99 percent politics and one percent law,” Stella says. “It is entirely the political climate around the case that decides the outcome. And that is shaped by the media. For many years there was a climate that was deliberately created through false stories, smears; through a kind of relentless character attack on Julian to reduce that support and make it more likely to successfully extradite him to the United States.”

“This is the public narrative that has been spread in the media for ten years,’ Nils Melzer, the now former U.N. Special rapporteur on torture, says in the film.


“No one has been able to see how much deception there is. Why is this being done? For ten years all of us were focused only on Julian Assange, when he never wanted it to be about him. It never was about him. It was about the States and their war crimes and their corruption. That’s what he wanted to put a spotlight on – and he did. And that’s what made them angry. So they put the spotlight on him.”

“He just needs to be treated like a human being,” says Stella, “and be allowed to be a human being and not denied his dignity and his humanity, which is what has been done to him.”

Ithaka makes its first theatrical showing in the U.S. at the SVA Cinema, 333 W. 23rd St, New York, N.Y., on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7:45 pm. There will be a Q&A following the first screening with Ben Lawrence, Gabriel Shipton, Adrian Devant, cinematographer Niels Ladefoged, and John Shipton.

For ticket information: https://docnyc.net/film/ithaka/  https://consortiumnews.com/2022/11/11/a-father-fights-for-his-son-whats-left-of-democracy/

November 12, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s slack journalists – mindlessly regurgitate handouts from military-industrial-corporate complex – especially re nuclear submarines

Captive media: what does the submarine scandal tell us about our “defence correspondents”?

The Washington Post documentation of the compromising of the Australian submarine procurement program is a devastating example of Australian state capture by foreign influences – state and corporate – in the case of Australia’s planned largest-ever defence spend.

But the Australian media are missing in inaction.

By Richard Tanter. Oct 26, 2022,

Why did no Australian media outlet tell us the easily discovered truth about the compromising of the integrity of the Australian submarine decision process revealed by US journalists last week?

On October 18th the Washington Post published a closely documented article by Craig Whitlock and Nate Jones titled “Former U.S. Navy Leaders Profited From Overlapping Interests On Sub Deal”.

In unarguable detail Whitlock and Jones laid out the role played by a veritable squadron of retired US admirals and former senior US defence officials in the Australian decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

The opening paragraphs of the Washington Post article make clear the extent to which the Australian submarine procurement decision has been hopelessly compromised and indeed corrupted:

“Two retired U.S. admirals and three former U.S. Navy civilian leaders are playing critical but secretive roles as paid advisers to the government of Australia during its negotiations to acquire top-secret nuclear submarine technology from the United States and Britain.

“The Americans are among a group of former U.S. Navy officials whom the Australian government has hired as high-dollar consultants to help transform its fleet of ships and submarines, receiving contracts worth as much as $800,000 a person, documents show.

“All told, six retired U.S. admirals have worked for the Australian government since 2015, including one who served for two years as Australia’s deputy secretary of defense. In addition, a former U.S. secretary of the Navy has been a paid adviser to three successive Australian prime ministers.

“A Washington Post investigation found that the former U.S. Navy officials have benefited financially from a tangle of overlapping interests in their work for a longtime ally of the United States. Some of the retired admirals have worked for the Australian government while simultaneously consulting for U.S. shipbuilders and the U.S. Navy, including on classified programs.”

Former Defence official Mike Scrafton responded by calling for an urgent public review, saying:

“On the evidence it appears that the nuclear powered submarine decision process was heavily influenced by a clique of former US Navy Admirals with potential conflicts of interest, and who were generously paid by the Australian government. What confidence can Australians have in the soundness of this opaque, overpriced, strategically unjustifiable, and massively underspecified project?”

Scrafton’s excoriating and incisive assessment missed one important aspect of the explosive Washington Post story.

Why was this extraordinarily important story about the compromising of Australian sovereignty and the integrity of Defence procurement discovered by two American journalists and published in a US newspaper?

The documentation of the Washington Post article is complex and detailed, but almost wholly based on documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act.

The journalists’ work must have been assiduous over a long period, and would have required funding and editorial support from Post management.

But on the face of it, it was a straightforward, albeit brilliant, use of FOIA materials.

Nothing would have stopped our correspondents in Canberra doing the same thing.

Non-US citizens can use the US FOIA, and distance from Washington is no barrier.

Moreover, as Whitlock and Jones indicate, much of the story was lying about the Canberra landscape in plain sight.

Why then did no defence correspondents for the Australian media majors beat the Post to the story? Or have a go at even a small part of it?

The various parts of the News Corp Australia, the sometime Fairfax-now Nine Entertainment, and Seven West Media commercial media companies, as well as the ABC News division, all have dedicated “defence correspondents”, all filing frequently.

Most in reality do little more than rehashing media releases from the bloated Defence and ADF media units and their better-funded military industry corporate suppliers.

It is a long time since any Australian media major has had a proper and well-supported defence or national security correspondent. It is over a decade since the then Fairfax group laid off the best national security journalist of his generation, Philip Dorling.

The failure of our national media to reach even minimal standards of scrutiny of our massive defence spending programs and the lobbying networks of retired politicians, officials and ADF senior officers on the books and boards of multinational arms companies is effectively another case of state capture.

Other Australian instances have been well documented by studies such as the Australian Democracy Network’s Confronting State Capture, and Michelle Fahy and her colleagues in the Undue Influence group.

With well documented and carefully argued studies, both groups have demonstrated the vulnerability of Australian democracy and sovereignty to undue, illegitimate, and unacknowledged influences – especially in defence.

The Washington Post documentation of the compromising of the Australian submarine procurement program is a devastating example of Australian state capture by foreign influences – state and corporate – in the case of Australia’s planned largest-ever defence spend.

But the Australian media are missing in inaction.

October 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Nukes Corp swings into action

THE BUG  

Do Australians want to embrace nuclear energy? While our Media Glass House researchers can’t provide a definitive answer to that question, they do know we are all about to be told we do need it and should want it.

A few weeks back Opposition Leader Peter Dutton floated the idea of embracing nuclear power as a way to deliver supposedly cheaper, more reliable base-load power, and emissions-free energy.

Mr Dutton is obviously in the business of differentiating himself from the “woke” Labor Party which has a policy opposed to nuclear power, apart from its use in new submarines apparently.

The Liberal Party leader even set out an implied deadline for when we should have nuclear power plants up and running – 2030.

“Sixty percent of the capacity of our coal-fired generators is expected to leave the market by 2030,” he warned.

So obviously the question of whether we go nuke or not (and therefore to vote Liberal or not) is set to be a big issue in the 2025 federal election.

It would be a big change and Mr Dutton has a big job ahead of him to convince his fellow Australians.

But, as always, the Liberals Party is already being given considerable assistance by the Liberal and National parties’ retained advertising agency, News Crap Australia.

Right on cue News Crap Australia and its army of right-wing columnists and commentators have been spruiking the Dutton talking points.

The national broadshit soon published an “exclusive” (what else?) story based on sources in the American nuclear power sector which claimed a nuclear power network across Australia made up of US-made (naturally) mini-reactors would be quite feasible. (below on original)

Apparently the power plants would take just three years each to build (a perfect fit for Dutton’s timeline) and the cost of power would be lower than solar once the cost of batteries is taken into account.

All that information came from the people making the power plants so we should believe them, right?

LNP Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, who sits with the Nationals in Canberra, has also used one of his regular columns to explain how badly we need to go nuke. (below on original)

At the weekend columnist Vikki Campion, a columnist whose partner is former Nats’ leader and nuclear supporter Barnaby Joyce, joined in. (below on original)

Liberal Party promoter, Sky News “after dark” ranter, and News Crap Australia columnist had a go in her column in News Crap Australia’s Sunday turdbloids. (below on original)

A 2011 poll by the Lowy Institute showed 62% of respondents were “somewhat against” or “strongly against” nuclear power while 25% were “strongly in favour” or “somewhat in favour”.

So, as we noted above, there’s a bit of a job to be done by Dutton and Co to make their case.

But, as always, they can rely on the support and advocacy of News Crap Australia.  https://thebugonline.com.au/2022/10/03/nukes-corp-swings-into-action/?fbclid=IwAR3kWQp1VD_vTGwQYEwHK2-k3wCzJJgXMLAjAH0lu01gFAMt1XfLqK3NC4w

October 3, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Crikey and Media Watch v Friendlyjordies and IA

Independent Australia, By David Donovan | 19 September 2022,

Despite its claims of being small and independent, Crikey uses its cronies in the mainstream media, including ABC Media Watch, to promote itself and its funding campaigns and attack its competitors. Another eye-opening exposé by Dave Donovan and Michelle Pini

AUSTRALIAN news website Crikey, which you have probably never heard of before, recently launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to fund its defence of a defamation lawsuit.

However, Crikey is owned by billionaire and millionaire media tycoons, influential media insiders and affluent identities. It is small, perhaps, but only in the sense that it is not very well known, respected or read.

You might think a publication with that sort of backing and those sorts of connections wouldn’t need to reach out to ordinary Australians for cash. We discuss this issue in previous articles HERE and HERE, where you can also get a more detailed understanding of the big money and the insiders behind Crikey.

This article is about how one of Crikey’s major media insider shareholders, who hosts a program on Australia’s public broadcaster called Media Watch, used his position to promote Crikey’s deceptive crowdfunding campaign. Promoting Crikey, despite previously utterly discrediting other truly independent journalists engaged in crowdfunding campaigns. It will also discuss other links between Media Watch and Crikey.

Crikey, Paul Barry!

In a recent Media Watch segment (30 August), host Paul Barry discussed Crikey‘s latest media campaign, using imagery lifted seemingly straight out of Crikey’s crowdfunding schtick:……………………………..

Nowhere did Barry mention that Crikey is backed by media tycoon billionaire JB Fairfax — a fierce dynastic competitor to the Murdochs. Nor did Barry choose to note that Irish-Australian media tycoon Cameron O’Reilly, who made much of his fortune selling his newspaper business to the Murdochs, also holds a large stake in Crikey

Some way into his segment, tacked onto yet another statement about how tiny Crikey is, Barry did, briefly, just in passing, gloss over his glaring conflict of interest:

“Crikey is a Melbourne-based news site with 11 journalists and around 25,000 subscribers — and I should declare I once worked for it and have a very small shareholding.”

……………….. As for Paul Barry’s “very small shareholding” in Crikey — well, small does seem to be a term thrown around a lot by Crikey and its cronies. According to Fairfax Media, in June 2012, Paul Barry was given around $152,000 worth of shares in Crikey’s parent company, Private Media. Accounting for inflation, this would be the best part of $200,000 in today’s money.

Compared to Lachlan Murdoch and JB Fairfax, that may appear small, but to ordinary Australians? To the average everyday person and to this, in fact, impecunious, independent small news website, it is a huge amount. It is also significant enough for Barry to be listed in the ASIC’s Current & Historical Company Extract as a key shareholder in Private Media https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/crikey-and-media-watch-v-friendlyjordies-and-ia,16778

September 22, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga triggered Hedley Marston to study fallout over Australia

ABC Radio Adelaide / By Daniel Keane 10 Aug 22,

Hedley Marston could be charming, genial and witty but he was not above fulmination, especially where fulminations of a different kind were concerned.

In the mid-1950s, the CSIRO biochemist emerged as arguably the most significant contemporary critic of Britain’s nuclear weapons testing program, which was launched on Australia’s Montebello Islands almost 70 years ago in October 1952.

Despite the imminent anniversary Marston remains an obscure figure, but his biographer Roger Cross believes that should change.

“He appears to be totally unknown to the Australian public and, of course, to South Australians — he was a South Australian after all,” Dr Cross said.

Marston’s reservations about the nuclear program were far from spontaneous; indeed, his strongest concerns weren’t voiced until several years after the first test, when he recorded a radioactive plume passing over Adelaide.

The source of that plume was Operation Buffalo, a series of four nuclear blasts in 1956, and Marston was especially outraged by the fact that the general population was not warned.

“Sooner or later the public will demand a commission of enquiry on the ‘fall out’ in Australia,” he wrote to nuclear physicist and weapons advocate Sir Mark Oliphant.

“When this happens some of the boys will qualify for the hangman’s noose.”

What made Marston’s fury difficult to dismiss, especially for those inclined to deride opposition to nuclear testing as the exclusive preserve of ‘commies’ and ‘conchies’, was the fact that he was no peacenik.

Detractors might have damned him as an arriviste, but never as an activist: his cordial relations with Oliphant and other scientific grandees demonstrate that Marston was, in many respects, an establishment man.

Dr Cross has described Marston’s elegant prose as “Churchillian”, and the adjective is apposite in other ways.

While the roguish Marston might not have gone as far as the British wartime leader’s assertion that, during conflict, truth is so precious “that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”, he had, in a 1947 letter to the editor, publicly defended scientific secrecy:

Under present conditions of fear and mistrust among nations it is obvious that military technology must be kept secret; and to achieve this end it should be conducted in special military laboratories where strictest security measures may be observed.”

But by late 1956, Marston’s alarm at radioactive fallout across parts of Australia was such that he was privately demanding greater disclosures to the general public.

Much of his ire was aimed at the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee — a body established before the Maralinga tests, but after blasts had already occurred at Emu Fields* and the Montebello Islands.

“He was the only senior Australian scientist to express concerns and, because of his character, the concerns that he expressed were very forthright,” said Dr Cross, whose biography of Marston, aptly entitled Fallout, inspired the documentary Silent Storm.

“When the safety committee after each explosion said there was absolutely no effect on Australians, he believed that they were lying.”

‘If the wind changes, we need to go’

The experiments that led Marston, whose reputation largely rested on his expertise in sheep nutrition, to reach this conclusion were two-fold.

In the more protracted one, he analysed the presence of radioactive iodine-131 — a common component of nuclear fallout — in the thyroids of sheep.

“One group he kept penned up under cover eating dried hay, which had been cut some time before. The other group, he put outside eating the grass,” Dr Cross said.

“He tested the thyroids in each group – the ones on the hay only had background amounts of iodine-131.

“But the ones in the fields had a tremendously high concentration of this radioactive isotope, both north and south of the city.”

A fallout map from the 1985 royal commission, which stated that while fallout at Maralinga Village from the October 11, 1956,  test was “considered to be ‘negligible from a biological point of view’ it does suggest difficulties with the forecast prior to the test”.(Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia)

For the other experiment, Marston conducted air monitoring in Adelaide.

He was especially alarmed by what he found for the period following the Maralinga test of October 11, 1956.

“There was a wind shear and at least part, maybe the major part, of that cloud, blew in a south-easterly direction and that took it towards Adelaide and the country towns in between,” Dr Cross said.

“The safety committee — who must have known of the wind shear — had done nothing about warning Adelaide people perhaps to stay indoors.”……………………………………………………

Despite Marston’s reservations, the nuclear program carried on regardless.

Less than a year after the Operation Buffalo tests, Maralinga was hosting Operation Antler.

In September 1957, newspapers around Australia reported on an upcoming “second test” that would, weather permitting, proceed as part of a “spring series”.

If it hadn’t been for the presence of the words “atomic” and “radioactive”, a reader might easily have inferred that what was being described was as commonplace as a game of cricket.

 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-10/hedley-marston-maralinga-nuclear-bomb-tests-and-fallout/101310032

August 11, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, media, politics, reference, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

TODAY Busting the poorly informed pro-nuclear hype of Spectator Australia

Today I encountered, for the first time the magazine “Spectator Australia”. I was drawn to it by the tantalising title of its article (25/7/22) “Politicians destroy nuclear when the world needs it most.”, by Alan Moran. The main message of the article seems to be that the stringent safety regulations are an unnecessary handicap to the nuclear industry, and cause unnecessary costs.

I was tempted to check on what sort of a magazine ”Spectator Australia” is. Crikey reported that :

The Spectator presents a stridently — often rabidly — ideological conservative perspective on Australian politics and society. ”

Much earlier, The Guardian reported on its British parent:

The magazine cleaves to a purple-faced, right-wing, pro-fox-hunting, climate-change-denying, insidiously Islamophobic worldview” 

Ah well – that helps to explain this article. Here are just a few of my reflections on the article:

Nuclear power is reliable and safe” – as long as you don’t count Mayak, Santa Susanna, Church Rock, Chornobyl, submarine accidents, Windscale. Three Mile Island, Tokaimura, Fukushima …

“Deaths related to the industry are small” – yeah, when you don’t count the deaths caused by persistent exposure to radiation – especially amongst nuclear workers. Later-developing cancers are not as newsworthy as sudden accidental deaths.
”Demonisation”, presumably by fanatic anti-nuclear people , has caused the downfall of the nuclear industry? Well, well – I had no idea that we were so effective. I thought that it was caused by the unaffordable costs. the intractible waste problem, the nuclear weapons proliferation problem.

“risk aversiveness to whatever safety problems there may be” – that phrase speaks volumes – this mansplaining macho author isn’t even interested in knowing about risks!

Costs? Well the Fin Review and CSIRO don’t agree with this author https://www.afr.com/companies/energy/nuclear-energy-too-expensive-to-replace-fossil-fuels-20220711-p5b0pd 

He quotes France – does he not know that France is in one hell of a pickle – nationalising the industry, shutting down reactors because of the heat, and the corrosion?

UK – he quotes Rishi Sunak – as Chancellor Sunak advised Boris against the big nuclear spend ! This article is a load of ignorant poppycock!

July 26, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment

How social media is censored by algorithms to effectively throttle dissent.

ED note: This article is very personal for me. I’ve had the experience in the last few days of Facebook suppressing my post (posted as Noel Wauchope). The post was a transcript of a Youtube item by prestigious Australian journalist Michael West

It was an important article, showing up the hypocrisy of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, in this case , shamefully and inaccurately promoting nuclear power as ”cheap”

I can dispute this censorship – but that could take months – even if I succeed, it would be too late to matter.

Censorship By Algorithm Does Far More Damage Than Conventional Censorship, Caitlin’s Newsletter, Caitlin Johnstone Jan 25 2022

”…………………………………………………….’And Silicon Valley did eventually admit that it was in fact actively censoring voices who fall outside the mainstream consensus. In order to disprove the false right-wing narrative that Google only censors rightist voices, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet admitted in 2020 to algorithmically throttling World Socialist Website. Last year the CEO of Google-owned YouTube acknowledged that the platform uses algorithms to elevate “authoritative sources” while suppressing “borderline content” not considered authoritative, which apparently even includes just marginally establishment-critical left-of-center voices like Kyle Kulinski. Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson said in 2018 that if the platform’s fact-checkers (including the state-funded establishment narrative management firm Atlantic Council) rule that a Facebook user has been posting false news, moderators will “dramatically reduce the distribution of all of their Page-level or domain-level content on Facebook.”…………………….

That’s the biggest loophole the so-called free democracies of the western world have found in their quest to regulate online speech. By allowing these monopolistic megacorporations to become the sources everyone goes to for information (and even actively helping them along that path as in for example Google’s research grants from the CIA and NSA), it’s possible to tweak algorithms in such a way that dissident information exists online, but nobody ever sees it.

You’ve probably noticed this if you’ve tried to search YouTube for videos which don’t align with the official narratives of western governments and media lately. That search function used to work like magic; like it was reading your mind. Now it’s almost impossible to find the information you’re looking for unless you’re trying to find out what the US State Department wants you to think. It’s the same with Google searches and Facebook, and because those giant platforms dictate what information gets seen by the general public, that wild information bias toward establishment narratives bleeds into other common areas of interaction like Twitter as well.

The idea is to let most people freely share dissident ideas and information about empire, war, capitalism, authoritarianism and propaganda, but to make it increasingly difficult for them to get their content seen and heard by people, and to make their going viral altogether impossible. To avoid the loud controversies and uncomfortable public scrutiny brought on by acts of overt censorship as much as possible while silently sweeping unauthorized speech behind the curtain. To make noncompliant voices “disappear from view so slowly you won’t even notice,” as Cook put it

The status quo is not working. Our ecosystem is dying, we appear to be rapidly approaching a high risk of direct military confrontation between nuclear-armed nations, and our world is rife with injustice, inequality, oppression and exploitation. None of this is going to change until the public begins awakening to the problems with the current status quo so we can begin organizing a mass-scale push toward healthier systems. And that’s never going to happen as long as information is locked down in the way that it is.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. And as more and more people get their information about what’s happening in the world from online sources, Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation has already become one of the most consequential forms of narrative control.

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

Michael West busts the spin of Murdoch media’s nuclear marketing.

It’s the nuclear debate. On the one hand, we have all the scientists, and experts on finance and energy.. And on the other hand we have Rupert Murdoch’s experts – Chris Kenny,  Caleb Bond and  the whole Sky News team. These people are experts in nuclear energy.

And so we have one side saying ”No Australia should not build nuclear power plants because they are too costly and there’s the issue of how to dispose of the nuclear wastes

But on the other hand – we have new evidence, unveiled by Sky News – by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, that nuclear energy is actually the cheapest new  form of energy

Australian nuclear engineer Tony Irwin [of Small Nuclear Technologies company] has crunched the numbers and it’s turned out – that in the long term nuclear energy is the cheapest form of energy. Daily Telegraph’s Piers Ackerman reported on all these numbers, – on the capacity factor, the estimated plant life, line transmission costs and all the other factors that are considered in the cost of building nuclear power stations is cheaper than wind and solar and vastly more efficient than pumped hydro 

  All prevailing wisdom – the science indeed would say that nuclear is the most expensive.

Why are we having thi debate?    If we were to build a NPP right now, it wouldn’t be up and running for 10 years they cost $20 billion to build.

Here we have Caleb Bond from Adelaide Advertiser – no need for a university education. Chris Bowen described nuclear energy as a complete joke. ” Doesn’t he have egg on his face right now” –  Caleb’s take.

Most experts think nuclear energy is a joke, too expensive  Who are the people quoted here?

The Australian and The Murdoch publications ……………..rabbiting on about how we have to go nuclear for baseload energy 

Where do they get their experts from?

We are getting to Murdoch’s experts,  Caleb Bond cited in evidence  a story in the Daily Telegraph  another Murdoch –  ”New research reveals that nuclear energy is actually the cheapest form of energy”        the expert here is pre-eminent global expert Piers Ackerman, one of Muroch’s greatest lackeys. – saying the nuclear energy is the cheapest.

The CSIRO value nuclear energy at 128-330 MW per hour .  9()% wind and solar they valued at 55-80 MW less than half. Coal is cheaper – they all are cheaper. Backing up the CSIRO is the world economic  forum  -is the IEA  the International Energy Agency. They base their decisions on the science

Nuclear is not only dangerous because of the wastes, but it is also perilously expensive to build, and it won’t be done before the climate is irretrievably damaged.in 2030

This is a complete distraction and it’s utter nonsense . And the Murdoch people actually understand this – they understand that it is never going to happen.

This is quintessential Murdoch stuff.  It’s a distraction.They know that nuclear energy is not viable,  It does not make commercial sense. The debate was over at least 2 years ago.  Solar is the cheapest, then wind, and hydro and so on.

Despite people like Matt Canavan. Barnaby Joyce, playing up to their coal donors, their vested interests – the problem is in the grid now, that coal is not viable.

2 years ago the IAE declared in its world energy outlookj solar as the  cheapest.energy in history

Murdoch’s nuclear push is a distraction. They know it will never happen. They need to have  a hat at the table.  They come up with a contrarian view –   to create division and debate. Murdoch creating enemies –  our experts like Piers  have told us that this is so-  the enemy is renewable energy everyone else are all woke latte-sipping lefties -anybody that doesn’t like coal.  They’ve lost that debate, They know that they have no basis to push coal and  gas will be next.

So what they’re doing now is promoting SMRs.  Lets’ build smrs.  This has been tried elsewhere hasn’t been seen to work efficiently –  If the Chinese the Russians, the Americans and Brits can’t get it going – why are we even talking about them?  When we have free solar and wind Because Murdoch wants to be a player in this debate. it’s all about media creating goodies and baddies, Liberal good, Labor bad, Green terrible. 

Thanks to Giles Parkinson at REneweconomy.  we quote his research into this.

The track record of smrs around the world has been pitiful. Just a handful of projects most or all suffering massive cost overruns and multi years delay. Russia’s floating nuclear plant  was 9 years behind schedule, more than 6 times over budget and the electricity it produces is estimated to cost  an exorbitant US $200 per Megawatt hour.- according to the OECD;s nuclear energy  agency –   a source that Murdoch minions would be fleeing from. Why would you when you have Chris Kenny Piers Ackerman and the lobbyists from ANSTO?   

The only other operational smr anywhere else in the world, China’s high temperature gas cooled smr, was 2 to 3 times more expensive than initial estimates. It was 8 years behind schedule and plans for additional reactors at the site have been dropped . Argentina’s smr is 7 years behind schedule , billion dollar cost overruns, current cost 23 times beyond preliminary estimates. . The cost exceeds A$1billion for a plant with the capacity of 2 large wind turbines.

By the time we did it in Australia and spent $5 billion on our smr that would have gone out to $20 to $30 billion for a small nuclear reactor when the climate has been destroyed by 2035. Not a very sensible policy outcome. 

China recently began construction of an smr based on conventional light-water reactor technology.  According to China National Nuclear Corporation, construction costs per kilowatt (kW) will be twice the cost of large reactors and the levelised cost of electricity will be 50% higher than for large reactors.

So not only do they take a long time to build, are hugely expensive, they’re not efficient either, So there you have it. It doesn’t work, like carbon capture and storage.

Yet it is being feverishly espoused in the Murdoch press. They’re coming out with nuclear energy stories daily. Their copy is pay-walled. it is losing influence. The ABC has just said it doesn’t want to showcase Murdoch newspapers in its breakfast television. 

These guys are in a bind and they have to be controversial, combattive even, to maintain their tiny Sky News audience, which they package up as recent research found, and send it all around the world as evidence that their climate-denying analysis has legs. It is a classic misinformation – propaganda machine.  which is subsidised by us, the tax-payer.  They are looking for a cause celebre. looking for relevance Their bullying tactics are on the way, They will come up with any proposition possible to create a difference, to create a media narrative and this nuclear narrative despite it being majestically ill-conceived has no legs  but that will not stop then from carping on about it.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

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