Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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

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.

January 10, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, secrets and lies, Wikileaks | 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

A free press, a free Julian Assange – would be the best gift for the world

Cartoon by Badiucao, in The Age 20 December 21.

December 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, personal stories, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Assange facing extradition to US: where is the outrage?

How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?”

Assange facing extradition to US: where is the outrage?   https://redflag.org.au/article/assange-facing-extradition-us-where-outrageTom Gilchrist11 December 2021

The US government has won its appeal against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, with the UK’s High Court overturning an earlier decision to block Assange’s extradition to the US. The case will now be sent back to the Magistrates Court with instructions to allow the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to approve or deny the extradition request.

This is a massive blow to press freedom. Assange faces one charge of conspiracy and 17 espionage charges, begun by the Trump administration but continued by the Biden administration. These 17 espionage charges relate to the publication and release of secret government documents, a crucial right for serious journalists trying to hold governments to account. As a statement from Wikileaks in response to the ruling puts its, Assange is “accused of publishing true information revealing crimes committed by the US government in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and details of CIA torture and rendition”.

For telling the truth about these war crimes Assange has faced a decade long campaign of persecution. As Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said in response to the High Court decision: “The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad. If upheld, it would undermine the key role of journalists and publishers in scrutinising governments and exposing their misdeeds, and would leave journalists everywhere looking over their shoulders.” Muižnieks has labelled the decision a “travesty of justice”.

In the earlier decision in January which blocked Assange’s extradition, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that the harsh conditions of the US prison system would put Assange at an unreasonable risk of suicide. The High Court has allowed the appeal against this decision on the basis of various “assurances” given by the US government to Assange. These included assurances that he would not be subjected to Special Administrative Measures which restrict contact with the outside world, and that he would be allowed to serve his sentence in Australia if the Australian government made such a request.

These assurances, however, come with caveats. The US government has said that they must be allowed to hold Assange in these restrictive conditions if they fear he could be responsible for a “breach” of “national security”. As Muižnieks argues “The fact that the US has reserved the right to change its mind at any time means that these assurances are not worth the paper they are written on”.

Earlier this year an investigative report from Yahoo! News revealed that leading figures in the US government had discussed the possibility of kidnapping or assassinating Assange during the seven years he was taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Over the last decade it has subjected Assange to a campaign of persecution which Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, says amounts to psychological torture. The idea that this same government is now able to give assurances that it cares about the health and safety of Assange is absurd. As Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, says “How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?”

Moris is a part of Assange’s legal team and says they will be appealing the decision. Such an appeal would be heard by the UK Supreme Court. Assange, meanwhile, remains imprisoned indefinitely in a maximum-security UK prison.

As one of the world’s most high-profile political prisoners, and an Australian national, the Australian media and government might be expected to be up in arms over the plight of Assange. But the shameful lack of concern about his fate persists. Loyalty to the US empire, and willingness to cover up its many crimes, comes first for Australian capitalism.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Senate inquiry calls for royal commission-like probe into Australia’s media diversity.

Australia has one of the world’s most concentrated media ownership markets with seven of the 12 national or capital city daily newspapers owned by Murdoch’s News Corp, according to a recent fact check.

That’s nearly 60 per cent of the metro and national print media market.

Senate inquiry calls for royal commission-like probe into Australia’s media diversity, Matthew Elmas, Dec 9,

A Senate inquiry has called for a royal commission-like probe into the the concentration of media ownership in Australia and whether a new independent press regulator is needed.

Handing down the findings from a year-long probe into media diversity on Thursday, the Environment and Communications Committee found Australia’s media laws are “weak, fragmented and inconsistent”.

Backing calls from former prime minister Kevin Rudd, the Labor and Greens majority committee recommended “a judicial inquiry, with the powers of a royal commission”.

It would consider whether a new independent media regulator was needed to “harmonise news media standards and oversee an effective process for remedying complaints”.

“Large media organisations have become so powerful and unchecked that they have developed corporate cultures that consider themselves beyond the existing accountability frameworks,” the inquiry report said.

The inquiry also urged the government to guarantee sustainable and adequate funding for public broadcasters the ABC and SBS.

Australia has one of the world’s most concentrated media ownership markets with seven of the 12 national or capital city daily newspapers owned by Murdoch’s News Corp, according to a recent fact check.

That’s nearly 60 per cent of the metro and national print media market.

The government has yet to formally respond to the report. But in a sign it might dismiss the recommendations, Liberal senator and committee deputy chair Andrew Bragg published a statement on Thursday calling the report a “shameless political stunt which should not be taken seriously”………

If the Morrison government resists pressure to create a Murdoch royal commission then Labor and the Greens could take the proposal to the upcoming federal election.

Opposition senators strongly supported the probe in Thursday’s report……….

The committee seized on News Corp’s coverage of the climate crisis as an example of media concentration damaging Australian politics.

……. The committee also highlighted YouTube’s recent ban of News Corp’s Sky News channel as evidence the empire is responsible for spreading misinformation.

“The YouTube ban on Sky News over the publication of public health misinformation highlighted that there is an issue when a private company is able to act swiftly to protect the public from misinformation but the ACMA, the media regulator is not,”  https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2021/12/09/murdoch-royal-commission/

December 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

The Institute of Public Affairs is seeking to harm the ABC’s reputation

helen caldicott @DrHCaldicott19mReplying to @Anthony_Klan

the IPA is closely affiliated with the Heritage Foundation in the US, which is funded by Hertz, Ocean Spray cranberries, Holiday Inns, Readers Digest, Coors Beer, Bechtel, Gulf Oil, Vicks, Amway, Hunt Oil, the Chicago Tribune Company

The IPA rolls out ugly campaign against the ABC, Independent Australia, By Anthony Klan | 9 December 2021  The Institute of Public Affairs is seeking to harm the ABC’s reputation, while questions linger over its own operations and purpose, writes Anthony Klan.

WELL-HEELED secretive lobby group the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which seeks to influence Australia’s public debate, sway government policy – and is running an aggressive campaign against the nation’s most trusted news outlet – is refusing to say who actually funds it.

The IPA is spending substantial sums of money – funds it is refusing to disclose the source of – in a long-standing, clinical and systematic campaign attacking Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC.

Yet the IPA and its Executive Director John Roskam – who is due to appear on ABC Q&A program – are steadfastly refusing to even disclose who actually funds the highly vocal operation. 

That is, who is ultimately calling the shots against Australia’s most trusted news source.

The IPA’s anti-ABC campaign includes outlandish claims, such as the ABC is “structurally and geographically biased against mainstream Australia”, is an “echo chamber disconnected from the mainstream” and has “obsessions” such as around climate change.

It produces anti-ABC “news” style articles and videos – and most recently has produced a five-part “documentary podcast” – all attacking the ABC’s procedures and its ethics.

Yet the IPA has refused to say whether it, as publisher of all the material, considers itself an adherent – in any way – to the basic ethical frameworks that underpin Australian journalism.

Further, Roskam has failed to provide the name of a single employee or contributor, behind the barrage of anti-ABC “news” items, who considers themselves to be an adherent to Australian journalism’s ethical guidelines.

Yet when we approached Mulholland asking if he – the person savagely attacking Australia’s most trusted media outlet – considered himself a “journalist”, or adherent to the Australian Journalist Code of Ethics, he steadfastly refused to comment.

The IPA’s attacks on the ABC are particularly remarkable given polls consistently show that the ABC is the most trusted news source in the country.

poll in March last year found 72% of Australians agreed the ABC was ‘Australia’s most trusted news source’ and a massive 84% agreed the ABC ‘is a valuable source of news to the Australian community’.

ABC newsrooms are widely known among professional journalists to be some of, if not the most, ethical in the country…………..

ASX-listed companies, even though influencing public debate and government policy is not their primary business – unlike the IPA – are required to disclose their 20 biggest investors.

That’s so market participants know who they’re dealing with. The IPA discloses none of this……………… https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-ipa-rolls-out-ugly-campaign-against-the-abc,15830

December 9, 2021 Posted by | media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Complicity of the corporate media in the defamation of Julian Assange’s character

Assange / December 2021 issue / Human Rights
New FOI responses confirm the British government’s media campaign against Julian Assangeby The Indicteron December 5, 2021  By Nina Cross, Acting chief-editor of The Indicter.

This article revisits the ‘The role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange. Part 1’ in light of relevant FOI responses we have received from the British government (linked to below). They confirm that Jeremy Hunt’s BBC interview on 11th April 2019 was specifically arranged in the Foreign Office for the purpose of commenting on Assange’s arrest.  Assange was arrested for the minor offence of breaching a police bail in 2012 as the result of seeking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. He feared persecution by the US government for Wikileaks’ publication of evidence showing US war crimes.

In order to recognise the significance of Hunt’s statement and its impact on Assange, we can measure it against the ECHR’s understanding of how the right to freedom of expression (Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights) can impact on the right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the same Convention):

“Article 10 of the Convention, includes the freedom to receive and impart information. Article 6 § 2 cannot therefore prevent the authorities from informing the public about criminal investigations in progress, but it requires that they do so with all the discretion and circumspection necessary if the presumption of innocence is to be respected…The Court has emphasised the importance of the choice of words by public officials in their statements before a person has been tried and found guilty of a particular criminal offence …As to press campaigns against an accused or publications which contain accusatory aspects, the Court has noted that these may prejudice the fairness of a trial by influencing public opinion and, consequently, the jurors called upon to decide on the guilt of an accused…”

With this clarification by the ECHR in mind, Hunt’s comments on Assange can be examined:

No one is above the law. Julian Assange is no hero.  He has hidden from the truth for years and years and it is right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.  What has happened today is the result of years of careful diplomacy by the foreign office and I commend particularly our ambassador in Ecuador, and Alan Duncan and his team here in London for their work but also the very courageous decision by President Moreno in Ecuador to resolve the situation that has been going on for nearly seven years I mean it’s not so much Julian Assange being held hostage in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it’s actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian embassy hostage in a situation that was absolutely intolerable for them so this will now be decided properly, independently by the British legal system respected throughout the world for its independent and integrity and that is the right outcome.”

There are no specific facts in Hunt’s statement regarding any charges, crimes or convictions.  His comments “no hero” “hidden from the truth” “holding the Ecuadorian embassy hostage” “absolutely intolerable” are speculative opinion.  His statement is designed to provoke disgust.

As we asked in Part 1 regarding the government’s statements the day Assange was arrested, what possible proportionate and legitimate reason could exist allowing senior ministers to make multiple public statements across government and which infer guilt: “It is only right he is facing justice.” “No one is above the law”.   The issue of public interest could have been addressed with a single objective statement of fact on Assange’s arrest.  But this was not about public interest; it was a strategy to protect the actions of the Ecuadorian government which had unlawfully stripped Assange of asylum.  It was a coordinated campaign by the senior Cabinet ministers to paint Assange as a serious criminal who should “face justice” thereby setting the scene for the US Department of Justice to launch its attack on Assange and set in motion the process to criminalise investigative journalism…………..

Should Assange’s case ever go to the European Court of Human Rights, the malevolent manipulation by politicians should be laid bare.  The extent to which senior politicians have abused their office to interfere with and frame public opinion of Assange should be set out in the Court, as should the role of the British corporate media. The connivance of politicians through the use of the media is further evidence that the persecution of Assange is state-sponsored and has relied on networks and relationships between powerful individuals in public office and powerful media figures and institutions.

The defamation of Assange’s character by the British government is institutional; to this day, over two and a half years after he was rendered by hostile states and placed in high security Belmarsh prison, treated as a terrorist, the government continues its disinformation and smearing campaign against him, as seen on the government website:……….

But only through the complicity of the corporate media has this abuse been possible.  Without its sustained collusion and servility, the powerful would not have impunity; they would not dare attempt what appears to be the slow assassination of a journalist in full public view for exposing their crimes.  https://theindicter.com/new-foi-responses-confirm-the-british-governments-media-campaign-against-julian-assange/?fbclid=IwAR3_g27G5_2LIGeWfWtD-CU4-nuYKQTC9RfseI2GEV-qnzvB2JGpBELEE04

December 7, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

The endless civil war among conservatives over nuclear power

https://johnmenadue.com/the-endless-civil-war-among-conservatives-over-nuclear-power/ Pearls and Irritations, By Jim GreenNov 22, 2021

The case for nuclear power in Australia is overwhelmingly weak, but that doesn’t deter the culture warriors in the Morrison government or the Murdoch media.

Wars usually have a beginning, a middle and an end. Not so the nuclear power culture wars which just keep rolling on and on and on.

Australia’s nuclear culture war is best thought of as a civil war: conservative politicians — and to a lesser extent Murdoch/Sky media loudmouths — are at each other’s throats while the rest of us watch on in bemusement. Ironically, attempts to wedge the Labor Party and the environmental movement are at the heart of the conservative nuclear push, but those efforts have been singularly unsuccessful and the culture warriors succeed only in wedging themselves.

The Murdoch media’s recent pivot towards accepting climate science and the need for action immediately degenerated into a push for nuclear power. Sky News can’t get enough of it. In addition to dozens of news stories promoting nuclear power, Sky produced a “documentary” called Going Nuclear: The Clean Energy Debate aired on October 25.

Academic Barry Brook opined in the Sky “documentary” that nuclear power was the “silver bullet” to tackle climate change. A decade ago, Brook was insisting “there is no credible risk of a serious accident” at Fukushima even as multiple nuclear fuel meltdowns were in progress.

Brook told the “documentary”: “We are not ever going to get beyond about 50 per cent renewable energy and continue to have the type of energy use in a modern society that we have today.” Brook lives in Tasmania, fully powered by renewable electricity thanks to the state’s wind and hydro projects.

And he used to live in South Australia, where, according to a new report by the Australian Energy Market Operator, wind and solar has delivered 62 per cent of local power generation in the past 12 months, wholesale sales were the lowest on the mainland at an average of $48 per megawatt-hour MWh, and grid emissions have fallen to a record low. South Australia is on track to comfortably meet the state government’s target of 100 percent net renewables by 2030.

Pro-nuclear environmentalists

The Sky “documentary” also featured one pro-nuclear environmentalist, Zion Lights, to prove the point that environmentalists are falling in love with nuclear power. Lights was recruited to the pro-nuclear cause by the notorious Michael Shellenberger.

A 2013 article in Grist summed up the nonsense about pro-nuclear environmentalists:

 There is no budding environmentalist movement for nukes… This handful of converts is always cited with the implication that it’s the leading edge of a vast shift, and yet it’s always the same handful. Shellenberger says, ‘I have a sense that this is a beautiful thing… the beginning of a movement.’ I fear he has once again mistaken the contents of his navel for the zeitgeist.”

The same could be said for Australia: you could count the number of pro-nuclear environmentalists on the fingers of one hand, and still have fingers left over to organise your next Zoom call or to pick your nose.
Zion Lights told Sky that climate change “could be solved overnight” with nuclear power. But an analysis by economist Professor John Quiggin concludes that it would be “virtually impossible” to get a nuclear power reactor operating in Australia before 2040. Quiggin notes that, in practice, support for nuclear power in Australia is support for coal. The promotion of nuclear power muddies the energy debate and helps to delay the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Presumably that is the goal of at least some of those supporting nuclear power.

An Australian Workers Union representative featured on Sky’s pro-nuclear “documentary”. No mention was made of the unions opposing nuclear power, i.e. pretty much all of them: the ACTU, Unions ACT, Unions WA, Unions SA, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Unions NT, Tasmanian Unions, United Voice, AEU, AMWU, ANMF, ASU, CWU, ETU, IEU, MUA, NUW, and the UFU firies who would prefer not to have to fight nuclear fires.

No space for critical voices

The Murdoch/Sky media empire has made almost no space for critical voices. There are a couple of notable exceptions, however — recent commentaries by former NSW premier Bob Carr in The Australian and on Sky, and Paul Kelly’s column in The Australian on November 10. Carr, a former supporter of nuclear power, notes that “nuclear is lumbering, subject to breakdowns and cripplingly expensive” and that “the contrast with the surge to renewables is stark”.

He’s right, the comparison is indeed stark. Last year, 256 gigawatts of new renewable capacity were installed around the world (that’s four times greater than Australia’s total capacity) compared to just 0.4 gigawatts of nuclear power.

Kelly’s column in The Australian points to the “popular pull of renewables” and their falling costs. He notes that “nuclear plant construction remains poor in advanced OECD nations, the main reason being not safety but its weak business case”. Kelly also questions the rhetoric around small modular reactors given that “none has so far been built in developed nations”.

On the politics, Kelly writes:

The populist conservatives have form. Before the 2019 poll, they campaigned on the mad idea that Morrison follow Donald Trump and quit the Paris Agreement. Now they campaign on the equally mad but more dangerous idea that he seek to split the country by running on nuclear power… As for those conservatives who say Morrison’s job is to fight Labor, the answer is simple. His job is to beat Labor. That’s hard enough now; vesting the Coalition with an unnecessary ideological crusade that will crash and burn only means he would have no chance.

Coalition wedging itself

The Coalition’s civil war over nuclear power reached its zenith just before the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, with media reports that the repeal of laws banning nuclear power might be a requirement for the Nationals to support a net-zero-emissions policy. But if such a demand was made by the Nationals, it was quickly retracted.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke bluntly to Sky: “Right now, there’s a moratorium on nuclear power here in Australia and the Labor Party are totally opposed to it. I’m just not going to put Australia through the argument which doesn’t get us anywhere… and for the Labor Party to run around at the next election and get themselves elected on the basis of a scare campaign.”

An interesting feature of the 2019 federal parliamentary nuclear inquiry was that a number of state Coalition governments and parties made submissions opposing nuclear power while none made submissions supporting it.

The South Australian Liberal government’s submission said that “nuclear power remains unviable now and into the foreseeable future”. The Tasmanian Liberal government’s submission said that “Tasmania will not pursue nuclear energy … and considers that Australia’s energy needs are best met by pursuing renewable energy options, such as pumped  hydro, with additional firming capacity supported through greater grid interconnection.”

The Queensland Liberal-National Party’s submission said that “the LNP does not support lifting the bipartisan ban on nuclear energy generation”, citing “unacceptably high health and safety risks” and “significant negative consequences for the environment”. The submission said that “Australia’s rich renewable energy resources are more affordable and bring less risk than the elevated cost and risk associated with nuclear energy”.

Likewise, the NSW government isn’t interested in nuclear power. Treasurer Matt Kean recently said that nuclear power was like “chasing a unicorn” and “doesn’t stack up at the moment on practical grounds or on economic grounds”. Kean said that nuclear is several times more expensive than renewables backed up with energy storage — a claim supported by CSIRO research.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull described nuclear power as the “loopy current fad … which is the current weapon of mass distraction for the backbench”.

Still, the Murdoch/Sky culture warriors continue to promote “the idiot’s choice“. As do culture warriors within the Coalition. Senator Matt Canavan campaigned furiously against a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. He opposes policies that will drive up power prices but supports nuclear power even though he has himself noted that nuclear power would increase power bills.

Confused? So is Matt Canavan.

November 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

Australian TV blatantly advertises weapons sales, in absurd claims about China invading Australia

Australian War Propaganda Goes Off the Rails https://consortiumnews.com/2021/11/17/australian-war-propaganda-goes-off-the-rails/ November 17, 2021 In a blatant advert for arms sales masquerading as news, 60 Minutes tries to tie Taiwan to the fantasy of China randomly invading a continent of white foreigners thousands of miles away, writes Caity Johnstone. By Caitlin Johnstone
CaitlinJohnstone.com

60 Minutes Australia has churned out yet another fear-mongering war propaganda piece on China, this one so ham-fisted in its call to beef up military spending that it goes so far as to run a brazen advertisement for an actual Australian weapons manufacturer disguised as news reporting. 

This round of psychological conformity-making features Australian former major general Jim “The Butcher of Fallujah” Molan saying that in three to ten years a war will be fought against China over Taiwan and that Australians are going to have to fight in that war to prevent a future Chinese invasion of the land down under.

He argues Australia will need to greatly increase its military spending in order to accomplish this, because it can’t be certain the United States will protect it from Chinese aggression.

“Australia is monstrously vulnerable at the moment; we have this naive faith that American military power is infinite, and it’s not,” says Molan, who is a contributor to government/arms industry-funded think tanks Lowy Institute and Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Decrying what he calls “panda huggers” (meaning people who aren’t China hawks), Molan claims that “the Chinese Communist Party’s aim is to be dominant in this region and perhaps dominant in the world.” Asked when war might break out, he claims “Given the power that they have in their military they could act any time from now on, and that’s what frightens me more than anything.”

“The next war is not going to be ten or twenty years away, it’s going to be in the next three to ten years,” Molan asserts.

“My estimate is that in a serious fight the Australian Defense Force only has enough missiles for days. This is not going to be resolved in days. And of course we’re not big enough. We should expand the defense force significantly… We should fund defense now based on our assessment of the national security strategy which is based on the war that we want to win.”

“In short do you think Australia needs to prepare for war tomorrow?” the interviewer asks Molan.

“Absolutely,” he replies.

Molan makes the ridiculous argument that if Australia does not to commit to defending Taiwan from the mainland then it won’t be long before they can expect a Chinese invasion at home, as though there’s any line that could be drawn between the resolution to a decades-old Chinese civil war and China deciding to invade a random continent full of white foreigners thousands of miles away.

Suppose we said okay Taiwan you’re on your own up there and the Chinese snapped it up, and the Chinese started looking around the world and they might snap up other liberal democracies like Australia,” Molan argues. “And we might then turn to America and say America well could you give us a bit of a hand here? And the Americans might say what we said to Taiwan. Where do you draw the line? This situation that is developing now is an existential threat to Australia as a liberal democracy.”

Incredibly, the 60 Minutes segment then plunges into several minutes of blatant advertising for Australian defense technology company Defendtex which manufactures weaponized drones designed to be used in clusters, saying such systems could handily be used to defeat China militarily in a cost-effective manner.

The segment also promotes bare-faced lies which have become commonplace in anti-China propaganda, repeating the false claim that Chinese fighter planes have been “breaching Taiwanese airspace” and repeating a mistranslation of comments by Xi Jinping which it used in a previous anti-China segment made to sound more aggressive than they actually were.

This segment follows a cartoonishly hysterical fear porn piece on China put out by the same program this past September which featured Australian Strategic Policy Institute ghouls insisting that Australians must be prepared to fight and die in defense of Taiwan and that a Chinese invasion of Australia is a very real threat. That 60 Minutes segment was preceded by an equally crazy one in May which branded New Zealand “New Xi-Land” for refusing to perfectly align with U.S. dictates on one small foreign policy issue.

To be perfectly clear, there is no evidence of any kind that China will ever have any interest in an unprovoked attack on Australia, much less an invasion, and attempts to tie that imaginary nonsense threat to Beijing’s interest in an island right off its coast which calls itself the Republic of China are absurd.

As we’ve discussed previously, anyone who’d support entering into a war against China over Taiwan is a crazy idiot. In the unfortunate event that tensions between Beijing and Taipei cannot be resolved peacefully in the future there is no justification whatsoever for the U.S. and its allies to enter into a world war between nuclear powers to determine who governs Taiwan.

The cost-to-benefit ratio in a conflict which would easily kill tens of millions and could lead to the deaths of billions if it goes nuclear makes such a war very, very, very far from being worth entering into, especially since there’s no actual evidence that Beijing has any interest in attacking nations it doesn’t see as Chinese territory.

There’s so much propaganda going toward generating China hysteria in westerners generally and Australians in particular, and it’s been depressingly successful toward that end.

Watching these mass-scale psyops take control of people’s minds one after another has been like watching a zombie outbreak in real time; people’s critical thinking faculties just fall out their ears and then all of a sudden they’re all about cranking up military spending and sending other people’s kids off to die defending U.S. interests in some island.

Please don’t become a zombie. Keep your brain. Stay conscious.

November 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s relentless pursuit of Australian Julian Assange is a threat to any journalist who might expose a USA massacre of civilians

Julian Assange currently sits in Belmarsh Prison waiting to find out if British judges will overturn a lower court’s ruling against his extradition to the United States to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for journalistic activity which exposed U.S. war crimes. War crimes not unlike those that were just exposed by The New York Times in its reporting on the Baghuz massacre

The precedent the U.S. government is trying to set with its persecution of Assange will, if successful, cast a chilling effect over journalism which scrutinizes the U.S. war machine, not just in the United States but around the world.

Syria Massacre Coverup Shows Danger of Assange Precedent, https://consortiumnews.com/2021/11/15/syria-massacre-coverup-shows-danger-of-assange-precedent/ November 15, 2021  The precedent the U.S. government is trying to set with its persecution of Assange will, if successful, cast a chilling effect over journalism which scrutinizes the U.S. war machine, writes Caity Johnstone. By Caitlin Johnstone

CaitlinJohnstone.com The New York Times has published a very solid investigative report on a U.S. military coverup of a 2019 massacre in Baghuz, Syria which killed scores of civilians. This would be the second investigative report on civilian-slaughtering U.S. airstrikes by The New York Times in a matter of weeks, and if I were a more conspiracy-minded person I’d say the paper of record appears to have been infiltrated by journalists.

The report contains many significant revelations, including that the U.S. military has been grossly undercounting the numbers of civilians killed in its airstrikes and lying about it to Congress, that special ops forces in Syria have been consistently ordering airstrikes which kill noncombatants with no accountability by exploiting loopholes to get around rules meant to protect civilians, that units which call in such airstrikes are allowed to do their own assessments grading whether the strikes were justified, that the U.S. war machine attempted to obstruct scrutiny of the massacre “at nearly every step” of the way, and that the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations only investigates such incidents when there is “potential for high media attention, concern with outcry from local community/government, concern sensitive images may get out.”

“But at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike,” The New York Times reports. “The death toll was downplayed. Reports were delayed, sanitized and classified. United States-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site. And top leaders were not notified.”

Journalist Aaron Maté has called the incident “one of the U.S. military’s worst massacres and cover-up scandals since My Lai in Vietnam.”

Asked by the Times for a statement, Central Command gave the laughable justification that maybe those dozens of women and children killed in repeated bomb blasts were actually armed enemy combatants:

“This week, after The New York Times sent its findings to U.S. Central Command, which oversaw the air war in Syria, the command acknowledged the strikes for the first time, saying 80 people were killed but the airstrikes were justified. It said the bombs killed 16 fighters and four civilians. As for the other 60 people killed, the statement said it was not clear that they were civilians, in part because women and children in the Islamic State sometimes took up arms.

I mean, how do you even address a defense like that? How do you get around the “Maybe those babies were ISIS fighters” defense?

Reading the report it becomes apparent how much inertia was thrown on attempts to bring the massacre to light and how easy it would have been for those attempts to succumb to the pressure and just give up, which naturally leads one to wonder how many other such incidents never see the light of day because attempts to expose them are successfully ground to a halt.

The Times says the Baghuz massacre “would rank third on the military’s worst civilian casualty events in Syria if 64 civilian deaths were acknowledged,” but it’s clear that that “acknowledged” bit is doing a lot of heavy lifting there.

And it really makes you appreciate how much work goes into getting information like this in front of the public eye, and how important it is to do so, and how tenuous the ability to do so currently is.

Julian Assange currently sits in Belmarsh Prison waiting to find out if British judges will overturn a lower court’s ruling against his extradition to the United States to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for journalistic activity which exposed U.S. war crimes. War crimes not unlike those that were just exposed by The New York Times in its reporting on the Baghuz massacre. 

The precedent the U.S. government is trying to set with its persecution of Assange will, if successful, cast a chilling effect over journalism which scrutinizes the U.S. war machine, not just in the United States but around the world.

If it can succeed in legally establishing that it can extradite an Australian journalist for publishing information in the public interest about U.S. war crimes, it will have succeeded in legally establishing that it can do that to any journalist anywhere. And you can kiss investigative reporting like this goodbye.

This is what’s at stake in the Assange case. Our right to know what the most deadly elements of the most powerful government on our planet are doing. The fact that the drivers of empire think it is legitimate to deprive us of such information by threatening to imprison anyone who tries to show it to us makes them an enemy of all humanity.

November 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges: The Assange case is the most important battle for press freedom in our time

Chris Hedges: The Assange case is the most important battle for press freedom in our time, Rt.com29 Oct, 2021

 If the WikiLeaks founder is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material, it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting.

For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years. 

Assange, with long white hair, appeared on screen the first day from the video conference room in HM Prison Belmarsh. He was wearing a white shirt with an untied tie around his neck. He looked gaunt and tired. He did not appear in court, the judges explained, because he was receiving a “high dose of medication.” On the second day he was apparently not present in the prison’s video conference room.

Assange is being extradited because his organization WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs in October 2010, which documented numerous US war crimes – including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the ‘Collateral Murder’ video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to US checkpoints. He is also being targeted by US authorities for other leaks, especially those that exposed the hacking tools used by the CIA known as Vault 7, which enables the spy agency to compromise cars, smart TVs, web browsers, and the operating systems of most smart phones, as well as operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux.  

If Assange is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material, it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting, allowing the government to use the Espionage Act to charge any reporter who possesses classified documents, and any whistleblower who leaks classified information.

If the appeal by the United States is accepted, Assange will be retried in London. The ruling on the appeal is not expected until at least January.

Assange’s September 2020 trial painfully exposed how vulnerable he has become after 12 years of detention, including seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has in the past attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. He suffers from hallucinations and depression, takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. After he was observed pacing his cell until he collapsed, punching himself in the face, and banging his head against the wall, he was transferred for several months to the medical wing of the Belmarsh prison. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.”

James Lewis, the lawyer for the United States, attempted to discredit the detailed and disturbing medical and psychological reports on Assange presented to the court in September 2020, painting him instead as a liar and malingerer. He excoriated the decision of Judge Baraitser to bar extradition, questioned her competence, and breezily dismissed the mountains of evidence that high-security prisoners in the United States, like Assange, subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), and held in virtual isolation in supermax prisons, suffer psychological distress. He charged Dr. Michael Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, who examined Assange and testified for the defense, with deception for “concealing” that Assange fathered two children with his fiancée, Stella Moris while in refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He said that, should the Australian government request Assange, he could serve his prison time in Australia, his home country, after his appeals had been exhausted, but stopped short of promising that Assange would not be held in isolation or subject to SAMs…………………

There is no legal basis to hold Assange in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the US Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Assange is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration. The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and their obsequious courtiers in the media, are guilty of egregious crimes. Say this simple truth and you are banished, as many of us have been, to the margins of the media landscape. Prove this truth, as Assange, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden have by allowing us to peer into the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted.

Assange’s “crime” is that he exposed the more than 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians. He exposed the torture and abuse of some 800 men and boys, aged between 14 and 89, at Guantánamo. He exposed that Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered US diplomats to spy on UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other UN representatives from China, France, Russia, and the UK, spying that included obtaining DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and personal passwords, part of the long pattern of illegal surveillance that included eavesdropping on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He exposed that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the CIA orchestrated the June 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, replacing him with a murderous and corrupt military regime. He exposed that George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and General David Petraeus prosecuted a war in Iraq that, under post-Nuremberg laws, is defined as a criminal war of aggression, a war crime, which authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of US citizens in Yemen. He exposed that the United States secretly launched missile, bomb, and drone attacks on Yemen, killing scores of civilians. He exposed that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $657,000 to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe, and that she privately assured corporate leaders she would do their bidding while promising the public financial regulation and reform. He exposed the internal campaign to discredit and destroy British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by members of his own party. He exposed how the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency permit the wholesale government surveillance of our televisions, computers, smartphones, and anti-virus software, allowing the government to record and store our conversations, images, and private text messages, even from encrypted apps.

He exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption, and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite. And for these truths alone he is guilty. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/538822-assange-battle-for-press-freedom/#comment-5589120643

November 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY KING RUPERT!

October 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Australia’s pro nuclear lobby revs up its propaganda, via News Corpse, but it’s short on facts

Some examples.


PM must go nuclear before Glasgow trip
   Herrald Sun Terry McCrann,

The PM must make an aggressive bi-partisan commitment to nuclear power in Australia before he goes to Glasgow promising an ‘utterly stupid’ net zero emissions target. 20 Oct 21,

Net-zero hour as Nats urged to take the nuclear option   Courier Mail 

A maverick Nationals senator has warned his colleagues they must be open to nuclear power if net-zero is to become a reality.

Really green environmentalists’ are saying we should go nuclear to save the planet  https://www.skynews.com.au/opinion/paul-murray/really-green-environmentalists-are-saying-we-should-go-nuclear-to-save-the-planet/video/2422d6e58bdaca6a2da0ec49798d597f Sky News host Chris Kenny says a lot of “really green environmentalists” are saying Australia should go nuclear to save the planet.

Mr Kenny said while “every man and his dog” has an opinion on net zero by 2050 it cannot be reached on current technology without the use of nuclear power.

“The only countries that can go close to net zero do so with a lot of nuclear power,” he said.

……….” I can’t understand why we aren’t going for nuclear power , if you really want zero emissions technology, and at least we know that nuclear works. “ Anrew Bolt on Sky News 21 Oct 21

Australia is ‘held back’ by Labor Party on nuclear  https://www.skynews.com.au/opinion/andrew-bolt/australia-is-held-back-by-labor-party-on-nuclear/video/3aa7febaa7897df6b0a2e93f66b1bf53

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says Australia is being “held back by Anthony Albanese” on establishing nuclear power in the country.

“If the Labor Party, in a bipartisan way, came forward as proper statesmen and women, and said they support nuclear power, then we would have a nuclear industry here,” Mr Joyce told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

“And that would be a great outcome for our nation.

“But we know the political tactics of the Labor left led by Anthony Albanese, will just use it as a mechanism to cut and dice us on fear tactics.”

October 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him

Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him  https://fair.org/home/deathly-silence-journalists-who-mocked-assange-have-nothing-to-say-about-cia-plans-to-kill-him/, JOHN MCEVOY,YAHOO! NEWS (9/26/21) A BOMBSHELL REPORT DETAILING THE US CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY’S “SECRET WAR PLANS AGAINST WIKILEAKS,” INCLUDING CLANDESTINE PLOTS TO KILL OR KIDNAP PUBLISHER JULIAN ASSANGE WHILE HE TOOK REFUGE IN THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY IN LONDON.

Following WikiLeaks‘ publication of the Vault 7 files in 2017—the largest leak in CIA history, which exposed how US and UK intelligence agencies could hack into household devices—the US government designated WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” (The Hill4/13/17), providing legal cover to target the organization as if it were an adversarial spy agency.

Within this context, the Donald Trump administration reportedly requested “sketches” or “options” for how to kill Assange, according to the Yahoo! expose (written by Zach Dorfman, Sean D. Naylor and Michael Isikoff), while the CIA drew up plans to kidnap him. (Assange was expelled from the embassy in 2019 and has since then been in British prison, fighting a demand that he be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage—FAIR.org11/13/20.)

Shortly after publication, former CIA director Mike Pompeo (Yahoo! News9/29/21) seemed to confirm the report’s findings, declaring that the former US intelligence officials who spoke with Yahoo! “should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the CIA.”

Ghoulish indifference

   It would seem that covert plans for the state-sanctioned murder on British soil of an award-winning journalist should attract sustained, wall-to-wall media coverage.

The news, however, has been met by Western establishment media with ghoulish indifference—a damning indictment of an industry that feverishly condemns attacks on press freedom in Official Enemy states.

BBC News, one of the most-read news outlets in the world, appears to have covered the story just once—in the Somali-language section of the BBC website (Media Lens on Twitter9/30/21).

Neither the New York Times or Washington Post, two of the world’s leading corporate news organizations, have published any articles about Assange since July 2021.

To its credit, since the story first broke on September 26, the Guardian has reported twice on the CIA-led conspiracy to kill or kidnap Assange. But to offer perspective, during the week after Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was reported to have been poisoned by the Russian government, the Guardian published 16 separate pieces on the issue, including video reports and opinion pieces.

Similarly, a Nexis search of British newspapers for the word “Navalny” brings up 288 results from August 20–25, 2020. The same search for “Assange” between September 26–October 1, 2021, brings up a meager 29 results—one of which, a notable exception, was a Patrick Cockburn piece in the Independent (10/1/21).

Crucial relief

As is typical of stories that embarrass the Western intelligence services, independent media provided crucial relief to the backdrop of chilling indifference, with the Grayzone’s Aaron Maté (YouTube9/30/21) conducting a rigorous interview with one of the report’s authors, Michael Isikoff.

Indeed, the Grayzone (5/14/20) was the first outlet to provide evidence of a CIA-linked proposal to “kidnap or poison Assange” in May 2020. The story, however, was almost universally ignored, suggesting that, as Joe Lauria wrote in Consortium News (10/2/21), “until something appears in the mainstream media, it didn’t happen.”

One thing the corporate media cannot be accused of with regards to Assange, however, is inconsistency. After a key witness in the Department of Justice’s case against the publisher admitted to providing the US prosecution with false testimony, a detail that should

ordinarily turn a case to dust, the corporate media responded by ignoring the story almost entirely. As Alan MacLeod wrote for FAIR.org (7/2/21):

The complete uniformity with which corporate media have treated this latest bombshell news raises even more concerns about how fundamentally intertwined and aligned they are with the interests of the US government.

Even after it was revealed that the UC Global security firm that targeted Assange had also spied on journalists at the Washington Post and New York Times, neither outlet mounted any

protest (Grayzone9/18/20).

Perhaps most remarkably, UK judge Vanessa Baraitser relied on a falsified CNN report (7/15/19)  to justify the CIA’s spying operation against Assange (Grayzone5/1/21). Now, CNN’s website contains no reports on the agency’s plans to kill or kidnap Assange.

The prevailing silence has extended into the NGO industry. Amnesty International, which refused in 2019 to consider Assange a prisoner of conscience, has said nothing about the latest revelations. Likewise, Index on Censorship, which describes itself as “The Global Voice of Free Expression,” hasn’t responded to the story.

The establishment media’s dismissal of Assange supports Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s framework of “worthy” and “unworthy” political dissidents, with Assange situated firmly in the latter camp.

The present circumstances become even more deplorable upon consideration of the corporate journalists who arrogantly diminished, or even delighted in, Assange’s concerns for his own safety.

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October 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics international | Leave a comment