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One small nation shows how to be nuclear- free and climate friendly – theme for November 19

Citizen Advocacy: The Achievements of New Zealand`s Peace Activism, Asia Pacific Journal Pinar Temocin and Noriyuki Kawano, October 1, 2019 Volume 17 | Issue 19 | Number 2Abstract

Aotearoa New Zealand provides an important example of successful citizen activism in the form of anti-nuclear peace advocacy. The collective efforts by peace actors over several decades resulted in the successful demand for a nuclear-free nation. This paper highlights the widespread participation and political support that facilitated the process and assesses its achievements.

Introduction  New Zealand, a small and isolated country, is a rare example of a nation achieving nuclear-free status. The peace-seeking nation unified around an anti-war narrative, and moved from activism based on public awareness and engagement to the passage of laws that eliminated nuclear weapons through a number of stages: from the first generation of movements against the atomic bomb after 1945 to the response to French nuclear testing in the late 60`s to US and UK nuclear warship visits in the 70`s and the early 80`s. As part of this shift, the US-led military alliance with Australia and New Zealand (ANZUS) was redefined by New Zealanders from a guarantee of security to a threat that posed a security dilemma. As this essay shows, social consciousness and activism was ultimately successful in bringing fundamental change. The Labor Party, in particular, played a critical role in translating strong public participation on the part of a broad section of the population into a significant policy outcome: `the creation of a peaceful and nuclear-free nation`. 

This mobilization involved persistent and substantial public pressure over decades. Public pressure to change the nation’s foreign policy also included opposition to involvement in the United States-led coalition in the Korean and Vietnam wars. As these wars came to an end, the matter of nuclear testing became a hot-button election issue forcing each political party to adopt a policy on nuclear weapons. The anti-nuclear argument was placed within a broader moral vision. New Zealand peace advocates problematized the threatening conditions and demanded a solution under the narratives of a `democratic, egalitarian, decolonized, independent, non-violent, non-militarist nation which is intrinsically based on `a peaceful nation`. A peaceful nation for them required a nuclear-free approach in its domestic and foreign policies. To achieve this, they organized actively, coordinated professionally, sustained effective campaigns, and engaged in the policy-formation and shaping process.

Since the end of the 60s, successful protest movements have established new modes of political participation in advanced democracies.1 In some democratic societies including New Zealand, social movements have benefitted from tolerant political structures. Their success depends further on specific configurations of resources, trustworthy institutional arrangements, and historical precedents for social mobilization that facilitate the development of protest movements.2

Strong democracies are conducive to positive engagements and interactions between citizen and the state. The strengthening of practices of participation, responsiveness to a majority, and the development of inclusive and cohesive societies are powerful components of the democratic decision-making process. Therefore, citizen participation in governance with a responsive, open, and tolerant state can produce positive effects based on popular consensus……https://apjjf.org/2019/19/Temocin.html 

New Zealand passes historic zero carbon bill with near unanimous bipartisan support – The New Zealand parliament has passed landmark legislation that enshrines the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement into law, and will see the country achieve zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 ….. https://reneweconomy.com.au/new-zealand-passes-historic-zero-carbon-bill-with-near-unanimous-bipartisan-support-33500/

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change, New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment

The climate crisis is tied up in the dangers of nuclear weapons in ways that nobody predicted

The Climate Crisis Just Went Nuclear  https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29760935/marshall-islands-nuclear-waste-climate-change/   In the Marshall Islands, local residents are reaping what the United States sowed—which includes tons and tons of nuclear and biological waste from Cold War testing.BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

The climate crisis is the one issue that touches all the other issues. For example, the climate crisis is tied up in the dangers of nuclear weapons in ways that nobody predicted, but that the Los Angeles Times spent some time and money examining. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the United States set off 67 nuclear bombs in and around the Marshall Islands. This had predictable results: there were now lagoons where there were none before; some islands simply aren’t there any more, and there was a lot of deadly stuff left behind. Which brings us to the climate crisis.

Here in the Marshall Islands, Runit Dome holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium. Nowhere else has the United States saddled another country with so much of its nuclear waste, a product of its Cold War atomic testing program.

U.S. authorities later cleaned up contaminated soil on Enewetak Atoll, where the United States not only detonated the bulk of its weapons tests but, as The Times has learned, also conducted a dozen biological weapons tests and dumped 130 tons of soil from an irradiated Nevada testing site. It then deposited the atoll’s most lethal debris and soil into the dome. Now the concrete coffin, which locals call “the Tomb,” is at risk of collapsing from rising seas and other effects of climate change. Tides are creeping up its sides, advancing higher every year as distant glaciers melt and ocean waters rise.

When people talk about environmental justice, this is what they’re talking about.

Officials in the Marshall Islands have lobbied the U.S. government for help, but American officials have declined, saying the dome is on Marshallese land and therefore the responsibility of the Marshallese government. “I’m like, how can it [the dome] be ours?” Hilda Heine, the president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, said in an interview in her presidential office in September. “We don’t want it. We didn’t build it. The garbage inside is not ours. It’s theirs.” … They blame the United States and other industrialized countries for global climate change and sea level rise, which threaten to submerge vast swaths of this island nation’s 29 low-lying atolls.

The history behind all this is as tawdry as you might have expected it to be—an endless litany of lies, deception, and bureaucratic three-card monte, all of it designed to dodge any responsibility for the nightmares past, present, and future.

Over the last 15 months, a reporting team from the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism made five trips to the Marshall Islands, where they documented extensive coral bleaching, fish kills and algae blooms — as well as major disease outbreaks, including the nation’s largest recorded epidemic of dengue fever. They interviewed folk singers who lost their voices to thyroid cancers and spent time in Arkansas, Washington and Oregon, where tens of thousands of Marshallese have migrated to escape poverty and an uncertain future.

Over the last 15 months, a reporting team from the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism made five trips to the Marshall Islands, where they documented extensive coral bleaching, fish kills and algae blooms — as well as major disease outbreaks, including the nation’s largest recorded epidemic of dengue fever. They interviewed folk singers who lost their voices to thyroid cancers and spent time in Arkansas, Washington and Oregon, where tens of thousands of Marshallese have migrated to escape poverty and an uncertain future.

One example: The United States did not tell the Marshallese that in 1958, it shipped 130 tons of soil from its atomic testing grounds in Nevada to the Marshall Islands. U.S. authorities also didn’t inform people in Enewetak, where the waste site is located, that they’d conducted a dozen biological weapons tests in the atoll, including experiments with an aerosolized bacteria designed to kill enemy troops. U.S. Department of Energy experts are encouraging the Marshallese to move back to other parts of Enewetak, where 650 now live, after being relocated during the U.S. nuclear tests during the Cold War. But many Marshallese leaders no longer trust U.S. assurances of safety.

Can’t imagine why they’d think that.

Adding to the alarm is a study published this year by a team of Columbia University scientists showing levels of radiation in some spots in Enewetak and other parts of the Marshall Islands that rival those found near Chernobyl and Fukushima. Such discoveries could give Marshallese leaders fresh ammunition to challenge the 1986 compact, which is up for renegotiation in 2023, and also to press the United States to honor property and

health claims ordered by an international tribunal. The tribunal, established by the two countries in 1988, concluded the United States should pay $2.3 billion in claims, but Congress and U.S courts have refused. Documents show the U.S. paid just $4 million.

And what in the hell was this?

A decade later, in 1968, teams from the Department of Defense set up a new experiment. This time, they were testing biological weapons — bombs and missiles filled with bacteria designed to fell enemy troops. According to a 2002 military fact sheet and Ed Regis, the author of “The Biology of Doom,” U.S. government scientists came to Enewetak with “their boats and monkeys, space suits and jet fighter planes” and then sprayed clouds of biologically enhanced staphylococcal enterotoxin B, an incapacitating biological agent known to cause toxic shock and food poisoning and considered “one of the most potent bacterial superantigens.” The bacteria were sprayed over much of the atoll — with ground zero at Lojwa Island, where U.S. troops were stationed 10 years later for the cleanup of the atoll.

I don’t know what happens when the dome gives way, but I feel confident in saying a) it won’t be good, and b) we won’t hear about it for a couple of years, at least. 

 

November 12, 2019 Posted by | climate change, environment, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jared Kushner’s, Donald Trump’s secretive meetings with Saudi Arabia, Putin, Kim Jong Un

JARED KUSHNER, DONALD TRUMP BROKE THE LAW BY MEETING SAUDIS, PUTIN, KIM OFF THE RECORD: WATCHDOGS  https://www.newsweek.com/jared-kushner-donald-trump-broke-law-saudis-putin-kim-1418596

BY JESSICA KWONG ON 5/7/19 President Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner have been accused of breaking the law by failing to keep records of their meetings with foreign government officials including Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and top Saudi officials.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday against Trump and the executive office of the president, the watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) alleged that White House officials including the president and Kushner seem to have violated the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act by intentionally neglecting to create and keep records of meetings with Putin and Kim, among other foreign officials.

“There are a lot of questions surrounding Jared Kushner and the extent to which he, like the president, has an agenda that also serves his own personal and family business interests,” CREW’s chief FOIA counsel Anne Weismann told Newsweek on Tuesday.

The suit cites news reports that Trump had at least five different meetings with Putin with no notetaker in the room, meaning an official record of the meeting does not exist. Trump also confiscated a State Department interpreter’s notes after meeting with Putin in Germany, and had a private meeting with Kim in Vietnam with two interpreters but no record was produced, according to the suit.

In addition, the suit raises a recent meeting Kushner had with top Saudi officials that did not include State Department officials, and from which no record was created.

“The absence of records in these circumstances when the President and his top advisers are exercising core constitutional and statutory powers causes real, incalculable harm to our national security and the ability of our government to effectively conduct foreign policy,” the suit states, “Because the documentary record of this administration’s foreign policy regarding Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia will be unavailable to policy makers and forever lost to history.”

Weismann said Kushner—whom Trump tasked with creating a supposedly soon-to-be-released Middle East peace plan—is meeting with very sophisticated and possibly adversarial foreign leaders and “that alone raises concerns.”

“He may be compromising American interests in ways that we don’t know about,” Weismann said. “Even if he’s not acting to pursue his business or financial interests, he doesn’t come to the job with experience in foreign relations.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Newsweek on Tuesday.

Co-plaintiffs in the suit are the National Security Archive and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, which has nearly 1,000 members.

“The problem goes beyond improperly shredding records, to the deliberate failure to create the records in the first place,” stated Tom Blanton, director of the archive, which has sued past presidents who failed to keep records.

Neglecting to make and preserve records “undermines the principle of government accountability that is the very bedrock of democracy,” the historians society president Barbara Keys stated.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Tritium and other radionuclides are hazardous,even in transport and storage

Zac Eagle Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, 11 Nov 19, 
This is from the International Atomic Energy Agency admitting some radionuclides will be released into the environment even in Storage!

“The specific aims of disposal are:

(c) To inhibit, reduce and delay the migration of radionuclides at any time from
the waste to the accessible biosphere;

(d) To ensure that the amounts of radionuclides reaching the accessible
biosphere due to any migration from the disposal facility are such that
possible radiological consequences are acceptably low at all times.”

Some radionuclides can NOT be contained as they will diffuse in transport and storage, eg tritium.

Tritium is a carcinogen (causes cancer), teratogen (causes deformations of the embryo during pregnancy) and mutagen (causes mutations to DNA). Even very low rates of tritium exposure can lead to cancer, leukemia, and birth defects. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

November 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

In framing Julian Assange, The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit

The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit ally in framing Julian Assange https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/the-fbi-tried-to-make-iceland-a-complicit-ally-in-framing-julian-assange,13277

By Sara Chessa | 5 November 2019 Former Icelandic Interior Minister tells Independent Australia how he blocked U.S. interference in 2011 in order to defend WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Sara Chessa reports.

Former Icelandic Interior Minister tells Independent Australia how he blocked U.S. interference in 2011 in order to defend WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Sara Chessa reports.

A MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR wakes up one summer morning and finds out that a plane full of United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents has landed in his country, aiming to carry out police investigations without proper permission from the authorities.

How many statesmen would have the strength to say, “No, you can’t do this”, to the United States? Former Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson, in fact, did this — and for the sake of investigative journalism. He understood that something wrong with the sudden FBI mission in Reykjavik, and that this had to do with the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Continue reading

November 12, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Georgia Power and the ballooning costs of Nuclear Plant Vogtle

Plant Vogtle Expansion in the Spotlight: billion$ more at risk

 Sara Barczak, SACE consultant and former Regional Advocacy Director. November 8, 2019 On the heels of public hearings before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on Georgia Power’s controversial $2.2 billion rate increase request, the “Elephant in the Room” will be in the spotlight: the over budget, more than five year delayed Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion. The PSC will hold a hearing this Tuesday for Georgia Power witnesses to testify about the project’s status in the combined 20th/21st semi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) proceeding.

In the 19th VCM, approved last February, the Commission decided to combine the next two reporting periods, which SACE and others opposed, and as predicted, Georgia Power has since spent a lot on the mismanaged nuclear project. The Company is now asking for verification and approval of $1.248 billion in expenditures. And that’s just for Georgia Power’s 45.7% share of the costs incurred during the reporting period from July 2018 to June 2019 for the two new AP1000 reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, along the Savannah River.

The continuing saga is like a broken record in each of these VCM proceedings, and it remains mostly the same upon reading Georgia Power’s report and the witnesses’ written testimony, which will be discussed before the Commission on Tuesday.

The project (again) isn’t meeting the productivity goals and appears to be falling further behind schedule, but Georgia Power remains confident (again) that they will somehow have Unit 3 online by November 2021 and Unit 4 by November 2022. Remember, these reactors were supposed to both be operational by April 2017!

And (again) Georgia Power provides itself an out, pointing (again) to a multitude of potential “challenges” in the months ahead that could impact the schedule and most importantly ultimate costs to the utility customers. Because of consistent delays and mismanagement, the currently-projected total cost of this project has more than doubled from the original $14.1 billion estimate to over $28 billion.

Georgia Power customers concerned about their utility bills should let the Commission know that not only are they worried about how the proposed rate hike will affect their bills, but are also very concerned about what happens when the other shoe drops – when Plant Vogtle’s final budget-busting price tag gets rolled into customer’s electricity rates.

Unable to attend the November 12 hearing? Watch online starting at 9am ET via the PSC’s livestream feed and contact the PSC with your concerns.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

France considering building 6 new EDF nuclear reactors at a cost of at least 46 billion euros ($51 billion)

France’s EDF expects six new nuclear reactors to cost 46 billion euros: Le Monde, PARIS (Reuters) 11 Nov 19 – French power utility EDF estimates it would cost at least 46 billion euros ($51 billion) to build six of its latest generation EPR nuclear reactors if the government decides to build them, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Saturday.The estimate was in a confidential document presented to the board of state-controlled EDF at the end of July, it said.

The EPR model is the latest generation reactor being built by EDF, with complex engineering and enhanced safety features put in place after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan.

However, the Flamanville EPR reactor under construction in northern France has been plagued by cost overruns and a series of technical problems resulting in years of delays.

EDF, in which the state has an 84% stake, said in October the project which began in 2006 would cost 1.5 billion euros more than previously expected, raising the total cost to 12.4 billion euros.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

A UK Labour govt would make ‘collective’ decision over use of nuclear weapons?

November 12, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear and climate news- week to 12 November

Global heating is behind critical news in California, and Eastern Australia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyNHKrM0qBE.  Following the huge wildfires, Californians are realising that it’s more like a war situation, with more battles to come. Preparedness and adaptation are now the immediate needs, as well as reducing carbon emissions. And extreme heat waves will bring public health crises to American cities, despite the current very cold burst.

Australia’s ruling Liberal Coalition is still studiously avoiding the words “climate change”, and pouring abuse on The Australian Greens for their supposed insensitivity in mentioning those words in connection with bushfires and drought.

A bit of good news  – New Zealand – one small nation shows how to be nuclear- free and climate friendly.

Planet in peril as world leaders ignore global heating’s catastrophes.

Julian Assange’s father comes to Ireland, Europe, to campaign for his son’s release.

Nuclear medicine has radiation dangers – a reminder to clinicians.

JAPAN.  Fukushima:  Radioactive waste bags still missing after Typhoon Hagibis.  Japan still has land space to store radioactive waste tanks, but tries to justify dumping into ocean.  $2.7 Billion Renewables Project to revitalise Fukushima. 11 solar power plants and 10 wind power plants for Fukushima prefecture. Decommissioning Fukushima nuclear station – cost-cutting culture is causing mistakes.

UK.

USA.

IRAN. Iran building a second nuclear reactor at Bushehr plant.

ARCTICFrozen nuclear city to ‘seep radiation into environment’ as ice melts.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXELlX-5iFY&t=12s

INDIA. In Tamil Nadu, Rooftop Solar Has the Potential to Outdo Nuclear Power.

AUSTRALIA.  Australia’s media fights for freedom of press – BUT NOT FOR JULIAN ASSANGE. Australia’s out of control bushfires (all along the region where the nuclear lobby wants to put reactors!).  Sydney and surroundings – “Catastrophic” fire warning.

NEW ZEALAND. Deadline looms for nuclear veterans and descendants study.

PHILIPPINES. Philippines not prepared for the dangers of nuclear energy.

PACIFIC ISLANDS. Tuvalu heads for 35% renewables with $6m solar and storage grant.

NETHERLANDS. Netherlands floats its solar boat as it aims for 27GW by 2030.

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

$2.7 Billion Renewables Project to revitalise Fukushima

Fukushima Starts $2.7 Billion Renewables Project https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-10/fukushima-s-2-7-billion-project-takes-shape-nikkei-says By Isabel Reynolds    November 10, 2019, 

  •  600 megawatt wind and solar project to supply Tokyo area
  •  Development Bank of Japan, Mizuho to provide part of funding

Work is set to begin on a $2.7 billion renewable energy project in Japan’s Fukushima, the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters, the Nikkei newspaper said Sunday.

The plan is for the wind and solar project to generate and transmit up to 600 megawatts of power, which will be supplied to Tokyo and the surrounding area, according to the paper.

Development Bank of Japan and Mizuho Bank are among the institutions planning to provide the 300 billion yen in funds needed for the project by 2023, the paper said.

The project forms the main pillar of a government plan to help revive the region’s economy by generating energy in mountainous areas and on farmland that became unusable after the 2011 disaster, the Nikkei said.

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Scottish National Party could want scrapping of Trident nuclear system, in return for co-operating with minority Labor government

Blackford signals scrapping Trident could be part of SNP ‘wish-list’ for supporting Corbyn Govt, Herald Scotland By Michael Settle, 10th November UK Political Editor SCRAPPING Trident could be part of a “wish-list” the SNP will set out for co-operating with a minority Labour Government, Ian Blackford has signalled.

The Nationalist leader at Westminster stressed how Britain should not be investing in weapons of mass destruction.

Questioned about whether the issue of Trident would stop the SNP holding negotiations with another political party in the case of a hung parliament, Mr Blackford said the SNP had been “pretty consistent” that they did “not wish to see nuclear weapons” on Scottish soil.

He explained how his party would “come up with a wish-list” of policies they would want to secure for a potential confidence and supply deal with a future UK Government…….

The SNP’s parliamentary candidate for Ross, Skye and Lochaber described Britain’s nuclear arsenal as “not fit for purpose,” explaining: “The simple fact of the matter is I’m not sure that we’re taking our responsibilities for conventional defences as seriously as we should be doing and to waste up to £200 billion on these weapons of mass destruction that can never be used is a fallacy.”

During campaigning last week, Nicola Sturgeon made clear she wanted nuclear weapons removed from Scotland “as soon as it is safely possible”.  The First Minister explained: “When we’re talking about nuclear weapons, safety has to be the primary consideration but the SNP is implacably opposed to nuclear weapons.”

The First Minister explained: “When we’re talking about nuclear weapons, safety has to be the primary consideration but the SNP is implacably opposed to nuclear weapons.”……..

Although Jeremy Corbyn is well-known as being personally opposed to Britain retaining nuclear weapons and Scottish Labour has come out against Trident, the UK Labour Party backs the policy and included support for renewing the nuclear arsenal in its last manifesto……. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18026979.blackford-signals-scrapping-trident-part-snp-wish-list-support-corbyn-govt/

November 11, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s father comes to Ireland, Europe, to campaign for his son’s release

Will you come and help?’ Father of Julian Assange on campaign to free his son, Irish Examiner,  MICHAEL CLIFFORD  November 09, 2019    At 80, John Shipton thought he would be enjoying his retirement, he tells Michael Clifford. Instead, he is touring European capitals campaigning for his son, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

A parent’s work is never done. John Shipton entering his ninth decade. He’d like to kick back, maybe learn a few recipes, stroll at a leisurely pace towards the declining years.

But his son needs him. His son’s health is in serious danger and his future looks dark, with the prospect of spending decades, if not the remainder of his life, in prison.

His son is Julian Assange. It’s a name that is familiar to most people, although many would, at this remove, find it difficult to couple his celebrity standing with his talent or achievement.

Assange is an Australian who has been a serious thorn in the side of the powerful. His Wikileaks organisation was responsible for disseminating information that showed what exactly the US and its allies were getting up to in foreign wars.

Wikileaks exposed war crimes. It was the receptor for whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s treasure trove of documents that painted a picture of torture and maltreatment by US forces in Iraq, among other crimes.

Vanity Fair described the resultant stories as “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years… they have changed the way people think about how the world is run”…….

Assange is a category B prisoner, which means he’s not considered an immediate danger to fellow human beings or society in general, but his conditions of detention are still onerous.

“He’s locked up 22 or 23 hours a day,” his father says. “It’s a grade A maximum security prison. Because those in it are treated like terrorists, that’s what Julian is being subjected to.”

Shipton was in Dublin recently on a flying visit that now forms part of his current “job”. That entails lobbying, meeting, and publicising on behalf of his son. Shipton is on a tour of European capitals trying to round up support……

Assange is in a bad way, there is no doubt about that. Both physically and psychologically, his condition is deteriorating. The prison conditions are onerous but they come following eight years cooked up in the embassy, at times under serious stress. The day before arriving in Dublin Shipton had been in to see his son.

“As you would expect after nine years of persecution, he’s a bit down in the dumps,” he says.

“The report of the UN rapporteur on torture says it all really, pointing out that he has every sign of having suffered torture with both physical and mental results…..

The UN rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, did visit Assange with two doctors in June in Belmarch and were highly condemnatory of the conditions in which he was being kept.

Last week, Melzer issued a further statement, saying Assange’s life was at risk and that he must not be extradited to the US as a consequence of “exposing serious governmental misconduct”…..

Melzer goes further and offers an opinion on what is driving the harsh treatment.

“In my view, this case has never been about Mr Assange’s guilt or innocence, but about making him pay the price for exposing serious governmental misconduct, including alleged war crimes and corruption,” he says. “Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life.”…..

Since coming to power, Trump has railed against many forms of the free press. And his government has requested Assange’s extradition to stand trial for spying.

If he is extradited, his father doesn’t have much confidence in the prospects of a fair trial.

“The espionage law courts are held in Elizabeth, Virginia,” says Shipton. “It’s a town where all the constituents are from the intelligence community. Every judgement in the espionage courts they say just go to jail. It’s not theoretical. If he’s tried he will go to jail.”

The next hearing on extradition isn’t scheduled until February and on the basis that he previously did skip bail while awaiting an extradition hearing he is unlikely to get bail. For his family and close friends, the most immediate issue is his health rather than the political and legal vortex into which he has been drawn.

At a recent court appearance on October 21, he was described by eyewitnesses as appearing “distressed and disorientated”.

He is subject to a legal process, but few could argue that it is anything more than political. Assange published leaked material. In that he was performing an act of journalism.

Manning, for instance, was prosecuted and served seven years of what was originally a 35-year sentence. But Assange’s role was that of publisher.

Much of Wikileaks most serious material was presented in collaboration with leading global newspapers, including the New York Times and The Guardian.

His father believes that the attack on the press through Assange is not fully appreciated.

“It’s in the self interests of all journalists and news corporations to ensure that this is fought,” he says…… https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/analysis/michael-clifford/will-you-come-and-help-father-of-julian-assange-on-campaign-to-free-his-son-962776.html

November 11, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Philippines not prepared for the dangers of nuclear energy

Philippines unprepared for nuclear energy: Senate energy panel chair,  https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/11/06/19/philippines-unprepared-for-nuclear-energy-senate-energy-panel-chair, Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News, Nov 06 2019  MANILA – The Philippines is “not ready” to use nuclear power as an energy source, a senator said Wednesday, adding more should be done to prepare for potential risks.

The Department of Energy announced recently its plan to draft a national nuclear program, which the Senate Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, will investigate.

“Saan natin itatapon ang nuclear waste? Pag may leakage ano ang gagawin natin? Meron ba tayong capability? Handa ba tayo in case of a nuclear leak?” he told reporters.

(Where will we dump nuclear waste? What will we do in case of a leak? Do we have the capability? Are we ready in case of a nuclear leak?)

The DOE should be more transparent about the benefits of harnessing nuclear power before it drafts a nationwide plan. Coal and solar are cheaper alternatives, he said.

“Nuclear energy is a very controversial source of energy dahil ang risk ay napakataas (because the risk is very high),” he said.

The government is eyeing the deployment of modular nuclear plants to some islands where electricity supply is low, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi earlier said.

The Philippines also signed a memorandum with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom for a pre-feasibility study for nuclear power plants.   President Rodrigo Duterte “wants to learn more” about nuclear power, which could lower electricity prices and stabilize supply, Cusi said.

“We are hungry for power and we will tap any sources that would satisfy our own needs now,” he said.

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s media on a campaign for freedom of press, but not when it comes to Julian Assange

Mainstream Media Fights for Own Freedom, But Not for Assange’s, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 02/11/2019 BY PAUL GREGOIRE Major Australian mainstream media outlets joined forces a fortnight ago to launched the Right to Know campaign. It aims to see public interest journalism decriminalised, and safeguards for whistleblowers enhanced.This unprecedented display of unity has seen The Guardian, the ABC, Nine, News Corp, SBS and the MEAA join forces in calling on the government to enact reforms. And this is rather significant, considering some of these organisations have been much criticised for towing the party line.

The Right to Know has six demands: exceptions so journalists can’t be prosecuted under national security laws, freedom of information reform, defamation law reform, a narrowing of the information classified as secret, protections for whistleblowers and the right to contest warrants.

Of course, the campaign was sparked by the June AFP press raids, which saw agents rifle through the house of a News Corp journalist, as well as the offices of the national broadcaster, in what was understood by many to be a warning to the media and whistleblowers to keep quiet.

However, a glaring campaign omission is the case of an Australian publisher who’s currently being remanded in the UK over charges that apply in the US, which relate precisely to public interest journalism. Yet, the Australian media has all but forgotten their colleague, Julian Assange.

Silenced by association

“The Right to Know campaign drives to the heart of the matter more than many journalists realise,” remarked Ian Rose, a member of the Support Assange and Wikileaks Coalition.

“While on the one hand, they’re right to finally be calling out the creeping incursions and restrictions into media freedoms,” he told Sydney Criminal Lawyers. “On the other, they don’t have the inner fortitude to stand up for Assange.”

According to Rose, there are two reasons that the Australian media has abandoned the Walkley award-winning journalist. One is that he’s “an egalitarian”, which “frightens the hell out of the ruling class”, as most of the work of WikiLeaks has been all about exposing their lies.

The second reason behind the silence is that the “oligarchs” are the “journalists’ paymasters”. And for this reason – which is underscored by the justifiable fear of losing their lives – journalists have refrained from “calling these people out”.

An excuse for silencing

Attorney general Christian Porter spoke out against the Right to Know campaign, claiming that by providing the media with the right to contest warrants could hinder criminal investigations. And he also asserted that the campaign demands could lead to national security threats.

As an example of how the media could become such a threat, Porter pointed to Assange having published leaked classified documents on WikiLeaks. The top lawmaker further set out that while this act of publication was widely condemned, the local industry still awarded Assange a Walkley……..

Neglecting an ally

And as for what the Australian media should be doing about one of its own locked away in isolation in circumstances that undermine the rule of law, Mr Rose says that it “ought to get over its jealousy and unite to support Assange”.

Indeed, the Right to Know campaign should embrace Assange’s cause, as it’s the quintessential example of the concerted crackdown on journalists that’s currently taking place across the western world. And there’s a clear correlation between his silencing and the local AFP raids.

“The way Assange is being treated is the way journalists are starting to be treated, and the way all of society will be treated if we don’t collectively call for a stop to the new dictatorial world order,” Rose warned.

And as an example of how this silencing of dissent is spreading beyond the media, Rose pointed to the recent assault on nonviolent climate activists, which has seen the application of ongoing arrests,  draconian bail conditions,  intimidatory procedures and the passing of restrictive laws……..https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/mainstream-media-fights-for-own-freedom-but-not-for-assanges/

November 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Entire world wants nuclear weapons-free Middle East — except for USA and Israel

US and Israel were lone votes against UN resolutions opposing space arms race, nuclear Middle East, Cuba embargo, The United States and Israel were the only countries that voted against UN General Assembly draft resolutions calling for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, measures to stop an arms race in outer space, and an end to the blockade of Cuba. THE GRAYZONE, By Ben Norton, 11 Nov 19,

Important breakthroughs have arrived at the United Nations seeking to prevent an arms race in outer space and create a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. There are just two main obstacles: the United States and Israel.

While Washington and corporate media outlets portray China and Russia as aggressive warmongering rogue states, their votes at the UN show which nations are actually expanding dangerous militarism into new frontiers.

China and Russia joined dozens of other countries in sponsoring resolutions at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that sought to prevent armed conflict in space. Most of the international community supported these historic peace measures. The only consistent outliers were the US and Israel.

Beijing and Moscow have been leading global efforts to stop the use of weapons in space. Meanwhile, Washington has unilaterally blocked the international consensus on preventing the deadly space race.

Moreover, as nearly all UN member states have united in calling for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, the US and Israel have singlehandedly undermined their peace efforts.

This roguish behavior predates the election of President Donald Trump.

At the UNGA on November 7, almost every country in the world also voted to end the US embargo against Cuba. This was the 28th year in row that the international community united in calling for the American noose to be taken off the neck of the Cuban people.

While 187 member states supported the resolution demanding an end to the blockade, the US, Israel, and Brazil’s far-right government were the lone nations to oppose it. American allies Colombia and Ukraine abstained.

Washington’s UN votes show who truly is a rogue state.

Entire world wants nuclear weapons-free Middle East — except for USA and Israel

The UNGA’s First Committee, which oversees disarmament and international security, voted on November 1 to overwhelmingly approve a draft resolution entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East.”

A staggering 172 countries voted in support of this resolution. Only two nations voted against it: the US and Israel. Just two more countries abstained: the United Kingdom and Cameroon.

At the same meeting, the First Committee approved a draft resolution on “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East,” which called for the region to abide by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Given Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, the UNGA resolution called on Tel Aviv to join the NPT (Israel has long refused to sign the treaty), and demanded that Israeli nuclear facilities be overseen by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

The draft resolution was also overwhelmingly approved, with 151 votes in support and a mere six votes against — from the US, Israel, and Canada, along with the tiny island nations of Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, which function as vassals of Washington at the UN.

American and Israeli votes against resolutions to prevent an arms race in outer space…….https://thegrayzone.com/2019/11/08/us-israel-un-resolutions-space-arms-race-nuclear/

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Israel, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

November 10 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “India Doesn’t Need To Choose Between Clean Air And Growth” • In India, air pollution causes over a million deaths annually. It increases healthcare costs and leads to the loss of productivity as people take sick days, leading to a $55 billion loss in 2013. Some people believe dealing with pollution will be […]

via November 10 Energy News — geoharvey

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment