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What happened at COP26? — Beyond Nuclear International

Officials claimed success, protesters called it a greenwash

What happened at COP26? — Beyond Nuclear International

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine: Pentagon delivers 30 more Javelin launchers, 180 missiles for war in Donbass — Anti-bellum

Three dozen Javelin missile systems and 180 missiles delivered to Ukraine from US 30 anti-tank launchers of Javelin missile systems and 180 missiles arrived in Ukraine from the USA. This was announced by the adviser to the head of the President’s Office Oleksiy Arestovych on December 10. “Yesterday, 30 Javelin complexes with 180 missiles arrived. […]

Ukraine: Pentagon delivers 30 more Javelin launchers, 180 missiles for war in Donbass — Anti-bellum

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A lonely evening at home for Fukushima man retracing past

Unsurprisingly, concerns about radiation levels are still on the minds of many former residents. His wife, Mikiko, 64, refused to accompany him for that reason. Ikeda was the only individual in his neighborhood who took up the offer to return home.

Mitsuhide Ikeda pours sake while seated in front of photos of his deceased parents at his home in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.

December 11, 2021

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Settling in for the night, Mitsuhide Ikeda poured sake into a glass and raised a toast to framed photos of his deceased parents: “I finally made it back home. Let’s drink together.”

The last time the 60-year-old cattle farmer spent a night at home was 10 years and nine months ago.

Large parts of this town that co-hosts the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were declared “difficult-to-return” zones after the triple meltdown triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Ikeda’s parents died after the nuclear accident.

The Shimonogami district where the Ikeda’s home is located lies about five kilometers southwest of the Fukushima nuclear facility.

As part of efforts to rebuild the areas around the plant, the government recently began letting residents return home for an overnight stay as a means of preparing for the day when they can do so permanently.

Unsurprisingly, concerns about radiation levels are still on the minds of many former residents. His wife, Mikiko, 64, refused to accompany him for that reason. Ikeda was the only individual in his neighborhood who took up the offer to return home.

Dangerously high radiation levels registered immediately after the disaster that made it impossible for anybody to live in the area have gradually fallen. The government spent vast sums on the time-consuming process of decontaminating topsoil as a way of reducing radiation levels.

It intends to lift the evacuation order for some parts of Okuma in spring. That would be the first step for setting the stage for residents to return home.

The temporary overnight stay program began in Katsurao on Nov. 30 and is gradually being expanded to five other municipalities, including Okuma.

A check for radiation in November on the Ikeda plot found one spot with a reading of 3.8 microsieverts per hour, above the level deemed safe enough for the government to lift the evacuation order.

Even though the Environment Ministry is planning additional decontamination work, Mikiko was unsettled by the reading and concluded it would be impossible to pick up the threads of their past life in Okuma.

Other changes in the close to 11 years since the nuclear disaster make a return to Okuma unrealistic.

While a large supermarket, hospital and bank branch remain standing in the town, there is no indication when those facilities might resume operations.

In the interim, the Ikedas plan to commute to Okuma from the community they moved to as evacuees.

The overnight stay program is restricted to an area close to what was once the bustling center of the town. About 7,600 residents lived there before the nuclear disaster.

The town government envisions that as many as 2,600 people will reside in the town within five years of the evacuation order being finally lifted if plans proceed to rebuild social infrastructure.

But the writing is on the wall for many people.

According to the Environment Ministry, about 1,150 homes in the district had been torn down as of the end of September.

And as of Dec. 8, only 31 residents in 15 households applied for the overnight stays.

Even Ikeda admits that Okuma will likely never return to the community he knew before 2011.

“Too much time has passed,” he said.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021, Japan, PERSONAL STORIES | , , | Leave a comment

Britain lifting post-Fukushima restrictions on Japan food imports

Fish are seen at Onahama port in Iwaki, Fukushima, on Thursday. The British government has started the process to lift import restrictions on farm products from Japan, a measure imposed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Dec 11, 2021

The British government has started the process to lift import restrictions on farm products from Japan, a measure imposed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, potentially clearing the hurdles for such imports as early as next spring, the farm ministry has said.

In its assessment of the possible health risks from Japanese food imports, Britain has concluded that removing the import restrictions would not affect consumers in the country.

As part of the domestic procedure, Britain will solicit public comments on the policy change by February before making a formal decision, the Japanese ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said Friday.

A total of 23 farm products such as mushrooms, bamboo shoots and bonito from Fukushima and eight other prefectures are currently subject to the import restrictions, requiring proof of having passed a check for radioactive materials when these products are shipped into Britain.

The eight prefectures are Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Gunma, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka.

If the restrictions are lifted, the certificates of origin now required for these farm products harvested or processed in Japanese prefectures other than the nine will also become unnecessary for exporting to Britain.

According to the farm ministry, the export value of Japanese farm products to Britain amounted to ¥4.5 billion ($39.7 million) in 2010. But it fell to ¥3.7 billion in 2012 following the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in March the previous year.

Japanese farm exports to Britain recovered to ¥5.6 billion in 2020.

Japan plans to continue urging the removal of import restrictions by the 13 countries and regions such as China and South Korea that maintain them due to safety concerns.

The United States lifted its import restrictions on Japanese farm products in September, while the European Union eased part of its restrictions in October.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suffered stroke in UK prison – report

According to the report, the incident happened on October 27, during Assange’s video appearance in the High Court,

MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suffered a stroke in the Belmarsh Prison, where he has remained in custody since 2019, the Daily Mail reported Sunday, citing his fiancee Stella Moris.

According to the report, the incident happened on October 27, during Assange’s video appearance in the High Court. Moris believes that the stroke was caused by the stress, induced by the ongoing US court action against him, as well as overall decline in his health. The stroke affected Assange, Moris said: “His eyes were out of synch, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry.”

Assange was reportedly subjected to an MRT scan and is now takin anti-stroke medication.

The Ministry of Justice refrained from commenting, the report says.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, UK | Leave a comment

UK High Court orders Assange extradited: A pseudo-legal travesty

Thomas Scripps, WSW, 11 Dec 21, Yesterday’s order by the UK High Court that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States is a disgusting travesty of justice.

The ruling is the outcome of a 10-year-long political conspiracy by the United States, the UK, Australia, and Sweden to persecute a courageous journalist who exposed the crimes carried out by the imperialist governments during the murderous invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Upholding an appeal made by the US government, Lord Burnett of Maldon, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and Lord Justice Holroyde ruled that the lower court ought to have afforded the US “the opportunity to offer assurances” about Assange’s treatment. The judges accepted that the assurances now provided—by a state which, they were told in the appeal hearing, plotted Assange’s “assassination, kidnap, rendering poisoning”—were “sufficient to meet the concerns” about his well-being.

With this judgement, the UK judiciary has laid bare its function as a compliant instrument of the British state, prepared to rubber-stamp a campaign of staggering criminality with devastating anti-democratic implications.

Assange’s lawyers rubbished the US “assurances” as nothing of the sort, providing extensive evidence of his illegal targeting by the CIA, including a highly credible investigation by Yahoo! News and an ongoing criminal investigation in Spain that his kidnap and murder was planned at the highest levels of government.

The High Court referenced these arguments before ruling, “General statements of opinion calling into question the good faith of the USA from those who establish no relevant expertise to give such an opinion are of no more value than a journalistic opinion culled from an internet search.”

The judges continued, “The reality is that this court is being invited to reject the USA’s assurances either on the basis that they are not offered in good faith or that they are for some other reason not capable of being accepted at face value. That is a serious allegation, particularly bearing in mind that the United Kingdom and the USA have a long history of cooperation in extradition matters…”

They conclude, “There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say.”

In other words, the court was not in the slightest concerned with Assange’s clearly abused legal and democratic rights, but with furthering the interests and relationship of British and American imperialism. It has now delivered a ruling which threatens the WikiLeaks founder with life imprisonment or death for exposing the war crimes and other atrocities of the ruling class and paves the way for a sweeping assault on free speech.

Assange’s extradition could now be imminent. No confidence should be placed in his securing an appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court or the European Court. The wheels of a 10-year rendition operation, which has seen Assange arbitrarily detained, spied on, stolen from, seized from a foreign embassy, stripped of his Ecuadorian asylum and citizenship, psychologically tortured, subject to vindictive sentences and held on remand without charge for years in a maximum-security prison, are once again in motion.

Even if an appeal is accepted, an exclusively legal path to freedom at best means Assange’s continued imprisonment in Belmarsh under the same intolerable conditions he has now suffered for more than two-and-a-half years .

This fate was handed down by the High Court as Assange’s persecutor-in-chief, President Joe Biden, hosted a “Summit for Democracy,” attended by a gang of mass murderers including Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Jair Bolsanaro of Brazil, which announced a $3.5 million Journalism Protection Platform to “provide at-risk journalists with digital and physical security training, psychosocial care, legal aid, and other forms of assistance.”

In the UK on the same day, the House of Lords held a debate on the importance of freedom of speech which did not mention Assange once.

The vile hypocrisy of the US and British ruling class will not shock the broad mass of the population, which views its rotten governments with justly deserved contempt. The question they will be asking is not “How could they do this?” but “How could they get away with it?” and “What must be done to stop them?”

Any answer must begin with a serious political appraisal of events to this point. Until now, the fight for Assange’s freedom has been left in the hands of an official campaign centred on the pursuit of justice through the courts and appeals on this basis to the tired ranks of the labour bureaucracy and liberal and right-wing libertarian great and good. This perspective has proved disastrous……….

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

President of the European Commission to have the final say on whether Europe considers nuclear power to be ”clean” and ”green”?

Gas and nuclear: Fate of EU green taxonomy ‘now in the hands of von der Leyen’ By Frédéric Simon and Kira Taylor |, 10 Dec 2021

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has taken charge of a soon-to-be-published list of sustainable investments amid controversy around the possible classification of fossil gas and nuclear energy as “green” or “transitional” activities under certain conditions, according to several sources familiar with the process.

The European Union is moving closer to integrating nuclear power and natural gas into the bloc’s sustainable finance taxonomy – a set of rules designed to provide investors with a common definition of what is green and what is not in order to channel more capital into sustainable businesses.

The list of activities that Europe considers “green” or “transitional” investments will be laid down in a so-called ‘delegated act’ adopted by the European Commission setting out detailed implementing rules under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy regulation, adopted in December 2019.

But after several failed attempts and mounting controversy over the role of gas and nuclear power in the energy transition, President von der Leyen has now taken matters into her own hands, several sources told EURACTIV………

On Wednesday evening, the EU passed the first part of its taxonomy rulebook, setting out environmental criteria for investments including renewable energy, shipping and car manufacturing that will apply as of January 2022.

But no decision has been taken yet on the most politically sensitive part of the taxonomy, dealing with gas and nuclear investments………….   Contacted by EURACTIV, the European Commission did not confirm whether von der Leyen had taken charge. Most likely, the proposal will be presented to the College of Commissioners by Mairead McGuinness, the EU financial services commissioner, and Valdis Dombrovskis, the vice-president in charge of the economy, a spokesperson said.

Given internal procedures, a final proposal should be ready by Friday before it is submitted to the college for approval next week, according to an EU source.

Europe divided

European countries are deeply divided on the subject. While France is leading a group of twelve countries supporting the inclusion of nuclear energy in the taxonomy, five other EU countries expressed their opposition to the move, with Austria even warning it was ready to challenge the decision before the EU court of justice.

Central and eastern European countries are also pushing to include fossil gas as a “transitional” activity in the taxonomy, arguing that gas is needed as a stepping stone for them to exit coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels.

But the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a network of international investors, has advised the EU against allowing these energy sources a sustainable label.

The inclusion of gas-fired power “would seriously compromise” the taxonomy’s role as an independent and scientific tool in line with Europe’s climate goals, PRI warned in a briefing note.

And while a report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) looked favourably at the inclusion of nuclear, it did “not sufficiently [address] risks related to the storage of nuclear waste, severe incidents and nuclear proliferation,” UNEP said.

The UN-supported initiative recommends that Europe explores alternatives, either by developing a proposal for sectors involved with the energy transition or extending the taxonomy “to recognise intermediate economic activities and transition pathways such as gas-fired power that operates below the ‘significant harm’ threshold of 270g CO2/kWh”………

Technology neutral

In the end, it looks increasingly likely that both gas and nuclear will be included in the list of sustainable investments as transitional fuels………….

For nuclear, however, the choice to call it transitional is still subject to controversy, with supporters arguing it should labelled “sustainable” because of its low-carbon [?]nature………..

Nuclear split in three categories

According to the EU’s energy commissioner Kadri Simson, the proposal “will be ready in the coming weeks…and it will clarify whether or not nuclear energy generation, waste disposal or fuel supply can be classified as sustainable activities for investors.”

Simson’s comments suggest that the upcoming delegated act could split nuclear activities into three categories: fuel supply, energy generation and waste.

….  the management of radioactive waste and the possibility of a nuclear incident remains a cause of concern for the United Nation’s PRI, which says these were not sufficiently explored in the JRC report.

“The materialisation of the risks above could seriously harm most – if not all – of the five environmental objectives other than climate mitigation that are part of the EU Taxonomy Regulation,” the PRI said in its briefing note.

…….. There is still no confirmed date for the publication of the taxonomy’s delegated act, but the European Commission says it will be published before the end of the year. Some expect it to be published alongside the gas package on 14 December while others are talking about it coming out on 22 December.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

UK’s Nuclear Energy Finance Bill Committee hears problems about funding of new nuclear projects, that will be too late to affect climate change.

 nuClear News No 126 December 21,  . New Nuclear Energy Developments In Safe Energy Journal No.92 and nuClear News No.135 we reported on a debate in the House of Commons on the Second Reading of the Nuclear Energy Finance Bill, which took place on 3rd November. (1) Since then, there have been several meetings of the Nuclear Energy Finance Bill Committee, including one session which took evidence from Doug Parr of Greenpeace, Mycle Schneider of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report and Professor Steve Thomas. (2)

The SNP’s Energy Spokesperson at Westminster, Alan Brown, asked Mycle Schneider about the argument that the UK needs baseload power and can’t meet its net zero targets without nuclear power. Mycle pointed out that we are in a climate emergency, so we need reductions in carbon emissions as quickly as possible. For every pound we spend we need to see large and fast results. It’s clear that there are other options beside nuclear which are more climate effective. The cost of renewables is cheaper and nuclear is five times slower. Possible investments in nuclear which might deliver after 2030 are much too slow.

Regarding the need for baseload electricity, the National Grid’s scenarios say nothing about the need for reliable baseload. Only one out of their three scenarios needs Sizewell C. Nuclear is not flexible. If the wind isn’t blowing nuclear doesn’t help. What is required is batteries and demand-side responses to compensate for intermittency. 

Analysis of the French nuclear fleet shows that nuclear power is not a reliable source providing power 24/7. For 2019 – the year before Covid – when EDF starts an outage for maintenance and refuelling it has lost control entirely over the date and time it is able to restart its reactors. There were over 40 cases of revised times and dates. EDF was not even able to make reliable predictions 24 hours before the reactors were due to restart.   

  Labour’s Alan Whitehead asked Mycle Schneider about the experience of the United States using the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model for two plants in South Carolina which were abandoned recently. Should there be measures in any Bill which make sure any nuclear plant is finished to avoid consumers being dumped with the cost of a plant that wasn’t finished. Construction of VC Summer started in 2013 and it was supposed to come on-line in 2017. By 2017 the cost estimate had increased by 75%. In July 2017 construction was abandoned. This was one of the consequences of the fact that Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy. The affair has cost consumers billions.

Steve Thomas said what marked out the VC Summer project and a similar project in Georgia from other US projects was that they allowed the recovery of costs from consumers before completion of the reactors. The Summer experience shows very clearly the folly of using the RAB model. We would have to be careful with any legislation which prevents nuclear plants under construction being abandoned. Dungeness B took 24 years from the start of construction to commercial operation, and over its 32 years of operation its availability was well below 50%. It should have been abandoned before it was completed.

Matthew Pennycook said there is a lack of clarity around the Chinese company, CGN’s investment in Sizewell C and how that interacts with the intentions of this Bill. He asked what is in the 2016 Strategic Investment Agreement and what provisions there are in that agreement that would allow the Government to remove CGN. And related to that there was £1.7 billion in the budget to enable a final investment decision for a large scale nuclear project. Is that money to buyout the CGN stake? 

Steve Thomas said in the 2016 Agreement CGN agreed to take up to 20% of the Sizewell C project up to the Final Investment Decision (FID). They have an option to take 20% of the construction and operation of the plant if it goes ahead. EDF and CGN have spent about half a billion pounds so far, It may take another £0.5 billion at the most to get to FID. So £1.7bn seems too much. In terms of how you get CGN out of Sizewell C it probably depends on what happens to Bradwell B. The Chinese really want to get the endorsement of UK nuclear regulators for it HPR1000 reactor. If they are not going to be allowed to build Bradwell B, they are unlikely to be interested in putting money into Sizewell C.    

  Steve Thomas told MPs there is a lot of missing detail in the RAB proposals. One of the biggest elements is how much the surcharge will be during the construction. The Government has said it will be a maximum of about £10 per year per consumer. That would yield £6bn. In the context of a project that will cost £24-40bn, plus financing costs, £^bn is not much of a game changer. 

PMQs On 24th November, during Prime Minister’s Questions Matthew Pennycook asked: “The Government’s integrated review has concluded that the Chinese state poses a systemic challenge to our national security, and the Prime Minister has made it clear that when it comes to China, we must remain vigilant about our critical national infrastructure. Can he therefore confirm unequivocally today that plans for China General Nuclear to own and operate its own plant at Bradwell in Essex have been abandoned, and explain to the House precisely how and when his Government intend to remove CGN’s interest from the Sizewell C nuclear project?”  

Boris Johnson replied that “…we do not want to see undue influence by potentially adversarial countries in our critical national infrastructure. That is why we have taken the decisions that we have. On Bradwell, there will be more information forthcoming – What I do not want to do is pitchfork away wantonly all Chinese investment in this country, or minimise the importance to this country of having a trading relationship with China.” (3) 

The Times pointed to the National Security and Investment Bill, going through parliament at present, which will allow the government to “screen” and potentially block sensitive foreign investments, and concluded that China will be cut out of future involvement in developing new nuclear power stations, but this is still not entirely clear. (4)  

  Mr Pennycook later responded to the PMs answer via Twitter: “We need certainty on the future of China’s involvement in UK nuclear power and clarity about how and when the Government intends to remove China’s state-controlled nuclear energy company from involvement in any future UK project.” 

Subsequently the team behind Bradwell B said China’s nuclear group remains committed to the project. (5)

December 12, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

European Union passes sustainable taxonomy law, but postpones decision about nuclear power.

The commission must deliver a science-based taxonomy regulation that excludes fossil gas, nuclear, and factory farming. Otherwise, the credibility of the taxonomy is ruined.”

EU green taxonomy becomes law, gas and nuclear postponed,   
 Institutional investors have signalled they want a taxonomy that is based on science – not political compromise.  euobserver,   By WESTER VAN GAAL  11 Dec 21,

BRUSSELS,  The first two chapters of the sustainable taxonomy, the EU’s ambitious labelling system for green investment, were passed on Thursday (9 December).

Until midnight on Wednesday, EU member states had time to reject this first set of rules – the so-called ‘first delegated act’.

But despite opposition from a group of countries, the proposal passed and will come into force on 1 January 2022.   It will describe the sustainable criteria for renewable energy, car manufacturing, shipping, forestry and bioenergy and more, and include a “technology-neutral” benchmark at 100 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour for any investments in energy production.

The criteria for the list has mainly been compiled by the Sustainable Finance Platform, a group of 57 NGOs, scientific and financial experts, making the first part of taxonomy “science-based”…..

The European Commission will now likely unveil the second delegated act on 22 December.

This will describe how nuclear and gas will be labelled under the taxonomy. But the process has become highly-politicised over the last months.

Second act

In a meeting of member states on 29 November the project nearly faltered.

An EU diplomat, speaking anonymously, explained to EUobserver that a French-led group of 13 member states tried to block the first list “out of principle” – because the commission had not agreed to include nuclear and gas in the green taxonomy.

France and Finland pushed for nuclear to be “fully part of the taxonomy.” Ten other mainly eastern European countries want gas included. Sweden joined the group because the new rules endanger its forestry sector.

The group tried to gain a supermajority of 15 to force the commission’s hand but fell short. Germany and Italy abstained, but did not respond to requests for explanation made by EUobserver.

The commission will now decide how to label nuclear and gas before the end of the year, and it is not yet clear how the issue will pan out…………..

Whatever the commission will decide, only a supermajority in the council – 15 member states – or a parliamentary majority can block the second delegated act. Both are unlikely.

What next?

Institutional investors have already signalled they want a taxonomy based on science, not political compromise.

This will “harm the objective-scientific, transparent character of the taxonomy and increases the risk of ‘greenwashing’. Europe promised the world climate leadership, it is time to show it,” a group of banks wrote this week.

Sebastien Godinot, a senior economist at WWF and member of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Platform, said the commission must not give in to blackmail and bullying.

“The commission must deliver a science-based taxonomy regulation that excludes fossil gas, nuclear, and factory farming. Otherwise, the credibility of the taxonomy is ruined.”

But the commission may have no choice but to compromise between the gas and nuclear-supporting member states on one side, and countries opposing these on the other – while also being mindful that investors and experts from its Sustainable Finance Platform will reject a system containing contradictory political concessions.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Appeal to UK’s Supreme Court will just lengthen Julian Assange’s legal torment

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Assange, previously told the High Court that Australia had not indicated whether it would accept Assange, who “will most likely be dead before it can have any purchase, if it ever could”……..

Assange lawyers eye UK Supreme Court, The North West Star.Jess Glass and Tom Pilgrim, PA  

11 Dec 21, Julian Assange’s lawyers intend to take his case to the Supreme Court, his fiancee says, after the High Court allowed the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States.

Assange, 50, is wanted in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose classified information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars

US authorities brought a High Court challenge against a January ruling by then-district judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange should not be sent to the US, in which she cited a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide.

After a two-day hearing in October, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde, ruled in favour of the US on Friday………..

The judges ordered that the case must return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a district judge to formally send it to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris called the ruling “dangerous and misguided” and said his lawyers intended to seek an appeal at the Supreme Court……..

The legal wrangling will go to the Supreme Court, the United Kingdom’s final court of appeal.

“It is highly disturbing that a UK court has overturned a decision not to extradite Julian Assange, accepting vague assurances by the United States government,” Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack said.

“Mr Assange will seek review of this decision by the UK Supreme Court.”

Supporters of Assange gathered outside of the court after the ruling, chanting “free Julian Assange” and “no extradition”.

They tied hundreds of yellow ribbons to the court’s gates and held up placards saying “journalism is not a crime”.

If Assange’s lawyers do take his case to the Supreme Court, justices will first decide whether to hear the case before any appeal is heard.

During October’s hearing, James Lewis QC for the US said that the “binding” diplomatic assurances made were a “solemn matter” and “are not dished out like Smarties”.

The assurances included that Assange would not be held in a so-called “ADX” maximum security prison in Colorado or submitted to special administrative measures (SAMs) and that he could be transferred to Australia to serve his sentence if convicted.

But lawyers representing Assange had argued that the assurances over the WikiLeaks founder’s potential treatment were “meaningless” and “vague”.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Assange, previously told the High Court that Australia had not indicated whether it would accept Assange, who “will most likely be dead before it can have any purchase, if it ever could”……..

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer sharply criticised the verdict.

“This is a shortcoming for the British judiciary,” Melzer told the DPA news agency on Friday.

“You can think what you want about Assange but he is not in a condition to be extradited,” he said, referring to a “politically motivated verdict”.

with reporting from Reuters and DPA

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Russia Angered by Senator Roger Wicker’s Nuclear Strike Remarks on Ukraine

Russia Angered by Senator Roger Wicker’s Nuclear Strike Remarks on Ukraine, NewsWeek, BY BRENDAN COLE ON 12/9/21  Russia has condemned GOP Senator Roger Wicker for suggesting that the U.S. should consider launching a nuclear strike to defend Ukraine.

The Russian embassy in Washington also hinted that Wicker was championing businesses in his home state of Mississippi when he called for U.S. military intervention over Moscow’s buildup of troops close to the Ukrainian border.

Wicker provoked the stern Russian response after telling Fox News host Neil Cavuto: “I would not rule out American troops on the ground. We don’t rule out first-use nuclear action.”……

The statement added that “long-term security guarantees” between the U.S. and Russia required “a demonstration of readiness to compromise. It is unlikely that Roger Wicker’s ill-considered statements will help us get out of the current acute phase of Russian-American relations.”………..

December 12, 2021 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment