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Former Sect. of State Kissinger says U.S. should get along with China

Gary Clifford Gibson, Blog and Books, 23 May 22, Former Sect. of State Henry Kissinger; 99 years old, spoke at an economic forum on the need to get along with China. If the Biden administration had its oars in the water on international affairs it would understand that mentioning the U.S. would go to war if China invades Taiwan is a diplomatic faux pas.

There are other ways to let China know what the administration thinks about Taiwanese independence and U.S. support for that without using a bludgeon, in a manner of speaking.

 The Democratic President and his party leadership are used to forcing whatever they want into being, since the U.S. is regarded as the most powerful nation on Earth militarily and financially and party leadership realizes that force can get what they want done sometimes. Yet nuclear war with either Russia or China shouldn’t be an option; and it is for Democrats as an escalation from conventional war implicitly. Having peaceful and mutually prosperous relations with China is advantageous for the world and the world environment. Intelligent leadership needs to find a way to return international affairs to order as soon as possible including ending sanctions on Russia directly if they sign on on halting the Ukraine venture in place and sign off on a permanent peace……….. https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/53114755/posts/13350

May 24, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Pressure Mounts on British Home Secretary Patel Over Assange Decision

New Australian Government 

The election on Friday of just the fourth Labor government in Australia since the Second World War may bode well for Assange. The new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has said publicly that Assange should be returned to his native Australia. 

Pressure Mounts on Patel Over Assange Decision, The British home secretary is under pressure as she’s about to decide whether to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

https://consortiumnews.com/2022/05/22/pressure-mounts-on-patel-over-assange-decision/

By Joe Lauria
in London

Special to Consortium News
, 23 May 22,

At some point during the next nine days, British Home Secretary Priti Patel will decide whether or not to extradite imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States to face espionage charges for publishing accurate information revealing U.S. war crimes.

Pressure is building from both sides on the home secretary.  Press freedom and human rights organizations, a Nobel laureate, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, journalists and Assange supporters have appealed to Patel to let Assange go. 

While it would be deemed improper for outside influence to be brought on judges, it would not be fanciful to imagine that behind the scenes Patel is getting the message from the U.S. Department of Justice and possibly from U.S. and U.K. intelligence services about what is expected of her.

The home secretary should know without prodding what the U.S. and British governments want her to do. Patel is a highly-ambitious politician who no doubt will calculate how her decision will impact her career. 

“Politicians think about their next election, they think about their voters … that’s what makes them tick,” Kristinn Hrafnnson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, told Consortium News at a protest outside the Home Office in London last Wednesday. “For the first time it’s in the hands of a politician, and Priti Patel, if she wants to think about her legacy … she should do the right thing.”

“Politics is a strange beast,” Hrafnsson said. “Anything can happen. I’m hoping this is something that will be taken up in the Cabinet here. Let’s not forget that Boris Johnson was a journalist. He was part of the media community and should have better understanding of this case than many others.”

Patel is acting after the U.K. Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision to overturn a lower court ruling barring Assange’s extradition on health grounds and the danger of U.S. prisons. The High Court decided solely on conditional U.S. promises that Assange would be well treated in custody.

With the courts no longer involved and the decision solely in Patel’s hands, the case now is purely political, meaning political pressure can be brought to bear on the home secretary. 

“The home secretary has the discretion to block this extradition, and there is a lot of pressure from civil society and press freedom groups for her to do so,” said Stella Assange at a film screening on Thursday. 

She said the “heaviest” pressure had come from Dunja Mijatovic, the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, “urging Patel to block it.” Mijatovic wrote to Patel on May 10, saying:

“I have been following the developments in Mr Assange’s case with great attention. In the judicial proceedings so far, the focus has mainly been on Mr Assange’s personal circumstances upon his possible extradition to the United States. While a very important matter, this also means, in my opinion, that the wider human rights implications of Mr Assange’s possible extradition, which reach far beyond his individual case, have not been adequately considered so far.

In particular, it is my view that the indictment by the United States against Mr Assange raises important questions about the protection of those that publish classified information in the public interest, including information that exposes human rights violations. The broad and vague nature of the allegations against Mr Assange, and of the offences listed in the indictment, are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond.

Consequently, allowing Mr Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.”

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquive has also written to Patel. “I join the growing collective concern about the violations of the human, civil and political rights of Mr. Julian Assange,” the Argentine wrote. He called the extradition request “illegal and abusive” and said it imperiled press freedom and could bring “potentially fatal consequences” to Assange. 

Amnesty International released a statement at the end of April calling on Patel to deny extradition. “If the Home Secretary certifies the US request to extradite Julian Assange it will violate the prohibition against torture and set an alarming precedent for publishers and journalists around the world,” Amnesty said. It went on:

“Prolonged solitary confinement is a regular occurrence in the USA’s maximum-security prisons. The practice amounts to torture or other ill-treatment, which is prohibited under international law. The assurances of fair treatment offered by the USA in Julian Assange’s case are deeply flawed and could be revoked at any time. Extradition to the USA would put Assange at risk of serious human rights violations, and hollow diplomatic assurances cannot protect him from such abuse.

If the UK government allows a foreign country to exercise extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction to prosecute a person publishing from the UK, other governments could use the same legal apparatus to imprison journalists and silence the press far beyond the borders of their own countries.” 

“There has been a huge mobilization all over Europe in many countries and 1,800 journalists have written an open letter to Priti Patel saying that this case should be blocked because it affects their safety because of the implications for global press freedom,” Stella Assange said.

Reporters Without Borders submitted a petition to Patel on Thursday with 65,000 signatures. It was delivered to British embassies in eight countries, Assange said.  More than  700,000 Australians have also signed a petition.

New Australian Government 

The election on Friday of just the fourth Labor government in Australia since the Second World War may bode well for Assange. The new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has said publicly that Assange should be returned to his native Australia. 

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The risk of Green Parties selling their souls to the nuclear lobby – Finland succumbs to the nuclear siren-song

Yes, it’s been all too much for Finland. Green Party members are finding it much easier to get along with the international powers-that-be, by simply dropping their anti-nuclear principles.

I mean – if your well-paid job depends on it , and your status, and self-esteem as an important person. well – why oppose those prestigious leaders who now greenwash the nuclear industry.?

After all, Finland has a nuclear industry, and is very proud of its coming, though rather limited, nuclear waste facility. And Finland’s joining NATO, and however much they deny this, could well be hosting nuclear weapons before too long.

Finland’s Greens will probably find it easy to forget that the full nuclear fuel cycle emits lots of greenhouse gases, that it produces toxic wastes, that it has safety risks, that it is most uneconomic, and that the nuclear industry really has one sole raison-d’etre – nuclear weapons.

It’s just too hard to press on with energy efficiency, wind, sun and wave power – when you’re up against a tsunami of pro-nuke propaganda.

No doubt the nuclear lobby is salivating at the thought that other Green Parties might follow suit, and turn dirty yellow. But Finland is in a bit of a nervous breakdown over Russia. in this time of Ukraine war, and it is more likely that the global Green Party movement will stick to reality.

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Christina's themes, Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Expanding NATO – it’s a $quillion bonanza for the U.S. weapons industries!!

Expanded NATO Will Shoot Billions To US Defense Contractors, Forbes,  Jon Markman

Analyzing tech stocks through the prism of cultural change. 23 May 22,   Two more Nordic countries are joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The real winners are American defense companies.

Finland and Sweden officially applied last week to join NATO. If admitted they would join their Nordic neighbors in the alliance, and open up a big new market for American defense contractors.

It would be a big win for Raytheon (RTN), Lockheed Martin LMT +2.1% (LMT) and Northrop Grumman NOC +3% (NOC).

……… Treaty obligations will a mean significant increase in defense spending. Finland has already ordered 64 new F-35 warplanes, the elite joint strike fighter developed by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems (BAESY). The JSFs cost between $110 million and $135.8 million.

More importantly, aligning with NATO is a commitment to interoperability with the American defense ecosystem. This directly benefits the big U.S. contractors. The market for their goods is expanding and they will face no competition for the foreseeable future.

……… President Biden signed last week a $40 billion Ukrainian war package. The United States is sending existing equipment to the war-torn country. Those systems will later be replenished at an additional cost to U.S. taxpayers……………………….  https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmarkman/2022/05/23/expanded-nato-will-shoot-billions-to-us-defense-contractors/?sh=14715533189f

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why environmentalists are pushing back against nuclear energy 

Yahoo Finance, 23 May 22,

”…………………….The recent Russian takeover of a nuclear plant in Ukraine exposed the potential vulnerabilities of nuclear power. This only adds to the public perception of nuclear energy as dangerous following several famous disasters. Several security issues, from warfare and economic collapse to climate change, have made the development of new nuclear plants even more troublesome. The potential for the creation of WMDs using nuclear energy must also be considered.

The argument that there have been several technological advances since the Chernobyl incident is largely undermined by Fukushima, which showed that natural disasters could have a devastating effect if they hit an area with a nuclear power plant.

As well as the security concerns involved, environmentalists and energy experts worldwide simply argue that nuclear energy cannot possibly be considered “green”, meaning it is unfit for a renewable energy transition…..  some believe the high cost of nuclear power and security concerns cannot compete with low-cost, safe renewable sources such as wind and solar power.

Meanwhile, Germany has actively opposed the EU decision to label nuclear power as green, with the country’s economy and climate ministry stating “The Federal Government has expressed its opposition to the taxonomy rules on nuclear power. This ‘no’ is an important political signal that makes clear: Nuclear energy is not sustainable and should therefore not be part of the taxonomy.”

As several world powers quickly push through new energy strategies that include the development of new nuclear power plants, environmentalists, experts and public figures worldwide continue to oppose the increase in nuclear power due to safety concerns, expense, uncertainty around nuclear waste disposal, and the simple fact that it is not ‘green’.


May 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biden’s nuclear comments send shock waves through Northeast Asia — Anti-bellum

China DailyMay 23, 2022 Biden’s ‘nuclear deterrence’ remarks send shock waves Also see: War for Taiwan, nuclear war for Japan: Biden pushes two-front campaign against China, Russia United States President Joe Biden sent shock waves on his first Asian trip by committing to “nuclear deterrence” for the Republic of Korea, wider military exercises and weapon […]

Biden’s nuclear comments send shock waves through Northeast Asia — Anti-bellum

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Like the rest of Europe’s few remaining non-members, Ireland being prepped for NATO — Anti-bellum

Irish ExaminerMay 23, 2022 Should Ireland debate joining Nato and abandoning ‘neutrality’? The decision by Finland and Sweden to end their long history of neutrality, or military non-alignment, and apply for Nato membership – and the speed at which that decision has been made – marks a seismic development in European security and foreign affairs. […]

Like the rest of Europe’s few remaining non-members, Ireland being prepped for NATO — Anti-bellum

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

War for Taiwan, nuclear war for Japan: Biden pushes two-front campaign against China, Russia — Anti-bellum

The White HouseMay 23, 2022 Japan-U.S. Joint Leaders’ Statement: Strengthening the Free and Open International Order Today, Japan and the United States affirm a partnership that is stronger and deeper than at any time in its history…. …President Biden commended Prime Minister Kishida’s global leadership, including in the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Summit meeting. As global partners, […]

War for Taiwan, nuclear war for Japan: Biden pushes two-front campaign against China, Russia — Anti-bellum

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine, Taiwan: Biden trip designed to recruit S. Korea, Japan into global anti-Russia/China bloc — Anti-bellum

HankyorehMay 20, 2022 Biden’s trip to S. Korea, Japan will send message to Beijing, says White House The White House announced that the South Korea-US summit scheduled for Saturday will take place at a “pivotal moment,” and that the meeting will cover core agendas such as solidifying and strengthening the two countries’ security and economic […]

Ukraine, Taiwan: Biden trip designed to recruit S. Korea, Japan into global anti-Russia/China bloc — Anti-bellum

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week in nuclear news

A bit of good news.  Australia – the leper of world climate politics, – is a leper no more. Beyond all expectations, we turfed out the corrupt and anti-environment Morrison Liberal Coalition government. The driving forces in this election were the Greens, and the very climate conscious ”teal” independents.  It seems that intelligent Liberals who care about the environment defected to the ”teals”, while intelligent Labor people who care strongly about the environment defected to the Greens. Either way –   Australia at long last will have a government that might work for the cause of a clean planet, and for addressing global heating, and climate justice.

Pandemic–  WHO chief: The COVID pandemic is ‘most certainly not over

Climate – New IPCC Report: Addressing Climate Change Is Now About Damage Control 

Extraditing Julian Assange would be a gift to secretive, oppressive regimes.

War in Ukraine is getting complicated, and America isn’t ready 

Ukraine War Has No End in Sight.    Ukraine Contact Group: war used to expand global NATO.

NATO doubles members since 1999, completes sweep of Nordic nations IT IS FOOLISH FOR FINLAND AND SWEDEN TO JOIN NATO.      Up to 100 U.S. nuclear weapons surround Russia’s border.       Disinformation’ Label Serves to Marginalize Crucial Ukraine Facts.

Switzerland: NATO swallowing Europe’s few remaining former neutrals .

Nuclear Bomb Blast Map Shows What Would Happen if One Detonated Near You.

New book – does nuclear power have a future?. Tritium isn’t harmless.

The Arctic Council (AC) and NATO aims conflict with no climate change mitigation.

 COP26: No countries have delivered on promise to improve climate plans. 1.2 billion people threatened by escalating heat due to climate change. Climate change: The global climate crisis is also a health crisis

UKRAINE. Chernobyl nuclear fears as forest near Exclusion Zone in FLAMES – emergency triggered      Ukraine controlled by US and UK – Russia. Injured troops to be evacuated from Azovstal – Moscow. Nuclear lobby happily predicts a bright and beautiful future for new nuclear reactors in Ukraine.

EUROPE. Borrell: EU defense chiefs to approve another half billion Euros to arm Ukraine — Anti-bellumRussia’s grip on Europe’s nuclear power industry – this is being ignored. EU lawmakers move to block green investment label for gas and nuclear.

Unusually high temperatures to hit western Europe this week.Nuclear Fusion Is Already Facing a Fuel Crisis.

EU hits fast forward on renewables, including “massive deployment” of solar .

GERMANY. Germany to reject EU green investment label for nuclear power. Germany will vote against EU plans to label nuclear power as a green investment,.

FRANCE. France’s Nuclear Safety authority struggles with the problems related to corrosion in 12 reactors.     France’s nuclear corrosion problem will need a ”large scale” plan, and ”several years” to fix. 3 unplanned shutdowns of French nuclear reactors due to corrosion concerns, in the Framatome-designed piping.       EDF shares fall after new profit warning due to nuclear outages.    Nuclear: seven questions about the industrial disaster that threatens EDF.    France’s woes with nuclear power plants mean more energy uncertainty for Europe.

SWEDEN. Sweden’s Green Party demands nuclear weapons ban.

INDIAExtreme heat hitting India.

PAKISTAN. Climate change makes record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely.

RUSSIA. Five reasons that Russia’s nuclear exports will continue, despite sanctions and the Ukraine invasion. But for how long?

USA.

CANADAOpposition mounts against 25-year licence extension request from New Brunswick nuclear plant with no long-term waste disposal plan.

JAPAN. Magnitude 6.0 quake shakes Japan’s east and northeast. Japan OKs plan to release Fukushima nuclear plant wastewaterNuclear expert reaffirms harm of dumping nuclear-contaminated water into ocean, calls on Japan to stop pressuring opposition voices.  Japan’s nuclear water disposal plan irresponsible.

SOUTH KOREA. New South Korean President plans to reverse the nuclear phaseout policy.       S. Korea denies report of alleged approval of Japan’s Fukushima water release plan.     Korea to keep close tabs on Japan’s Fukushima water discharge plan.

UK.


SOUTH AFRICA
Peter Becker, sacked from South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator Board, won’t go down without a fight.  From Russia with very expensive love – Karyn Maughan on South Africa’s bombed nuclear deal .

NEW ZEALAND“We must wean ourselves off fossil fuels:” New Zealand launches “landmark” climate plan .

TURKEY. Turkish nuclear plant threatened by Russian sanctions.

MYANMAR. Invading Russia U.S., allies may be planning Ukraine proxy war model for Myanmar — Anti-bellum 

AUSTRALIA. Will Anthony Albanese and Labor have the guts to free Julian Assange? Australians have voted for bolder climate action and integrity in politics

May 23, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

War in Ukraine is getting complicated, and America isn’t ready — The New York Times

 https://en.thepage.ua/politics/war-in-ukraine-is-getting-complicated-and-america-isnt-ready Author Valery Moiseev, 22 May 22,

The Senate passed a $40 billion emergency aid package for Ukraine, but with a small group of isolationist Republicans loudly criticizing the spending and the war entering a new and complicated phase, continued bipartisan support is not guaranteed. This is stated in an editorial published in The New York Times (NYT).

Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, warned the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that the war in Ukraine could take “a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory”, with the increased likelihood that Russia could threaten to use nuclear weapons.

The newspaper also notes that there are many questions that President Biden has yet to answer for the American public.

Is the United States, for example, trying to help bring an end to “this conflict” (as the newspaper calls the war in Ukraine) through a settlement that would allow for a sovereign Ukraine and some kind of relationship between the United States and Russia? Or is the United States now trying to weaken Russia permanently? Has the administration’s goal shifted to destabilizing Putin or having him removed? Does the United States intend to hold Putin accountable as a war criminal? Or is the goal to try to avoid a wider war — and if so, how to achieve this?

Without clarity on these questions, the White House not only risks losing Americans’ interest in supporting Ukrainians — who continue to suffer the loss of lives and livelihoods — but also jeopardizes long-term peace and security on the European continent, the NYT says.

The authors of the article believe that Americans “have been galvanized by Ukraine’s suffering”, but popular support for a war far from U.S. shores will not continue indefinitely. Inflation is a much bigger issue for American voters, and problems in global food and energy markets are likely to intensify.

“It is tempting to see Ukraine’s stunning successes against Russia’s aggression as a sign that with sufficient American and European help, Ukraine is close to pushing Russia back to its positions before the invasion. But that is a dangerous assumption.”

The article says that Russia remains too strong, and Putin has invested too much personal prestige in the invasion to back down.

“Unrealistic expectations could draw the United States and NATO ever deeper into a costly, drawn-out war. Russia, however battered and inept, is still capable of inflicting untold destruction on Ukraine and is still a nuclear superpower with an aggrieved, volatile despot who has shown little inclination toward a negotiated settlement.”

The NYT says that it is the Ukrainians who must make the hard decisions: they are the ones fighting, dying and losing their homes to Russian aggression, and it is they who must decide what an end to the war might look like. “If the conflict does lead to real negotiations, it will be Ukrainian leaders who will have to make the painful territorial decisions that any compromise will demand.”

But as the war continues, “Biden should also make clear to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his people that there is a limit to how far the United States and NATO will confront Russia, and limits to the arms, money and political support they can muster. It is imperative that the Ukrainian government’s decisions be based on a realistic assessment of its means and how much more destruction Ukraine can sustain.”

Confronting this reality may be painful, but it is not appeasement, the NYT stresses. This is what governments are duty bound to do, not chase after an illusory “win.” Russia will be feeling the pain of isolation and debilitating economic sanctions for years to come, and Putin will go down in history as a butcher. The challenge now is to shake off the euphoria, stop the taunting and focus on defining and completing the mission.

May 23, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Extraditing Julian Assange would be a gift to secretive, oppressive regimes

Handing over the WikiLeaks founder to the US will benefit those around the world who want to evade scrutiny

Peter Oborne 22 May 22,  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/20/extradite-julian-assange-investigative-journalism-wikileaks

In the course of the next few days, Priti Patel will make the most important ruling on free speech made by any home secretary in recent memory. She must resolve whether to comply with a US request to extradite Julian Assange on espionage charges.

The consequences for Assange will be profound. Once in the US he will almost certainly be sent to a maximum-security prison for the rest of his life. He will die in jail.

The impact on British journalism will also be profound. It will become lethally dangerous to handle, let alone publish, documents from US government sources. Reporters who do so, and their editors, will risk the same fate as Assange and become subject to extradition followed by lifelong incarceration.

For this reason Daniel Ellsberg, the 91-year-old US whistleblower who was prosecuted for his role in the Pentagon Papers revelations, which exposed the covert bombing of Laos and Cambodia and thus helped end the Vietnam war, has given eloquent testimony in Assange’s defence.

He told an extradition hearing two years ago that he felt a “great identification” with Assange, adding that his revelations were among the most important in the history of the US.

The US government does not agree. It maintains that Assange was effectively a spy and not a reporter, and should be punished accordingly.

Up to a point this position is understandable. Assange was anything but an ordinary journalist. His deep understanding of computers and how they could be hacked singled him out from the professionally shambolic arts graduates who normally rise to eminence in newspapers.

The ultimate creature of the internet age, in 2006 he helped found WikiLeaks, an organisation that specialises in obtaining and releasing classified or secret documents, infuriating governments and corporations around the world.

The clash with the US came in 2010, when (in collaboration with the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the New York Times and other international news organisations) WikiLeaks entered into one of the great partnerships of the modern era in any field. It started publishing documents supplied by the US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Between them, WikiLeaks and Manning were responsible for a series of first-class scoops that any self-respecting reporter would die for. And these scoops were not the tittle-tattle that comprises the daily fodder of most journalism. They were of overwhelming global importance, reshaping our understanding of the Iraq war and the “war on terror”.

https://4b00398cd5d8ac5695872d9cb288db87.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

To give one example among thousands, WikiLeaks published a video of soldiers in a US helicopter laughing as they shot and killed unarmed civilians in Iraq – including a Reuters photographer and his assistant. (The US military refused to discipline the perpetrators.)

To the intense embarrassment of the USWikiLeaks revealed that the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq was 66,000 – far more than the US had acknowledged.


It shone an appalling new light on the abuse meted out to the Muslim inmates at Guantánamo Bay, including the revelation that 150 innocent people were held for years without charge.

Clive Stafford Smith, the then chairman of the human rights charity Reprieve who represented 84 Guantánamo prisoners, praised the way WikiLeaks helped him to establish that charges against his clients were fabricated.

It’s easy to see why the US launched a criminal investigation. Then events took an unexpected turn in November 2010 when Sweden issued an arrest warrant against Assange following allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange refused to go to Sweden, apparently on the grounds that this was a pretext for his extradition to the United States and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Sweden never charged Assange with an offence, and dropped its investigation in 2019.

This was an eventful year in the Assange story. Ecuador kicked him out of the embassy and he was promptly arrested for breaching bail: he’s languished for the past three years in Belmarsh prison. Meanwhile the US pursues him using the same 1917 Espionage Act under which Ellsberg was unsuccessfully prosecuted. Assange’s defence, led by the solicitor Gareth Peirce and Edward Fitzgerald QC, has argued that his only crime was the crime of investigative journalism.

They point out that the indictment charges Assange with actions, such as protecting sources, that are basic journalistic practice: the US alleges that “Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure of classified records”. Any journalist who failed to take this elementary precaution when supplied with information by a source would be sacked.

The US stated that Assange “actively encouraged Manning” to provide the information. How disgraceful! No wonder Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, has warned that: “It is dangerous to suggest that these actions are somehow criminal rather than steps routinely taken by investigative journalists who communicate with confidential sources to receive classified information of public importance.”

Despite all this, there’s no reason to suppose that Patel will come to Assange’s rescue – though there may yet be further legal ways to fight extradition.

Even if Patel wasn’t already on the way to winning the all-corners record as the most repressive home secretary in modern history, the Johnson government, already in Joe Biden’s bad books, has no incentive to further alienate the US president.

If and when Assange is put on a plane to the US, investigative journalism will suffer a permanent and deadening blow.

And the message will be sent to war criminals not just in the US but in every country round the globe that they can commit their crimes with impunity.

May 23, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Ukraine Contact Group: war used to expand global NATO

NATO becoming more bloated

  Defense News May 22, 2022,  Rick Rozoff, m https://antibellum679354512.wordpress.com/2022/05/22/ukraine-contact-group-war-used-to-expand-global-nato/

More nations expected to sign up for Pentagon’s Ukraine aid group

A group of international defense chiefs convened by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to coordinate military aid for Ukraine is likely to expand when it meets for the second time on Monday.

The Ukraine Contact Group, which included 40 member countries at the inaugural gathering at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on April 26, has since attracted more interest….

“In its first iteration, you had countries from the Middle East, you had countries from the Indo-Pacific,” he said. “It wasn’t just Europe, and it certainly wasn’t just NATO….”

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, co-organizer of the push, is expected to make an opening statement along with Austin and a Ukrainian delegate, according to a British official, who spoke on condition of anonymity….

At the last meeting, Germany agreed to provide 50 Cheetah air-defense vehicles to Ukraine. The vehicles are slated to be delivered in July, German broadcaster ZDF reported. The British government also agreed to provide Ukraine with anti-aircraft capabilities, along with Canada’s offer of eight armored vehicles.

Austin will hold a call with Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, to discuss its military requirements in advance of the contact group meeting, Kirby said….


May 23, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear expert reaffirms harm of dumping nuclear-contaminated water into ocean, calls on Japan to stop pressuring opposition voices

By Zhang Changyue, May 22, 2022 

Nuclear expert reaffirms harm of dumping nuclear-contaminated water into ocean, calls on Japan to stop pressuring opposition voices  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202205/1266269.shtml

Experts have reaffirmed the inevitable radioactive pollution to be caused by the dumping of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean after Japan on Wednesday initially approved the discharge plan.  

They demanded the Japanese government to stop pressuring those opposed to the plan and to truly listen to concerns from domestic public and international community, as a 30-day public comment period will finally determine the fate of the plan.

The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) haven’t conducted a comprehensive environmental impact assessment as required by international law, Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace, a global environmental protection organization, told the Global Times.

Their assessment made fundamental mistakes in radiation protection by ignoring the evidence that many different radionuclides would be discharged from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. For example, how much radioactivity in total is planned to be discharged has not been provided,” Burnie pointed out.

“The contaminated water contains radioactive cesium, strontium, tritium and other radioactive substances, which could be incorporated and concentrated in marine biota and end up in the bodies of humans. Some could cause damage to DNA, while others result in higher risks of diseases such as leukemia and blood cancer,” said Burnie.

“To assess the consequences of the tank releases, we need a full accounting of what isotopes are left in each tank after any secondary treatments. This is not just for the nine isotopes currently reported but for a larger suite of possible contaminants, such as plutonium,” explained Burnie. The expert added that since different radionuclides behave differently in the environment, models of tritium’s rapid dispersion and dilution in the ocean cannot be used to assess the fate of other potential contaminants.

Some isotopes are more readily incorporated into marine biota or seafloor sediment, said Burnie. For example, the biological concentration factor for fish for carbon-14 is up to 50,000 times higher than for tritium. Cobalt-60 is up to 300,000 times more likely to end up associated with seafloor sediment.

Also, the discharge could in reality continue for many decades longer than the period of 30 years claimed by the Japanese government – potentially for the rest of this century and beyond, Burnie noted. 

Although the Japanese government and TEPCO agreed in 2015 that the consent of the Fukushima Fishermen’s Association would be a condition for any future discharges, they are trying to pressure those opposed to say yes, said Burnie, encouraging efforts in Japan and the international community to continue to stop the unlawful and unjustified dumping plan.

May 23, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, radiation | Leave a comment

Magnitude 6.0 quake shakes Japan’s east and northeast

 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/05/22/national/earthquake-ibaraki-fukushima/An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 struck Fukushima and other prefectures in Japan’s east and northeast on Sunday, but there was no threat of a tsunami, the Meteorological Agency said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious property damage following the quake, which occurred around 12:24 p.m.

The quake’s magnitude was later revised upward from the initial estimate of 5.8, the agency said.

The quake registered lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale to 7 in the city of Iwaki in Fukushima, according to the agency. Its focus was at a depth of about 30 kilometers in the Pacific off Ibaraki Prefecture.

The quake registered 4 in some other parts of Fukushima and 3 in the neighboring prefectures of Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Niigata and Tochigi.

No abnormalities were found at the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant on the coast of Ibaraki or at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants, their operators said.

There were also no major transport disruptions. JR East said it briefly suspended services on a section of the Tohoku Shinkansen line between Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures.

May 23, 2022 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment