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Julian Assange’s wife Stella Moris reveals how they raise children together while he is in jail waiting an extradition decision

In court, Julian has not been permitted to sit with his lawyers. And despite many applications since January 21, he has not been allowed to attend his own court hearings in person.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-08/stella-moris-my-life-with-julian-assange-extradition/101132624, My Australian husband Julian Assange is fighting for his life from within the confines of a three-by-two-metre cell in Britain’s harshest prison, Belmarsh.

The US has accused him of espionage as a result of his work with WikiLeaks in 2010-2011 and wants to extradite him to face court.

If his extradition goes ahead, Julian faces a maximum 175-year prison sentence. As his wife, I fear he will be buried in the deepest, darkest corner of the US prison system until he dies.

During another extradition hearing last year a UK magistrate blocked Julian’s transfer to the US over fears of “oppressive” conditions that could drive him to take his life.

On July 3, Julian turns 51. It will be the fourth year he has spent his birthday alone in a cell, without conviction.

Is our time together running out?

When Julian is taken from his cell to the prison yard he tilts his head up so his eyes can focus on the distance. If he narrows his eyes, the double razor wire above becomes a blur. Beyond is the open sky.

Julian recently discovered a family of nesting magpies. He spotted their home subversively nestled between the razor wire. I think our family is like those magpies.

When we are together, we are always a few metres from their nest. Our children — Gabriel, who is five, and Max, three — only have memories of their father within the brutal surroundings of Belmarsh prison.

We don’t know how long our children have left with their father. We don’t know if we can visit him or even talk to him on the phone. If the extradition goes ahead, US authorities retain the right to put Julian in conditions so cruel that no one in his position is likely to survive.

It is impossible for Julian and me to escape a feeling that he is on death row. Our weekly visits may be the only time we have left together. But for how much longer? A few months more, a few weeks, a few days and then only a few hours? I fear in the end we will count the minutes and the seconds.

Guards search inside my children’s mouths

Were it not for our children, this approaching catastrophe would be all-consuming. But Julian and I know these may be the only memories that our children will have of their father. We make our visits as joyous as possible.

I don’t need to explain to Gabriel and Max the reality of this place where we go to visit their father. They live it. The children walk under razor wire and past layers and layers of security to reach their daddy.

Guards search inside their mouths, behind their ears and under their feet. The prison dogs sniff them head to toe, front and back.

Last week, Gabriel slipped some daisies he had picked by the prison walls into his pocket to give to his father. After he passed through the metal detector his daisies were confiscated during the pat-down search by one of the guards, albeit reluctantly.

During visits, our family is allowed to embrace at the beginning and end. We can hold each others’ hands across the table. Julian and I are not allowed to kiss. But Julian would rather kiss his wife and be penalised than have that taken away from him too. So, we kiss.

Precious moments for life lessons

The children love visiting their daddy. Julian reads them stories. Gabriel shares his father’s fascination with numbers. Julian teaches them nifty tricks: the best way to peel an orange, how to open chips without losing any of the contents.

These things may sound small to most people, but they are our precious moments together. A canteen selling chips and oranges and the prison’s collection of children’s books are all that is on offer in the visitor’s hall we share with 30-or-so prisoners and their families once or twice a week.

On March 23, we were married in Belmarsh. The prison – normally filled with tragedy and isolation – was turned on its head for a few hours to celebrate our love and commitment. Our nest in the razor wire.

The last time the media photographed Julian was in 2019, through the scratched windows of a prison van.  The UK Authorities insist that our wedding photos not be made public ‘on security grounds’. In court, Julian has not been permitted to sit with his lawyers. And despite many applications since January 21, he has not been allowed to attend his own court hearings in person.

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June 14, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

NATO Membership May Spell the End of Finland and Sweden as Social Democracies

C.J. PolychroniouTruthout, June 12, 2022, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a godsend for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which had been declared “brain dead” by French President Emmanuel Macron as recently as 2019. Now, NATO has not only gained a new lease on life but also is expected to grow, with Finland and Sweden inching closer to NATO membership. In fact, Putin’s criminal attack on Ukraine has managed to keep Europe within the sphere of U.S. hegemony and thus to halt any aspirations that Europeans may have had of seeing the continent shift toward greater autonomy.

In the interview that follows, Finnish political scientist Heikki Patomäki provides a critical look into the reasons why Finland and Sweden have opted to join NATO and the potential consequences for Nordic social democracy. Patomäki’s views have been demonized for simply going against the frenzied dictates enforced by Western governments and the corporate media regarding proper responses to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Patomäki is professor of global politics and research director of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki. He is a member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters and author of scores of books and academic articles.

C.J. Polychroniou: …………………. Why does Finland want to join NATO? Is there really a security concern? What are the domestic debates surrounding its membership in NATO?

Heikki Patomäki: A simple but very incomplete answer is that the actions of Putin’s regime have caused Finland to join NATO…………… While a significant part of the political elite has favored Finnish NATO membership for years either publicly or privately, for the bulk of the population the main motivation is now primarily fear……………………………..What I hear now is Western Cold War mentality: The Russians are not only inherently bad but there may be no way we can ever cooperate with them again.

…………………………………The problem is not only that Finnish and Swedish NATO membership threatens to further escalate the NATO-Russia conflict. This decision will also reinforce the EU’s reliance on Washington. ………………………………….Current alliance formations and reformations are reminiscent of processes that led to the First World War. In the end looms the possibility of a global military catastrophe……….

Russia has threatened to retaliate over membership move on the part of Finland and Sweden. Why is Russia terrified of Finland in particular joining NATO, and how could it retaliate?

The Russian perspective is relatively clear. Russia has been opposed to NATO expansion all the way through………………

With increasing alienation between Russia and the neoliberal West in the 2000s, in Russia NATO has more and more often been framed as a security threat. Finland has more than 1300 kilometers (km) of border with Russia and is located close to its main centers, in particular St. Petersburg …………. membership may mean NATO military installations directly on the western side of Russia and an expansion of territory that would in effect be under U.S. military command in case of a war.

 The Russian military planners will have to respond by reorganizing their capabilities one way or another.

Nonetheless, the word “retaliation” in your question seems a bit too strong. ……………………

………………….Do you think that Finland’s decision to join NATO would undermine what is left of the social democratic model?

”……………………………………………………….. It seems to me that after their decisions to join NATO, Finland and Sweden are on the wrong side of history. For all I know, these decisions spell the end of the Nordic social democratic ideal.  https://truthout.org/articles/nato-membership-may-spell-the-end-of-finland-and-sweden-as-social-democracies/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=670b8dad-0c5c-4f27-8a01-24aefeb77660

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Experts doubt Polish government’s plans to have nuclear by 2033

By Bartosz Sieniawski | EURACTIV.pl 13 June 22, The government’s plan to have its first nuclear plant by 2033 as part of the six reactors it aims to have in operation by 2043 is too ambitious, experts have said.

Poland, which relies heavily on fossil fuels and has no nuclear plants for commercial use, announced in August 2020 it would have six nuclear reactors in operation in the Baltic municipality of Choczewo in the north.

With the climate crisis and the need to become independent from Russian fuel, the government is now eager to build a nuclear power plant as soon as possible, with its representatives assuring that the first plant will be built as planned.

However, some energy experts, including the deputy editor-in-chief of Energetyka24.com, Jakub Wiech, question their optimism.

In an interview with Onet.pl, Wiech said 2033 was an “unrealistic deadline”. According to him, building such a highly specialised facility in a country where no other is standing will not be easy, and there will be delays. It may also be problematic to get the parts that are key to the power plant’s functionality, he added.

“We are talking about parts that have to be ordered well in advance. You have to queue up at factories that make, for example, reactor casings. Another issue is the training of appropriate personnel, who will manage such a unit,” he said………. https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/experts-doubt-polish-governments-plans-to-have-nuclear-by-2033/

June 14, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Pentagon divulges number of US-funded biolabs in Ukraine.

US insists 46 “peaceful” facilities were all about public health and safety. https://www.rt.com/news/556902-pentagon-ukraine-biolabs-wmd/,    The US government has supported 46 biological research facilities in Ukraine over the past 20 years, but as part of a peaceful public health project rather than to develop weapons, the Pentagon said on Thursday. The US military accused Russia and China of “spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust” about its efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

This is the first time the US Department of Defense disclosed the exact number of such facilities its government has supported in Ukraine, in a document titled ‘Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts.’

According to the Pentagon, the US has “worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health,” by providing support to “46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades.” These programs have focused on “improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation.”

The work of these biolabs was “often” conducted in partnership with bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and was “consistent with international best practices and norms in publishing research results, partnering with international colleagues and multilateral organizations, and widely distributing their research and public health findings,” the Pentagon insisted.

Last month, the Russian military said only three laboratories in Ukraine had the required safety levels to conduct the kind of research they were engaged in. Head of the Radioactive, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov cited Ukrainian government reports to point to a series of problems at one of those facilities in Odessa, by way of example.

In a series of briefings starting in March, the Russian military has presented evidence of the Pentagon’s involvement in funding laboratories in Ukraine. In early May, Kirillov accused Kiev of launching a biological attack against the breakaway region of Lugansk and of conducting “inhumane experiments” on Ukrainian patients. Other evidence suggested attempts to weaponize drones to disperse pathogens, and attempts to destroy compromising materials after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February. 

According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the US has poured more than $224 million into biological research in Ukraine between 2005 and early 2022. Western pharmaceutical giants, nonprofits and even the US Democratic Party were involved in the scheme, Moscow has said.

To hear the Pentagon explain it, the US had “full approval” of the Russian government to engage “thousands of former Russian biological weapons scientists to conduct peaceful biological research projects for public health purposes.” Earlier in the document, the US military points out it was trying to create “sustainable civilian employment” for scientists with “weapons-related knowledge” in order to “remove incentives to seek or accept of terrorist or other state actor employment and financing.”

US involvement with biological laboratories in Ukraine “remain peaceful efforts to improve nuclear and radiological safety and security, disease surveillance, chemical safety and security, and readiness to respond to epidemics and pandemics such as COVID-19,” the Pentagon said.

Meanwhile, it accused Russia – with the help of China – of seeking “to undermine that work by spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust in the people and institutions all over the world that contribute to WMD threat reduction.” 

China has responded to Russian briefings by calling for the US to provide a “fair, objective and professional” explanation of its activities.

The Pentagon insists that Ukraine “has no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons programs” and that the small amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) that remains at research institutes in Kiev and Kharkov “is well below the amount needed to produce a nuclear device.”

June 14, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Sky News Australia is a global hub for climate misinformation, report says

Sky News Australia is a global hub for climate misinformation, report says

Murdoch-owned channel creates and distributes content promoting climate scepticism across the world, analysis finds

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global nuclear arsenal could grow for the first time in decades, think-tank SIPRI warns

  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-13/nuclear-arsenal-to-grow-for-first-time-since-cold-war-sipri/101147652

The world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons is expected to grow for the first time since the Cold War in the coming years, according to research by a leading international think-tank.

Key points:

  • All of the nuclear-armed states are increasing or upgrading their arsenals
  • Most are also sharpening nuclear rhetoric and the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies
  • Russia has the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal with a total of 5,977 warheads, some 550 more than the United States

In its new set of research, SIPRI said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western support for Kyiv had also heightened tensions among the world’s nine nuclear-armed states.

While the number of nuclear weapons fell slightly between January 2021 and January 2022, SIPRI said that unless immediate action was taken by the nuclear powers, global inventories of warheads could soon begin rising for the first time in decades.

“All of the nuclear-armed states are increasing or upgrading their arsenals and most are sharpening nuclear rhetoric and the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies,” Wilfred Wan, director of SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program, said in the think-tank’s 2022 yearbook.”This is a very worrying trend.”

Three days after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”, President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert.He has also warned of consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history” for countries that stood in Russia’s way.

How many nuclear weapons are there?

According to the Federation of American Scientists, nuclear weapons stockpiles are state secrets, so any figures are estimates, however it is thought the world’s combined inventory is roughly 12,700 as of early-2022.Russia has the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal, with a total of 5,977 warheads, some 550 more than the United States.The two countries possess more than 90 per cent of the world’s warheads, though SIPRI said China was in the middle of an expansion with an estimated more than 300 new missile silos.

SIPRI said the global number of nuclear warheads fell to 12,705 in January 2022 from 13,080 in January 2021.An estimated 3,732 warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft, and around 2,000 — nearly all belonging to Russia or the United States — were kept in a state of high readiness.While the United States was still reducing its stockpile, France and Israel have relatively stable inventories. But China, India, North Korea, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, as well as possibly Russia, are all thought to be increasing theirs.

Relations between the world’s great powers have deteriorated further at a time when humanity and the planet face an array of profound and pressing common challenges that can only be addressed by international cooperation,” SIPRI board chairman and former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said.

When was the last time a country seriously threatened to use nuclear weapons?

One of the major flashpoints of the Cold War was the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev learned of an American plot to overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime and armed Cuba with nuclear warheads pointed at the nearby US.

The Cold War heated up again in the 1980s as US president Ronald Reagan took up against what he saw as the scourge of communism.

As tensions rose, both the Soviets and the Americans were armed to the teeth with nuclear warheads numbering in the tens of thousands on both sides.

In the late 1980s that number between the two nations reached over 68,000 nuclear warheads.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seismic blasting in Irish Sea for nuclear waste dump will be devastatingto marine life.

Seismic blasting in Irish Sea for nuclear waste dump will be devastating
to marine life. In a little-known project, the government’s Nuclear Waste
Services is to blast undersea seismic airguns off the Cumbria coast this
summer in the name of ‘scientific research’ – paid for at public
expense. LINDA PENTZ GUNTER reports. IMAGINE being subjected to
ear-shattering blasts every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day for four straight
weeks? By any metric, that would qualify as the most appalling form of
torture. But that is exactly what is about to be inflicted on whales,
dolphins, seals and other marine creatures in the Irish Sea if a new wave
of opposition cannot stop it. The Irish Sea is already the most radioactive
sea in the world, in large part a result of decades of radioactive
discharges from the Sellafield reprocessing facility on the Cumbrian
shoreline. Now, Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) has contracted a company
called Shearwater Geosciences to blast its undersea seismic airguns off the
Cumbria coast this summer, calling it “scientific research.”

 Morning Star 12th June 2022

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/seismic-blasting-irish-sea-nuclear-waste-dump-will-be-devastating-marine-life

June 14, 2022 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Mother Nature: Economic growth is sending her bankrupt

Mother Nature: Economic growth is sending her bankrupt

Keith Presnell

For life as we know it to persist, we must acknowledge there are natural limits to growth. Economic growth equals increased demand, which is simply not sustainable in a finite world.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Human-made heatwaves are getting hotter

Human-made heatwaves are getting hotter

Guardian editorial

The world’s poorest people ought to be helped to cope with a climate emergency they did little to cause.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine war – good chance for France to sell nuclear reactors to India, replacing deal with Russia.

Supply of six nuclear reactors: Question mark on Russia inputs, India evaluates French push at Jaitapur https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supply-of-six-nuclear-reactors-question-mark-on-russia-inputs-india-evaluates-french-push-at-jaitapur-7966435/

The Department of Atomic Energy is actively examining a binding techno-commercial offer submitted by the French state-owned power company to help build six third-generation EPR reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. 

 by Mihir Mishra , Anil Sasi  June 13, 2022

Amid mounting uncertainties over the civil nuclear partnership with Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war, there are indications of fresh progress on the much-delayed deal with French power utility EDF for the supply of six EPR (European Pressurised Water Reactors) nuclear reactors.

The Department of Atomic Energy is actively examining a binding techno-commercial offer submitted by the French state-owned power company to help build six third-generation EPR reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

A high-level team from EDF was here late last month.

New Delhi had accorded an “in-principle” approval of the site at Jaitapur in Maharashtra for setting up of six reactors of 1650 MWe (megawatt electric) each as part of an umbrella nuclear deal signed with France in September 2008.

However, that proposal has been hanging fire on account of multiple factors, including the slowdown in nuclear projects globally post the Fukushima incident and internal reorganisation at French nuclear utility Areva (which was subsequently taken over by EDF).

If the Jaitapur deal takes off, it would be the largest nuclear power generating site in the country with a total capacity of 9,900 MWe and one of the biggest-ever export deals for the French side.

Sources said the issue of the techno-commercial offer came up during delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in May.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

Japanese youths at Vienna Nuclear Ban Treaty meeting, call for abolition of nuclear weapons 

Japanese youths to call for abolition of nuclear weapons at Vienna meeting,  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220612_14/   Fourteen Japanese youths plan to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons at the first meeting of signatories to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna later this month.

In an online meeting on Sunday, Takahashi Yuta, a university student from Hiroshima, said the younger generation must take over from the atomic-bomb survivors, or hibakusha.

He said many young people will travel to the meeting in Vienna, and he wants to convey the hibakushas’ voices to the world.

Okuno Kako, another university student from Hiroshima, is also working on environmental

Okuno said if nuclear weapons are used, they would cause temperatures to fall globally. She added that nuclear tests and the production of nuclear weapons also adversely affect the environment.

She said she wants to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons from the viewpoint of both environmental protection and peace, although they may appear to be unrelated.

The students plan to explain the hibakushas’ experiences at events organized by non-governmental organizations, and to give speeches calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

They also hope to convey the hibakushas’ views to representatives of the signatory countries in Vienna.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

”Climatenomics” – new book -climate crisis is the REAL economic worry

 Forget Ukraine, coronavirus, corporate greed and “supply chain
issues”, when it comes to inflation the climate crisis is the real,
lasting, worry, according to a new book, and one that’s only likely to
get worse. Climatenomics, by former White House reporter and director of
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) Bob Keefe, is a narrative account of how
the climate crisis is fundamentally altering not just the US but global
economies. Within its pages, Keefe lays out what he sees as the false
choice between creating jobs and driving economic growth and protecting the
planet, and how “supply chain disruptions” has become a euphemism for
the effects of climate change.

 Guardian 11th June 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jun/11/climate-crisis-inflation-economy-climatenomics-book

June 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment