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The UK’s Decision to Extradite Assange Shows Why The US/UK’s Freedom Lectures Are a Farce

Glenn Greenwald, 18 June 22, The Assange persecution is the greatest threat to Western press freedoms in years. It is also a shining monument to the fraud of American and British self-depictions.

The eleven-year persecution of Julian Assange was extended and escalated on Friday morning. The British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the U.S.’s extradition request to send Julian Assange to Virginia to stand trial on eighteen felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act and other statutes in connection with the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents showing widespread corruption, deceit, and war crimes by American and British authorities along with their close dictatorial allies in the Middle East.

This decision is unsurprising — it has been obvious for years that the U.S. and UK are determined to destroy Assange as punishment for his journalism exposing their crimes — yet it nonetheless further highlights the utter sham of American and British sermons about freedom, democracy and a free press.

Having reported on the Assange case for years, on countless occasions I’ve laid out the detailed background that led Assange and the U.S. to this point. There is thus no need to recount all of that again; those interested can read the granular trajectory of this persecution here or here.

Suffice to say, Assange — without having been convicted of any crime other than bail jumping, for which he long ago served out his fifty-week sentence — has been in effective imprisonment for more than a decade…………………….

The Home Secretary’s decision this morning — characteristically subservient and obedient of the British when it comes to the demands of the U.S. — does not mean that Assange’s presence on U.S. soil is imminent. Under British law, Assange has the right to pursue a series of appeals contesting the Home Secretary’s decision, and will likely do so. Given that the British judiciary has more or less announced in advance their determination to follow the orders of their American masters, it is difficult to see how these further proceedings will have any effect other than to delay the inevitable………………….

What makes this law so insidious is that, by design, it is almost impossible for the government to lose. As I detailed in Washington Post op-ed when the indictment was first revealed — arguing why it poses the greatest threat to press freedoms in the West in years — this 1917 law is written as a “strict liability” statute, meaning that the defendant is not only guilty as soon as there is proof that they disclosed classified information without authorization, but they are also barred from raising a “justification” defense — meaning they cannot argue to the jury of their peers that it was not only permissible but morally necessary to disclose that information because of the serious wrongdoing and criminality it revealed on the part of the nation’s most powerful political officials. That 1917 law, in other words, is written to offer only show trials but not fair trials.

………………. “free press” guarantees in the U.S. and UK exist only on a piece of parchment and in theory. Citizens are free to do “journalism” as long as it does not disturb or anger or impede real power centers. Employees of The Washington Post and CNN are “free” to say what they want as long as what they are saying is approved and directed by the CIA or the content of their “reporting” advances the interests of the Pentagon’s sprawling war machine……………  https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-uks-decision-to-extradite-assange

June 20, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, USA | Leave a comment

No decision yet on choosing USA or UK nuclear submarines, but a USA Bill to train Australian submariners!

Ed. note: But Australian nuclear zealot Jonathon Mead (left) and nuclear enthusiast Peter Dutton are on the job, in lockstep with the Americans.

Booster For AUKUS: US Could Train Australian Navy On Its Nuclear Subs While Canberra Decides Between US, UK Submarines

Eurasian Times, By Sakshi Tiwari, June 18, 2022 The Australian nuclear submarine project, assisted by the US and the UK under the AUKUS agreement, has faced several controversies. Recently, the former Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton made startling revelations about his government’s plan to buy American Virginia-class nuclear submarines.

Even though the claims enthused observers about a possible purchase by Australia, the officials have maintained that the decision has not been reached. Canberra is expected to choose between the US Virginia-class submarine or British Astute-class submarines.

In an all-new development, the US lawmakers have introduced a bill called ‘Australia-US Submarine Officer Pipeline Act’ to train Royal Australian Navy officers in the operation of nuclear submarines. The bill was moved into Congress even as doubts remain over the Virginia-class submarine purchase.

The ‘Australia-United States Submarine Officer Pipeline Act’ would allow Australian naval officers to begin training in the United States to operate and maintain nuclear-powered submarines before eventually commanding the future boats.

“The new bipartisan bill will establish a joint training pipeline between the US Navy and the Royal Australian Navy and enable the start of US-based training of Commanding Officers for Australia’s future fleet of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS alliance,” the AUKUS working group said in a news release.

The bill requires the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Energy to begin a training exchange in 2023 and continue it in subsequent years. It is the result of Congress’ AUKUS working group, formed in April to help develop the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia’s new cooperation.

In November 2021, Australia inked a nuclear submarine technology-sharing deal with the United States and the United Kingdom as part of the AUKUS defense agreement. Australia is only the second country after the United Kingdom to secure a transfer of nuclear propulsion technology from the US.

Currently, the AUKUS partners are pursuing an 18-month study period to assess the requirements of Canberra’s nuclear submarine project, as previously reported by EurAsian Times. In September 2021, it abandoned a deal with the Naval Group of France for diesel-electric submarines and signed the AUKUS pact in favor of nuclear submarines.

Training Before Manufacturing

Nuclear-powered submarines are more expensive, but they are quieter and harder to detect, and they can stay submerged longer since they don’t need to surface to refuel.

With Australia, the US plans to begin training a cadre of young officers now to be ready to command the country’s submarines when the time comes, noted Defense News.

“The AUKUS alliance is the most important national security partnership that America has entered into in decades,” Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said in a news release. “While [design] work is ongoing, it makes sense to open the US Navy’s nuclear training programs to Australia’s naval officers to acquire proficiency in the operation of nuclear submarines.”

The Chief of the Royal Australian Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine task force, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, previously told The Strategist that Australians co-crewing with American and British submarines are likely to be part of an interim submarine capability.

“To train personnel,” Mead said, “We could embed sailors and officers in a US or UK boat to the point where we may have a 50% UK or US crew and a 50% Australian crew.”

When the first submarine is launched in South Australia, the goal is to have the crew trained, the industrial base ready to maintain it, and the regulatory system set up. “We have exchange officers on board our submarines and ships all the time.”

Mead also toured training schools in the United Kingdom and the United States to assess their systems. Many crew members receive reactor training and study nuclear physics concepts, but they are not nuclear physicists.

“‘They’ve been given a six-month course, and then they go to sea and become competent and current on their tradecraft at sea in a submarine,’ he explained.

“So we need to set up a system supported by the US and UK to provide our people with reactor training. If you’re an engineer, you may be a nuclear physicist. If you’re working at the front end of the boat, you require some knowledge of the reactor in case there’s an emergency, but not to the same level.”

The sentiment in Australia, [i.e in Jonathon Mead] thus, seems to align with American plans to start training Australian sailors and Naval officers. However, the exact nature and specifics of the training module are not yet known……………………….

Australia does not have sufficient nuclear infrastructure or advanced industrial capacity to build nuclear submarines. The shortcomings in nuclear infrastructure have had many experts suggest purchasing subs from the two AUKUS partners or building Australian submarines overseas.

Building nuclear-powered submarines would cost Australia billions of dollars and years of infrastructure construction. However, for the project to become a reality and for Australia’s crew to operate nuclear subs perfectly, training is one of the top priorities for AUKUS.

Even though Australia sells some nuclear fuel and has a single nuclear reactor for scientific study, the country does not have a substantial civil or military nuclear program. To get a head start, Australia could first start training on American or British nuclear submarines or lease older retired American submarines until they can deploy their indigenous designs, according to a National Interest report.

The Urgency For AUKUS

Australia’s nuclear submarines are expected to be operational no sooner than the end of the next decade. Consequently, the former Defense Minister Dutton had indicated that his government wanted to purchase two US submarines “this decade” to avoid a gap in replacing the country’s outdated Collins-class submarine fleet, with another eight US submarines under development in South Australia as part of the project.

This plan, he claims, would have eliminated the need to wait until 2038 for the first submarines designed in the United States to be built in Australia. The Royal Australian Navy currently operates six diesel-electric guided-missile submarines.

……………… While a decision regarding purchasing a nuke sub from the UK or the US hangs in the balance, training to use a nuclear submarine could be an easier way forward……..  https://eurasiantimes.com/booster-for-aukus-us-to-train-australian-navy-on-its-nuclear-subs/

June 20, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Apprehension in Japan, about the idea of getting nuclear-powered submarines.

Kishida cautious about Japan acquiring nuclear-powered sub Nikkei Asia, June 19, 2022

Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, echoed Kishida’s view, calling the idea of a nuclear-powered submarine “unrealistic.”

Ichiro Matsui, leader of the Japan Innovation Party, and Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the Democratic Party for the People, called for acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine to boost deterrence and reconnaissance capacity……….

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s leader Kenta Izumi was against acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine, saying the country’s defenses “won’t get stronger simply because some deluxe equipment is added.”………………. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Indo-Pacific/Kishida-cautious-about-Japan-acquiring-nuclear-powered-subs

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Biden Proposes Changes to Help Rescue California Nuclear Plant

Biden Proposes Changes to Help Rescue California Nuclear Plant  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-18/biden-proposes-changes-to-help-rescue-california-nuclear-plant#xj4y7vzkg

By Mark Chediak, 18 June 2022, The US Department of Energy is proposing changes requested by California Governor Gavin Newsom that will allow the state’s last nuclear power plant to qualify for federal financial assistance. 

The Energy Department proposed removing a requirement that would have prevented PG&E Corp.’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant from getting a portion of $6 billion in funds the Biden Administration is making available to rescue reactors at risk of closing early because they are losing money. The Energy Department posted the suggested amendment on its website and asked for public comments by June 27. 

Newsom is reconsidering a state plan to retire Diablo Canyon in 2025 because of projected electricity shortages that could lead to blackouts in the state.    The effort to keep Diablo Canyon open would gain momentum if the plant can qualify for federal financial aid. California’s potential reversal of its anti-nuclear power stance underscores the crisis the state is facing as it seeks to decarbonize its grid. 

Last month, Newsom asked the Energy Department to amend its nuclear funding criteria so Diablo Canyon would be eligible. The federal program was originally designed to help nuclear plants that were financially struggling in competitive wholesale power markets, which wasn’t the case with Diablo Canyon. 

The Energy Department suggested that it would eliminate a requirement that a nuclear reactor applying for funds not recover more than 50% of its costs from regulated rates or contracts. The costs of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon plant are recovered through bill charges to its customers. 

June 20, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Macron warned of horror ‘nuclear accident’ as CRACKS appear in EDF’s reactors

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has been sent a horrifying warning as cracks have been detected in some of EDFs nuclear reactors in France.

 https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1625813/edf-cracks-nuclear-reactor-accident-power-plant-France-energy-emmanuel-macronBy ANTONY ASHKENAZ, Wed, Jun 15, 2022 ,

A new report has warned Mr Macron of significant corrosion safety problems in EDF nuclear power plants in France as cracks detected in some nuclear reactors could risk causing “nuclear accidents”. The cracks were first detected in an emergency cooling circuit of reactor no. 1 of the Civaux power plant in October. The report also warned that the upcoming Hinkley Point reactor in the UK could face a similar situation   Similar cracks have been discovered in three other 1500 MW reactors and of the Penly 1 reactor (1300 MW) , prompting them to be shut down as well.

The report notes that several reactors have faced “stress corrosion” which is often characterised by “cracking of a material… the stresses are linked to manufacturing operations and in particular to welding operations”.

Dr Bernard Laponche, the co-author of this study warned that the risk from stress corrosion is serious writing: “If the defects detected on the welds evolve, they can cause a breach in the main reactor cooling system.

While France has a large fleet of nuclear reactors generating about 70 percent of its energy, many of these reactors are ageing, with French regulators pushing the scheduled shutdown of over half of EDF’s reactors by over a decade. 

The report added that there are a number of likely reasons why several of these reactors were cracking, which include “a degradation mechanism that simultaneously involves the material and its intrinsic characteristics, the mechanical stresses to which it is subjected and the nature of the fluid that circulates.”

According to the French nuclear regulator ASN, the “geometry” of the circuits concerned is the main cause for this defect, while EDF blames “thermal stratification”, or contact between two types of steam with different temperatures coming into contact. 

The authors warned against France’s decision to extend the lifespan of these nuclear reactors from 40 years to 50 after 58 of the country’s reactors were set to shuitdown.

The authors wrote: “In any case, if the vulnerability of the 900 MW reactors were confirmed, the question of extending the operating life of these reactors beyond 40 years would have to be re-examined.

“It would also be necessary to examine the possibility that the EPR reactors at Flamanville, Olkiluoto and Taïshan, as well as those under construction at Hinkley Point, might themselves be concerned, insofar as they were designed on the basis of the 1500 MW N4 model.”

EDF is currently building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset and was previously set to come online in 2026.

Last month, EDF warned that as a result fo the pandemic, Hinkley Point C would be delayed by another year to June 2027, and will cost another £3billion to complete. 

However, they assured that there would be no cost impact to the British taxpayer as a result of the delay. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has invested heavily in nuclear energy, announcing plans to generate a quarter of the UK’s energy supply from nuclear sources by 2050. 

The Government aims to launch 8 new nuclear reactors to replace 5 of the 6 existing plants that are set to be shut down by the end of the decade. 

Express.co.uk has reached out to EDF for comment. 

 

June 20, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

“Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes” – exposes the lies about this nuclear disaster.

The new documentary “Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes,” premiering Wednesday
on HBO, exposes the shocking lies the Soviet government fed its citizens in
an effort to downplay the dangers of the Chernobyl explosion — even as
officials who knew better protected themselves. Among the recently
discovered and previously unseen footage is video originally shot to be
propaganda as the country scurried to downplay the severity of the event.

 New York Post 18th June 2022
 https://nypost.com/2022/06/18/hbo-doc-chernobyl-exposes-lies-told-by-soviet-government/

June 20, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Burning planet: why are the world’s heatwaves getting more intense?

 Burning planet: why are the world’s heatwaves getting more intense? When
the temperature readings started to come through from Antarctic weather
stations in early March, scientists at first thought there might have been
some mistake.

At the north pole, similarly unusual temperatures were also
being recorded, astonishing for the time of year when the Arctic should be
slowly emerging from its winter deep freeze. The region was more than 3C
warmer than its long-term average, researchers said. To induce a heatwave
at one pole may be regarded as a warning; heatwaves at both poles at once
start to look a lot like climate catastrophe.

Since then, weather stations
around the world have seen their mercury rising like a global Mexican wave.
A heatwave struck India and Pakistan in March, bringing the highest
temperatures in that month since records began 122 years ago.

Scientists have been able quickly to prove that these record-breaking temperatures are
no natural occurrence. A study published last month showed that the south
Asian heatwave was made 30 times more likely to happen by human influence
on the climate. This type of heat poses a serious threat to human health,
directly as it puts stress on our bodies, and indirectly as it damages
crops, causes wildfires and even harms our built environment, such as roads
and buildings.

Poor people suffer most, as they are the ones out in fields
or in factories, or on the street without shelter in the midst of the heat,
and they lack the luxury of air-conditioning when they get home. Katharine
Hayhoe, chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy, told the Observer.
“If we continue with business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, there is
no adaptation that is possible. You just can’t.”

 Observer 18th June 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/18/burning-planet-why-are-the-worlds-heatwaves-getting-more-intense

June 20, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

 President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to confirm Duterte’s executiveorder to include nuclear power

 President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to confirm Duterte’s executive
order to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix. The first step
could be repurposing a plant already built under Marcos Sr by US company
Westinghouse in the early eighties not far from the capital, but which was
never fuelled. In Southeast Asia, the Philippines’ energy costs are
second only to Singapore’s.

 Asia News 18th June 2022

https://www.asianews.it/news-en/Manila-to-reboot-the-Bataan-Nuclear-Power-Plant-56065.html

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment