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US Surrounds China With War Machinery While Freaking Out About Balloons

Caitlin Johnstone 4 Feb 23

In what Austin journalist Christopher Hooks has called “one of the stupidest news cycles in living memory,” the entire American political/media class is having an existential meltdown over what the Pentagon claims is a Chinese spy balloon detected in US airspace on Thursday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled his scheduled diplomatic visit to China after the detection of the balloon. The mass media have been covering the story with breathless excitement. China hawk pundits have been pounding the war drums all day on any platform they can get to and accusing the Biden administration of not responding aggressively enough to the incident…………………

China’s foreign ministry says the balloon is indeed from China but is “civilian in nature, used for meteorological and other scientific research,” and was simply blown far off course. This could of course be untrue — all major governments spy on each other constantly and China is no exception — but the Pentagon’s own assessment is that the balloon “does not create significant value added over and above what the PRC is likely able to collect through things like satellites in Low Earth Orbit.”.

So everyone’s losing their minds over a balloon that in all probability would be mostly worthless for spying, even while everyone knows the US spies on China at every possible opportunity. US officials have complained to the press that American spies are having a much harder time conducting operations and recruiting assets in China than they used to because of measures the Chinese government has taken to thwart them, and in 2001 a US spy plane caused a major international incident when it collided with a Chinese military jet on China’s coastline, killing the pilot.

The US considers it its sovereign right to spy on any nation it chooses, and the average American tends more or less to see it the same way. This is highlighted in controversies around domestic versus foreign surveillance, for example; Americans were outraged over the Edward Snowden revelations not because spy agencies were conducting surveillance, but because they were conducting surveillance on American citizens. It’s just taken as a given that spying on foreigners is fine, so it’s a bit silly to react melodramatically when foreigners return the favor.

As Jake Werner explains for Responsible Statecraft:

Foreign surveillance of sensitive U.S. sites is not a new phenomenon. “It’s been a fact of life since the dawn of the nuclear age, and with the advent of satellite surveillance systems, it long ago became an everyday occurrence,” as my colleague and former CIA analyst George Beebe puts it. 

U.S. surveillance of foreign countries is likewise quite common. Indeed, great powers gathering intelligence on each other is one of the more banal and universal facts of international relations. Major countries even spy on their own allies, as when U.S. intelligence bugged the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Typically, even when such surveillance is directed against the United States by a rival power, it does not threaten the safety of Americans and it poses manageable risks to sites where secrecy is of the utmost importance. However — in the context of rapidly increasing U.S.–China tensions — foreseeable incidents like these can quickly balloon into dangerous confrontations.

Now let’s contrast all this with another news story that’s getting a lot less attention. 

In an article titled “US secures deal on Philippines bases to complete arc around China,” the BBC reports that the empire will be adding even more installations to the already impressive military noose it has been constructing around the PRC.

“The US has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan,” writes the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes. “With the deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south. The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints – Taiwan and the South China Sea.”

“The US hasn’t said where the new bases are but three of them could be on Luzon, an island on the northern edge of the Philippines, the only large piece of land close to Taiwan – if you don’t count China,” writes Wingfield-Hayes……..

The US empire has been surrounding China with military bases and war machinery for many years, in ways Washington would never tolerate China doing in the nations and waters surrounding the United States. There is no question that the US is the aggressor in this increasingly hostile standoff between major powers. Yet we’re all meant to be freaking out about a balloon……… https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/us-surrounds-china-with-war-machinery

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February 3, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s Biggest Fight in Notorious Prison Isn’t Over Extradition

NewsWeek, BY SHAUN WATERMAN ON 01/27/23 “…………………………………………….. Assange’s physical and mental health have declined severely during more than a decade in confinement — first sheltering from U.S. authorities in the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012-2019, where he lived in two rooms and never left the building, and for the last almost four years, since he was dragged from the embassy by British police in April 2019, in Belmarsh fighting extradition.

…………………… The proceedings in London continue to drag on. It has been more than a year since the High Court cleared the way for his extradition and his appeal was filed in August. But the court continues to weigh it, with no deadline to reach a decision. Even if he loses, there remains the possibility of an appeal to the British Supreme Court, or to the European Court of Human Rights. Assange could be in the U.S. within months, but he might remain in Britain for years.

His family says that with uncertainty about his extradition hanging over him like the sword of Damocles, he has lost weight and become depressed and anxious.

A confinement of uncertain duration

The worst part about the confinement is having no idea when or how he would be able to leave, Stella Assange said. “It is the uncertain duration that makes it so hard to bear … It’s a kind of torture.”…………..

The uncertainty has exacerbated Assange’s physical and mental deterioration, his wife said. In October 2021, during a High Court hearing about his extradition, Assange, attending via video link from Belmarsh, suffered a “transient ischaemic attack” — a mini-stroke. He has been diagnosed with nerve damage and memory problems and prescribed blood thinners.

“He might not survive this,” she said.

As a remand prisoner, not convicted or sentenced, and facing extradition, not prosecution, Assange is an anomaly in Britain’s most secure prison — designed to hold “Category A” inmates such as IRA militants, jihadis and murderers. One of a tiny handful of unconvicted prisoners, prison regulations require him to be treated differently, his wife said.

“He’s supposed to be able to get visits every day, he’s supposed to be able to work on his case,” she said, “But that’s only on paper. The way the prison system works, it is more efficient to treat everyone like a Cat A prisoner rather than to try to adapt the rules for individuals. In reality, that just doesn’t translate at all.” She said Assange is allowed one or two legal visits, and one or two social visits each week.

In between visits, time can stretch. And the isolation has been hard on him……………………………..

Phone calls, his half-brother Gabriel Shipton told Newsweek from Assange’s native Australia, are limited to 10 minutes. “You’ll just be getting into it and click, it’s over.”

Neither the governor’s office at Belmarsh, nor the press office for the British Prison Service, responded to emails requesting responses to detailed questions.

A source of inspiration and power

Assange gets thousands of letters and parcels from all over the world, Stella Assange said, but the authorities interdict banned items, such as books about national security, paintings and other forbidden objects.

His father, John Shipton, told Newsweek from Australia that Assange draws a lot of inspiration and power from the letters that people write to him. During their phone conversations, he will often read snippets or recall memorable letters, Shipton said. “He loves getting them … You can hear him light up a bit” when he talks about them………………………………………… more https://www.newsweek.com/2023/02/10/julian-assanges-biggest-fight-notorious-prison-isnt-over-extradition-1774197.html

January 29, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, health, Legal | Leave a comment

The Belmarsh Tribunals Demand Justice for Julian Assange

Never before has a publisher been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act. The Assange prosecution poses a fundamental threat to the freedom of speech and a free press.

President Biden, currently embroiled in his own classified document scandal, knows this, and should immediately drop the charges against Julian Assange

JANUARY 26, 2023, By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan  https://www.democracynow.org/2023/1/26/the_belmarsh_tribunals_demand_justice_for

“The first casualty when war comes is truth,” U.S. Senator Hiram W. Johnson of California said in 1929, debating ratification of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a noble but ultimately failed attempt to ban war. Reflecting on World War I, which ended a decade earlier, he continued, “it begins what we were so familiar with only a brief period ago, this mode of propaganda whereby…people become war hungry in their patriotism and are lied into a desire to fight. We have seen it in the past; it will happen again in the future.”

Time and again, Hiram Johnson has been proven right. Our government’s impulse to control information and manipulate public opinion to support war is deeply ingrained. The past twenty years, dominated by the so-called War on Terror, are no exception. Sophisticated PR campaigns, a compliant mass media and the Pentagon’s pervasive propaganda machine all work together, as public intellectual Noam Chomsky and the late Prof. Ed Herman defined it in the title of their groundbreaking book, “Manufacturing Consent,” borrowing a phrase from Walter Lippman, considered the father of public relations.

One publisher consistently challenging the pro-war narrative pushed by the U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, has been the whistleblower website Wikileaks. Wikileaks gained international attention in 2010 after publishing a trove of classified documents leaked from the U.S. military. Included were numerous accounts of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the killing of civilians, and shocking footage of a helicopter gunship in Baghdad slaughtering a dozen civilians, including a Reuters journalist and his driver, on the ground below. Wikileaks titled that video, “Collateral Murder.”

The New York Times and other newspapers partnered with Wikileaks to publish stories based on the leaks. This brought increased attention to the founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. In December, 2010, two months after release of the Collateral Murder video, then-Vice President Joe Biden, appearing on NBC, said Assange was “closer to being a hi-tech terrorist than the Pentagon papers.” Biden was referring to the 1971 classified document release by Daniel Ellsberg, which revealed years of Pentagon lies about U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.

With a secret grand jury empanelled in Virginia, Assange, then in London, feared being arrested and extradited to the United States. Ecuador granted Assange political asylum. Unable to make it to Latin America, he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He lived inside the small, apartment-sized embassy for almost seven years. In April 2019, after a new Ecuadorian president revoked Assange’s asylum, British authorities arrested him and locked him up in London’s notorious Belmarsh Prison, often called “Britain’s Guantánamo.” He has been held there, in harsh conditions and in failing health, for almost four years, as the U.S. government seeks his extradition to face espionage and other charges. If extradited and convicted in the U.S., Assange faces 175 years in a maximum-security prison.

While the Conservative-led UK government seems poised to extradite Assange, a global movement has grown demanding his release. The Progressive International, a global pro-democracy umbrella group, has convened four assemblies since 2020 called The Belmarsh Tribunals. Named after the 1966 Russell-Sartre Tribunal on the Vietnam War, convened by philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sarte, The Belmarsh Tribunal has assembled some of the world’s most prominent, progressive activists, artists, politicians, dissidents, human rights attorneys and whistleblowers, all speaking in defense of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

We are bearing witness to a travesty of justice,” Jeremy Corbyn, a British Member of Parliament and a former leader of the Labour Party, said at the tribunal. “To an abuse of human rights, to a denial of freedom of somebody who bravely put himself on the line that we all might know that the innocent died in Abu Ghraib, the innocent died in Afghanistan, the innocent are dying in the Mediterranean, and innocents die all over the world, where unwatched, unaccountable powers decide it’s expedient and convenient to kill people who get in the way of whatever grand scheme they’ve got. We say no. That’s why we are demanding justice for Julian Assange.”

Corbyn is joined in his call by The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel–major newspapers that published articles based on the leaked documents. “Publishing is not a crime,” the newspapers declared.

Never before has a publisher been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act. The Assange prosecution poses a fundamental threat to the freedom of speech and a free press. President Biden, currently embroiled in his own classified document scandal, knows this, and should immediately drop the charges against Julian Assange.

January 29, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, media, USA | Leave a comment

In Just Under Three Weeks, Ukrainian-Fired Prohibited “Petal” Mines Maim At Least 44 Civilians, Kill 2, in Donetsk Region

Covert Action Magazine, By Eva Bartlett, August 23, 2022 Excellent photographs

Ukraine continues to fire internationally-banned anti-personnel mines on civilian areas of Donetsk and other cities in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), in violation of international law and of the mine ban convention Ukraine signed in 1999 and ratified in 2005.

Since July 27, Ukraine has been firing rockets containing cluster munitions filled with banned PFM-1 “Petal” (or “Butterfly”) anti-personnel mines all over Donetsk and surrounding areas. Each rocket contains over 300 of the mines. Already by August 3, the DPR’s Ministry of Emergency Situations noted that Ukraine had fired several thousand of the prohibited mines on Donetsk.

As of August 15, 44 civilians, including two children, have suffered gruesome injuries. Another mine victim died in hospital.

Some days ago, such mines grotesquely maimed a 15 year old boy in Donetsk.

Younger children don’t know that the mines aren’t toys, and elderly often simply don’t see them, or likewise don’t understand the danger, as was the case with an elderly lady with dementia who, on August 8, lost a foot as a result of stepping on a mine while she was going to work in her garden plot.

Tiny but powerful, these insidious mines are designed not to kill but to tear off feet or hands. Their design allows them to float to the ground without exploding, where they easily blend in with most settings and generally lie dormant until stepped on or otherwise disturbed.

According to Konstantin Zhukov, Chief Medical Officer of Donetsk Ambulance Service, a weight of just 2 kg is enough to activate one of the mines. Sometimes, however, they explode spontaneously. An unspoken tragedy on top of the already tragic targeting of civilians is that dogs, cats, birds and other animals are also victims of these dirty mines.

In the grass, or surprisingly even on sidewalks and streets, it is very easy to overlook them or mistake them for a leaf. Even when I’ve seen such mines marked with warning signs or circled, it still took me quite a bit to actually see them.

In its relentless deploying of these mines, Ukraine has targeted all over Donetsk, as well as Makeevka to the east and Yasinovataya to the north. Ukraine has fired them elsewhere, including the hard-hit northern DPR city of Gorlovka, as well as regions in the Lugansk People’s Republic in previous months.

In fact, according to DPR authorities, Ukraine began using the mines in March, during battles for Mariupol, and in May was already firing them into DPR settlements. Also in early May, while in Rubiznhe in the Lugansk People’s Republic, I was warned that Ukraine had been littering nearby areas with the mines, something confirmed by locals when I went to nearby Sievierodonetsk on August 12.

Ukraine turns Donetsk into a minefield

first saw the Ukrainian-fired mines on July 30, in Kirovskiy, western Donetsk, just days after Ukraine began showering the city with them.

Mine clearance sappers had isolated mines scattered in a field, to detonate after they had destroyed mines in the courtyard of an apartment complex. Amidst the tall grass, wild plants and garden plots, the mines would have been impossible for a non-sapper to spot, and very easy to disturb and lose a foot or hand in doing so.

Although I’d been assured that sappers had cleared the path, I still watched every step I took. And generally for the duration of my time in the DPR, I looked down while walking, watching for mines that could have been moved by wind or rain.

Behind a wall at one end of the apartment complex courtyard, sapper timer-detonated the eight mines they’d found scattered around the playground, lanes and walkways.

That evening, Ukraine fired more rockets with petal mines at Donetsk, this time targeting the centre of the city. People driving in the streets unknowingly set some off.

On a central Donetsk street the next morning, I saw a grouping of seven mines on a curbside, gathered either by sappers or some courageous local, with warnings to pedestrians and drivers of their presence.

They were so plentiful that marking them however possible was the only way to mitigate the immediate danger of someone randomly stepping or driving over them until they could be neutralized by the sappers……………………………………………………………

Media Claims Russia is Laying the Mines

As with most of its war crimes against the civilians of the Donbass, Ukraine and NATO media invert reality and claim Russia is the guilty party. They cry crocodile tears for the Donetsk children Ukraine has targeted, also disingenuously claiming the now-famous video of a DPR soldier detonating a mine by throwing a tire at it was a Ukrainian soldier demining Russian-fired mines.

The notion that Russia would explode mines over the city is not a reality-based idea. Most of the population are ethnic Russians, a significant number who now happily hold Russian citizenship. And further, it is Russian and DPR sappers putting themselves at risk to clear the streets, walks and fields of the mines.

In fact, a 21 year old DPR sapper lost a foot to such mine. Director of the Department of Fire and Rescue Forces of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Colonel Sergey Neka, told me of his injury: “After the cleansing of territories from explosive objects, returning back to the transport, a mine fell from the building, as a result of which it exploded under his feet and he lost his foot.”

In Makeevka, Igor Goncharov, the Chief Physician of the bombarded orphanage, spoke to me about his anger that Ukraine was targeting the property, insisting it had been deliberate, that since 2001 the orphanage was well-known to various international organizations, as well as Kiev, because, “It was the only one specialized in HIV.”

According to him, “American law allowed the adoption of HIV-positive children, so the United States was the only state that adopted HIV-infected children, so we were well known both within Ukraine and the Russian Federation and abroad. When they shoot, they know where they shoot,” he said of Ukraine.

“I think that this is not just inhumane, it is without morality, without conscience and without honour.”

I asked him to address Ukrainian and Western claims that it was Russia which deployed the mines, Russia which is shelling Donetsk and surrounding areas, knowing full well any average local resident could likewise easily debunk the claims.

“Even without being educated in military matters, it’s easy to localize the craters. Which way they are located indicates which side they were sent from. We know perfectly well where they shoot from. It’s all from Peski, Avdeevka, Nevelskoye. You can hear the crash and the whistle coming first. Ballistics can be defined. All the shelling comes from the Ukrainian side, it is unambiguous.”

Even without that logical thinking, let’s recall that Ukraine has been committing war crimes in the Donbass for over eight years, violating the Minsk Accords signed in 2014 and 2015. That Ukraine would use Petal mines from its enormous stockpile, after already shelling and sniping civilians, it not at all out of the question.

Ukrainian nationalists openly declare they view Russians as sub-human. School books teach this warped ideology. Videos show the extent of this mentality: teaching children not only to also hate Russians and see them as not humans, but also brainwashing them to believe killing Donbass residents is acceptable. The Ukrainian government itself funds Neo-Nazi-run indoctrination camps for youths.

As mentioned at the start, Ukraine signed the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, under which Ukraine was obliged to destroy its 6 million stock of the mines. However, reportedly, its stockpile remains over 3.3 million such mines.

The convention, “prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines (APLs).” Further, as outlined, Ukraine is, “in violation of Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty due to missing its 1 June 2016 clearance deadline without having requested and being granted an extension.”

Ukraine’s firing of rockets containing these mines is against international law and the Geneva Conventions. Ukraine is specifically targeting civilian areas with them. It is pure terrorism. And it is another Ukrainian war crime in a very long list of war crimes stretching back over eight years.  https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/08/23/in-just-under-three-weeks-ukrainian-fired-prohibited-petal-mines-maim-at-least-44-civilians-kill-2-in-donetsk-region/

January 29, 2023 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Julian Assange and the US government’s war on whistleblowers


Chris Hedges, The Real News Network, Fri, 20 Jan 2023 

Thirteen years ago, WikiLeaks published extensive leaked US government documents detailing a range of criminal and unethical acts, from the slaughter of civilians in the “War on Terror” to acts of espionage against foreign heads of state. Since then, the persecution of Julian Assange has not ceased. This year, Assange is expected to stand trial in the US for violations of the Espionage Act. Journalist Kevin Gosztola joins The Chris Hedges Report to review the cases of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and discuss Washington’s wider war against whistleblowers and the truth itself.

Kevin Gosztola is the managing editor of Shadowproof, where he writes The Dissenter. He is the author of Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange.


TRANSCRIPT

Chris Hedges:  The long persecution of Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, is set to culminate in its final act: a trial in the United States, probably this year. Kevin Gosztola has spent the last decade reporting on Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers. His new book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case against Julian Assange, methodically lays out the complex issues surrounding the case, the gross distortions to the legal system used to facilitate the extradition of Julian, now in a high security prison in London, the abuses of power by the FBI and the CIA, including spying on Julian’s meetings when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with his family, doctors, and attorneys, and the dire consequences, should Julian be convicted, for the press.

Joining me to discuss his new book is Kevin Gosztola. So Kevin, you do a very… I think your book and Nils Melzer are the two books I would recommend for people who don’t understand the case. I use this show in this interview to really lay out for people who are unfamiliar with the long persecution of Julian and the legal anomalies that have been used against him. You know, what those are. So let’s just start with what are the charges, what are the allegations, which is where you begin your book.

Kevin Gosztola:  Yeah. And the intention was to look ahead and say, Julian Assange is likely to be brought to the US by the end of 2023, maybe 2024. We need something out there for the general public so they can wrap their head around the unprecedented nature of what’s unfolding. And so the charges against Julian Assange, he was first indicted back in April of 2019. Or sorry, that was when it was unveiled. He was charged first with a computer crime offense. They alleged, essentially, a password cracking conspiracy. And that was of intrusion, of essentially agreeing to help Chelsea Manning anonymously access military computers.

And then the other charges were 17 espionage act offenses. …………………………………………………………  https://therealnews.com/julian-assange-and-the-us-governments-war-on-whistleblowers

January 25, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK police powers increased, to shut down climate protests

The police are to be given powers to shut down protests before they cause
widespread disruption, under plans being announced by ministers today. In a
move to clamp down on so-called guerrilla tactics used by groups such as
Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain, officers will for the first time be
allowed to shut down protests before they cause disruption.

They will also
be able to treat a series of protests by the same group as one incident
when defining what can be classed as “serious disruption” under the
Public Order Bill going through parliament. The measures are designed to
give more clarity to the police about when they can intervene to disrupt
protests such as the blocking of roads or slow marching to cause
disruption.

Times 16th Jan 2023

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/public-order-bill-would-give-police-power-to-close-down-climate-protests-zsmzh52hv

January 17, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt to tighten anti-protest restrictions, despite criticism from human rights groups

https://www.ft.com/content/57730f56-6966-4c35-8d32-67a52f5efe6e 16 Jan 23

Rishi Sunak will on Monday propose new measures to help the police stop disruptive public protest in Britain, heading further down a route that has drawn heavy criticism from civil rights groups.

The prime minister wants to broaden the legal definition of “serious disruption” in a new public order bill, to help police stop what he calls a “disruptive minority” who use tactics such as blocking roads or slow marching.

Sunak believes the public and business will support the government’s efforts to stop protesters causing serious disruption following a series of high-profile protests by groups such as Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain. But Human Rights Watch, the international NGO, last week criticised the government for a series of recent measures, including restrictions on protest………

The government will this week table an amendment to the bill, currently in the House of Lords, which it says will give police “greater flexibility and clarity” over when to intervene to stop a “disruptive minority”.

Police have already been given additional powers to prevent protesters using what Downing Street calls “guerrilla tactics”, but police chiefs say there is uncertainty over what reaches the threshold of “serious disruption”.

The changes would mean that police will not need to wait for disruption to take place and can shut protests down before any “chaos” is caused, Downing Street said.

Police would not need to treat a series of protests by the same group as standalone incidents but would be able to consider their total impact; they would also be able to consider the cumulative effect of long-running campaigns over a number of weeks intended to cause repeat disruption. Sunak said: “The right to protest is a fundamental principle of our democracy, but this is not absolute.

A balance must be struck between the rights of individuals and the rights of the hard-working majority to go about their day-to-day business.” Recommended Extinction Rebellion Extinction Rebellion abandons disruptive climate protests in UK Sir Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police commissioner, said: “Increasingly police are getting drawn into complex legal arguments about the balance between that right to protest and the rights of others to go about their daily lives free from serious disruption. “The lack of clarity in the legislation and the increasing complexity of the case law is making this more difficult and more contested.” But Hassan said last week: “A slew of legislation was passed last year where fundamental human rights are being challenged.

The protest law is something we are deeply concerned about. “When you talk about civic space and about people’s right to participate in a democratic society, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to protest are key pillars of that. We’ve seen an outright assault from this government on that.”

HRW also criticised government measures including a new elections act which will require voter identification in polls and the plan to allow offshore processing of asylum claims in Rwanda.

January 16, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Man arrested on suspicion of terror offences after uranium found at Heathrow

Traces of the potentially lethal chemical element were found
within a cargo package on Dec 29. A businessman has been arrested on
suspicion of terrorism over an alleged attempt to import radioactive
uranium into the UK.

The British citizen was detained by counter-terrorism
police after the discovery of traces of uranium at Heathrow Airport just
after Christmas, in a consignment of scrap metal intended for an Iranian
registered business based in the UK.

He was questioned under section nine
of the Terrorism Act 2006, which created an offence “of making or
possessing a radioactive device or possessing radioactive material with the
intention of using it” in the commission or preparation of an act of
terrorism. The use of the section is incredibly rare.

Telegraph 15th Jan 2023

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/01/15/heathrow-airport-uranium-man-arrested-suspicion-terror-offences/

Man arrested on suspicion of terror offence after Heathrow uranium nuclear
scare.

Mirror 15th Jan 2023

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/breaking-man-arrested-suspicion-terror-28960671

January 16, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear deal between USA and Saudi Arabia sneaked in under the guise of “clean energy”

Saudi-US partnership to develop clean and nuclear [i.e. dirty] energy

The partnership framework for Clean Energy Development between the two countries has identified the cooperation fields in which Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US will work to enhance, in order to achieve their ambitions in spreading clean energy and climate action.

Staff Writer, Saudi Gazett, January 15, 2023

RIYADH –  The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States intend to enhance cooperation between the two countries, in accordance with their respective national laws, through the Partnership Framework for Clean Energy Development.

The partnership framework for Clean Energy Development between the two countries has identified the cooperation fields in which KSA and the US will work to enhance, in order to achieve their ambitions in spreading clean energy and climate action.

The Umm Al-Qura newspaper has published the details of partnership framework and the potential cooperation fields.

…….. This cooperation would strengthen the common interests and strategic goals of each participant, and also to organize cooperation in clean energy field to study innovation, development, financing, and establishing infrastructure for clean energy in KSA and the US.

The partnership has identified several potential cooperation fields between the two countries in terms of civil nuclear energy and uranium, of which are the cooperation in basic researches, and development in the field of civil nuclear energy.

The cooperation fields include the exchange of experiences in various aspects, such as the field of developing advanced reactor technologies……. https://www.zawya.com/en/economy/gcc/saudi-us-partnership-to-develop-clean-and-nuclear-energy-v2ji0cu4

January 15, 2023 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Guilty of Journalism

The Political Prosecution of Julian Assange

by Kevin Gosztola https://www.sevenstories.com/books/4493-guilty-of-journalism?fbclid=IwAR2np9Ku9WHMKuJ7xTPkrrolJRvbkxdWcmyac0FnEZqKSduuhH2g2M-zPaM 7 Jan 23

From an acclaimed independent journalist, this carefully-documented analysis of the government’s case against Julian Assange and its implications for press freedom acts as a crucial, compelling guidebook to Assange’s upcoming trial.

The legal action against Julian Assange is poised to culminate in a trial in the United States in 2023, and this book will help the public understand the proceedings. The establishment media’s coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case has focused on his deteriorating health and what CBS News called his “secret family,” but most of this coverage failed to detail the complex issues at stake against Assange.

Guilty of Journalism outlines how WikiLeaks exposed the reality of American wars, the United States government’s unprecedented indictment against Assange as a publisher, and the media’s role in persuading the public to “shoot the messenger.” This new book by Kevin Gosztola, who has spent the last decade covering Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers, tells the full story based on testimony from dozens of witnesses.

It examines abuses of power by the CIA and the FBI, including a spying operation that targeted Assange’s family, lawyers, and doctors. Guilty of Journalism offers a balanced and comprehensive perspective on all the events leading up to what press freedom advocates have called the trial of the century.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties | Leave a comment

Coal Boss Compiles Lastest Nuclear Dump Report for Government who have just Approved his Coal Mine.

Originally posted on Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole: High Level Cronyism and Corruption – Coal and Nuclear Waste Still not raising an eyebrow in the press or by NGOs is the fact that the coal boss Mark Kirkbride is the Government’s key advisor on the dumping of nuclear wastes in big holes. The latest…

Coal Boss Compiles Lastest Nuclear Dump Report for Government who have just Approved his Coal Mine. — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

January 8, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Russian computer hacking team targeted 3 USA nuclear weapons facilities

 A Russian hacking team known as Cold River targeted three nuclear research
laboratories in the United States this past summer, according to internet
records reviewed by Reuters and five cyber security experts.

Between August and September, as President Vladimir Putin indicated Russia would be
willing to use nuclear weapons to defend its territory, Cold River targeted
the Brookhaven (BNL), Argonne (ANL) and Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratories (LLNL), according to internet records that showed the hackers
creating fake login pages for each institution and emailing nuclear
scientists in a bid to make them reveal their passwords.

 Reuters 6th Jan 2023

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russian-hackers-targeted-us-nuclear-scientists-2023-01-06/

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Indigenous Taiwanese kept in the dark as a massive nuclear waste dump was imposed on their island

No one bothered to inform the residents why the southern tip of their island home was suddenly no longer accessible. All they knew was that the place where women for generations had scoured the craggy tide pools for crabs and where farmers had long tended fields of taro and millet had suddenly been turned into a large construction site.

Rumors began to fly. It was a pineapple cannery. No, it was a cannery for fish. Whatever it was, the locals decided, it would mean more jobs for the islanders.

It was not until years later, in 1980, when a local pastor saw an article buried in the back of a newspaper, that the islanders found out what the site actually was: a massive nuclear waste dump.

New York Times 5th Jan 2023

January 7, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Taiwan, wastes | Leave a comment

White Lives Matter More in Ukraine

Black Agenda Report Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist, 04 Jan 2023,

The open white supremacy and fascism exhibited in Ukraine are conveniently swept under the rug. Nazis are bad, unless they serve the interests of the U.S. state.

The accuracy of this commentary’s title is borne out by statements made and actions taken by the Ukrainians themselves. In 2020 millions of people around the world protested against racism in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd. Ukrainians made it clear that they were not to be included amongst that mass of humanity and in fact expressed their support for white supremacy.

In June 2020, a group of football fans at a match in Ukraine unfurled a banner reading, “Free Derek Chauvin .” Chauvin is the man who murdered George Floyd. Not to be outdone, members of the neo-Nazi group Nazionalny Sprotyv, National Resistance, marched on October 14, 2020 with a banner that made the point very clear. The words “White Lives Matter ” were written in English and in much larger type than the name of the organization which appeared in small type below. October 14 is celebrated as the Day of the UPA, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which fought alongside Nazi Germany after it invaded Ukraine during World War II. The words in the pink graphic on the video read, “On the march of UPA Nazis carefully burned the poster of BLM.” Nazionalny Sprotyv is known for its racist, anti-Russian, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-Communist beliefs.

The war propaganda disseminated by the Biden administration and its friends in corporate media tells us to ignore the swastikas, Hitler salutes, and other clear indicators of Nazi sympathies when they appear in Ukraine. Suddenly symbolism which we were told to abhor as indisputable signs of hate speech are now to be accepted or explained away as figments of our collective imagination.

Nazi regalia and symbolism should make assistance to the Ukrainian government an automatic deal breaker. But the U.S. has always been rather flexible in its approach to Nazism. After World War II an intelligence program known as Operation Paperclip brought more than 1,600 German scientists to the U.S. to fight in the new cold war against the Soviet Union. Their links to the Nazi party were covered up so that they might be of assistance to the U.S. Werner von Braun and other Nazi linked scientists were instrumental in creating the U.S. space program.

Ukraine was a divided nation from its very beginnings after World War I, with half of the country hating the Soviet Union so much that they sided with and fought alongside the Germans. January 1 is officially celebrated not just as the first day of the year but as the birthday of Ukraine’s chief Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera. The 2023 celebration was no exception but not without embarrassment. The Ukrainian parliament was forced to delete a Twitter post featuring a photo of army commander General Valerii Zaluzhny juxtaposed with an image of Bandera. Bandera massacred thousands of Poles during the war and the Ukrainians had to be reminded through diplomatic channels that everyone isn’t as forgiving as clueless Americans. Just as Operation Paperclip is an inconvenient and rarely discussed truth, Ukraine’s continuing Nazi and white supremacist connections are now hushed up by the U.S. state and its media partners.

It is indeed awkward for Joe Biden to greet president Zelensky at the white house and for him to speak in congress if these facts are openly discussed…………

The Biden administration invitation to Zelensky was an effort to ensure that an additional $45 billion was allocated to Ukraine before the congressional session ended. The standing ovations and blue and yellow flags and cries of “Slava Ukraini!” were orchestrated to get more buy-in at a time when many Americans are asking why their needs go unmet and why Ukraine can’t resume the negotiations it was holding months ago with Russia. It has been reported that the U.S. sent the then prime minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, to tell Zelensky that any talk of peace had to end . Russia was ready to withdraw in exchange for security guarantees and an end to Ukraine’s efforts to secure NATO membership. But Ukraine is the latest U.S. forever war and its people have to suffer and die because of its dictates.

Perhaps the saddest sight of the night of Zelensky’s congressional speech was the adulation he received from some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). CBC members Sheila Jackson-Lee and Barbara Lee eagerly sought to shake his hand. Perhaps they are unaware of Ukraine’s white supremacist leanings. But that can’t be true. After all, in 2015 their CBC colleague, the late John Conyers, co-sponsored an amendment that would have barred U.S. funding to the Azov battalion and other Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups. The amendment was ultimately removed from the final spending bill…………………… more https://www.blackagendareport.com/white-lives-matter-more-ukraine

January 6, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Can nuclear safety protocols be maintained in a poor country like Kyrgyzstan, where corruption is rampant?

The looming fight over nuclear power in Kyrgyzstan, eurasianet Aiday Erkebaeva Jan 4, 2023

On the electricity front, Kyrgyzstan may be reaching the end of the line. Demand is growing relentlessly, and yet the hydropower resources it has relied on historically are yielding diminishing returns.

Burning coal is pushing the country deeper into an ecological crisis, as attested to by the black blanket of smog that suffocates the capital, Bishkek, every winter. 

With those considerations in mind, thoughts have focused ever more on pursuing a nuclear exit. 

An important stride in that direction was taken at the ATOMEXPO-2022 international forum in the southern Russian city of Sochi, where representatives from the Kyrgyz Energy Ministry agreed for Russia’s Rosatom to conduct a feasibility study on installing a small nuclear reactor in Kyrgyzstan.  

What backers of this idea have in mind is a plant powered by a compact nuclear reactor known as RITM-200N. This type of reactor is used at present on three Project 22220-class icebreakers developed by the St. Petersburg-based Baltic Shipyard.

Installation of such a reactor in Kyrgyzstan could happen no earlier than 2028, according to Russian media reports, but Kyrgyz Energy Minister Taalaibek Ibrayev is already speaking optimistically of the prospect. ……….

One reason that a RITM-200N reactor is highly unlikely to appear in Kyrgyzstan before 2028 is that Rosatom, whose subsidiary builds the reactors, operates on the policy that it will not install technology abroad that it has not already implemented in Russia itself. The first onshore installation of a RITM-200N-powered plant is happening at the Kyuchus gold deposit in Yakutia, and completion of that project is not expected for another five years.

It is just as well there is no rush, because finding a suitable site could prove challenging. As energy expert Boris Martsinkevich told Eurasianet, the location must hit the sweet spot: far away from potential areas of heightened seismic activity, but close enough to centers of major electricity consumption, so that the cost of installing new power lines does not make the whole project financially unsustainable. …………………

Stiff opposition is looming

A Bishkek-based environmental group called the Green Alliance laid out its objections in a statement in December. The organization is unmoved by the fact that RITM-200N would be a relatively small reactor.

“It is well known that even small sources of atomic energy and small amounts of radioactive substances can have a negative impact on both the environment and human health,” the alliance said in its statement

In making its case, the Green Alliance borrowed from an argument made by opponents of a RITM-200N plant project in Yakutia, in Russia. Activists there cited the experience of the Bilibino nuclear power station, a small Soviet-vintage plant in a remote northeastern corner of Russia that is said to have been plagued by emergency shutdowns, questions over the nebulous disposal of spent nuclear fuel, and lack of profitability. 

That last point about profitability is one that causes particular concern, since the worry is that cost-cutting could lead to skimping on safety protocols. Where nuclear power is concerned, the stakes are particularly high. 

Green activists suggest instead that more emphasis be placed on exploiting Kyrgyzstan’s hydropower potential to its fullest, and that the authorities also tap into the potential of solar, wind and biomass energy. Even government officials have conceded that much more could be squeezed out of hydropower. …………………………………………

One more elephant in the room is corruption – a problem that no Kyrgyz government has to date been successful in tackling.  

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Kazakh service, Radio Azattyq, environmentalist Dmitry Kalmykov said that graft constituted one of the main arguments against Central Asian countries embracing nuclear power. 

“If there is a high level of corruption in the country, if we constantly have high-ranking officials arrested, as a member of the public, I am going to think to myself: ‘They will build an atomic power plant, and when there is some technical inspection, again there will be corruption,’” Kalmykov told Azattyq last year.   https://eurasianet.org/the-looming-fight-over-nuclear-power-in-kyrgyzstan

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Kyrgyzstan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment