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Julian Assange case: Witnesses recall Collateral Murder attack: “Look at those dead bastards,” shooters said

September 21, 2020 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange aimed for ‘stringent redactions’, extradition court hears

Julian Assange aimed for ‘stringent redactions’, extradition court hears,  SMH,  Latika Bourke. September 18, 2020  London: Julian Assange was “insistent” on redacting the names of Iraqi informants and even deployed software to remove Iraqi words from WikiLeaks cables which he later published in full, a prominent NGO told the Australian’s extradition hearing.John Sloboda who founded Iraq Body Count, a London-based non-government organisation that tallies civilian casualties gave evidence at London’s Old Bailey, on behalf of the defence.

he US Department of Justice wants Assange extradited to the United States so he can face 18 charges of computer hacking and for publishing the names of informants.

Sloboda, who worked with Assange and the WikiLeaks team on the Iraq war logs in 2010, said the Australian was determined to scrub sources’ names from the documents before publishing.

“It was impressed upon us that the aim was a very, very stringent redaction of the logs before publication.

“That was the aim of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks,” he told Assange’s lawyer.

Sloboda said it would have taken an “army of people” “a very long time” to redact the files by hand and that it was his colleague who came up with the idea of developing software that would scrub non-English words from the documents.

He said redactions of occupations were also carried out to stop informants’ identities being guessed.

He said this laborious process created tensions between WikiLeaks and the media outlets they were partnering with at the time, as the news organisations wanted to begin publishing documents they had already redacted. ………..

Assange has spoken out in court to deny he put lives in harm’s way. He faces a combined sentence of up to 175 years if convicted of all counts in the US. His extradition hearing is expected to run until October.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange was offered a pardon, if he would name a source

Trump ‘associates’ offered Assange pardon in return for emails source, court hears
WikiLeaks founder was asked to reveal source of leak damaging to Hillary Clinton, hearing told, 
Guardian,  Peter Beaumont in London, Sat 19 Sep 2020   Two political figures claiming to represent Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a “win-win” deal to avoid extradition to the US and indictment, a London court has heard.

Under the proposed deal, outlined by Assange’s barrister Jennifer Robinson, the WikiLeaks founder would be offered a pardon if he disclosed who leaked Democratic party emails to his site, in order to help clear up allegations they had been supplied by Russian hackers to help Trump’s election in 2016.

According to a statement from Robinson read out to the court, the offer was made by the then Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson at a meeting on 15 August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange was then sheltering. At the time he was under secret investigation by a US grand jury.

Robinson added: “The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some kind of pardon, assurance or agreement which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition.”

……….. The barrister added that Assange did not name the source of the emails.While Assange’s legal team first made the claim in February detailing a deal for a pardon in exchange for denying the source of the emails was Russia, Robinson’s statement – admitted as evidence by the court – provides substantial details of the meeting………

Robinson’s description of the offer suggests Trump was prepared to consider a pardon for Assange in exchange for information almost a year before a federal grand jury issued a sealed indictment against the WikiLeaks founder.

If it is confirmed that the approach did indeed have the approval of Trump, it would mark the latest in a number of interventions by the US president in relation to the investigation into Russian election interference.

In her statement, Robinson said Rohrabacher and Johnson “wanted us to believe they were acting on behalf of the president”.

“They stated that President Trump was aware of and had approved of them coming to meet with Mr Assange to discuss a proposal – and that they would have an audience with the president to discuss the matter on their return to Washington DC,” she said……

Appearing to confirm that the approach had been made, James Lewis QC, for the US government, said: “The position of the government is we don’t contest these things were said,” adding: We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.” …….

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | 1 Comment

Julian Assange exposed “a very serious pattern of actual war crimes”

Speaking on the significance of the WikiLeaks releases, Ellsberg said, “It was clear to me that these revelations, like the Pentagon papers, had the capability of informing the public that they had been seriously misled about the nature of the [Iraq and Afghan] war[s], the progress of the war, the likelihood that it would be ended successfully or at all, and that this was information of the highest importance to the American public.”

Characterising the wars that WikiLeaks exposed, Ellsberg explained, “The Iraq war was clearly recognisable, even to a layman, as a crime against the peace, as an aggressive war.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigating FirstEnergy over its involvement in the Ohio nuclear corruption scandal

Now the SEC is investigating FirstEnergy and Ohio’s $1 billion nuclear bailout bill: This Week in the CLE, By Laura Johnston, cleveland.comCLEVELAND, Ohio — Who’s investigating FirstEnergy, in relation to the $1 billion nuclear bailout bill?

We’re talking about the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission investigation on This Week in the CLE…….

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

France’s secrecy over its deplorable history of nuclear bomb testing in Algeria

September 14, 2020 Posted by | AFRICA, France, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 8

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Big Oil is cheating the public on “recycling” of plastic

These commercials carried a distinct message: Plastic is special, and the consumer should recycle it.

It may have sounded like an environmentalist’s message, but the ads were paid for by the plastics industry, made up of companies like Exxon, Chevron, Dow, DuPont and their lobbying and trade organizations in Washington.

The oil industry makes more than $400 billion a year making plastic, and as demand for oil for cars and trucks declines, the industry is telling shareholders that future profits will increasinglycome from plastic.

an industry that didn’t want recycling to work. Because if the job is to sell as much oil as you possibly can, any amount of recycled plastic is competition.

Analysts now expect plastic production to triple by 2050.

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled, NPR, LAURA SULLIVAN,– 11 Sept 20 Laura Leebrick, a manager at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon, is standing on the end of its landfill watching an avalanche of plastic trash pour out of a semitrailer: containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups.

None of this plastic will be turned into new plastic things. All of it is buried.

“To me that felt like it was a betrayal of the public trust,” she said. “I had been lying to people … unwittingly.”

Rogue, like most recycling companies, had been sending plastic trash to China, but when China shut its doors two years ago, Leebrick scoured the U.S. for buyers. She could find only someone who wanted white milk jugs. She sends the soda bottles to the state.

But when Leebrick tried to tell people the truth about burying all the other plastic, she says people didn’t want to hear it.

“I remember the first meeting where I actually told a city council that it was costing more to recycle than it was to dispose of the same material as garbage,” she says, “and it was like heresy had been spoken in the room: You’re lying. This is gold. We take the time to clean it, take the labels off, separate it and put it here. It’s gold. This is valuable.”

But it’s not valuable, and it never has been. And what’s more, the makers of plastic — the nation’s largest oil and gas companies — have known this all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite.

“If the public thinks that recycling is working, then they are not going to be as concerned about the environment,” Larry Thomas, former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, known today as the Plastics Industry Association and one of the industry’s most powerful trade groups in Washington, D.C., told NPR………. Continue reading

September 12, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 2 Comments

Professor Paul Rogers – a witness explaining how Julian Assange is to be extradited for POLITICAL REASONS

Julian Assange clearly political, says extradition trial witness,      JACQUELIN MAGNAY, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT@jacquelinmagnay, THE TIMES, SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

Julian Assange’s nomination for the Senate during the 2013 federal­ election campaign and the establishment of the WikiLeaks political party the year before­ “clearly shows’’ the WikiLeaks founder has a political view and a libertarian standpoint, a witness has told the Old Bailey.

Professor Paul Rogers, the emeritus professor of peace studies at Bradford University, was called as a witness by Assange’s team to persuade the judge that Assange is being targeted for ­political means, and thus an extraditio­n to the US should not be permitted under the Anglo-US extradition treaty.

In day three of the court hearing where Assange, 49, is objecting to extradition to the US, Professor Rogers said in written testimony that Assange’s expresse­d views, opinions and activities demonstrate very clearly “political opinions”. He cited how Assange had formed the political party to contest­ the Australian general election and “central of this is his view to put far greater attention to human rights’’.

He added: “The clash of those opinions with those of successive US administrations, but in particular­ the present administration which has moved to prosecute him for publications made almost a decade ago, suggest that he is regarded primarily as a polit­ical opponent who must exper­ience the full wrath of government, even with suggestions of punishment by death made by senior officials including the current­ President.’’

But US prosecutor James Lewis QC said: “Assistant US Attorney­ Gordon D. Kromberg explicitly refutes that this is a political prosecution but rather an evidence-based prosecution.’’

In documents to the court, the prosecution says the inves­t­ig­ation into Assange had been ongoing before the Trump admin­istration came into office.

“Assange’s arguments are contradicted by judicial findings, made in the US District Court of the District of Columbia, that the investigation into the unauthorised disclosure of classified information on the WikiLeaks website remained ongoing when the present administration came into office,” the prosecution says.

Mr Lewis added: “If this was a political prosecution, wouldn’t you expect him to be prosecuted for publishing the collateral murder video?’’

He said Assange was being extradited to face charges relating to complicity in illegal acts to obtain or receive voluminous databases­ of classified inform­ation, his agreement and attempt­ to obtain classified information­ through computer hacking; and publishing certain classified documents that contained the unredacted names of innocent people who risked their safety and freedom to provide information to the United States and its allies, including local Afghan­s and Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents from repressive regimes.

Professor Rogers told the court the motivation of Assange and WikiLeaks was to achieve greater transparency and was political. The trial continues.

September 10, 2020 Posted by | legal, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London. What can we expect?

What’s at stake at Julian Assange’s long-awaited extradition hearing?,    ABC 8 Sept 20, Julian Assange is fighting an attempt by the United States to extradite him to face charges on what it says was “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States”.

It marks the culmination of a nearly decade-long pursuit by US authorities of the Australian-born WikiLeaks founder over the publication of secret documents and files in 2010 and 2011.

Assange’s extradition hearing had initially begun in February but was delayed for several months, and the coronavirus pandemic added additional delays, meaning Assange has been kept on remand in Belmarsh prison in south-east London since last September.

As reported by Background Briefing, Assange’s defence team will attempt to persuade the court he is unfit to travel to the US to face trial, and that the attempt to send him there is essentially an abuse of process.

How did he get to this point?

WikiLeaks made international headlines in April 2010 when it published a classified US military video showing an Apache attack helicopter gunning down 11 civilians, including two Reuters journalists, on a street in Baghdad in 2007.

Later that year, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of US military messages and cables, a leak that saw former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning jailed……..

Assange, 49, has always denied the allegations, saying they were part of a US plot to discredit him and eventually extradite him to the US, and the investigation was eventually dropped in 2017.

He remained holed up in the embassy for seven years until April 2019, when the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum and Metropolitan Police officers arrested him for failing to surrender to the court over an arrest warrant issued in 2012……..

In May 2019, Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching bail conditions, and during that time the US Justice Department brought 18 charges against him.

What is Assange accused of?

Assange is facing 17 charges relating to obtaining and disclosing classified information, and one charge concerning an alleged conspiracy to crack passwords on government servers.

The US alleges he conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack into US military computers to acquire the classified information published by WikiLeaks.

…… Assange maintains the information exposed abuses by the US military and that he was acting as a journalist and is therefore entitled to protection by the US’s First Amendment.

What can we expect from this hearing?

The court must examine a series of factors before any extradition can be granted, such as if the alleged crimes have equivalent offences in the UK and could lead to trial.

“It’s what’s called double criminality, in other words, whether the offences for which Assange is being sought in under US law are broadly being recognised under UK law,” Professor Don Rothwell, from the Australian National University, told Background Briefing.

Prosecutors have argued there is no doubt his actions would amount to offences under the UK’s Official Secrets Act.

If the court agrees, it must then consider how extradition would affect Assange’s health.

Previous court appearances this year have been delayed due to health issues, and his lawyers say his efforts to protect himself from US extradition and being stuck inside the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years had taken its toll.

If the court accepted it would be detrimental to his health, it could open up the possibility of protecting Assange in the UK under European human rights law.

The magistrate may also take issue with how the prosecutors are seeking to impose American law on what Mr Assange is alleged to have done outside of US territory.

“In this matter, US law is seeking to extend all the way, not only from the United States, but into the United Kingdom and into parts of Europe and basically impact upon the activities that Assange has undertaken associated with WikiLeaks over 10 years ago,” Professor Rothwell said…….

Assange’s legal team contends the US is seeking to prosecute Assange for political offences and that he is thereby exempt from extradition under the terms of the UK-US extradition treaty…….

What happens next?

The hearing is expected to last between three and four weeks, with any decision made likely to be appealed and go to a higher court, meaning the legal battle would likely drag into next year and possibly beyond that.

If Assange is eventually extradited to the United States and found guilty, he faces a maximum 175 years imprisonment for the 18 offences listed in the indictment.

September 10, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Australian government’s cowardly double standards: saves its citizens from Chines oppression, but not Assange from American oppression

DOUBLE STANDARDS!     What a glaring example of kowtowing to USA!

The Australian government has just deftly extricated two journalists from probably gaol in China.  But what about Australian citizen Julian Assange.  As usual, Australia kowtows to the mighty USA.

Julian Assange is not getting fair treatment at the Old Bailey (London) hearing about whether or not he should be extradited to the USA, to face 175 years of gaol, on “espionage” charges.   Independent journalists, people from Amnesty, or anyone else likely to give Assange’s side of the story, in reporting this bizarre hearing, is excluded from the courtroom.  That’s despite the Old Bailey’s tradition of an open courtroom.

As far as I can ascertain, they’re now charging Julian with publicising the names of USA agents.   But in fact, Assange gave the documents to newspapers, I think it was the Guardian and the New York Times, with an express request to NOT publish those names. And the papers went ahead and published them. Julian didn’t.    I also understand that, even then no harm came to any of those agents.

It’s all a trumped up thing.  Julian being oppressed because he revealed evidence of USA military atrocities.  So, like Wilfred Burchett, decades ago, he must be punished by almighty America, and Australia must dutifully follow suit.

September 9, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Christina's notes, civil liberties, legal | Leave a comment

INJUSTICE in the court? The extradition trial of Julian Assange

UK: Assange extradition hearing will be a key test for UK and US justice    4 September 2020, 

US authorities must drop all charges against Julian Assange relating to his publishing activities, and UK authorities must reject the related US extradition request, said Amnesty International ahead of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing which resumes on Monday and is expected to last several weeks.

The hearing will decide on the Trump administration’s request for Julian Assange’s extradition to the US, where he faces a sentence of up to 175 years for publishing materials that document possible war crimes committed by the US military.

“This hearing is the latest worrying salvo in a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression. If Julian Assange is prosecuted it could have a chilling effect on media freedom, leading publishers and journalists to self-censor in fear of retaliation,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks.

“If Julian Assange is extradited it will have far reaching human rights implications, setting a chilling precedent for the protection of those who publish classified information in the public interest.”

The US extradition request is based on charges that stem directly from the publication of classified documents as part of Assange’s journalistic work with Wikileaks. Publishing such information is a cornerstone of media freedom and the public’s right to access public interest information, and must be protected rather than criminalized.

n the US, Julian Assange could face trial on 18 charges, 17 of them under the Espionage Act; and one under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He would also face a real risk of serious human rights violations including detention conditions that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement. Julian Assange is the first publisher to face charges under the Espionage Act.

The fact that Assange was the target of a negative public campaign by US officials at the highest levels undermines his right to be presumed innocent and puts him at risk of an unfair trial.

“The UK must abide by its obligations under international human rights law, which forbid the transfer of individuals to another country where they would face serious human rights violations,” said Nils Muižnieks.

The case will begin at the Old Bailey, London, on the morning (9.30am UK time) of 7 September. Stefan Simanowitz will be outside the court with an Amnesty International spokesperson. Follow @StefSimanowitz for updates and analysis 

Amnesty will have trial observers monitoring remotely the entire series of hearings. During the first week, Sebastian Elgueta (@sebelgueta), a UK based barrister, will be monitoring.


Amnesty International also has concerns with regard to Julian Assange’s physical and mental well-being, particularly with the spread of COVID-19.

Conditions in UK prisons and detention centres are substandard. It is imperative that health and safety protocols are put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, while ensuring that prisoners’ and detainees’ rights are protected. Bail or release should be considered for any detainee or prisoner who has serious underlying health conditions and is particularly at risk of infection.

See Amnesty International’s statement on prison conditions for Assange here

September 8, 2020 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

More reports of drones flying near Paolo Verde nuclear power plant, and others, and over spent nuclear fuel storage sites

Dozens More Mystery Drone Incursions Over U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Revealed, Forbes,    David Hambling– 7 Sept 20, Forbes recently described how a swarm of drones flew in a restricted area at Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant on two successive nights last September. A new cache of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) reveals how 24 nuclear sites suffered at least 57 drone incursions from 2015 to 2019 – and Palo Verde itself was overflown again in December, despite new security measures.

The documents were obtained by from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Douglas D. Johnson on behalf of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU). The SCU’s main interest is in anomalous aerospace phenomena, more commonly known as UFOs, but Johnson uncovered a series of incidents involving something less exotic but potentially more threatening: commercial drones.
In the September incidents, a swarm of five or six large drones flew over Unit 3 nuclear reactor at Palo Verde in Arizona for about eighty minutes, a length of time which suggested they were carrying out a thorough survey of the site. The documents released at the time referred to a similar incident at Limerick Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania………….
 We do not know how many involved multiple, simultaneous drone flyovers. At the time the list was generated, three of the incidents were listed as ‘Open’ and five ‘Closed Resolved.’ but the overwhelming majority, 49 of them, were ‘Closed Unresolved.’  This indicates that for 85% of the cases the NRC has no idea who the perpetrators are or what they intended, and has given up on finding them………
Limerick had five drone sightings, Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Cleveland, Ohio had six and Diablo Canyon near San Luis Obispo in California had no less than seven separate incidents from December 2015 to September 2018, all of them unresolved. The scale spread and number of intrusions indicate that this is not a local issue, and that the drone overflight may be carried out by a large, coordinated organization.
While most of the sites were nuclear reactors, there were also three drone incursions over spent nuclear fuel storage sites, including Trojan in Oregon and Rancho Seco in California where radioactive waste is stored in steel canisters inside giant concrete casks………..
 While reactors themselves are protected by thick concrete domes able to withstand the impact of a crashing airliner, the above-ground pools in which spend nuclear fuel is stored may be far more vulnerable. A 2011 report by the Institute of Policy Studies noted that over 40,000 tons of highly radioactive waste is stored in pools, many above ground: “some of the largest concentrations of radioactive material on the planet.” These pools are not heavily protected, but are in light structures similar to big-box stores and car dealerships.

A 2003 report noted how vulnerable such pools were to terrorist action, simply by making a hole in the pool to drain out the cooling water and causing the stored fuel to overheat: “We warned that U.S. spent fuel pools were vulnerable to acts of terror. The drainage of a pool might cause a catastrophic radiation fire, which could render an area uninhabitable much greater than that created by the Chernobyl accident.”

September 8, 2020 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

EDF’s Economic Statement on impact of Sizewell nuclear project – gives unproven, misleading evidence

Stop Sizewell C 3rd Sept 2020, An independent review of EDF’s Economic Statement, assessing the impacts of Sizewell C to Suffolk’s local economy, has concluded that the project threatens “profitability and, in some cases, viability” of some local businesses, while others will be “at an immediate disadvantage when  bidding for contracts”.

The report, Sizewell Economic Statement – Response, by highly-regarded independent research and analysis consultancy Development Economics, reveals multiple areas where EDF’s claimed benefits are over-optimistic, unproven or misleading, frequently omitting
evidence to support its figures or relying on “erroneous analysis”.

It concludes, critically, that EDF’s Economic Statement “fails to meet the minimum requirements of the legislation”, with no serious attempt to measure the deterrent effect on tourists and their expenditure, traffic  congestion or competition for skills and labour.

The National Policy Statement EN-6 requires that applicants for major nuclear energy projects take into account ‘potential pressures on local and regional resources, demographic change and economic benefit’.

September 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Iran claims it’s identified saboteurs behind blast at nuclear site

Iran claims it’s identified saboteurs behind blast at nuclear site, Atomic organization spokesperson says security services now have full knowledge of what happened at Natanz facility in July Times of Israel, By TOI STAFF  6 Sept 20, Iran has identified those behind an explosion at one of its nuclear sites earlier this year and knows their motives for attacking the facility, an Iranian official said on Sunday.

this year and knows their motives for attacking the facility, an Iranian official said on Sunday.Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said during a television interview that the July incident at the Natanz facility was “an act of sabotage” and the investigation is still ongoing.

“As far as we know, they have identified the culprits and know their incentives and methods and actually, they have full knowledge over the issue,” Kamalvandi said, according to an English-language report on his remarks by the semi-official Fars News Agency. ……

Under the nuclear accord officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran committed to limiting its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

But the JCPOA has been on life-support since the US withdrew from it and reimposed unilateral sanctions in 2018.

Iran has since taken small but escalatory steps away from compliance with the agreement, as it presses for the sanctions relief it was promised. Some of those steps are believed to have been at the Natanz nuclear site.

The US is currently engaged in a likely doomed bid to renew international sanctions against Iran at the UN, despite Trump’s withdrawal from the accord.

September 7, 2020 Posted by | Iran, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment