As of this writing, it has been three days since the Icelandic newspaper Stundin broke the story that a key witness in the US government’s case against Julian Assange had fabricated allegations against the WikiLeaks founder. And yet, somehow, Assange is still in prison.
Weirder still, not one major western media outlet outside of Iceland has reported on this massive and entirely legitimate news story. A search brings up coverage by Icelandic media, by Russian media, and by smaller western outlets like Democracy Now, World Socialist Website, Consortium News, Zero Hedge and some others, but as of this writing this story has been completely ignored by all major outlets who are ostensibly responsible for informing the public in the western world.
It’s not that those outlets have been ignoring Assange altogether these last few days either. Reuters recently published an interview with Assange’s fiance Stella Moris. Evening Standard has a recent article out on Assange’s plans to marry Moris in Belmarsh, as does Deutsche Welle. It’s just this one story in particular that they’ve been blacking out completely.
And it’s not that the mainstream press are unaware of this story. Mainstream western reporters spend a lot of time on Twitter, and Assange’s name was trending in the United States after the Stundin story broke. Tweets about the article by high-profile accounts like WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have many thousands of shares each. They’ve all seen the article. They all know it’s newsworthy. They’re just choosing not to report on it.
It reminds me of the blanket media blackout that occurred while the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was hemorrhaging leaks revealing a US government-tied coverup in the alleged chlorine gas incident in Douma, Syria. Immensely newsworthy stories were breaking every few days on a major international scandal, yet not a peep was made about it by the mainstream press.
We are being lied to. Constantly, and in more ways than we realize. By omission, by distortion, by half-truths and by outright deception. Our minds are being actively messed with by powerful people with limitless resources to ensure their continued domination of the planet at any cost. Our very perception of reality is being assaulted on myriad fronts. Until humanity finds a way to wake itself up from its propaganda-induced coma, the abuses of the powerful will continue.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.
LABOUR MPs Richard Burgon and Diane Abbott handed a letter to the governor of HMP Belmarsh today, demanding permission for a meeting with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The two socialist MPs joined Mr Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris outside the prison to deliver the letter on behalf of a parliamentary working group.
Mr Assange remains locked up at the Covid-hit south London prison pending an appeal after he beat an extradition case brought by the US.
The letter is signed by 20 parliamentarians including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy, John McDonnell, Zarah Sultana, Caroline Lucas, Claudia Webbe and members of the House of Lords.
Julian Assange’s case should’ve ended as soon as a UK judge denied his extradition to the US, Jeremy Corbyn, former Labour leader, told RT as he joined other MPs to demand a meeting with the WikiLeaks founder in a London prison.
Corbyn described Assange as “somebody that has stood up for truth around the world. He’s helped us to understand what happened in Guantanamo Bay and so many places around in the world where the US military has done terrible things. We think that he’s a journalist of distinction.”
When a man lies often enough, every now and then, something he says will turn out to be true. And so it happened with Boris Johnson. He said our country would be “record-breaking” in this pandemic and it has been, twice over: at one point, the UK had achieved the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths per capita in the world; and it also suffered the worst fall in GDP in Europe.
How have the Prime Minister and his Cabinet fared when it comes to telling the truth about the greatest disaster our country has experienced since the Second World War?
Privately, radio and television journalists will reel off what they think are the most outrageous lies of this Government’s Coronavirus catastrophe – how it claimed that it was simply ‘following the science’ or ‘protecting the NHS and care homes’ or awarding contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) sensibly.
Back in autumn 2019, I condemned Boris Johnson as a known liar in the annual MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival. A number of my colleagues in broadcasting disapproved strongly even though they did not dispute the accuracy of my statement. That the Prime Minister is a notorious liar is accepted among journalists in the UK across the political spectrum.
Johnson was sacked by The Times early on in his career for an untruthful front-page story which he misattributed to his own godfather. As the Daily Telegraph’s Brussels’ correspondent between 1989 and 1994, he regularly disseminated ‘Euromyths’. He was sacked in 2004 as the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman and Shadow Arts Minister for dishonestly assuring the then leader Michael Howardthat reports he had had an affair with a columnist were an “inverted pyramid of piffle”.
Yet, almost all broadcast journalists believe that they should not use the ‘L’ word about Johnson.
Why? Firstly, it’s rude and we’re British. Secondly, they fear that the public could thereby think we have lost our impartiality. Well, that’s a risk we have to take. I am indeed not impartial between truth and lies. The public doesn’t have the wherewithal to research the facts about politicians’ statements and therefore judge accurately whether they are telling the truth. They rely on us for that.
Ministers have made untrue statements over and over again and it has worked for them. A significant proportion of the population has accepted these statements. This is partly because they sympathised with a Government dealing with a plague without precedent for which it could not be blamed. But this is also because broadcast journalists have not said that we have been lied to in significant ways.
Back in 2019, I was complaining about Johnson’s lies concerning EU rules on condoms and kippers. What halcyon days they were, pre-pandemic, when a politician lying about fish seemed like a big deal. Now, he and his Cabinet lie about life and death. Previously, his lies were specific. Now, they are are so vast in their ambition that they create a parallel universe.
In the past, lying politicians were held to account on television and radio. They were not named as liars, but their statements were analysed forensically in lengthy interviews. Not any more.
During the Coronavirus crisis, we have not seen Boris Johnson putting himself up for the sort of grilling to which, for example, Margaret Thatcher subjected herself over the Falklands. Johnson and senior Cabinet ministers have failed to appear on Newsnight or Channel Four News, the two programmes with the time to carry out in-depth interviews.
A leading broadcast journalist told me: “They just don’t believe in accountability. In one of the great crises of modern times, where is the major interview with the Prime Minister? I can’t think of a time when a Prime Minister in a crisis has put himself up so little. There is no proper scrutiny. It’s a complete contempt for accountability.”
This is an edited extract from ‘Populism, the Pandemic and the Media: Journalism in the Age of Brexit, COVID, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson’ to be published on 24 June 2021 by Abramis. Dorothy Byrne is a television journalist and producer. She was formerly editor-at-large at Channel 4 Television, where she previously served as head of news and current affairs
Extinction Rebellion protested today about UK’s press and politics being dominated by the politics and interests of 5 [ed: 4] non-dom tax evading billionaires. The political agenda is largely set by these sihts who often engage in criminal behaviour e.g. phone hacking, or facilitate criminal behaviour e.g. corruption of high elected politicians like Boris Johnson and Priti Patel. Surely it must be a crime for Priti Patel to be Rupert Murdoch’s PrivateSecretary instead of UK’s Home Secretary.
Rwy’n gobeithio hwylio cyn bo hir – nes i ddim hwylio o gwbl flwydddyn dywethaf. Rwy’n trwsio ac adnewyddu darnau ar a cwch ar hyn o bryd – ac yn ffindio hi braidd yn ddrud. Mae na dywediad am cwch yn bod twll yn a mor mae morwr hamdden yn taflu ei arian at.
Rwy’n gobeithio hwylio Ynys Lundi cyn croesi ar draws tuag at Abertawe a cario ymlaen at Ynys Dewi a gobeithio efallai gwylio morfilod neu Orcas. Hoffwn i hwylio ym mhellach i’r Gorllewin ond efallai rhywbryd arall.
Eng: Hoping to go sailing soon. I’m currently doing repairs and renewing parts on the boat. I’m hoping to sail a route Lundy Island to Ramsey Island. I would like to sail further West.
The Federal Court today dismissed a bid by a group of Australian teenagers seeking to prevent federal environment minister Sussan Ley from approving a coalmine extension in New South Wales.
While the teens’ request for an injunction was unsuccessful, a number of important developments emerged during the court proceedings. This included new figures on the financial costs of climate change to young Australians over their lifetimes.
An independent expert witness put the loss at between A$125,000 and A$245,000 per person. The calculation was a conservative one, and did not include health impacts which were assessed separately.
The evidence was accepted by both the federal government’s legal team and the judge. That it was uncontested represents an important shift. No longer are the financial impacts of climate change a vague future loss – they’re now a tangible, quantifiable harm.
To help in its deliberations, the court called on an independent expert witness, Dr Karl Mallon, to estimate the extent to which climate change would harm the eight young Australians aged 13 to 17, and by extension all children in Australia.
Mallon is chief executive of Climate Risk, a consultancy specialising in climate risk and adaptation software which advises governments and businesses around the world. This is the first time anywhere in the world this technique for quantifying harm in climate litigation has been applied and accepted.
Mallon first assumed a level of ongoing greenhouse gas emissions, with reference to standard scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The scenarios range from futures with ambitious emissions reductions to those with very little.
So Mallon used the IPCC’s high-end emissions scenario known as RCP8.5 – the only one consistent with increasing coal production.
Second, Mallon drew on atmospheric modelling to provide projections for Australia on climate effects such as changes in temperature and rainfall. He then quantified the financial and health costs of those changes across three “epochs”, or time periods, in the futures of young people today.
Epoch 1: loss of property wealth
The first epoch spanned the decade to 2030. Mallon limited his analysis to how climate change will affect housing markets, leading to the loss of family property wealth.
Some homes are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather and climate risks such as bushfires, flooding, coastal inundation, cyclones and subsidence. Mallon’s modelling found about 5% of family homes would be affected damaged by climate change and associated extreme weather events this decade.
Already in some areas insurance premiums are becoming unaffordable and the problem will likely worsen as climate change unfolds. This will reduce the market value of high-risk properties.
Mallon estimated an average loss to the value of family homes by 2030 at about A$40-85,000 per child.
Epoch 2: reduced earnings
This epoch spanned the years 2040 to 2060, when the applicants would be aged between 20 and 58 years. This part of Mallon’s analysis focused first on loss to prosperity – how climate change would affect a young person’s ability to work.
On hot days, the body must expend extra energy dissipating heat (usually by sweating). As the International Labour Organisation has noted, exposure to these conditions for extended periods is risky, and to endure them people must drink water and take regular breaks, leading to lower productivity.
Rising temperatures under climate change will increase the number of days where the ability to work outside safely will be hampered. Mallon found around 30% of today’s children will work in climate-vulnerable jobs, such as agriculture and construction.
People in these jobs will be less productive, and the cost to employers will eventually be passed to employees through lower wages. Mallon estimated this means a loss of about A$75,000 over a young person’s working life.
Climate change and associated extreme weather will also disrupt the infrastructure businesses rely on, such as electricity, telecommunications and transport. Again, these productivity losses will eventually be reflected in employee wages.
In Mallon’s opinion, repeated extreme weather damage to business continuity will lead to an estimated average A$25,000 annual loss per person over the working life of a child today.
Climate change will also deliver general “hits” to the economy. Mallon’s analysis here focused only on agricultural and labour productivity, and drew on existing research to estimate losses of about A$60,000 per person over their lifetimes.
The bottom line? Mallon’s partial, conservative calculations found today’s children will forego between A$125,000 and A$245,000 each due to the climate impacts noted above. He puts the most likely cost at around A$170,000 for each child.
Epoch 3: risks to health
The third epoch spanned 2070 to 2100, when today’s young people will be in the later stages of their lives. Here, Mallon’s analysis focused on the health impacts of higher temperatures. These will lead to increased heat stress, ambulance call outs, presentations to emergency departments and hospitalisations.
Older people are more vulnerable to the health effects of higher temperatures, and also more likely to die. Mallon found one in five of today’s children will likely be hospitalised due to heat stress in their senior years.
Act hard and fast
In Australia and around the world, people concerned about climate change are increasingly using litigation in a bid to force governments to act.
This means we can expect to quantification of the financial costs of climate change being presented more often in our courts.
Mallon’s calculations do not cover all harm that will be caused by climate change – only that for which detailed accessible modelling exists. The full financial and health costs will inevitably be far greater than the scope of his assessment.
Global emissions must urgently be cut to net-zero to avert the most disastrous climate change impacts. The arguments in favour of radical mitigation action, including the personal financial risks, grow ever-more compelling by the day.