Sunday 25th of October 2020

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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2020-10-25 06:17

urgency

 

Mr Biden said fossil fuels had to be replaced by renewable energy over time with the US moving towards net zero emissions.

Democrats from the left of the party are enthused by the idea of the US ending its reliance on oil and gas as part of the fight against climate change. 

But such a policy could turn off working-class voters in politically critical states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas, where many of the industry's employees are based.

What has the Biden campaign said since?

The Democrat's aides released a statement following the debate saying Mr Biden planned to phase out taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuel companies, not the industry altogether.

 

 

 

Read more:

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54670269

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 20:01

 

Russia: Toxic algae blamed for death of marine life


Hundreds of octopuses, seals and sea urchins washed up dead earlier this month in what was first thought to be an oil spill. Russian authorities now say a natural occurrence was responsible for the ecological disaster


The mass death of sea creatures off the coast of Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka region was caused by a bloom of toxic algae, the country's top environmental official said Friday.

The response followed warnings of an ecological disaster after surfers who got into waters off the Kamchatka peninsula fell ill and marine life — including octopuses, seals and sea urchins — washed up dead on the shore earlier this month.

"It was the toxicity of the algae," Environment Minister Dmitry Kobylkin said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS, adding that it was not a man-made disaster.

Kobylkin said that it was unclear why it had caused so much damage to the waters around the volcanic peninsula and that authorities were trying to determine what prompted the extraordinary bloom as well as a reduction in oxygen levels in the water.

AFP news agency reported that scientists had estimated that up to 95% of marine life living along the seabed in the affected area had died.

Huge algae 'slick'

Last week, scientists said the pollution had formed a 40-kilometer-long (25-mile) slick which has been moving south towards Japan and the disputed Kuril Islands.

Environmental activists who traveled to the site said they had found yellowish foam on the ocean's surface in several places. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) conservation group said the pollution appeared to be caused by a highly soluble substance.

Russia's top investigative agency, which opened a criminal case over the incident, said its initial findings have not revealed any higher-than-usual levels of human-sourced pollution such as that seen after a fuel spill.

Corroborating the environment minister's assessment, the Investigative Committee said in a statement Friday that the mass death appeared to have been caused by toxic phytoplankton.

The statement added that elevated water levels of phenols — an oil product —  were not critical and had been found in the Avacha Bay on Kamchatka's southern coast since 1970.

The incident first came to light earlier this month when the environmental protection group Greenpeace reported that surfers in the area had fallen ill after coming into contact with the water.

"In mid-September, the seawater changed its color and took on an unpleasant smell," said the statement, issued on October 16. "People reported health effects. Dead sea animals washed ashore, leaving carcasses along many of the beaches."

 

Read more:

https://www.dw.com/en/russia-toxic-algae-blamed-for-death-of-marine-life/a-55375657

 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 19:50

 

 

Iran Seeks to Confuse the United States?


written by Philip Giraldi



Those who have been waiting for the elusive October Surprise that will upset the apple cart on election day are admittedly running out of time. The media’s unwillingness to even consider that the antics of Hunter Biden just might constitute an embarrassment of major proportions or even something worse has done much to kill that story. And the old tried and true expedient of starting a little war somewhere is also proving to be a false hope as no one appears ready to provoke the righteously wrathful Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by ponying up a casus belli. Maybe there is still time for a false flag operation, but even that would require more prior planning than the White House appears capable of.

There is, however, one area that might just be exploitable to create a crisis, though it much depends on whether a tired public is willing to go one more round over the issue of “foreign election interference.” And yes, the Russians are presumed to be involved, on this occasion, as they always are, joined by the ever-vengeful Iranians.

On Wednesday Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe held a news conference at which he laid out details of the most recent dastardly plot against American democracy. He described how Iran and Russia both obtained American voter registration data, apparently through publicly accessible databases and through purchases of email lists. Though no actual votes have been altered, they are using that information “to influence the presidential election as it enters its final two weeks.” Ratcliffe elaborated how “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine…confidence in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe focused mostly on Iran, saying that it had been identified as the source of what he described as a claimed 1,500 “spoofed emails” routed through Estonia that “seek to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.” Iran was also blamed for other material, to include a video encouraging the casting of illegal ballots both domestically and overseas. Additional intelligence suggests that Iran is planning to take more steps to influence the election in the coming days, though what those measures could possibly be was not revealed.

Other government sources elaborated, indicating that Iranian intelligence has been credited with the sending of the email messages going out to Democratic voters in four states, including hotly disputed Pennsylvania and Florida. The emails falsely claimed to be from the alleged far-right group Proud Boys which has been much in the news. Their message was that “we will come after you” if the recipients fail to vote for Donald Trump.

It doesn’t take much to realize that threatening messages relating to voting for Trump allegedly coming from a source described as “racist” would undoubtedly motivate most registered Democratic voters to do the opposite, but that seems to have escaped the analysts of the Directorate of National Intelligence. And one must also ask why Tehran would want the re-election of a president who has been unremittingly hostile, including imposing crippling sanctions, withdrawing from a beneficial nuclear agreement, and assassinating a leading Revolutionary Guards general. Even US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer appears to have figured that one out, saying “It was clear to me that the intent of Iran in this case and Russia in many more cases is to basically undermine confidence in our elections. This action I do not believe was aimed... at discrediting President Trump.”

The anti-Trump New York Times has, of course, another, more sinister interpretation, suggesting that “…it may also play into President Trump’s hands. For weeks, he has argued, without evidence, that the vote on Nov. 3 will be ‘rigged,’ that mail-in ballots will lead to widespread fraud and that the only way he can be defeated is if his opponents cheat. Now, on the eve of the final debate, he has evidence of foreign influence campaigns designed to hurt his re-election chances, even if they did not affect the voting infrastructure.”

The Times also notes a broader conspiracy by the dreadful Persians, explaining how “Iran has tinkered at the edges of American election interference since 2012, but always as a minor actor. Last year, it stepped up its game, private cybersecurity firms have warned. They have caught Iranian operatives occasionally impersonating politicians and journalists around the world, often to spread narratives that are aimed at denigrating Israel or Saudi Arabia, its two major adversaries in the Middle East.” Again, however, the article provides no explanation of what Iran could possibly hope to gain from the minimal “tinkering” it might be able to engage in an American election in which billions of dollars will be spent by Democrats and Republicans who are viciously attacking each other without any outside help.

Ratcliffe had less to say about Russia but US media coverage of the story included a referral to a recent account of how the US military’s Cyber Command helped take down a network developed by Russian hackers called TrickBot that had been used in ransomware attacks directed against companies as well as cities and towns across the United States. It also reported how “In recent days, another Russian hacking group called Energetic Bear, often linked to the F.S.B. — one of the successors to the Soviet Union’s K.G.B. — appears to have focused its attention on gaining access to state and local government networks. That has caught the attention of federal investigators because, until now, the group had largely targeted energy firms, including public utilities.”

There was, however, no evidence that either hacking group was being directed against voter systems, so Russia’s inclusion in the front-page Times story headlined “Iran and Russia Seek to Influence Election in Final Days, US Officials Warn” has to be considered questionable editorial judgment. Perhaps scaremongering would be a better description. In any event, the story itself is much ado about nothing. Iran’s sending out 1,500 emails if that actually occurred, would have zero impact. Likewise, the claimed existence of alleged Russian hacking groups that have done nothing directed against voters or balloting systems with only a few days left until the election would appear to be an electoral tactic rather than exposure of any genuine threat. One might even describe it as a bit of deliberate disinformation.

 

Read more:

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/october/23/iran-seeks-to-confuse-the-united-states/

 

Read from top. Are they talking about "Borat"?

 

 

Read also: "the big guy"...

 

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 19:12

Bob Woodward on the 2020 Election


“How Can You Not Be Worried?”



Famed Journalist Bob Woodward brought down U.S. President Richard Nixon with his reporting on the Watergate scandal. Now he talks to DER SPIEGEL about Donald Trump’s "catastrophic" handling of the coronavirus, the outcome of the coming election and his new book, “Rage.”

 

 

Read more:

 

https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/how-can-you-not-be-worried-a-42133579-7a1e-495c-9d61-f74b2f5603a6

 

 

Now Bob should turn his attention to how Joe Biden — a warmonger, a liar and a thief — and also an apologist AFTER the facts (typical of contrite Catholics) — to explain how Joe Biden became the leading contender of the Democrats, who should have chosen someone FAR BETTER.

 

JOE BIDEN IS A DISGRACE. With Joe at the helm of the USA, please, be prepared for some shit like more wars from "action-Joe"... and note that Kamala will be out of her depth. I could be wrong... Please let me be wrong...

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 18:56

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are threatening to sue over a pair of giant, side-by-side, pro-Joe Biden campaign billboards in Times Square that blast the couple’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

The ads, announced Thursday by the Lincoln Project, show a smiling Ivanka gesturing toward the coronavirus death tolls for New Yorkers and Americans.

The image of the President’s daughter and adviser appears to have been taken from a selfie she tweeted in July, in which she held and gestured toward a can of Goya black beans.

Jared, in a separate billboard abutting Ivanka’s, is shown next to body bags and a quote that reads, “[New Yorkers] are going to suffer and that’s their problem.” The quote is attributed to Kushner from a Sept. 17 Vanity Fair article.

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee for Republicans, on Friday tweeted out the letter it received from Trump family lawyer Marc Kasowitz.

The letter threatens to sue the Lincoln Project unless it “immediately” removes the ads, calling the billboards “false, malicious, and defamatory.”

“Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement, Ms. Trump never made any such gesture, and the Lincoln Project’s representations that they did are an outrageous and shameful libel,” Kasowitz wrote.

 

Read more:

https://nypost.com/2020/10/23/jared-kushner-ivanka-trump-threaten-suit-on-lincoln-project-nyc-ads/

 

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Protecting democracy demands a bit of honesty. At present the anti-Trump "no more Trump" lobby in all factions of society is pushing bad shit beyond decency. This in turn shows the ugly side of crooks, liars and fudgers in the Republican party siding with the crooks, the liars and the fudgers of the Democrat party. I don't doubt that there are many honest people in both parties, but when dirty tactics are used in misinformation — and omission — it only shows the dirty side of both parties. 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 18:41

I don't know if this www promotion was planned before or after the thing, nor if the premier is aware her picture is being possibly used by private enterprise to sell you the sunshine energy... But apparently you can claim a "new" $3700 rebate on your new solar panel sytem if you answer a 30 second quiz. See if you qualify:

 

sunshine

 

 

No restriction on your location: Labor or Liberal on this one. Read from top.

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 17:30

Apart from "an unfortunate business venture in Ukraine" (which was as bent as an old mattress rusty spring, read above), a lot of "Chinese connection" mentions have been made about Hunter Biden, but few (none?) main-stream-media (MSM) have dared to actually investigate — or if they have, they have not told you what these were about, or they have just mentioned them as if ordinary business deals... Unfortunately, the only place to see these is in the rightwing media that for what it's worth, are telling you what the liberal media does not want to tell you.

 

So this saga is worth two bobs considering the tiff between Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd, a former PM who was used into the Hunter Biden framework, by being a foreign dignitary... 

 

 

rudd

 

 

So, unfortunately, here comes the rightwing media with the truth... while the liberal media play dumb...

 

 

 

Code Name ‘Project Hanson’: Insider Documents Reveal How Hunter Biden Associates Helped Chinese Military Contractor Acquire Michigan Dual-Use Manufacturer



In September 2015, the Obama-Biden administration approved the sale of a strategically sensitive Michigan manufacturer, Henniges Automotive, to a firm connected to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and a Chinese military contractor that was on an American watch list because of its close ties to the People’s Liberation Army. Hunter Biden’s equity fund, backed by the Communist Chinese government, and the Chinese contractor, Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), needed special approval for the deal from the Committee of Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CIFIUS) because Henniges produced technology with potential military use.


AVIC entities have been sanctioned by the United States on five separate occasions since 1993 and the addition to the watch list–a major red flag—occurred less than a year-and-a-half before they co-purchased Henniges with the Biden-led Chinese joint venture known as Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). The fact that CFIUS approved the deal is alarming given that Henniges owns numerous facilities in the United States that are now controlled by a Chinese military front company.


Internal BHR documents show exactly how the Chinese military contractor was able to disguise its ownership via shell corporations and formed a joint-venture with the son of the vice president to facilitate the Chinese takeover of an American dual-use technology supplier. Additional documents suggest that Hunter Biden’s Chinese-backed venture funneled money to an entity controlled by Vanessa Kerry, the daughter of then-Secretary of State John Kerry, just one month before CFIUS approved the takeover. At the time, Secretary Kerry played a lead role on the Obama-Biden CFIUS committee.


When news of the AVIC takeover of Michigan-based manufacturer Henniges Automotive hit the wire, Biden’s associates celebrated, calling the transaction a “proof of concept” for future Chinese acquisitions. “Congratulations!!!! Proof of concept again,” read the subject line of Devon Archer’s email on September 15, 2015. “This is great. Let’s get a letter out to Ambassador Baucus ASAP Archie (an apparent Archer nickname),” Bevan Cooney replied. Cooney is a former Biden associate who is now incarcerated for a separate venture—the tribal bond scheme—involving Biden’s business partners. Cooney has provided investigative journalists Peter Schweizer and Matthew Tyrmand with access to his emails with written authorization.


Read more:




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A failed Hunter Biden business venture — which an ex-partner said involved Joe Biden — targeted “key domestic contacts” including Gov. Cuomo for potential projects across the country, documents reveal.

A May 15, 2017, memo naming potential contacts was sent by Joe Biden’s brother Jim to his nephew and three other men who all formed a limited liability company to partner with another firm on “global and/or domestic” projects involving “infrastructure, energy, financial services and other strategic sectors,” the documents show.

The other company was backed by a since-vanished Chinese energy tycoon and was to “be primarily responsible for arranging financing and execution” of the projects, according to the documents released by Tony Bobulinksi, who was CEO of the joint venture.

The memo, titled “Key domestic contacts for phase one target projects,” noted that Cuomo “is moving forward with major infrastructure projects such as the long-stalled Tappan Zee Bridge replacement and the much-needed redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport.”

“His administration has invested nearly $4 billion through the Regional Council and Upstate Revitalization initiatives to jumpstart the economy and support local priorities for development,” it added.

Cuomo was also referenced in an earlier e-mail that Bobulinski released in which another partner, James Gilliar of the consulting firm J2cR, discussed various strategies tied to their business plan.

“Meet Gov of NYS ? , if so times ? Meet anyone else ?, are we meeting in NYC or elsewhere ?,” Gilliar wrote on April 27, 2017.

The memo included no elaboration about Mayor de Blasio but said the then-president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., Maria Torres-Springer, “drives the physical transformation of New York City, completes major infrastructure upgrades, and encourages the creation of new residential and commercial districts.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer was described as having “made improving New York’s economy a top priority, bringing affordable air service to Upstate New York and working to successfully retain New York jobs at risk of leaving and attract many new firms to New York.”


Read more:



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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 16:11

Russian air force has restarted its shelling of jihadist groups in Syria, which was interrupted under the Turkish-Russian agreements intended to freeze operations in the Idlib region.

On 21 October 2020, the shelling struck the villages of al-Magarah and al-Rami occupied by Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (Al-Qaeda) and the National Liberation Front (Turkey).

It is too soon to know whether they are isolated strikes or the initial stages of renewed fighting.

A second hypothesis could be that the Turkish army was preparing for a probable Russian offensive in Idlib (occupied by the Turkish army) in response to the invasion by jihadi forces of Nagorno-Karabakh.

This time, Germany and France, which are currently at odds with President Erdoğan on migrant issues, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, are no longer likely to assist Turkey logistically against Syria.

 

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article211343.html

 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 15:51

 

Journalists Are All Julian Assange


By Robert Parry


Special to Consortium News


First published Dec. 16, 2010.

 

---------------------------

 

Gus note:

 

Unfortunately, amongst journalists there are some sociopaths and some who are not devoted to the truth — or are too respectuous of their masters and publishers. Ergo sum, the present MSM silence on evidence that is HIGHLY damning of Joe and Hunter Biden which has only been picked up as far as Gus knows by https://www.les-crises.fr. As well the pseudo-silence of The Guardian on the Assange case is deafening with a zero point five decibel. But we can hope for better journalism like that of Robert Parry.

 

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Whatever the unusual aspects of the case, the Obama administration’s reported plan to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiring with Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets strikes at the heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.


That’s because the process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of “conspiracy” between reporter and source.


Contrary to what some outsiders might believe, it’s actually quite uncommon for sensitive material to simply arrive “over the transom” unsolicited. Indeed, during three decades of reporting on these kinds of stories, I can only recall a few secret documents arriving that way to me.


In most cases, I played some role – either large or small – in locating the classified information or convincing some government official to divulge some secrets. More often than not, I was the instigator of these “conspiracies.”


My “co-conspirators” typically were well-meaning government officials who were aware of some wrongdoing committed under the cloak of national security, but they were never eager to put their careers at risk by talking about these offenses. I usually had to persuade them, whether by appealing to their consciences or by constructing some reasonable justification for them to help.


Other times, I was sneaky in liberating some newsworthy classified information from government control. Indeed, in 1995, Consortiumnews.com was started as a way to publish secret and top-secret information that I had discovered in the files of a closed congressional inquiry during the chaotic period between the Republicans winning the 1994 elections and their actual takeover of Congress in early 1995.


In December 1994, I asked for and was granted access to supposedly unclassified records left behind by a task force that had looked into allegations that Ronald Reagan’s campaign had sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s hostage negotiations with Iran in 1980.


To my surprise, I discovered that the investigators, apparently in their haste to wrap up their work, had failed to purge the files of all classified material. So, while my “minder” wasn’t paying attention to me, I ran some of the classified material through a copier and left with it in a folder. I later wrote articles about these documents and posted some on the Internet.


Such behavior – whether cajoling a nervous government official to expose a secret or exploiting some unauthorized access to classified material – is part of what an investigative journalist does in covering national security abuses. The traditional rule of thumb has been that it’s the government’s job to hide the secrets and a reporter’s job to uncover them. 



“The process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of ‘conspiracy’ between reporter and source.”

 

 

In the aftermath of significant leaks, the government often tries to convince news executives to spike or water down the stories “for the good of the country.” But it is the news organization’s ultimate decision whether to comply or to publish.

 

Historically, most of these leaks have caused the government some short-term embarrassment (although usually accompanied by exaggerated howls of protests). In the long run, however, the public has been served by knowing about some government abuse. Reforms often follow as they did during the Iran-Contra scandal that I was involved in exposing in the 1980s.

 


A Nixon Precedent


Yet, in the WikiLeaks case – instead of simply complaining and moving on – the Obama administration appears to be heading in a direction not seen since the Nixon administration sought to block the publication of the Pentagon Papers secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971.


In doing so, the Obama administration, which came to power vowing a new era of openness, is contemplating a novel strategy for criminalizing traditional journalistic practices, while trying to assure major U.S. news outlets that they won’t be swept up in the Assange-Manning dragnet.


The New York Times reported on Thursday [2010] that federal prosecutors were reviewing the possibility of indicting Assange on conspiracy charges for allegedly encouraging or assisting Manning in extracting “classified military and State Department files from a government computer system.”


The Times article by Charlie Savage notes that if prosecutors determine that Assange provided some help in the process, “they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.


“Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files. Private Manning is also said to have claimed that Mr. Assange gave him access to a dedicated server for uploading some of them to WikiLeaks. 


“Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker in whom Private Manning confided and who eventually turned him in, said Private Manning detailed those interactions in instant-message conversations with him. He said the special server’s purpose was to allow Private Manning’s submissions to ‘be bumped to the top of the queue for review.’ By Mr. Lamo’s account, Private Manning bragged about this ‘as evidence of his status as the high-profile source for WikiLeaks.’” 


Though some elements of this suspected Assange-Manning collaboration may be technically unique because of the Internet’s role – and that may be a relief to more traditional news organizations like the Times, which has published some of the WikiLeaks documents – the underlying reality is that what WikiLeaks has done is essentially “the same wine” of investigative journalism in “a new bottle” of the Internet.

 


“In most cases, I played some role – either large or small – in locating the classified information or convincing some government official to divulge some secrets. More often than not, I was the instigator of these “conspiracies.”

 

 

By shunning WikiLeaks as some deviant journalistic hybrid, mainstream U.S. news outlets may breathe easier now but may find themselves caught up in a new legal precedent that could be applied to them later.


As for the Obama administration, its sudden aggressiveness in divining new “crimes” in the publication of truthful information is especially stunning when contrasted with its “see no evil” approach toward openly acknowledged crimes committed by President George W. Bush and his subordinates, including major offenses such as torture, kidnapping and aggressive war.

 


Holder’s Move


The possibility of an indictment of Assange no longer seems to me like rampant paranoia. Initially, I didn’t believe that the Obama administration was serious in stretching the law to find ways to prosecute Assange and to shut down WikiLeaks. 

But then there was the pressure on WikiLeaks’ vendors such as Amazon.com and PayPal along with threats from prominent U.S. political figures, spouting rhetoric about Assange as a “terrorist” comparable to Osama bin Laden and a worthy target of assassination.


Normally, when people engage in such talk of violence, they are the ones who attract the attention of police and prosecutors. In this case, however, the Obama administration appears to be bowing to those who talk loosely about murdering a truth-teller.


Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that he has taken “significant” steps in the investigation, a possible reference to what an Assange lawyer said he had learned from Swedish authorities about a secret grand jury meeting in Northern Virginia.


The Times reported, “Justice Department officials have declined to discuss any grand jury activity. But in interviews, people familiar with the case said the department appeared to be attracted to the possibility of prosecuting Mr. Assange as a co-conspirator to the leaking because it is under intense pressure to make an example of him as a deterrent to further mass leaking of electronic documents over the Internet. 

 


“By shunning WikiLeaks as some deviant journalistic hybrid, mainstream U.S. news outlets may breathe easier now but may find themselves caught up in a new legal precedent that could be applied to them later.”

 

 

“By bringing a case against Mr. Assange as a conspirator to Private Manning’s leak, the government would not have to confront awkward questions about why it is not also prosecuting traditional news organizations or investigative journalists who also disclose information the government says should be kept secret — including The New York Times, which also published some documents originally obtained by WikiLeaks.”

 

In other words, the Obama administration appears to be singling out Assange as an outlier in the journalistic community who is already regarded as something of a pariah. In that way, mainstream media personalities can be invited to join in his persecution without thinking that they might be next.

 

Though American journalists may understandably want to find some protective cover by pretending that Julian Assange is not like us, the reality is – whether we like it or not – we are all Julian Assange.

 

 

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He founded Consortium News in 1995. 

 

 

 

Read from top.

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-10-24 14:30


Darylgate: a Federal matter as well

 

 

A week is a short time in politics. In less than that time, an affair emerged that had lasted five years if you believe Gladys, or seven if you believe Daryl.

‘Hand on heart’ was the Premier’s unfortunate way of swearing how innocent, private, and impermanent her affair was with a Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly. Wherever their hands were, it was a long time before Gladys Berejiklian showed hers and before Daryl Maguire took his out of the public purse. The more about the tawdry tale is dug up, the more of that vulgar sort could and will be said.

Many wronged women have empathised with Berejiklian, and others have rejoiced in her having a bit on the side. At the start, years before her recent appeal to the sisterhood on daytime tv, she used to stress that being a woman premier was irrelevant: it was about being the best for the job. So it is, and that means both on and off the job. Privacy isn’t an excuse, either at State or Federal levels.

Let’s take State first. Berejiklian was liked by NSW punters, because she was a hard worker, she got things done – like having abortion decriminalised – she was there during the bushfires and the pandemic, and she wasn’t on the take and into cover-ups, like some of her predecessors. Now people have begun to take another look.

Voters remember the cracked and demolished Federation houses in Haberfield which were victims of her WestConnex. The cracked and uninhabitable Opal Tower whose residents were ripped off by dodgy certifiers and sub-standard builders. Other apartment blocks whose cheap, flammable cladding could ignite another Grenfell Tower inferno. The light rail line up George Street, completed late and way over budget, which holds up traffic with trams that are twice as long as necessary. The demolished stadium in Moore Park, whose twin was only saved by public outrage. The ‘Ruby Princess’ debacle, with confusion and blame-shifting as bad as Victoria’s. Donations to community organisations in Liberal electorates, bigger than the Federal ‘sports rorts’ over which a Coalition minister lost her job. The second Crown Casino, Parker’s defiant one-finger gesture under construction at Barangaroo. Sidelining the Minister for Planning in her own favour. Facing down the Nationals’ John Barilaro over koala habitat, only to cave in to allow land clearing, coal-seam gas mining, and logging in old-growth forests. And failure to properly fund ICAC, the nemesis of Liberal premiers past.

Even had NSW Liberals seen Darylgate coming, they might have had difficulty in discreetly finding a successor to Berejiklian. Andrew Constance earned public regard during the bushfires, but lost it when he resigned, and then briefly stood for the Federal seat of Eden-Monaro. Dominic Perrotet would be a logical choice, but for his mismanagement of icare and the presence of mysterious American American right-wing activist Edward Yap and an un-named other, both funded by icare, in his office. Don Harwin lost his job for breaking quarantine rules by going to his Pearl Beach house. To Brad Hazzard fell the thankless job of managing the pandemic, which he did. But picky voters may not want to exchange Berejiklian for anyone old, male, or stale. What a difference a few weeks can make to cocks of the walk! Labor Opposition leader Jodi McKay and her colleagues are working on making the Coalition in NSW into a feather duster.

But Darylgate has Federal dimensions too. After claiming Sam Dastyari‘s scalp over Chinese influence, the Coalition may see its ‘foreign agents’ legislation applied to one or both of its own: Maguire and Berejiklian. Maguire’ cash for visas operation, run from his Parliamentary office, broke Federal law, and the implications may reach beyond Berejiklian to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Immigration Minister David Coleman. Maguire’s role in the over-priced sale of land bordering the Badgerys Creek airport site is a Federal matter, and whether Berejiklian chose to hear about it or not, the Premier evidently realised what was involved. Whether or not Maguire got Berejiklian to use her influence with Ministers in Canberra, or with the Prime Minister, over the sale, is one among many questions we need answered.

As well, who knew what about Darylgate and when did they know it? It defies belief that for five or seven years the affair between Berejiklian and Maguire was a secret to all but themselves. Drivers, security staff, police, and officials are not blind, deaf, or dumb, in Sydney, Wagga or anywhere else. Politicians make it their business to know what their leaders and rivals are up to, night and day. That’s the job of the media too. So who imposed the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ rule on all of them?

Decades ago, the press and politicians had a gentlemens’ (sic) agreement that their private lives were their own and off limits. But that private/public wall of silence has long been breached, and governments, hyper-vigilant about threats to ‘national security’, are now delving into everything. The nasty suspicion arises that five or seven years of ‘privacy’ were somehow imposed by Berejiklian herself, whether explicitly or implicitly. If so, that only magnifies her problem: who did she have to appease in exchange for silence? Did that expose her to blackmail? As the Darylgate whirlpool spreads, more than the ex-lovers may risk getting sucked into it.

For now, Berejiklian must be hoping for some distraction which may take the heat off for a while. But when the ICAC inquiry’s findings come out, her time as Premier may be over.

Dr Alison Broinowski AM is an author, former diplomat and academic.

 

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