Thursday 20th of June 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-06-16 09:40

BORIS Johnson has been branded a “tinpot Trump” who will lead to Britain to ruin as PM by France’s leading newspaper.

In a scathing attack Le Monde - the broadsheet of choice for the Paris political elite - said the Tory frontrunner lacks “logic or beliefs”...

It said his premiership “would be a calamity for his country and for Europe” and would turn the UK into a “hostile” neighbour hellbent on deregulation.

The paper also laid into Mr Johnson over his threat to withhold the £39bn divorce bill, saying doing so would have “incalculable consequences”.

In the piece, entitled “Boris Johnson leading Britain? No thanks!” the establishment broadsheet offered a withering assessment of the Tory MP.

It fumed: “He makes a mockery of his own country by his amateurism, his levity and his lack of knowledge of the issues.

“The economic catastrophe resulting from a No Deal does not scare him. It is this man who wants to take the helm of the distressed ship Britannia.

“For the EU, Johnson’s rise to power in London would be tantamount to the installation of a tinpot Trump across the Channel dedicated to sabotaging it.

“The UK would no longer be content to cultivate its European malaise, or even hinder the development of the EU.

“It would become a hostile principality based on social, fiscal and environmental deregulation.

“We must stop seeing Boris only as a jester.

"His entry at 10 Downing Street would be a calamity for his country and for Europe.”



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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-06-16 07:26

The prime minister’s department has intervened to thwart the release of the navy chief’s diary to a senator investigating the handling of a multibillion-dollar arms contract.

The Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick is attempting to uncover the circumstances that led the government to hand a $4bn patrol boat contract to the German shipbuilder Luerssen, instead of Austal, a local company, which said it could do the work for less.

The defence department had resisted Patrick’s attempts to secure the diaries of the navy chief and defence’s head of capability acquisition and sustainment.

Last month, the department was found to have misused exemptions to freedom of information law when rejecting Patrick’s request for the diaries. The information commissioner ordered it to release the documents, and the department confirmed to Guardian Australia that it planned to do so.

But this week, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet intervened to keep the diaries secret. It will take the case to the administrative appeals tribunal on behalf of the government.


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All we need is Assange to break the codes (or the door) and extract the diaries for everyone to see... Obviously the government is hiding shenanigans and improprieties that would and should make this fake Scummo government bit the dust. Remember the HelloWorld stuff...? No? Well, that's the problem with many journalists, they soon give up finding the truth in favour of showing "dancing girls"...


Unfortunately, Assange "is not a journalist" according to the bitches at the Merde-och media and he is prison for having showed us THE TRUTH...  This pisses off the card carrying journos...

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-06-16 07:14


From Tony Kevin

I had the pleasure of hearing Yevgenia Markovna Arbats, Russian independent journalist, political scientist, radio host, and chief editor of the Moscow-based New Times magazine, in public conversation at the Australian National University, Canberra on 5 June. The event was advertised by ANU as a discussion of…

…the interplay between Russia’s domestic politics and its disposition to shape events beyond its borders. Forthright journalist and radio host on Russia’s only remaining liberal radio station ‘Moscow Echo’, Yevgenia Albats has risked controversy and criticism throughout her 20+ year media career. Also holding a PhD in political science from Harvard University, she is one of the most qualified people to talk about her homeland to ever arrive on Australia’s shores.”


The audience was predominantly from Australia’s intelligence and related think-tank communities, emeritus and present, with a sprinkling of academics and diplomats. 

Feeling rather like Daniel in the lions’ den, I was pleasantly surprised by Yevgenia Markovna’s talk and responses. I had expected the usual anti-Putin sneers and condescension towards Russia, favoured by Russian emigre and dissident journalists appearing in Western media: people who feed and are fed by Western Russophobia. 

Arbats proved to be a more interesting and complex presenter than this. Her main themes as I understood them are worth noting. 

She gave a basically optimistic picture of Russia today, long on anecdote, and avoiding many of the usual sweeping negatives. She rejected Western stereotypes of a Russia that oscillates endlessly between phases of authoritarianism and relaxation, and that Russia is now moving back into a more repressive phase. 

She noted that all European countries have had cruel and undemocratic histories, to which Russia is no exception. She was optimistic about Russia’s present democratic prospects and rejected the stereotype that the Russian people are unsuited to democracy. She emphasised that Russia is not the Soviet Union and there is no prospect of going back to that repressive model. She noted the growth of volunteerism and local democracy in the regions.

She liked living in Russia and had no wish to emigrate, despite problems with censorship of her journalism. She proudly noted the recent public raising of $370,000 in Russia to help ‘New Times’ pay a crippling fine for failing to register as an agent of foreign influence. 

She said Russian political parties were insignificant, it was effectively a one-party state. She blamed selfish and greedy leadership elites for Russia’s present problems as she saw them. Though Putin’s popularity had now declined from its peak after the Crimea annexation, and people felt poorer now, she did not expect any successful popular revolution from below. 

She expected Putin to ensure his own safety in a succession plan, as Gorbachev and Yeltsin had done. Political change was likely to come, if it came at all, from power struggles within the governing elite. She hoped that change would be peaceful when it came. 

She rejected the stereotype of inevitable conflict between Russia and China. She noted that it is hard for Russian elites to accept that Russia’s economic strength has been overtaken by China’s. She did not see evidence that China has any designs on Russian territory or resources. She noted the difficulties facing Chinese investment in Russia: high-interest rates in both countries, and lack of local labour forces in Russia. She thought that Russia’s natural resources assets would become less significant as the world moves away from reliance on oil and gas.

She did not say much about renascent Russian military power, beyond that it was starving the civilian economy of much-needed high technology, the same mistake the Soviets had made.

Other things Yevgenia Markovna did not speak on, but on which one would have liked to hear her views: problems in Russian-US relations and in maintenance of international peace under the aggressive and erratic Trump leadership; new more fluid possibilities for international cooperation as global structures based on US hegemonic power wane in importance and new structures like BRI and EAEC move into the vacuum; the impact on Russian domestic politics of American information warfare and efforts to foster regime change, through disruptive political actors like Browder and Navalny, especially since the events in Ukraine post-2013.

I was graciously offered the first audience question. I commended Yevgenia Markovna on her surprisingly positive and optimistic picture, rather different from the usual negativity and disdain from Western and Western-sponsored information warriors. 

I referenced my background as a former diplomat in Brezhhnev’s Russia and my three recent private visits there, my love of and respect for Russia, including for its leadership elites. To her reply that perhaps I needed to spend more time in Russia to get to know it better, I said that I would love to be able to afford a flat in Yalta or Sochi. 

I noted that her own opportunities as a writer, broadcaster and editor in Russia as she had described them today suggest to me that Russia’s present political situation and trends might be better than she assessed them. I did not have time to say that, on my experience, it is hard for Australian writers to find ways to express in print or online contrarian views on the need for greater Western respect for and dialogue with Russia.

As Russia moves towards greater democracy, Australia is sadly moving in the opposite direction: as seen in today’s disturbing news of police raids on Australian journalists’ homes and the ABC. I suggested that our two countries’ present levels of freedom of public expression might perhaps not be very different.



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Tony Kevin is a former Australian senior diplomat, independent writer and author of Return to Moscow, University of Western Australia Publishing, March 2017.



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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-06-16 07:01

...she is an ugly rabid opinionatoress with nil understanding of reality. There I have said it. She might be a card-carrying of the "sclusive" Journalist club — or the MMEA or whatever — yet she is a complete bullshit writer, a writer of bullshit and bullshit promoter for the grand master bullshitter — Uncle Rupe.


Claire's latest foray into telling us why Assange isn't a journalist, nor a freedom fighter and nor an advocate for free speech is below the bottom sewers that usually leak shit at the Sunday Crapograph....



You should be frightened by Harvey's rant, she HAS THE GALL TO write. For example: "Instead of being willing to go to jail to protect a whistleblower, he has hidden in the Ecuadorean embassy while that whistleblower went to prison."


Think about this wicked piece of writing which will influence so many readers with such untrue crap! This is so typical of the opinionators at the Merde-och press. Harvey is not even the toggle of a bootlace of what Assange journalism is.


One can argue that Assange is not a card carrying member of that noble club that keep the press churning the crapshitmuck called news, but the one thing that is important as EVERY JOURNALISTS AND WRITERS know, source material is essential for doing the job. Der Spiegel found out the hard way. So far, one of their story teller "journalist" was doing just that: story-telling with not an ounce of truth. It is still taking a toll on this venerable German news outlet (some of the "opinions" at Der Spiegel are also dubious to say the least). Now Der Spiegel is exposing a blogger claiming a Holocaust heritage with more than 20 fictitious dead in the Hitlerian ovens. 


So Claire (what a name! A name which means "clear" in the language of Voltaire, but "shit" in the merde-och media lingo!) Harvey tells us without knowing what she pens or if she did, she would be more dangerous than the wicked witch of the Snow White fantasy:


"He goes looking for information that will damage someone's interests, and then publishes it without discretion or redaction, no matter where it comes from."


Discretion and redaction have been a central core of FAKE journalism. And this has been OUR MAJOR problem: many "journalists" (which Harvey is not by any standard of the profession, even if she has her mug on a card with a number) hide reality and truth of information with COMMENTARY, DISCRETION, REDACTION and OPINION. 


Chelsea Manning was not betrayed by Assange. Both of them were betrayed by people who they considered "friends" or colleagues. The source information is far more telling about the machination of power than any "commentary" by loonies such as Claire Harvey.


And so Nixon would have been carrying on, had Watergate not happened. So, dear witch of the merde-och media, your beloved DONALD TRUMP would have bitten the dust of presidential defeat had Assange not released (some of) the Hillary Clinton emails (which were not released with any other intent that to let us know the truth of what was happening in the destruction of Bernie Sanders and tell us that Hillary was a two faced-candidate) — and assange NEVER revealed their source, though he said categorically that THEY DID NOT COME FROM RUSSIA, which placed a huge stick in the wheels of the Mueller investigation.


Can you see that it would be easy for Assange to say: "Russia provided these Clinton emails" and the whole of the TRUMP presidency would go up in the flame of impeachment forthwith. Why would ASSANGE be protecting TRUMP? First, because Assange has NEVER EVER revealed his sources (eventually betrayed by others), second because he tells the TRUTH, unlike someone called Claire Harvey, and third, the ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS are showing the truth of what happened, free of the crap from journalistic low-life. 

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 17:28

The billionaire French tycoons who pledged hundreds of millions in financial aid to rebuild Notre Dame cathedral in Paris have not yet paid a penny toward the restoration of the national monument, according to church and business officials.

Key points: 

  • Notre Dame's wooden spire, a masterpiece, and roof were lost to the fire in April
  • French tycoons publicly pledged hundreds of millions in donations after the inferno 
  • They said they were now waiting on redesign details and a 'vision' before committing their funds


Instead, it's mainly American and French individuals, via Notre Dame charitable foundations, that are behind the first donations paying the bills and salaries for up to 150 workers employed by Notre Dame since an April 15 fire devastated its roof and caused its masterpiece spire to collapse.

This month they are handing over the first private payment for the cathedral's reconstruction of $5.8 million.

"The big donors haven't paid. Not a cent," said Andre Finot, senior press official at Notre Dame.


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Read from top, then you would understand why people would not give their cash without some garantees of "sanity in the reconstruction/restoration" of the place. At the moment the project is in limbo — caught between "restoration and "improvement" — and the vaults are threatening to collapse as well... Wait and see.

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 17:23

Every time you think the corporatocracy’s manufactured anti-Semitism hysteria cannot possibly get more absurd, they somehow manage to outdo themselves. OK, stay with me now, because this is a weird one.

Apparently, American Hitler and his cronies are conspiring with some secret group of “Jewish leaders” to stop British Hitler from becoming prime minister and wiping out all the Jews in Great Britain. Weird, right? But that’s not the weird part, because maybe American Hitler wants to wipe out all the Jews in Great Britain himself, rather than leaving it to British Hitler … Hitlers being notoriously jealous regarding their genocidal accomplishments.

No, the weird part is that everyone knows that American Hitler does not make a move without the approval of Russian Hitler, who is also obsessed with wiping out the Jews, and with destroying the fabric of Western democracy. So why would Russian Hitler want to let American Hitler and his goons thwart the ascendancy of British Hitler, who, in addition to wanting to wipe out all the Jews, also wants to destroy democracy by fascistically refunding the NHS, renationalizing the rail system, and so on?

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it? In any event, here’s the official story.

In “a recording leaked to The Washington Post,” and then flogged by the rest of the corporate media, Reichsminister des Auswärtigen, Mike Pompeo, told a group of unnamed “Jewish leaders” that American Hitler (i.e., Donald Trump) will “push back” (i.e., intervene) against British Hitler (i.e., Jeremy Corbyn) to protect the lives of Jews in Great Britain if British Hitler becomes prime minister (and is possibly already doing so now). 

The identities of these “Jewish leaders” have not been disclosed by the corporate media, presumably in order to protect them from being murdered by Corbyn’s Nazi hit squad. Whoever they were, they wanted to know whether American Hitler and his fascist cabinet were “willing to work with [them] to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews” after Jeremy Corbyn seizes power, declares himself Führer of Communist Britannia, and orders the immediate invasion of France.

To anyone who has been closely following the corporate media’s relentless coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s Nazi Death Cult (i.e., the UK Labour Party) and the global Anti-Semitism Pandemic, it comes as no real surprise that this group of “Jewish leaders” (whoever they are) would want to stop him from becoming prime minister.

I doubt that their motives have much to do with fighting anti-Semitism, or anything else specifically “Jewish,” but … well, I’m kind of old-fashioned that way. I still believe there’s a fundamental difference between “the Jews” and the global capitalist ruling classes.

I realize that both the neoliberal establishment and the neo-fascist fringe disagree with me, and that both are determined (for different reasons) to conflate the two in the public’s mind, but that’s my take, and I’m sticking to it. I don’t think the world is controlled by “the Jews.” I think it’s controlled by global capitalism.

Go ahead, call me a conspiracy theorist. Here’s how the anti-Semitism panic in the United Kingdom looks to me.

After nearly 40 years of privatization and restructuring, British society is on the brink of being permanently transformed into the type of savage, neo-feudal, corporatist nightmare that the USA already is. The global capitalist ruling classes are extremely pleased about this state of affairs. 

They would now like to finish up privatizing Britain, so they can get on with privatizing the rest of Europe. The last thing they need at this critical juncture is Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister and start attempting to remake their nascent neoliberal marketplace into a society … you know, where healthcare is guaranteed to all, you don’t need a mortgage to buy a train ticket, and people don’t have to eat out of trash bins.

Unlike in the USA, where there is no functional political Left, and where the non-parliamentary “two-party system” is almost totally controlled by the corporatocracy, in the UK, there are still a few old-fashioned socialists, and they have taken back the Labour Party from the neoliberal Blairite stooges that had been managing the transformation of Britain into the aforementioned neo-feudal nightmare. Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of these socialists. So the corporatocracy needs to destroy him, take back control of the Labour Party, and turn it back into a fake left party, like the Democratic Party in the USA, so they can concentrate on crushing the right-wing populists. Thus, they need to Hitlerize Corbyn, so they can fold him into their official narrative, Democracy vs. The Putin-Nazis.

And, see, this is what makes the corporatocracy’s War on Populism so seemingly psychotic … at least to anyone paying attention.

In the USA, the populist insurgency is primarily a right-wing phenomenon (because, again, there is no Left to speak of). Thus, the neoliberal ruling classes are focused on Hitlerizing Donald Trump, and stigmatizing the millions of Americans who voted for him as a bunch of Nazis. Hitlerizing Trump has been ridiculously easy (he almost Hitlerizes himself), but the ultimate goal is to delegitimize the populist sentiment that put him into office. That sentiment is primarily neo-nationalist. So it’s a one-front counter-insurgency op (i.e., neoliberalism versus neo-nationalism).

In the UK, things are not that simple. There, the neoliberal ruling classes are waging a counter-insurgency op against populist forces on two major fronts: (1) the Brexiters (i.e., nationalism); and (2) the Corbynists (i.e., socialism). 

They’re getting hit from both the left and right, which is screwing up the official narrative (according to which the “enemies of democracy” are supposed to be right-wing neo-nationalists). So, as contradictory and absurd as it sounds, they needed to conflate both left and right populism into one big scary Hitlerian enemy. Thus, they needed to Hitlerize Corbyn.

Presto…Labour Anti-Semitism crisis!

Now, anyone who is isn’t a gibbering idiot knows that Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite and the Labour Party is not a hive of Nazis. It’s a testament to the power of the corporate media that such a statement even needs to be made … but, of course, that’s the point of the smear campaign the neoliberal corporate media have been waging for the last three years.

Smear campaigns are simple and effective. The goal is to force your target and his allies into proclaiming things like, “I am not an anti-Semite,” or “I’ve never had sex with underage boys,” or whatever smear you want to force them to deny. You don’t have to prove your target guilty. You’re just trying to conjure up a “reality” in which every time someone thinks of your target they associate him with the content of your smears.

The corporate media have done just that, to Jeremy Corbyn, to Donald Trump, to Putin, and to assorted lesser figures. They did it to Sanders in 2016. They are doing it now to Tulsi Gabbard

The goal is not only to smear these targets, but also, and more so, to conjure a “world” that reifies the narrative of their smears … a binary “good versus evil” world, a world in which whatever they want to accuse their targets of being linked to (e.g., terrorism, fascism, racism, or whatever) is the official enemy of all that is good.

Since the Brexit referendum and the election of Trump, the ruling classes have conjured up a world where “democracy” is perpetually under attack by a global conspiracy of “Russians” and “Nazis” (just as they previously conjured up a world where it was perpetually under attack by “terrorists”).

They have conjured up a post-Orwellian reality in which “democracy” (i.e., global capitalism) is the only alternative to “neo-fascism” (i.e., anything opposed to global capitalism).

And this is why Corbyn had to be Hitlerized, and why Putin, Trump, Assad, Gabbard, Assange, the “Yellow Vest” protesters in France, and anyone else opposing global neoliberalism has to be Hitlerized. Socialism, nationalism … it makes no difference, not to the global capitalist ruling classes. 

There are always only two sides in these “worlds” that the ruling classes conjure up for us, and there can be only one official enemy. The official enemy of the moment is “fascism.” Therefore, all the “bad guys” are Hitler, or Nazis, or racists, or anti-Semites, or some other variation of Hitler.

The fact that this “reality” they have conjured up for us is completely psychotic makes it no less real. And it is only going to get more insane until the corporatocracy restores “normality.” 

So, go ahead, if you consider yourself “normal,” and try to force your mind to believe that Jews are no longer safe in Great Britain, or in Germany, or France, or the USA, and that Donald Trump is a Russian asset, and is also literally Adolf Hitler, and an anti-Semitic white supremacist who is conspiring with Israel and Saudi Arabia in their campaign to destroy Iran and Syria, which are allies of his Russian masters, as is Venezuela, which he is also menacing, and that Jeremy Corbyn’s secret plan is to turn the UK into Nazi Germany, with the support of Trump, who is trying to destroy him, and that the Yellow Vests are Russian-backed fascists, and that Julian Assange is a rapist spy who conspired with Russia to get Trump elected, which is why Trump wants to prosecute him, just as soon as he finishes wiping out the Jews, or protecting them from Jeremy Corbyn, or from Iran, or brainwashing Black Americans into reelecting him in 2020 with a handful of Russian Facebook ads.

Go ahead, try to reconcile all that … or whatever, don’t. Just take whatever medication you happen to be on, crank up CNN, MSNBC, or any other corporate media channel, and report me to the Internet Police for posting dangerous “extremist” content.

You know, in your heart, I probably deserve it.


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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 11:53

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared before a magistrates’ court in London Friday, saying his life was “effectively at stake” if the U.K. honors an extradition request from the United States, where he faces 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. Meanwhile, a friend of Assange’s, Swedish programmer and data privacy activist Ola Bini, is still in prison in Ecuador, after being arrested April 11, the same day Assange was forcibly taken by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and has been jailed ever since without charges. We speak with Vijay Prashad, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and a friend of Ola Bini.

AMY GOODMAN: In London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared before a magistrates’ court today, saying his life was “effectively at stake” if the U.K. honors an extradition request from the United States, where he faces 17 counts of espionage. Assange is the first journalist or publisher to be indicted under the World War I-era law.

While Assange’s case has dominated international headlines, far less attention has been paid to a friend of Julian Assange who’s been jailed in Ecuador since April 11th, the same day Assange was taken by force by British authorities from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Ola Bini is a Swedish programmer and data privacy activist who lives in Ecuador. He has not yet been charged with any crimes, has not been permitted to post bail for his release. The U.S. Justice Department has now said they want to question Ola Bini. Critics say Bini is being targeted because he knew and had visited Assange multiple times at the embassy in London, as well as for his own activism. This is a statement from his lawyers, Carlos Soria speaking last month.

CARLOS SORIA: [translated] This is an embarrassment. Our client is somebody who is innocent and who has contributed to the entire world the development of information privacy. And now, just because he is a friend to Julian Assange or because he travels, they put him in prison. There are no words for this, and we will denounce it both nationally and internationally. … We cannot allow Ecuador to look like this, like a state that persecutes people for the books they read, for the technology they use or for the simple reason of having a friend who is currently being reproached by the world. Before, Assange was appreciated for letting the world know the atrocities committed in other parts of the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Still with us is Vijay Prashad, the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. Earlier this week, he published a piece about Ola Bini in the Daily Hampshire Gazettetitled “My friend is in a prison in Ecuador.”

Why is he there? Why was he picked up, Vijay Prashad? Why was Ola Bini picked up and jailed in Ecuador the same day Julian Assange was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorean Embassy and put in the Belmarsh Prison in London?

VIJAY PRASHAD: You know, Amy, this is a difficult story for me. I have known Ola Bini for many years. It is still perplexing to myself and to the friends of Ola of why he’s in prison, the El Inca prison in Quito, Ecuador. We don’t know why he’s in prison. There’s no charge against him. There has been some allegations made about his friendship to Julian Assange, but, you know, Amy, if that’s a crime, you and I should be in jail, as well. We have also met him. We have, you know, understood that meeting him is itself not a criminal activity.

Ola Bini is a programmer who spent most of his life trying to create tools to help human rights activists create a shield against surveillance by governments. People who are in the tech world might know the programs called the Tor Browser or Enigmail. These things were developed by Ola. He moved to Ecuador partly because he felt that with the government of Rafael Correa, it would be a good place to do the kind of work he was doing—precisely the opposite of what people are alleging of him, that he broke into this, that and the other government materials. In fact, the opposite: He would create shields to prevent governments from breaking into the kind of databases held by human rights defenders. You’ve got to remember that in the Snowden—Edward Snowden’s revelations, he said that the NSA had been routinely attacking the servers of human rights and other civil society organizations. It was precisely Ola’s mission in life to protect those organizations.

He was picked up on April 11th at Quito airport, while he was on his way to an advertised martial arts training course in Japan. He’s been held in prison for two months. There have been two hearings. No bail has been allowed. And no charge has been put forward. The prosecution in Ecuador has made it seem like a sinister thing that Ola has many computers and Zip drives and so on. You know, when I travel to places, I carry about 10 to 12 Zip drives. That’s because I keep a Zip drive for each story. It’s got nothing in it to seem to be something, you know, sinister or bizarre. These are things that software developers have. They tried to make him seem like a sinister character.

I was even told by another reporter that people were asking if Ola was the code cracker for Julian Assange, which he of course was not, and could not have been the code cracker at all when the materials passed on by Chelsea Manning came to the WikiLeaks organization. You know, that was one of the allegations that was floating around, not put on paper. Ola only met Julian when he was already in the Ecuadorean Embassy, long after the revelations of—very important, crucial revelations that came from Chelsea Manning, also now in prison.

I personally feel that the U.S. government, in trying to make a case against Julian Assange, has sort of swept up people that it thinks might have some evidence against Julian, for instance, having Chelsea Manning once more in prison, having Ola sit in a prison in Ecuador, squeezing them to see if they can either provide evidence against Julian—in Chelsea’s case, she has said she will not do so; in Ola’s case, he says, “I don’t have any evidence”—or that they will point the investigators in a direction to get Julian. I mean, we’ve got to understand that there is a vendetta by the American state against Julian Assange. That’s very clear. And I think there’s a lot of collateral damage around the world in the U.S. state’s attempt to put Julian either in prison for the full length of his life or near that.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Ola Bini speaking last month to CNN en Español, CNN in Spanish.

OLA BINI: They will find nothing, because I haven’t done anything. The only thing I’ve done is being the friend of Julian Assange. … The minister of the interior, María Paula Romo, goes on TV, the same day as I’m detained at the airport, and talks, five hours before my detention order is written—says on TV that I’m detained. That feels to me like the government is out to get me.

REPORTER: Why do you have the impression that Moreno hates you?

OLA BINI: I don’t say in my letter that he hates me. I wonder if he hates me, because subjecting me to something like this, this kind of process where I’m put in prison without any evidence, when I know that I’m innocent because I haven’t done anything, that feels personal to me.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Ola Bini, again, speaking with CNN from jail. He was also asked by CNNabout his relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

OLA BINI: Just as me, he believes very strongly in the right to privacy. So, the first time I went, I actually went to talk to him about these kind of things. … I kept coming back because I like him, because he’s a friend of mine, and I kept coming back because more and more people abandoned him. … I felt that it was my responsibility to do it. But also, it was my pleasure as a friend.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Vijay Prashad, if you could comment further? Again, he’s speaking from jail to CNN. In the case of Julian Assange, we understand that Ecuador was handing over all of his electronic equipment, his hard drives, etc., to the British government. What’s happening with Ola Bini’s electronic equipment, his phones, his computers? Has the U.S. requested that equipment?

VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, the United States has been giving the Ecuadorean officials so-called, you know, expertise and help in breaking some of the barriers that Ola–you know, Ola is a very clever person. He has put all kinds of protections to his materials. These are basically off-the-shelf protections called OTR, Off the Record, and so on. So, the Americans initially said that they were going to just assist the Ecuadoreans. Now it seems that the U.S. government has asked for this material to be handed over to the United States directly.

I just want to say something about Ecuador. You know, Ola was asked in that interview if Lenín Moreno hates him. That’s the president of Ecuador. It’s very important to remember that shortly before the Ecuadorean government handed over Julian Assange to the British police, the International Monetary Fund provided Ecuador with a loan of $4.2 billion, and there was also a commercial package of about $6 billion, so a total of $10 billion was transferred to the Ecuadorean government by the auspices of the IMF. This happened just before Julian Assange was handed over to the British authorities, just before Ola was arrested. I mean, we’ve got to understand the position. When you look at these things in sequence, it looks like there must have been a deal. This big, huge package was given to the Ecuadoreans.

At the same time, you know, there’s been an enormous leak of private information from the phone and Gmail account of President Moreno. This information, called the I-N-A or INA Papers, shows direct corruption by Mr. Moreno, including an apartment in Madrid, Spain, and so on. He’s been deeply embarrassed by this and has been lashing out, saying that there are Russian hackers inside Ecuador. In fact, the first arrest of Ola at the airport, the piece of paper he was shown had a Russian name on it, and it was said that it’s a Russian person. When Ola said, “That’s not me. I’m not Russian,” they took the paper away, went back, made a new document with Ola’s name on it and saying he was Swedish, and picked him up.

So, there’s a very strange story here, Amy. We don’t know all the parts of it yet, but we need to put the IMF into the picture. I think we need to put the fact that there’s pressure from the United States on Ecuador now, first, of course, to hand over Julian Assange, and now to, you know, in a sense, do something—we don’t know what—to Ola Bini.

AMY GOODMAN: And very quickly, have you spoken to him in jail? What are the conditions like there?

VIJAY PRASHAD: The conditions are very difficult for Ola. Ola is a vegetarian. He has had a hard time there. And as he said very early into his arrest, that the conditions in Ecuador are bad for all prisoners, Ecuadorean and himself, who is a Swedish person living in Ecuador. He is a very decent and upstanding person. He refused to allow this to become merely about himself, saying the conditions for Ola Bini are bad; he said directly, they’re bad for everybody.

AMY GOODMAN: And Sweden—

VIJAY PRASHAD: But it’s been very difficult—

AMY GOODMAN: Is Sweden doing anything about getting him out?

VIJAY PRASHAD: The Swedish government called in the Ecuadorean ambassador, but Sweden has very little leverage on Ecuador. In fact, it doesn’t have an ambassador in Ecuador, just a counsel. We are hoping that pressure from the U.N. special rapporteur, David Kaye, who has called this an arbitrary detention, will have some impact on other European countries. Even the OAS special rapporteur has said that this is a very arbitrary, dangerous situation, should not be allowed. But, you know, the ability of these U.N. rapporteurs to move an agenda is very limited. And I’m afraid that the pressure from the United States government on Ecuador has basically invalidated the moral standing of European countries and even the United Nations.

AMY GOODMAN: Vijay Prashad, I want to thank you very much for being with us, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. We will continue to follow Ola Bini’s case, as well as the case of Julian Assange, both picked up more than two months ago. Ola Bini remains imprisoned in Ecuador, and Julian Assange going through extradition hearings right now to the United States at the Belmarsh Prison in London.

Coming up, we look at Advocate, a new prize-winning documentary about the pioneering Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel, who spent five decades defending Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation. Stay with us.


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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 11:13

A robot sex expert and former far-right candidate who was awarded a Queen’s Birthday honour for “significant service to international education” says he is setting up a graduate school with Fraser Anning which will teach classes on “Trumpism” and “Bannonism”.

Prof Adrian Cheok was also accused in an open letter by organisers of a 2017 academic conference of using “aggressive, belittling” language towards another professor. In a separate incident, he also labelled another academic as “psycho … old, fat and balding” and said he worked at a “tin pot university”, according to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The body that bestows the honours has declined to respond to questions about why Cheok, who ran as a candidate for Anning’s far-right Conservative National party at the May federal election, was made a member of the Order of Australia this week, saying it did not comment on individual cases.

The Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games had Cheok as a keynote speaker at its Foundations of Digital Games conference in 2017 and in the aftermath of the event it issued a formal apology for his behaviour and social media posts.

“He singled out tweets by assistant professor Gillian Smith (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), and made multiple tweets in response, directly attacking her personally,” organisers said in a open letter.

“The use of aggressive, belittling, or otherwise intimidating language, is a serious violation of the norms and values of the FDG conference and of our community.”


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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 11:02

A service dedicated to providing free support to women forced into the family court system may be forced to close its doors after the New South Wales Government rejected pleas to extend its funding.

The Women's Family Law Support Service (WFLSS), located inside the Sydney Registry, has the support of lawyers, social workers and the Family Court itself.

However, the State Government will cease its funding at the end of the month.

Principal solicitor at the Feminist Legal Clinic, Anna Kerr, said WFLSS was an "essential service" for women, and that it had now been forced to "beg" for funding.

"This service provides a safe space they can go to where there is someone who can provide them with information about the court process, they can make security arrangements and [get] referrals," Ms Kerr said.


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