31 July 2015


Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice

This is an updated version of John Pilger’s 2014 investigation which tells the unreported story of an unrelenting campaign, in Sweden and the US, to deny Julian Assange justice and silence WikiLeaks.

The siege of Knightsbridge is both an emblem of gross injustice and a gruelling farce.  For three years, a police cordon around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. It has cost £12 million. The quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His “crime” is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.

The persecution of Julian Assange is about to flare again as it enters a dangerous stage. From August 20, three quarters of the Swedish prosecutor’s case against Assange regarding sexual misconduct in 2010 will disappear as the statute of limitations expires. At the same time Washington’s obsession with Assange and WikiLeaks has intensified. Indeed, it is vindictive American power that offers the greatest threat – as Chelsea Manning and those still held in Guantanamo can attest.

The Americans are pursuing Assange because WikiLeaks exposed their epic crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they covered up, and their contempt for sovereignty and international law, as demonstrated vividly in their leaked diplomatic cables. WikiLeaks continues to expose criminal activity by the US, having just published top secret US intercepts – US spies’ reports detailing private phone calls of the presidents of France and Germany, and other senior officials, relating to internal European political and economic affairs.

None of this is illegal under the US Constiution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal”. In 2012, the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama boasted on its website that he had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had pronounced the whisletblower guilty. He was subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison, having been tortured during his long pre-trial detention.

Few doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. Threats of the capture and assassination of Assange became the currency of the political extremes in the US following Vice-President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a “cyber-terrorist”. Those doubting the degree of ruthlessness Assange can expect should remember the forcing down of the Bolivian president’s plane in 2013 – wrongly believed to be carrying Edward Snowden.

According to documents released by Snowden, Assange is on a “Manhunt target list”. Washington’s bid to get him, say Australian diplomatic cables, is “unprecedented in scale and nature”. In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has spent five years attempting to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy. The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers.

Faced with this constitutional hurdle, the US Justice Department has contrived charges of “espionage”, “conspiracy to commit espionage”, “conversion” (theft of government property), “computer fraud and abuse” (computer hacking) and general “conspiracy”. The Espionage Act has life in prison and death penalty provisions. .

Assange’s ability to defend himself in this Kafkaesque world has been handicapped by the US declaring his case a state secret. In March, a federal court in Washington blocked the release of all information about the “national security” investigation against WikiLeaks, because it was “active and ongoing” and would harm the “pending prosecution” of Assange. The judge, Barbara J. Rosthstein, said it was necessary to show “appropriate deference to the executive in matters of national security”. Such is the “justice” of a kangaroo court.

The supporting act in this grim farce is Sweden, played by the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. Until recently, Ny refused to comply with a routine European procedure routine that required her to travel to London to question Assange and so advance the case. For four and a half years, Ny has never properly explained why she has refused to come to London, just as the Swedish authorities have never explained why they refuse to give Assange a guarantee that they will not extradite him on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In December 2010, The Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US.

Contrary to its 1960s reputation as a liberal bastion, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and in WikiLeaks cables. In the summer of 2010, Assange had flown to Sweden to talk about WikiLeaks revelations of the war in Afghanistan – in which Sweden had forces under US command.

“Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England,” wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers facing Assange, “clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights.”

Why hasn’t the Swedish prosecutor resolved the Assange case?  Many in the legal community in Sweden believe her behaviour inexplicable. Once implacably hostile to Assange, the Swedish press has published headlines such as: “Go to London, for God’s sake.”

Why hasn’t she? More to the point, why won’t she allow the Swedish court access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the misconduct allegations? Why won’t she hand them over to Assange’s Swedish lawyers? She says she is not legally required to do so until a formal charge is laid and she has questioned him. Then, why doesn’t she question him? And if she did question him, the conditions she would demand of him and his lawyers – that they could not challenge her – would make injustice a near certainty.

On a point of law, the Swedish Supreme Court has decided Ny can continue to obstruct on the vital issue of the SMS messages. This will now go to the European Court of Human Rights. What Ny fears is that the SMS messages will destroy her case against Assange. One of the messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, “but the police were keen on getting a hold on him”. She was “shocked” when they arrested him because she only “wanted him to take [an HIV] test”. She “did not want to accuse JA of anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges”. (In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been “railroaded by police and others around her”.)

Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both have denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, “I have not been raped.” That they were manipulated by police and their wishes ignored is evident – whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they are victims of a saga which blights the reputation of Sweden itself.

For Assange, his only trial has been trial by media. On August 20, 2010, the Swedish police opened a “rape investigation” and immediately – and unlawfully – told the Stockholm tabloids that there was a warrant for Assange’s arrest for the “rape of two women”. This was the news that went round the world.
In Washington, a smiling US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that the arrest “sounds like good news to me”. Twitter accounts associated with the Pentagon described Assange as a “rapist” and a “fugitive”.

Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.”  The file was closed.

Enter Claes Borgstrom, a high profile politician in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden’s imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor’s dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in the city of Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well, personally and politically.

On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered all the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case. Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.” Assange’s Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded, “This is a laughing stock… it’s as if they make it up as they go along.”

On the day Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service – which has the acronym MUST — publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks [is] a threat to our soldiers.” Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him.

For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the new investigation to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq “War Logs”, based on WikiLeaks’ disclosures, which Assange was to oversee. His lawyer in Stockholm asked Ny if she had any objection to his leaving the country. She said he was free to leave.

Inexplicably, as soon as he left Sweden – at the height of media and public interest in the WikiLeaks disclosures – Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol “red alert” normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals. Put out in five languages around the world, it ensured a media frenzy.

Assange attended a police station in London, was arrested and spent ten days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the Supreme Court. He still had not been charged with any offence. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned by Ny in London, pointing out that she had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard commonly used for that purpose. She refused.

Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: “The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction… The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?”

This question remained unanswered as Ny deployed the European Arrest Warrant, a draconian and now discredited  product of the “war on terror” supposedly designed to catch terrorists and organised criminals. The EAW had abolished the obligation on a petitioning state to provide any evidence of a crime. More than a thousand EAWs are issued each month; only a few have anything to do with potential “terror” charges. Most are issued for trivial offences, such as overdue bank charges and fines. Many of those extradited face months in prison without charge. There have been a number of shocking miscarriages of justice, of which British judges have been highly critical.

The Assange case finally reached the UK Supreme Court in May 2012. In a judgement that upheld the EAW – whose rigid demands had left the courts almost no room for manoeuvre – the judges found that European prosecutors could issue extradition warrants in the UK without any judicial oversight, even though Parliament intended otherwise. They made clear that Parliament had been “misled” by the Blair government. The court was split, 5-2, and consequently found against Assange.

However, the Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, made one mistake. He applied the Vienna Convention on treaty interpretation, allowing for state practice to override the letter of the law. As Assange’s barrister, Dinah Rose QC, pointed out, this did not apply to the EAW.

The Supreme Court only recognised this crucial error when it dealt with another appeal against the EAW in November 2013. The Assange decision had been wrong, but it was too late to go back. With extradition imminent, the Swedish prosecutor told Assange’s lawyers that Assange, once in Sweden, would be immediately placed in one of Sweden’s infamous remand prisons..

Assange’s choice was stark: extradition to a country that had refused to say whether or not it would send him on to the US, or to seek what seemed his last opportunity for refuge and safety. Supported by most of Latin America, the courageous government of Ecuador granted him refugee status on the basis of documented evidence and legal advice that he faced the prospect of cruel and unusual punishment in the US; that this threat violated his basic human rights; and that his own government in Australia had abandoned him and colluded with Washington. The Labor government of prime minister Julia Gillard had even threatened to take away his passport.

Gareth Peirce, the renowned human rights lawyer who represents Assange in London, wrote to the then Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd: “Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions… it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged.”

It was not until she contacted the Australian High Commission in London that Peirce received a response, which answered none of the pressing points she raised. In a meeting I attended with her, the Australian Consul-General, Ken Pascoe, made the astonishing claim that he knew “only what I read in the newspapers” about the details of the case.

Meanwhile, the prospect of a grotesque miscarriage of justice was drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks were aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife. That the US threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, to freedom of speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious.

Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive. The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years”. It became part of his marketing plan to raise the newspaper’s cover price.

With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous”. They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”.

The injustice meted out to Assange is one of the reasons Parliament reformed the Extradition Act to prevent the misuse of the EAW. The draconian catch-all used against him could not happen now; charges would have to be brought and “questioning” would be insufficient grounds for extradition. “His case has been won lock, stock and barrel,” Gareth Peirce told me, “these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognises as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit.” In other words, the change in the UK law in 2014 mean that Assange would have won his case and he would not have been forced to take refuge.

Ecuador’s decision to protect Assange in 2012 bloomed into a major international affair. Even though the granting of asylum is a humanitarian act, and the power to do so is enjoyed by all states under international law, both Sweden and the United Kingdom refused to recognize the legitimacy of Ecuador’s decision. Ignoring international law, the Cameron government refused to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador. Instead, Ecuador’s embassy was placed under siege and its government abused with a series of ultimatums. When William Hague’s Foreign Office threatened to violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, warning that it would remove the diplomatic inviolability of the embassy and send the police in to get Assange, outrage across the world forced the government to back down. During one night, police appeared at the windows of the embassy in an obvious attempt to intimidate Assange and his protectors.

Since then, Julian Assange has been confined to a small room under Ecuador’s protection, without sunlight or space to exercise, surrounded by police under orders to arrest him on sight. For three years, Ecuador has made clear to the Swedish prosecutor that Assange is available to be questioned in the London embassy, and for three years she has remained intransigent. In the same period Sweden has questioned forty-four people in the UK in connection with police investigations. Her role, and that of the Swedish state, is demonstrably political; and for Ny, facing retirement in two years, she must “win”.

In despair, Assange has challenged the arrest warrant in the Swedish courts. His lawyers have cited rulings by the European Court of Human Rights that he has been under arbitrary, indefinite detention and that he had been a virtual prisoner for longer than any actual prison sentence he might face. The Court of Appeal judge agreed with Assange’s lawyers: the prosecutor had indeed breached her duty by keeping the case suspended for years. Another judge issued a rebuke to the prosecutor. And yet she defied the court.

Last December, Assange took his case to the Swedish Supreme Court, which ordered Marianne Ny’s boss – the Prosecutor General of Sweden Anders Perklev – to explain. The next day, Ny announced, without explanation, that she had changed her mind and would now question Assange in London.

In his submission to the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General made some important concessions: he argued that the coercion of Assange had been “intrusive” and that that the period in the embassy has been a “great strain” on him. He even conceded that if the matter had ever come to prosecution, trial, conviction and serving a sentence in Sweden, Julian Assange would have left Sweden long ago.

In a split decision, one Supreme Court judge argued that the arrest warrant should have been revoked. The majority of the judges ruled that, since the prosecutor had now said she would go to London, Assange’s arguments had become “moot”. But the Court ruled that it would have found against the prosecutor if she had not suddenly changed her mind. Justice by caprice. Writing in the Swedish press, a former Swedish prosecutor, Rolf Hillegren, accused Ny of losing all impartiality. He described her personal investment in the case as“abnormal” and demanded that she be replaced.

Having said she would go to London in June, Ny did not go, but sent a deputy, knowing that the questioning would not be legal under these circumstances, especially as Sweden had not bothered to get Ecuador’s approval for the meeting. At the same time, her office tipped off the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen, which sent its London correspondent to wait outside Ecuador’s embassy for “news”. The news was that Ny was cancelling the appointment and blaming Ecuador for the confusion and by implication an “unco-operative” Assange – when the opposite was true.

As the statute of limitations date approaches – August 20 – another chapter in this hideous story will doubtless unfold, with Marianne Ny pulling yet another rabbit out of her hat and the commissars and prosecutors in Washington the beneficiaries. Perhaps none of this is surprising.  In 2008, a war on WikiLeaks and on Julian Assange was foretold in a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch”. It described a detailed plan to destroy the feeling of “trust” which is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such a rare source of truth-telling was the aim, smear the method. While this scandal continues the very notion of justice is diminished, along with the reputation of Sweden, and the shadow of America’s menace touches us all.

Listen to Eric Draitser’s interview with John Pilger on Episode 12 of the CounterPunch Radio podcast.

For important additional information, click on the following links:


John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com

17 July 2015


The Problem of Greece is Not Only a Tragedy: It is a Lie

An historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide “No” vote and secretly agreed a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed through parliament a proposal to cut at least 13 billion euros from the public purse – 4 billion euros more than the “austerity” figure rejected overwhelmingly by the majority of the Greek population in a referendum on 5 July.

These reportedly include a 50 per cent increase in the cost of healthcare for pensioners, almost 40 per cent of whom live in poverty; deep cuts in public sector wages; the complete privatization of public facilities such as airports and ports; a rise in value added tax to 23 per cent, now applied to the Greek islands where people struggle to eke out a living. There is more to come.

“Anti-austerity party sweeps to stunning victory”, declared a Guardian headline on January 25. “Radical leftists” the paper called Tsipras and his impressively-educated comrades.  They wore open neck shirts, and the finance minister rode a motorbike and was described as a “rock star of economics”. It was a façade. They were not radical in any sense of that cliched label, neither were they “anti austerity”.

For six months Tsipras and the recently discarded finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, shuttled between Athens and Brussels, Berlin and the other centres of European money power. Instead of social justice for Greece, they achieved a new indebtedness, a deeper impoverishment that would merely replace a systemic rottenness based on the theft of tax revenue by the Greek super-wealthy – in accordance with European “neo-liberal” values — and cheap, highly profitable loans from those now seeking Greece’s scalp.

Greece’s debt, reports an audit by the Greek parliament, “is illegal, illegitimate and odious”. Proportionally, it is less than 30 per cent that of the debit of Germany, its major creditor. It is less than the debt of European banks whose “bailout” in 2007-8 was barely controversial and unpunished.

For a small country such as Greece, the euro is a colonial currency: a tether to a capitalist ideology so extreme that even the Pope pronounces it “intolerable” and “the dung of the devil”. The euro is to Greece what the US dollar is to remote territories in the Pacific, whose poverty and servility is guaranteed by their dependency.

In their travels to the court of the mighty in Brussels and Berlin, Tsipras and Varoufakis presented themselves neither as radicals nor “leftists” nor even honest social democrats, but as two slightly upstart supplicants in their pleas and demands. Without underestimating the hostility they faced, it is fair to say they displayed no political courage. More than once, the Greek people found out about their “secret austerity plans” in leaks to the media: such as a 30 June letter published in the Financial Times, in which Tsipras promised the heads of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF to accept their basic, most vicious demands – which he has now accepted.

When the Greek electorate voted “no” on 5 July to this very kind of rotten deal, Tsipras said, “Come Monday and the Greek government will be at the negotiating table after the referendum with better terms for the Greek people”. Greeks had not voted for “better terms”. They had voted for justice and for sovereignty, as they had done on January 25.

The day after the January election a truly democratic and, yes, radical government would have stopped every euro leaving the country, repudiated the “illegal and odious” debt – as Argentina did successfully — and expedited a plan to leave the crippling Eurozone. But there was no plan. There was only a willingness to be “at the table” seeking “better terms”.

The true nature of Syriza has been seldom examined and explained. To the foreign media it is no more than “leftist” or “far left” or “hardline” – the usual misleading spray. Some of Syriza’s international supporters have reached, at times, levels of cheer leading reminiscent of the rise of Barack Obama. Few have asked: Who are these “radicals”? What do they believe in?

In 2013, Yanis Varoufakis wrote: “Should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising capitalism? To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism …

“I bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated …. Yes, I would love to put forward [a] radical agenda. But, no, I am not prepared to commit the [error of the British Labour Party following Thatcher’s victory].

“What good did we achieve in Britain in the early 1980s by promoting an agenda of socialist change that British society scorned while falling headlong into Thatcher’s neoliberal trip? Precisely none. What good will it do today to call for a dismantling of the Eurozone, of the European Union itself  …?”

Varoufakis omits all mention of the Social Democratic Party that split the Labour vote and led to Blairism. In suggesting people in Britain “scorned socialist change” – when they were given no real opportunity to bring about that change – he echoes Blair.

The leaders of Syriza are revolutionaries of a kind – but their revolution is the perverse, familiar appropriation of social democratic and parliamentary movements by liberals groomed to comply with neo-liberal drivel and a social engineering whose authentic face is that of Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, an imperial thug. Like the Labour Party in Britain and its equivalents among former social democratic parties such as the Labor Party in Australia, still describing themselves as “liberal” or even “left”,  Syriza is the product of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, “schooled in postmodernism”, as Alex Lantier wrote.

For them, class is the unmentionable, let alone an enduring struggle, regardless of the reality of the lives of most human beings. Syriza’s luminaries are well-groomed; they lead not the resistance that ordinary people crave, as the Greek electorate has so bravely demonstrated, but “better terms” of a venal status quo that corrals and punishes the poor. When merged with “identity politics” and its insidious distractions, the consequence is not resistance, but subservience. “Mainstream” political life in Britain exemplifies this.

This is not inevitable, a done deal, if we wake up from the long, postmodern coma and reject the myths and deceptions of those who claim to represent us, and fight.
John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com

12 July 2015


For the last 100 years many Australian Jews have left Australia to live and work in Palestine/Israel, and many Jews have gone from Australia to fight with Israel against the Palestinians.

These people have not had their citizenship taken from them and they have not been threatened with removal of their citizenship as they become mercenaries and fight in foreign lands against people who have nothing whatever to do with their own places of birth.

From the 1917 Balfour Declaration onwards when the British government illegally agreed to provide a territory for Jews to have their own homeland - in someone else's homeland, the zionist quest to fill Palestine with more and more Jews has grown exponentially.

At the end of World War II after Europe had effectively killed off more than 6 million Jews between Hitler, Stalin and all the other anti-semitic countries in Europe, the victorious allied governments realised the zionist dream and with the establishment of the  United Nations Organisation they "agreed" to a partition of Palestine for Palestinians and Jews, and in 1948 Israel was born.

It was never the intention of the newly established Israeli state to allow half of Palestine to be occupied by Palestinians who would continue to push for their own homeland in their own territory, and world zionism, led by the United States money-rich zionists who supported successive US political parties to support Israel made sure that Israel would continue to expand at the expense of Palestine and the Palestinians.

There are many more Christian zionists than Jewish ones and they too have an agenda - if Israel is supported by rich countries and keeps the law of return which allows Jews from any country in the world to come and live in Israel - to empty their countries of Jews and get them all residing in one country - a Jewish country.


When I left South Africa in 1978 and came to live in Australia I knew that Australia was backward in many respects and in many respects old-fashioned, but I did believe that I had left the South African flat earthers behind.

How wrong can one get! And it shows that being a Rhodes scholar proves the value of that experience - Australia's current prime minister was a Rhodes scholar and is one of the most intellectually backward and bankrupt minds it is possible to find in the year 2015.

We woke to the news report on the morning of 12 July 2015 that the Australian prime minister had escalated the war on wind energy and wind farms and power, and proving that which we have always known that, like Zuma in South Africa, Abbott will prove to be the worst head of government that Australia has ever had.

It is difficult to know how one comes to terms with this issue and how to deal with it. Many people in Australia are supporters of the concepts of alternative energy in most of its forms and the number of people who have installed solar systems on their roof-tops is very large in terms of the total population, and apart from the fact that electricity storage systems are not yet widely available and still rather expensive, the current alternative is wind generators which do not require solar energy for generation during hours of darkness.

At a time in Australia when many manufacturing organisations are closing down and employment opportunities are shrinking, jobs in the alternative energy sector were increasing and the technologies are becoming more known about.

The prime minister, who knows very little about manufacturing and cares less about employment opportunities is doing his best to destroy job opportunities and industry growth by declaring war on solar energy and destroying a new industry in its earliest stages.

One has to hope that somewhere along the road to the next election in about 18 months' time, someone, somewhere in Australia will be able to develop the power base to defeat the flat earthers and introduce some progressive elements into our political system which stimulate minds, industry, education and Australia's position in the world of the 21st century.

The following item was the editorial in The Age on 14 July 2015:

Abbott's wonky meddling in CEFC

You might think a government that espouses free-market ideals, innovation and modernisation would embrace the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and its efforts to identify commercially viable, sustainable energy technologies. But when it comes to the Abbott government, you would be very wrong.

It is led by a prime minister who hails coal as "good for humanity" and "essential for the prosperity of the world", and who blithely suggests wind turbines are "visually awful", noisy and somehow unhealthy – though there is not a scintilla of evidence to support it.

And there, backing up Abbott, is a menagerie of ministers and a barrow-load of backbenchers who are too miserably timid to contradict the voodoo nonsense their leader espouses. What would it take for one of them to speak the truth, to cite the comprehensive science that shows carbon emissions are having a dramatic and potentially dire effect on our climate?

Mr Abbott whines that his government does not get sufficient credit for its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Well, no wonder. It could have done so much more, yet it did so much damage. It has repealed the carbon tax that would have penalised heavy polluters; it has wound back Australia's target for the amount of energy that must be derived from renewable sources; it has approved huge new coal mines; and it has sharply curtailed the work of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

While the corporation's task is to provide funding for renewable forms of energy, the Abbott government views it as little more than a lumpen addendum to the carbon tax legislation, a tainted orphan of Labor's green years. Unable to legislate the CEFC out of existence when it repealed the carbon tax last year, the government has deliberately reset the rules to make the agency's work almost impractical. It has gone about this in two ways.

First, it changed the corporation's investment mandate so that it must now achieve a rate of return (before expenses) of at least 400 to 500 basis points above the five-year government bond rate (currently 2.17 per cent). The previous mandate required performance in line with the bond rate (after expenses).
CEFC directors told the government this new goal implied a shift away from the corporation's normally conservative and commercially oriented risk profile, and "all evidence suggests" it would be "highly challenging" to achieve the higher return without taking on riskier investments. In any case, "achieving these increased returns would require CEFC to consistently outperform the market by a large margin".

The second rule change, which has been reported by Fairfax Media but not yet publicly released, specifically bars the corporation from investing in wind farms of all sizes and small-scale solar and directs it away from "mature and established" clean energy technologies.

This is high-handed and irrational ideological interference by the government. Combined with the demand for CEFC to hit a higher return on investments, it represents a deliberate effort to curb the agency's activities.

Mr Abbott says his government does not really want CEFC to exist at all, "but while it's there it really should do what the private sector won't do and invest in new and emerging technologies". We suggest he has badly misread the politics on this. Australians do not understand why he harbours such irrational abhorrence of wind farms, for example.

The CEFC should be freed of this government's unscientific meddling. Its investment strategy should be agnostic. The success or otherwise of clean energy technologies should be determined not by politicians' bizarre and emotive diatribes but by reference to their energy efficiency, low rate of emissions, renewable capacity and by their commerciality – as the legislation dictates.

The letters below which followed the above editorial all criticised the government for what it has done about renewable energy:

The protected industry: the dinosaur of coal

Illustration: Ron Tandberg Illustration: Ron Tandberg

In the same week that the government approves a foreign-owned coal mine on prime agricultural land, it withdraws funding for renewable energy projects (The Age, 13/7).  This, in the same year that the budget offered a $5billion loan scheme to coal companies to fund expansion in the Galilee Basin.

The government is funding the technology dinosaur of coal – and risking our health, and our economic and environmental future – through its refusal to act on climate change. The appalling policy direction ill equips us as we head towards a legally binding, universal agreement on climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. An election, anyone?
Pauline Hopkins, Beaconsfield

Listen to the people, Prime Minister

Recently I drove 150kilometres from Munich to Deggendorf. I was staggered by the profusion of solar panels: on the roofs of houses and even on barns in the middle of nowhere, and frequently arranged densely in fields. There were also many wind farms, their blades gracefully turning. I felt ashamed to be an Australian. I am 67 and I cannot remember a previous prime minister so out of step with the  thinking of the majority of Australians on so vital an issue.
Graeme Brazenor, Richmond

An issue that transcends political alliance

Tony Abbott, while you hold the title of prime minister, you are obliged to make decisions in the nation's interests, based on scientific, economic, etc research. You are not entitled to govern to suit your personal predilections or vested interests. Your attitudes to renewable and clean energy have left you on the wrong side of history. These issues transcend political alliance. The health of our children, and the environment they will inherit, overrides all other considerations. If you are unable to govern in our nation's interests,  please resign.
Lloyd Shield, Moonee Ponds

We could be a leader in renewable energy

While the rest of the world embraces alternative energy, Australia, with its abundance of sun and wind, goes down the old path of coal. Additionally, the decision of approving another coal mine on prime agricultural land is baffling. Either the parties involved are getting some political kickback or they are stupid. Australia could be a leader in renewable and alternative energy, yet we dig up our resources and sell them at rapidly reducing prices. I am not sure the ALP can offer an alternative to the current government. Maybe a Labor/Greens coalition?
Dean Virgin, Strathmore

Abbott's decision defies comprehension

I understand that living in a democracy will mean a swath of conflicting views, and whilst I despair of our government I accept that it was elected. But an attack on wind farms? The world is calling with rare consensus for the development of clean energy. And our prime minister wants to block such development? Utterly incomprehensible.
Les Littleford, Clifton Springs

The royal commission that we really need

Most developed countries are embracing clean energy sources as vital approaches to reducing carbon emissions. Coal is viewed as a sunset industry, However, big coal puts a lot of effort into lobbying governments.  A royal commission can be an expensive way to discredit political opponents but voters deserve an investigation of the links, financial and others, between big coal and the government
Rod Anderson, Sandringham


Welcome to my blog and let me know what you think about my postings.

My web pages also have a wide range of topics which are added to when possible. Look for them in any search engine under


I hope you find items of interest!

Search This Blog


Blog Archive

Total Pageviews

About Me

My photo
Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm