Many of the organs of the mainstream media have heaped scorn on Julian Assange. Some of them are awakening to the dangers of the US and British governments persecution of Assange and are sounding warnings, but their efforts are hypocritical and too little, too late. From John Pilger at consortiumnews.com:
If Julian Assange were to succumb to the cruelties heaped upon him, week after week, month after month, year upon year, as doctors warn, newspapers like The Guardianwill share the responsibility, writes John Pilger.
Newspapers and other media in the United States and Britain have recently declared a passion for freedom of speech, especially their right to publish freely. They are worried by the “Assange effect”.
It is as if the struggle of truth-tellers like Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is now a warning to them: that the thugs who dragged Assange out of the Ecuadorean embassy in April may one day come for them.
A common refrain was echoed by The Guardian last week. The extradition of Assange, said the paper, “is not a question of how wise Mr. Assange is, still less how likable. It’s not about his character, nor his judgement. It’s a matter of press freedom and the public’s right to know.”
What The Guardian is trying to do is separate Assange from his landmark achievements, which have both profited The Guardian and exposed its own vulnerability, along with its propensity to suck up to rapacious power and smear those who reveal its double standards.
The US and China are in a global scramble to line up lithium supplies. From F. William Engdahl at globalresearch.ca:
For several years since the global push to develop mass-scale Electric Vehicles, the element Lithium has come intofocus as a strategic metal. Demand is enormous in China, in the EU and in the USA at present, and securing control over lithium supplies is already developing its own geopolitics not unlike that for the control of oil.
China Moves to Secure Sources
For China, which has set major targets to become the world’s largest producer of EVs, developing lithium battery materials is a priority for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period. Though China has its own lithium reserves, recovery is limited, and China has gone to secure lithium mining rights abroad.
In Australia Chinese companyTalison Lithium, controlled by Tianqi, mines and owns the world’s largest and highest grade spodumene reserves in Greenbushes, Western Australia near Perth.
Talison Lithium Inc. is the world’s largest primary lithium producer. Their Greenbushes site in Australia produces today some 75% of China’s lithium demands and about forty percent of world demand. This as well as other vital Australian raw materials, has made relations with Australia, traditionally a firm US ally, of strategic importance to Beijing. As well, China has become the largest trade partner for Australia.
Predictably, the study calls for higher defense spending. From Dave DeCamp at antiwar.com:
The United States Studies Centre (USSC), a research center based at the University of Sydney in Australia, released a study titled, “Averting Crisis: American Strategy, Military Spending and Collective Defence in the Indo-Pacific.” The study makes the argument that the US would not be able to defeat China in a military confrontation in the Indo-Pacific.
The USSC is funded by the Australian government, over the past five years one percent of their budget came from the US government and eight percent came from “US-based foundations, companies or individuals.”
The three researchers whose names are on the study are part of the USSC’s Foreign Policy and Defence program. The program lists its partners as the Australian government, The US defense company Northrop Grumman, the French defense company Thales and the US State Department.
The study says the US is disadvantaged in the region because of, “ongoing wars in the Middle East, budget austerity, underinvestment in advanced military capabilities and the scale of America’s liberal order-building agenda.”
The researchers often cite the 2018 Department of Defense’s National Defense Strategy (NDS). The NDS share the researcher’s concerns with respect to the Indo-Pacific region and shows a desire to prioritize the threats of China and Russia. The NDS says, “China is leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce neighboring countries to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their advantage.”
Julian Assange’s indictment might have opened the floodgates for global persecution of journalists by governments. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The Australian Federal Police have conducted two raids on journalists and seized documents in purportedly unrelated incidents in the span of just two days.
Yesterday the AFP raided the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, seeking information related to her investigative report last year which exposed the fact that the Australian government has been discussing the possibility of giving itself unprecedented powers to spy on its own citizens. Today they raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corp, seizing information related to a 2017 investigative report on possible war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan.
In a third, also ostensibly unrelated incident, another Australian reporter disclosed yesterday that the Department of Home Affairs has initiated an investigation of his reporting on a story about asylum seeker boats which could lead to an AFP criminal case, saying he’s being pressured to disclose his source.
Five nations have shredded the law in their vendetta against Julian Assange. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at the automaticearth.com:
With the news that Julian Assange is “wasting away” in Belmarsh prison hospital, and with UN rapporteur Professor Nils Melzer’s report detailing how this happens, I’m once again drawn towards the lawlessness that all “authorities” involved in his case have been displaying, and with impunity. They all apparently think they are literally above the law. Their own laws.
But they can’t be, nowhere, not above their respective national laws nor the international ones their countries have signed up to. They can’t, because that would instantly make any and all laws meaningless. So you tell me where we find ourselves today.
There’s this paragraph in an article by Jonathan Cook entitled Abuses Show Assange Case Was Never About Law, which lists “17 glaring anomalies in Assange’s legal troubles”, that sums it all up pretty perfectly:
Australia not only refused Assange, a citizen, any help during his long ordeal, but prime minister Julia Gillard even threatened to strip Assange of his citizenship, until it was pointed out that it would be illegal for Australia to do so.
See, Cook is already skipping a step there. Gillard didn’t take Assange’s citizenship away, because that is against Australian law, but it’s just as much against Australian law for a government to let one of its citizens rot in some kind of hell. Still, they did let him rot, but as an Australian citizen. At that point, what difference does anything make anymore?
Many nations commercial relationships with China are so extensive that China can throw its weight around. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
It all started in late February when we reported that a political row had erupted between China and Australia, with Beijing cracking down on imports of coal from Australia, cutting off the country’s miners from their biggest export market and threatening the island nation’s economy at a time when it and its fellow “Five Eyes” members who have sided with the US by blocking or banning Huawei’s 5G network technology.
In the weeks that followed, while Beijing disputed such a draconian export crackdown, China was overtly targeting Australian coal imports with increased restrictions – what Beijing claims were quality checks – that delayed their passage through northern ports. Given Australia has the highest level of income dependency on China of any developed nation as 30.6% of all Australian export income came from China last year, equivalent to US$87 billion (twice the trade volume with Japan, Australia’s next biggest trading partner), and Australia’s coal industry is deeply dependent on its exports to China, which account for 3.7% of Australia’s GDP, this prompted much speculation that Beijing is punishing coal companies as retribution for political acts by Canberra, one of Washington’s closest allies. “The last time Australia was so dependent on one country for its income was in the 1950s when it was a client state of Britain,” Sydney Morning Herald’s international editor, Peter Hartcher Hartcher said in March, according to the SCMP.