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Julian Assange’s extradition hearing marred by barriers to open justice - 10 Oct 2020 filed by the editor - Human Rights, Journalism, International, United States, United Kingdom

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RSF calls on Trump administration to allow free flow of information on coronavirus       printable version
23 Apr 2020: posted by the editor - Health, Journalism, International, United States

Journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and their journalistic sources have faced access denials and retaliation for their reporting on the virus, press freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders reports.

Reporters from The New York Times and ProPublica were charged (https://apnews.com/895d67d2263dd55454341fb26ac01959) on April 9 with criminal trespassing at Liberty University related to their reporting on the university's decision to partially re-open its campus at a time when most other universities were closing indefinitely in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus. Medical professionals at health centers around the country have been restricted from speaking freely to the press about their working conditions (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-31/hospitals-tell-doctors-they-ll-be-fired-if-they-talk-to-press) , with one being fired after speaking to the (https://time.com/5812006/washington-coronavirus-health-care-staff-fired/) Seattle Times
(https://time.com/5812006/washington-coronavirus-health-care-staff-fired/) about his complaints with the hospital and another reprimanded after speaking to the British publication Metro about being scared to go to work.

Press freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it is “alarmed by the chilling trend of press access denials and retaliatory measures against journalists, government employees and whistleblowers attempting to report on and speak out about the COVID-19 crisis in the United States. It is a matter of urgent public health that journalists freely report on this pandemic and those with information related to the pandemic speak out without fear of retribution.”.

Earlier this month, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly fired (https://apnews.com/5506d2d5fae6b1d3a8430ead966f21d8) Brett Crozier, captain of the U.S. navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, for raising the alarm about an outbreak of coronavirus on his ship. That outbreak has infected nearly 600 sailors, including Captain Crozier (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/magazine/navy-captain-crozier-positive-coronavirus.html) , and killed one (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/04/13/coronavirus-sailor-uss-roosevelt-ship-plagued-virus-dies/2981417001/) .

In February, the Trump administration directed Vice President Mike Pence to control (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/us-coronavirus-pence.html)  all government health and science experts’ interactions with the press. In early-April, Vice President Pence briefly prohibited members of the White House’s coronavirus task force (https://thehill.com/homenews/media/492046-pence-bars-coronavirus-task-force-members-from-appearing-on-cnn-report)  from appearing on CNN. The vice president for a time barred task force member (https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-anthony-fauci-trump-admin-stops-discussion-2020-2)  Dr. Anthony Fauci from directly speaking to the public at all without approval. On April 2, the Knight First Amendment Institute sued the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for the release of information regarding the policy that permits the administration to restrict CDC employees
(https://www.quillmag.com/2020/04/03/cdc-sued-over-release-of-policies-restricting-free-speech/)  from speaking publicly or to the press. While it appears some restrictions may have been relaxed in recent days, the administration’s policy on allowing these experts to speak to the press is still not publicly available.

“The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized the Chinese government for its response to the virus, but the administration is taking a page out of China’s playbook by muzzling health experts, punishing whistleblowers and targeting journalists for their critical coverage,” said Dokhi Fassihian, Executive Director of RSF USA. “For the Trump administration to have any ground to stand on in its handling of this crisis, it must first foster an environment that allows for the free flow of information and the ability of government employees to speak out.”

Journalists across the nation have also encountered access denials in the course of their reporting. In Missouri, Governor Mike Parson has barred reporters (https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article241908676.html)  from attending his daily press briefings and tasked his staff with selecting reporters’ questions, which they must submit by e-mail an hour prior. On March 28th, a Florida journalist was denied entry (https://pressfreedomtracker.us/all-incidents/florida-journalist-barred-from-governors-covid-19-briefing/)  to Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 briefing after asking for “social distancing” at previous briefings.

Meanwhile, the White House continues to verbally attack reporters during the daily coronavirus press briefings (https://rsf.org/en/news/rsf-calls-trump-end-attacks-journalists-encourages-news-outlets-assess-coverage-covid-19-briefings) . During an April 19 briefing, President Trump attacked (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/19/trump-jiang-reporter-exchange/)  CBS reporter Weijia Jiang, telling her to "lower her voice" and take it "nice and easy” when she asked why the administration had not done more to prepare for the virus.

The United States is ranked 45th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index (https://rsf.org/en/ranking) .

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Towards global energy sustainability — special report from Science Magazine

GLOBAL 2000 —
the report that was but wasn’t

    first published February 13, 2004 - Newsmedianews

 

“Measurements of greenhouse gases at Mace Head in Ireland have shown that baseline concentrations of many of the gases reached the highest background concentrations ever recorded in 2000, the latest year for fully validated data.” - from DEFRA study

Check it out ...It is interesting that on an average visit to the family GP you will be asked with something approaching a frown if you are a smoker. Chances are too that if you say yes you will again be the focus of a frown. And yet interestingly enough that same GP will probably leave his surgery, get into a car and quite uncaringly spew contaminants over every person on every street down which he or she drives.

And should they go on holiday, once again the chances are that they will fly, becoming part of an airborne culture that is inexorably killing off our planet. And this is not a doomsday gripe from some pot smoking target of the ignorant—it is the reality that will unavoidably affect your own life and the lives of our children.

This is the selfish, blinkered vision world we are developing. Regardless of all of our conscientious streams of blather, they remain just blather, disinfected and wiped by the conglomerates who are poisoning our planet for their own profits.

In the mid-70s, initiated by the US administration of the time under President Carter, what was to become the most comprehensive international scientific examination into global environment change ever conducted began. Under the auspices of the UN, almost every country of the world participated in what was to become the largest scientific gathering and analysis of environmental data in history.

The results of the investigation were duly published and contained a bleak forewarning of doom. This was not the ramblings of some hash-brained hippies writhing in grief over visions of the end of civilisation. It was the dedicated work of eminent and highly skilled and knowledgeable scientists, backed by the latest and most reliable techniques and equipment available.

In short, they knew what they were talking about. Within an astonishingly short space of time, the report had been buried. Tackling the issues raised was contrary to all industrial and national economies and profit ideologies. The short term greed driven vision took precedence over any sensible long term view of reality. And we are now reaping the results of that short-sighted greed.

 

The below graphs illustrates the dramatic rise in annual temperatures for the UK between 1700 and 2000. Note how the mean average, shown by the red line, soars from the late 80s on. (reprinted from DEFRA)

     
The graph on the right shows the annual global picture.
  

RIO
By the time of the UN Conference on the Environment held in Rio in 1992 and which led to the drafting of the Convention on Climate Change, the Global 2000 Report had been all but forgotten. The actions advocated at Rio, and later at the second Convention on Climate Change held in Kyoto, Japan in 1997, were equivalent to pissing against the wind.

The true impact of the realities and globally catastrophic dangers posed by the acceleration of global warming through fossil fuel use, industry and motorisation failed to be grasped, despite their widespread knowledge. It is an astonishing view of a global civilisation willing to ignore its very survival in favour of personal wants.

A comprehensive search of the Internet fails to produce easy to find references to the Global 2000 report. Among the predictions it contained was the stark warning of instant catastrophe waiting in the wings as the southern and northern ice packs change in density. The current one degree ‘wobble’ of the earth about its axis is partly due to and is affected by the offset mass of the Antarctica ice pack. Should that fragile balance change, the wobble will not simply get worse or less—it will throw the whole kilter of the earth’s axial rotation off.

Chaos will result as the planet adopts and adjusts to the new axis of rotation. But before then, global flooding, instant ice ages and global weather mayhem will transform the surface of our world far beyond anything that even the most far fetched environmental horror movie has ever even tried to conceptualise. It will be the old age of global civilisation as we know it and the effects may well all but eradicate limbed life on this planet. Those are the harsh facts.

Some months ago scientists from the UK attempted to inform the US of the true realities of the dangers of global warming and climate change. It is a threat that far surpasses any threat posed by Al Qaeda or any terrorist group, they say—something that has held the US preoccupied since 9/11.

The efforts of the scientists, no matter how sincere, can be somewhat compared to teaching grandmother to suck eggs. Grandmother, in this case the United States, believed she already knew how to suck eggs so well that she simply put them all back in the cupboard and forgot all about them as unimportant.

It is quite likely that the new efforts to focus on the very real and very pressing dangers posed by global warming will be equally ignored and buried, just as was Global 2000.

And it may be that having prevaricated for so long, we have left it too late to tackle. We may well begin to be seeing the advent of the collapse of civilisation in as little as 15 years from now.

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Note added on August 9, 2005
In 1980, Dr. Gerald O. Barney directed the Global 2000 Report for President Carter. This was the first and only report by any national government on the economic, demographic, resource, and environmental future of the world. It sold over 1.5 million copies in 8 languages!

Now, in this new, updated Global 2000 Revisited: What Shall We Do?, Dr. Barney, Jane Blewett, and Kristen Barney have assembled new data on global trends -- and challenged the world to devote the 1990s and beyond to addressing the critical issues of the 21st century.
Read Global 2000 Revisited (pdf file)      web page

Related links:

www.meto.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre
www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/research/report02
www.earthscan.co.uk/asp/bookdetails.asp?key=1735
www.netlondon.com/news/1999-37/C0CFB2C0E7D41CC3802.html
www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992315

Climate change - a result of increase in solar radiation?

Climate Change - The Extreme Conflict
At the age of seven I had a dream that I was consumed by a nuclear blast. I saw the distant explosion, the shockwave, felt the onrush of the searing heat and saw my bones through suddenly translucent skin, as if through X-ray eyes.
I knew exactly what happening in the dream, which was strange.
Strange, because when I was seven it was 1957. No movies had then been made showing nuclear explosions. We certainly didn't learn about them at school in those days, and it was not something I'd seen on television, in those days again only black and white, of course.
The dream had been in full vivid colour. And I was right there, and died in that searing blast.
In later years, a friend thought I may have somehow tuned in to the thoughts of someone who had been in the Hiroshima or Nagasaki blasts, but I doubt that somehow. Not its possibility, but that it was what had happened on this occasion.
There was an eerie perception that I was actually there, but had been transported to another and not too distant time. And it was, it seemed, time from the future and not the past. But then, what did happen in the past? Why are there such vacant holes in our known history? Why are there so many variations in global localised radiation levels? Why so many why's?
President Bush and Tony Blair have been spearheading a war against terrorism since 2001. They urge that that world must be protected from such destruction.
And yet, destruction through another major conflict looks increasingly likely as levels of hope sink.
And sinking they are, if we exercise honest appraisal. The turmoil in draught and poverty stricken countries wrenches at us, but does not wrench from hopelessness. We know we can change such poor circumstances for the better, if it does take a long, long time given existing trends.
Thus, hope survives.
Global warming and planetary chaos through nature gone wild is, however, beyond us. We cannot do anything to change it. We can do very, very little to protect ourselves against it other than try to prepare a path for our best chances of survival, and nothing at all to avoid it short of fleeing the planet. Climate change is natural, cosmos driven and not, as the alarmists mistakenly would have us believe, due to CO2 emissions. Such emissions have barely a perceptible effect. Being told to switch off appliances etc to ‘save energy’ and reduce CO2 emissions is like throwing ping pong balls at the moon in the stupid belief that they will shift the moon from its orbit. The eminent UK scientist Professor Stephen Hawking has advocated that if humanity is to survive it must begin looking to colonise other planets. The cycle of global pollution has simply progressed too far and the runaway train has left the tracks and is racing across the plain… But the reality is, we must look to ensure survival possibilities for future generations.
It is however the loss of true hope for the future that is perhaps one of the greater unseen dangers of our present time.
Hopelessness breeds several things in addition to resignation. It breeds despair and reduces the sense of identification. And the loss of identification leads to the loss of care.
It is that eroded sense of care that is most dangerous. In isolation, it can be countered. When it becomes a part of the herd mentality, chaos ensues.
Surely history has taught us that?
Modern communications have broadened public awareness many thousandfold over the course of the last 200 years. What might not have been known about outside of just one small locality of the world 200 years ago can now be known about almost across the entire planet in just a matter of hours.
The herd on the stampede.
Prayer might help. It sends out positive vibrations for hope. But it cannot defeat the inevitable. For that, we can only wait for a miracle.
 


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