Friday, May 24, 2019

Will the Minister Respond, Please: Anonymous Account of "British Columbia's" Fishing Sector

Chinook By-Catch

by David Ellis

May 24, 2019

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200 Kent St
Station 15N100
Ottawa ON K1A 0E6

"5 to 7 million pounds has been dumped off the Cape this winter and not 
one has seen the bottom again. They said one skipper phoned the owners 
and said what do we do here we are getting 40,000 lbs a tow of halibut and 
the owners said try and stay away from the halibut and bring the boat to town full."

Dear Honourable Minister

I want to report to you that I was told a few days ago that Chinook by-catch levels are presently high in the mid water mixed rockfish fishery for "greenies" off the west coast of Vancouver island, by a trawler who visited my public book sale in Port Hardy.

Numerous past science studies note that Chinook are consistently taken across all of the trawl fisheries, and in American trawl fisheries to the north and south, the authorities maintain websites on the by-catch of Chinook, which have triggered closures of the entire trawl industry.

Why are websites noting trawl by-catch not kept in BC?

I also wish to inquire about the corruption charges for observers
noted below.

The situation is clearly very bad and may I suggest closure of the BC trawl fisheries and development of more practical and economically and ecologically more viable ways to take these fish.

The Trudeau government should stop regulatory support of trawl investment.

You should know that the trawl fishery, especially by the huge new vessels you are allowing into BC, is not supported here by most. Trawl technology is geared to the fillet trade that only sees 20% utilization of each fish. This is unacceptable.

Yours Sincerely

David Ellis
First Nations Libraries Ltd

From facebook: 

Here is what transpired:

I was able to talk to 2 crew members on two different super trawlers fishing the 800 line off the Cape.

I have been asked to not mention there names and out of respect so please don't ask.

They said 2 super trawlers are up on charges from DFO for bribing observers.

Does anybody know anything about this?

These observers are paid under $28.000 a year and they are humans not cameras!!!

I always wondered how are they getting away with not having cameras on these vessels because our small hook and line guys have to have cameras on board because they can't afford paying an observer.

They also mentioned conservatively the by-catch rate is about 30 to 40% halibut by-catch every tow!!! Hello no kidding they are on the Halibut grounds.

One crew member laughed and said they are saying they are all alive but the truth is about 20% is alive and nothing ever sees the bottom again. Because there is up to 1,000 sea lions follow behind every super trawler and again laughed and said the buggers don't eat turbot heads they love the halibut and tear all the bellies out of them.

He said the sea lions are so thick that they get stuck in the ships propeller and stall the main engine and they have to reverse the ship to get them out and the water turns red.

The two crew members both agreed that a rough estimate, if you wanted to add up the turbot that was taken off the cape this year and add just 10% halibut by-catch you would end up with these kind of numbers:
5 to 7 million pounds has been dumped off the Cape this winter and not one has seen the bottom again.They said one skipper phoned the owners and said what do we do here we are getting 40,000 lbs a tow of halibut and the owners said try and stay away from the halibut and bring the boat to town full.
He brought the boat to Port Hardy and tied it up and told the owners "I can't sleep at night I am outta here."
Also no crew members are permitted to have any cell phones on deck because of the camera. One crew member said one guy brought out a cell phone on haul back and took a few pics and his phone was thrown over the side when he was on deck.

We better wake up and get these foreign owned super trawlers off our coast or we're wiped out. After they take the bottom gear off then the mid water gear is put on and they lay out front of our coastal communities and freeze all the fish and take it to the shipping ports and the communities don't get a lick!

These super trawlers are buying up all our small trawlers quota like candy and these are the life blood of the communities why is there no caps on these boats!!!!!!!!

When the trawl fishery went to IVQ why were the communities not involved in this process? Because back in the day the communities helped these guys get the IVQ with the history of all their landings and now they are being ripped away.

Seriously guys what Canadian fisherman can afford a 10 to 15 million dollar boat!!!!

Our Canadian super trawler owners are called the "Mr 10%" because the rest are owned by foreign owners that have created shell companies to hide behind. This is why money is no problem to buy out the whole BC quota on hake and ground fish when there is no caps on these boats.

We all need to make a stand on this coast and protect our small boat fleet which is very low impact compared to these super trawlers.

The coastal communities need 50% shore base allocation for protection and if the quota isn't taken good let's build up the coastal communities to take more fish.

DFO has made it a race for the fish just like the East Coast and has let foreigners in to own our resource.

I am in contact with mayors on the east coast and their advice is we get these super trawlers out before it's too late because we are heading down the same road. All of their small drag fleet went down hard because of these guys!!!

I am getting statements

I will keep you all posted on my return to Rupert

Together we can have security for our resources and ensure growth and prosperity for our coastal communities. Everyone wins.

(Name withheld)

Reax to May's Awkward Departure

Reaction to Theresa May's Resignation

by RT

May 24, 2019

Not since Tony Blair arguably have we had a PM who has faced allegations of such seriousness’ says Going Underground’s Afshin Rattansi, as Theresa May announces she will resign as PM on June 7th.

Please subscribe 

Open Letter to Media Lens, Re: XR: After sounding the alarm - What is "real change"?

An Open Letter to Media Lens - XR: After sounding the alarm - What is "real change"?

by Brian Davey -

Dear David and David, sounding the alarm so that "real change" happens? As you say Cory Morningstar is well intentioned and she has a message too - she tells us what the elite agenda is. Their agenda would be "real change" all right - in the completely wrong direction. 

So Cory Morningstar has done us a favour. She might not express it as carefully as she might but we ought to try and understand what her message is too... I think you have only partly understood it.

I write as as a retired social ecological economist (if you ever retire) I broadly agree with her description. I've been involved in the climate movement for over 2 decades and despaired. Extinction Rebellion have done a tremendous job of releasing the passion - but what are its political aims? What kind of "real change"? My attitude to XR is ambivalent. I am impressed by their militancy and commitment. By their spirit of self sacrifice. But I am unimpressed by an absence of an idea what "real change" for them would be. And you too.

Tell us the truth about climate change? What is that and how is it different from the debate among climate scientists and at the IPCC period reports? Decarbonisation by 2025 = 4 times as fast as the call to halve emissions by 2030.

Since 80% of the UK energy supply is fossil fuel based it's not possible. I wish it was possible, but it isn't. Just constructing a wind farm can take 4 years.You would have to increase the rate at which renewables are constructed and installed by an order of magnitude. You could not do that without training more engineers and that takes 3 years and more.

All of this would take a lot of fossil fuels to achieve...

Declare a climate emergency? 

You make a big thing about my years I've seen plenty of declarations. Starting with Rio championing the rights of future generations - while the police in Rio were organised in squads to kill street children.

As I recently wrote:

"If this was a REAL declaration of a Climate Emergency I would have expected a lot more happening or in prospect. I would be more convinced if it was associated with BANNING fracking. I would be more convinced if there were pledges to end the burning of wood at power stations as a phony way of “reducing carbon”. I would be more convinced if the reliance on “offsets” was being phased out.

"I would be convinced that this was being treated as a real climate emergency if the sale of fossil fuels were BANNED without a permit – and the permits were limited and rapidly reduced over the next few years (while making sure that the burden does not fall on the poor through a policy like cap and share ).

I would be convinced if the government or Labour Party announced a programme of measures like BANNING the use of private motor vehicles except by disabled people and if people want to travel they have to use public transport or get on their bikes. Also BANNING air travel except for emergencies.

Or getting everyone to turn their thermostats down and wearing jumpers and thermal underwear if they are cold.

Or which insisted that farmers adopt regenerative agriculture techniques to sequester atmospheric carbon down into soil carbon.

Or I would believe that this was being treated as a real Climate Emergency if there were swinging tax increases on the rich to decrease their consumption because it is their consumption that is leading the the largest amount of emissions.

IF policies like these were being adopted THEN I would believe that it was being treated as a REAL CLIMATE EMERGENCY – instead of Greenwash for an elite agenda for growth."

As it is what I see is a group of growth junkies salivating at the (delusionary) idea that a "Green New Deal" will rekindle economic growth – when Britain and the world has already overshot the carrying capacity of the planet. In this regard ecological footprint analysis tells us that, measured as an area, biocapacity cannot be more than 1.2 hectares per person for sustainable use. Yet the UK consumes 4.7 hectares per person. We are living as if we had access to the resources of nearly 4 extra planets – yet the “green growth” junkies tell us we can have more still.

So let's be perfectly clear – the vote for a Climate Emergency was an empty gesture. Without tangible policies to address the emergency it is vacuous – and Labour's policy as expressed here is: (a) not enough and (b) puts the stress on the wrong things. The only serious approach is to reduce resource use – while trying to make sure that people are looked after and safe during this process and trying to ensure that the people who consume most give up the most - but not increase!

Yes, the elite actors who are playing a PR game to change the political climate have done a good job in helping to mobilise people to express their fears and worries – but if, as appears to be the case, this mass activity is being used to promote an agenda that will fail without degrowth then it will turn out to be counter-productive.

 Here is a XR business leader

You write that you think that the propaganda model of Chomsky and Herman might break down in a situation like this. I don't. You are talking about the corporate elite and mainstream politicians abandoning their religion, their faith - and that is growth.

Here is a quote from Lord Nicholas Stern before the Paris COP meeting. It shows what he thinks is important. At the time a lobbying document was written and used called "Better Growth. The New Climate Economy" on page 9 tit says "In the long run if climate change is not tackled growth itself will be at risk."

That's the elite agenda at the moment and unless there are tangible alternative ideas for what real change is - which would mean degrowth - that is what you will get - and elite agenda to try to revive flagging economic growth by a raid on pension funds and state financing for a phony green new deal. It's there in the XR website.

Yes, a GND will be "real change" but it won't bloody work as I show on two recent articles:

Brian Davey - “Green New Deals...yes...but what does that mean?

Brian Davey - Extinction Rebellion, Green New Deal, Labour and sustainability……. and Cap and Share

It won't work because renewable energies can only support an economy that is much smaller in size – and what they can provide power for will have to be prioritised - rather than assuming that renewable energy will be abundant and can be the basis for a continuance of a growing consumer society. (eg. Local renewables should be prioritised to things like keeping local hospitals running, like keeping water supplies functioning ).

At this point I should also draw attention to other aspects of their "real agenda" - as opposed to the non existent XR alternative "real agenda". To financialise nature, to make a grab for the money in the pension industry. Neither will work as envisaged. The point here is that the “fourth industrial revolution” that these growth junkies are aiming for will be unaffordable. The material resources are not there for a fourth industrial revolution – neither energy resources and nor mineral resources.

Depleted resources are expensive to extract so the shiny new world of renewable energy and electric cars will be expensive to construct. Few will be able to afford this brave new world and the future of the innovators is likely to include a large number of bankruptcies.

We can already see what is going to happen with this strategy in broad outlines. If the pension industry provides the capital it will only happen if backed by policies and on state guarantees that cannot be withdrawn without them collapsing - the idea will be that the losses will be paid by the tax payer.

And there will likely be losses for the same reason that for ten years fracking has made a loss – the fracking industry has been unable to cover its costs. It can only keep going by suckering investors. The same will be true for the renewable energy systems.

The cost of this new energy system will be too great for the rest of the economy to afford – and that will show up in a gulf between costs and what the shiny new infrastructure will get back in revenues.

I can already hear the engineers and economists saying that costs are falling and will fall further so that I am wrong. The mantra is the cheapness comes with learning how to make things more efficiently and with scale. That's what Stern said would happen in he famous Report.

Yes, when production of solar panels and wind turbines switched to China costs fell because Chinese wages and Chinese coal power was cheap. But energy costs are creeping up in China now coal and oil is in depletion there too. As energy costs rise the costs of making solar and wind turbines will rise too.

Even more so when the very scarce minerals necessary to their functioning runs out in just a few years. Depletion means extraction of minerals and energy costs more – we are seeing that with shale and that will have a knock on effect on the things made with the remaining energy and minerals – like wind, wave and solar energy harvesting equipment. Things do not always get cheaper – they sometimes get more expensive.

Additionally there's the extra cost of buffering intermittency, of extending grids. “Smart grids” sound fabulous – until you realise that the micro chips in them are highly energy intensive to manufacture – not to mention that these smart technologies will be a vehicle to bring in a health catastrophe called 5G, the internet of things and an living environment saturated with toxic microwaves….

In conclusion – as Tad Patzek explains there are simply not enough resources left for the kind of mobilisation that is being proposed:

“To compare the WWII industrial effort with the global dislocation necessary to ameliorate some of the effects of climate change is surprisingly naïve… This comparison also neglects to account for the human population that has almost quadrupled between the 1940s and now, and the resource consumption that has increased almost 10-fold. The world today cannot grow its industrial production the way we did during WWII. There is simply not enough of the planet Earth left to be devoured.” (quoted in an article by Tim Watkins )

I understand the emotional wish not to criticise a a child and now young woman who has done so much. No one is criticising her - it is the people behind her, Yes she has criticised them too - unfortunately that doesn't get reported as much. Above all what is their agenda for "Real change"? She has criticised a growth agenda too. Would it not show more respect to her to focus on that part of her message, rather than focus on the messenger?

If you are going to launch a rebellion you better have an idea what it is trying to achieve - or the "real change" will be made by others.

UN Privacy Special Rapporteur Reports on Julian Assange Case and Property Seizure

UN expert in privacy seriously concerned about the behavior of Ecuador in the Assange and Moreno cases 


May 23, 2019 

[Google machine translation]
GENEVA (May 23, 2019) - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci, is very concerned about reports that the Government of Ecuador plans to deliver to the United States the personal belongings of Julian Assange.

The independent expert said he had received information that, at the request of the United States Department of Justice, the Ecuadorian government had decided to register on May 20 the rooms of the embassy in London used by the founder of WikiLeaks and to confiscate his documents, telephones, electronic devices, memories, etc., to deliver them to the Government of the United States.

Concerned about the reports, Cannataci wrote to the Government of Ecuador recalling the guarantees that should exist before any registration, and also offered to provide the assistance of impartial experts to supervise the registration, and separate the information that could be relevant to an eventual process. criminal in the United States of information that should be kept private and returned to Assange.

The Special Rapporteur said that he was disappointed by the lack of timely response from the Government of Ecuador.

"On two occasions I have formally asked the Government of Ecuador to return the personal effects of Mr. Assange to his lawyers, but it seems that he intends to deliver them to the US authorities, although I do not have any problem with the registration and seizure procedures are carried out correctly under the rule of law, it is about very special circumstances in at least two aspects: there is something more at stake than the right to privacy, other human rights, and especially freedom of expression, also run danger if part of Mr. Assange's material falls into the wrong hands Mr. Assange referred to a series of confidential sources and whistleblowers whose identity and privacy should also be protected, "said the Special Rapporteur.

"I am also disappointed by Ecuador's lack of timely response to my proposal to visit Quito and to further evaluate the complaint I received from President Lenin Moreno about a violation of his right to privacy, related to the alleged hacking that led to the online publication of a large number of his communications and private photographs of himself and his family. " Cannataci said the visit would have been "an excellent opportunity to better understand the particularities of the case."

The Special Rapporteur said he hoped to receive a response soon to his concerns and proposals for cooperation.


Mr. Joseph Cannataci (Malta) was appointed as the first rapporteur on the right to privacy by the Human Rights Council in July 2015. He is an academic who has had a pioneering role in the development of data protection, the law of privacy and technology law. A collegiate information technology professional in the United Kingdom and a member of the British Information Society, he continues to act as an expert consultant to several international organizations.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent investigative and supervisory mechanisms that deal with specific national situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. . The experts of the Special Procedures work voluntarily; they are not UN personnel and they do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and provide individual services.

For more information and press inquiries, please contact Mr. Jon Izagirre García (+41 22 917 97 15 / or

For media inquiries related to other independent experts of the United Nations

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Travesty of Conscience: Amnesty, Assange, and Manning

Amnesty International declares Julian Assange “not a prisoner of conscience”

by Laura Tiernan - WSWS

23 May 2019

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a multi-award-winning investigative journalist and publisher, is locked up in HM Prison Belmarsh in London in solitary confinement.

US extradition proceedings have begun. If extradited, he will face charges under the Espionage Act for publishing information that exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The charges being prepared by the US Department of Justice carry the death penalty.

Chelsea Manning, who courageously blew the whistle on US atrocities by giving information to WikiLeaks, endured seven years of torture in a military prison and was jailed again last week for refusing to testify against Assange.

But according to Amnesty International (AI), neither Assange nor Manning are “prisoners of conscience” and their defence is not being actively pursued by the human rights charity.

In a letter to the Julian Assange Defence Committee (JADC) on May 17, Amnesty International UK declared, “Julian Assange's case is a case we're monitoring closely but not actively working on. Amnesty International does not consider Julian Assange to be a Prisoner of Conscience.”

AI’s curtly worded letter followed an urgent appeal by Maxine Walker on behalf of the JADC. Her letter drew attention to multiple human rights violations against Assange.

“We cannot state strongly enough that Julian Assange is in great peril”, she wrote.

Walker cited AI’s April 11 statement that “Assange should not be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, where there are concerns that he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations due to his work with Wikileaks.”

Since then, Walker challenged, “no further statements appear to have been made by you… His name appears not to have been mentioned in your material for World Press Freedom Day, an extraordinary omission given his current situation and that Julian Assange was awarded the 2009 Amnesty International UK Media Award for New Media.”

Her letter continued: “The UK government has ignored, indeed poured scorn, on the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 2015 ruling that ‘the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange is arbitrary and in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.”

The UN Working Group, Walker pointed out, had described Assange’s imprisonment in Belmarsh as having “furthered the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange.” They judged his 50-week sentence in a supermax prison had “contravene[d] the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards.”

Walker’s letter concluded, “It is urgent that organisations concerned with human rights should become more vocal and active on this case. One statement is not adequate to deal with the threats to Julian Assange and the wider implications for free speech, freedom of information and the protection of journalists.”

AI’s two-paragraph reply was received by Walker three days later. It linked to a statement by AI’s Deputy Director for Research for Europe, Massimo Moratti, published on May 13, supporting Sweden’s reopening of “preliminary investigations” into fabricated “rape” allegations against Assange. Headlined, “Julian Assange rape allegations must be treated with utmost seriousness,” Moretti declared, “It is vital that the allegations against Julian Assange are properly investigated in a way that respects the rights of both the complainant and the person under investigation.”

This is a travesty.

For nearly nine years, bogus “rape” and “sexual molestation” allegations against Assange have been wielded by Sweden and Britain to smear the WikiLeaks founder and secure his extradition to the US. Assange was always willing to travel to Sweden to answer the allegations against him, but Swedish authorities refused to guarantee against his onward extradition under fast-track “temporary surrender” arrangements in place with the US. It was the threat of US extradition which forced Assange to seek political asylum in Ecuador.

Assange has already been questioned by Swedish police and prosecutors—in August 2010 in Stockholm and at Ecuador’s embassy in London in November 2016. On both occasions, the preliminary investigation was closed with not a single charge laid. Under Swedish law, Assange can be charged prior to an extradition request. Yet even now, Sweden has submitted no charges and is seeking a European Arrest Warrant for blatantly political objectives.

AI deliberately conceals the political context of Assange and Manning’s incarceration: international geopolitics, illegal wars of occupation, regime change, assassination threats by US politicians against Assange—none of this exists. Having pointed to Sweden, AI simply states that it does not regard the world’s most persecuted journalist a Prisoner of Conscience. It believes he, “should not be extradited to the USA, where he faces a real risk of serious human rights violations… due to his work with Wikileaks.” It’s just that they are not “actively” pursuing the case.

AI seizes on the Swedish allegations as a pretext to wash its hands of Assange, but what of Manning? The World Socialist Web Site contacted AI on Tuesday to ask why it had also refused to list Manning as a Prisoner of Conscience. AI’s UK press officer contacted their US office before explaining via email that “detention for not testifying before a grand jury is not itself illegal.” And neither is chopping off heads in Saudi Arabia, which has not prevented AI from actively campaigning on that issue.

AI hastened to tell the WSWS that “we understand Chelsea’s motivations for declining [to testify] when she has already testified at length on these issues,” adding that the “excessive sentencing and cruel treatment of her previous incarceration served as a stark reminder of the lengths that those in power will go to in order to keep others from speaking out.”

Yet they have not posted a single statement on Manning since 2017.

AI defines a Prisoner of Conscience as “someone who has not used or advocated violence but is imprisoned because of who they are (sexual orientation, ethnic, national or social origin, language, birth, colour, sex or economic status) or what they believe (religious, political or other conscientiously held beliefs).”

Assange and Manning have been thrown in prison because of their “conscientiously held beliefs” that all people have the right to know about war crimes, state corruption, mass surveillance and antidemocratic intrigues by the world’s most powerful states. “I can either go to jail or betray my principles,” Manning has explained. “I would rather starve to death than change my opinion.”

If Assange and Manning are not prisoners of conscience, then who is?

AI told the WSWS they do not maintain an international list of POC designates. But a partial list published on Wikipedia shows the majority come from Russia, Iran, China, the former Soviet republics and Saudi Arabia. Just one POC is listed in the United States, none from Britain and none from France where journalists are presently being threatened with jail for exposing French military involvement in the ongoing war in Yemen that has claimed over 100,000 lives.

On its website, AI states,

“We protect people, defending their right to freedom, to truth, and to dignity. We do this by investigating and exposing abuses where they happen.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) “remains fundamental to Amnesty’s work.” “It provides the bedrock of most of our campaigning, and it helps us to hold authorities to account when rights are abused.”

When it comes to Assange and Manning, AI holds no authority to account, remains silent in the face of outrageous human rights violations and helps to magnify the government-media smear machine. Virtually all of the UDHR’s thirty articles have been breached by the US, UK, Australia, Sweden and Ecuador in their treatment of Assange and Manning.

The most egregious violations of Assange’s rights relate to the following principles: Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person; Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile; Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him; Article 14: Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution; Article 15: No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality; Article 17: No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property; Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Written in 1948, the preamble to the UDHR states that “it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” Emerging from the blood and filth of fascism and a World War that claimed 60 million lives, the imperialist powers erected an international framework of economic, political and legal mechanisms to guard against a new descent into war, social upheaval and revolution.

If the framers of the UDHR sought insurance against recourse to “rebellion”, this aim was shared by those who established Amnesty International. Its founder, barrister Peter Benenson, wrote in 1960, “The important thing is to mobilise public opinion quickly and widely, before a government is caught up in the vicious spiral caused by its own repression and is faced with impending civil war.” It was also important to choose POCs carefully: “The technique of publicising the personal stories of a number of prisoners of contrasting politics is a new one. It has been adopted to avoid the fate of previous amnesty campaigns, which so often have become more concerned with publicising the political views of the imprisoned than with humanitarian purposes.”

The unstated premise—clear in AI’s silence on Manning and Chelsea—is that the “political views” of these two prisoners should not be publicised and the institutions of western capitalist “democracy” must be defended, especially from any popular and revolutionary threat from below. Eight years ago, Amnesty International hailed WikiLeaks and the Guardian for their role in publishing documents that played a “catalytic role” in sparking the 2011 Arab Spring, especially in Tunisia. Today, the Guardian is the Witchfinder General, gruesomely smearing Assange as a Russian stooge and “rapist”, while AI has thrown Assange and Manning to the wolves.

A political chasm has opened. In Britain, all of the establishment parties—Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Scottish National Party—along with the pseudo-left Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party are ranged against Assange, with a host of NGOs and human rights groups in tow. The Swedish allegations merely serve as a convenient pretext for their naked defence of imperialism. Sweden is the “Pontius Pilate option” for those like Dianne Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn, who declared to the media on April 13 that “there can be no hiding place from those kind of accusations” and that Assange should be sent to Sweden if an extradition request is received.

Lest anyone doubt the role of Sweden’s re-re-revived “preliminary investigations”, consider the words of Heather Barr, Acting Co-Director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch UK, who issued a statement on April 16 that should be entered onto a rollcall of shame: “When WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange was arrested in London last week so he could face charges in the US, it raised deep concerns around media freedom. Amid these concerns, however, let’s remember that Assange is also accused of rape.”

Barr’s statement effectively overrode HRW’s earlier condemnation of Assange’s arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy, endorsing his lengthy incarceration in Belmarsh Prison (“UK, Deciding Assange's Fate, Should Give Sweden Time to Evaluate Rape Case”) while making false and defamatory statements against Assange. Barr makes repeated reference to rape “charges” against Assange—charges that have never existed!

The political line-up on Assange confirms the central contention of the Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site: Assange and Manning’s freedom rests on the independent political mobilisation of the working class. It is to the great mass of working people, youth and all genuine defenders of democratic rights that the fight to free Assange and Manning must be taken.


Appendix: An exchange of letters

The following is an exchange of letters between the Julian Assange Defence Committee’s Maxine Walker and Amnesty International UK.

Julian Assange Defence Committee

14 May 2019

Dear Amnesty International UK

I am writing to you on behalf of the Julian Assange Defence Committee, which was set up to oppose his extradition to the USA and to galvanise opposition to it.

We cannot state strongly enough that Julian Assange is in great peril. Indeed you may have seen the interview with WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson following his and Pamela Anderson’s recent visit to Belmarsh in which Mr Hrafnsson states, ‘It is a question of life and death, that’s how serious it is.’

We are aware that you made a statement after his arrest in April in which you said:

"Amnesty International believes that Julian Assange should not be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, where there are concerns that he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations due to his work with Wikileaks.”

You recognised in this statement the potential violations of his human rights should such an extradition take place including the ultimate violation, that of his right to life.

However, we also note that no further statements appear to have been made by you since then. His name appears not to have been mentioned in your material for World Press Freedom Day, an extraordinary omission given his current situation and that Julian Assange was awarded the 2009 Amnesty International UK Media Award for New Media. Julian Assange has won many such awards in recognition of WikiLeaks’ pivotal role in exposing US and UK war crimes and violations of human rights that have taken place in those wars including torture, murder and inflicting large numbers of civilian casualties.

The UK government has ignored, indeed poured scorn, on the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 2015 ruling that “the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange is arbitrary and in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. After Julian Assange’s arrest in April, the Working Group also stated, ‘ The Working Group regrets that the Government has not complied with its Opinion and has now furthered the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange.’ It expresses concern that Mr. Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence. “This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards.”

It is urgent that organisations concerned with human rights should become more vocal and active on this case. One statement is not adequate to deal with the threats to Julian Assange and the wider implications for free speech, freedom of information and the protection of journalists. We would ask you: to prioritise this case in your publicity and campaigns; to lobby MPs who should be raising concerns about this case and his prison conditions (and are not doing so); to encourage your supporters to write to him in prison.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes
Maxine Walker

Dear Maxine,

Thank you for your email regarding Julian Assange.

Our latest statement, following the re-opening of the Swedish Prosecution Authority's investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange, can be found here;

Julian Assange's case is a case we're monitoring closely but not actively working on. Amnesty International does not consider Julian Assange to be a Prisoner of Conscience. AI does, however, continue to believe that he should not be extradited to the USA, where he faces a real risk of serious human rights violations, including in relation to the likely conditions of his detention, due to his work with Wikileaks.

We hope this explains our position.

Kind regards,

Supporter Communications Team

Amnesty International UK,

The Human Rights Action Centre,

17-25 New Inn Yard,



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Last Stand

Custer's Last Stand Meets Global Warning

by Robert Hunziker  - pressenza

May 22, 2019

A recent article in Arctic News on the outlook for global warming foresees a frightening scenario lurking right around the corner. Hopefully, the article’s premise of impending runaway global warming (“RGW”) is off the mark, by a lot.

More to the point, off by really a lot in order to temper the sting expected when abrupt temperature increases hit hard, as projected in the article, which is entitled: “Greenhouse Gas Levels Keep Accelerating.”

Oh, BTW… the worst-case scenario happens within one decade!

Here’s a snippet:

“… such a rise in greenhouse gas levels has historically corresponded with more than 10°C or 18°F of warming, when looking at greenhouse gas levels and temperatures over the past 800,000 years….” (Source: Greenhouse Gas Levels Keep Accelerating, Arctic News, May 1, 2019)

Obviously, it goes without saying no sane person wants to believe, and likely won’t believe or accept, studies about killer temperatures locked, loaded, and ready to fire, right around the corner. That fact alone serves to christen the title “Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming.”

Furthermore, and for journalistic balance, it is important to mention that mainstream science is not warning of imminent Runaway Global Warming (“RGW”), as outlined in the Arctic News article.

Still, the article does have credibility because it is the product of academic scientists. Therefore, metaphorically speaking, one can only hope that their Ouija boards were out-of-whack, misinterpreting the data.

Alas, the Arctic News article would not be out there if only the U.S. Senate had taken seriously Dr. James Hansen’s early warnings about global warming way back in 1988. The New York Times headline d/d June 24, 1988 read: “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate.”

Curiously enough, ten years later, in 1998, the process of assembling the International Space Station (“ISS”) commenced as approved by Congress, which included 100% solar power. But, ignoring the obvious, no solar initiatives were suggested for the country, not even mentioned. In fact, ever since Dr. Hansen’s warning of 40 years ago, Congress is MIA, a big fat nada, not even one peep or word about efforts to contain global warming.

As such, it’s really no surprise (but somewhat shocking) that a Children’s Climate Crusade, originating in Sweden, is brewing and stewing about the global warming crisis, and they’re addressing a very long list of failures by “the establishment.”

Honestly, does it take children to figure this one out?

The Arctic News article is a haunting commentary on the current and future status of global warming, as follows: The article describes a powerful combination of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxide (NO2), and nitrous oxide (N2O) in combination with oceans and ice taking up ever-less planetary heat, threaten life on Earth within a decade.

According to the article:

“So, how fast and by how much could temperatures rise? As oceans and ice are taking up ever less heat, rapid warming of the lower troposphere could occur very soon. When including the joint impact of all warming elements … abrupt climate change could result in a rise of as much as 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026. This could cause most life on Earth (including humans) to go extinct within years.” Ibid.

That can’t possibly be true, or can it? The good news is nobody knows 100% for sure. But, here’s the rub: Some really smart well-educated scientists think it could happen, in fact they are almost sure it will happen. According to the article, the setup for the worst-case scenario is falling into place much faster, and sooner, than ever thought possible. It’s highly recommended that interested parties read the entire article, Google: Greenhouse Gas Levels Keep Accelerating, Arctic News, May 1, 2019.

Based upon the article, civilization has been living on borrowed time, meaning, the oceans as well as glacial and ocean-bearing ice have been absorbing up to 95% of the planet’s heat, thus, minimizing atmospheric global warming and saving civilization from a bad heat stroke.

However, those two huge natural buffers are losing their mojo, kinda fast. Increasingly, extreme ocean stratification and heavy loss of ice minimize the effectiveness of those two crucial buffers to rapid global warming. Consequently, forcing the atmosphere to take up more and more, and way too much more, planetary heat, leading to bursts of global temperatures when least expected, the Custer’s Last Stand moment.

One of the primary causes of upcoming acceleration of global warming includes a very recent study about nitrous oxide, N2O, which is 300xs more potent than CO2 and has a lifetime of 120 years, found in huge quantities (67B tons) in Arctic permafrost, to wit:

“The study by Jordan Wilkerson, et al: shows that nitrous oxide emissions from thawing Alaskan permafrost are about twelve times higher than previously assumed. A 2018 analysis (Guibiao Yang, et al, Magnitude and Pathways of Increased Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Uplands Following Permafrost Thaw, Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society) points at the danger of large nitrous oxide releases from thawing permafrost in Tibet. Even more nitrous oxide could be released from Antarctica,” Ibid:

N2O, the third most important GHG, is an intensely effective molecule that impacts global warming 300xs more than CO2. That is an enormous, big time, impact. In that regard, the rate of current N2O emissions is extremely concerning. According to recent research, nitrous oxide is being released from melting permafrost “12xs higher than previously assumed.” That could be a sure-fire formula for helping to turbocharge global warming, and it lends supporting evidence to the underlying thesis of the Arctic News article.

So long as bad news is the order of the day, in addition to N2O as a powerful GHG (greenhouse gas), it is also an ozone depleting substance, uh-oh, which brings to mind shades of The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer of 1987, an international treaty designed to save civilization’s big fat ass.

For those who missed class back in the day (1987), the ozone (O3) layer of Earth’s stratosphere (10-30 miles above ground level) absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, without which Homo sapiens would be toast!

Ozone is widely dispersed in the atmosphere, to an extreme; however, if it were all compressed into one thin layer, it would be the thickness of one penny. From a narrow viewpoint, as just explained, one penny of thickness of ozone molecules separates humanity from burning alive, and thus explains the Great Panic of the late 1980s when a Big Hole was discovered in the ozone layer as a result of too much human-generated chlorofluorocarbons (“CFCs”) Halons and Freons.

According to James Anderson (Harvard professor of atmospheric chemistry), co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on ozone depletion, speaking at the University of Chicago about global warming in 2018:

“People have the misapprehension that we can recover from this state just by reducing carbon emissions, Anderson said in an appearance at the University of Chicago. Recovery is all but impossible, he argued, without a World War II-style transformation of industry—an acceleration of the effort to halt carbon pollution and remove it from the atmosphere, and a new effort to reflect sunlight away from the earth’s poles… This has do be done, Anderson added, within the next five years.” (Source: Jeff McMahon, We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says, Forbes, Jan. 15, 2018).

Based upon that gauntlet as laid down by professor Anderson, only 4 years remains to get something done to “save us.” But, sadly, there is no “WW-II style transformation of industry” under consideration, not even a preliminary fact-finding mission.

But, there is a very active ongoing Children’s Crusade prodding adults to do something… for a change, but as the children are quick to point out, they do not expect much help from the adults in the room based upon years of “doing nothing.”

Still, children skip classes to publicly protest the misbehavior of adults and occasionally, they give speeches, for example: At Katowice, Poland, COP-24 (Conference of the Parties) in December 2018, Greta Thunberg, a 15-year old from Sweden at the time, addressed the UN secretary general António Guterres. Here’s her speech:

“For 25 years countless people have stood in front of the UN climate conferences, asking our nation’s leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly, this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise.
So I will not ask them anything.
Instead, I will ask the media to start treating the crisis as a crisis.
Instead, I will ask the people around the world to realize that our political leaders have failed us.
Because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness… So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again.
We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not.”

Citing Drivers Behind Haiti’s Political Crisis

Haiti at a Crossroads: An Analysis of the Drivers Behind Haiti’s Political Crisis

“Be Strong,” says the sign. “Say down with corruption in public institutions.” 
Current wave of protests started last summer in response to a deteriorating 
economic situation and widespread government mismanagement, including 
revelations government officials embezzled billions from PetroCaribe fund.

(The first of three parts)

I. Introduction

Haiti is in the midst of an escalating political crisis that has repeatedly paralyzed the nation. Tens of thousands have been taking to the streets to protest President Jovenel Moïse’s corruption, economic mismanagement and impunity for human rights abuses.1 While the demonstrations have largely been peaceful, some protests have resulted in property damage, and clashes with police have at times turned deadly.2 During the ten days of protest in February that placed the country in lock-down, at least 34 people died and over 100 people were injured.3 People were unable to leave their homes to access food, water and other basic necessities, placing an already-vulnerable population on the brink of a humanitarian emergency.4

The current wave of protests started in the summer of 2018 in response to a deteriorating economic situation and widespread government mismanagement, including revelations that senior government officials across administrations embezzled billions of dollars from a subsidized oil fund known as PetroCaribe.5

The movement is unprecedented in recent decades in its persistence and broad support base that spans a diverse range of social sectors. Protesters are demanding President Moïse’s resignation — a call that is backed by a coalition of political parties, many civil society organizations, and Senators and Deputies including from the President’s own political party.6

The President has in turn forced the removal of Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant, which resulted in a Parliamentary no-confidence vote that ended Céant’s tenure on Mar. 18, 2019.7 President Moïse is now forming a new government for the third time during his two years in office.8

The reshuffling of the cabinet is unlikely to resolve the current crisis. Protesters are demanding systemic reforms to increase government accountability and responsiveness, to reign in widespread impunity for corruption and human rights violations, and to give Haiti’s impoverished and marginalized a meaningful voice in governance.9

To fully understand the political crisis, it is necessary to understand how political failures over the last several years have set the stage for the current protests, and how those failures are enabled by longer-term structural injustices.

President Jovenel Moïse assumed office without a true popular mandate, 
having been elected in a low-turnout process that left him beholden to 
foreign and elite interests.

This report seeks to put the current crisis in Haiti into context by explaining the short-, medium- and long-term factors driving the unrest, including detailing some of the gravest human rights violations in Haiti during President Moïse’s tenure. In the short term, the PetroCaribe scandal galvanized civil society and was the spark that brought Haitians into the streets. In the medium term, the movement is a response to the Moïse administration’s broader abuses of authority and de-prioritization of the rights and needs of the impoverished majority. President Moïse assumed office without a true popular mandate, having been elected in a low-turnout process that left him beholden to foreign and elite interests and a patronage network over the impoverished majority.10

In office, his administration has engaged in human rights abuses, flouted the rule of law, and mismanaged the economy in ways that disproportionately impact the poor.11 In the long term, this administration’s failures are enabled by years of flawed elections, a dysfunctional justice system and domestic and foreign economic policies that have impoverished the majority of Haitians.

The drivers behind the movement reflect repeated failures by Haitian leaders to serve their people, but they are also the result of decisions made by actors outside of Haiti. While the international community has invested billions in building up rule of law institutions in Haiti,12 powerful governments and international institutions have also exerted influence on Haiti to forge ahead with problematic, exclusionary elections and to accept a system of justice that allows foreign and elite actors to operate above the law.13

The faults of the decades-long prioritization of short-term stability over rule of law are now cracking. If the international community is to support a sustainable way forward for Haiti, it must finally take its lead from Haitians and support systemic reform that will be long and difficult. Systemic reform is the only way for Haiti to emerge out of this crisis into a place of true stability.

II. Immediate Triggers

While the economic and political situation in Haiti has been deteriorating for several years, the mass demonstrations that have come to characterize the crisis were triggered by several immediate factors. The first round of protests erupted in July 2018 in response to a Government announcement to end fuel subsidies that would have sharply increased the cost of transport, cooking and other basic needs.14 The following month, protesters returned to the streets to demand accountability for corruption, propelled by a social media post by a Haitian filmmaker asking “Kot Kòb Petwo Karibe a???,” or “where is the PetroCaribe money???.”15

The demand for accountability for the missing funds went viral on social media and sparked the mass mobilization in the streets that have continued regularly since. In February 2019, while the country was in virtual lockdown during PetroCaribe demonstrations, the arrest and subsequent unlawful release of a group of heavily-armed foreign mercenaries further underscored the ability of the rich and powerful to operate above the law and became another rallying point for demonstrations.16

A. Fuel Price Hike

In July 2018, simmering tensions exploded into massive protests after President Moïse announced a fuel-price hike that would have devastated Haiti’s poor majority17 who are already struggling to survive on $2 per day.18 The price increases — between 38% and 51% — were required earlier that year by the International Monetary Fund as a condition of its bailout of the Haitian Government.19

President Moïse responded to the protests by suspending the price hike and replacing then Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant to placate protesters.20 But he did not take further measures to address the rising costs of living and predatory corruption that made the price hikes so devastating in the first place. The failure to address these deeper drivers made the situation ripe for further uprisings. IJDH Director Brian Concannon warned at the time that “if Haiti’s government does not confront poverty and corruption, more unrest will follow.”21

B. PetroCaribe Corruption Scandal

Protests erupted again the following month, and have now coalesced around demands for accountability for the disappearance of an estimated $3.8 billion from the PetroCaribe fund, which holds revenue from a low-interest fuel loan program from Venezuela intended to finance socioeconomic development in Haiti.22 Official investigations have implicated much of Haiti’s political class, including numerous high-level officials throughout recent administrations, in the corruption scandal.23

In November 2017, the Haitian Senate’s Special Commission of Investigation released a 650-page report that identified 15 former ministers and top officials suspected of corruption and misappropriation of the public funds, resulting in the loss of $1.7 billion.24

From May 2011 to January 2016, President Moïse’s predecessor and patron President Michel Martelly allegedly spent about $1.256 billion of the $1.7 billion (74% of all the money the Haitian government took over a decade from the PetroCaribe Fund) to finance projects that were either not finished or never started.25 President Moïse is also personally implicated, accused of overbilling the government on a $100,000 contract to install solar lamps back in 2013.26

The implication of so many high-level officials in and close to this government has thwarted accountability at every level of government, even within supposedly autonomous agencies.27 At the legislative level, the Senate obstructed investigations by blocking a vote on the Commission report for four months.28 Senators with the majority party then passed a resolution condemning the report as politically-motivated in a clandestine session convened after opposition senators had left the building.29

In a move described as “exposing the cowardice of the Senate”, the resolution referred the dossier to the Cour Superieur des Comptes et du Contentieux Administratif (CSCCA), a governmental body that had already signed off on the contracts in questions at the time they were awarded.30

The CSCCA did issue an audit report in January 2019 that appears to be a serious attempt to advance the investigation.31 The report demonstrated that many state entities are delaying or denying the cooperation that the CSCCA needs to complete its work. Because of this, the CSCCA only addressed projects where it had enough information.

In April 2019, the CSCCA announced that a follow-up report was further delayed due to inadequate resources to complete the investigation.32 At the executive level, President Moïse unlawfully fired the director of UCREF, the financial crimes unit that produced an investigative report during the 2016 elections implicating President Moïse in money laundering, and replaced him with an unlawful “interim” director more favorable to Moïse.33

The new Parliament dominated by President Moïse’s allies then passed a law that granted the executive de facto control over the entity, greatly undermining its independence.34 Finally, at the judicial level, criminal prosecutions have been slow to advance.

As of October 2018, private citizens had filed over 60 complaints in court, which are now before an investigative judge assigned to the matter.35 According to a March 26, 2019 statement from civil society group Fondasyon Je Klere, the judge ordered the freezing of bank accounts associated with some of the individuals and companies implicated in the scandal, including Haiti’s former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and several former ministers.36 But no officials have been held criminally accountable for wrongdoing related to PetroCaribe to date.37

President Moïse unlawfully fired Sonel Jean François (above), the 
Director of UCREF, the financial crimes unit that produced an investigative 
report during the 2016 elections implicating President Moïse in money laundering.

Civil society is pushing for accountability from the streets in Haiti to social media around the world.38 Massive protests were held in August, November and December 2018, and February 2019, and are expected to continue. President Moïse has mostly responded to the protests with silence, declining to address the concerns of the opposition. During the ten-day lockdown in February, he waited until day four to issue a five-minute statement that was widely criticized for lacking in substance.39

C. Arrest and Release of Foreign Mercenaries

At the height of the February protests, the arrest and subsequent unlawful release to the United States of seven heavily armed foreign mercenaries further roiled the nation.40 Haitian police intercepted the men in an unlicensed vehicle with a cache of automatic rifles and pistols outside the Central Bank.41 The men allegedly told the police they were “on a government mission.”42

They were arrested on weapons trafficking charges and held in Haitian jail. On the order of the Minister of Justice, a close ally of President Moïse, they were later transferred into U.S. custody and taken to Miami, where U.S. authorities released them without charge.43 One of the men involved, ex-Navy SEAL Chris Osman, publicly lauded the release operation in a social media post, stating “I have seen the weight of the U.S. Government at work and it’s a glorious thing”.44

While many of the details remain murky, subsequent journalistic investigations suggest that the men were in Haiti to provide security for a Haitian businessman with close ties to the President, who was moving $80 million from the PetroCaribe fund into an account that the President controls in order to further consolidate power.45 Osman has publicly contested this account, countering that the group’s understanding of the mission was to provide security protection during the signing of a multimillion dollar infrastructure contract.46 While the true motives may not be known, the incident — eerily evocative of the U.S. marine occupation of Haiti in 1914 that started with a seizure of Haiti’s gold reserves at the Central Bank47 – sowed further anxiety at a time of intense insecurity in Haiti.

The U.S. government’s interference with the Haitian justice system sparked particular outrage,48 and contravened the U.S.’s own policy of not intervening when U.S. citizens are before the Haitian criminal justice system.49 As the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux wrote in a letter to the U.S. Ambassador denouncing the interference, the action undermined stability, sovereignty and the rule of law.50 It was a vivid reminder of the ways in which power interests operate above the law in Haiti, thus adding fuel to an already roiling fire.

(To be continued)


  1. Evens Sanon & Danica Coto, Haitians Seek Basic Necessities in Aftermath of Government Protests, PBS, Feb.18, 2019,
  2. Anthony Esposito, Haiti Police Fire Rubber Pellets at Mourners as Protests Resume, REUTERS, Feb. 22, 2019,; Tom Barnes, Police Clash with Demonstrators Demanding Haiti President’s Resignation Amid Deadly Protests, THE INDEPENDENT, Feb. 11, 2019,
  3. U.N. Secretary-General, United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti, U.N. Doc. S/2019/198, (Mar. 1, 2019), [hereinafter U.N. Secretary-General 2019 report].
  4. PBS NewsHour: Violent Protests in Haiti may Mean a Humanitarian Crisis, PBS (Feb.16, 2019),
  5. Jacqueline Charles, Haiti Owes Venezuela $2 Billion – and much of it was Embezzled, Senate Report Says, MIAMI HERALD, Nov. 15, 2017,
  6. Hillary Leung, Haiti: President Says He Won’t Resign, Protests Grip Capital, TIME, Feb.15, 2019,
  7. Jacqueline Charles, Haiti’s Latest Government Falls after Six Months as Lawmakers Fire Prime Minister, MIAMI HERALD, Mar. 18, 2019,
  8. Jovenel Moise nomme Jean Michel Lapin comme Premier minister, LE NOUVELLISTE, Apr. 9, 2019,
  9. Aaron Richterman, You Can’t Understand Haiti’s Protests Without Understanding History, WBUR, Mar. 11, 2019,; Brian Concannon, Jr., If Haiti’s Government Does Not Confront Poverty, Corruption, More Unrest Will Follow, MIAMI HERALD, July 17, 2018,
  12. USAID has spent over $470 million on rule of law and governance in Haiti since 2010. Jake Johnston, Where Does the Money Go? Eight Years of USAID Funding in Haiti, CTR. FOR ECON. & POLICY RESEARCH (Jan. 11, 2018), [hereinafter Where Does the Money Go?]. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), whose mandate included strengthening the institutions and rule-of-law structures of the Government of Haiti, spent over $7 billion in Haiti from 2004-2017. Jake Johnston, UNSC Votes to Gradually End Haiti Mission — And Start A New One, CTR. FOR ECON. & POLICY RESEARCH (Apr. 13, 2017), )[hereinafter UNSC Votes] (noting Security Council voted to replace MINUSTAH with a smaller mission after 13 years a $7 billion spent); See S.C. Res. 1542 (Apr. 30, 2004), (setting out MINUSTAH’s mandate).
  13. Inst. For Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Haiti’s November 28 Elections: Trying to Legitimize the Illegitimate 7-9 (2010), ; Haiti Election Primer, Part 5: The International Community, HAITI ELECTIONS, Nov. 20, 2016,; see also Nat’l Lawyers Guild & Int’l Ass’n of Democratic Lawyers, Haiti’s Unrepresentative Democracy: Exclusion and Discouragement in the November 20, 2016 Elections 2 (2017),; Irwin Stotzky & Brian Concannon, Jr., Democracy and Sustainability in Reconstructing Haiti: A Possibility or a Mirage?, 44:1 UNIV. MIAMI INTER-AM. L. REV. 1 (2012), available at
  14. Haiti Fuel Protesters’ Anger turns on President Moïse, BBC NEWS, July 9, 2018,
  15. Jacqueline Charles, ‘Where did the Money Go?’ Haitians Denounce Corruption in Social Media Campaign, MIAMI HERALD, Aug. 23, 2018, [hereinafter Haitians Denounce Corruption].
  16. Matthew Cole & Kim Ives, U.S. Mercenaries Arrested in Haiti Were Part of a Half-Baked Scheme to Move 80 Million for Embattled President, THE INTERCEPT, Mar. 20, 2019,
  17. Jacqueline Charles, Haiti Fuel Price Jump Was ‘Guaranteed to Lead to Backlash,’ U.N. Poverty Expert Says, MIAMI HERALD, July 16, 2018, [hereinafter Haiti Fuel Price].
  18. Overview, World Bank, (last visited Apr 12, 2019),
  19. Charles, Haiti Fuel Price, supra note 17.
  20. The Government suspend its decision!, HAITI LIBRE, July 7, 2018,; Haiti’s Prime Minister Quits Amid Protests Over Fuel Plan, ASSOCIATED PRESS, July 14, 2018,
  21. Concannon Jr., supra note 9.
  22. Charles, Haitians Denounce Corruption, supra note 15.
  23. Lucy Papachristou, Haiti: Top Officials Fired After Anti-Corruption Protests, ORGANIZED CRIME & CORRUPTION REPORTING PROJECT (Oct. 28, 2018),
  24. SÉNAT DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE D’HAÏTI, RAPPORT DE LA COMMISSION SENATORIALE SPECIAL D’ENQUETE SUR LE FONDS PETRO CARIBE (2017), available at; see also Jake Johnston, Haitian Government on the Defensive Following UN Welcoming of Corruption Investigation, CTR. FOR ECON. & POLICY RESEARCH, Mar. 7, 2018, [hereinafter Haitian Government on the Defensive].
  25. Kim Ives, The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency, COUNTERPUNCH (Sept. 18, 2018),
  26. Johnston, Haitian Government on the Defensive, supra note 24, at para. 2.
  27. Fonds Petrocaribe: des Haïtiens Demandent des Comptes à la Classe Politique, RFI, Aug. 20, 2018, [hereinafter Fonds Petrocaribe].
  28. Jake Johnston, Haitian Government on the Defensive, supra note 24.
  29. Collectif 4 Décembre et al, Scandale Petro Caribe : Des Organisations de la Société Civile Exigent Toute la Lumière sur la Dilapidation des Fonds, (Feb. 8, 2018),; Johnston, Haitian Government on the Defensive, supra note 24.
  30. Johnston, Haitian Government on the Defensive, supra note 24; Collectif 4 Décembre et al,, supra note 29, at 2.
  31. Cour Supérieure des Comptes et du Contentieux Administratif, Audit Spécifique de Gestion du Fonds PetroCaribe,, Jan. 31, 2019,
  32. Haïti – PetroCaribe : La CSC/CA ne pourra pas remettre son rapport d’audit à la date prevue, HAITI LIBRE, Apr. 24, 2019,
  1. Moïse lacked authority to replace the director as a new law that would grant the executive de facto control over the entity had yet to be approved. See Kim Ives, Illegally Ousted Anti-Corruption Chief: “The President Had to Find Someone Who Was More Obedient.,” HAITI LIBERTE, July 19, 2017,
  2. Jake Johnston, Did Trump Take a Page Out of Haiti’s Presidential Playbook?, HAITI LIBERTE, July 4, 2017, [hereinafter Haiti’s Presidential Playbook].
  3. The #Petrocaribe Challenge Mobilization Continues, Despite Apparent Government Attempts to Intimidate Protestors, ALTERPRESSE, Oct. 16, 2018,; Robenson Geffrard, PetroCaribe: 33 Plaintes Déposées, le Juge d’Instruction Attend les Réquisitions du Parquet, LE NOUVELLISTE, Mar. 19, 2018,
  4. Proces PetroCaribe Mesures Conservatoires : le Juge d’Instruction Montre ses Muscles, Radio Television Caraibes, Mar. 26, 2019, available at
  5. Johnston, Haiti’s Presidential Playbook, supra note 34, at para. 1.
  6. Fonds Petrocaribe, supra note 27.
  7. Sandra Lemaire, Haitian President to People: ‘I Hear You’, VOICE OF AMERICA, Feb. 14, 2019,
  8. Jake Johnston, Our Boss Will Call Your Boss, CTR. ECON. & POLICY RESEARCH, Mar. 2019, [hereinafter Our Boss].
  9. Id.
  10. Jacqueline Charles, Haitian police arrest five Americans who claimed they were on a ‘government mission, MIAMI HERALD, Feb. 18, 2019,
  11. Johnston, Our Boss, supra note 40.
  12. Id.
  13. Cole, supra note 16.
  14. Jacqueline Charles, ‘We’re not Mercenaries. We’re not Murderers,’ says Ex-Navy SEAL Arrested in Haiti, MIAMI HERALD , Mar. 21, 2019,
  15. U.S. Dep’t of State, Office of the Historian, U.S. Invasion and Occupation of Haiti, 1915–34 (last visited Apr. 17, 2019),
  16. Jacqueline Charles & Jay Weaver, Americans Arrested in Haiti with Arsenal of Guns Won’t Face U.S. Charges, MIAMI HERALD, Feb. 21, 2019,
  17. See ARREST OF A U.S. CITIZEN, U.S. EMBASSY IN HAITI (2019), Another recent incident also raises questions about the U.S. government’s interference in the Haitian justice system. In January 2019, the U.S. Embassy intervened to secure the release of an American military officer arrested and charged in Haiti for gang-rape. He was returned to the U.S., where he was apparently released without charge. See Lawyers condemn illegal U.S. removal of Americans arrested for weapons charges and rape in Haiti, THE CANADA-HAITI INFO. PROJECT, Mar. 16, 2019,
50. Letter from Bureau des Avocats Internationaux to Amb. Michele Sison, “Open Letter to the US Ambassador to Haiti to Denounce the US Embassy’s Interference in the Internal Affairs of the Haitian Justice System,” (Feb. 28, 2019), available at

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Media and Julian Assange: Time to Correct the Distortion

The Media Are Intentionally Distorting Assange Case - It's Time to Correct the Record

by Charlotte Gracias - 21st Century Wire

May 21, 2019

In 2019, media propaganda and distortion of the truth is commonplace. It is equally, if not more evident, in the treatment of Julian Assange by many mainstream media journalists.

As a journalist himself, Julian Assange fought relentlessly to expose the truth, putting his own life at risk and this made him a target of harassment by the state sponsored media in the UK, US and Australia.

Can we trust the mainstream media? Can we trust what they have written and are writing about Assange, Manning and Wikileaks?

Noam Chomsky from The Common Good:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion but to allow very lively debate within a narrow section of that spectrum.”
Julian Assange. In his own words in, The Media, Propaganda and You: 


In 2010, two women walked into a police station in Stockholm to ask for advice on how to compel Julian Assange to have an STD test. They had both had unprotected sex with him and Swedish police, recording their encounter, opened ex officio two cases of sexual misconduct against him. Since then, the media have sought to demonise Assange, undermine his reputation as a journalist and portray him as a sex offender even though no criminal charges were ever made during the past 9 years.

After questioning him inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in November 2016, Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation in May 2017 and revoked the arrest warrant.

Since his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on 11 April 2019, several smear pieces were published about alleged behaviour in the Ecuadorian Embassy that were untrue and slanderous.

In Julian Assange’s own words, to fight disinformation and counteract propaganda, “the simple greatest contributor to our expanding horizons is you.”

The public deserve to be presented with factual, honest reporting on Assange, and to know why the US Department of Justice wants to prosecute him for ‘conspiracy to commit computer intrusion’ – a charge the previous Obama administration deemed to be insufficient to prosecute criminally. The DOJ charges also accuse Assange of conspiring with Chelsea Manning to download and publish records containing classified defence information. Manning has bravely refused to incriminate Assange and faces further jail time for her defiance of the secret grand jury witch-hunt of Assange.

Julian Assange’s well-being and potentially his life are at risk if he is extradited either from the UK or Sweden to the US. Firstly, we must make the facts of the Swedish rape allegations clear to try and prevent the extradition to Sweden. Kristin Hrafnsson, editor of Wikileaks, provides some context on the Swedish rape allegation in this interview:

Holding the Mainstream Media to Account

How do we counter the disinformation about Julian Assange and Wikileaks? It’s up to us the citizen journalists and independent media to take up the challenge and expose the mainstream media lies.

In order to help correct the record, Wikileaks tweeted a posting from, which presents a note to all editors on the exact details of the Swedish allegations. It’s vital that the public are made aware and that the media report those facts.

Mainstream media outlets also have a professional responsibility to publish objective and accurate information. But reporting on Assange has been inaccurate, biased and largely unchallenged. Many of the media in the UK have signed up to a voluntary code of conduct. The Independent Press Standards Organisation sets out the rules that members including newspapers and magazines agree to follow. Those rules are regulated by the IPSO for their members, although membership is voluntary.

We need to dissect every article that aims to portray Julian Assange as a villain and highlight every inaccuracy on the reporting of what he did as a journalist, the role of Wikileaks, the ‘rape’ allegations in Sweden, his asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the bail skipping charges, and the real reasons for extradition orders. Each misleading article must be challenged either directly with the individual media organisation or by lodging a complaint with the IPSO with details of the inaccuracy within the article as well as providing the actual facts.

Every complaint should be monitored, the responses, apologies and corrections published and shared with others online. As more published articles are challenged, those journalists and their editors will be forced to respond which will be costly and time consuming.

The role of independent journalists or alternative media is also crucial to identifying and disseminating the truth. It’s mainly through these sources that we are able to establish facts about Julian Assange, Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning. We must support independent journalists and protect them from unfair censorship and attacks by mainstream media, politicians and groups of individuals who focus on spreading disinformation on social media platforms and are often aligned with state sponsored propaganda.

By working together, we can unpick the lies and smears about Julian Assange, inform public opinion and try to prevent his unjust extradition.

Reliable sources of information on Julian Assange are his lawyers, websites: and If you wish to participate in setting the record straight, join the Julian Assange Defence Committee, a grassroots solidarity campaign for the WikiLeaks publisher by sending an e-mail to

READ MORE WIKILEAKS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire WikiLeaks Files