Assange stands by Edward Snowden as Ecuador’s Correa reprimands consul

From The Guardian UK:

WikiLeaks founder says ‘there is no stopping the publishing process’ as NSA leaker remains stuck in Moscow airport

in New York
The Guardian, Sunday 30 June 2013

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has warned the US government that no matter what it does to try and apprehend Edward Snowden, the revelations he has unearthed on secret digital surveillance of American citizens will see the light of day.

Assange stated pointedly that steps had been taken to foil any US attempt to block publication. “There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage,” he said.

Speaking to This Week on ABC news from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he is fighting extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, Assange would not go into details. But he added: “Great care has been taken to make sure Mr Snowden cannot be pressured by any state to stop the publishing process.”

Snowden is believed to be holed up in the transit area of a Moscow airport, as he seeks asylum in another country, possibly Ecuador. The former contractor for the National Security Agency has been charged under the 1917 Espionage Act, having leaked classified information on the US government’s digital surveillance of phone records, emails and internet communications to the Guardian and the Washington Post.

WikiLeaks has been assisting Snowden in his attempt to avoid capture, providing the 30-year-old with travel expenses and legal counsel and sending advisers to accompany him on his journey from Hong Kong to Moscow earlier this month. Assange said he had offered to help because “we’ve had some experience in the past with dealing with attacks from the US, with asylum and so on, and I have some personal sympathy for Mr Snowden”.

But WikiLeaks has come under criticism from Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden, who through his lawyer has accused the anti-secrecy organization of using his son to raise money for itself and to prevent Edward Snowden “from doing the right thing” by returning to the US to face charges. Assange told This Week that he had contacted the lawyer to try to “put some of his concerns to rest”.

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Bradley Manning should win the Nobel Peace Prize

From The Guardian UK:

As a peace prize winner myself, I am nominating Manning for this honor for his work to help end the Iraq War and other conflicts, Sunday 30 June 2013

Peace is more than simply the absence of war; it is the active creation of something better. Alfred Nobel recognized this when he created alongside those for chemistry, literature, medicine and physics, an annual prize for outstanding contributions in peace. Nobel’s foresight is a reminder to us all that peace must be created, maintained, and advanced, and it is indeed possible for one individual to have an extraordinary impact. For this year’s prize, I have chosen to nominate US Army Pfc Bradley Manning, for I can think of no one more deserving. His incredible disclosure of secret documents to Wikileaks helped end the Iraq War, and may have helped prevent further conflicts elsewhere.

I recently visited Syria, where I met a few of the millions of refugees and internally displaced people whose lives have been torn apart by the ongoing conflict in that country. I learned from those I spoke to, both within the government and in opposition groups, that while there is a legitimate and long-overdue movement for peace and non-violent reform in Syria, the worst acts of violence are being perpetrated by outside groups. Extremist groups from around the world have converged upon Syria, bent on turning this conflict into one of ideological hatred.

In recent years this would have spelled an undeniable formula for United States intervention. However, the world has changed in the years since Manning’s whistleblowing – the Middle East especially. In Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, and now Turkey, advocates of democracy have joined together to fight against their own governments’ control of information, and used the free-flowing data of social media to help build enormously successful non-violent movements. Some activists of what has come to be known as the Arab Spring have even directly credited Bradley Manning, and the information he disclosed, as an inspiration for their struggles.

In a Middle East newly dedicated to democratic flow of information, those who would commit human rights violations can more easily be held accountable. If not for whistleblower Bradley Manning, the world still might not know of how US forces committed covert crimes in the name of spreading democracy in Iraq, killing innocent civilians in incidents such as the one depicted in the “Collateral Murder” video, and supporting Iraqi prisoner torture. Now, those who would support foreign intervention in the Middle East know that every action would be scrutinized under international human rights law. Clearly, this is for the best. International peacekeepers, as well as experts and civilians inside Syria, are nearly unanimous in their view that United States involvement would only worsen this conflict.

Around the world, Manning is hailed as a peacemaker and a hero. His nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is a reflection of this. Yet at his home in America, Manning stands trial for charges of espionage and “aiding the enemy”. This should not be considered a refutation of his candidacy – rather, he is in good company. Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi and Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo were each awarded the prize in recent years while imprisoned by their home countries.

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Germany ready to charge UK and US intelligence over alleged bugging operations

From The Independent UK:

Outrage grows in Europe over allegations of extensive hacking and bugging operations

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Hot, Hot, Hot

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Mass Protest, Not a Speech, Is Needed to Address Climate Change

From Truth Out:

By Chris Williams
Sunday, 30 June 2013

Before we get teary eyed with joy or scoff with derision, we should take a closer look at President Obama’s June 25 speech on climate change, and set it within the context of his five years in power. This is a position he himself argued for during his speech when he said that we need to “be more concerned with the judgment of posterity” than short–term political considerations.

So is Obama, in the words of World Resource Institute President Andrew Steer, really “resetting the climate agenda” and can we honestly say that “it’s a wonderful thing to see that he is really reclaiming this issue”?

While many other environmentalists, including Bill McKibben of, are fervently hoping that this is true, history and facts demonstrate otherwise. Obama’s dismal domestic and international track record on environmental issues—it was, after all, he who was the lead protagonist in wrecking the international climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009—and his commitment to U.S. imperial power as a representative of American corporate interests surely point toward the need for a greater and more thoroughgoing critique than a character assessment of the man himself allows for.

Furthermore, it’s hard to take someone seriously when that person has presided over the biggest expansion of the security state in U.S. history and relentlessly pursued government whistleblowers with unprecedented ferocity, when they say simultaneously in a climate speech that they are directing the EPA to generate new standards for the regulation of existing power plants in “an open and transparent way.”

With a more systematic, broader analytical framework, unimpeded by misty visions of an Obama rebirth as a climate champion, one immediately recognizes the inadequacy of his Action Plan On Climate Change to keep the planet below the critical threshold of 2 degrees Celsius of average warming.

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EPA Ups Allowable Residue of Monsanto’s Toxic Herbicide on Food

From Common Dreams:

Regulatory agency raises limits of known endocrine disruptor glysophate in produce and animal feed

Common Dreams staff

In a little reported development, the Environmental Protection Agency last week issued a new rule raising the allowable concentration of Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, otherwise known as Roundup, on food crops, animal feed and edible oils

  Despite the proven risk, this ruling is clearly a result of successful lobbying effort on the part of the Ag Giant to raise the residue limits of this toxic chemical.

“Glyphosate has been shown in several recent studies to be an endocrine disruptor,” writes the Cornucopia Institute, in a statement about the news. “According to the National Institutes of Health, endocrine disruptors could have long-term effects on public health, especially reproductive health. And the ‘dose makes the poison’ rule does not apply to endocrine disruptors, which wreak havoc on our bodies at low doses.”

They continue:

A June 2013 study concluded that glyphosate “exerted proliferative effects in human hormone-dependent breast cancer.” An April 2013 study by an MIT scientist concluded that “glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins,” and pointed out that glyphosate’s “negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”

The new regulations permit concentrations higher than the levels some scientists belive are carcinogenic, the Food Poisoning Bulletin adds. 

Under the new regulation, fruits can have concentrations from 200 ppb to 500 ppb glyphosate, oilseed crops can contain up to 40 ppm (40,000 ppb) glyphosate, and root crops such as potatoes and beets can contain 6000 ppb glyphosate. Animal feed can contain up to 100 ppm (100,000 ppb) glyphosate.

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Heat Wave in the West Brings Fires, Travel Delays and a Death

From The New York Times:

Published: June 30, 2013

PHOENIX — An unforgiving heat wave held much of the West in a sweltering embrace over the weekend, tying or breaking temperature records in several cities, grounding flights, sparking forest fires and contributing to at least one death.

An elderly man was found dead on Saturday in a home without air-conditioning in Las Vegas, where the city’s temperature reached 115 degrees, tying the record for the hottest June 29 since 1994. Also, more than 200 people attending an outdoor concert there were treated for heat-related problems that day, 34 of them at hospitals, the authorities said.

At trailheads at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, park rangers were trying to dissuade people from hiking the same area where a Boy Scout troop leader died of heat exposure early last month, when temperatures were lower.

At Death Valley National Park in California, whose temperature of 134 degrees a century ago stands as the highest ever recorded in the world, the digital thermometer became a busy tourist attraction over the weekend. The forecast called for a high of around 130 degrees at the park’s Furnace Creek area on Sunday; leaflets at the visitor center warned “Heat Kills.”

Because summer brings the highest rate of deaths among migrants trying to enter the United States illegally through Arizona, the Border Patrol added extra members to its elite search and rescue team. At least seven migrants had been found dead in the desert over the past week.

Monsoons normally bring rain and cooler temperatures to the region in July, but the heat has shown no sign of abating. Several Western states were under heat warnings on Sunday, with most of those expected to remain in effect at least through Tuesday evening. Meteorologists warned of the potential for forest fires in drought-plagued communities in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, as the clouds that build early in the monsoon season often bring lightning and wind but little or no rain.

Lightning had already started four forest fires outside New Mexico’s capital, Santa Fe, on Friday. On Sunday, one of them was still burning.

“We’re really kind of on the edge of our seats now and over the next week or two,” said Todd Shoemake, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

On Saturday, as the temperature reached 119 degrees in Phoenix, making it the city’s fourth hottest day on record, US Airways canceled 18 of its regional flights because the maker of the smaller jets that fly those routes had provided performance statistics only up to temperatures of 118 degrees.

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