Wednesday, 3 July 2019

European Council appoints new EU leaders

The European Council elected today Charles Michel (BE) as President of the European Council. The President of the European Council is elected for the period from 1 December 2019 until 31 May 2022. The mandate of two and a half years of the President of the European Council is renewable once. The European Council also welcomed the decision of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States whose currency is the euro to appoint Charles Michel as President of the Euro Summit, for the same term of office.

The European Council adopted the decision proposing Ursula von der Leyen (DE) to the European Parliament as candidate for President of the European Commission. The proposed candidate will need to be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members.

The European Council also considered Josep Borrell Fontelles (ES) to be the appropriate candidate for High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The formal appointment of the High Representative by the European Council requires the agreement of the President-elect of the Commission.

The President of the Commission, the High Representative and the other members of the Commission will be subject as a body to a vote of consent by the European Parliament, before the formal appointment by the European Council. Their term of office will last 5 years from the end of the current Commission until 31 October 2024.

The European Council also considered Christine Lagarde (FR) to be the appropriate candidate for President of the European Central Bank. The European Council will take a formal decision on the appointment on the basis of a Council recommendation, after having consulted the European Parliament and the ECB's Governing Council. The mandate for the President of the European Central Bank is for 8 years non-renewable.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

This Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water

“By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?”

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Veteran MD Drops Bombshell About 5G Technology Dangers At 5G Hearing

Dr Sharon Goldberg

The mainstream media gives away its corporate nature by simply ignoring the alleged harmful consequences of 5G.  It's a matter of extreme public interest and therefore deserves public debate. After all, what's more important than health? In Vienna, Austria, where 5G infrastructure has already been deployed, there have been reports of the noxious biological impact of such advanced wireless systems. 

According to Martin L. Pall, professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University, four reasons support the argument on why radiation from the 5G network will be dangerous for humans: an extraordinary number of antennae are required, high outputs are needed for penetration, pulsation levels will be very high, and it will have an impact on the human body’s cellular electrical field. 

Also, the impact of 5G seemed to have a deadly impact on hundreds of birds who fell down from the sky after a trial in the Netherlands, in November 2018. Why was this extremely relevant indicator overlooked?

“Wireless radiation has biological effects. Period. This is no longer a subject for debate when you look at PubMed and the peer-review literature. These effects are seen in all life forms; plants, animals, insects, microbes. In humans, we have clear evidence of cancer now: there is no question We have evidence of DNA damage, cardiomyopathy, which is the precursor of congestive heart failure, neuropsychiatric effects…5G is an untested application of a technology that we know is harmful; we know it from the science. In academics, this is called human subjects research," says Dr Sharon Goldberg at the Legislation Hearing (video above).

Further research on the subject, this time from Investigate Europe, has revealed that "radiation authorities rely on controversial group for safety advice". Once again, the power of the lobbies seems to be mighty enough to muffle public concerns or even to dismiss them.

On 14 May 2018, Claire Edwards, United Nations (UN) Staff, addressed the UN Secretary General António Guterres about the swift spread of 5G without public consent, let alone knowledge of it. Early in January 2019, Edwards expressed frustration after her several attempts of unsuccessfully following-up with this major issue: 

Nevertheless, despite the heavily built portraying of 5G as a progressive step in society, the topic has managed to slowly take the public debate arena, even if only on the streets or on alternative media outlets. 

Below, sourced from "Take Back Your Power" is a list of countries who have expressed concerns at the 5G rollout:

Friday, 12 April 2019

Who supports Julian Assange?

Below a list of selected public figures who have officially expressed support for Julian Assange: 

  • Rafael Correa, former Ecuador’s President

  • Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador Foreign Affairs Minister

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Iraq Veteran and US Presidential candidate

  • Mike Gravel, former Democrat Senator and running for Presidential elections

  • Diane Abbott, UK Labour MP

  • Edward Snowden, whistleblower exiled in Moscow

  • Noam Chomsky

  • John Pilger, investigative journalist and film-maker

  • Gleen Greenwald, former Guardian journalist reporting exclusively on Edward Snowden's revelations

  • Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist and author of "Dirty Wars"

  • Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Finance Minister

  • Richard Burgon, Labour MP

  • Kim Dotcom, Internet and political activist also blacklisted by the US DoJ

  • Evo Morales, President of Bolivia

  • Dinah PoKempner, General Counsel at Humans Right Watch

  • Kenneth Roth, Executive Director Humans Right Watch
  • Amnesty International Ireland

  • The Centre for Investigative Journalism

What are the most common anti-Assange positions and arguments?

On April 11, UK Foreign Secretary tweeted a very anti-Assange stance and praised Ecuador for its cooperation.

There were a few politicians who based their stance on arguments like Jeremy Hunt's "no one is above the law". Theresa May seemed to have received the same script too. As for Hilary Clinton, she said that Assange "must now answer for what he has done".  Her words are a very personal attack on Assange, who revealed Clinton's misconduct and corruption while she was running against Donald Trump for the presidential elections in 2016. In the meantime, Hilary Clinton's views and opinions are still credited in the political sphere and amplified by the Western mainstream media. There is a certain lack of logic when the "Madam Secretary", who illegally eliminated Bernie Sanders - her rightful concurrent to the White House in 2016 - keeps being given audience time. 

We witness to a shameless era where the law is a dangerous weapon at the hands of the powerful elite whereas the elite itself is blatantly unaccountable for their bloody crimes.

Unless we're talking about George Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, John McCain, James Mattis, Elliott Abrams, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton... 

Revealing crimes is more dangerous than committing them. This is the message that must be understood and the reason why Julian Assange's persecution is nothing other than government oppression, intimidation and ultimately a bullet on free speech.

*This is the second of a series of Assange's journalistic pieces.

Please sign the petition to stop Assange’s extradition.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Julian Assange, State Hypocrisy and the end of the Fourth Estate

On Thursday, April 11, after being cornered for almost 7 years by the UK government, the British police forcedly removed the Australian Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange was jailed on the US extradition warrant, where he is expected to be charged with conspiracy (with Chelsea Manning) for committing computer intrusion. The truth is the US government has been salivating for Assange since 2010, when US military crimes were widely exposed, leaked by Chelsea Manning and published by Wikileaks

The revoking of Assange's asylum by the Ecuador government, which triggered the arrest, was an evident part of a large international plot against Wikileaks' Editor-in-chief Julian Assange. The tide started turning after the Presidential elections in 2017 in Ecuador, which ended up replacing Rafael Correa for Lenin MorenoOn April 6, the American journalist Cassandra Fairbanks shared that a leaked court transcription from Assange shared light on US-backed Ecuadorian expulsion plans.

One day before the arrest, on April 10, Wikileaks declared that the Ecuadorian government was caught in a massive espionage operation against Julian Assange. On the same day, Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinsonrevealed that “the Spanish police uncovered videos, documents and photos, including of legal meetings with Assangetaken from inside the Ecuador embassy in an extortion sting operation, in Spain.”

Assange's arrest brings up to light the importance of protecting whistleblowers and media workers, particularly journalists and publishers.

Shortly after Julian’s detention, the barrister Geoffrey Robertson, one of Assange’s many lawyers said that “if they get away with extraditing Julian Assange they could extradite Alan Rusbridger, and the editors and journalists from the Guardian, and put them inside in America for a very long time.”

After the detention, Gleen Greenwald, Guardian's journalist during Snowden's revelations said that “Obama DOJ tried to concoct a theory to justify arresting Assange for more than merely publishing documents such as claiming he aided Manning in the the theft of documents. They found no evidence for it. Trump DOJ will likely manufacture some falsehood to claim it's more than publishing.” Back in 2010, Greenwald listed the major crimes, corruptions and abuses exposed by Wikileaks. This ought to be remembered as the number one reason for Assange's detention and not the DNC emails

The end of the Fourth Estate

Assange's removal from the Ecuador embassy in London was brewing and it will greatly impact freedom of expression and our right to know. Meanwhile, the Australian media, decided to mock Julian Assange rather than address the real issues at stake. On April 7, the  TV program from Channel 10, “The Project”, broadcasted so-called journalists sniggering at the political persecution, torture and suffering of Julian Assange. Lisa Wilkinson, Hamish Macdonald, Tim Blackwell and Susie Youssef proved to be unprofessional and unscrupulous, spreading misinformation, not once mentioning why Assange was gagged in the first place.

It was in 2010 when Wikileaks denounced the US military were killing civilians and journalists in Afghanistan and Iraq, amongst many shocking revelations pointing to the lack of government transparency. Nine years have passed and it's  appalling to witness how media outlets chose to blatantly deviate from the real source of the news. It's only logical that Julian Assange was gagged for sharing evidence on state wrongdoing, GITMO, war crimes, corruption and many other shocking government secrets such as the revelation of mass surveillance programs.

This was obviously not supposed to fall under the public eye. Assange became the enemy number one and had to be silenced.

“Most of the big leaks WikiLeaks has published meet a reasonable definition of public interest journalism, the kind that resulted in the publication of the Pentagon Papers or The Washington Post’s reporting on Watergate,” wrote Leonid Bershidsky in the Japan Times, three days prior to the arrest.

On April 9, the Guardian’s Editorial came forward expressing that “it would be wrong to extradite him [Julian Assange]”. “When the call comes from Washington, it requires a firm and principled no. It would neither be safe nor right for the UK to extradite Mr Assange to Mr Donald Trump’s America,” reads the communicate. In 2017, Wikileaks sued the UK-based newspaper on allegations of a fabricated story claiming Paul Manafort, former Trump’s campaign chairman, had met Julian Assange. These claims have helped building up the strong smear campaign against Assange, claiming he was a Russian agent.

Wikileaks reacted on Twitter saying that: “If the US can apply laws to publishers in the UK then any state can and it is an extradition free for all.”

Another rather coincidently and timely move from the UK government was the launch of the “Media Freedom” bogus initiative, presented by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Amal Clooney. The choice of Amal Clooney to “Ambassador” of Media Freedom was not innocent. International and Human Rights lawyer and married to Hollywood movie star George Clooney, she seemed to be the perfect combination for a likely more influential and socially acceptable PR coup.

On April 7, the independent journalist Patrick Henningsen penned an article to the 21st Century Wire stating: “amid a media symphony, he [Jeremy Hunt] announced an attention-grabbing campaign, while staying completely silent on his government’s treatment of WikiLeaks founder Assange which is by now widely recognised as a direct attack on press freedom.” Moreover, it was kept in total silence that Amal Clooney has represented Assange in the past. Let’s not talk about the elephant in the room?

Twitter censors pro-Assange comments

It seems evident that Twitter has become incredibly politicised. More than a social media channel, often Twitter has become the primary channel chosen by politicians to convey positions and communicates. This "new" digital form of making politics brings some strings attached. As it seems, Twitter has been labeled by several members a "censorship machine". I personally saw a nasty tweet I was typing being deleted three times in front of my eyes. It was directed to Senator Chuck Shumer who congratulated Assange's arrest and called him a Kremlin agent, for there is no evidence whatsoever. It was the second time that Twitter deleted a tweet I was writing and other members shared the same concern.

The censorship does not seem to stop with Twitter. Youtube video platform, Google owned, is also well-known for pulling up links from the platform as they please. There is a particular concern when those actions happen during sensitive times such as Assange's arrest, as divulged by Wikileaks on April 11.

The whole scenario leads inevitably to question surveillance practices within the media and social media world. 

The article published in SAGE Journals, “Reluctant activists? The impact of legislative and structural attempts of surveillance on investigative journalism” (2016), sheds a light on the pressure felt by journalists and publishers, particularly investigative journalists who tend to focus on a particular niche. The paper reveals that "one of the documents released by Edward Snowden in 2013 - destined for army intelligence - warned that ‘journalists and reporters representing all types of news media represent a potential threat to security’, adding: ‘Of specific concern are “investigative journalists” who specialise in defence-related exposés either for profit or what they deem to be of the public interest’". 

Luke Harding, journalist for the Guardian during Snowden’s revelations, divulged that when he was writing his book about the Snowden affair, “the noticeable surveillance took a bizarre turn: ‘At certain points in the text … someone would start remotely deleting the text.’”

In the investigative paper, Harding recalled the covert surveillance during the reporting period of Snowden’s revelations. “Janine Gibson [then-US-editor of The Guardian], her chats with Glenn Greenwald kept on falling through, there was someone trying to get a “man in the middle” [interception hack] on her laptop.”

“If you work in this field you can be sure that your phone numbers, your email address and so on will end up on some selectors list of the National Security Agency or Government Communications Headquarter - GCHQ,’” added Michael Sontheimer from Der Spiegel, which learned from the Snowden leaks that half a year after it covered the WikiLeaks cables in 2010, its research was monitored and phone calls surveilled. 

*This is the first of a series of Assange's journalistic pieces.

Please sign the petition to stop Assange’s extradition.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Finland and Estonia pioneering cross-border health services

On January 21, digital exchange of prescriptions and patient summaries became a reality between Finland and Estonia, the first two countries pioneering the use of e-prescriptions across borders.  As such, the first EU patients will be able to use digital prescriptions issued by their home doctor when visiting a pharmacy in another EU country: Finnish patients are now able to go to a pharmacy in Estonia and retrieve medicine prescribed electronically by their doctor in Finland.

Movement of people across the EU is increasing more and more, reason why in 2011 the European institutions adopted the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive (2011/24/EU), ensuring the continuity of care for European citizens across borders. This gives Member States the possibility to exchange health data in a secure, efficient and interoperable way.

The following two electronic cross-border health services are currently progressively introduced in all European countries:
  • ePrescription (and eDispensation) allows citizens in Europe to retrieve their medication in a pharmacy located in another European country, thanks to the online transfer of their electronic prescription from their country of affiliation (hereafter referred to as the country of residence) to their country of travel. Your country of residence is informed about the medicine you retrieve in the country of travel (eDispensation).

  • Patient Summary provides information on important health related aspects such as your allergies, current medication, previous illness, surgeries, etc. It will form part of a larger collection of health data called European Health Record, whose implementation across Europe is planned at a later stage. The digital Patient Summary is meant to provide doctors with essential information in their own language concerning the patient, when the patient comes from another EU country and there may be a linguistic barrier. On a longer term, not only the basic medical information of the Patient Summary, but the full Health Record should become available across the EU.

The ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries can be exchanged between EU countries thanks to the new eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure, which connects the eHealth national services among them to exchange health data.

According to the European Commission, 22 Member States are part of the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure and are expected to exchange ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries by the end of 2021. Additionally, 10 Member States (Finland, Estonia, Czechia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Croatia, Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Belgium) may start these exchanges by the end of 2019.