Previously published as Re: Assange (28/2/20) | RT CrossTalk, Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/rttv/re-assange?in=rttv/sets/crosstalk-1.
In London, Julian Assange is in court to decide whether he will be extradited to the US to face espionage charges. The stakes could not be higher. Assange's liberty, even life, is on the line. Freedom of speech is also on trial – though you wouldn't know that from the mainstream media. This is a Crosstalking debate featuring Joe Lauria, Taylor Hudak, and Alexander Mercouris, who have all been attending protests outside the courts where a kangaroo trial is being staged for Julian Assange.
This 21:09 minute video debate has beenc republished from Attack on Freedom of Speech (19/4/19) | PressTV (but see note below - Ed).
Although the US presence in Syria is illegal, the US is talking about putting more troops there, presumably to fire up a war that the Russians and the Syrians have almost succeeded in extinguishing. Erdoğan has accused the US of planning to form 'terror army' in Syria: 'Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born’, said the Turkish president of 30,000-strong force aimed at dividing and conquering Syria by promoting a Kurdish separist movement. In this edition of The Debate, Press TV has conducted an interview with Hafsa Kara-Mustapha, a journalist and political commentator from London, and Wafik Moustafa, the chairman of Conservative Arab Network, from London, to discuss the United States' plans to station 30,000 militants on the Syrian borders with Turkey and Iraq. This videoed debate was first published on Iranian Press tv on Tue Jan 16, 2018 at http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/01/16/549062/Washingtons-deployment-plan-in-Syria
If the embedding function below does not show, click here to watch the program on press tv directly.
On 18 September US-Australian-Canadian-Danish airstrikes killed 80 or more Syrian Arab Army soldiers who were attempting to combat ISIS from a Syrian military base. There seems little doubt that this was a war-crime, but it has already been displaced by media-saturation cover of a single act of terrorism in Manhattan where 29 people were injured. Well, the western media may believe it can hide the truth, but Eastern media and the alternative media cannot let this go. Inside this article there are two video debates on the motives and consequences of the US-Australian-Canadian-Danish airstrikes that killed 80 Syrian Arab Army soldiers two days ago. In the first video, "U.S. Bonus for Terrorists," Press TV conducts an interview with Brian Becker, with the ANSWER Coalition from Washington, and Frederick Peterson, a US congressional defense policy advisor from New York, to discuss these US airstrikes in Syria. This debate was originally published by Iranian Press TV at http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/09/18/485337/US-bonus-terrorists on Sunday, September 18, 2016.
In the second video debate, "Tenuous Truce" [see video below] there was another debate on the same matter conducted with Scott Bennett, a military expert and former US army psychological warfare officer from San Francisco, and Michael Lane, the founder of American Institute for Foreign Policy from Washington, to discuss the failed ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia in Syria. This was originally published at http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/09/19/485484/US-Russia-Syria-ceasefire.
How does the international community handle a rogue-state U.S.A.?
What can we do when the United States keeps on pulling more and more shocking stunts in the Middle East. It seems to be proving that it is the maddest and the baddest, and that anyone trying to stop it would risk a nuclear war. And Australia and other countries are stupidly being sucked in. Scott Bennett in the second debate, suggests that the world needs to demand a UN inquiry into the US airstrike as a war-crime and that the alternative media and the non-western media - like Rt and Press TV - have to try to raise the profile of that demand to get through the block of fizz that issues from the mainstream western media, which simply puts any challenge to US warmongering to one side:
SCOTT BENNETT: "Secretary Kerry and Obama and the political powers right now, I think, [...] they're off the chain. I think the military is doing its own thing in its own time in order to create fires that the next administration will have to put out. They're seeding their own future job applications. But the facts are - if you're arguing this in court - if you were arguing this to the United Nations Criminal Court - you simply could say, 'The United States engaged in targeting operations and the Russian intelligence forces will provide the appropriate electronic surveillance that will prove that the United States was engaged in chatter and conversations in targeting that resulted in the murder of 80 Syrian military personnel. In order to roll back the Assad military that was attempting to cleanse the country of foreign invaders that were beheading children and raping women and doing all sorts of war-crime atrocities'.
So, what do you do with war-criminals who commit atrocities? You try them. What do you do with those who give them money and back them and finance them and give them plane cover? You also try them.
So, there should be immediate calls for a United Nations war-criminal tribunal put forth by the coalition of Assad, of Iran, of Russia and China, saying, very simply, that the United States is engaged in criminal activity, war-crimes. It's aiding and abetting, financially and with military personnel, the operations of Syrian revolutionaries that are coming in from foreign countries.
These are not indigenous Syrian personnel.
And the only people, really, who should have any place at the table is Syria, Russia, Iran, Iraq.
All this was launched from Iraq. Iraq should immediately ground every U.S. and foreign plane and forbid them from engaging in these sorts of activities. And the U.S., essentially, should be kicked out. It should have no place in any future conversation, because it cannot be trusted. The American people are very quickly learning that. The European people are learning that. That's why the Brexit occurred. It's because they saw all of this destabilisation.
Then I would say to the other guest [in this debate] The Russians are not the Soviets. The Russians are the Russian people, the Russian culture, that want peace and tranquility and unity and so do the Syrians.
And, for us to go in with this neo-conservative empire agenda that is backed by the Zionist-Israeli-Wahabi nexus to target Iran and Russia, is a war-crime.
And I would testify before the United Nations; I would testify before the criminal court. I know that Senator Dick Black would and I know that there are a lot of us in the community that are stepping up because this is absolute insanity. And it's going to result in a very serious war and I hope and pray that President Putin and the other members of the coalition are very strategic and intelligent and cool-headed.
Yes, they need to decimate the illegal foreign fighters that are coming in, but they also need to do it in a very public-relations information warfare level. They need to write and blanket the American media and the European media with the truth. Because, right now, the American media has no idea - or the American people have no idea - of what's really going on. That's the way to win the hearts and minds of the American people and end this savagery."
Scott Bennett and Michael Lane explore the possibilities in the video, which is well worth watching.
Australia has mandated a relatively steady average compound annual population growth of 1.6+% since 1901 combined with a relatively steady average compound annual GDP growth of 3.2+% since 1901. Inside I criticise Australia's most recent so-called Population inquiry, conducted by Tony Burke. Relatedly, I also ask you to sign a petition for a new population inquiry, which you can quickly find here: Australia requires a public inquiry to determine a basis for the optimum rate of population growth
I am asking readers to forward the petition because it cannot grow if it is not forwarded.
Why do we need an optimum population inquiry for Australia?
Any multi-national industrial company uses risk assessment techniques similar to those defined in the Australian government's WorkSafe Safety Assessment for a Major Hazard Facility.
Safety of personnel is the highest priority for such global corporations. Safety assessments are performed based on the reality of the finite resources an organisation has available to manage and implement its business strategy.
Risk assessments typically rate a particular risk based on both the likelihood of it occurring and the consequence. Where a Risk Assessment confirms that there is a catastrophic consequence (ie loss of life) and a high likelihood of that outcome (for example infant mortality in the developing world), then implementing mitigation measures would be deemed obligatory.
This is exactly the situation a country would find itself in if its population growth policy could clearly be demonstrated to reduce its ability to provide foreign aid for such mitigation measures.
A related question is: Why is Australia experiencing increasing public and private sector debt even with rapidly increasing population and manic exploitation of every natural resource that mining, oil and gas and farming operations can feasibly develop? Why also has the number of unemployed increased at a compound rate of 2.3% per annum over the last decade? Is rapid population growth a root cause of both of these outcomes?
From a macro perspective, if analysis of the rate of population growth in Australia showed that the cost of each additional Australian for the Australian economy is reducing Australia's profitability (for example due to increasing national debt) then it would follow that this is indirectly responsible for the loss of life of many people each year in the developing world, due to our reduced capacity to pay for foreign aid.
The environment is finite and this is a zero sum "game". The more pigs at the Australian trough gorging on excess, the more people die in the developing world?
This is one good reason why we need a Public Inquiry. There are many more; as outlined below.
Critique of Australia's most recent inquiry into population
See below my critique of Australia's most recent failed inquiry into population, as conducted by Tony Burke, a recent minister for Sustainability and Environment with the Gillard Government. The history of Burke's inquiry, readers may remember, followed on Gillard's remarks about not being keen on a big population. Gillard went on to preside over a continuing expansion of Australia's immigration program and this report sank without a trace.
My responses to Tony Burke's remarks highlight what appears to be an attempt to prop up a pro-growth status quo argument in denial of the facts, which continues a sad tradition of intellectual dishonesty in Australian government on the matter of population policy:
Tony Burke's severely blinkered inquiry
Extract from: Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Sustainable Australia –Sustainable Communities; A Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia (2011)
My comments in Italic Bold:
Box 3 – Why Australia does not have a population target
A number of submissions to the public consultation phase called for the Government to set a population target. Indeed, public discussion over the past 40 years has periodically called for a population ‘target’ to be set. The pressure to provide such a target is often based on a belief that there must be a measurable, finite limit to the capacity of the country to provide resources for its population. These debates have often been fuelled by the publication of possible projected population trends.
There are many aspects of population growth, such as changes in fertility rates, longevity, or emigration, that we cannot accurately predict nor directly control, especially beyond the immediate future.
Good points, but a long term average "target" has been achieved, whether by accident or by GDP chasing. That target has been 1.6+% compound average annual growth and has been tracked over the decades since 1901. 60% of population growth is currently due to net migration; which could possibly be modified to target a lower rate of growth. See http://candobetter.net/?q=node/3421. The target is currently to double population every 40 years; forever. This is not realistic.
Further, governments have limited practical tools through which they can influence population. Immigration is the most direct lever, but this is still limited in practicality (for example, migration from New Zealand, or the movement of Australians overseas or returning home). The adoption of a population target would also limit the use of the migration program as a policy lever to address emerging skills gaps and labour shortages.
Good points; but another argument for doing nothing? Skills gaps are driven by demand, which is driven significantly by government policy on population growth. Roughly half of GDP growth is attributable to the direct consequences of population growth – which also dilutes GDP per capita while lowering quality of life in a rapidly degrading environment. Rapid population growth is accompanied by rapid growth in the number of unemployed. The growth rate of unemployed over the last decade has been 2.3% per annum – far faster than population growth. So what is causing this social problem?
It is clear that any perceived ‘optimum’ population is likely to change in the future due to changes in the way resources are used and developments in technology. Such developments may, for example, facilitate an increased water supply, greater yields in food production, and increasing take-up of alternative, renewable energy. As we strive for greater efficiency in consumption of resources, it follows that a larger number of people could be supported for the same consumption.
The future is endless. A relevant question is how long Australia wishes humanity to survive here and globally? The optimum population is clearly a stable population, because growth cannot continue indefinitely. By practicing a policy of extreme growth, the time available to develop technological solutions to the massive negative impacts of rapid growth is exponentially reduced. There is no way to double population every 40 years indefinitely – regardless of the extent of improved resource use and technological development. This creates a blueprint for an inherently unsustainable society - which is what we are now experiencing.
Improvements in urban planning and technology in the future also have the potential to change the way we live and work, reducing the external costs of population growth currently being experienced, such as traffic congestion. Hence, it is more useful for governments, businesses and communities to focus on ways of improving our wellbeing, protecting our environment and making better use of the resources we have, rather than trying to determine an absolute limit to our population and focussing efforts on restricting growth in order to not exceed this ‘limit’.
This is partly true, but there are limits. It doesn't make sense to propose that solutions can be developed to accommodate endless growth without addressing the potential for moderating the primary driver of this rapid growth (aka population growth). Chaotic expansion is not preferable to disciplined improvement.
Since the 1970s, all population inquiries sponsored by Australian governments have rejected the notion of a population target or national carrying capacity. Mandated population targets would typically be arbitrary, and impossible to deliver in practice.
Australia has effectively mandated a long term average annual population growth of 1.6+% since 1901 combined with a long term average annual GDP growth of 3.2+% since 1901.This proposition is not supported by the actual track record, which shows relatively steady adherence to consistent rapid long term growth targets.
In addition, setting such a target has the potential to distract attention from addressing the challenges presented by other aspects of population change, including location, age and skill composition.
Many of the distractions in Australia today are CAUSED by the rapid rate of population growth…….!
Population projections are illustrations of what the population might look like, on the basis of various assumptions about mortality, fertility and migration. These are generally based on past trends, and at best should be seen only as rough guides to the direction of current population movement. For example, if assumptions about fertility do not eventuate, then projections are likely to be quite different to actual population numbers, particularly in the medium to long-term.
This is arguably absurd in light of the relatively steady long term population growth trends already achieved by Australia and the potential for variable migration during a transition to more moderate rates of growth………
So, rather than setting a target, the central objective of this Strategy is to lay the platform for a more sustainable Australia. In contrast to relying on long term projections, this can be better achieved by managing the impacts of all aspects of our current population, closely monitoring migration levels, and using population projections for the short to medium term to plan and prepare for our population’s needs in the future.
There has been a consistent "target" since 1901. The problem is that this target is clearly far too high by developed world (or any other) standards, and therefore requires critical review. This document is paying lip service to the task at hand rather than recognising the need for performing ongoing comprehensive review that ensures we are on the right track.......... It is an oxymoron to talk about sustainability in the context of a population growth rate comparable to those of the most underdeveloped and environmentally degraded developing-world dictatorships on earth.
 All the global growth rates are from the CIA World Factbook. All data on OECD population and GDP growth rates were from this source and were compared to actual ABS data for 2012.
Embedded broadcast was originally published as What is the future for Syria? Truthloader LIVE debate. See also: Turks slam Ankara's support for terrorist groups in Syria of 19 May 2013 on PressTV. Israeli peace activist tells the truth about Israel
Three Syrian supporters of the Syrian Government debate three Syrian supporters of the terrorist insurrection in the embedded broadcast.
Those not familiar with the Syrian conflict will have to pay close attention in order to gain much from this discussion. The debate is somewhat tiresome due to the evasions, repetition and circular logic of the supporters of the insurrection. In spite of this, I think that their opponents, particularly the Syrian Girl, won the debate quite definitively.
Written on-line debate enables truth to be found more easily
Whilst verbal debate has great value, I still think it is easier to find where the truth lies from written online debate. However, in my experience, supporters of such causes as that of the terrorists fighting against the Syrian people and their government instinctively know that evidence and logic are against them and so will be even less willing to participate in written forum discussions than they are to participate in verbal discussions.
Those seeking the truth from written sources therefore should try to find opposing written views, compare the evidence and form their own judgement. Examples of opposed written online views of the Syrian conflict are, on the one hand on Global Research and, on the other hand, the lying Mainstream Media
Difficulties faced by Syrian Government
In fighting to defend their people, the Syrian Government will unavoidably cause the deaths and injury of Syrian human shields used by the terrorists and the destruction of Syrian homes in which the terrorists hide. In addition, the Government will inevitably make mistakes that will cause yet more destruction and cost more Syrians their lives.
This has been used by the mainstream media.
Whilst the loss of lives and the destruction made necessary by the terrorist war will inevitably be used against the Syrian Government by the lying mainstream media and inevitable mistakes made by the Syrian Government in prosecuting the war will compound the problem, it would be a still greater mistake on the part of the Syrian government and armed forces to fight with any less ferocity and determination against the terrorists for fear of making such mistakes.
May 5th 2010 - St Kilda and South Melbourne ALP Branches present POPULATE AND/OR PERISH: Are our migration numbers right or wrong?
A debate and discussion with Michael Danby MP, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports VERSUS Kelvin Thomson MP, Federal Member for Wills, Chair of the joint Standing Committee on Treaties (Non-ALP members may sign in as guests and attend.)
Wednesday May 5, 2010
Cora Graves Centre
38 Blessington Street ST. KILDA
Saint Kilda and South Melbourne ALP Branches present POPULATE AND/OR PERISH: Are our migration numbers right or wrong.
A debate and discussion with
Michael Danby MP
Federal Member for Melbourne Ports
Kelvin Thomson MP
Federal Member for Wills
Chair of the joint Standing Committee on Treaties
Yes, its the event that had to happen: a debate on population between two senior Labor Figures
who have featured heavily in the media in recent years with opposing opinions on this important topic.
Come along and see DANBY and THOMSON slog it out, ask them questions, grapple with this enormous policy question
Non-ALP members may sign in as guests
The debate that has been organised is an ALP event, that will be taking place at one of the local branch meetings in Melbourne Ports. Standing orders for the meeting will be suspended to allow for the debate to proceed.
ALP members have been formally invited from the Melbourne Ports Electorate and surrounding electorates. Any non members who are interested in attending need to understand they will be signing in as guests at an ALP branch meeting.