Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

January 26, 2023


Chris Hedges, The Real News Network, Fri, 20 Jan 2023 

Thirteen years ago, WikiLeaks published extensive leaked US government documents detailing a range of criminal and unethical acts, from the slaughter of civilians in the “War on Terror” to acts of espionage against foreign heads of state. Since then, the persecution of Julian Assange has not ceased. This year, Assange is expected to stand trial in the US for violations of the Espionage Act. Journalist Kevin Gosztola joins The Chris Hedges Report to review the cases of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and discuss Washington’s wider war against whistleblowers and the truth itself.

Kevin Gosztola is the managing editor of Shadowproof, where he writes The Dissenter. He is the author of Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange.


TRANSCRIPT

Chris Hedges:  The long persecution of Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, is set to culminate in its final act: a trial in the United States, probably this year. Kevin Gosztola has spent the last decade reporting on Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers. His new book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case against Julian Assange, methodically lays out the complex issues surrounding the case, the gross distortions to the legal system used to facilitate the extradition of Julian, now in a high security prison in London, the abuses of power by the FBI and the CIA, including spying on Julian’s meetings when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with his family, doctors, and attorneys, and the dire consequences, should Julian be convicted, for the press.

Joining me to discuss his new book is Kevin Gosztola. So Kevin, you do a very… I think your book and Nils Melzer are the two books I would recommend for people who don’t understand the case. I use this show in this interview to really lay out for people who are unfamiliar with the long persecution of Julian and the legal anomalies that have been used against him. You know, what those are. So let’s just start with what are the charges, what are the allegations, which is where you begin your book.

Kevin Gosztola:  Yeah. And the intention was to look ahead and say, Julian Assange is likely to be brought to the US by the end of 2023, maybe 2024. We need something out there for the general public so they can wrap their head around the unprecedented nature of what’s unfolding. And so the charges against Julian Assange, he was first indicted back in April of 2019. Or sorry, that was when it was unveiled. He was charged first with a computer crime offense. They alleged, essentially, a password cracking conspiracy. And that was of intrusion, of essentially agreeing to help Chelsea Manning anonymously access military computers.

And then the other charges were 17 espionage act offenses. …………………………………………………………  https://therealnews.com/julian-assange-and-the-us-governments-war-on-whistleblowers

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Mining lobby tricks government with its big taxpayer fairytale

November 29, 2022

 https://michaelwest.com.au/mining-lobby-tricks-government-with-its-big-taxpayer-fairytale-swaps-deloitte-for-ey/by Callum Foote | Nov 29, 2022 |

The Minerals Council of Australia has duped Energy Minister Madeleine King into repeating its highly inflated claims of how much taxes its mostly foreign multinationals members pay. Callum Foote reports on an $85 billion PR scam.

The Minister for Energy, Madeline King, has repeated claims from mining lobby group, Minerals Council of Australia, that the mining industry made payments of $43.2 billion in company tax and royalties to Australian governments in in a speech given at the ​​NT Resources Week conference. The figures were repeated on ABC Radio without question.

As revealed here last year, Big Four consulting firm Deloitte used to do the misleading report for the mining lobby. This year it is another Big Four firm, Ernst & Young. The EY report, has – like Deloitte’s previous work – failed to disclose that up to 60% of the tax that they claim the mining industry pays is returned in the form of GST refunds.

They have included GST paid but not refunded, which is massively misleading. The false claims come at a critical time for the mining and energy sectors which are reaping record profits, partially at the expense of energy customers, and the minerals lobby is threatening a public campaign against the government if efforts are made to increase taxes and royalties.

The big GST swindle

The tax numbers produced by EY are derived from the ATO’s Corporate Tax Transparency data and, while their methodology differs somewhat from that of Deloitte’s last year, the report still fails to disclose the GST refund the minerals industry enjoys.

The report avoids mentioning that the mining industry, as an exporting industry, legitimately receives a huge GST refund every year.

A different set of ATO data, the Taxation statistics 2019-20 reveals that over $7.5 billion was refunded to the mining industry as a whole in 2019-20 which is the latest year that data is available.

Over the last decade years, almost $85 billion have been returned to the mining industry through GST refunds, which equals 55.7% of the $152 billion in company tax paid by the industry as a whole.

In the accounting profession, company taxes are regarded as deriving from company revenue. That is, income from a business comes in, costs such as wages are paid which leaves gross profit upon which company tax is paid. Taxes like GST and PAYG are *collected* for the government, not *paid* by the company.

According to forensic accountant Jeff Knapp “GST doesn’t come through the revenue of the company into profit, which would be ‘company tax’. It is collected from customers, just as PAYG is collected from employees”. These taxes are not paid by a company, they are collected, for government, on behalf of a company.

The claims made by MCA CEO Tania Constable regarding the amount of tax paid by her industry have been used to defend against calls for higher mining taxes: “A new tax on Australian mining companies would seriously undermine our international competitiveness, resulting in jobs losses across the country and devastating many communities which rely on mining,” she said.

The Minerals Council refused to defend its claims when approached, numerous times, for comment about its members receiving GST refunds and the misleading nature of the report.

EY has been contacted for a comment, along with the MCA and Minister for Energy.

Running the line

Compared to last year’s report, this year’s has received far less attention. In 2021, Australia’s major media organisations, News Corp and Nine Entertainment were duped by the mining lobby’s false claims about its contribution to Australia.

This year, it’s mainly the industry outlets such as Mirage News, Australian Mining and Mining Magazine that have repeated the claims.

It should be noted that Deloitte’s report considers only the minerals industry, excluding oil and gas from its analysis. This is important because gas corporations are presently the most profitable of all minerals thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and soaring energy prices. This sector is notorious for tax avoidance and dollar-for-dollar avoids more tax than any other sector. The PRRT, a tax which was designed to capture more of this wealth, is regarded as a failed tax. 

GST data for the minerals industry is only available for four years between 2015 and 2018. During this period, GST refunds to the minerals industry averaged year-on-year 60% of the company tax total, compared to the mining industry’s overall 61%. In 2018 the figure was higher, with minerals at 36% to mining’s 32%.

So why have royalties and company tax been singled out?

It appears the report was intended from its inception to provide an exaggerated view of the contribution of the minerals industry to Australian governments to ward off attempts to increase taxes.

First commissioned in 2014 under MCA’s then-CEO Brendan Pearson – who has been more recently employed in the Prime Minister’s office – Deloitte’s report was used as proof in an argument that supported the MRRT being repealed.

Pearson said the report “underlines that we are paying an effective tax rate above 40 per cent, when you combine the tax rate and the royalties”.

Royalties and taxes are two entirely separate concepts and to conflate the two is misleading. However, it is a well-worn strategy used by the mining industry to make it appear as though they are paying a higher tax rate than they really are.

Brendan Pearson was forced out as CEO of the Mineral Council in 2017, when BHP took issue with his pro-coal, anti-Paris Agreement lobbying. BHP threatened to review its membership with the MCA, with Rio Tinto signalling it would do likewise if Pearson did not step down.

Pearson, landed on his feet taking up a senior advisory role regarding international trade and investment in former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office in 2019.

BHP and Rio Tinto, who are the MCA’s largest members, declined to be interviewed for this story.

As Australia gets American nuclear-capable bombers, it risks becoming a dangerous military mess and target – like Guam

November 1, 2022

China’s furious reaction as Australia gets US nuclear-capable bombers A furious Beijing has blasted reports of the US gifting Australia nuclear-capable bombers, prompting a concerning warning from China.

 https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/chinas-ominous-threat-to-australia-over-us-nuclearcapable-bombers/news-story/ca67d55d29ef716883078e4fb8e2101f Ally Foster and Frank Chung, November 1, 2022 –

Australia has been issued an ominous threat, after China lashed out at reports of the US sending nuclear-capable bombers to the Northern Territory.

According to an investigation by the ABC’s Four Cornersthat aired on Monday, Washington has drawn up plans to build a dedicated a “squadron operations facility” at the Tindal air base south of Darwin that will house “six B-52s”.

These aircraft are capable of delivering both nuclear and conventional weapons, with a combat range of more than 14,000km.

The news has prompted a furious response from Beijing, with the former editor-in-chief of the CCP-run Global Times issuing an ominous warning to Australia.military

Commentator Hu Xijin said Australia would need to “bear the risks” of this move.

“The PLA’s Dongfeng missiles definitely fly faster than the B-52 bombers,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If Australia wants to become a “big Guam,” then it must bear the corresponding strategic risks.”

There have even been warnings that accepting these bombers could “trigger a regional arms race”.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said by sending the bombers to Australia, the US had “increased regional tensions, seriously undermined regional peace and stability, and may trigger a regional arms race”.

“Defence and security co-operation between any countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability and not target or harm the interests of third parties,” he told reporters in Beijing.

Mr Zhao said Beijing was urging all the countries concerned to “abandon the old Cold War zero-sum thinking and narrow geopolitical concepts”.

The focus should instead be on contributing more to regional peace and stability and enhancing “mutual trust”, he said.

No need for nuclear power to reach Australia’s climate goals: Finkel — RenewEconomy

September 15, 2022

Former chief scientist and current federal government advisor on low emissions technology says there is no need to include nuclear power in Australia’s future energy. The post No need for nuclear power to reach Australia’s climate goals: Finkel appeared first on RenewEconomy.

No need for nuclear power to reach Australia’s climate goals: Finkel — RenewEconomy

‘Doesn’t seem genuine’: Ex-Pacific leaders question Australia’s climate stance

September 13, 2022

‘Doesn’t seem genuine’: Ex-Pacific leaders question Australia’s climate stance

Former Pacific Island nation presidents have challenged the Albanese government to “walk the talk” on climate action and start phasing out of the fossil fuels which threaten the future of their region.

Rooftop solar reaches 72 per cent of demand in world’s biggest isolated grid — RenewEconomy

September 12, 2022

Rooftop and distributed solar reaches what appears to be a new record of 72 per cent of demand in W.A., the biggest isolated grid in the world. The post Rooftop solar reaches 72 per cent of demand in world’s biggest isolated grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Rooftop solar reaches 72 per cent of demand in world’s biggest isolated grid — RenewEconomy

Grid demand hits record low as rooftop PV takes bigger bite out of coal power’s lunch — RenewEconomy

September 12, 2022

Grid demand in Queensland, Australia’s most coal dependent state, hit record low as growing amount of rooftop solar took a big bite out of coal’s midday lunch. The post Grid demand hits record low as rooftop PV takes bigger bite out of coal power’s lunch appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Grid demand hits record low as rooftop PV takes bigger bite out of coal power’s lunch — RenewEconomy

Environmental groups say Glencore greenwashing as it expands Australian coal mining — RenewEconomy

September 10, 2022

Environmental law group alleges Glencore is misleading investors over its environmental targets given its growing footprint in coal mining. The post Environmental groups say Glencore greenwashing as it expands Australian coal mining appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Environmental groups say Glencore greenwashing as it expands Australian coal mining — RenewEconomy

Norway’s largest pension fund backs fund pursuing Australia’s biggest battery project — RenewEconomy

September 10, 2022

Norway’s biggest pension fund backs Australian fund building some of the world’s biggest solar plant and a massive battery near Brisbane. The post Norway’s largest pension fund backs fund pursuing Australia’s biggest battery project appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Norway’s largest pension fund backs fund pursuing Australia’s biggest battery project — RenewEconomy

Australia’s most coal dependent state may be about to make big green leap — RenewEconomy

September 7, 2022

Corporate Australia’s green energy plans are likely to sweep Australia’s most coal dependent state into a future it could barely imagine. The post Australia’s most coal dependent state may be about to make big green leap appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s most coal dependent state may be about to make big green leap — RenewEconomy