Open letter calling for the release of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

3 July 2020 — Defend Wikileaks

Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
London
SW1H 9AJ

3 July 2020

RE: Open letter calling for the release of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange
CC: Rt Hon Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

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Dear Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP,

On 8 June 2020, responding to a question in the House of Lords about the United Kingdom’s stance regarding the protection of journalists and press freedoms, Minister of State Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said, “Media freedom is vital to open societies. Journalists must be able to investigate and report without undue interference”.

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40+ Rights Groups Call on UK to Free Julian Assange

3 July 2020 — Defend Wikileaks

WikiLeaks publisher turns 49 in prison, facing U.S. extradition

Dozens of press freedom, human rights, and privacy rights organizations across five continents have co-signed an open letter to the U.K. government, calling for the immediate release of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The publisher, who turns 49 years old today in HMP Belmarsh, is facing extradition to the United States where he has been indicted under the Espionage Act for WikiLeaks’ 2010-11 publications of the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diaries, and State Department cables. If convicted, Mr Assange would face up to 175 years in prison, “tantamount to a death sentence.”

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GM groups call on the public: Ask Ministers to reject plans to de-regulate gene editing

2 July 2020 — GMWatch

UK: PLEASE TAKE ACTION

Three of the UK’s largest GM campaigns – GM Freeze, Beyond GM and GMWatch – have joined together to oppose an amendment to the Agriculture Bill that would give the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice, the power to change the definition of a GMO and re-classify many forms of gene editing as non-GM.

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Gene Editing: Scientifically indefensible, anti-democratic, and harmful to trade

2 July 2020 — GMWatch

The amendment to the Agriculture Bill seeking to de-regulate gene-edited foods and crops should be discarded

An amendment has been tabled[1] in the UK House of Lords to the Agriculture Bill, seeking to change the definition of a genetically modified organism (GMO) in the UK’s Environmental Protection Act (1990) in order to exempt certain types of new genetic modification techniques, such as gene editing, from GMO regulations, within the context of “Agriculture Research”. This would mean that certain types of genetically modified organisms, including gene-edited ones, would escape safety checks and labelling. The Agriculture Bill will go to the committee stage in the House of Lords on 7 July.

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Institute of Race Relations fortnightly digest (17 June – 1 July 2020)

2 July 2020 — Institute of Race Relations

If you suddenly move hundreds of extremely vulnerable people, en masse, together in vans, out of safe, self-contained flats where they could cook for themselves, giving them less than an hour’s notice, to shared accommodation in hotels where social distancing is impossible, at the same time withdrawing their £5.39 per day living allowance, cutting them off from phone lifelines – tragedy is very likely to follow. The asylum seeker shot dead after the multiple stabbing at Park Inn, Glasgow, run as an asylum hostel by Mears during the pandemic, is not the first to die after suffering severe mental health deterioration in this situation; Syrian refugee Adnan Olbeh died in early May at another asylum hotel. Charities and migrant support groups such as Positive Action in Housing warned for months of the dangers of this ‘hotel detention’.

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UK: Sweet wholesaler awarded £108 million PPE contract and they had no experience with PPE

2 July 2020 — Good Law

The Government has awarded an £108 million contract for the supply of PPE to a wholesaler of sweets. The enormous contract was awarded to the confectionery business seemingly without any advertising or competitive tendering process. There is no evidence that the company, Clandeboye Agencies Limited, has any experience in supplying PPE.

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False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare

2 July 2020 —

False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare is a new Medact report, written by Medact Research Manager Dr. Hilary Aked.

The report examines the implementation and impacts of the Prevent duty in the NHS, looking at the interaction between the duty and other professional duties. It analyses and gives a breakdown of the figures relating to the number of referrals to Prevent across a number of NHS Trusts, discussing the mental health and racialised implications of the duty. The report concludes with key recommendations to both Government and medical bodies based on the findings.

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Tell the government to end the rent debt crisis

1 July 2020 — Generation Rent

“While the immediate public health effects of coronavirus are subsiding to a degree, the economic impact is only just starting to be felt. So if nothing else is put in place huge numbers of tenants will be unable to pay their rent and will lose their homes as a result.”

That’s what our Policy Manager Caitlin told MPs on the Housing Committee on Monday.

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UK confirms it will not align with EU chemicals agency

26 June 2020 — The Chemical Engineer

by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

THE UK Government has said that it will not align with EU chemicals policy, instead bringing in its own controversial system.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed that the UK will implement its own version of the EU chemical regulatory system, REACH, at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. The UK is still operating under EU REACH until then, but has no say on the regulations. Despite calls from industry to align with the European regulatory system, the UK Government will implement a UK REACH run by Defra and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), replacing the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The plans for UK REACH have previously been called “vague and insufficient”.

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Pro-Israel racist group ADL moves to co-opt Black Lives Matter

30 June 2020 — The Electronic Intifada

Ali Abunimah

Soldiers restrain a blindfolded youth

The Anti-Defamation League tries to portray itself as an ally of Black Lives Matter while shielding Israel from criticism for its abuses of Palestinian rights. – Wisam Hashlamoun ZUMA Press

For those who yearn for an end to systemic racism, these are exhilarating times as Black activists and organizations lead a global uprising against symbols and structures of white supremacy.

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Statewatch: Open letter to Secretary-General of International Maritime Organization (IMO)

30 June 2020 — Statewatch

Statewatch News Online, 30 June 2020

e-mail: office@statewatch.org

London, 29 June 2020 – The civil liberties organisation Statewatch has today delivered an open letter [1] with hundreds of signatories to Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of International Maritime Organization (IMO), calling on him to revoke the Libyan maritime search and rescue (SAR) zone [2] in order to prevent the so-called Libyan Coast Guard undertaking ‘pull-backs’ of migrants to Libya, where they face violence, abuse and mistreatment.

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Keir Starmer’s ‘antisemitism’ sacking is a signal that Israel is safe in his hands

29 June 2020 — Jonathan Cook

Crackdown by UK Labour leader on left-wing rival will subdue critics of Israel in his party ahead of Israel’s annexation move

Middle East Eye – 29 June 2020

The sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the UK shadow cabinet – on the grounds that she retweeted an article containing a supposedly “antisemitic” conspiracy theory – managed to kill three birds with one stone for new Labour leader Keir Starmer.

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