Pundits, public figures and Julian Assange’s supporters flocked to an event called ‘Free the Truth’ in London. The Ruptly video agency filmed the exhibition of posters decrying Assange’s imprisonment, as well as artworks inspired by him.
“So many activists are coming together at a time when I feel there’s been a real change in public sentiment,” Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who now campaigns for the renowned publisher, commented.
Despite the lack of coverage or biased coverage in mainstream media, there is now an understanding that Julian is being extradited to the United States for nothing except for publishing the truth.
He’s confident that next year “we will see one of the largest campaigns [in support of Assange] of our time.”
It’s extremely important to draw attention to the founder of the WikiLeaks website, because “we are about to set a precedent,” warned Nils Melzer, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.
If Assange gets extradited to the United States and if he gets punished for exposing the truth, then essentially what’s happening is that telling the truth becomes a crime.
Assange is currently being held at London’s high-security Prison Belmarsh while he faces extradition to the United States on conspiracy and espionage charges.
Melzer has previously sounded the alarm about the conditions of his detention, accusing British authorities of subjecting him to “psychological torture” and warning that he could face further cruel treatment if extradited to the US.
“He’s going to be sentenced by the same judge that sentences all of these whistleblowers in a closed court in East Virginia, and he’ll disappear in a high security prison in inhumane conditions for the rest of his life,” Melzer predicted.
ALSO ON RT.COMJulian Assange will ‘disappear for the rest of his life’ inside ‘inhumane’ US prison, UN envoy warns… if he makes it that farLike this story? Share it with a friend!
The Guardian has published an editorial titled “The Guardian view on extraditing Julian Assange: don’t do it,” subtitled “The US case against the WikiLeaks founder is an assault on press freedom and the public’s right to know.” The publication’s editorial board argues that since the Swedish investigation has once again been dropped, the time is now to oppose U.S. extradition for the WikiLeaks founder.
“Sweden’s decision to drop an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange has both illuminated the situation of the WikiLeaks founder and made it more pressing,” the editorial board writes.
Oh okay, now the issue is illuminated and pressing. Not two months ago, when Assange’s ridiculous bail sentence ended and he was still kept in prison explicitly and exclusively because of the U.S. extradition request. Not six months ago, when the U.S. government slammed Assange with 17 charges under the Espionage Act for publishing the Chelsea Manning leaks. Not seven months ago, when Assange was forcibly pried from the Ecuadorian embassy and slapped with the U.S. extradition request. Not any time between his April arrest and his taking political asylum seven years ago, which the Ecuadorian government explicitly granted him because it believed there was a credible threat of U.S. extradition. Not nine years ago when WikiLeaks was warning that the U.S. government was scheming to extradite Assange and prosecute him under the Espionage Act.
Nope, no, any of those times would have been far too early for The Guardian to begin opposing U.S. extradition for Assange with any degree of lucidity. They had to wait until Assange was already locked up in Belmarsh prison and limping into extradition hearings supervised by looming U.S.government officials. They had to wait until years and years of virulent mass media smear campaigns had killed off public support for Assange so he could be extradited with little or no grassroots backlash. And they had to wait until they themselves had finished participating in those smear campaigns.
There is, needless to say, no hint or suggestion in the Mueller Report that Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange ever in his life, let alone 3 times in the Ecuadorian Embassy during the election. It would obviously be there if it happened. How can the @guardian not retract this??
This is after all the same Guardian which published the transparently ridiculous and completely invalidated report that Trump lackey Paul Manafort had met secretly with Assange at the embassy, not once but multiple times. Not one shred of evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this claim despite the embassy being one of the most heavily surveilled buildings on the planet at the time, and the Robert Mueller investigation, whose expansive scope would obviously have included such meetings, reported absolutely nothing to corroborate it. It was a bogus story which all accused parties have forcefully denied.
This is the same Guardian which ran an article last year titled “The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride,” arguing that Assange looked ridiculous for remaining in the embassy because “The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the U.S.”
The article was authored by the odious James Ball, who deleted a tweet not long ago complaining about the existence of UN special rapporteurs after one of them concluded that Assange is a victim of psychological torture. Ball’s article begins, “According to Debrett’s, the arbiters of etiquette since 1769: ‘Visitors, like fish, stink in three days.’ Given this, it’s difficult to imagine what Ecuador’s London embassy smells like, more than five-and-a-half years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the small flat in Knightsbridge, just across the road from Harrods.”
This is the same Guardian which published an article titled “Definition of paranoia: supporters of Julian Assange,” arguing that Assange defenders are crazy conspiracy theorists for believing the U.S. would try to extradite Assange because “Britain has a notoriously lax extradition treaty with the United States,” because “why would they bother to imprison him when he is making such a good job of discrediting himself?”, and “because there is no extradition request.”
This is the same Guardian which published a ludicrous report about Assange potentially receiving documents as part of a strange Nigel Farage/Donald Trump/Russia conspiracy, a claim based primarily on vague analysis by a single anonymous source described as a “highly placed contact with links to US intelligence.” The same Guardian which just flushed standard journalistic protocol down the toilet by reporting on Assange’s “ties to the Kremlin” (not a thing) without even bothering to use the word “alleged,” not once, but twice. The same Guardian which has been advancing many more virulent smears as documented in this article by The Canary titled “Guilty by innuendo: the Guardian campaign against Julian Assange that breaks all the rules.”
A look at how sleazeball journalists at the Guardian tried to ‘Russiagate’ Assange https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2018/12/20/guilty-by-innuendo-the-guardian-campaign-against-julian-assange-that-breaks-all-the-rules/ …
Guilty by innuendo: the Guardian campaign against Julian Assange that breaks all the rules | The…
Assange prefers transparency
You can see, then, how ridiculous it is for an outlet like The Guardian to now attempt to wash its hands of Assange’s plight with a self-righteous denunciation of the Trump administration’s extradition request from its editorial board. This outlet has actively and forcefully paved the road to the situation in which Assange now finds himself by manufacturing consent for an agenda which the public would otherwise have found appalling and ferociously objectionable. Guardian editors don’t get to pretend that they are in some way separate from what’s being done to Assange. They created what’s being done to Assange.
The deployment of a bomb or missile doesn’t begin when a pilot pushes a button, it begins when propaganda narratives used to promote those operations start circulating in public attention. If you help circulate war propaganda, you’re as complicit as the one who pushes the button. The imprisonment of a journalist for exposing U.S. war crimes doesn’t begin when the Trump administration extradites him to America, it begins when propagandistic smear campaigns begin circulating to kill public opposition to his imprisonment. If you helped promote that smear campaign, you’re just as responsible for what happens to him as the goon squad in Trump’s Department of Justice.
Really great talk by @RonPaulInstitut‘s Daniel McAdams titled “How Not To Be a CIA Propagandist” on the importance of never facilitating propaganda narratives against governments targeted for regime change, even if you disagree with their ideology.https://youtu.be/IgoEFSrRnds?t=5948 …
Before they launch missiles, they launch narratives. Before they drop bombs, they drop ideas. Before they invade, they propagandize. Before the killing, there is manipulation. Narrative control is the front line of all imperialist agendas, and it is therefore the front line of all anti-imperialist efforts. When you forcefully oppose these agendas, that matters, because you’re keeping the public from being propagandized into consenting to them. When you forcefully facilitate those agendas, that matters, because you’re actively paving the way for them.
Claiming you oppose an imperialist agenda while helping to advance its propaganda and smear campaigns in any way is a nonsensical and contradictory position. You cannot facilitate imperialism and simultaneously claim to oppose it.
They work so hard to manufacture our consent because they need that consent. If they operate without the consent of the governed, the public will quickly lose trust in their institutions, and at that point it’s not long before revolution begins to simmer. So, don’t give them your consent. And for God’s sake don’t do anything that helps manufacture it in others.
Words matter. Work with them responsibly.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on Facebook, Twitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book “Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.”
This article was re-published with permission.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Pepe Escobar reports on a searing account by Iran’s foreign minister of his country’s relations with the U.S.
Just in time to shine a light on what’s behind the latest sanctions from Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a speech at the annual Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, delivered a searing account of Iran-U.S. relations to a select audience of high-ranking diplomats, former presidents and analysts.
Zarif was the main speaker in a panel titled “The New Concept of Nuclear Disarmament.” Keeping to a frantic schedule, he rushed in and out of the round table to squeeze in a private conversation with Kazakh First President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
During the panel, moderator Jonathan Granoff, president of the Global Security Institute, managed to keep a Pentagon analyst’s questioning of Zafir from turning into a shouting match.
Previously, I had extensively discussed with Syed Rasoul Mousavi, minister for West Asia at the Iran Foreign Ministry, myriad details on Iran’s stance everywhere from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan. I was at the James Bond-ish round table of the Astana Club, as I moderated two other panels, one on multipolar Eurasia and the post-INF environment and another on Central Asia (the subject of further columns).
Zarif’s intervention was extremely forceful. He stressed how Iran “complied with every agreement and it got nothing;” how “our people believe we have not gained from being part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; how inflation is out of control; how the value of the rial dropped 70 percent “because of ‘coercive measures’ – not sanctions because they are illegal.”
He spoke without notes, exhibiting absolute mastery of the inextricable swamp that is U.S.-Iran relations. It turned out, in the end, to be a bombshell. Here are highlights.
Zarif’s story began back during 1968 negotiations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, with the stance of the “Non-Aligned Movement to accept its provisions only if at a later date” – which happened to be 2020 – “there would be nuclear disarmament.” Out of 180 non-aligned countries, “90 countries co-sponsored the indefinite extension of the NPT.”
Moving to the state of play now, he mentioned how the United States and France are “relying on nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence, which is disastrous for the entire world.” Iran on the other hand “is a country that believes nuclear weapons should never be owned by any country,” due to “strategic calculations based on our religious beliefs.”
Zarif stressed how “from 2003 to 2012 Iran was under the most severe UN sanctions that have ever be imposed on any country that did not have nuclear weapons. The sanctions that were imposed on Iran from 2009 to 2012 were greater than the sanctions that were imposed on North Korea, which had nuclear weapons.”
Discussing the negotiations for the JCPOA that started in 2012, Zarif noted that Iran had started from the premise that “we should be able to develop as much nuclear energy as we wanted” while the U.S. had started with the premise that Iran should never have any centrifuges.” That was the “zero-enrichment” option.
Zarif, in public, always comes back to the point that “in every zero-sum game everybody loses.” He admits the JCPOA is “a difficult agreement. It’s not a perfect agreement. It has elements I don’t like and it has elements the United States does not like.” In the end, “we reached the semblance of a balance.”
Zarif offered a quite enlightening parallel between the NPT and the JCPOA: “The NPT was based on three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Basically, the disarmament part of NPT is all but dead, non-proliferation is barely surviving and peaceful use of nuclear energy is under serious threat,” he observed.
Meanwhile, “JCPOA was based on two pillars: economic normalization of Iran, which is reflected in Security Council resolution 2231, and – at the same time – Iran observing certain limits on nuclear development.”
Crucially, Zarif stressed there is nothing “sunset” about these limits, as Washington argues: “We will be committed to not producing nuclear weapons forever.”
All About Distrust
Then came Trump’s fateful May 2018 decision: “When President Trump decided to withdraw from the JCPOA, we triggered the dispute resolution mechanism.” Referring to a common narrative that describes him and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as obsessed with sacrificing everything to get a deal, Zarif said: “We negotiated this deal based on distrust. That’s why you have a mechanism for disputes.”
Still, “the commitments of the EU and the commitments of the United States are independent. Unfortunately, the EU believed they could procrastinate. Now we are at a situation where Iran is receiving no benefit, nobody is implementing their part of the bargain, only Russia and China are fulfilling partially their commitments, because the United States even prevents them from fully fulfilling their commitments. France proposed last year to provide $15 billion to Iran for the oil we could sell from August to December. The United States prevented the European Union even from addressing this.”
The bottom line, then, is that “other members of the JCPOA are in fact not implementing their commitments.” The solution “is very easy. Go back to the non-zero sum. Go back to implementing your commitments. Iran agreed that it would negotiate from Day One.”
Zarif made the prediction that “if the Europeans still believe that they can take us to the Security Council and snap back resolutions they’re dead wrong. Because that is a remedy if there was a violation of the JCPOA. There was no violation of the JCPOA. We took these actions in response to European and American non-compliance. This is one of the few diplomatic achievements of the last many decades. We simply need to make sure that the two pillars exist: that there is a semblance of balance.”
This led him to a possible ray of light among so much doom and gloom: “If what was promised to Iran in terms of economic normalization is delivered, even partially, we are prepared to show good faith and come back to the implementation of the JCPOA. If it’s not, then unfortunately we will continue this path, which is a path of zero-sum, a path leading to a loss for everybody, but a path that we have no other choice but to follow.”
Time for HOPE
Zarif identifies three major problems in our current geopolitical madness: a “zero-sum mentality on international relations that doesn’t work anymore;” winning by excluding others (“We need to establish dialogue, we need to establish cooperation”); and “the belief that the more arms we purchase, the more security we can bring to our people.”
He was adamant that there’s a possibility of implementing “a new paradigm of cooperation in our region,” referring to Nazarbayev’s efforts: a real Eurasian model of security. But that, Zarif explained, “requires a neighborhood policy. We need to look at our neighbors as our friends, as our partners, as people without whom we cannot have security. We cannot have security in Iran if Afghanistan is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Iraq is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Syria is in turmoil. You cannot have security in Kazakhstan if the Persian Gulf region is in turmoil.”
He noted that, based on just such thinking, “President Rouhani this year, in the UN General Assembly, offered a new approach to security in the Persian Gulf region, called HOPE, which is the acronym for Hormuz Peace Initiative – or Hormuz Peace Endeavor so we can have the HOPE abbreviation.”
HOPE, explained Zarif, “is based on international law, respect of territorial integrity; based on accepting a series of principles and a series of confidence building measures; and we can build on it as you [addressing Nazarbayev] built on it in Eurasia and Central Asia. We are proud to be a part of the Eurasia Economic Union, we are neighbors in the Caspian, we have concluded last year, with your leadership, the legal convention of the Caspian Sea, these are important development that happened on the northern part of Iran. We need to repeat them in the southern part of Iran, with the same mentality that we can’t exclude our neighbors. We are either doomed or privileged to live together for the rest of our lives. We are bound by geography. We are bound by tradition, culture, religion and history.” To succeed, “we need to change our mindset.”
Age of Hegemony Gone
It all comes down to the main reason U.S. foreign policy just can’t get enough of Iran demonization. Zarif has no doubts: “There is still an arms embargo against Iran on the way. But we are capable of shooting down a U.S. drone spying in our territory. We are trying simply to be independent. We never said we will annihilate Israel. Somebody said Israel will be annihilated. We never said we will do it.”
It was, Zarif said, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who took ownership of that threat, saying,
“I was the only one against the JCPOA.” Netanyahu “managed to destroy the JCPOA. What is the problem? The problem is we decided not to fold. That is our only crime. We had a revolution against a government that was supported by the United States, imposed on our country by the United States, [that] tortured our people with the help of the United States, and never received a single human rights condemnation, and now people are worried why they say ‘Death to America?’ We say death to these policies, because they have brought nothing but this farce. What did they bring to us? If somebody came to the United States, removed your president, imposed a dictator who killed your people, wouldn’t you say death to that country?”
Zarif inevitably had to evoke Mike Pompeo: “Today the secretary of state of the United States says publicly: ‘If Iran wants to eat, it has to obey the United States.’ This is a war crime. Starvation is a crime against humanity. It’s a newspeak headline. If Iran wants its people to eat, it has to follow what he said. He says, ‘Death to the entire Iranian people.’”
By then the atmosphere across the huge round table was electric. One could hear a pin drop – or, rather, the mini sonic booms coming from high up in the shallow dome via the system devised by star architect Norman Foster, heating the high-performance glass to melt the snow.
Zarif went all in: “What did we do the United States? What did we do to Israel? Did we make their people starve? Who is making our people starve? Just tell me. Who is violating the nuclear agreement? Because they did not like Obama? Is that a reason to destroy the world, just because you don’t like a president?”
Iran’s only crime, he said, “is that we decided to be our own boss. And that crime – we are proud of it. And we will continue to be. Because we have seven millennia of civilization. We had an empire that ruled the world, and the life of that empire was probably seven times the entire life of the United States. So – with all due respect to the United States empire; I owe my education to the United States – we don’t believe that the United States is an empire that will last. The age of empires is long gone. The age of hegemony is long gone. We now have to live in a world without hegemony – regional hegemony or global hegemony.”
This article is from The Asia Times.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made prudent remarks recently when he said the United States is no longer a uni-power and that it must recognize the reality of China as an equal rival.
The furor over a new law passed by the US this week regarding Hong Kong and undermining Beijing’s authority underlines Kissinger’s warning.
If the US cannot find some modus vivendi with China, then the outcome could be a catastrophic conflict worst than any previous world war, he admonished.
Speaking publicly in New York on November 14, the veteran diplomat urged the US and China to resolve their ongoing economic tensions cooperatively and mutually, adding: “It is no longer possible to think that one side can dominate the other.”
A key remark made by Kissinger was the following: “So those countries that used to be exceptional and used to be unique, have to get used to the fact that they have a rival.”
In other words, he is negating the erroneous consensus held in Washington which asserts that the US is somehow “exceptional”, a “uni-power” and the “indispensable nation”. This consensus has grown since the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the US viewed itself as the sole super-power. That morphed into a more virulent ideology of “full-spectrum dominance”. Thence, the past three decades of unrelenting US criminal wars and regime-change operations across the planet, throwing the whole world into chaos.
Kissinger’s frank assessment is a breath of fresh air amid the stale and impossibly arrogant self-regard held by too many American politicians who view their nation as an unparalleled power which brooks no other.
The seasoned statesman, who is 96-years-old and retains an admirable acumen for international politics, ended his remarks on an optimistic note by saying: “I am confident the leaders on both sides [US and China] will realize the future of the world depends on the two sides working out solutions and managing the inevitable difficulties.”
Aptly, Kissinger’s caution about danger of conflict was reiterated separately by veteran journalist John Pilger, who warned in an exclusive interview for Strategic Culture Foundation this week that, presumed “American exceptionalism is driving the world to war.”
Henry Kissinger is indeed a controversial figure. Many US scholars regard him as one of the most outstanding Secretaries of State during the post-Second World War period. He served in the Nixon and Ford administrations during the 1970s and went on to write tomes about geopolitics and international relations. Against that, his reputation was badly tarnished by the US war in Vietnam and the horrendous civilian death toll from relentless aerial bombing across Indochina, believed to have been countenanced by Kissinger.
Kissinger has also been accused of supporting the military coup in Chile in 1973 against elected President Allende, and for backing the dirty war by Argentina’s fascist generals during the 1970s against workers and leftists.
To his credit, however, Kissinger was and is a practitioner of “realpolitik” which views international relations through a pragmatic lens. Another realpolitik US state planner was the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, who died in 2017 at the age of 89. Both advocated a policy of detente with the Soviet Union and China.
President Richard Nixon’s groundbreaking visit to China in 1972 is credited to the advice given by Kissinger who was then National Security Advisor to the White House.
That same year, the US and the Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, also under the guidance of Kissinger on the American side. The US would later withdrew from the treaty in 2002, a move which has presaged a long deterioration in bilateral relations between the US and Russia to the present day.
For all their faults, at least people like Kissinger and Brzezinski were motivated by practical goal-orientated policy. They were willing to engage with adversaries to find some modus vivendi. Such an attitude is too often missing in recent Washington administrations which seem to be guided by an ideology of unipolar dominance by the US over the rest of the world. The current Washington consensus is one of hyper-ideological unrealism and hubris, which leads to a zero-sum mentality of antagonism towards China and Russia.
At times, President Donald Trump appears to subscribe to realpolitik pragmatism. At other times, he swings to the hyper-ideological mentality as expressed by his Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper. The latter has labeled China as the US’s “greatest long-term threat”.
This week President Trump signed into law “The Human Rights and Democracy Bill”, which will impose sanctions on China over alleged repression in its Hong Kong territory. Beijing has reacted furiously to the legislation, condemning it as a violation of its sovereignty.
This is exactly the kind of baleful move that Kissinger warned against in order to avoid a further poisoning in bilateral relations already tense from the past 16 months of US-China trade war.
One discerns the difference between Kissinger and more recent US politicians: the former has copious historical knowledge and appreciation of other cultures. His shrewd, wily, maybe even Machiavellian streak, informs Kissinger to acknowledge and respect other powers in a complex world. That is contrasted with the puritanical banality and ignorance manifest in Trump’s administration and in the Congress.
Greeting Kissinger last Friday, November 22, during a visit to Beijing, President Xi Jinping thanked him for his historic contribution in normalizing US-China relations during 1970s.
“At present, Sino-US relations are at a critical juncture facing some difficulties and challenges,” said Xi, calling on the two countries to deepen communication on strategic issues. It was an echo of the realpolitik views Kissinger had enunciated the week before.
While sharing a public stage with Kissinger, the Chinese leader added: “The two sides should proceed from the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the people of the world, respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, pursue win-win results in cooperation, and promote bilateral ties to develop in the right direction.”
Likewise, China and Russia have continually urged for a multipolar world order for cooperation and partnership in development. But the present and recent US governments refuse to contemplate any other order other than a presumed unipolar dominance. Hence the ongoing US trade strife with China and Washington’s relentless demonization of Russia.
This “exceptional” ideological mantra of the US is leading to more tensions, and ultimately is a path to the abyss.
Henry Kissinger gets it. It’s a pity America’s present crop of politicians and thinkers are so impoverished in their intellect.
A new survey shows that 51 per cent of women in Stockholm, Sweden feel unsafe going out at night, while the number who feel insecure in the daytime has doubled.
According to the County Administrative Board’s new citizen survey, more than half of women feel insecure in the evenings while the overall figure who feel unsafe rose from 33 per cent to 44 per cent.
Since 2011, the proportion of citizens who feel unsafe in their own residential area during the daytime almost doubled from 11 per cent to 20 per cent.
“The growing insecurity in Stockholm is also underscored by the fact that more and more county residents are refraining from activities due to concern about being exposed to crime, such as walking, cinema or visiting acquaintances,” the report stated.
34 per cent of county residents now say they have ceased almost all outdoor activity due to fear of crime, compared to 20 per cent who gave the corresponding answer in 2011.
Sweden continues to experience huge problems with violent crime, shootings, explosions and grenade attacks, mostly as a result of turf warfare between rival migrant gangs. The country has accepted hundreds of thousands of new migrants, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, since 2015.
A recent opinion poll found that the anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats are now the most popular party in Sweden. The Sweden Democrats would get 24.2% of the votes if an election was held today, beating the ruling Social Democrats.
Back in October, Leif Östling, former CEO of trucking company Scania, warned that Sweden is heading towards civil war due to uncontrolled mass immigration.
“We’ve taken in far too many people from outside. And we have. Those who come from the Middle East and Africa live in a society that we left almost a hundred years ago,” he said.
Meanwhile, new figures show that more Swedes than ever before are on anti-depressants, with a million of them taking the pharmaceutical drugs.
That’s one tenth of the population – double the amount who took anti-depressants in the early 2000s.
What could possibly explain the reason as to why people living in Sweden’s progressive utopia feel so unsafe and unhappy?
* * *
My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.
Nov 28, 2019
While the use of anti-depressant drugs in Sweden has doubled since the 2000s, the disturbing increase among children and teenagers is even higher.
About a million Swedes, more than ever before, take anti-depressants, national broadcaster SVT reported.
While anti-depressant use reached one-tenth of the country’s entire population, it has also doubled compared with the beginning of the 2000s. The increase is even higher among children and adolescents, as anti-depressants use among children aged 10-14 has tripled in merely ten years. Women take more anti-depressant medication than men. About 6 in 10 users are women. Yet another group that stands out in anti-depressants consumption is senior citizens.
Researcher and psychiatrist Mikael Tiger argued that one explanation for the elevated consumption is that the stigma over seeking help for depression has disappeared.
“Another reason is that patents on anti-depressants have expired, which made prescription drugs much cheaper”, Mikael Tiger said.
Ylva Ginsberg at the National Board of Health admitted that the incidence of stress and anxiety-related disorders may have increased, which may have made drug treatment more relevant.
Bo Runeson, a suicide researcher and professor of psychiatry at the Karolinska Institute, argued that both the number of suicides and the prescription of sedatives have decreased with the introduction of anti-depressants.
According to Mikael Tiger, the high prescription of anti-depressant medicine does not pose a risk to public health. Still, Sweden suffers from both over-prescription and under-prescription at the same time, he argued.
“The typical case of over-prescribing is people in elderly homes who receive it without clear indication. At the same time, we have under-prescription in that people who have depression do not seek help. I think it’s more common in men and maybe people in sparsely-populated areas,” Tiger suggested.
Depression and anxiety syndrome are the most common reasons for taking anti-depressant medication, but the drugs are also used to treat nerve pain and eating disorders.
Each year, anti-depressant drugs are sold in Sweden to the tune of SEK 720 million ($75 million), putting it among the top consumers of anti-depressant medication, alongside fellow Nordic nations Iceland and Denmark.
Side effects of anti-depressant medication may include dry mouth, headache, nausea, weight gain and impaired sexual function.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) sees depression as the world’s most common disability. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression.