This is an archived newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, consisting of headlines and weblinks, with occasional news summary and brief analysis, for the indicated month(s) and year. See the current, ‘World news’ website page here. To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada, mostly authored by Roger Annis.
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, December 2018
Trump regime’s sham statements that U.S. will withdraw from Syria already withering. Two reports:
* Trump still wants to leave Syria, but will reevaluate plan to attack ISIS, report on CNN, Dec 30, 2018
* and, Top Republican senator Lindsay Graham says Trump vows to ‘destroy’ IS before leaving Syria, report by AFP, Dec 30, 2018
[Like ‘Russiagate’ before it (see Nation writer Aaron Maté’s latest analysis published on Dec 28, 2018), the story of the ‘U.S. withdrawal from Syria’ is quickly proving to be a flight of fancy. But who will notice? The Western left in its entirety has bought into the Trump fable of a Syria withdrawal (see ‘The anti-war left must capitalise on Trump’s withdrawal from Syria‘, by Lindsey German, Counterfire, Dec 22, 2018). This has left the mainstream media with free reign to work in cahoots with the Trump regime in sowing confusion and disarray. So count two strikes against much of the Western left in 2018: its ongoing inability to oppose imperialism’s (NATO’s) new cold war against Russia and increasingly China, and its inability to oppose imperialism’s regime change wars directed against Syria and Iran.
[Luckily, capitalist Russia stepped into the breach in Syria to forestall the overthrow of Syria’s sovereign government. But the capitalist governments in Russia and China cannot replace the necessary role for the working classes of the world. The working classes need their own independent voices and programs. Fortunately, we can expect social rights movements such as the ‘Gilets jaunes’ in France, social movements in the United States, and other movements of class and social struggle to expand in 2019. This is the path along which a truly internationalist working class movement can emerge and chart a path of salvation from imperialist war, global warming and rising social inequities… to socialism.]
New studies show anti-Russia analysts are wrong about Russian social-media involvement in U.S. politics, by Aaron Maté, published in The Nation, Dec 28, 2018 Far from being a sophisticated propaganda campaign, ‘Russian interference’ in the 2016 U.S. election was small, amateurish, and mostly unrelated
… The utility of Russia-baiting goes far beyond absolving elites of responsibility for their own failures. Hacked documents have recently revealed that a UK-government charity has waged a global propaganda operation in the name of “countering Russian disinformation.” The project, known as the Integrity Initiative, is run by military intelligence officials with funding from the British Foreign Office and other government sources, including the US State Department and NATO. It works closely with “clusters” of sympathetic journalists and academics across the West, and has already been outed for waging a social-media campaign against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The group’s Twitter account promoted articles that painted Corbyn as a “useful idiot” in support of “the Kremlin cause”; criticized his communications director, Seumas Milne, for his alleged “work with the Kremlin agenda”; and said, “It’s time for the Corbyn left to confront its Putin problem.”
The Corbyn camp is far from the only progressive force to be targeted with this smear tactic. That it is revealed to be part of a Western government–backed operation is yet another reason to consider the fixation with Russian social-media activity in a new light…
Related: Senate U.S. report on Russian interference was written by disinformation warriors behind Alabama ‘false flag operation’, by Dan Cohen, The Grayzone Project, Dec 25, 2018 Hailed by Congress and the media as defenders of democracy, high-tech Russiagate hustlers Jonathon Morgan and Ryan Fox have been exposed for waging “an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation” to swing the 2017 Alabama senate race.
Turkish forces enter Syria at Jarablus as U.S. helicopters spotted over Manbij, RT, Dec 29, 2018 and, Syrian Army raises flag near city of Manbij, RT, Dec 28, 2018 [The Syrian town of Jarablus is located on the Euphrates River near the Syria-Turkey border. It was seized by Turkey in 2016 during ‘Operation Euphrates’, Turkey’s first direct military intervention into Syria. Jarablus has since been run by a military council of Turkish proxies. The foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Turkey met in Moscow on December 29 to discuss the situations across northern Syria. Initial news reports contain little of substance on what, if anything, was agreed by the two sides.]
* Syrian troops won’t enter Manbij for now, reports Kurdish-led forces in the city, Rudaw news agency, Dec 29, 2018
* Syrian army enters town of Manbij in northern Syria near Turkish border at the urgings of Kurdish self-defense forces, reports in Press TV, Dec 28, 2018 and in RT, Dec 28, 2018 [The Press TV article makes a dubious argument that the Turkish government is henceforth resolved to cooperation with the Syrian government. As a member of the NATO military alliance alongside the United States and France, Turkey remains committed to the alliance’s goal of weakening if not violently overthrowing the Syrian government. Syrian Kurd forces, meanwhile, are torn between pursuit of autonomy status in Syria (news of which goes utterly unreported in corporate and alternative media in the West) and calls for the U.S. and France to maintain if not increase their intervention in Syria. The pre-war population of Manbij, Syria was some 100,000.] * Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s on the results of Russia-Turkey negotiations on Syria in Moscow on December 29, 2018, published on the website of the Ministry oif Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
NATO member Turkey threatens a military intervention into northeast Syria, report by Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press, Dec 24, 2018 (original title: Turkey-backed Syrian fighters prepare to replace US forces)
[There is a yawning gap of informed analysis being published about the next steps being taken by the U.S. government and military in their regime-change war against the Syrian people and government. The published analyses–be they in mainstream media or in alternative media–are all a mix naiveté or malevolence, echoing the Trump regime’s deliberate policy of sowing confusion.
[Donald Trump announced by Twitter (!) on December 21 that he intends to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria. Mainstream and alternative media are all twisting the announcement as signalling a U.S. withdrawal from all of Syria. But on the contrary, the Trump regime’s announcement signals an escalation by the U.S. and its NATO allies of their war in Syria. The escalation comes in the form of Turkey’s threat to militarily intervene against the Kurdish people, self-defense forces and autonomous governing structures in the Syrian northeast. Ankara and Washington are closely consulting on such a plan.
[Trump has also said he intends to reduce the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan by 7,000 (from its current level of some 15,000 plus mercenaries). Anything giving credence to the idea of the U.S. pulling back in Syria (and Afghanistan) must be discounted. Have the U.S. and NATO suddenly ceased to be imperialist? Have they suddenly decided that the Middle East is not so important to them after all?
[That leaves the threatened Turkish intervention into the Syrian northeast (‘Rojava’) to analyze as well as reports that the U.S. may be looking to hiring more mercenaries. The Turkish threat means we are staring at an escalation of NATO intervention into Syria. This is underlined by three facts which are going unreported in Western media. One, there is no U.S. withdrawal taking place from the other parts of Syria which the U.S. occupies. Trump’s announcement, if it comes to pass, applies only to the northeast, even if mainstream media is interpreting his original tweet (!) as applying to all of Syria. Two, the U.S. has stated that it intends to continue its brutal air war in Syria. And three, nothing prevents the U.S. from joining the threatened Turkish intervention, particularly if Turkey enters into conflict with the Syrian army or otherwise becomes bogged down.
[If Turkey intervenes, Syria and Russia are staring at a scenario similar to the one in the province of Afrin, Syria at the outset of 2018. Either they enter into conflict with NATO member Turkey and risk provoking NATO’s guideline that ‘an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us’, or they do what they can to limit the damage and extent of the Turkish intervention. Mainstream and left-wing media claims aside, Russia has limited political influence over Turkey’s actions in areas of Syria which the Syrian government does not control.
[A delegation of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has rushed to Moscow to consult with the Russian government and military. But what can Russia offer? ‘You’ve been working closely with the U.S., but heck, we forgive you. And yes, we will risk war with NATO in order to support your resistance to a Turkish intervention.’ Hardly. It’s more likely the Kurds will be told, ‘This is a fine mess which your alliance with your claimed ‘ally’ the U.S. has placed us into.’ Meanwhile, what to make of the SDF delegation’s visit to Paris last week during which it called on France to militarily intervene more aggressively into Syria? Kurdish leaders seem undaunted by the outcome of their alliance with the U.S. (more on France and the Syrian Kurds here.)
[According to this report in Al-Monitor, the pro-regime change forces in Syria that are backed by Turkey condemn the pro-autonomy demands of the Syrian Kurds. They use the same ‘seperatist’ epithets against the Kurds as do fair weather supporters of the Syrian government.
[The Kurdish alliance with the U.S. has proven to be a mortal danger not only to the Kurds but also to the people of Syria as a whole. Was there a way for the Kurds to receive different military backing than from the U.S. for their battle against ISIS, ie from the Russian if not the Syrian governments? This is a key question to be analyzed as a potential disaster looms in the form of an escalation of U.S. and NATO intervention in Syria.]
Erdogan’s war on workers in Turkey, by Cole Stangler, The Nation, Dec 28, 2018 Turkey’s crackdown on dissent extends to the country’s fractured labor movement.
… [NATO-member] Turkey is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, holding more than a quarter of all those detained worldwide. Political activists increasingly face repression and prison time, especially those with sympathy to the Kurdish cause. Most famously, Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the left-wing, pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) before his jailing, has been in jail since November 2016 on terrorism-related charges. (He still won from his cell eight per cent of the vote in the June 2018 presidential election.) At the same time, labor activists face blowback…
The situation for unions has worsened since the failed military coup of July 2016. Days after putting down the cooup, Erdogan decreed a state of emergency, granting his government broad powers to make arrests and to dismiss public employees at-will. During the two-year span of the special regime, which finally ended in July, around 130,000 public-sector employees were dismissed under emergency decrees…
Islamic State in Ukraine: A Christmas present from the West, by George Galloway, Op-Ed columnist in RT, Dec 27, 2018
* Reporter at Austria’s ORF broadcaster fears for his life in Ukraine, calls for ending the ‘silence of the lambs’ in Western governments and media, RT, Dec 27, 2018
* Birth date of WW2 Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera declared an official holiday in Ukraine, TASS Russian news service, Dec 19, 2018
Second child dies in U.S. immigration detention camp, by Associated Press, Dec 25, 2018
Related: Open letter: Close the U.S. concentration camps of immigrant children, by Alberto Manguel, Maaza Mengiste, Valeria Luiselli, Margaret Atwood, Colm Tóibín and some 75 other international writers, published in New York Review of Books, Nov 5, 2018
Seymour Hersh and the Western media’s banishing of truth, by Chris Hedges, weekly columnist, Truthdig, Dec 24, 2018
Book by former Brazilian diplomat Ricardo Seitenfus who served in the UN’s occupation mission in Haiti condemns UN for its role in bringing cholera to Haiti and its refusal to accept responsibility, book preface by Mario Joseph, human rights attorney in Haiti, Dec 3, 2018 (This is the preface to the new book (in French) by Ricardo Seitenfus: ‘The United Nations and Cholera in Haiti: Guilty But Not Responsible? The preface is written by Haitian human rights attorney Mario Joseph and was published in the Haitian French-language daily Le Nouvelliste.)
Related: Cholera cases decrease significantly in Haiti in 2018, by Prensa Latina, Oct 30, 2018
With eye on China, Japan unveils record defense budget, by news agencies, published in Japan Times, Dec 21, 2018 Japan’s defense budget will swell to a record ¥5.26 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year [US $47 billion, nearly equal to UK military spending in 2019], the government said Friday, as Tokyo looks to beef up its missile defense and deploy stealth jets in a bid to counter China. The defense spending was part of a ¥101.46 trillion national budget for the fiscal year starting in April that was approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet.
Integrity Initiative is the biggest story of 2018 – but not because of anything it did, RT, Dec 23, 2018 Exposing a sinister state-funded underhand influence network is a scoop. Yet the real conspiracy is the blind eye turned by the Western establishment, which appears fine with subterfuge, as long as it doesn’t come from Russia…
Second child dies in U.S. immigration detention camp, by Associated Press, Dec 25, 2018
Related: Open letter: Close the U.S. concentration camps of immigrant children, by Alberto Manguel, Maaza Mengiste, Valeria Luiselli, Margaret Atwood, Colm Tóibín and some 75 other international writers, published in New York Review of Books, Nov 5, 2018
Journalistic deception: How a fraudster at Germany’s flagship magazine Der Spiegel faked his stories for years and rose to be Germany’s top reporter, RT, Dec 21, 2018
* Tanks on Kyiv’s Maidan Square and President’s Yanukovych’s gold bathtub in 2014, and more outrageous Ukraine fakes by disgraced Spiegel reporter Claas Relotius, RT, Dec 22, 2018 One wonders just how outrageous ‘fake news’ must be in order to get busted, but Der Spiegel‘s ex-star reporter Claas Relotius got away with it all while writing for several outlets – maybe because it was about places like Ukraine…
* Der Spiegel files suit against ex-star reporter Claas Relotius, offers explanations for how he got away with his deceptions, Deutsche Welle, Dec 23, 2018
* Der Spiegel admits star reporter Claas Relotius falsified stories ‘on a grand scale’, report by Deutsche Welle, Dec 20, 2018
* From the Facebook page of University of Ottawa researcher Ivan Katchanovski, Dec 21, 2018: The award-winning German Der Spiegel journalist Claas Relotius also published fake news about the Maidan massacre of Feb 20, 2014 in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv. He wrote about a father with a child in his arm who was shot by a [police] sniper, and about a wall where dozens of protesters were killed by police snipers following which the wall was destroyed by military tanks. This is not mentioned in Western media reports (for example BBC and CNN) about Relotios faking his stories, and his article on the subject has not been retracted by the offending Der Spiegel magazine. [The research of Ivan Katchanovski, including revelations by the investigations by Ukraine’s court system, has shown conclusively that the sniper shootings in Kyiv on Feb 20, 2014 were conducted from buildings controlled by extreme-right militias. This research has been utterly shunned and censored by state-run and corporate media in the West and by the limp, left-wing publications in the West.]
Let the people take back control of Brexit, by Lisa Nandy, published in the ‘Daily Blog’ of the New York Review of Books, Dec 17, 2018
* No exit from the Brexit crisis: Interview with left activist in Scotland, interview with Neil Davidson, Dec 20, 2018 ‘A coherent socialist position must be opposition to the European Union, a commitment to fight austerity and support for open borders.’
* Brexit will go ahead if Labour wins snap election, Jeremy Corbyn says, by Rob Merrick, deputy political editor, The Independent, Dec 23, 2018
* Where does Labour really stand on Brexit?, by Rob Merrick, deputy political editor, The Independent, Dec 23, 2018 While it’s clear Jeremy Corbyn opposes Theresa May’s deal, his party’s true position on leaving the EU is far from black and white
In Belgium, a Marxist party that believes in a socialist future, interview with Peter Mertens, leader of the Workers Party of Belgium (Parti du travail de Belgique, PTB), published in Jacobin, Dec 15, 2018 (website of the PTB, in French, here) [In local elections in Belgium in October 2018, the PTB won 12 per cent in Brussels and eight per cent in Antwerp, the country’s two largest cities. Although Belgium is a member of the NATO imperialist military alliance, the subject of NATO and its new cold war offensive against Russia is very rarely analysed in the publications of the Workers Party of Belgium. There is no analysis of consequence in the party’s publications of the right-wing governing regime in Ukraine nor any analysis of the Western sanctions against Russia and Crimea. Does the PTB oppose such sanctions? Nothing is said. An article from May 2017 in the party’s monthly magazine and website Solidaire argued that Donald Trump “raved” about friendly ties to Russia during the 2016 U.S. election as part of a policy of commercial war against China. The article is headlined, ‘Trump flirts with Putin while seeking to destroy China’.]
Highlights of the annual press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a four-hour, freewheeling q & a, published on RT, Dec 20, 2018 Also: Transcript of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference with Russian and world media, published on the website of the President of Russia, Dec 20, 2018 (transcript of four-hour press conference)
Western media echoes and inflates Donald Trump Twitter-talk of U.S. troop withdrawal from Kurdish region of northeast Syria, report by Rudaw news service, Dec 19, 2018
[Gullible or malevolent Western media (take your pick) is promoting an interpretation of the Twitter (!) statement of the wily U.S. president on December 19 to the effect that he intends to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria. Some 2,000 U.S. troops are illegally occupying that part of Syria in a fast-fading alliance with pro-autonomy Kurdish forces. Media takes it one step further, blaring that Trump’s tweet constitutes an announced withdrawal from all of Syria. The Guardian, for example, headlines its Dec 19, 2018 ‘news’ report with ‘Trump plans full withdrawal of US troops from Syria’. The BBC ups The Guardian‘s misreporting by headlining that the U.S. has already withdrawn from Syria! The BBC blares ‘US withdraws from Syria after defeating ISIS‘. Canada’s Globe and Mail daily headlines its December 20 edition with ‘Trump orders withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria’ while the Toronto Star offers ‘Leave Syria, Trump orders’. RT falls for the Trump regime ruse while simultaneously painting Trump in the most favorable light possible in a Dec 20 unsigned column (editorial?) headlined, ‘Trump doesn’t want US to be Middle East policeman, spending lives and trillions‘. RT‘s left-wing columnist Neil Clark begins his December 20 column with, “The announcement by President Trump that U.S. troops would be leaving Syria has been met with anger not just by neocons, but by Hollywood ‘liberals’ too. Aren’t progressives supposed to oppose wars and illegal occupations? …” Oh dear, Donald Trump has now become a president “opposed to wars and illegal occupations”. His regime is extending the game with a claim on December 20 that it will withdraw “significant” numbers of troops from Afghanistan.
[In a Globe and Mail op-ed on Saturday, Dec 22, Simon Waldman of King’s College London sharpens the anti-Russia edge to the extreme. He concludes his commentary with this: Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria [sic] enables two regional non-Arab states [Iran and Turkey], with the support of Russia [sic], to dominate Syria and the Middle East. So say goodbye to Uncle Sam – and hello to the new imperials. (end citation)
[A withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeast Syria raises the acute danger that the U.S.’ fellow NATO member Turkey will undertake longstanding threats to attack the Kurdish population and autonomous governing structures of the region. Recall that a key modus operandi of NATO is ‘An attack against one is an attack against all’. Standing in the way of a Turkish attack are the Syrian government and its allies Russia and Iran. In other words, the Trump ‘withdrawal’ posturing heightens the danger of more imperialist intervention directed at Syria and heightens the danger of drawing Russia and Iran into deeper conflict with NATO. The U.S. government has recently approved sales of the Patriot missile system to Turkey, notwithstanding Western media’s longstanding pas de deux (dance step) with the Trump regime claiming sharp policy disagreements between the two NATO allies. It’s all a continuation of the deliberate obfuscation that has surrounded the ongoing drive by the U.S. and its allies for ‘regime change’ against the Syrian government.]
* Syrian Kurdish SDF leaders visit Paris, urge France to play bigger military and political role in Syria, report on France 24, Dec 21, 2018 (also reported on Rudaw news service, Dec 21, 2018. And: Syrian Kurdish leaders due in Paris to discuss U.S. pullout, report by Agence France presse, Dec 21, 2018
* How does Turkey’s threatened Syria invasion play elsewhere?, by Anton Mardasov, Al-Monitor, Dec 19, 2018
* Erdogan says Trump responded ‘positively’ to Turkey’s threats on Syria, by Ayla Jean Yackley, Al-Monitor, Dec 17, 2018 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on December 17 he received a “positive response” from U.S. President Donald Trump when he informed Trump that he will launch a new military offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish militia if it remains in parts of northeast Syria. This despite a warning from the Pentagon that such an incursion would jeopardize the fight against the Islamic State. It was the second assurance that top Turkish officials attributed to Trump in as many days as they seek concessions from the United States over a raft of disputes ranging from the conflict in Syria to the extradition of Turkish coup suspects and a standoff with Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi…
Russian President Vladimir Putin says no evidence of a U.S. withdrawal from Syria, report by Al Jazeera and news agencies, Dec 20, 2018 (original Al Jazeera headline: ‘Putin welcomes Trump’s decision to pull out US troops’) … Trump’s decision [announced on Twitter!] to pull out completely was confirmed by U.S. officials and is expected to take place in the coming months. Nevertheless, Putin cast doubt on Washington’s plans, saying “we don’t see any signs of withdrawing US troops yet, but I concede that it is possible.” … And read: Vladimir Putin says ‘U.S. right to leave Syria, but no signs of pullout’, adding ‘remember Afghanistan’, RT, Dec 20, 2018
Don’t hold your breath on U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, by Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News Dec 19, 2018 [In this otherwise informative commentary, Patrick Lawrence mistakenly gives credence to the latest Donald Trump theatrics–appropriately enough delivered via Twitter–that Trump wishes to withdraw the U.S. military from Syria. During the 2016 election campaign, Trump mused about lessening the military role of the U.S. in the world, going so far as to suggest that the U.S. might lessen its role in NATO. He also mused about a wish to improve relations with Russia. But U.S.-Russia relations have gone from bad to worse thanks to the new cold war aggression of the U.S. and NATO against Russia. U.S. aggression deepened during the Obama-led White House with its support to the extreme-right coup in Ukraine in February 2014. This trend has continued under Trump. Only the naive or malevolent believed in Trump’s earlier musings and believe in the latest one over troop withdrawal from Syria. Part of the game plan of the right wing and the extreme-right in the West is to sow confusion and disarray amongst the population. Informed writers should easily be able to understand and recognize this. To wit, see the related items listed here.]
* Our poor, defenseless U.S. military-industrial complex, by Alan MacLeod, published by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Dec 20, 2018 U.S. media decry ‘inadequate’ US military budget that rivals rest of world combined
* The journalistic scourge of mainstream media echo-chamber headlines, by Reed Richardson, published by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Dec 19, 2018
More Trump theatre: James Mattis quits as Secretary of Defense, report on CNN, Dec 20, 2018
Syrian constitution committee to start work in Geneva in early 2019, report by Rudaw news service, Dec 19, 2018 The Syrian constitution committee will hold its first meeting in early 2019, the Astana guarantors announced in a statement after a meeting on December 18. The foreign ministers of the three nations of the Astana-based Syrian peace process – Russia, Iran, and Turkey – met in Geneva with United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura…
Judge tells former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn he is a very bad man, then postpones his sentencing to ‘someday’ in 2019, reports on CBC News, Dec 18, 2018 and CNN, Dec 18, 2018 [The staged trials of former Trump administration officials Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen have nothing to do with ‘Russian interference’ in U.S. politics, notwithstanding Western media hoopla to the contrary. The two are being treated with kid gloves and will receive light sentencing for their so-called cooperation with the’ Russiagate’ investigation of former, longtime FBI director Robert Mueller. The ‘sentencings’ of Flynn and Cohen are postponed until ‘sometime’ in 2019. They will enjoy the Christmas and winter season in the comforts of home.]
The ‘Integrity Initiative’ and the British government’s scandalous information war, by Mohamed Elmaazi and Max Blumenthal, published by The Grayzone Project (editor Max Blumenthal), Dec 17, 2018 Recently hacked documents have revealed an international network of politicians, journalists, academics, researchers and military officers engaged in highly deceptive covert propaganda campaigns funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), NATO, Facebook and hardline national security institutions. This “network of networks”, as one document refers to it, centers around an ironically named outfit called the Integrity Initiative. And it is all overseen by a previously unknown England-based think tank registered in Scotland, the Institute for Statecraft, which has operated under a veil of secrecy…
* New batch of ‘Integrity Initiative’ leaks reveal military ties and effort to infiltrate European media, RT, Dec 18, 2018 … Now, a third batch of leaks has exposed that the project allegedly operated much like a modern-day version of Operation Mockingbird — a secretive 1950s project whereby the CIA worked hand-in-glove with willing journalists in major media outlets to ensure certain narratives were adhered to. Only this time, it’s a UK-funded organization with deep links to the intelligence services and military passing itself off as a non-partisan “charity”…
* British security service infiltration, the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Dec 13, 2018 … The Integrity Initiative offers us a glimpse into the very dirty world of surveillance and official disinformation. If we actually had a free media, it would be the biggest story of the day…
* British government-funded ‘Integrity Initiative’ and its new cold war slanders against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, by George Galloway, columnist, RT, Dec 12, 2018
… As it stands, two million pounds of taxpayers’ money has been spent in part on discrediting the alternative government of Britain. It doesn’t get much more serious than that…
… The whole affair casts a new light on the three years of hell which Corbyn has faced since becoming leader of the Labour Party. He has been spun by virtually the entire British media including, and perhaps most particularly, the state-controlled BBC as variously (spin and repeat) an anti-Semite (because of his support for the Palestinians), a KGB/Czechoslovakian/East German spy (I’m not making this up), a stooge of Putin (because of his initial skepticism over the Skripal affair), and not least a terrorist sympathiser allegedly in league with Irish Republicanism and an alphabet soup of Arab guerrilla organisations…
Guardian challenged over fake ‘Assange meets Manafort’ story as story writer Luke Harding goes AWOL, RT, Dec 19, 2018
U.S. confirms pullout from INF treaty, Moscow will respond if missiles placed in Europe says deputy foreign minister, RT, Dec 18, 2018
* Russia denies it is violating nuclear arms treaty, Deutsche Welle, Dec 5, 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if the U.S. quits the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and begins building mid-range nuclear missiles, Russia would do the same. The Kremlin dismisses U.S. claims that Russia is violating the INF treaty.
* U.S. planned to ditch INF in advance, now seeks reason why it should, says Russian president about Secretary of State Pompeo’s ultimatum, RT, Dec 5, 2018
* Arms race, by Professor Paul Robinson (University of Ottawa), published on his website Irrussianality, Dec 7, 2018 …Which brings us to the Russian 9M729 missile and America’s announcement that it will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 60 days’ time if Russia does not return to compliance. The INF Treaty prohibits missiles with a range between 500 and 5000 kilometres. The Americans claim that the 9M729 has a range within these limits, and that by developing it Russia is therefore in violation of the INF Treaty. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether the American claims are correct. The figures do not include the Yemenis who have died through starvation or malnutrition…
Japan takes big leap into new cold war militarization drive: $242 billion in military spending over the next six years, including for aircraft carriers, RT, Dec 18, 2018 and, report by ABC Australia [Like their counterparts in the rest of the capitalist world, Japan’s ruling elite is dragging humanity into a grim global warming emergency as it accelerates its use of fossil fuels and its mega-industrial production of socially and ecologically-damaging commodities for sale to the highest bidder. What better time to also accelerate planet-destroying military production in preparation for future wars of aggression? Regional neighbour and ally Australia is making similar plans. It is spending spending $30 billion on new military equipment between 2016 and 2012. Australia is second only to the United States among developed capitalist countries in the proportion of government spending on military.]
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warns that the governing regime in Kyiv regime is hatching a scheme for an armed provocation on the border with Crimea, vows that Russia will not wage war against Ukraine, TASS Russian news service, Dec 17, 2018
… “We are not fighting against the Ukrainian regime. These are Ukrainian citizens living in Donbass, who are fighting against the Ukrainian regime, which has all characteristics of Nazis and neo-Nazis,” Lavrov said.
When asked why Moscow is not severing ties with Kyiv, Lavrov stressed: “We have relations with the Ukrainian state, the Ukrainian state is much more and more important for us than that regime, which is currently in power thanks to the West’s betrayal of all norms of the international law and international behavior. The Ukrainian people have nothing to do with it, and I’m sure that most Ukrainian citizens wish peace to their country and want it to get rid of this shameful regime and resume normal ties with Russia,” he said. To this aim, Ukraine’s domestic problems need to be settled, which are “much broader and deeper than simply the Lugansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic.” [end article]
Related: UN General Assembly adopts resolution on ‘militarization problem’ over Crimea, TASS, Dec 17, 2018 The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proposed by Ukraine on a “militarization problem” of Crimea and the waters of the Azov and Black Sea. Sixty six countries supported the document, 19 were against it, 72 abstained …The General Assembly rejected amendments proposed by Iran and Syria aimed at balancing the document and containing references to the Minsk ceasefire agreement of February 2015 concerning the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine…
An elementary school speech pathologist in Texas lost her job after refusing to sign a pro-Israel oath, now mandatory in many states, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Dec 17, 2018
How Britain stole $45 trillion from India, and lied about it, by Jason Hickel, published in Al Jazeera, Dec 14, 2018 … New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik, just published by Columbia University Press, deals a crushing blow to this narrative [that the colonisation of India was not of any major economic benefit to Britain]. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938….
How the governments of the ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance cooked up a campaign to kill off Huawei, by Chris Uhlmann and Angus Grigg, Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 13, 2018
* Canada abetting Washington’s ‘new Cold War’ with Huawei arrest, says economist Jeffrey Sachs, CBC News, Dec 15, 2018
* The war against China’s telecommunications giant Huawei, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, published on Project Syndicate, Dec 11, 2018 The Trump administration’s conflict with China has little to do with US external imbalances, closed Chinese markets, or even China’s alleged theft of intellectual property. It has everything to do with containing China by limiting its access to foreign markets, advanced technologies, global banking services, and perhaps even US universities. [The Canadian government innocently claims that in detaining Weng Wanzhou at the Vancouver airport on December 7, it was ‘merely’ meeting its obligations under the U.S.-Canada treaty governing extradition between the two countries. As though Canada’s foreign policy does not march in lock step with the Donald Trump-led United States on every issue of consequence. As though Canada is not an enthusiastic member of the ‘Five Eyes’ spying and disruption alliance together with the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand.]
Gilets jaunes: A pioneering study of the ‘low earners’ revolt in France, by 70 university researchers in France, published in Le Monde (France daily), Dec 11, 2018, translated and published in English by Verso Books blog, Dec 14, 2018
BBC seeks to ‘prove’ Moscow link to ‘Yellow Vests’ (Gilets jaunes) protests in France, RT, Dec 16, 2018
Don’t let Russophobia warp assessments of the claims of ‘Russiagate’, by Aaron Maté, The Nation, Dec 14, 2018 Forget the media hoopla, investigator Robert Mueller’s latest filings bring us no closer to proof of the long-sought Trump-Russia conspiracy.
Every single member of U.S. Congress approved crushing sanctions on Nicaragua, by Ben Norton, Mint Press News, Dec 14, 2018 After defeating a violent U.S.-backed coup attempt, Nicaragua’s elected government faces the NICA Act. The bill aims to force the Sandinistas from power by ratcheting up economic despair.
Governing socialist party of Venezuela sweeps local council elections, wins historic opposition strongholds, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Dec 10, 2018 Venezuela’s governing United Socialist Party (PSUV) won a landslide victory in local council elections held on Sunday, December 9, claiming 95 percent of the initially declared seats. In its first official bulletin, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) revealed that after tallying 92.3 percent of all votes the PSUV had won 591 of the 623 municipal council seats where results were deemed irreversible. Further declarations from the CNE announced during the course of Sunday night and Monday indicated a similar trend in the remaining seats…
* Paul Dobson discusses outcome of Venezuela municipal elections, interview with Paul Dobson, writer at Venezuela Analysis, broadcast on ‘Loud and Clear’, Sputnik International, Dec 11, 2018 (11-minute interview)
* In state visit to Moscow, Venezuela president Maduro signs oil and gold mining investment deals with Russia while defense minister Lopez discusses air defense upgrades with his Russian counterpart, Press TV, Dec 7, 2018 and, report by RT, Dec 5, 2018
* Putin meets Maduro during state visit to Moscow, denounces intervention in Venezuela, report in Telesur, Dec 5, 2018
* Military-technical cooperation between Moscow and Caracas, TASS Russian news agency, Dec 11, 2018
* Venezuela receives the last of major arms shipments from Russia, report on Telesur, Dec 4, 2017
Yemen ceasefire prompts hope after four years of war and starvation, Reuters, Dec 14, 2018
* Prisoner swap and ceasefire in port city of Hodeida mark successful first step in Yemen peace talks, by Ahmed Abdulkareem, Mint Press News, Dec 13, 2018 The Saudi-led coalition and Ansar Allah, the political wing of the Houthi resistance movement, have agreed to a ceasefire in Hodeida and in the Taiz Province of northwestern Yemen.
* U.S. Senate votes to end U.S. support for Saudi-led war in Yemen, by Middle East Eye, Dec 13, 2018 [A similar vote is now required in the House of Representatives if U.S. military support to the Saudi Arabia-led war party is to end. But already on December 12, some House Democrats joined Republicans in blocking an existing resolution calling for U.S. support to end, so prospects for a new resolution are dim.].
* Documents reveal Australia’s secret arms deals with nations fighting Yemen’s bloody war by Dylan Welch, Kyle Taylor, Dan Oakes and Rebecca Trigger, ABC.net.au, Dec 12, 2018
* At least six times more killed in Saudi/NATO war in Yemen than reported, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, Dec 12, 2018 The number of people killed by the violence in Yemen has for the first time risen above 3,000 dead in a single month, bringing the total number of fatalities to over 60,000 since the start of 2016. The figure is six times greater than the out-of-date figure of 10,000 dead often cited in the media and by politicians… This number of Yemenis dying in the war has been played down by the Saudi and UAE-led coalition, which has active military support from the US, UK and France, and has an interest in minimising the human cost of the conflict…
From ‘sans culottes’ to Gilets Jaunes: French president Macron’s Marie Antoinette moment, by Sylvain Cypel, New York Review of Books, Dec 13, 2018
* Gilets jaunes: Learning from history and acting now, by Eric Toussaint, originally published in French on the website of the Brussels-based Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (French acronym CADTM), Dec 5, 2018. Translated to English and published on the blog of Verso Books, Dec 12, 2018
* The lesson from a burning Paris: We can’t tax our way out of the climate crisis, by Wenonah Hauter, published on Eco Watch, Dec 11, 2018
Canadian government ministers travel to Washington, will consult over extradition demand by U.S. against Weng Manzhou, report in City TV News, Dec 14, 2018 and, Canada’s foreign minister and defense minister head to Washington for talks with their U.S. counterparts, report by Radio Canada International, Dec 14, 2018
* Trump’s announced willingness to intervene in Meng Wanzhou detention exposes Canada’s claim her detention is not political, merely a case of abiding by the U.S.-Canada extradition treaty, by The Canadian Press, Dec 12, 2018 [Vancouver lawyer Gary Botting who specializes in extradition law has told CBC Vancouver news on December 13 that Canada’s minister of foreign affairs has the power and discretion to dismiss “with a stroke of a pen” the (highly political) extradition request by the U.S. government against Meng Wanzhou. But Freeland’s government as well as mainstream media in Canada are pretending that the U.S. request trumps (no pun intended) Canadian law and sovereignty. According to this story, Canada is obliged to pursue Wanzhou’s extradition. That is, indeed, what Canadian government lawyers are doing before the BC Supreme Court where the case is being aired.].
* Canada’s relationship with Trump reaches a ‘new level of frustration’ after president’s comments expose the story that the U.S. extradition demand for Weng Manzhou is ‘non political’, report by CBC News, Dec 13, 2018 [Donald Trump’s comments on December 12 show the detention of Weng Manzhou in Canada is part of elaborate U.S. economic threats and extortion against China. ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance member Canada says it is an innocent bystander merely meeting its obligations under its extradition treaty with the U.S.]
China confirms second Canadian detained and under investigation for allegedly endangering national security, South China Morning Post, Dec 13, 2018
William Blum, U.S. policy critic derided by New York Times, dies at 85, by Jim Naureckas, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), Dec 13, 2018 You know you’ve lived well—well enough to rattle the establishment—when the New York Times smears you in the obituary it runs about you. That distinction was achieved by William Blum, historian and critic of U.S. foreign policy. Once a State Department computer programmer who aspired to “take part in the great anti-Communist crusade”, he quit government in 1967 out of disgust with the Vietnam War and became a founding editor of the Washington Free Press, one of the first alternative papers of the New Left…
Robber barons kidnap Huawei executive for ransom, by M. K. Bhadrakumar (former Indian diplomat), published in his blog Indian Punchline, Dec 13, 2018
For third straight year, Turkey jailed more journalists than any other country, by Emily Ruchalski, ABC News, Dec 13, 2018 Even as Turkish leaders call for an international inquiry into Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khassogi’s murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists found the Turkish government to be the world’s biggest jailer of journalists for the third consecutive year, according to a newly released report…
Israel, not Jeremy Corbyn, is the real threat to the Jewish left, by Aaron Maté, published in Tablet Magazine, Dec 11, 2018 A response to Paul Berman’s critique of the left published in Tablet
CO2 vs the annual United Nations Conference of the Parties (COPs), by Barry Saxifrage, published in The National Observer, Dec 12, 2018
The primary force overheating our planet, destabilizing our climate and acidifying our oceans is the surging levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Since 1990, at the Rio Summit, world leaders have met annually and pledged to stop this “speeding freight train” before it gets too dangerous. Right now, they are meeting in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th year in a row, at a United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 24).
Despite decades of global promises and negotiations CO2 levels have not stabilized. Not only are emissions still rising, they are actually accelerating upwards. Despite these decades of global promises and negotiations — on climate policies, emissions targets, clean energy and efficiency — CO2 levels have not stabilized. Not only are emissions still rising, they are actually accelerating upwards…
Guardians of the truth? TIME magazine’s perplexing choices of ‘journalists of the year’, RT, Dec 11, 2018
Twitter dismisses formal concern lodged by RT columnist Neil Clark after he received death threat tweet, RT, Dec 11, 2018 and read: If a death threat isn’t a ‘violation’ of Twitter’s rules on abuse, what is?, by Neil Clark, columnist, RT, Dec 12, 2018
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou freed in Vancouver on $10M bail as she endures U.S. extradition threat, report on CBC News, Dec 11, 2018 see also: report from Associated Press and Reuters, on ABC.net.au, Dec 11, 2018 [Meng Wanzhou’s next court appearance will be February 6, 2019, though a political agreement to settle the U.S. political/economic attack against her and Huawei is likely to be reached well before then.]
* Former Canadian diplomat detained in China amidst rising tensions over Canada’s detention of Huawei executive Weng Manzhou, by The Canadian Press, Dec 11, 2018 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is in contact with Chinese authorities over the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in China that comes at a time of intensifying tensions between the two countries. Trudeau spoke briefly to reporters Tuesday about the case of Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat assigned to China and fluent in Chinese. Kovrig worked as a political lead for Trudeau’s visit to Hong Kong in 2016 and currently works for the International Crisis Group…
* China’s and Huawei’s place in the race to build ‘5G’ telecommunications network technology, by Melanie Green, StarMetro Vancouver, Dec. 11, 2018
* New Zealand joins its ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance partners Australia and U.S. in banning Chinese company Huawei from participating in building next generation ‘5G’ telecommunications network, by Gordon Campbell, New Zealand writer, published on Nov 29, 2018 See also: Huawei decision is the price of being in Five Eyes. [The Canadian government is under big pressure from the country’s Globe and Mail daily to institute its own ban agaisnt Huawei. The exigencies of the five-country spying and sabotage partnership with its New Cold War against Russia and China make this all-but inevitable; so too for Britain.]
Emmanuel Macron’s European army has arrived. It goes by the name ‘Gilets jaunes’, by John Wight, ‘Op-Ed’ columnist in RT, Dec 10, 2018 Anyone who’s ever tasted teargas will attest how unpleasant it is. I tasted it in Paris on Saturday December 8 as the city turned into a war zone. I am writing these words in a hotel room in central Paris in the aftermath of a day of rage, unleashed by the self-styled Gilets jaunes (yellow vests) mass movement of latter-day enragés(ées) (angry ones) of French revolutionary repute. And it was indeed a day that bore the hallmarks of a revolution underway…
* The ‘Yellow Vests’ protest movement: Where is France headed?, by John Mullen, Counterfire (Britain), Dec 9, 2018 It is hard to count demonstrators spread out across thousands of mobilisations, but it seems that over half a million people were involved in ‘Act Four’ of the Yellow Vest mobilisation in France on Saturday, December 8. In Bordeaux, a huge joint demonstration between university students and Yellow Vests chanted ‘Students and Yellow Vests, same Macron, same struggle!’ In Toulouse, Lyon, Saint Etienne, Marseilles, Dieppe and dozens of other towns, many thousands marched. Even in smaller places like Albi or Auch there was a fine Yellow Vests demonstration…
* Strike one: It’s time to hear things up a little on climate change action, by Jonathan Sri, The New Matilda (Australia), Dec 10, 2018 (Jonathan Sri is a Green Party elected member of the city council of Brisbane, Australia.) We’ve done a lot of talking about action on climate change. But governments still aren’t listening. A general strike is a pretty simple way to make them take notice. [The writer favours a ‘general strike’ to protest global warming. But ‘protest’ is as far as the idea goes. Which social class can lead the fight against the global warming emergency? What program is needed to unite the broadest social and political forces in that fight? What is the program of the governmental alternatives needed to not only defeat but to replace the current climate-wrecking governments of the world? Such vital questions are not asked or answered.].
* Macron is expected to offer concessions in a December 10 speech to the French people. [French President Emmanuel Macron is delivering a speech to the French public on the evening of December 10. Following his retraction last week of planned rises to fuel taxes, he is expected to announce income tax cuts for middle and low income people. Earlier tax breaks for the wealthy will remain in place, as will, for now, cuts to salaries and benefits of state employees, cuts to social services and rises to the cost of post-seondary education. Macron announced an increase to the minimum wage of 100 Euros per month (app. US80 cents per hour). France’s minimum wage currently sits at 9.76 Euros per hour (app. US$11).].
The Atlantic Council’s ‘Kremlin Trojan horses’ in Europe, by Professor Paul Robinson (University of Ottawa), published on his website Irrussianality, Dec 4, 2018
* UN-backed peace talks on Yemen kick off in Sweden, Press TV, Dec 6, 2018 and, Prisoner exchange agreement boosts hopes of progress in Yemen talks in Sweden, Associated Press, Dec 6, 2018
* U.S. calls for ending the ‘Astana’ peace process in Syria led by guarantors Russia, Turkey and Iran, Press TV, Dec 6, 2018 and, Eleventh round of talks on Syria crisis begins in Astana, Kazakhstan, Press TV, Nov 28, 2018
The limits of dissent: Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian, report by Media Lens, Dec 6, 2018
The film the Israel lobby does not want you to see, by Chris Hedges, weekly column in Truthdig, Dec 3, 2018 The Lobby is a four-part documentary broadcast on Al-Jazeera that was blocked under heavy Israeli pressure shortly before its release. It has been leaked online by the Chicago-based website Electronic Intifada, the French website Orient XXI and the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. The documentary is an inside look over five months by an undercover reporter, armed with a hidden camera, at how the government and intelligence agencies of Israel work with U.S. domestic Jewish groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), The Israel Project and StandWithUs to spy on, smear and attack critics, especially American university students who support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement…
Cuba’s first military doctors, essay by Don Fitz, published by Monthly Review in print issue of November 2018
Chinese telecom executive accused of fraud by the United States over Iran sanctions, by The Canadian Press, Dec 7, 2018 [Meng Wanzhou’s lawyer told a BC Supreme Court judge that there are no criminal charges against her in the U.S., only an arrest warrant. He says the telecom subsidiary with which Huawei was conducting business in Iran was sold in 2009, before the U.S. imposed related sanctions in 2010 under President Obama.]
* Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to spend weekend in detention after bail hearing adjourns, CBC News, Dec 7, 2018
* At bail hearing in Vancouver, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou rejects U.S. accusations of ties to Iran, report by Globe and Mail, Dec 11, 2018 (subscriber only) The United States government is alleging the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies committed fraud in 2013, when she misled American financial institutions about her company’s links to a Hong Kong firm doing business in Iran, opening the banks to risk of violating U.S. sanctions. Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers told a B.C. Supreme Court on Friday that the American allegations are built on faulty evidence, noting Huawei did own Skycom from 2008 to 2009 but the telecom giant had divested fully and she had left the other firm’s board…
* Meeting in Ottawa between Canadian MPs and visiting Chinese officials planned, then cancelled, by Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press, Dec 5, 2018
[Editorialists and politicians in Canada are pressing for Canada to follow the lead of its ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance partners U.S., Australia and New Zealand in banning the Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei from any participation in building the new’5G’ telecommunications network in Canada. The Globe and Mail daily has been leading the agitation in favour of such a ban. Canadian government lawyers are aggressively arguing before the BC Supreme Court that the judge should permit the extradition of Meng Wanzhou’s to the U.S., saying Canada’s extradition treaty with the U.S. requires it. Canada’s state-run media is meanwhile peddling as news an interpretation of events saying Canada is “caught in the middle” between the U.S. and China.]
What’s really behind France’s ‘yellow vests’ (‘Gilets jaunes’) protests?, by Cole Stangler, The Nation, Dec 7, 2018 It’s not just about the fuel tax; it’s about anger at ever-increasing burdens on the working class
* French gov’t backs down with six-month moratorium on ‘environmental’ fuel tax increases and winter suspension of planned hikes to electricity and natural gas taxes, RT, Dec 4, 2018 and, summary of reports on AP and Reuters, on ABC.net.au, Dec 4, 2018
* Macron scrapping fuel tax is ‘not enough,’ says ‘Gilets jaunes’ founder, interview with Ghislain Coutard, published by Deutsche Welle, Dec 7, 2018
* Images of French student protesters ordered by riot police to kneel with hands on heads during arrests ‘shocking’, admits education minister, but he supports police actions anyway, RT, Dec 7, 2018
* France’s Gilets jaunes protesters hold major protest in Paris, police attacks and defacing of symbols of the wealthy spark clashes, from the Wall Street Journal, Dec 2, 2018
* France takes to the barricades, by Benoit Martin, The Morning Star, Nov 28, 2018 … No-one was expecting the Gilets jaunes grassroots protests triggered by the rise in fuel prices — 14 per cent in one year — to grow after its first days in November 2018. Entirely organised through social media (Facebook page La France en colere) and without any input from political parties, unions or established organisations, the protest movement began on Monday, November 19 with a day of road blockades. The press reported that 283,000 people took part and brought France to a standstill…
* Why drivers are leading a protest movement across France, by Feargus O’Sullivan, City Lab, Nov 19, 2018
In French language:
* ‘A welcome surprise’: The program of the gilets jaunes, statement by Jean-Luc Melanchon, leader of the ‘France unbowed’ political party in formation, Nov 30, 2018
* Lower taxes, popular referendums to decide laws, end homelessness: 42 demands issuing from the ‘Gilets jaunes’ movement in France, published by France TV, Dec 2, 2018
Robert Mueller, Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, by Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist, Black Agenda Report, Dec 5, 2018
New York Times provides op-ed platform to martial law president of Ukraine. Op-ed by Petro Poroshenko, published in New York Times, Dec 5, 2018 [The president of the governing regime in Kyiv has declared martial law while systematic attacks are taking place daily against social and political activists in Ukraine. But Western media is playing Kyiv’s propaganda game by giving credence to the smokescreen of dire warnings of an imminent ‘Russian invasion’ of Ukraine and threat to all of Europe. For its part, not-so-alternative media in the West is ignoring the whole story.]
* Following Kerch Strait provocation by Ukraine, likelihood of European war stretches to Poland, Romania, Cyprus and Greece, by John Helmer, published on his website Dances With Bears, Dec 6, 2018
* Ukraine’s staged provocation in the Kerch Strait on Nov 25, 2018, interview with Moscow-based writer John Helmer, broadcast on ‘Gorilla Radio’ weekly podcast (Victoria, Canada) on Dec 6, 2018, with host Chris Cook
* Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they’re in power, Vladimir Putin tells news conference at conclusion of G20 meeting in Argentina, RT, Dec 1, 2018 [Mainstream news outlets in the West are diverting attention from the recent declaration of martial law by the Ukrainian government and related attacks on political rights. They are instead playing the game of the Ukrainian regime, reporting with a straight face the regime’s claim that it is preparing for a threatened ‘Russian invasion’. Complete with photos of Ukrainian soldiers training while wearing winter clothing!]
Sydney University moves to sack antiwar Professor Tim Anderson, by Michael Koziol, in Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 5, 2018
Latest Credit Suisse global wealth report: The top one per cent own 48 per cent of all global personal wealth, ten per cent own 85 per cent, by Michael Roberts, published on his blog, Dec 4, 2018 Every year, I refer to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report for an update on the level of inequality of household wealth globally. Last year, the bank’s economists found that the top one per cent of personal wealth-holders globally had over 50 per cent of the world’s personal wealth – up from 45 per cent ten years ago. In the U.S., the three richest people—Bill Gates, Jeff Bozos and Warren Buffet–, own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population 160 million people, or 160 million people. This year’s report showed some interesting variations…
A U.S.-China trade war ‘armistice’? Trump blinks and retreats at G20, by Jack Rasmus, published on his website, Dec 3, 2018
Related: Following G20 dinner in Argentina, Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China agree to ceasefire in tariff war, by ABC.net.au with reports from Reuters and AP, Dec 1, 2018
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, November 2018
The Robert Mueller investigation into ‘Russian election interference’ takes aim, but is Trump in trouble?, by Aaron Maté, published in The Nation, Nov 30, 2018 … Just over 24 hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to step down in early November, tens of thousands of people turned out for protests in dozens of cities under the banner of ‘Protect Mueller’. While Sessions’s ouster elicited widespread anxiety over Mueller’s job safety, there was near-uniform silence over an outgoing decision by Sessions that puts at risk real lives…
The counterinsurgency paradigm: How U.S. politics have become paramilitarized, interview with author Bernard Harcourt, by Jeremy Scahill, broadcast on Scahill’s regular ‘Intercepted’ podcast on The Intercept, Nov 25, 2018 (with transcript) [Bernard Harcourt is professor of law and political science at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of the new book The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens.]
U.S. ‘slams the brakes’ on Yemen ceasefire resolution at UN Security Council, by Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Nov 27, 2018
* Yemen peace talks ‘meaningless’ amid incessant Saudi-led attacks, says Houthi-led government in Yemen, Press TV, Nov 29, 2018
* Pentagon says Riyadh is too important to antagonize, as it announces a $15 billion deal to sell THAAD missiles, RT, Nov 29, 2018 and, U.S. and Saudi Arabia closer to signing $15b deal for THAAD missile system, Press TV, Nov 29, 2018
* Atlantic Council advises MBS how to ‘refocus’ West from Khashoggi murder, report in RT, Nov 27, 2018
* Analysts say Canadian-made weapons are being used by Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen, feature article by Martin Lukacs, The National Observer, Nov 30, 2018
* Canada follows U.S. lead in public relations exercise sanctioning 17 Saudi Arabia individuals over the Oct 2, 2018 murder of mainstream journalist Jamal Khashoggi Saudi embassy in Istanbul, report by CBC News, Nov 29, 2018
The next step in Ukraine’s Kerch Strait provocation: In German newspaper interview, head of governing regime in Kyiv calls for NATO warships into the Sea of Azov, report by Associated Press, Nov 29, 2018 [Having surrendered Ukraine’s sovereignty to NATO during the past five years, the extreme-right governing regime in Kyiv now wants a new escalation in NATO threats against Russia.]
* Ukraine bans Russian males from entering country, ABC News, Nov 30, 2018 [In this news report, ABC voices the ‘Russia annexed Crimea’ trope. The report says three Ukrainian naval commanders have been transferred to Moscow to face trial over border violations by three Ukrainian naval vessels along Russia’s maritime border on the Crimean coast on November 25. Twenty one additional Ukrainian sailors on board the three ships remain detained in Crimea. Their status under Russian law has not been decided.] * Ukraine to demand Turkey shuts Bosphorus Strait to Russian ships over Kerch Strait provocation, report in RT, Nov 29, 2018
* Angela Merkel sidesteps military aid to Ukraine, report by Deutsche Welle, Nov 29, 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned Russia for seizing three Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov. But she failed to offer any military support to Ukraine or further economic sanctions against Russia. [For understandable historic reasons, the people of Germany and France are particularly wary of their governments providing arms and training to the extreme-right government in Ukraine. The people of the U.S., Britain and Canada are less informed and less sensitive, so their governments conduct the dirty job on behalf of NATO. Germany and France nonetheless provide key diplomatic support to the regime in Kyiv. They have sabotaged diplomatic efforts such as the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement that was supposed to end Ukraine’s military aggression against the pro-autonomy movement in eastern Ukraine.] * Ukraine’s Pinochet scenario, by Nicolai N. Petro, The Nation, Nov 28, 2018 [In this insightful commentary, the author voices the trope of a Russian ‘annexation’ of Crimea in March 2014. On March 16, 2014, the constitutional government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea conducted a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the Crimean people voted to secede from the new, right-wing Ukraine issuing from the coup of February 2014 and join the Russian Federation.]
U.S., Europe and NATO risk all-out war by backing unhinged Kiev regime, by Finian Cunningham, op-ed columnist, RT, Nov 27, 2018 With the US, EU and NATO all bolstering claims of “Russian aggression” – in face of contrary evidence – the real danger is that the Kiev regime will be emboldened to carry out more reckless provocations leading to all-out war…
The Guardian ups its vilification of Julian Assange, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, Nov 28, 2018
* The Assange-Manafort fabricated story is a plot to extradite the WikiLeaks founder, explains journalist Max Blumenthal, report in RT, Nov 28, 2018
* Britain and Ecuador conspire to deliver Julian Assange to U.S. authorities, by Gareth Porter, published in Truthdig, Nov 26, 2018
New Zealand joins its ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance partners Australia and U.S. in banning Chinese company Huawei from participating in building nexty generation ‘5G’ telecommunications network, by Gordon Campbell, New Zealand writer, published on Nov 29, 2018 See also: Huawei decision is the price of being in Five Eyes. [The Canadian government is under big pressure from the country’s Globe and Mail daily to institute its own ban. The exigencies of the five-country spying and sabotage partnership with its New Cold War against Russia and China make this all-but inevitable; so too for Britain.]
Scores of German police raid Deutsche Bank offices over suspected money laundering, report by Deutsche Welle, Nov 29, 2018 A money laundering probe stemming from the ‘Panama Papers’ has led police to Deutsche Bank, according to authorities. Prosecutors believe the bank helped clients “transfer money from criminal activities” to tax havens. [Deutsche Bank is by far the largest of Germany’s banks.]
Netanyahu’s predicament: The era of easy wars is over, by Ramzy Baroud, The Jordan Times, Nov 27, 2018
Behind Ukraine-Russia naval tensions, a more brutal economic war, by Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor, Nov 27, 2018 [There is much informative information in this article. More’s the pity that the writer completly falsifies the story of the violent, right-wing, ‘Maidan’ coup in Ukraine in February 2014. The coup was supported and financed by the large governments of the NATO military alliance. The writer calls the March 16, 2014 referendum in Crimea in which a large majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russia Federation an “annexation” by Russia. He describes the resistance to the Maidan coup by the people of eastern Ukraine (Donbass) in the months following February 2014 a case of Russia “promoting a separatist war in eastern Ukraine”. Harsh sanctions imposed by the West against the people of Crimea and of Russia as a whole are termed ” Russia’s sanctions war with the West “.]
Ukrainian Parliament votes 272-30 to impose martial law in ten of the country’s 27 regions after clash with Russia, RT, Nov 26, 2018 [A presidential election is scheduled to take place in Ukraine on March 31, 2019. Petro Poroshenko’s support in polls registers in the single digits. The country’s economy and social infrastructure continue to decline (Gallup poll, May 2017) while the Western-backed, Poroshenko-led government continues a low-intensity war against the people of Donbass (eastern Ukraine). The people of Donbass are seeking political autonomy ever since the Western-backed coup of February 2014 that installed the extreme-right governing regime in Kyiv.]
* After dispute with Russia, Ukraine imposes martial law, The Associated Press, Nov 26, 2018
… After a five-hour debate, parliament overwhelmingly approved Poroshenko’s proposal, voting to impose martial law for 30 days in ten of Ukraine’s 27 oblasts (regions) — those bordering Russia, Belarus and Moldova’s pro-Moscow breakaway republic of Trans-Dniester bordering southwest Ukraine. The locations chosen were ones that Poroshenko identified as potentially in the front line of any Russian attack. The capital of Kyiv is not under martial law. Poroshenko said martial law is necessary because of intelligence about “a highly serious threat of a ground operation against Ukraine.” He did not elaborate…
Oksana Syroid, a deputy speaker of parliament, noted that martial law was not introduced in 2014 or 2015 despite large-scale fighting in the east. A state of emergency “would present a wonderful chance to manipulate the presidential elections,” she said… [As reported in The Independent, Rada member Sergii Leschenko said, “Poroshenko wanted to use the situation in Kerch to grow his rating, to follow the example of Margaret Thatcher, who strengthened her position with the Falklands War of 1982.”]
* Trump set to meet Putin at Nov 30 -Dec 1 G20 summit in Argentina but says ‘maybe’ I won’t, RT, Nov 27, 2018
* Russia releases videos of sailors from Ukrainian ships seized near Crimea, by Patrick Reevell, ABC News, Nov 26, 2018
* Elections in the Donbass republics; freezing temperatures in Ukraine combined with IMF-ordered rises in natural gas prices threaten the health and wellbeing of citizens, by Dmitry Kovalevich, published in New Cold War.org, Nov 26, 2018
* Five years on from Euromaidan: Did ordinary Ukrainians benefit from the Western-backed ‘revolution’?, unsigned commentary on RT, Nov 21, 2018 It has been five years to the day since Ukraine’s ‘Euromaidan’ protest movement began, with anti-government protesters demanding an end to corruption and a closer relationship with the European Union. But what became of the dream? …
* Blowback: An inside look at how U.S.-funded fascists in Ukraine mentor U.S. white supremacists, feature article by Max Blumenthal, published on Mint Press News, Nov 15, 2018 Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly, under the nose of a shrugging law enforcement — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home…
* More legislation and decrees banning rights and political expression in Ukraine, by Dmitry Kovalevich, in New Cold War.org, Oct 23, 2018
* From the Facebook page of University of Ottawa researcher Ivan Katchanovski:
Nov 25, 2018: The martial law decree by Poroshenko explicitly states that it can limit rights and freedoms specified in the articles of the Ukrainian Constitution. The articles listed in the decree include rights to elections, strikes, meetings, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, education, ownership, and others. This is a blatant attempt to cancel the presidential elections set for March 2019 which the current regime is set to lose. The decree institutes an open dictatorship by eliminating the remaining vestiges of democracy in Ukraine. The reaction of Western democracies, which de facto supported the violent seizure of power by current leaders of Ukraine in February 2014, will be revealing.
Nov 26, 2018: It is amazing that so many educated people again take at face value what appears like an incident staged by the Maidan government leaders to stay in power. Such unquestionable trust in Ukrainian politicians, who are implicated in staging the Maidan massacre [on Feb 20, 2014], the Bulatov crucifixion and the Babchenko assassination, is striking. It can be explained by simple political convenience, even though these politicians sacrificed lives of other people and threw Ukraine into conflicts for personal power. Success of such staged, violent events depends on the ability to convince others. And such success in all these cases and the lack of any criminal, political, or moral accountability mean that the same politicians have all the incentives to stage more cases of violence. This suggests a strong possibility of another case or cases of staged violence before the presidential elections in Ukraine [to take place on March 31, 2019.].
General Motors cuts up to 14,000 jobs in global restructure, report in The New Daily (Australia), Nov 26, 2018
* From a report in Deutsche Welle, Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018: Plans were announced on Monday to cut the General Motors workforce by 15 percent in a move that will hit white-collar workers hardest, but would also see more than 6,000 production line jobs go as GM looks to invest in future technologies. These would most likely affect three assembly plants in Detroit, Ohio and Ontario as well as two factories in Michigan and Maryland that build transmissions and batteries…
* Head of ‘Unifor’ union at General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario wants Canadian PM to join Donald Trump in imposing steep tariffs on GM vehicles assembled in Mexico, report by Global News, Nov 27, 2018 Mary Barra envisions an all-electric future for General Motors. But to get there, she first needs to bank as much profit as possible by selling millions more gas-guzzling pick-up trucks. Therein lies the paradox of the strategy GM’s chief executive unveiled on Monday as she announced the elimination of six car models and the idling of five North American factories, including the Oshawa, Ont., facility that makes the soon-for-the-scrap-heap Chevrolet Impala sedan… See also: Canada and United States urged to work together to fight GM plant closing, by Bruce Campion-Smith and Rob Ferguson, Toronto Star, Nov. 27, 2018 and The GM paradox: Sell more pick-ups, prepare for an electric car world, by Konrad Yakabuski, columnist, The Globe and Mail, Nov 27, 2018 (subscriber only article)
[Unifor president Jerry Dias worked closely with the Ottawa government in negotiating the (slightly) revised North American Free Trade Agreement this past year. He is aping Donald Trump’s call for steep tariffs against automobiles assembled in Mexico and exported to the U.S. Dias wants Canada to follow Trump’s demagogic call for such tariffs. Dias’ performance begs the question, once again, of why so many left-wing people in Canada have failed to recognize that Unifor has always been a right-wing union embedded into the very fabric of Canada’s military/automobile-urban sprawl/fossil fuel nexus.]
Bait and switch, book review by Simon Wren-Lewis, published in London Review of Books, print issue of Oct 25, 2018 Reviewing: Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World, by Adam Tooze, published by Allen Lane (Penguin), Aug 2018, 706 pp, ISBN 978 1 84614 036. In ‘Crashed’, Adam Tooze sets himself the mammoth task of making sense of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 and its consequences over the last ten years. By and large. he succeeds brilliantly.
Crucifying Julian Assange, interview with Joe Lauria by Chris Hedges, broadcast on Hedges’ weekly interview program ‘On Contact’ on RT, Nov 25, 2018 (Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief at Consortium News. He succeeds Robert Parry, who passed away on January 27, 2018.)
Related: Julian Assange never met Paul Manafort in the Ecuador embassy in London. Luke Harding and the Guardian publish still more blatant MI6 lies, by Craig Murray, ex-UK diplomat, published on his website, Nov 27, 2018
U.S. condemned for violence against asylum seekers at Mexico-U.S. border, report by Common Dreams, Nov 26, 2018
The class dynamics of the current popular uprising in Haiti, by Kim Ives, published in Haiti Liberté, Nov. 21, 2018 (Haiti Liberté is a print and online weekly newspaper edited and printed in New York and distributed throughout Haiti. Kim Ives is a co-editor.) Haiti has been in complete turmoil over the three days since Nov. 18, 2018, when tens of thousands of Haitians took to the streets around the country to demand President Jovenel Moïse’s resignation and the prosecution of those who embezzled billions of dollars from the PetroCaribe Fund, established in 2006 through a bilateral accord between Venezuela and Haiti…
The defeat of democracy in Brazil, analysis by Frei Betto, published in Granma (Cuban daily), Nov 20, 2018 [Missing from this analysis by Frei Betto is the role played by Workers Party governments in promoting the climate-wrecking, resource extraction industries of Brazil as well as those governments’ lead role in the Western imperialist subjugation of Haiti following the violent overthrow of that country’s elected president by U.S.-supported paramilitaries in February 2004. By virtue of their lead role in the ongoing (to this day) military occupation of Haiti, Workers Party governments share responsibility for the utter failure of relief and reconstruction efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck the capital city of Port au Prince, Haiti on January 12, 2010.]
Related: Syrian government blames foreign states for chlorine gas attack against residents of Aleppo, RT, Nov 25, 2018
[Reuters and the rest of Western media give prominence to denials by right-wing, anti government forces in Syria’s Idlib province that they conducted the chlorine gas attack against Aleppo on November 24. The media also dredges up as fact past claims of Syrian government attacks using sarin and chlorine gas. Of note, there are no reported deaths of civilians in the November 24 attack against Aleppo. This correponds to the known effects of chlorine gas, which is not effective at killing due to its quick dispersal in the atmosphere once released. Reports by Western media of past, alleged uses of cholorine gas by the Syrian armed forces always claimed high losses of human life.]
Anonymous blows lid off huge psyop in Europe funded by UK and U.S., RT, Nov 23, 2018 and related: EU-wide ‘anti-Russian psy-ops’ program confirms UK govt funding, ‘Anonymous’ denies leak, RT, Nov 26, 2018
First of 8,400 Cuban doctors in Brazil heading home after newly elected Brazil president rejected terms of agreement governing their work, report by Reuters, Nov 22, 2018 [The ‘More Doctors’ program of the Brazilian and Cuban governments began in August 2013 under thenPresident Dilma Rousseff. She was ousted in a constitutional coup in 2016]
* John Bolton to meet with Brazil’s far-right elected leader next week. Mission? To confront Cuba, by Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy News, Nov 21, 2018
* Cuban doctors in Brazil: How can conditions be placed on lives?, report by Lisandra Fariñas Acosta and Daina Caballero Trujillo, published in Granma (Cuban daily newspaper), Nov 20, 2018
* Cuba withdraws from ‘More Doctors’ program in Brazil following derogatory and threatening comments by Jair Bolsonaro, Telesur, Nov 14, 2018
Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health announced on November 14 it is withdrawing from the Mais Medicos (More Doctors) cooperation program with Brazil which has functioned since August 2013 and ensured health coverage for over a hundred million Brazilians who had no prior access to healthcare. Cuban health authorities said they had notified the Pan-American Health Organization and its Brazilian counterparts of the decision to end its participation in the program.
The decision comes after Brazil’s far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro criticized the program, saying it was torture for Cuban mothers who were “not allowed” to go with their children and questioning diplomatic ties with the island…
Russian diplomacy is winning the New Cold War, interview with Professor Stephen Cohen, published in The Nation, Nov 21, 2018 Washington’s attempt to ‘isolate Putin’s Russia’ has failed and had the opposite effect
German foreign minister is arguing to an end Germany’s constitutional right to asylum as European leaders discuss new regulations to further restrict migration of political refugees and global warming refugees, report in Deutsche Welle, Nov 22, 2018 (and see report in Associated Press, Nov 22, 2018, which features a misleading headline) Friedrich Merz is one of the candidates to replace Angela Merkel as German chancellor and leader of the CDU party.
* Hillary Clinton calls on Europe to drastically reduce right to migration and asylum, by Mythili Sampathkumar, The Independent, Nov 22, 2018
* Hypocrisy overload? Hillary Clinton tells Europe to stem refugee flow to avoid ‘populist politics’, RT, Nov 22, 2018 [As a fomenter of coups and ‘regime change wars’ in such places as Haiti (2004), Honduras (2009), Libya (2011), Syria (2011-12), Egypt (2013) and Ukraine (2014), Hillary Clinton is long-practiced in the art of championing imperialism’s ravages while feigning concern about ‘human rights’.].
Malcolm X would say Russiagate is a fool’s game, by Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, Nov 22, 2018 The Democrats and their media have fashioned a trap for Blacks and browns: accept endless foreign wars and domestic austerity in return for the representation of dark faces in high places in the governing hierarchy…
Democratic Party leaders in U.S. House of Representatives steer clear of medicare for all, commentary by Bruce A. Dixon, managing editor, Black Agenda Report, Nov 22, 2018 In January, the 116th Congress will swear in, this time with a Democratic Party majority in the House. Corporate Dems and even many self-described lefties are still celebrating some kind of victory. But it ain’t so. The headline on a November 20 article in Roll Call, ‘On Medicare for all, Democrats tread lightly‘ says it all. Now that Democrats control the House, they have no real intention of relieving the burden of 30 million uninsured, and tens of millions more carrying fake insurance too expensive to use, and still threatened by bankruptcy with any serious illness…
The War for Survival: Letter from prison by Leonard Peltier, age 74, published in CounterPunch, Nov 22, 2018
The tide is turning: Israel is losing on two war fronts, by Ramzy Baroud, weekly column in The Jordan Times, Nov 20, 2018 The botched Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip last week delineates Tel Aviv’s failure to utilize its army as a tool to achieve Palestinian political concessions. Now that the Palestinian popular resistance has gone global through the exponential rise and growing success of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement, the Israeli government is fighting two desperate wars…
Related: ‘Canary Mission’ blacklist of pro-Palestine activists is taking a toll, by Alex Kane, The Intercept, Nov 22, 2018 … While Canary Mission promotes itself as a group working against anti-Semitism, the blacklist’s effective goal is to clamp down on growing support for Palestine in the United States by intimidating and tarnishing Palestinian rights advocates with the brush of bigotry…
Britain is boosting its military presence and its support to the governing regime of Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine, report in RT, Nov 21, 2018
Five years on from Euromaidan: Did ordinary Ukrainians benefit from the Western-backed ‘revolution’?, unsigned commentary on RT, Nov 21, 2018 It has been five years to the day since Ukraine’s ‘Euromaidan’ protest movement began, with anti-government protesters demanding an end to corruption and a closer relationship with the European Union. But what became of the dream? …
Related: Is the British state trying to undermine the election of a Labour government in Britain?, commentary by Andrew Murray, published in The New Statesman, Sept 19, 2018 (Andrew Murray is a political advisor to British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.)
That weekend break in Dnipropetrovsk is off. I have been banned from entering Ukraine. I learned of this edict via the Mail on Sunday, naturally. I was unlikely to be appraised any other way, since I have never sought to go to Ukraine in my life. Doubtless frustrated at being unable to turn down a visa application they were never going to receive, the Kiev authorities simply issued a ban anyway – just in case, as it were. That weekend break in Dnipropetrovsk is off. I have been banned from entering Ukraine. I learned of this edict via the Mail on Sunday, naturally. I was unlikely to be appraised any other way, since I have never sought to go to Ukraine in my life. Doubtless frustrated at being unable to turn down a visa application they were never going to receive, the Kyiv authorities simply issued a ban anyway – just in case, as it were.
Being prohibited from setting foot in Ukraine will not trouble me particularly. Unlike, for example, Donald Trump’s disgraced campaign manager Paul Manafort, I do not need the assistance of an unwitting Ukrainian hairdresser to conduct my tax affairs. Nor was I planning a political visit to a country where the parliamentary speaker is a Hitler admirer and pogromists and Nazi collaborators are national heroes – a place where as much as a favourable mention of the Red Army’s wartime record risks prosecution…
Hunger and disease have killed 85,000 young children in Saudi-waged, Western-backed war in Yemen, says report by Save The Children, Reuters, Nov 20, 2018 [Most Western news reports, including this one, are playing up expressions of concern and calls for a ceasefire in Yemen made by the U.S., UK and their friends and allies. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, continues its military assault against the port city of Hodeidah after announcing last week it would institute a ‘ceasefire’ there. The city is where most of Yemen’s food imports pass through.]
* 85,000 children may have died from starvation in Yemen since Saudi Arabia escalation of war beginning in 2015, report by Save The Children, issued on Nov 20, 2018
* Don’t be fooled by U.S. calls for Yemen ceasefire. It’s PR spin for more war, by Dan Glazebook (UK writer), published by Middle East Eye, Nov 6, 2018 (also appearing on Dan Glazebrook’s website)
‘Turkstream’ natural gas pipeline connecting Russia to Turkey and on to southern Europe will enter service in 2019, by Jasper Mortimer, Al-Monitor, Nov 19, 2018
Britain’s enemy is not Russia but its own ruling class, UN report confirms, by John Wight, ‘Op-Ed’ columnist, RT, Nov 19, 2018 … Overall, 14 million people in the UK are now living in poverty, including four million children. That translates into an entire fifth of the population. According to Professor Alston, 1.5 million people are destitute – that is, unable to afford the basic necessities of life…
* How Brexit debacle is uncovering and unraveling the dis-United Kingdom, by Finian Cunningham, columnist, RT, Nov 16, 2018
* In damning report, UN special rapporteur on poverty condemns UK government’s ‘mean-spirited and callous approach’ to poorest, by May Bulman, social affairs correspondent, The Independent, Nov 16, 2018 … The report documents a series of findings which combine to present a withering assessment of Britain’s approach to its poorest citizens, detailing a predicted seven per cent rise in child poverty, 60 per cent increase in homelessness and exponential growth in the number of food banks since 2010…
* Statement on visit to the United Kingdom by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, published by Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations, Nov 16, 2018
European Court of Human Rights rules for release from detention of People’s Democratic Party leader Selahattin Demirtas in Turkey, report by Rudaw news service, Nov 20, 2018 [And, report by Al Jazeera, Nov 20, 2018.] … Demirtas, former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey, has been detained for more than two years on terror-related charges, which he denies.
* Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party the HDP struggles to be heard, by Ayla Jean Yackley, Al-Monitor, Nov 15, 2018
* Demirtas calls on Kurds to save their language from ‘extinction’, by Rudaw news service, Nov 20, 2018
[Selahattin Demirtas was the presidential candidate of the HDP in Turkey’s presidential election on June 24, 2018. He won 8.3 per cent of the vote. On the same date, the HDP won 11.7 per cent in the election to the national legislature (Grand Assembly of Turkey), surpassing the ten percent threshold to gain seats. The HDP is the third largest party in the Grand Assembly, though some of its representatives, including former co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, have been jailed and charged on spurious ‘terrorism’ charges.]
U.S. and Australia agree to expand naval base on Papua New Guinea in the name of threatening China, report on RT, Nov 17, 2018
With a population of about 50,000 people, Manus Island once served as a major U.S. naval base during World War Two. From 2001 to 2017, it hosted one of Australia’s two controversial offshore immigration detention centers …
Related: APEC 2018 conference ends in disarray as U.S. presses its anti-China agenda, news report by ABC.net.au, (Australia’s state-run broadcaster), Nov 17, 2018
Blowback: An inside look at how U.S.-funded fascists in Ukraine mentor U.S. white supremacists, feature article by Max Blumenthal, published on Mint Press News, Nov 15, 2018 [This article also appears on The Grayzone Project, of which Max Blumenthal is founder and editor.] Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly, under the nose of a shrugging law enforcement — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home…
* Ukraine’s most prominent ultranationalist group sets its sights on U.S., Europe, feature article by Christopher Miller, published in Radio Free Europe (anti-Russia outlet funded by U.S. government), Nov 14, 2018
* Ombudsperson for Donetsk republic in eastern Ukraine reports 148 deaths so far in 2018 from military aggression by Ukraine, Donetsk News Agency, Nov 16, 2018
* Training youth to kill at Ukrainian nationalist camp, by Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press, Nov 12, 2018
* More legislation and decrees banning rights and political expression in Ukraine, by Dmitry Kovalevich, Oct 23, 2018
* War-related environmental disaster in Ukraine, by Kristina Hook and Richard Marcantonio, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Oct 16, 2018 [This informative article incorrectly and provocatively labels the pro-autonomy movement in Donbass (eastern Ukraine) as ‘seperatist’. In reality, it is the war pursued by Ukraine against the populations of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk which is creating or deepening sentiment for secession from Ukraine and affiliation to the Russian Federation. Furthermore, the article refers to opposing ‘Ukrainian’ and ‘Russia-backed’ armed forces. The accurate term for the Ukrainian side is ‘NATO-trained and financed Ukrainian armed forces and extreme-right paramilitaries’.] * Three articles on the state of journalism and political rights in Maidan Ukraine, compiled on A Socialist In Canada, June 4, 2018
New York Times report on North Korea’s ‘great deception’ over missiles is riddled with holes and errors, by Noh Ji-won, staff reporter, The Hankyoreh, Nov 14, 2018
Related: How the New York Times deceived the public on North Korea, by Tim Shorrock, published in The Nation, Nov 16, 2018 Stretching the findings of a recent think-tank report on Pyongyang’s missile bases is a reminder of the Times’ role in the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003
University of Ottawa professor and author is suing Polish group that says his book slanders Poland by citing Poles who collaborated with the Nazis, by Vanessa Gera, The Associated Press, Nov 16, 2018 ‘The militant nationalists who nowadays hold sway in Poland should be warned that they will be held to account, that they are wrong if they think that their outrageous statements and slanders will go unnoticed,’ said Grabowski, who was born in Warsaw and attended university there [Jan Grabowski is a Holocaust researcher and University of Ottawa professor. He is suing the Polish League Against Defamation, an organization allied with Poland’s conservative ruling party. Grabowski is the author of the 2014 book Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland.]
Related: Canadian historian joins uproar in Israel over Poland’s new Holocaust law, CBC News, Feb 20, 2018 Professor Jan Grabowski worries academic research could be stifled by new Polish legislation making it illegal to assert that Poland bore any responsibility for atrocities committed by Nazi Germany
The peace movement won the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987. We must fight to preserve it, by David Cortright, The Nation, Nov 14, 2018 In the 1980s, millions of antinuclear activists took to the streets, forcing Western governments to respond to our demands. We can do the same now.
Venezuelan government delivers on plan to build 2.3 million new houses, says goal of three million by end-2019 will be met, report by Telesur, Nov 16, 2018
Denis Pushilin wins election as head of Donetsk People’s Republic, by Donetsk News Agency, Nov 12, 2018 and, Electoral commission of Lugansk People’s Republic declares acting head Leonid Pasechnik winner of Nov 11 election, TASS news agency, Nov 14, 2018
Related: Nov 11 elections in Donetsk and Lugansk republics in Donbass region helped avert chaos after assassination of Donetsk People’s Republic leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko on August 31, 2018, TASS Russian news agency, Nov 15, 2018
The unraveling of America: U.S. conditions on the eve of midterm elections to the House and Senate, by Jack Rasmus, published on his website, Nov 10, 2018 (Jack Rasmus, Ph.D in political economy, teaches economics and politics at St. Mary’s College in California and has authored numerous books on the U.S. economy.).
Related: Analysis of the November 6, 2018 mid-term elections to the U.S. House and Senate, part one, by Jack Rasmus, published on his blog, Nov 8, 2018
Turkey tests waters for new offensive against YPG in Syria, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Nov 12, 2018
Related: Commercial and civilian border crossing opens near Idlib, Syria, by Khaled al-Khateb, Al-Monitor, Nov 15, 2018
The EU has built 1,000 km of border walls since fall of Berlin Wall, by Jon Stone, The Independent, Nov 10, 2018 Researchers look at infrastructure that supports ‘Fortress Europe’
Newly-elected progressives in the U.S. Congress and the harsh, pro-Israel politics of their Democratic Party, by As’ad AbuKhalil, special to Consortium News, Nov 14, 2018 Following the primary contests earlier in 2018, Rashida Tlaib [Michigan], Ilhan Omar [Minnesota] and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [New York] softened their earlier statements critical of Israel. In a post-election victory interview, Tlaib said that both sides (occupiers and occupied?) have “so much more in common“. Ocasio-Cortez was quoted as favoring a two-state solution and believing “absolutely in Israel’s right to exist” (as an apartheid occupation state?).
The U.S. leads, but no one follows, by Patrick Lawrence, special to Consortium News, Nov 13, 2018 … The new book ‘The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership’ is a long lament that the United States is surrendering—supposedly—its position as No. 1 among nations. This is a misreading, perfectly upside down from reality. The United States is not surrendering anything. That is precisely the problem. It refuses to give up its long-asserted right to act unilaterally on the assumption other nations will either fall in line or silently acquiesce…
Joy in Gaza, anger in Israel after ceasefire, by Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada, Nov 14, 2018
* Bomb Egypt, behead disloyal Arabs: Israel parts ways with ‘Jewish ISIS’ defense chief Avigdor Lieberman, RT, Nov 14, 2018
* ‘Everything is a target’: Gaza residents decry Israeli strikes, by Farah Najjar and Maram Humaid, Al Jazeera, Nov 13, 2018 Civilians in besieged enclave express anger at ferocious Israeli attacks that targeted their homes and businesses.
* Israel pays dearly for botched raid on Gaza, by Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada, Nov 13, 2018
* Gaza burns hotter than California, but there’s nobody to put the fires out, commentary by George Galloway, in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Nov 12, 2018
* The American Jewish establishment is terrified of Palestinians, by Philip Weiss, published in Mondoweiss, Nov 11, 2018
Trump keeps up insults leveled at French government and people, report in RT, Nov 13, 2018 [The people of Canada and Germany and their elected leaders have also been the target of insults from the Trump regime. The three NATO members are utterly committed to their military and economic alliance with the U.S. in order to continue dominating the world. They opt to grin and suffer the insults.]
Illusion of democracy: If U.S. elections could change anything they wouldn’t be held, by Neil Clark, in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Nov 12, 2018 Last week’s U.S. midterm elections received saturated media coverage. Why? The reality is that elections in the U.S. don’t change much, if anything, because America has a regime and is not a genuine democracy…
‘Europe will be white’: Leaders of NATO-member Poland sanction massive far-right march in Warsaw, report by RT, Nov 11, 2018 (with video from Warsaw) Polish government officials have agreed to conduct a joint march with far-right organizations to commemorate Poland’s Independence Day, raising concerns that the ruling Law and Justice party is legitimizing fascist viewpoints. Since 2009, the celebration of Polish Independence Day has become a rallying point for far-right organizations from all over Europe, some of which openly describe themselves as fascists or Nazis. This year marks the centenary of the country’s independence, an occasion which is expected to draw massive crowds…
* Poland’s leaders join far-right groups on independence march, by Adam Forster, The Independent, Nov 11, 2018 More than 250,000 people gathered on the streets of Warsaw to mark the 100th anniversary of Poland’s rebirth as a state at the end of the First World War…
* Poland marks independence centenary amid tensions over role of the extreme-right in celebratory march to take place in Warsaw, report by Agence France presse, Sunday, Nov 11, 2018 The right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS) government and President Andrzej Duda announced on November 7 that a state military parade would take place on November 11 and would have legal priority over a large march to be led by the extreme-right. But the far-right groups refused to back down after a court overruled a ban on the far-right march imposed by the Warsaw mayor who cited the risk of violence and hate speech. The PiS government spent Friday in a tug of war over the scheduling of the two events. The sides confirmed late on Friday that the two events would coincide…
* Polish government will now host planned far-right march on Nov 11 marking Polish independence, report by Harriet Agerholm, The Independent, Nov 8, 2018 [The mayor of Warsaw banned the far-right, ‘independence day’ march planned for November 11. Last year’s march drew 60,000 in Warsaw and embarrassed the country before European opinion. This year, Polish President Andrej Duda has stepped in to host the march, thus countering the Warsaw mayor’s ban.]
Trump and big media: Clash or collusion?, by Sam Husseini, special to Consortium News, Nov 11, 2018 Now that the media is protesting the suspension of White House credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta, Sam Husseini asks why he and the other journalists didn’t intervene on his behalf when he was expelled from a news conference in Helsinki in July 2018. (Sam Husseini is an independent journalist and senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
Western media attacks critics of the White Helmets, by Rick Sterling, MR Online, Nov 9, 2018 The October 16 issue of the New York Review of Books has an article by Janine di Giovani titled ‘Why Assad and Russia target the White Helmets‘. The article exemplifies how western media promotes the White Helmets uncritically and attacks those who challenge the myth…
Migrant caravan through Mexico to U.S.: Why no Nicaraguans on the march?, by Chuck Kaufman, published by Alliance For Global Justice, Nov 8, 2018
Related: More Guardian lies about Nicaragua, by Nora McCurdy and Nan McCurdy, Popular Resistance.org, Nov 9, 2018
UN pushes back Yemen peace talks, by Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor, Nov 8, 2018 The United Nations said today that it would push back plans for Yemen peace talks this month amid an escalation by Saudi- and Emirati-backed fighters toward the vital Red Sea port of Hodeidah, in what appeared to be a setback for recent US and UN calls on the Yemen parties to de-escalate fighting. But US officials said they were not overly concerned about the possible delay…
* U.S.-UK calls for a Yemen ceasefire is a cynical piece of political theatre, by Dan Glazebrook, Middle East Eye, Nov 6, 2018, (also published on the writer’s website, Nov 7, 2018)
* Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are starving Yemenis to death, by Radhya Almutawakel and Abdulrasheed Alfaqih, Foreign Policy Magazine, Nov 8, 2018 The world was rightly outraged by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but the bombs of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his Emirati allies are killing dozens each day in Yemen.
* Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they halted Saudi-led advance on port of Hodeida as fighting threatens hospital, report by Associated Press, Nov 7, 2018 * Attacks against Yemen increased after the U.S. began airing demands for ‘ceasefire’, reports Houthi-led government, report in Press TV, Nov 7, 2018 * Britain’s role exposed in training pilots for Saudi Arabia’s air force, RT, Nov 7, 2018
* As famine looms in Yemen, Saudi-led coalition redoubles attacks, by Mohammed Ali Kalfood and Declan Walsh, New York Times, Nov. 6, 2018 HUDAYDAH, Yemen — The fight in Yemen has escalated drastically over the past week, exacerbating a dire humanitarian crisis that the United Nations says could spiral into famine — despite, or even because of, a diplomatic push by the United States to get both sides to the peace table. The Saudi-led coalition, which the United States has armed and supported, has launched a punishing wave of airstrikes against the rebel Houthis. The warplanes have hit targets in the capital, Sana; in the mountainous northern provinces; and in the Red Sea port of Hudaydah where, aid workers warn, the country’s main humanitarian lifeline hangs by a thread…
Russia engaged in new diplomatic push on Syria, by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor, Nov 8, 2018
Russia’s biggest problem, population decline, will soon be ours, by Matt Tabbibi, Rolling Stone, Oct 29, 2018
Kurds unite in new effort against linguistic assimilation in Turkey, by Mahmut Bozarslan, Al-Monitor, Nov 8, 2018
U.S. ‘war on terror’ has killed 500,000 people, reports updated study at Brown University in Washington DC, by Agence France presse, Nov 9, 2018 About half a million people have died violently in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan due to the US “war on terror” that was launched following the September 11 attacks in 2001, according to a study released Thursday. The report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs [11 pages] puts the death toll at between 480,000 and 507,000 people. It says the actual number is likely higher. The new toll “is a more than 110,000 increase over the last count, issued just two years ago in August 2016,” Brown said in a statement…
France will honour WW2 Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain as part of official WW1 ‘Remembrance Day’ event, report by France 24, Nov 8, 2018
Kurds unite in new effort against linguistic assimilation in Turkey, by Mahmut Bozarslan, Al-Monitor, Nov 8, 2018 Nine Kurdish parties in Turkey have joined forces in a fresh drive to fight for more language rights and shield Kurdish from what they see as the creeping danger of assimilation and oblivion. The initiative aims to revive the Kurds’ decades-long efforts to use their language freely, especially in education. The struggle has been in a lull since settlement talks between Ankara and the Kurds collapsed in 2015. The breakup of the peace process reignited clashes between the security forces and armed Kurdish militants, followed by a ferocious clampdown on Kurdish political quarters that saw the seizure of Kurdish-run local administrations and the arrest of dozens of senior Kurdish politicians, including parliament members…
Interview with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, published in Der Spiegel Online, Nov 9, 2018 [Nothing was asked and nothing was spoken of British imperialism’s engagement in war and rising militarism and its share of responsibility for the global warming emergency. Might the two be connected, and what would a Labour Party government do about this dual threat? We are left in the dark.]
Blood money: Taxpayers pick up the tab for police brutality in the USA, by Andrew Cockburn, Harper’s Magazine, print issue of November 2018
Ukraine 2018: Human rights nowhere, thuggery and corruption everywhere, commentary by John Wight, in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Nov 8, 2018
[Anti-Russia news outlets in the West that provide cover for the neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine, such as The Guardian, as well as European union officials are being obliged to acknowledge and voice concern over the growing number of anti-corruption journalists and citizen activists in Ukraine who are coming under attack by the neo-Nazis and Ukrainian government agencies. But the facts of why this is happening continue to be buried. Associated Press for example, publishes a brief report on Kateryna Handzyuk’s murder that gives prominence to a Ukrainian government official’s claim that “seperatists” in eastern Ukraine are “believed to be involved” in her killing!
[Anti-Russia leftists in the West provide their own version of cover for the extreme-rightists in Ukraine. They write more and more enough about the rise of the extreme-right in Europe while simultaneously choosing silence over the country in Europe where the extreme-right is most advanced–Ukraine. There, extreme-right leaders sit in government and occupy key positions in the police and armed forces, fully backed by the NATO powers. The anti-Russia leftists choose to avoid the ‘uncomfortable’ facts about the state of affairs in Ukraine as well as the NATO military buildup in eastern Europe and related economic sanctions, directed against Russia and Crimea.]
* Violent Ukrainian neo-Nazi speaks at U.S. gov’t organization’s office in Kyiv, boasts helping Kiev police ‘purge’ Roma people, by Ben Norton, The Grayzone Project, Oct 30, 2018 An activist from the violent Ukrainian neo-Nazi gang ‘C14’ spoke recently at the U.S. government’s America House Kyiv. Serhiy Bondar has worked with Kiev police to “purge” Roma citizens.
* Black sun over Kiev, by David Penner, published in Dissident Voice, Nov 4, 2018
Following two days of U.S.-Turkey meetings, U.S. offers rewards for information on whereabouts of top PKK leaders, Rudaw News Service, Nov 6, 2018 (and report in Turkish Minute, Nov 6, 2018) [U.S. and Syrian Kurd leaders claim to be in an alliance in fighting ISIS in Syria. Western media promotes a claim there are deep divisions between NATO members U.S. and Turkey due to this supposed alliance. The absurdity of the media claim comes at the expense of the Kurdish and other oppressed peoples of the Middle East, for whom ‘support’ by the U.S. is a kiss of death. Deliberations are ongoing by the Syrian government and people towards ammending the country’s constitution. Russia and other foreign governments are participating in these discussions in international forums such as the United Nations office in Geneva and the ‘Astana’ process that brings together the Syrian government and opposition forces and the governments of Russia, Turkey and Iran. Reporting of the constitutional discussions in Syria is all-but censored out of media in the West—corporate and anti-Russia alternative media alike. That’s because Russia has consistently argued in favour of political and constitutional reforms in that would grant cultural and political autonomy rights to the approximately 36 million Kurds who live in four neighbouring countries–Turkey (15 million), Iran (ten million), Iraq (eight million) and Syria (three million) [source]. This fact is censored due to the prevailing anti-Russia hysteria in the West.].
Iran and South Korea agree to use the S Korea currency in trade, RT, Nov 7, 2018
Related: South Korea and Japan granted waiver as allies in U.S. sanctions against Iran, by Park Min-hee and Choi Ha-yan, staff reporters, The Hankyoreh, Nov 6, 2018
Never have corporate profits outgrown employee compensation so clearly and for so long in the United States, by David Ruccio, published on his website blog Occasional Links And Commentary, Nov 5, 2018 (David Ruccio is a contributor to the Real-World Economics Review Blog.)
Putin sees and hears it all, by Professor Paul Robinson (University of Ottawa), published on his website Irrussionality, Nov 5, 2018
I’m not a fan of the Henry Jackson Society, a British think tank that has the reputation of consisting of uber-hawkish neo-conservatives. Henry Jackson members come across as the kind of guys who even now think that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. You can judge their credibility by the fact that their guest speaker today is Timothy Snyder, who’s giving a talk about his truly awful book The Road to Unfreedom – you know, the one which says that Putin’s a fascist because he quotes Ivan Ilyin. In short, the Henry Jackson Society isn’t the sort of place you should visit if you want to be well informed about Russia. Unfortunately, however, you have to pay a bit of attention to what it’s saying. For it represents the viewpoint of an extreme, but not unimportant, segment of Britain’s ruling elite.
The Society’s Russia & Eurasia Studies Centre has just come out with a new report. Its title Putin Sees and Hears it All: How Russia’s Intelligence Agencies Menace the UK gives the gist – Putin’s espionage network is massive and growing, and Russia’s evil dictator ‘sees and hears it all’. He truly is all knowing! …
Related: Half of the Russians in London are spies, claims new report, by Christopher Hope, chief political correspondent, The Telegraph (UK), Nov 5, 2018 Tens of thousands of Russian spies are living in Britain, a major report which has been endorsed by the former head of MI6 has warned. A new study from the Henry Jackson Society thinktank said there were as many as 75,000 informants in London – half the 150,000 Russians who live in the capital – who are actively helping Moscow’s secret service…
The troika of tyranny: The imperialist project in Latin America and its epigones, by Roger D. Harris, published in Dissident Voice, Nov 5, 2018 (Roger D. Harris is on the board of the Task Force on the Americas, a 32-year-old anti-imperialist human rights organization, and is active with the Campaign to End US-Canadian Sanctions Against Venezuela.)
Thousands participate in crafting Cuban constitution as process enters final stage, Telesur, Nov 5, 2018
Related: President Miguel Diaz-Canel of Cuba visits old allies Russia and China, making trade and investment deals, RT, Nov 1, 2018
Saudi Arabia ignores Trump administration on Yemen, by Bruce Riedel, Al Monitor, Nov 4, 2018 Saudi Arabia has responded to the Trump administration’s call for the end of hostilities in Yemen by ratcheting up the war. The war between the Saudi-led coalition backing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Iranian-supported Zaydi Shiite Houthis is a catastrophe for Yemen, the region and the United States, but Riyadh’s leaders do not want to be losers…
[Accurate news reporting of the growing assault by U.S.-backed, Saudi Arabia-led forces against the port city of Hodeidah in Yemen is almost non-existent in Western media. If it is reporting the assault, Western media absolves the criminal, U.S.-backed Saudi regime by using phrases such as this opening line from a November 4 report in Reuters: Thousands of Yemeni civilians are trapped on the southern outskirts of Hodeidah as forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition battle Houthi insurgents entrenched in the Red Sea port city…’ Thus does a U.S.-backed Saudi assault become a ‘battle between two opposing forces’. Fully three months ago, UN officials warned that an attack against Hodeidah would cause a humanitarian disaster.].
* The Saudi-U.S. crisis will pass, by As`ad AbuKhalil, special to Consortium News, Nov 5, 2018 Nobody in Washington, Republican or Democrat, welcomes the crisis in U.S.–Saudi relations prompted by the murder in Istanbul of Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist, on October 2. Maintaining good relations with the Saudi royal family has been a high bipartisan priority since President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud made their Faustian bargain in 1945: The U.S. would shield the Saudi kingdom’s tyranny from criticism in exchange for a share of oil revenues and Riyadh’s political loyalty (and American arms sales)…
* Yemen’s civilians face ‘hell’ as Saudis launch last-ditch military effort to build leverage in looming talks, by Ahmed Abdulkareem, Mint Press News, Nov 5, 2018
* U.S.-led war coalition bombs Syrian town with banned white phosphorus munitions, report Syrian media, RT, Nov 5, 2018 * The world has left Yemen to die, photo essay by writer Nina Strochlic and photographer Matteo Bastianelli, published in National Geographic Magazine (monthly), issue of August 2018
33 trillion more reasons why the New York Times gets it wrong on Russia-gate, by Gareth Porter, special to Consortium News, Nov 2, 2018 Ever more damning evidence has come to light undermining The New York Times’ assertion in September that Russia used social media to steal the 2016 election for Donald Trump. Trump to reinstate all U.S. sanctions on Iran, targeting over 700 entities and individuals, RT, Nov 2, 2018
All sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal will be back in force on November 5, the U.S. administration has announced. The sweeping sanctions will see 700 people blacklisted, the U.S. Treasury has announced. These include persons that were granted relief under the 2015 deal, as well as over 300 new names, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters.
Sanctions will target payments through the special mechanism that the EU has been creating specifically to avoid Washington’s penalties and to keep buying Iranian oil. Mnuchin has also threatened sanctions against the financial transaction service SWIFT…
Related: New Iran sanctions by U.S. risk long-term isolation from its allies, by Patrick Lawrence, published in Consortium News, Nov 1, 2018
Police and immigration officials in Mexico harass two migrant caravans moving towards U.S. Mexico border, by Sonia Perez, Associated Press, Nov 1, 2018
* Mass migration brought down the Roman Empire, can it bring down the American Empire?, commentary by John Wight, columnist, published in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Nov 1, 2018
* Inside the corruption and repression forcing Hondurans to flee to the U.S., by Peter Tinti, VICE News, Oct 25 2018 [Missing from this informative report is any description of the criminal roles of the U.S. and Canada in providing vital support to the military/state coup in 2009 that overthrew the elected reform president Manuel Zelaya.]
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, October 2018
Polish president revives demands for war reparations from Germany, by Agence France presse, Oct 28, 2018
* Poland’s governing party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski demands WWII reparations from Germany, RT, June 29, 2018
* Reparations for Poland is Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s latest diversion, commentary in Deutsche Welle, March 18, 2017
[Imperialist countries do not like demands for reparations for their past, historic crimes. A case in point is what happened to the people of Haiti in 2004. In 2003, the government of then-Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide launched a legal action in the World Court to recover the odious ‘Independence Debt’ imposed by France following Haiti’s independence in 1804. The debt was paid from the 1820s until the mid-1940s, amounting to some $21 billion in current dollars. France, the European Union, the U.S. and Canada joined in supporting a paramilitary coup that overthrew Aristide on Feb 29, 2004. Then, along with Chile and Brazil, they invaded and occupied Haiti to consolidate the coup. The occupation remains in place some 15 years later, under the aegis of the UN Security Council.]
On boycotts, academic freedom and the struggle for justice in Israel-Palestine, by Bruce Robbins, The Nation, Nov 1, 2018 The big story in the United States is the growing support for the Palestinian cause, and for a just and viable Israel that gives equal rights to all its citizens
Rhetoric by President Duterte inspires wave of strikes, worker activism in Philippines, by Cliff Venzon, Nikkei Asian Review, Oct 23, 2018
Saudi-led coalition masses troops near Yemen’s Hodeidah as pressure mounts to end war, France 24, Nov 1, 2018 [Stung by outrage over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and pressured by ongoing outrage over the humanitraian disaster in Yemen, the United States, Britain and their Western allies are now feigning concern over the war in Yemen that is being pursued by Saudi Arabia with the support of the very, aforementioned Western countries. The ‘peace’ which the imperialist countries now seek in Yemen is not peace at all; it is surrender of the Houthi-led Yemeni forces being targetted by the grim, Saudi-U.S./Britain led military campaign.]
UN General Assembly overwhelmingly votes against Cuba blockade, only Israel and the U.S. vote in favour, Telesur, Nov 1, 2018
Over 120 civilians killed by U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria in past month, while ISIS makes comeback with cutting edge weapons in or near U.S.-controlled areas, reports Russian military, RT, Oct 31, 2018 … Major General Igor Konashenkov explained that life in the U.S.-controlled areas of Syria is in shambles and the situation in Raqqa is a striking example of this. The city was “wiped out” by the airstrikes and thousands of bodies are still under the rubble of the destroyed buildings, he explained…
Following white supremacist terror, Trump doubles down from birthright to the border, interview with Professor Gerald Horne (University of Houston), by host Aaron Maté , The Real News Network, Oct 30, 2018
As mid-term congressional elections take place, Russiagate is missing in action, and that’s a good thing, essay by Aaron Maté, The Nation, Oct 29, 2018
Trump regime is sending 5,200 troops to U.S.-Mexico border as part of stoking fears over refugee caravan ‘invasion’, by Robert Burns, Colleen Long and Jill Colvin, Associated Press, Oct 29, 2018
* Donald Trump says he wants to revoke birthright citizenship in the U.S. with an ‘executive order’, news agency reports, on ABC.net.au, Oct 30, 2018 [Donald Trump falsely claims that the U.S. is “the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States.” A 2010 study showed that 30 countries recognize birthright citizenship. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of citizenship to children born in the United States. Trump is thus claiming the power to change the U.S. constitution by executive order!] * Trump claims he can end 14th Amendment guarantee of birthright citizenship, by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Oct 30, 2018
The inconvenient truth about the U.S.-bound migrant caravan, by Belen Fernandez, Al Jazeera, Oct 27, 2018 The migrant caravan over which Trump is so obsessed is a direct result of U.S. foreign policy
Darkness falls in America: After a week of horror, Trump refuses to admit any responsibility, by Heather Digby Parton, Slate Magazine, Oct 29, 2018 Trump is upset about the violence committed in his name — because it undercuts his moment of anti-immigrant hate directed against the migrant caravan from Honduras
* Solo right-wing extremist and Trump supporter arrested in Florida for spree of mail bombs, report by Michael Biesecker and Stephen Braun, Associated Press, Oct 27, 2018
* Suspect arrested in spree of mail bombs lived in a van plastered with Trump-supporting images and rhetoric, report by Jake Johnston, Common Dreams, Oct 26, 2018
* Eleven dead, six others shot at Pittsburgh synagogue, CBS News Pittsburgh, Oct 27, 2018 … Police sources tell KDKA’s Andy Sheehan the gunman walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews must die.” The shooting happened during weekly Shabbat services at the conservative Jewish synagogue. The building was full of people for a Saturday service… [Eleven people were killed by the extreme-right gunman and six were injured, including four police officers. The gunman, a Robert Bowers, was shot by police but arrested alive.] * Canada’s opposition Conservative Party and its leader Andrew Scheer step up criticism of media and reporters, by Daniel LeBlanc, Globe and Mail, Oct 26, 2018
Related: Joint statement on peace in Syria by the leaders of the Republic of Turkey, the French Republic and the Russian Federation and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, following their meeting in Istanbul on October 27, 2018. Statement published on the website of the President of Russia.
[The four countries agreed on a roadmap to peace and reconstruction in Syria, focused on these broad areas:
- The road to peace in Syria is through political agreement, not war
- No to any territorial division of Syria
- Encouraging a new constitution for Syria that would recognize autonomous rights for national and cultural minorities
- Continue the ceasefire agreement in Idlib province reached between Syria, Russia and Turkey in September 2018
- Boost humanitarian aid
- Facilitate the return of those among the millions of Syrian refuges wanting to return home
- Internationally observed elections
[It remains to be seen how NATO members France and Germany will act on what they agreed in Istanbul. These two countries have always spoken in favour of ‘peace’ in eastern Ukraine, for example, but their ‘peace’ is the peace of the graveyard, in which the right-wing government and armed forces in Ukraine crush the pro-autonomy movement in Donbass (eastern Ukraine).]
‘Far more dangerous than Trump’: Extremist, far-right Bolsonaro wins Brazil’s presidency, by staff, Common Dreams, Oct 28, 2018 ‘This is a dark day for Brazil; Brazilian democracy is now in complete crisis.’ and Right-wing Bolsonaro wins Brazilian elections with landslide despite mass protests, RT, Oct 29, 2018
* Is Brazil’s Bolsonaro a Pinochet or a populist?, commentary by George Galloway, published in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Oct 30, 2018 ‘A long dance to defeat has taken place in Brazil, accepting the legitimacy of fascist-era courts, bent policemen and an oligarchy parliament, all of them the enemies of the workers and their party.’
* Who is Jair Bolsonaro and why is he more dangerous than Trump?, by Alex Hochuli, published on ‘Think’ (NBC News), Oct 28, 2018 (NBC editor’s note Oct. 28, 2018, 9 p.m. ET: This piece has been updated to reflect the results of the Brazilian election on Oct. 28.) (Alex Hochuli is a writer, researcher and consultant based in São Paulo, Brazil. He is the host of the global politics podcast, ‘Aufhebunga Bunga’ and is writing a book on the contradictions of ‘anti-politics’.)
* Brazilian democracy ‘in crisis’ following election of fascistic Bolsonaro, press release by Center for Economic Policy Research (Washington DC), Oct 28, 2018
* Jair Bolsonaro is elected president of Brazil. Read his extremist, far-right positions in his own words, by Andrew Fishman, The Intercept, Oct 28, 2018
First issue published of Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor, announcement by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Oct 29, 2018 Today at the United Nations in New York, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) launch the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor 2018, the first report of a newly established watchdog for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Wikipedia). The 256-page report tracks the progress of the historic nuclear ban treaty, adopted by the UN General Assembly on July 7, 2017, including monitoring progress on compliance. View the report in pdf format here, or find it at the story weblink.
Can the hawks in Washington sabotage the inter-Korean peace process?, interview with Tim Shorrock, correspondent at The Nation, with host Aaron Mate, The Real News Network, Oct 26, 2018
Who will save us from America? Trump’s INF withdrawal is a neocon dream but a global nightmare, by John Wight, columnist, RT, Oct 26, 2018
* U.S. to blow another nuclear arms control treaty to feed its war economy, by Finian Cunningham, columnist, RT, Oct 22, 2018 [The Trump regime in Washington has announced a unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) reached between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1987. Western media is chiming in with welcoming words, echoing Trump et al’s claims that it is Russia‘s actions in response to the U.S. and NATO’s history of aggression and nuclear threats which is to blame for the U.S. withdrawal from the INF].
* What’s is the INF and why does it matter? Trump wants to kill pivotal 1987 nuclear treaty that calmed the Cold War, RT, Oct 20, 2018
* Intermediate-Range Nuclear Treaty (INF), in Wikipedia.
The Khashoggi affair and the future of Saudi Arabia, by Daniel Lazare, contributor, Consortium News, Oct 25, 2018
If Donald Trump seems at a loss about how to respond to the Jamal Khashoggi murder, it may not be because he’s worried about his Saudi business investments or any of the other things that Democrats like to bring up to avoid talking about more serious topics. Rather, it’s likely because Trump may be facing one of the biggest U.S. foreign-policy crises since the overthrow of the shah in Iran in 1979.
At that time, the U.S. counted on support from Arab Gulf states no less frightened by the Iranian revolution. That included Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, oil emirates Kuwait and Qatar, plus the Saudis themselves. But if the Saudi power structure were ever to crumble in the wake of the Khashoggi scandal, there would likely be chaos because there is no alternative to replace it…
* Governments in U.S., Europe and Canada squirm and dodge as their arms peddling to Saudi Arabia is condemned, by Frank Jordans and Aritz Parra, Associated Press, Oct 24, 2018
* The sale must go on: Canadian PM Trudeau sticks to US$12 billion arms deal with Saudis despite Khashoggi killing, RT, Oct 24, 2018
* First cut won’t be the deepest. Deeper wounds are yet to come over the killing of Jamil Khashoggi, commentary by George Galloway, in ‘Op-Ed’ feature in RT, Oct 23, 2018
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming talks with Syria’s chief opposition negotiator Naser al-Hariri, excerpt from the weekly media briefing by Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Oct 25, 2018, transcript published on the Ministry’s website
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with Naser al-Hariri, head of the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee, is scheduled to take place in Moscow on October 26. We hope that a detailed discussion of the developments in and around Syria will take place, with an emphasis on finding the earliest possible solution to the crisis in the county by political means, via an inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.
The priority topics for discussion include efforts to create the Constitutional Committee, the final eradication of terrorists in the Syrian Arab Republic, cooperation in restoring the destroyed socioeconomic infrastructure, the creation of conditions for internally displaced people to return to their homes and massive repatriation of Syrian refugees from abroad…
* ‘High Negotiations Committee’ from paramilitary-controlled Syria insists on Assad’s resignation, TASS, Oct 26, 2018
* Syrian High Negotiations Committee under fire for allegedly making ‘concessions’ to Russia and Iran, report by Khaled al-Khateb, in Al-Monitor, Oct 22, 2018
Australia bought into a ‘dud’ with its purchases of F-35 fighter aircraft, the largest military program in history, report by Rhian Deutrom, in News.com.au, Oct 25, 2018
… The Australian government has committed to spending $17 billion on 72 jets due to be built in the U.S. and delivered by 2035. Ten of the jets have been built so far and are they sitting at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
… The fighter jets cost a staggering $140 million each and have been plagued by computer system failures, software delays and breakdowns. University of NSW defence technology expert Jai Galliott said the jets were fast becoming outdated due to the delays. “By the time we have fully operational fleets of these aircraft, their skills will be significantly less than what might have been the case back when we signed the deal,” Dr Galliott said…
UN Human Rights Committee rules that France’s niqab ban violates human rights by leaving Muslim women ‘confined at home’, by Tom Barnes, The Independent, Oct 24, 2018
Related: Quebec to bar all civil servants from wearing Muslim chador, niqab and burka, Global News, Oct 24, 2018 [The Quebec Liberal Party government defeated in Quebec’s October 1 election tabled Bill 62 in October 2017 aiming to ban giving or receiving public services while wearing a niqab. It was swiftly met with legal challenges and has since been suspended by the courts.]
Caravan of migrants in Mexico pause to honor dead man, tend to health concerns of marchers, by Mark Stevenson, Associated Press, Oct 23, 2018 (with map and chart)
… The caravan, estimated to include more than 7,000 people, has advanced about 45 miles (75 kilometers) since crossing the border from Guatemala and still faces more than 1,000 miles to the closest U.S. border crossing at McAllen, Texas — and more than twice that to reach the distant Tijuana-San Diego crossing. Many in the caravan have low odds of qualifying for asylum even if they do make it, as the United States does not consider things like fleeing from poverty or gang violence as a qualifying factor.
A smaller caravan earlier this year headed for the California crossing, dissipating as it advanced, and only about 200 of the 1,200 in that group reached the border.
Nearly 1,700 from the current caravan have already dropped out and applied for asylum in Mexico, according to Mexican authorities, and another 500 have decided to voluntarily return home to Honduras…
Related: Over 7,000-strong, migrant caravan pushes on; still far from U.S. border, by Mark Stevenson, Associated Press, Oct 22, 2018
The strategies of the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war: Aerial bombardment and food war, report by Martha Mund, World Peace Foundation, Oct 9, 2018 (23-page report)
* The front lines of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, by Declan Walsh, photos and video by Tyler Hicks, New York Times, Oct 20, 2018
* Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen on August 9 was supplied by the U.S., investigative report on CNN, Aug 17, 2018
Julian Assange should be thanked – not smeared – for Wikileaks’ service to journalism, by Mark Curtis, Middle East Eye, Oct 21, 2018
Related: WikiLeaks founder sues Ecuador government for violating his ‘fundamental freedoms’, report on The Independent, Oct 19, 2018 … The move comes several months after Ecuador cut off communications for Mr Assange, and just days after it emerged it has set new house rules for the WikiLeaks founder, including a ban on making political statements…
The UN’s ten-year plan to tackle world’s drug problem has been ‘spectacular failure’ as production and consumption soar, report says, by Samuel Osborne, The Independent, Oct 22, 2018 Drug-related deaths increase by 145 per cent and cultivation of opium poppies increases by 130 per cent, figures show … The report, by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) – Taking stock: A decade of drug policy – evaluated the UN Office of Drug and Crime’s 10-year plan, which it said “continues to generate a catastrophic impact on health, human rights, security and development, while not even remotely reducing the global supply of illegal drugs”…
Social media war in Brazil pushes far-right candidate Bolsonaro toward presidency, by Michael Fox, Truthout.org, Oct 21, 2018
Nicola Sturgeon pulls out of three-day, BBC-hosted media event featuring Steve Bannon, by Adam Forrest, The Independent, Oct 22, 2018 [The Independent reporter uses the nonsensical, whitewashing term “nationalist” to describe the far-right views of Steve Bannon and others like him. In a statement issued in response to the invitation to Bannon, the European Broadcasting Union, co-sponsor of the conference along with the BBC, explained, “He has been invited to speak at News Xchange this year because his views are relevant to today’s society at large and therefore to the media industry.” Well put!]
Battle-scarred city of Marawi, Philippines still suffering wounds of war, by Bong S Sarmiento, in Mindanao, Philippines, published in Asia Times, Oct 21, 2018 Marawi is the only predominantly Muslim city in the Philippines, located on the island of Mindanao. One year after it was liberated from ISIS-inspired extremists, residents see little benefit from promised multi-billion-dollar rehabilitation packages.
* One year after siege of Marawi, thousands of displaced residents still live in tents, by Froilan Gallardo and Richel V. Umel, in Marawi, Philippines, published in Benar News, Oct 16, 2018
* Watch two-minute video of streets of Marawi one year after beginning of siege and battle, broadcast on YouTube by Rappler, May 22, 2018
North and South Korea continue to move toward peace and integration, despite U.S., news update by Zoom In Korea, Oct 18, 2018
Related: Washington’s ire shifts from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, by Tim Shorrock, The Nation, Oct 19, 2018 Trump infuriated and insulted South Koreans last week when he said “they do nothing without our approval”.
U.S. to begin cutting aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala for declining to stop migrant caravan, Reuters, Oct 22, 2018 [The U.S. provided more than $175 million in foreign aid to Honduras in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. Guatemala received $249 million and El Salvador got $115 million. Much of the money went to counter-narcotics and security. —Bloomberg News.]
* Migrant caravan swells as it enters Mexico en route toward U.S., despite Donald Trump’s threat to close border, from report by Reuters and AP, on ABC.net.au, Oct 21, 2018
* Caravan of migrants from Honduras resumes march north from Mexico-Guatemala border, by Dakin Andone, Patrick Oppmann and Natalie Gallón, CNN, Oct 21, 2018 Caravan members are headed for shelters in the Mexican city of Tapachula, about 37 km north of the Mexico-Guatemala border, Mexican police officers have told CNN.
* More migrant caravans preparing to leave from Honduras, El Salvador, report in Telesur, Oct 21, 2018
* Caravan of 4,000 U.S.-bound Honduran migrants halted on Mexico-Guatemala border, U.S. and Mexico mount pressure to turn them back, by Daina Beth Solomon and Delphine Schrank, Associated Press, Oct 19, 2018 [Mainstream news reports, including this one, make no mention of the military coup in Honduras in 2009, supported by the U.S. (under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) and Canada. The coup sent the country into a whirlwind of violence and further economic decline, similar to the 2004 coup in Haiti, that one orchestrated by the U.S. and Canada. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. This is the second such caravan of Honduran migrants in six months. According to Associated Press, the present caravan numbers 4,000 people, about one third of whom wish to settle in Mexico while the remainder are seeking asylum protection in the U.S.]
* The violence Central American migrants are fleeing was stoked by the U.S., by Cole Kazdin, VICE News, June 27, 2018 We’re still dealing with the aftermath of atrocities committed by US allies in Central America during the Cold War.
* How U.S. policy in Honduras set the stage for mass migration, by Joseph Nevins, Associate Professor of Geography, Vassar College, published in The Conversation, Oct 31, 2016
Inside Nikki Haley’s shocking speech to secretive far-right group, interview with Max Blumenthal, on The Real News Network, with host Aaron Maté, Oct 19, 2018 (21-minute interview)
Related: Nikki Haley speaks at the far-right Council for National Policy, by Max Blumenthal, published in Harper’s Magazine, Oct 17, 2018
More than half a million march in London demanding a ‘people’s vote’ on the final text of any Brexit deal, report on RT, with video, Oct 20, 2018 [The march was the project of ruling class and middle class economic and political forces who favour the imperialist European Union project over an exit from it. On June 23, 2016, 52 per cent of people in Great Britain voted in a referendum for ‘Brexit‘–to exit the European Union. For the losing (‘Remain’) side, this was the ‘wrong’ vote and they want a new referendum.]
Brazil’s military poised to amass power after three decade wait, by Bruce Douglas, Rachel Gamarski and Gabriel Shinohara, Bloomberg News, Oct 15, 2018 [Brazilians will vote in a second-round presidential election on October 28. Results from the first-round presidential and congressional elections on October 7 are here on Wikipedia. In an opinion poll published on Oct 10 by Datafolha, Jair Bolsonaro is leading with 49 per cent, Fernando Haddad has 36 per cent, eight per cent intend to spoil their ballot and six per cent are undecided. Voting in Brazil is compulsory; the first-round participation rate was 80 per cent.]
Related: Judge Sergio Moro and the sprawling ‘Operation Carwash’ corruption investigation looms large over Brazil’s presidential vote, by Bruce Douglas, Mario Sergio Lima and Simone Preissler Iglesias, Bloomberg News, Oct 18, 2018
Vladimir Putin discusses Syria, Russian economy and world tensions at annual meeting of Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia, video broadcast with English voiceover and English transcript of Vladimir Putin’s remarks, published on the website of the President of Russia, Oct 18, 2018 (150 minutes total, includes q&a with conference participants)
… I have said that our nuclear weapons doctrine does not provide for a pre-emptive strike. I would like to ask all of you and those who will later analyse and in one way or another interpret my every word here, to keep in mind that there is no provision for a pre-emptive strike in our nuclear weapons doctrine. Our concept is based on a reciprocal counter-strike. There is no need to explain what this is to those who understand, as for those who do not, I would like to say it again: this means that we are prepared and will use nuclear weapons only when we know for certain that some potential aggressor is attacking Russia, our territory.
… Only when we know for certain – and this takes a few seconds to understand – that Russia is being attacked we will deliver a counter strike. This would be a reciprocal counter strike. Why do I say ‘counter’? Because we will counter missiles flying towards us by sending a missile in the direction of an aggressor. Of course, this amounts to a global catastrophe but I would like to repeat that we cannot be the initiators of such a catastrophe because we have no provision for a pre-emptive strike. Yes, it looks like we are sitting on our hands and waiting until someone uses nuclear weapons against us. Well, yes, this is what it is. But then any aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable and they will be annihilated…
The West and Saudi Arabia – a match made in murder, by John Wight, UK writer and RT contributor, published on his page on Medium.com, Oct 19, 2018
* The Khashoggi killing: America’s part in a Saudi horror, by Hugh Eakin, New York Review of Books ‘Daily’ bulletin, Oct 18, 2018
* As Saudi Arabia regime confirms Khashoggi’s murder, will we stop its murderous war in Yemen?, interview with Dr. Martha Mundy (London School of Economics), The Real News Network, with host Aaron Maté, Oct 19, 2018 (14-minute interview)
* Jamal Khashoggi and U.S. hypocrisy, by Margaret Kimberley, senior columnist (weekly) and editor, Black Agenda Report, Oct 17, 2018
* Saudi Arabia gets free pass on destroying Yemen, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Oct. 17, 2018 … While Western nations are happy to denounce [Syrian president] Assad, most are reluctant to take the Saudis to task. Indeed, the Americans, under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, have quietly aided the Saudi-led bombing campaign by providing mid-air refuelling, logistical support and intelligence. British soldiers help provide command and control for the bombing effort. More to the point, the West supplies the Saudis with arms. It’s a lucrative trade for the U.S., Britain and even Canada, which currently has a $15 billion contract for armoured vehicles carriers in play…
* Is Saudi brutality worse than U.S. torture, rendition and drone assassination?, commentary by Peter Collins, broadcast on the Peter C. Collins Show (weekday, 30-minute radio podcast from San Francisco), Oct 17, 2018 (20-minute podcast commentary)
* President Trump’s overeager acceptance of Saudi Arabia’s excuse in the Khashoggi affair, by Robin Wright, The New Yorker, Oct 16, 2018
* In the wake of Khashoggi’s disappearance, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is pushed to the brink, by Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, Oct 16, 2018
* The Washington Post, as it shames others, continues to pay and publish undisclosed Saudi lobbyists and other regime propagandists, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Oct 15, 2018
* Seventy years of the New York Times describing Saudi royals as reformers, by Abdullah Al-Arian, published in Jadaliyya, Nov 27, 2017
Leaders of Russia and NATO members Turkey, France and Germany to meet in Ankara Oct 27 to discuss road to peace in Syria, report in RT, Oct 19, 2018
Is war looming between Russia and the U.S.?, commentary by Mikhail Khodarenok, retired colonel and military affairs columnist in Gazeta.ru, translated and published in RT, Oct 18, 2018
Native American sovereignty is under attack. Here’s how Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test hurt our struggle, by Nick Estes, The Intercept, Oct 19, 2018
Review by Jackson Lears of Seymour Hersh’s ‘Reporter: A Memoir’, published in London Review of Books, print issue of Sept 27, 2018 Reviewing: Reporter: A Memoir, by Seymour M. Hersh, published by Allen Lane (Penguin), June 2018, 355 pp, ISBN 978 0 241 35952 5 Subscriber only book review: read it here in pdf format (eight pages): Review by Jackson Lears of Seymour Hersh’s Reporter.
Israel Supreme Court rules in favour of U.S. university student Lara Alqasem’s attempt to study in Israel, Al Jazeera, Oct 18, 2018
* Is Lara Alqasem undermining Palestinian boycott campaign?, by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, Oct 10, 2018
* Lara Alqasem’s release is a major win for liberal Zionists and a blow to the boycott/divestment/sanctions campaign (BDS), by Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss, Oct 19, 2018
Yesterday, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Lara Alqasem, an American student accused of advocating Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, can enter the country in order to pursue a master’s program in Human Rights and Transitional Justice at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Alqasem, 22, had initially been barred due to her former BDS activity at the University of Florida (registered on the blacklist Canary Mission site which Ben Gurion airport security routinely consults), yet appealed the ban, and in that process was detained at the airport for 16 days.
On the one hand, this story is easy to celebrate as a win against draconian Israeli laws which constitute thought-police. On the other hand, it is also a dangerous win for liberal-Zionists who also campaigned for her release, because in the legitimizing of her cause, they also delegitimized BDS…
At political rally in Montana, Trump rally praises congressman and millionaire Greg Gianforte who assaulted Guardian reporter in May 2017 during election campaign, Reuters, Oct 18, 2018 [The U.S. congressman pleaded guilty to the assault in November 2017 and was finded and sentenced to community service. He lied to police in his initial explanation to them of what happened.]
Women’s March on the Pentagon on Oct 20 and 21, 2018: Finding the cure for imperialism, press release by Women’s March on the Pentagon, Oct 13, 2018
Related: Why I’ll be at the Women’s March on the Pentagon this weekend, by Bruce A. Dixon, managing editor, Black Agenda Report, Oct 18, 2018
Is the buffer plan in Idlib, Syria being implemented?, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Oct 18, 2018
Related: Ankara, Moscow say Idlib deal still on course despite missed deadline, by Turkish Minute, Oct 17, 2018
Where’s Sergei Skripal?, published on The Blogmire (Rob Slane, Salisbury UK), Oct 18, 2018
Ben Rhodes and the crisis of liberal foreign policy in the U.S., by David Klion, The Nation, Oct 17, 2018
Norway and Iceland host ‘Trident Juncture’, largest NATO military exercise since 2015, report by Reuters, Oct 17, 2018 … In total, 50,000 NATO personnel and partner countries [including Finland and Sweden] will be taking part in the exercise between October 25 and November 23, testing their ability to operate together. Thirty nations will be participating together with 150 aircraft, 65 ships and up to 10,000 vehicles…
* Battle for the Arctic: NATO’s Trident Juncture aims to demonstrate its dominance to Russia, commentary by Mikhail Khodarenok, military commentator for Gazeta.ru, translated and published by RT, Oct 18, 2018
* U.S. Marines launch exercise in northern Norway ahead of Trident Juncture, report in Barents Observer (Norway), Oct 15, 2018
* Norway to invite more U.S. Marines, for longer and stationed closer to Russia, Reuters, June 12, 2018 … Some 330 U.S. Marines were scheduled to leave Norway at the end of this year after an initial contingent arrived in January 2017 to train for fighting in winter conditions. They are the first foreign troops to be stationed in Norway, a member of NATO, since World War Two…
* U.S. doubles the number of marines stationed in Norway, report published in The Local, Aug 15, 2018 … The Norwegian Defence Ministry said today that the U.S. had recently informed it of plans to increase the number of U.S. marines stationed in Norway from 300 “up to 700”… The marines are the first foreign troops stationed in Norway since World War Two. The original 300 were expected to leave Norway by the end of 2018 but the (larger) posting will now last for up to five years…
Facebook is not your friend, by Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, Oct 18, 2018 … Facebook has signed onto the New Cold War, under the ruse of protecting U.S. elections from Russian interference. “We’re excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council , which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems.” In the real world, the Atlantic Council is the global public relations and think tank resource for NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance, funded by the whole constellation of war industries. Facebook has outsourced its censorship project to the Deep State…
Ukraine reports additional 500 measles cases in last week of September 2018, by Robert Herriman, published on Outbreak News Today, Oct 2, 2018 Through the first nine months of the year, 31,954 people–12,874 adults and 19,080 children–have contracted measles in Ukraine. [By comparison, 25 cases of measles and one case of congenital rubella syndrome have been reported in Canada during the first nine months of 2018.]
* Ukraine measles update: 32,489 cases year-to-date, by Outbreak News Today, Oct 13, 2018
* Europe is in the midst of its largest measles outbreak in years, ‘Ukraine is a big part of the problem’, by Alanna Shaikh, published on UN Dispatch, Aug 24, 2018 41,000 cases of measles have been recorded in Europe in 2018 as of June. More than half of the measles cases in this outbreak are in Ukraine. Those are the highest numbers we’ve seen in years… Measles outbreaks in Ukraine are evenly distributed throughout the country, reflecting the low vaccination rates in the nation as a whole…
Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish independence, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Oct 13, 2018 … My major concern is that the SNP’s foreign policy and defence teams at Westminster appear to have been entirely captured by the UK establishment and indeed the security services. They have been willing and instant amplifiers of the Tories’ Russophobia…
New BBC documentary ‘Dangerous Dynasty’ ignores the West’s role in destabilizing Syria, by Neil Clark, RT, Oct 16, 2018 … You could say the title was a bit of a giveaway. If you were expecting to see a balanced, intellectual analysis of Baathist rule in Syria, providing historical perspective, and putting the ‘House of Assad’ in some kind of regional context, you’d have been very disappointed. We weren’t even two minutes in before a voice-over declared: “Many have wondered how this former eye doctor [Bashar Assad] and his British-born wife ended up running a regime of committing war crimes, of gassing their own people… Understand their saga [the Assads] and you will understand how their country now lies in ruins.” …
Syriza’s repressive turn, by Stathis Kouvelakis and Costas Lapavitsas, published in Jacobin, Oct 6, 2018 (Stathis Kouvelakis was formerly a member of the central committee of Syriza and teaches political theory at King’s College London. Costas Lapavitsas is a Professor of Economics at SOAS and former member of the Greek Parliament.) Alexis Tsipras’s government promised to end austerity. Now it’s defending the banks against people evicted from their homes — and persecuting those who protest.
Diplomatic deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea talks survive maximum pressure?, by Gregory Elich, published on his website, Oct 16, 2018, also appearing in CounterPunch, Oct 16, 2018 (Gregory Elich is a member of the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific.)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s meeting with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un on September 18-20 culminated in the signing of the Pyongyang Declaration, which marked a significant advance towards peace and heralded a welcome warming in relations. Since that time, however, contradictions within the Trump administration’s North Korea policy threaten to forestall further progress and test the patience of its South Korean ally…
Related: North and South Korea agree to break ground on building and modernizing an inter-Korea railroad system, Associated Press, Oct 15, 2018 … The agreements come amid unease in Washington over the speed of inter-Korean engagement. Many outsiders believe that U.S.-led efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear-tipped missiles are lagging significantly behind the Koreas’ efforts to move past decades of bitter rivalry. … despite the fanfare for the proposed railway and road projects, the Koreas cannot move much further along without the lifting of [U.S.-instigated] international sanctions against North Korea, which isn’t likely to come before it takes firmer steps toward relinquishing its nuclear weapons and missiles…
Ecuador sets out strict rules governing Julian Assange’s access to the outside world from its UK embassy, RT, Oct 15, 2018 (includes video of recent, 53 minute address by Julian Assange to the world, on RT’s ‘Ruptly’)
Original report: Ecuador restores Julian Assange’s communications after seven-month blackout, RT, Oct 15, 2018
As Khashoggi case highlights Saudi crimes, UN report warns famine is driven by the U.S.-backed war in Yemen could kill 13 million, by Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, Oct 13, 2018
* The strange disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, by As’ad AbuKhalil, Consortium News, Oct 15, 2018 Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi media commentator who disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, is not the critic of the Saudi regime that the Western media says he is
* The Saudi atrocities in Yemen are a worse story than the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, Oct 13, 2018
Hundreds of thousands march in Berlin against the far right, by Common Dreams staff, Oct 13, 2018 (includes text of the call for the march—’For an open and free society: Solidarity, not exclusion!’)
* Quarter of a milllion people rally in the streets of Berlin on Oct 13 to condemn racism and extreme-right, report in Deutsche Welle, Oct 13, 2018
* Merkel’s sister, incumbent conservative party battered in Bavaria election, Green Party gains big, Deutsche Welle, Oct 14, 2018
Mission impossible, book review by Roderick MacFarquhar, in New York Review of Books, print issue of Sept 27, 2018 Reviewing: The China Mission: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, 1945-1947, by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan. published by Norton, 2018, 476 pp.
Trump is just one player in a much, much larger tax story, by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, Oct 14, 2018 That big ‘New York Times’ expose should most of all remind us that upper-class tax evasion has been the norm for a generation
Decoding the violent language of Australian socialists in reporting on Syria
Comment by A Socialist In Canada: The Green Left Weekly newspaper in Australia has recently published the latest of its periodic reports of the situation in Syria. Conditions are looking bad, we read, because of the recent conflict disengagement agreement reached in the province of Idlib in Syria’s northwest. The agreement was brokered by Russia and Turkey. Idlib is the last, large area controlled by the right-wing, paramilitary forces seeking the violent overthrow of the Syrian government. These periodic reports in Green Left Weekly favour the violent overthrow of Syria’s sovereign government.
Prior to the agreement in Idlib, corporate as well as certain alternative media in the West were predicting an imminent bloodbath in the province, to be caused by a military offensive by the Syrian armed forces backed by Russia. Green Left Weekly itself reported on September 13: “… the invasion of Idlib by the Assad regime is likely to lead to many civilian casualties and a new wave of refugees fleeing the province.” But the predicted bloodbath did not come to pass. On the contrary, an important conflict disengagement agreement was reached in mid-September. Occasional news reports in the West have nothing positive to say about that agreement and nothing informative to say about the situation overall in the country. The foregoing is a brief review of this latest Green Left Weekly article:
* First sentence of article: “Russian president Vladimir Putin, the main backer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan…” Syria’s elected leader is declared a “dictator” by the writer, while the leader of NATO-member Turkey–who has jailed thousands of political opponents in the past two years and has waged a brutal internal war against the Kurdish-populated areas in the east of Turkey–is named with the honorific “president”.]
* “There are many different rebel groups in Idlib, some of which are armed and funded by Turkey…” The right-wing paramilitaries serving as proxies since 2011 for the regime-change war waged by the U.S. and its NATO allies, including Turkey, get the vaguely sympathetic descriptor ‘rebels‘. This is the same term employed by Western corporate media in its whitewashing of the West’s cruel and illegal regime-change war.
* Referring to January 2018: “Russia, which controls the airspace over Afrin, allowed Turkish planes to bomb the area and Turkish troops to invade it.” And: “Already in 2016, Turkey had sent troops into the Jarablus/Azaz/al-Bab area, adjacent to Afrin, accompanied by allied rebel groups. Russia accepted this invasion…” Armchair generals throughout Western media accuse the Russian military of cooperation with Turkey’s illegal invasions and occupations of Syrian territory in the north of the country. The unspoken implication is that Russia should put up military resistance to Turkey in order to defend Kurdish military forces. Never mind that the Kurdish forces are allied with the U.S., and that Russia and Syria must contend with the fact that Turkey is a NATO country closely allied with the United States government and military. One of NATO’s fundamental doctrines is that ‘an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all’. This highly dangerous situation for Russia and Syria is of no apparent consequence for the Western armchair generals.
* Final sentence of article: “Meanwhile, guerrilla resistance continues against the Turkish army and its allied armed groups in Afrin.” This is a common refrain by the Green Left Weekly writer and it is a complete falsehood There is no Kurdish-led ‘guerilla war’ taking place against Turkish armed forces in Syria’s Afrin province. No such reporting can be found in Kurdish or Turkish media. Furthermore, the writer’s apparent encouragement of such a reckless course is a dangerous utterance. Syria’s Kurdish population is engaged in dialogue with the Syrian government towards a political agreement granting autonomous rights to the Kurds. Although this fact is almost never reported in the West, it is a crucially important political process that can bring peace and greater democracy for Syria’s Kurdish population. It will aid desperately needed peace and reconstruction throughout Syria. As the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey wrote in a statement last month: “We support the rebuilding of Syria under a new constitution which will be truly unifying, democratic and autonomous.”
Anti-Russia and anti-Syria leftists in the West advocate continued war and destruction for Syria. Genuine leftists advocate peace and reconstruction. We say that Western governments should end all sanctions against Syria and they should provide billions of dollars to repair the damages they have caused.
Cuba debates a new constitution, by Helen Yaffe, published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, Oct 10, 2018
Related: Cuba strides ahead with renewable energy ambitions, by Ben Geraghty, published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, Aug 16, 2018
Facebook accused of full-frontal suppression of dissent’ after independent media swept up in mass purge, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, Oct 12, 2018 The massive shutdown affected many progressive sites devoted to covering war, police brutality, and other issues neglected by the corporate media
What Brazil’s Workers’ Party needs to do if it hopes to defeat rightist Jair Bolsonaro in second-round presidential vote on Oct 28, interview with Rosana Pinheiro-Machado, by Andrew Fishman of The Intercept, Oct 11, 2018 (Rosana Pinheiro-Machado is a contributor to the Portugese language, Brazil edition of The Intercept and a professor of anthropology at the Federal University of Santa Maria in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.)
* The stunning rise of Brazil’s far right and what it shows about Western democracies, interview with Bruna de Lara and Victor Pougy, two of the journalists with Intercept Brasil, broadcast on The Intercept, Oct 10, 2018 (38-minute interview, with host Glenn Greenwald)
* Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s would-be dictator, by Vincent Bevins, New York Review of Books ‘Daily Newsletter, Oct 12, 2018
* Left unites in support of Workers Party Fernando Haddad in second-round presidential vote, Telesur, Oct 10, 2018
* Can Brazil’s poorest region, the northeast, halt Jair Bolsonaro’s dangerous politics and presidential aspiration?, by Courtney J. Campbell (University of Birmingham), published in The Conversation, Oct 8, 2018
* Brazil’s presidential and legislative election on Oct 7, 2018, full results on Wikipedia
Steve Ellner speaking tour in U.S. and Canada October-December 2018 on the hardships imposed against the Venezuelan people by U.S.-Canadian sanctions, itinerary published by Chicago ALBA Solidarity, Sept 27, 2018
* Where is socialism in Maduro’s economic recovery plan?, by Gerardo Rojas, published in Venezuela Analysis, Oct 3, 2018
* Steve Ellner speaking in Troy (Albany region), New York on Oct 5, 2018, 65-minute presentation followed by Q&A, broadcast on YouTube
Washington state court ruling bans capital punishment, by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Oct 11, 2018 and report on Slate.com, Oct 11, 2018 … There are currently eight inmates on death row in Washington state. The court converted their sentences to life imprisonment and forbade the state from conducting any further executions [making it the 20th state in the U.S. to do so]. Because its ruling is based entirely in the state constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court cannot overturn it. And the court left no room for future reconsideration of its unanimous decision. Capital punishment is over in Washington State. [End Slate article.]
We should be asking for answers about the Skripals and Bellingcat – and not just from Russia, by Mary Dejevsky, The Independent, Oct 10, 2018 The ‘Bellingcat’ website project has grown rather a lot beyond its shoestring origins. It has money – where from? It has been hiring staff. It has transatlantic connections. It has never, so far as I am aware, reached any conclusion that is inconvenient to the UK or US authorities.
* ‘Ruslan Boshirov’ is probably not ‘Colonel Chepiga of the GRU’. But he is also not ‘Ruslan Boshirov’, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 27, 2018 (Craig Murray was a longtime career diplomat in Britain. He served as Britain’s ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.)
* The incredible case of Alexander Petrov’s and Ruslan Boshirov’s visas, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 24, 2018
* Lynch mob mentality, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 14, 2018 I was caught in a twitterstorm of hatred yesterday, much of it led by mainstream media journalists like David Aaronovitch and Dan Hodges, for daring to suggest that the basic elements of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov’s story [of their tourism visit to England in March 2018] do in fact stack up. What became very plain quite quickly was that none of these people had any grasp of the detail of the suspects’ full 20 minute interview on RT, but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media…
* The strange alibis of Russian citizens Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 13, 2018
The shaky case that Russia manipulated social media to tip the 2016 election, by Gareth Porter, Consortium News, Oct 10, 2018
In their long recapitulation of the case that Russia subverted the 2016U.S. presidential election election, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times painted a picture of highly effective Russian government exploitation of social media for that purpose. Shane and Mazzetti asserted that “anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by Russia could have made the difference” in the election.
“What we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come,” they write elsewhere in the 10,000-word article published three weeks ago, on September 20. But an investigation of the data they cite to show that the Russian campaigns on Facebook and Twitter were highly effective reveals a gross betrayal of journalistic responsibility…
Related: Gareth Porter discusses New York Times claims on Russiagate, interview with Gareth Porter, by radio host Peter Collins, broadcast on the Peter Collins Show, Oct 15, 2018 (35-minute interview, and published on Consortium News, Oct 17, 2018)
Media outlets in Ukraine supporting the right-wing government are themselves threatened by the government’s proposed, Ukrainian-only language law, editorial by Kyiv Post (online, English-language publication), Oct 12, 2018
* A grim picture from inside a collapsing country, by Dmitry Kovalevich, published on New Cold War.org, July 10, 2018
* Commemorating the Nazi massacre in Odessa, Ukraine in October 1941, report in Deutsche Welle, Oct 11, 2018 German and Romanian officials are attending a memorial service for the 30,000 people, mostly Ukrainian Jews, murdered on October 22-23, 1941 in Odessa, Ukraine by the German and Romanian Nazi armies and their local Ukrainian collaborators. The massacre has been a long overlooked page of WWII history.
Choices made: From Zionist settler colonialism to decolonization, lengthy essay by Jeff Halper, published in CounterPunch, Oct 12, 2018 (Jeff Halper is the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and a member of the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC). His latest book is War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification (London: Pluto, 2015).)
* Political and organizational perspectives of the campaign for one democratic state of Israel/Palestine, by Yoav Haifawi, Mondoweiss, Aug 6, 2018
* The political program of the Campaign for One Democratic State in Historic Palestine, by the editors, published in Mondoweiss, Aug 15, 2018
In a blow to labor, Teamsters union ratifies UPS contract despite members ‘no’ vote, by Candice Bernd, Truthout.org, Oct 12, 2018 [Teamster union officials in U.S. have used the union’s ’50 per cent vote participation’ rule to rule that a proposed national collective agreement at UPS rejected by 44 per cent of voting members will be imposed nonetheless. This rule is used by varius unions in the U.S. and Canada, taking advantage of member apathy when realizing their leaders won’t lead fights and may therefore lead to lengthy, ill-prepared and debilitating strikes.]
Related: James Hoffa’s anti-democratic UPS catastrophe, by Joe Allen, published in Jacobin, Oct 12, 2018 Teamsters leader James Hoffa has ratified a UPS contract despite a member vote that rejected it. This sabotage is not only a catastrophe for UPS Teamsters — it is a gift to anti-union forces.
‘The Left Case Against the EU’, book by Costas Lapavitsas, published by Polity Press, Oct 2018, 160 pp, ISBN: 978-1-509-53108-0
Book description by ‘Wiley’ distribution: Many on the Left see the European Union as a fundamentally benign project with the potential to underpin ever greater cooperation and progress. If it has drifted rightward, the answer is to fight for reform from within.
In this iconoclastic polemic, economist Costas Lapavitsas demolishes this view. He contends that the EU’s response to the Eurozone crisis represents the ultimate transformation of the union into a neoliberal citadel that institutionally embeds austerity, privatization, and wage cuts. Concurrently, the rise of German hegemony has divided the EU into an unstable core and dependent peripheries. These related developments make the EU impervious to meaningful reform. The solution is therefore a direct challenge to the EU project that stresses popular and national sovereignty as preconditions for true internationalist socialism.
Lapavitsas’s powerful manifesto for a left opposition to the EU upends the wishful thinking that often characterizes the debate and will be a challenging read for all on the Left interested in the future of Europe.
* Leftwing Brexiters want out from the ‘transnational juggernaut’, by Larry Elliott, The Guardian, Sept 30, 2018
* Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party vs. the single European market, by Costas Lapavitsas, published in Jacobin, May 30, 2018
* The left case for Brexit, by Richard Tuck, published in Dissent Magazine, June 6, 2016
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s assault on human rights and judicial independence, interview with Oswaldo Ruiz-Chiriboga, by Joe Emersberger, published in CounterPunch, Oct 12, 2018 (Oswaldo Ruiz-Chiriboga, is an Ecuadorian legal scholar who teaches human rights and constitutional law at the Central European University in Hungary.)
U.S. won’t give ‘one single dollar’ for Syria reconstruction until Iranian forces are out, says U.S. Secretary of State, RT, Oct 10, 2018
Related: U.S. says will stay in Syria ‘so long as Iranians are there’, RT, Sept 24, 2018
Turkish media shows video of alleged Saudi assassins arriving in Istanbul to kill journalist Jamil Khashoggi, by Ayse Wieting, Suzan Fraser and Jon Gambrell, Associated Press, Oct 10, 2018 [Saudi Arabia’s suppression of dissenting voices at home is stepping up while its murderous war in Yemen continues using arms happily provided by NATO-member countries and with the direct support of the U.S. and UK military. The disappearance and apparent assassination in the Saudi Arabia embassy in Istanbul on October 2 of media commentator Jamil Khashoggi is causing embarrassment to the close relationship between NATO countries and the Saudi regime. Khashoggi was a contributor, not ‘journalist’ or ’employee’, at the Washington Post.]
* The plot surrounding missing and presumed murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, two interviews, with Lawrence Wright and Robert Baer, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Oct 12, 2018 (19 minutes total)
* Media companies, executives drop out of Saudi investment conference over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters, Oct 12, 2018
* As demands for U.S. probe into alleged murder of Jamil Khashoggi grow, Trump says halting Saudi arms sales ‘a very tough pill to swallow’, by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Oct 11, 2018
* Could the murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi ‘murder team’ finally put a crack in U.S. support of ‘criminal regime’?, by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Oct 8, 2018 [The same question applies to all the large NATO-member countries, who provide all manner of arms and political cover for the backward, murderous regime in Saudi Arabia.] * Is the U.S. complicit in disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamil Khasoggi, interview with Ali Al-Ahmed, founder and director of The Institute for Gulf Affairs, by Aaron Maté, host, The Real News Network, Oct 11, 2018 (14-minute report and interview)
* Missing journalist Jamil Khashoggi shows Saudi Arabia’s dark side, analysis by Jon Gambrell, Gulf States news director for AP, in Associated Press, Oct 9, 2018 The disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 has potentially taken the practice of Saudi regime kidnappings of its highly placed citizens to a new, macabre level by grabbing a writer who could both navigate Saudi Arabia’s byzantine royal court and explain it to the West.
* Saudi Arabia journalist Jamal Khashoggi on life under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: ‘Nobody dares to speak’, report on Al Jazeera, Oct 10, 2018 In his last interview with Al Jazeera’s ‘UpFront’ program, in March 2018, the Saudi journalist spoke on the need for debate in Saudi Arabia.
* Voices are being silenced as Saudi reform agenda goes awry, op-ed commentary by Rashid Husain Syed, Toronto Star, Oct. 10, 2018
* Missing Saudi journalist Jamil Khashoggi was ‘a breath of fresh air’, op-ed commentary by Shenaz Kermalli, Toronto Star, Oct. 10, 2018
… Before he decided to start using The Washington Post last year as a platform to effect change (after being constantly suspended from writing in various Saudi media) his criticism of the leadership could probably best be described as “subtle and polite reservations of the kingdom’s policies.”
“Khashoggi was a smooth, articulate and polite defender of the realm,” says Madawi al-Rasheed, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics in a column for UK publication Middle East Eye. From the column: … In the Arab world, death squads under the command of presidents and their thuggish sons have in the past successfully targeted dissidents abroad. Israel mastered the art and took it to new levels as it assassinated many Palestinian leaders in Paris, London, Beirut, Tunis and Dubai…
* Xenophobia, tribalism and imagined enemies: Mohammed bin Salman’s brand of Saudi nationalism, by Madawi Al-Rasheed, Middle East Eye, Sept 5, 2018 Being ‘Saudi’ rather than ‘Arab’ or ‘Muslim’ is now key to Saudi crown prince’s plans to consolidate his power
* Portrait of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his political tour to United States, Time Magazine, April 5, 2018
A nightmarish climate report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by Caroline Cormann, The New Yorker, Oct 7, 2018 [See extensive news and analysis of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivered on Oct 8, 2018 on the ‘Ecology newsroll‘ page of A Socialist In Canada website.]
Amidst talks with North Korea, it’s time for U.S. to abandon nuclear weapons, too, interview with Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate, broadcast on Democracy Now!, Oct 9, 2018 Part one (ten-minutes); part two (25 minutes).
American student Lara Alqasem detained in Israel for alleged support of movement for boycott/divestment of Israel, NBC News, Oct 9, 2018
NATO-member Turkey is world’s leading jailer of journalists, letter by Gulnoza Said to the editor of Independent Online (South Africa), published on Oct 3, 2018 (Gulnoza Said is Europe and Central Asia research associate for the New York-based Committee toProtect Journalists.)
* Turkey crackdown chronicle for week of September 27, 2018, by Özgür Ögret, Turkey Representative, Committee to Protect Journalists, Oct 4, 2018
* Freedom of expression and the press in Turkey: Report #156, by Platform for Independent Journalism (Turkey), Sept 15, 2018
Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova investigating corruption in European Union countries assaulted and murdered on October 7, report in Deutsche Welle, Oct 7, 2018 and statement by Committee to Protect Journalists, Oct 7, 2018 … Victoria Marinova is the third journalist to have been murdered in the EU in a year. Last October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed when a powerful bomb blew up her car, and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead in February.
Big news! The Guardian, Canada’s state-run CBC News and the rest of Western media claim that the ‘alleged’ perpetrator of an ‘alleged’ chemical poisoning in Salisbury England in March 2018 is ‘allegedly’ the same man who ‘allegedly’ received a ‘hero of Russia’ award in 2014 from Russia’s president. Here is how the virulently anti-Russia Guardian leads a top-of-news report on Oct 9, 2018: Vladimir Putin personally bestowed a “hero of Russia” award on Alexander Mishkin, one of two military intelligence officers who allegedly poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, it has been claimed… [end citation, emphasis added]. The rest of the corporate and state-run media in Western countries reports similarly. All of them cite as their sources the anti-Russia, UK-based website project Bellingcat.
Brazil’s extreme-right presidential Jair Bolsonaro narrowly misses first round win in Oct 7 national election, RT, Sunday, Oct 7, 2018 [General elections were held in Brazil on October 7, 2018 to elect the president, vice president and national congress. Full results can be read here on Wikipedia. The proto-fascist Jair Bolsonaro topped the presidential vote but fell short of 50 per cent-plus-one needed to win. Bolsonaro won 46.7 percent of the vote with over 49 million votes; Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad, the former Mayor of São Paulo, came second with 28.4 per cent and over 30 million votes. Voter turnout was 80 per cent. A second-round vote for the country’s president will take place on October 28. ]
Related: Profile of Fernando Haddad, the presidential candidate of the Workers Party, Telesur, Sept 14, 2018 [The outgoing, disgraced president of Brazil is Michel Temer. He was the vice-presidential candidate in the presidential election victories of the Workers Party in 2011 and 2014. He went on to participate in the constitutional coup against the elected President Dilma Rousseff in 2016.
Iran’s win in World Court over sanctions exposes U.S. as rogue state, interview with Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council, broadcast on The Real News Network, with host Aaron Maté, Oct 6, 2018 Following the decision of the International Court of Justice on October 3, 2018 in Iran’s favor against U.S. sanctions, the Trump administration pulled out of a 1955 treaty and announced a review of its relationship to the Court. Trita Parsi, author and founder of the National Iranian American Council, says that when it comes to Iran, the U.S. is acting like a rogue state.
The failed regime-change war has bled Syria of some $400 billion; the human cost of imperialism is even higher, interview with Ali Kadri by host Ben Norton, broadcast on The Real News Network, Oct 6, 2018 (11-minute interview) The international proxy war on Syria destroyed more than $388 billion in physical capital, according to a report of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia issued in early 2018. But political economist Ali Kadri says this conservative figure underestimates the damage imperialism does to humans, and how such destruction is inherent in capitalism. (Dr Ali Kadri is a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore. Before that, he was a visiting fellow at the Department of International Development, London School of Economics and the principal author of several UN reports addressing the right to development in Western Asia.)
Longtime friend of Guardian ‘reporter’ deported from Nicaragua speaks out on their work ‘inhabiting the role of a foreign agent of imperialism’, by Max Blumenthal, published on The Canary (Britain), Oct 4, 2018 In an exclusive interview with The Canary, Wyatt Reed says he and Guardian freelancer Carl David Goette-Luciak were assisting anti-Sandinista opposition groups in Nicaragua, and that there was “a straightforward conflict of interest involved in what we were doing”. On 1 October, Nicaraguan authorities deported Goette-Luciak, an anthropologist-turned-reporter who had published a series of factually flawed reports in the Guardian and Washington Post that reinforced the narrative of the country’s opposition forces…
Latvia’s pro-NATO, right-wing governing coalition loses half its vote in Oct 6 national election, Russia-friendly ‘Harmony’ party tops the vote with 20 per cent, reports in Associated Press and in Reuters, Oct 7, 2018 [Detailed vote results are here in Wikipedia. Seven parties won the minimum five per cent of the vote needed to enter the Saeima (Latvian Parliament). ]
… NATO-member Latvia, population two million, has long been plagued by corruption and moneylaundering. The country’s central bank governor is awaiting trial on charges of accepting a bribe and one of the biggest banks, ABLV, went into liquidation this year after U.S. authorities accused it of laundering vast amounts of money for people from the former Soviet Union.
… The social-democratic Harmony party is led by Nils Usakovs, who has been mayor of the capital city Riga since 2009…
Related: Democracy and its discontents in NATO-member Latvia, by Jeffrey Sommers, published in CounterPunch, Oct 23, 2018 [The people of Latvia voted in a national election on October 6. Participation was 54 per cent. Support for a right-wing, anti-immigrant party rose, though as much as in such neighbouring countries as Poland or Hungary.]
Right-wing governments in Eastern Europe honor Nazi-collaborating fascists as anti-communist ‘heroes‘, interview with Dovid Katz, broadcast on The Real News Network, with host Ben Norton, in two parts (video and transcripts): Part one, Sept 28, 2018 (12 minutes), Part two, Sept 28, 2018 (10 minutes) (Dovid Katz is the world’s leading expert on Jewish history in Lithuania and the other Baltic states. A Jewish New Yorker, he has lived in Vilnius for the past 19 years. He has taught at Oxford and Yale universities and is a professor in the philosophy and communications program at Gediminas Technical University in Vilnius. He is the founder and editor of Defending History, a website and web journal dedicated to fighting Holocaust revisionism in Eastern Europe.)
* Ukraine’s state-sponsored ‘Azov Battalion’ expands use of Nazi-inspired symbols, report published on Defending History, Oct 4, 2018
* The glorification of World War Two-era Nazism in Ukraine: The question that CNN’s Fareed Zakaria left out of interview with Ukrainian president Poroshenko, by Dovid Katz, published on his website project Defending History, Oct 1, 2018
Tens of thousands march through Edinburgh to back Scottish independence, Reuters, Oct 6, 2018
Related: One million people march in Barcelona on September 11 for independence from Spain, report in Deutsche Welle, Sept 11, 2018
NATO countries go on ‘Russia hacking’ accusations binge
[Deutsche Welle publishes on October 5 a summary of the accusations binge that has been unleashed against Russia by the governments and spy agencies of the U.S., Britain, Holland and other NATO-member governments as well as NATO-allied Australia. The Deutsche Welle headline calls it ‘spy mania’. Here are other, selected news reports, dated Oct 3 or 4, 2018: By the U.S. gov’t (reported in Associated Press), by Germany (reported in RT), by Canada (in Globe and Mail), by Holland (in France 24 and in Deutsche Welle), by France (in Agence France presse), by Australia (in ABC.au), and on and on.
[The Russian embassy in Ottawa has responded to the accusations binge with a statement saying, in part: “The recent round of anti-Russian witch hunt[s] by the United States and United Kingdom and their willing allies, including Canada, over alleged cyber attacks is nothing more than cheap spy fiction and fake news. The major goals of this brazen propaganda are to brainwash and scare domestic and international audiences with a non-existent Russian threat as well as to distract attention from NATO countries’ expanding their offensive cyber -ar capabilities.” (Statement quoted in above-mentioned Globe and Mail report.) ]
Related: Interview with Annie Machon, a former UK intelligence officer, on latest barrage of accusations against Russia, five-minute interview broadast on RT, Oct 4, 2018
A revolution at risk in northern Syria, by Edward Hunt, published in Jacobin, Oct 4, 2018 (Edward Hunt is an adjunct professor in history at Stonehill College in Massachusetts.)
[This article provides a welcome analysis of the struggle for Kurdish social and national rights in Syria. It is free from the rose-colored glasses that cloud the writings on the subject by libertarians and libertarian-socialists in the West who support a violent overthrow of the Syrian government and, in so doing, turn a blind eye to the violent, regime-change agenda of the Western imperialist ocuntries. That said, the article makes no analysis of the situation of Kurdish people in Turkey and how this might affect Kurds in Syria. Kurds in Turkey comprise more than 50 per cent of the entire estimated Kurdish population of 28 million. As well, the article takes no account of ongoing talks between the Syrian government and Syrian Kurds with a view to instituting forms of political autonomy for Kurds and other national minorities.]
Vice-President Pence’s aggressive speech just took China-U.S. relations to a whole new level of bad, by Echo Huang and Tripti Lahiri, published in Quartz, Oct 5, 2018
Ankara court rules that Kurdish leader and 2018 presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas will remain behind bars, Turkish Minute, Oct 4, 2018 [For up to date figures on the political repression in Turkey since the attempted military coup in July 2016, see the website Turkey Purge.]
Book fair in Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey returns after four-year hiatus, by Mahmut Bozarslan, Al-Monitor, Oct 3, 2018
Kurdish rebels in Iran join anti-Iran lobbying fray in Washington, by Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor, Oct 2, 2018
Background: Four opposition Kurdish parties in Iran explain their support for Western sanctions and military threats against Iranian government, interviews by Rudaw news agency (Iraqi Kurdistan), May 5, 2018
Two ways to view Amazon’s $15 wage: a cynical move or as a surprising way to cut costs, by Michael J. Hicks, published in Market Watch, Oct 4, 2018 (Michael J. Hicks is a professor of economics at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.)
Time running out for many survivors of earthquake/tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, by Asia Times, Oct 3, 2018 The death toll has exceeded 1,400 and there are fears of more due to lack of water, food, shelter and medical care.
Related: Indonesian quake survivors scavenging for survival as president says aid will ramp up, by Kanupriya Kapoor and Fathin Ungku, Reuters, Oct 3, 2018
With new missile defense for Syria, Russia shifts its relationship with Israel, by Fred Weir, correspondent in Moscow, and Joshua Mitnick, correspondent in Tel Aviv, Christian Science Monitor, Sept 27, 2018
Russia has just taken a huge gamble in Syria. It will greatly strengthen Moscow’s hand in determining the endgame in the seven-year-old civil war if it works. But it might lead to wider conflict if other powers accustomed to intruding into Syrian airspace with relative ease, particularly Israel, decide to challenge the move…
“Putin is not only president, he is also commander in chief of the armed forces,” says Alexander Sherin, deputy chair of the Russian State Duma’s defense committee. “The military are obliged to explain these things to the Russian people, so possibly they just sound tougher. Maybe the president was a bit more diplomatic. But everyone agrees this is a step we had to take a long time ago. We cannot allow Syrian airspace to be turned into a public thoroughfare.” …
* Russia pins responsibility for downed plane on Israel, will add missiles in Syria, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Oct 2, 2018 … Hasan Kilic, a ballistic missile and air defense expert, told Al-Monitor: “The fact is, there are very few countries in the Middle East and even in the world with such intense, multilevel air defense systems as Syria. Although Syria has a feeble air force with few planes, it has a very potent air defense missile system infrastructure based on the [most modern], Russian-origin systems.” …
* Three years in Syria, Russia sums up achievements and challenges, commentary by Marianna Belenkaya, Al-Monitor, Oct 1, 2018 (Marianna Belenkaya is a correspondent for the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant.)
* Russian military releases video of unloading of S-300 missile defense launchers, interceptors and radars in Syria, RT, Oct 3, 2018
Defeat for EU and NATO expansion in the failed referendum in Macedonia, by Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, published by Left-East, Oct 1, 2018 The 30 September 2018 referndum in Macedonia was a disaster for the EU and NATO in the Balkans. The vast majority of the electorate of Macedonia boycotted the referendum which asked: ‘Are you in favour of membership in NATO and the European Union by accepting the deal between the Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Greece?’ … (Vladimir Unkovski-Korica is a member of Marks21 in Serbia. He is a historian and researcher lecturing in Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow.)
Trump officials headline pro-regime change conference on Iran in Washington DC, report by Aaron Maté and Ben Norton, on The Real News Network, Oct 2, 2018 (13-minute video report)
Desperation turns to anger by survivors of earthquake/tsunami that struck Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Sept 29, Associated Press, Oct 2, 2018
The death toll from an earthquake and tsunami that decimated parts of the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi on September 29 jumped to more than 1,200 on October 2 as disaster officials began reaching coastal areas cut off by blocked roads and downed communications lines. Officials say hundreds of other people were severely injured, and that scores of bodies could still be buried under quicksand-like mud caused by Friday’s magnitude 7.5 earthquake.
More than 25 countries have offered assistance after Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo appealed for international help. Little of that, however, has arrived in the quake zone, and increasingly desperate residents grabbed food and fuel from damaged stores and begged for help…
* Indonesia tsunami toll tops 800 but expected to jump further, by Niniek Karmini, Associated Press, Sept 29, 2018 PALU, Indonesia–Rescue officials feared the full scale of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami could climb far past the more than 800 already confirmed dead, as several large coastal towns remained cut off Sunday by damaged roads and downed communication lines…
* Idyllic bay where Sulawesi island capital city of Palu sits likely made Indonesia tsunami more dangerous, by Margie Mason, Associated Press, Sept 28, 2018 .. In addition to Palu, the smaller cities of Donggala (near the head of Palu Bay) and Mamuju were hit hard, but they have yet to be reached. Roads are impassable, cut off by debris and landslides, and communications are nearly impossible…
* Earthquake and tsunami devastate Indonesian island of Sulawesi, by Hannah Beech, Muktita Suhartono and Richard C. Paddock, New York Times, Sept 29, 2018
* Drone footage showing tsunami damage to city of Palu, Indonesia here; maps of the earthquake and tsunami zone here; photos here.
Postscript: Nature cursed Indonesia, but it took neglect to make a disaster, by Hannah Beech and Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, Oct 16, 2018 As the city of Palu on Indonesia Sulawesi Island mourns thousands of dead from an earthquake and tsunami that struck on September 29, 2018, it is haunted by questions of whether the government could have stemmed the devastation.
Another gratuitous attack against the Russian government by the eclectic ‘CounterPunch’, Oct 2, 2018.
[The eclectic online U.S. publication CounterPunch has published today another commentary making scurrilous attacks against the Russian government. The commentary repeats a tired and worn refrain–that the Russian government is courting alliances with the parties of the far-right in Europe. But it is devoid of facts to prove its claim. At the same time, the commentary is totally silent over the country in Europe where the far right is the most entrenched in power: Ukraine. Such silence over Ukraine is near-to universal in the anti-Russia, ‘left-wing’ and not-so-alternative media in the West. This amounts to a de facto acquiescence to the deadly threat of NATO’s new cold war against Russia and China. The longer this acquiescence continues, the deeper the political rot that results.
[CounterPunch did not join the Western media hysteria predicting a ‘slaughter’ and ‘humanitarian disaster’ in the Syrian province of Idlib in September 2018 at the hands of the Syrian and Russian armed forces. But like Western media, it is silent about the remarkable ceasefire disengagement in Idlib that Russia pressed upon Turkey and that was formally agreed on September 17. Armchair generals in Western not-so-alternative media are very busy this year criticizing Russia for failing to go to war against NATO-member Turkey in the name of stopping Turkish attacks against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Syria. Peace-loving people in the world should be thankful that the only power the armchair generals exercise is in their imaginations.]
Related: In a new escalation, U.S. rep to NATO says her country reserves the right to attack Russia in the name of ‘preventing development of banned weapons’, report in Reuters, Oct 2, 2018
South and North Korea begin removing landmines along border, Deutsche Welle, Oct 1, 2018 See also: The two Koreas begin removal of land mines along their shared border, Associated Press, Sept 30, 2018