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 2019
Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul was even worse than we thought, by Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone, Dec 31, 2019
Related: Corporate farmers in U.S. got billions from taxpayers in 2019 and hardly anyone objected, National Public Radio, Dec 19, 2019
Protesters storm U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, Al Jazeera, Dec 31, 2019 and read: U.S. embassy in Iraq evacuated amid angry protests over airstrikes against Iran-supported Popular Mobilization Units. Report by Press TV, Dec 31, 2019
Related: Without evidence, Trump accuses Iran of ‘orchestrating an attack’ on U.S. embassy in Iraq as fears of war grow, Common Dreams, Dec 31, 2019
The people of India rise up against Prime Minister Modi and his governing party, by Vijay Prashad, Asia Times, Dec 31, 2019
As Honduras collapses, its people are forced to flee, by Laura Carlsen, CounterPunch, Dec 31, 2019
Related: Climate change and political chaos: A deadly mix in Honduras as dengue epidemic hits hard, New York Times, Dec 30, 2019
Coup regime in Bolivia expels Mexico ambassador while Mexican gov’t instructs her to return home for her own safety. Report on RT, Dec 30, 2019
The lies are flying fast and hard in Western media as Ukraine regime and the people’s republics of Lugansk and Donetsk (Donbass region) conduct prisoner exchange. Example: report by Associated Press, Dec 30, 2019
[Lie # 1: The leaders of the Donbass republics are ‘seperatists’. But at the outset of Ukraine’s military offensive against Donbass in May 2014, the Donbass leaders were advocating more autonomy, not independence, for the Donbass republics. They went on to sign the ‘Minsk 2’ peace accord in February 2015 which details the forms which autonomy should take. It is Ukraine (and its NATO backers) that have systematically violated Minsk 2, including the agreement’s terms for the prisoner exchange (which have now taken place on several occasions in 2019, nearly five years later!). If opinion in Donbass since turned to secession from Ukraine, that’s because of the aggression and intransigence shown by Ukraine and its NATO backers. In truth, the real ‘seperatists’ are the leaders of the right-wing coup regime in Kyiv. Their regime ‘seperated’ from the people of Donbass and Crimea when it threatened military aggression against them instead of negotiating political settlements allowing for greater autonomy for the two regions. AP inadvertently exposes its own lie later in its very same news report when it writes, “Prospects for peace (between Ukraine and the Donbass republics) are troubled by questions over allowing local elections that would ensure the rebel regions more autonomy [emphasis added] and about Ukraine regaining control of its border with Russia in the rebel areas.”
Lie #2: “Those released by Ukraine included five former members of the now-disbanded special police force Berkut who were charged in the killing of protesters in Kyiv in 2014.” This lie is more subtle. A clue is in the date: according to the AP report, five alleged members of the now-disbanded ‘Berkut’ police force were ‘charged’ with shooting protesters (on Kyiv’s Maidan Square in February 2014). Only ‘charged’? No convictions nearly six years later? The hidden lie here is that the ‘trials’ of those charged with the shootings descended into farce years ago. The truth is that the shootings were conducted by the extreme-right and neo-Nazis paramilitaries on Feb 20 and 21, 2014 as part of their orchestrated coup d’etat …with the enthusiastic backing of the U.S., Canada and other NATO powers. This is the truth that the show trials needed to cover up, hence their endless delays and prolongation.
Lie #3 and #4: “The conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 14,000 people since 2014. It began about two months after Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president fled the country amid massive protests in Kyiv. Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula soon followed.” That’s two big lies in three sentences. One, ‘fled the country’ is a polite way of describing a violent coup d’etat conducted by right-wing extremists using the ‘Maidan’ street protests as cover. The coup forced the elected President Yanukovych to flee for his life. Two, Crimea was ‘annexed’ in 1954 when the then-government of the Soviet Union arbitrarily annexed Crimea to the then-Ukrainian Soviet Republic. The so-called annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 was, in fact, a ‘secession’ of Crimea from Ukraine and ‘affiliation’ to the Russian Federation following a democratic referendum on March 16, 2014.
Lie #5: “Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron viewed the exchange as ‘a long hoped-for humanitarian gesture that should contribute to the restoration of trust between the two sides’, according to a German government statement.” But the German and French governments have always claimed that Russia is responsible for the conflict in Ukraine and they have imposed economic sanctions in consequence. The two governments have echoed those making the claim of direct military intervention by Russia into Ukraine. The two NATO governments have provided essential political cover for the extreme-right regime in Kyiv by blaming ‘both sides’ for failure to reach a lasting peace and political settlement while simultaneously supporting essential financial aid by the IMF keeping Ukraine’s bankrupted economy barely afloat.].
Related: Ukraine’s government puts oligarchs and multinational enterprises ahead of its own people, article published on the wwebsite of the International Trade Union Confederation, Dec 30, 2019
The world according to the Sustainable Development Index, analysis of the The Sustainable Development Index, a project launched in November 2019 by director Jason Hickel, an advocate of ‘degrowth’ and senior lecturer at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. A full description of the Sustainable Development Index project is published here on A Socialist In Canada website, Dec 29, 2019.
Head of Iran’s navy says the three-day naval exercises just ended by Iran, China and Russia in the Gulf of Oman signal the end of the era of inroads by the U.S. in the region, Press TV, Dec 29, 2019 … Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said on Dec 29, the third day of naval drills by Iran, Russia and China, that the three countries are showcasing “a new manifestation of developing their relations and cooperation at the highest level”. “When military forces stage a drill, it means measures in political, economic and other aspects have been carried out quite well and today we are witnessing this important and big exercise which aims to boost security in the region.” Khanzadi touched on “the civilizational rise of the great powers of Asia,” calling it an important event…
A study of the prices of medical services in the U.S. finds American patients pay much more across a wide array of common services compared to other countries, New York Times, Dec 27, 2019 …The International Federation of Health Plans, a group representing the CEOs of health insurers worldwide, publishes a guide every few years on the international cost for common medical services. Its newest report, on 2017 prices, came out this month. The upshot is vivid and similar: For almost everything on the list, there is a large divergence between the United States and everyone else…
Related: ‘Don’t tell me we can’t afford medicare for all,’ says Senator Sanders, after New York Times report details insanely higher costs of U.S. healthcare, Common Dreams, Dec 27, 2019
Mass killings in the U.S. hit record high in 2019, most were shootings, Associated Press, Dec 28, 2019 … A database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University shows that there were more mass killings in 2019 than any year dating back to at least the 1970s, punctuated by a chilling succession of deadly rampages during the summer. In all, there were 41 mass killings, defined as when four or more people are killed excluding the perpetrator. Of those, 33 were mass shootings. More than 210 people were killed…
President Maduro delivers the three millionth house as promised ten years ago at the launch of the Venezuelan Great Housing Mission. The Venezuelan Great Housing Mission now aims to build 500,000 new homes in the year 2020.
Two news reports:
* Orinico Tribune, Dec 27, 2019
* Telesur, Dec 27, 2019
Wikileaks releases fourth set of internal documents from the OPCW regarding the investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018, press release published on the website of Wikileaks, Dec 27, 2019
* OPCW official ordered removal of report disproving Syria chemical attack claims, reveals new document release by Wikileaks, Press TV, Dec 28, 2019
* Western media continues its silence on the document releases by Wikileaks concerning alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018. [Corporate media in Western imperialist countries is totally silent on the document releases by Wikileaks, the first of which was released on Oct 23, 2019. Silent, also, is much of the ‘alternative’ media in the West due to their anti-Russia prejudices, including Democracy Now! and The Intercept.] Previously reported: OPCW-Douma, Syria: Release part 3, by Wikileaks, Dec 14, 2019 Today, WikiLeaks releases more documents showing internal disagreement within the OPCW about how facts were misrepresented in a redacted version of a report on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.
Russia stands by President Putin calling Poland’s pro-Hitler ambassador to Germany 1934-39 a ‘bastard and anti-Semitic pig’, RT, Dec 28, 2019 …Putin brought up the subject of Josev Lipski in a speech on Dec 24 discussing NATO-member Poland’s push for WWII revisionism, including the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers who died in fighting to liberate Poland from Nazi Germany and a resolution Warsaw pushed in the European Parliament in September 2019 claiming that the 1939 non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union “paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War”. Modern Polish historical narrative argues that there is no difference between the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 and the Soviet troops coming in from the east 16 days later…
Washington Post’s reporting of ‘Afghan Papers’ propagates colonial narrative of noble intentions gone awry, by Joshua Cho, FAIR.org, Dec 26, 2019
* The Afghanistan Papers: Interview with Spenser Rapone, former combat veteran and U.S. Army officer, interview by Chris Hedges, broadcast on his weekly interview program ‘On Contact’, Dec 22 2019 (27-minute broadcast)
* The Washington’s Posts ‘Afghanistan Papers’ article series. [A full listing of the Washington Post‘s ‘Afghanistan Papers’ series is here. Corporate and state media in the West are self-censoring reporting of the series. This is understandable. The article series exposes just how illegal, corrupt and immoral is the U.S.-led war against the people of Afghanistan. Western media and governments have always presented it as a just and necessary war.] * Afghan Papers story inadvertently documents WaPo’s role in spreading official lies, by Joshua Cho, FAIR.org, Dec 18, 2019
* The most significant ‘Afghanistan Papers’ revelation is how difficult it was to wrest them from the U.S. gov’t and make them public, by Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News, Dec 11, 2019
Russian forces secure grounds of former U.S. military base near city of Raqqa in north central Syria, Reuters, Dec 26, 2019
* Russian military police secure former U.S. military base at Raqqa, north-central Syria, RT, Dec 26, 2019
* Top Syrian official says U.S. has ‘absolutely no right’ to occupy or plunder Syria’s oil fields, Common Dreams, Dec 26, 2019
Erdogan announces Turkey to send troops to Libya at Tripoli’s request, Reuters, Dec 26, 2019
Related: Turkey’s Libya gambit raises stakes in eastern Mediterranean, by Cengiz Candar, Al-Monitor, Dec 23, 2019
Evo Morales vows he’ll be back in Bolivia within one year. From exile in Argentina, he is assisting his party in planned special election that coup regime says it will hold. Report in Reuters, Dec 24, 2019
* Bolivia’s free territory of Chapare has ousted the coup regime and is bracing for a bloody re-invasion, by Ollie Vargas, The Grayzone, Dec 24, 2019 Union members in the Chapare region of Bolivia are running society in a collective fashion. They succeeded in expelling the police, but now fear a bloodbath in retaliation.
* The coup in Bolivia: Five lessons, by Atilio Borón (Argentinian social scientist), translated to English from his website and published in English edition of Granma (Cuban daily), Nov 11, 2019
China detaining millions of Uyghurs? Serious problems with claims by US-backed NGO and far-right researcher ‘led by God’ against Beijing, by Ajit Singh and Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone, Dec 21, 2019
The impeachment’s moral hypocrisy, by Chris Hedges, weekly column in Truthdig, Dec 23, 2019 …It was a mind-numbing spectacle, devoid of morality and ethics, the kind of political theater that characterizes despotic regimes. No one in the House chamber was protecting the Constitution. No one was seeking to hold accountable those who had violated it. No one was fighting to restore the rule of law. The two parties, which have shredded constitutional protections and rights and sold the political process to the highest bidders, have engaged in egregious constitutional violations for years and ignored them when they were made public. Moral stances have a cost, but almost no one in Congress seems willing to pay. Trying to tar Trump as a Russian agent failed. Now the Democrats hope to discredit him with charges of abuse of power and contempt of Congress… Yes, Trump’s contempt of Congress and attempt to get Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, to open an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for almost $400 million in U.S. military aid and allowing Zelensky to visit the White House are impeachable offenses, but trivial and minor ones compared with the constitutional violations that the two parties have institutionalized and, I fear, made permanent…
Condemnations pour in as court exonerates Saudi officials in Khashoggi murder case, Press TV, Dec 24, 2019
The privatization of housing and the unmaking of Britain’s working class, by Laurie Macfarlane, Tribune Magazine, Dec 21, 2019 (Tribune Magazine is published four times per year in Britain and is owned by Jacobin Magazine in the U.S.)
For analysis of the election that took place in Britain on Dec 12, 2019, see the news article and essay listings below, notably these two:
* Why the Labour party lost, by Alexander Mercouris, published in Consortium News, Dec 17, 2019
* Labour’s Brexit stance defeated Corbynism months ago, by David Broder, published in Jacobin Magazine, Dec 16, 2019
Vladimir Putin rides first passenger train marking the opening of the Russia-Crimea rail bridge across the Kerch Strait, Deutsche Welle, Dec 23, 2019 [Like the rest of Western media reporting, this report in Deutsche Welle ‘neglects’ to mention that the building of the road-rail bridge between mainland Russia and Crimea was prompted by the road/rail/air travel blockade imposed against the people of Crimea by the extreme-right, coup government in Ukraine following the referendum in Crimea on March 16, 2014. In that vote, the people of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join (re-join) the Russian Federation.]
Russia’s Gazprom to pay $2.9 billion in new Ukraine gas deal, Deutsche Welle, Dec 21, 2019 The Russian energy giant has agreed to settle its longrunning dispute with Ukraine over transit fees. A new five-year deal will also reduce European concerns over the loss of access to Russian fuel. Russia sends roughly 40 per cent of its natural gas deliveries destined for Europe through Ukraine…
Related: Germany, EU decry U.S. sanctions against ‘Nord Stream 2’, the second Russian pipeline under the Baltic Sea transporting natural gas to Germany and Europe, Deutsche Welle, Dec 21, 2019
Every Christmas tradition is pagan in origin, by Gerald McWilliams, Church and State.org, Nov 27, 2019
Related: How local wise-women who carried on ancient traditions were exterminated by Christianity, by Barbara G. Walker, Church and State.org, Oct 2008
Banksy’s latest artwork, ‘The Scar of Bethlehem’, has been unveiled at his hotel in the divided city of Bethlehem, SBS News (Australia), Dec 22, 2019
Journalist leaves Christian Post amid its plans to publish editorial attacking Christianity Today, Washington Post, Dec 24, 2019
* Evangelicals stand with Trump: ‘God always chose people that had flaws’, LA Times, Dec 23, 2019
* Christianity Today’s call for Trump’s removal offers a moment of potential reflection for today’s Christians, commentary by Michael Coren, Globe and Mail, Dec 23, 2019
Black, homeless and burdened by L.A.’s legacy of racism, by Jugal K. Patel, Tim Arango, Anjali Singhvi and Jon Huang, New York Times, Dec 22, 2019
The annual street count from January 2019 showed 44,214 people living without shelter across Los Angeles County.
Related: Among the world’s most dire places: This California homeless camp, interactive feature by Thomas Fuller and Josh Haner, New York Times, Dec. 17, 2019
Transport strikes disrupt Christmas travel in France, Associated Press, Dec 21, 2019
Related news: Transport workers’ strikes in France against pension cuts enter third week, France 24, Dec 19, 2019 A gruelling French transport strike entered its third week Thursday, wearing out commuters and spoiling the Christmas holiday plans of thousands as the government and unions remained at odds over pension reform. Talks with the government on Dec 21 ended with unions announcing another big protest day on January 9…
Top ten posts of 2019 on Michael Roberts blog, Dec 21, 2019 (Michael Roberts is a Marxist economist. He has worked as an economist in the City of London for over 30 years.)
Australia battles ‘catastrophic’ wildfires as PM rushes home from holiday in Hawaii, Associated Press, Dec 21, 2019
* Australia’s global warming-denying PM Scott Morrison slips home from holiday in Hawaii as wildfire/heatwave crisis intensifies. Report on ABC, Dec 21, 2019
* How big are the wildfires burning in Australia?, The Guardian, Dec 20, 2019 [More than six million hectares of land have burned in Australia by end-December 2019 since the onset of the summer 2019-20 fire season (source). That’s app. nine times the 765,000 hectares burned in California’s record wildfires of 2018 (source) and four times the area burned in the record fire season of 2018 in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The total area burned in a single year by wildfires in the United States has exceeded 3.6 million hectares–an area larger than the country of Belgium–only four times since the middle of the last century. All four times have happened this decade, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA…]
Slim majority at UN Security Council blocks Syria aid resolution after Russia and China veto rival plan, Press TV, Dec 21, 2019 In 2014, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2165 allowing humanitarian convoys, headed for Syria, to cross four border crossings of Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa in Turkey, al-Ya’rubiyah in Iraq and al-Ramtha in Jordan. It is extended every year and its current mandate will expire on January 10. On Dec 20, the Security Council voted on a Russian draft resolution that would have extended deliveries for six months and kept the two crossing points in Turkey. It received five “yes” votes, six “no” votes and four abstentions, failing to get the required nine “yes” votes for adoption. France, Britain and the US were among the UNSC member states that opposed the resolution while Belgium and Germany abstained…
New Zealand’s ban on semi-automatic weapons is now fully in effect, by Kerri Breen, Global News, Dec 20, 2019 New Zealand police say more than 60,000 firearms returned in buyback program And from a report in the New York Times, Dec 20, 2019: …A buyback, which began in July, was intended to allow gun owners to sell their weapons without penalty before the ban took effect. In a statement on Dec 20, Minister of Police Stuart Nash said that more than 56,000 prohibited firearms had been collected from about 32,000 people through the buyback, a number that was consistent with the authorities’ expectations. But he added that the police did not know exactly how many guns there were in the country, complicating efforts to precisely gauge the buyback’s success. Mr. Nash called for a national register to allow the police to track firearms. Recent police estimates had put the number of total firearms in the country at about 1.2 million…
The New Economic Policy of the early Soviet Union was the alternative to Stalinism, by John Marot, Jacobin Magazine, Dec 8, 2019 Generations of left-wing thinkers have fundamentally misunderstood the young Soviet Union’s New Economic Policy [John Marot teaches history at Keimyung University in Korea. Previous articles by him in Jacobin are ‘The real Vladimir Lenin‘ (Nov 2016) and ‘Assessing Trotsky‘ (Nov 2015).]
The killing of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017 revealed NATO/EU-member Malta as a ‘mafia island’, by Jan Lundius, IPS News, Dec 19, 2019
* Investigation of 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia closes in on NATO/EU-member Malta’s ‘mafia state’. Report in New York Times, Dec 19, 2019 …The spectacle of a member state of the European Union veering so far from the rule of law — especially one whose prime minister, Joseph Muscat, was once seen as a possible candidate to take over the presidency of the bloc — has stirred dismay and outrage across Europe…
* How a journalist’s murder haunts Malta’s ruling elite, Deutsche Welle, Dec 5, 2019
* Malta emerges as the EU’s next problem child, by Frank Hornig and Juan Moreno, Der Spiegel, Dec 6, 2019 Two years after the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s vast cesspool of corruption has become impossible to ignore. The EU’s smallest member state is on the brink of failure.
Fighting as masked vigilantes, Brazil’s police leave a trail of bodies and fear, New York Times, Dec 19, 2019 Police in Brazil killed an average of 17 people every day in 2018. Rogue officers are killing even more off duty.
Charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Trump impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, Common Dreams, Dec 19, 2019
Related: The year 1999, when the U.S. chief justice reminded senators in an impeachment trial that they were not jurors, by Steven Lubet, The Conversation, Dec 16, 2019
Report on 265 children in Haiti who, since 2004, were fathered then abandoned by UN ‘peacekeepers’, by researchers Sabine Lee (University of Birmingham) and Susan Bartels (Queen’s University), The Conversation, Dec 17, 2019 (based on a research paper by the same authors published on Dec 11, 2019 in the journal International Peacekeeping, Vol 26#5, 2019)
Related news reports:
Washington Post, Dec 18, 2019
The Globe and Mail, Dec 18, 2019
[The two researchers who authored this disturbing report slamming the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) can hardly be accused of bias against the UN Security Council mission, which began in 2004. The authors write in their report: “The UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) – the longest running mission by the organisation in the country (2004-2017) – was originally mandated to assist local Haitian institutions in a context of political instability and organised crime. Its mandate was then extended due to natural disasters, most notably an earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016…” Unfortunately, this is a very inaccurate interpretation of what has been a cold-blooded, imperialist military adventure against the people of Haiti beginning in 2004. The UN intervention was rushed into place beginning May 2004 in order to consolidate the paramilitary coup d’etat which overthrew Haiti’s elected president, legislature and senate on Feb 29, 2004. The coup was sparked by Haitian paramilitaries who were armed and financed by the U.S. Their coup was consolidated by a U.S./Canada/France/Chile military intervention in the days following. This was then transformed less than three months later into MINUSTAH, a military intervention authorized by the UN Security Council and controlled by the U.S., France and Canada. That occupation continues to this day, notwithstanding a papering over (name change) in 2017. The authors make no reference at all to the 2004 coup, thus ignoring and accounting of how the coup left Haiti especially vulnerable to the massive earthquake that struck the capital city Port au Prince on Jan 12, 2010. The earthquake killed an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 people and destroyed countless numbers of dwellings and public institutional buildings.]
Until it proves otherwise, the UN’s chemical weapons watchdog is just another American lapdog, by Scott Ritter, Truthdig, Dec 19, 2019 [This report begs the need for further reporting–this time into the liberals and ‘leftists’ in the West who joined the regime-change drive by imperialism against the government and people of Syria beginning in 2011. They barked the false findings of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concerning the alleged chemical attack in Douma in 2018 as well as so many other, similar false accusations. Simultaneously, they shunned any serious analysis of why the conflict in Syria became so deadly, so long-lasting. Today, they are silent as the truth of the OPCW’s false accusations emerges. In other words, they have learned nothing and apparently have no regret in having served as pawns of imperialism. ]
Why the Labour party lost, by Alexander Mercouris, published in Consortium News, Dec 17, 2019 …Labour did not lose the election because the electorate saw it as too left wing. The facts show otherwise. Like the claim that Labour achieved its “worst result since 1935”, this claim is a piece of misrepresentation peddled by those who want Labour to return to the status quo policies and triangulation of the Blair era. Why , then, did Labour lose? The short and unavoidable answer — and one which is gradually gaining acceptance, despite continued denials from some quarters — is because of Labour’s stance on Brexit… Overall, as surveys of the voting across England and Wales make clear, Labour held on to the great majority of its voters who voted against Brexit in the 2016 referendum, but lost roughly half of its voters who in the 2016 referendum voted for Brexit. It was this which caused Labour’s defeat and the Conservatives’ victory…This points to the underlying explanation for Labour’s debacle, which was Labour’s impossibly over-complicated Brexit policy…
Labour’s Brexit stance defeated Corbynism months ago, by David Broder, published in Jacobin Magazine, Dec 16, 2019 … Simply put, we did not act like a party that had won 40 per cent (nearly 13 million votes) in the general election of 2017 [June 8]. Real leadership would have lain not in blindly following opinion polls or the Guardian but, rather, in defending Labour’s existing position [a ‘soft’ Brexit] and cutting off any route toward the second referendum. [The Brexit referendum took place on June 23, 2016.] On both electoral and principled grounds, we should have faced down the ‘People’s Vote’ supporters and defended the integrity of the democratic decision of 2016, even if this had meant temporarily losing other soft-left or Blairite MPs, rather than conceding their argument halfway…
* The Labour Party’s equivocation and backtracking on 2017 Brexit referendum is to blame, not Jeremy Corbyn, election analysis by John Westmoreland, published in Counterfire, Dec 13, 2019 (John Westmoreland is a history teacher, a representative in the University and College Union and a member of the People’s Assembly. He writes regularly for the left-wing publication Counterfire.)
* We won the argument, but I regret we didn’t convert that into a majority for change, by Jeremy Corbyn, in The Guardian, Dec 14, 2019
* Jeremy Corbyn fears a Brexit ‘betrayal’ backlash if he backs a ‘people’s vote’, Business Insider Australia, Dec 8, 2018
* Casting off?, lengthy essay by Susan Watkins, New Left Review (bimonthly), issue of July-Aug 2016 ( Susan Watkins is the editor of New Left Review)
Glenn Greenwald interviews Evo Morales, interview broadcast on The Intercept, Dec 16, 2019 (50-minute interview)
Major states snub calls for climate action as UN summit wraps up, Reuters, Dec 15, 2019
A handful of major states resisted pressure on Dec 15 to ramp up efforts to combat global warming as a U.N. climate summit ground to a close, angering smaller countries and a growing protest movement that is pushing for emergency action.
The COP25 talks in Madrid were viewed as a test of governments’ collective will to heed the advice of science to cut greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly, in order to prevent rising global temperatures from hitting irreversible tipping points. But the conference, in its concluding draft, endorsed only a declaration on the “urgent need” to close the gap between existing emissions pledges and the temperature goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement – an outcome U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called disappointing.
* How COP 25 turned its back on climate action, Climate Home News, Dec 16, 2019
* COP25 is denounced as ‘utter failure’ as deal is stripped of ambition and U.S. refuses to accept liability for climate crisis, Common Dreams, Dec 15, 2019
* Climate negotiators reach watered-down deal at COP25, Deutsche Welle, Dec 15, 2019 The climate talks in Madrid stretched into record overtime. Negotiators reached a vague agreement in which key decisions to avert the worst global warming were booted to a future date.
* Summarising the lack of climate emergency at #COP25: Interview with Peter Carter, 23-minute interview conducted at COP25 summit meeting in Madrid, Dec 10, 2019 (Read the introduction to the interview here. Dr. Peter Carter is Director of the Climate Emergency Institute, an IPCC expert reviewer and co-author in 2018 of Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival.)
* 500,000 march in Madrid at ‘COP 25’ conference demanding climate action; Greta Thunberg joins them, warning that the climate movement has ‘achieved nothing’ until emissions begin to fall, Common Dreams, Dec 6, 2019
* Transcript of Greta Thunberg’s address to the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid on Dec 6, 2019
* Since Paris agreement in 2015, global financial firms have sunk $745 billion into new coal plants, DeSmog Blog, Dec 10, 2019
* Oil and gas companies approve $50 billion of major projects that undermine climate targets and risk shareholder returns, press release by Carbon Tracker, Sep 5, 2019 …This first study to identify individual projects that are inconsistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming finds that no major oil company is investing to support the agreement’s goals of keeping global warming “well below” 2°C and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to a maximum of 1.5°C… Since the start of 2018, all major oil and gas companies have approved project that are not consistent with the Paris goals. Carbon Tracker highlights $50 billion of investment in 18 major projects that are not even consistent with a 1.7-1.8°C pathway (IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario). They include Shell’s $13 billion liquefied natural gas project in Canada… Read the full report here.
* Global fossil fuel subsidies reach $5.2 trillion, and $29 billion in Australia, published in Renew Economy, May 13, 2019
Tens of thousands rally in Rome against far-right ‘Northern League’ of Matteo Salvini, Reuters, Dec 14, 2019
From the New York Times, Dec 15, 2019: …The Sardines movement is named for its ability to pack piazzas. It reflects a general disgust among many liberal Italians over Matteo Salvini’s anti-migrant and anti-European language. One of the movement’s founders, 32 year-old Mattia Santori, says the movement’s chief purpose is to combat apathy and to offer equality, respect for the Constitution and stronger Italian institutions as a way to counter hate and Mr. Salvini’s essential themes: opposition to immigration, antagonism toward Europe and heightened security. The Sardines were inspired to organize by Mr. Salvini’s campaign vow to “liberate” the liberal stronghold of Emilia Romagna in regional elections to take place on Jan 20, 2020… Mr. Salvini, who was politically sidelined this past summer in an overreach for power, leads Italy’s oldest political party, the Northern League. He has solid support and a sophisticated political operation as he tries for a comeback by picking off traditionally left-leaning regions…
Conservative Party election victory propels Britain toward swift Brexit, Reuters, Dec 13, 2019 Full results of the UK election on Dec 12, 2019 are here on Wikipedia. Voter turnout was 67.3 per cent, down 1.6 per cent from 2017. The Conservatives won 14 million votes, up slightly from the 2017 election; against Labour’s 10.3 million, down from 12.9 million in 2017. In Scotland, the Scottish National Party won 48 seats out of 59, a gain of 13. In Northern Ireland, results were DUP 8, Sinn Fein 7, SDLP: 2. (The population of England is 56 million, Scotland 5.4 million, Wales 3.1 million, Northern Ireland 1.9 million. Watch this website page in the coming days for more analysis of the election result.].
* UK election puts Scottish independence back into the spotlight, by Tyler Dawson, National Post, Dec 13, 2019 …Johnson has said there will be no Scottish independence referendum on his watch, but Sturgeon, who’s also the Scottish first minister, said the party will reveal referendum plans within a week, the New York Times reports …”Northern Ireland is entering into a world of nationalist strength, unionist weakness, UK government near-indifference, and a Brexit deal that emphasizes connections between Northern Ireland and the Republic at the expense of connections between Northern Ireland and Britain,” reports the Washington Post…
* Britons gear up to defend National Health Service from privatization scheme as Tories win strong majority in UK election, Common Dreams, Dec 13, 2019
* 52% of votes go to pro-referendum parties despite decisive victory for the Tories, by Lizzy Buchan, The Independent, Dec 13, 2019
* Voters in London buck the national trend, Labour holds its seats in London, The Evening Standard, Dec 14, 2019 As in 2017, Labour holds 49 of the 73 constituencies, the Tories 21 and the Liberal Democrats three
* Media obsesses over Corbyn’s alleged antisemitism while ignoring Johnson’s proud bigotry, by Joseph Grim Feinberg, Mondoweiss, Dec 11, 2019
UN human rights office says Chile must prosecute police, army for violence against protesters, Reuters, Dec 13, 2019 …The UN human rights office said in a report published on December 13 that it has documented an “alarmingly high number” of 345 people suffering eye injuries after being hit by lead pellets fired from anti-riot shotguns by security forces. Twenty-six people have been killed during nearly two months of protests against austerity that began in October…
Related: UN Human Rights Office report on Chile crisis describes multiple police violations and calls for reforms, published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights), Dec 13, 2019
Getting away with murder: ‘Clash’ as corporate media euphemism for ‘massacre’, by Alan MacLeod, FAIR.org, Dec 13, 2019
Colombia’s 2016 peace deal paved the way for today’s historic protests against austerity, by Miquel Salazar (research director), The Nation, Dec 12, 2019
Evo Morales arrives in Argentina, will request status as political refugee, Telesur, Dec 12, 2019
Related: The naive mistakes of Evo Morales in Bolivia, commentary by Vicky Peláez, translated and published by Cuba News, Dec 9, 2019 (also published in Resumen Latinoamericano)
How left-wing media in the Global North helped pave the way for Bolivia’s right-wing coup, by Lucas Koerner, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Dec 10, 2019
…Truly astonishing, however, was the response of Western progressive media, whom one might have expected to unequivocally denounce the coup and demand the immediate reinstatement of Evo Morales. A dismaying number did not…
Meanwhile, an interview with Forrest Hylton and Jeffrey Webber published on the blog page of Verso Books (Nov 15, 2019) made no call for Morales’ democratic mandate to be respected, instead urging international leftists to “insist on the right of Bolivians to self-determination” without “refrain[ing] from criticism of Morales”. Far from outliers, these editorial positions are very much par for the course in progressive media coverage of Bolivia over the past months and years…
The U.S. tightens its grip on South Korea to strengthen its anti-China alliance, by Gregory Elich, Zoom In Korea, Dec 11, 2019
How ordinary Afghans are living the ‘Afghanistan Papers’, by Emran Feroz, Foreign Affairs Magazine, Dec 11, 2019 The prospect of a revival of talks with the Taliban is persuading no one after two protracted civil wars that have taken up the lives of most Afghans.
Those torture drawings in the New York Times by a prisoner in Afghanistan and the related article, by John Kiriakou, Consortium News, Dec 12, 2019
The allegations of ‘Russian interference’ in the 2016 U.S. election were definitively disproven by the official investigation led by Robert Mueller. But one early promoter of Russiagate conspiracy theory, The Intercept, wants to revive it. Report by Eric Lichtblau, published in The Intercept, Dec 11, 2019 …The report [by Robert Mueller] left unanswered the central question of whether a more efficient and less flawed investigation into the possible Trump-Russia links might have produced different results…
Normandy Four agree to ‘stabilize’ eastern Ukraine following meeting in Paris, RT, Dec 9, 2019 ‘We want the Minsk accords to be complied with. Just read what the Minsk accords say. Why do we need to undermine and rewrite the Minsk accords?‘–Vladimir Putin, speaking in Paris on Dec 9, 2019
* Russia, Ukraine to revive peace process amid little progress, Associated Press, Dec 9, 2019 [This AP news article above reveals the lies and distortions that permeate Western news outlets in their reporting of Ukraine. The article makes a rare reference (for corporate and ‘alternative’ media in the West) to “a largely stalled 2015 peace agreement intended to end fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.” It reports further, “Vladimir Putin said [the Normandy Four countries] agreed that there was no alternative to the 2015 accord reached in the Belarusian capital of Minsk…” The ‘Minsk 2’ ceasefire and peace agreement was signed on Feb 12, 2015 by Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany (text here). It was unanimously endorsed by no less than the UN Security Council five days later, on Feb 17. The accord provides for comprensive measures to end the war by the right-wing, coup regime in Kyiv against the people of Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk). But the agreement has been systematically violated by the Kyiv regime ever since its signing. Ukraine’s sabotage of Minsk 2 has received the full backing of the NATO powers, including France and Germany. Part of that sabotage has been to smear the leaders of Donbass (the ‘peoples republics’ of Donetsk and Lugansk) as ‘seperatists’. But AP exposes its own lie when in the same article, it explains that the Minsk accord “promises wide autonomy to Ukraine’s rebel-held regions”. There you have the lie exposed: the people of Donbass were seeking autonomy from Ukraine following the right-wing coup of Feb 20-21 in 2014, not independence or affiliation to Russia. Use of the term ‘seperatists’ by AP and the rest of Western media obscures and dismisses the legitimate, autonomist aspirations of the people of Donbass. Meanwhile, after suffering five and a half years of a cruel war by Ukraine and its NATO backers, it should be no surprise that the majority of the people of Donbass would vote for secession from Ukraine and affiliation to the Russian Federation if offered the chance. That was the decision of the large majority of the people of Crimea in a referendum on March 16, 2014. That decision has brought peace and, after several years of hardship, significant economic and social gains to the people there.] * Text of the final communique of the meeting in Paris Dec 9, 2019 of the ‘Normandy Four’ group of countries, here. [The text is little more than the latest iteration of Ukraine and its Western backers ‘promising’ to implement the Minsk 2 proposals and then promptly violating the promise.]
Brexit in January 2020 or second referendum: The UK election choice, Reuters, Dec 10, 2019
Venezuela’s civilian militia surpasses target, reaches 3.3 million members, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Dec 9, 2019
Related: Venezuela oil production continues slow recovery, by Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis, Dec 11, 2019
‘Even the imperialist media is willing to concede that the presidency of Evo Morales was a great success in Bolivia’, interview with Wyatt Reid, in American Herald Tribune, Dec 7, 2019 (re-published in Orinico Tribune, Dec 10, 2019)
The massive triumph of the rich, illustrated by stunning new data, by Greg Sargent, Washington Post, Dec 9, 2019 and read: report in Common Dreams, Dec 9, 2019 …A new analysis has been prepared at my request by Gabriel Zucman, the French economist and ‘wealth detective’ who has been become famous for tracing the hidden wealth of the super-rich. The top-line finding: among the bottom 50 per cent of earners, average real annual income even after taxes and transfers has edged up a meager $8,000 since 1970, rising from just over $19,000 to just over $27,000 in 2018. By contrast, among the top one pe rcent of earners, average income even after taxes and transfers has tripled since 1970, rising by more than $800,000, from just over $300,000 to over $1 million in 2018. Among the top 0.1 percent, average after-tax-and-transfer income has increased fivefold, from just over $1 million in 1970 to over $5 million in 2018. And among the top .01 percent, it has increased nearly sevenfold, from just over $3.5 million to over $24 million… I’m emphasizing the phrase ‘after taxes and transfers’ because this is at the core of Zucman’s new analysis. The idea is to show the combined impact of both the explosion of pretax income at the top and the decline in the effective tax rate paid by those same earners — in one result. The declining progressivity of the tax code is the subject of The Triumph of Injustice, a great new book by Zucman and fellow Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez…
At war with the truth: U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress with their war in Afghanistan. They were not, and they knew it, by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, Dec 9, 2019 A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable …Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded in action, according to Defense Department figures… Since 2001, the Defense Department, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have spent or appropriated between $934 billion and $978 billion, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate calculated by Neta Crawford, a political science professor and co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University. Those figures do not include money spent by other agencies such as the CIA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is responsible for medical care for wounded veterans…
* Washington Post investigation reveals U.S. officials’ public deception campaign on Afghan War, Common Dreams, Dec 9, 2019 A major Washington Post investigation released on Dec 9 is a confirmation of the peace movement’s message that “there’s no military solution in Afghanistan”…
* Consumed by corruption: The U.S. flooded Afghanistan with money then turned a blind eye to the graft it fueled, by Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post, Dec. 9, 2019 … In public, President Barack Obama escalated the war as Congress approved billions of additional dollars in support. The commander in chief and lawmakers promised to crack down on corruption and hold crooked Afghans accountable. In reality, U.S. officials backed off, looked away and let the thievery become more entrenched than ever, according to a trove of confidential government interviews obtained by The Washington Post…
* Locals in eastern Afghanistan complain of diseases caused by U.S. ‘mother of all bombs’, Press TV, Dec 9, 2019 More than two and a half years after the United States dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on an eastern Afghan province, locals are now complaining that America’s ‘mother of all bombs’ has brought them “many diseases” and affected crop yield in agricultural lands.
* UN occupation force in Afghanistan reports record-high civilian casualties. Press release by the the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Oct 17, 2019 …The report indicates that from Jan 1 to Sept 30, 2019, anti-government elements caused 5,117 civilian casualties (1,207 killed and 3,910 injured), accounting for 62 per cent of all civilian casualties during the period. Pro-government forces caused 2,348 civilian casualties (1,149 killed and 1,199 injured), a 26 per cent increase from the same period in 2018. UNAMA’s latest report indicates that 41 per cent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan were women and children. In the first nine months of 2019, UNAMA documented 923 women casualties (261 killed and 662 injured) and 2,461 child casualties (631 killed and 1,830 injured)…
Why is delivery of S-400 missiles to Turkey delayed?, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Dec 9, 2019 [Corporate media is now universally reporting that Turkey’s points of conflict with its allies in NATO are all about jostling for more power within the alliance. But this same media clouds the picture by simultaneously suggesting a rupture may take place in Turkey-NATO relations and a Turkey-Russia alliance created. Most ‘alternative’ media in the West fails to see through the ruse.]
Oil trail reveals that Turkey is funding Syrian Kurdish rivals, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Dec 9, 2019
* Syria’s Kurdish parties do not see eye to eye, by Shivan Ibrahim, Al-Monitor, Dec 9, 2019
* SDF woos Syrian Kurdish rivals in wake of Turkish assaulty, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Dec 4, 2019
With people in the streets worldwide, media focus uniquely on Hong Kong, by Alan MacLeod, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Dec 6, 2019
New Cold War on the sporting fields: Russia banned from major sporting events for four years, RT, Dec 9, 2019
Speak up for Julian Assange: Statement by international journalists in defence of Julian Assange, and invitation to sign. 450 signators as of Dec 9, 2019. Read the statement here. (Journalists and those in journalism-related roles are invited to sign the statement at the weblink.)
Newsweek journalist resigns, saying the publication suppressed his reporting of the ‘Syria chemical attack’ scandal at the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, by Caitlin Johnstone, published in Consortium News, Dec 7, 2019 …This is the first direct insider report we’re getting on the mass media’s conspiracy of silence on the OPCW scandal that I wrote about just the other day (see ‘related’, immediately below). In how many other newsrooms is this exact same sort of suppression happening, including threats of legal action, to journalists who don’t have the courage or ability to leave and speak out?… (read also: report by RT, Dec 8, 2019)
* Fake news on Syria by omission: The mass media’s cowardly distortion and suppression of the truth, by Caitlin Johnstone, published on her page on Medium, Dec 4, 2019 …Leaks emerging from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a UN agency, indicate that the U.S., France and UK bombed Syria in April 2018 [Wikipedia] in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack against the town of Douma in south Syria. The attack probably never occurred, but the Syrian government and armed forces were nevertheless accused by Western governments while the OPCW leadership helped cover up the false accusations. You can learn about the still-unfolding OPCW scandal by watching this seven-minute video report by investigative journalist Dan Cohen…
* CounterPunch publishes analysis arguing Western gov’t line that a ‘chemical attack’ by the Syrian gov’t did indeed take place in Douma, Syria on Apr 7, 2018 . Commentary published in CounterPunch on Dec 6, 2019
Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia coup, Trump dubs Nicaragua ‘national security threat’ and targets Mexico, by Ben Norton, The Grayzone, Dec 5, 2019
Related: Operation Condor, in Wikipedia Operación Cóndor was a United States-backed campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents, officially and formally implemented in November 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America… Due to its clandestine nature, the precise number of deaths directly attributable to Operation Condor is highly disputed. Some estimates are that at least 60,000 deaths can be attributed to Condor, roughly 30,000 of these in Argentina… The United States government provided planning, coordinating, training on torture, technical support and supplied military aid to the military juntas in Latin Ameerica during the administrations of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, James Carter and the Ronald Reagan administrations. Such support was frequently routed through the CIA…
Israel tests nuke-capable missile system aimed at Iran, reports Israeli television, Press TV, Dec 6, 2019
* ‘First Global Conference on Israeli Apartheid’ takes place in Turkey, Nov 29-20, Middle East Monitor, Dec 5, 2019
* Remarks by Richard Falk delivered to ‘First Global Conference on Israeli Apartheid’, published on the website of Richard Falk, Dec 1, 2019
Britain’s very own ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory: Reddit says leaked documents about a proposed U.S.-UK trade deal ‘might be’ tied to Russian hackers, citing speculation by the right-wing, pro-NATO Atlantic Council, report in RT, Dec 6, 2019
How middle class Bolivia learned to stop worrying and love the coup, by Wyatt Reed, The Grayzone, Dec 5, 2019 In and around La Paz, middle class Bolivians have fallen under the spell of the junta’s propaganda campaign against Evo and his supporters. With a presidential election looming, the country’s elites are battling for power.
Second day of strikes and protests in France defending pensions cause transport turmoil, The Local.fr, Dec 6, 2019
Related: Trade unions in France issue call for new strikes and street protests on Dec 10, The Local.fr, Dec 6, 2019
National strike and protests snarl France in showdown over pension change, Agence France presse, Dec 5, 2019 (read also: report in Common Dreams, Dec 5, 2019) A nationwide strike has brought much of France to a halt on December 5 as unions kicked off a massive protest against a pension overhaul by President Emmanuel Macron. The overhaul will force millions of people to work longer in life or face curtailed benefits… The CGT union said workers had blocked seven of the country’s eight oil refineries, raising the prospect of fuel shortages if the strike continues. According to the union, ‘yellow vest’ protesters, who have staged weekly demonstrations since last year demanding improved living standards, have blocked roads in several cities including Le Havre on the Atlantic coast, where the heavily used port was also shut… Officials have admitted that French workers will gradually have to work longer in life, but so far have given few details of how a ‘universal’ system that does away with dozens of separate schemes will affect their retirement plans. [From Associated Press: Macron’s government would replace the current 42 pension regimes that apply to various professions and can include specific provisions, like early retirement for train workers. All French retirees receive a state pension. The overall legal retirement age is 62.] Related:
* Young and old march in unity, fear at French pension change, Associated Press, Dec 5, 2019
* How France’s retirement system stacks up against pension schemes across Europe, five-minute video news report on France 24, Dec 5, 2019
* In France, trade unions and ‘Yellow Vests’ movement converge, launch general strike, by Richard Greeman, published in CounterPunch, Dec 4, 2019 (Richard Greeman is a Marxist scholar and translator of the writings of the Franco-Russian novelist and revolutionary Victor Serge.)
Malta, an EU and NATO member, emerges as Europe’s next problem child, Der Spiegel Online, Dec 6, 2019
Huawei sues in U.S. courts against FCC decision declaring its equipment a ‘security risk’, Reuters, Dec 4, 2019
Iran faces a golden opportunity to revive its textile industry, Press TV, Dec 4, 2019
Behind the NATO/Trump-regime theatrics being staged at NATO summit meeting in England Dec 3, 4. News items:
* Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the Dec 3, 2019 meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and/or Government …We stand together all for one, and one for all. Our commitment to Article 5, the collective defence clause of our Alliance, is ironclad. Today, we took a wide range of important decisions. We have increased the readiness of our forces. I can announce that we have delivered on the NATO Readiness Initiative. Allies have committed 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 combat ships, available to NATO within 30 days. We have declared space as the fifth operational domain for NATO. Alongside land, air, sea, and cyber… This is the fifth year of rising defence investment. European Allies and Canada have added 130 billion US dollars. And by the end of 2024, that figure will rise to 400 billion US dollars. This is unprecedented. And it’s making NATO stronger…
* NATO leaders present united front amid bitter differences [sic], Voice of America, Dec 3, 2019 …In the past, Trump has repeatedly criticized the alliance as “obsolete” and expressed his desire to leave it. But the president seemed to have changed his tune, saying that NATO “serves a great purpose”…
* Turkey backs down, agrees to NATO’s plans to futher militarize Poland and the Baltic states, The Telegraph, Dec 5, 2019
* Turkey flirts with buying even more Russian missile systems, by Anton Mardasov, Al-Monitor, Dec 3, 2019
* Turkey bets on NATO as escape route in S-400 crisis, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Dec 2, 2019
* Turkey to fly F-16s near Ankara in limited test of S-400 radar systems. Report on The Daily Sabah (pro-Turkish gov’t mouthpiece), Nov 25, 2019
Protests in Iraq pose challenge to NATO’s mission in the country says outgoing commander of Canadian contingent, The Globe and Mail, Dec 3, 2019 (subscriber only) Violent anti-government protests in Iraq have forced the NATO mission to curtail some of its activities and movements, says the outgoing Canadian commander. Major-General Dany Fortin says the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is still able to do its work in Iraq, but has had to rearrange meetings with senior officials who are focused on the demonstrations and make adjustments to avoid any security threats posed by the protests…
Related: At U.S. urging, NATO agrees to a training mission in Iraq, Reuters, Feb 15, 2018
Remarks by Vladimir Putin to meeting with senior Defence Ministry officials and defence industry executives, transcript published in English on the website of the President of Russia, Dec 2, 2019 …Right now we have to proceed from the fact that NATO’s expansion, the development of its military infrastructure near the Russian border, pose a potential threat to our national security. Therefore, coming back to this meeting’s agenda, I would like to note that the technical overhaul of the Russian Armed Forces has been and will remain the focus of our closest attention…
Party of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh is divided two years after his death, Middle East Eye, Dec 4, 2019 Once Yemen’s largest political force under Ali Abdullah Saleh, the General People’s Congress is now more divided than ever. After handing over power in Feb 2012 to his vice president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Saleh allied with the Houthis (also known as Ansar Allah) in their protest movement and insurgency that seized control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa in early 2015.
* Yemen ‘president’ Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi a spent force as Saudis directly engage with rebel Houthi movement, Press TV, Dec 1, 2019
* Saudi-Houthi talks raise hopes and sideline Yemen’s government, Middle East Eye, Nov 30, 2019 Negotiations between Riyadh and the Yemeni rebels are said to be centred on Saudi interests in stopping attacks on its territory rather than an end to the conflict
* More than 100,000 people killed in Yemen war, Middle East Eye, Oct 31, 2019
Ukrainian fascists flock to Hong Kong to show their support for anti-China protests, by Ben Norton, The Grayzone, Dec 4, 2019 Members of the U.S./UK/Canada-backed, neo-Nazi ‘Azov Batallion’ have joined the anti-China protests in Hong Kong, sharing their tactics and showing off their tattoos.
Conference in London demands freedom for Julian Assange, video of presentations by speakers at Nov 28 conference, broadcast on Consortium News, Nov 30, 2019
* Open letter to Archbishop of Canterbury to support release of Julian Assange, Consortium News, Dec 1, 2019
* Visiting Britain’s political prisoner Julian Assange, by John Pilger, special to Consortium News, Nov 29, 2019 This article is based on an address John Pilger gave at a conference on Julian Assange in London on Nov 28 following his visit to Julian Assange earlier that day.
* The sword, the pen and the law: On Julian Assange, by Barbara Harriss-White, published in The Madras Courier, Nov 20, 2019 (Barbara Harriss-White is Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at Oxford University and Visiting Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.)
* Swedish fit-up against Julian Assange no longer needed by UK spy services, interview with Craig Murray, broadcast on RT, Nov 20, 2019 (five-minute interview)
* Britain: Land of tea and torture, by Alex Adams, Truthdig, Nov 26, 2019
Neo-Nazi scandal hits German elite military unit, Deutsche Welle, Dec 1, 2019 An officer in the elite military unit is strongly suspected of involvement in the right-wing extremist scene, the paper reported on Sunday. Two other soldiers in the Special Forces Command are also on the radar of Bundeswehr investigators for right-wing extremist activities.
Almost 680,000 people in Germany are homeless, Deutsche Welle, Dec 1, 2019
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, November 2019
Youth activists lead global #ClimateStrike and protests ahead of COP 25 to take plce in Madrid Dec 2-11, Common Dreams, Nov 29, 2019 and read: report in The Guardian, Nov 29, 2019 ‘We have watched a string of United Nations climate conferences unfold. Countless negotiations have produced much-hyped but ultimately empty commitments from the world’s governments—the same governments that allow fossil fuel companies to drill for ever-more oil and gas and burn away our futures for their profit.’–Statement by Greta Thunberg (Sweden), Luisa Neubauer (Germany) and Angela Valenzuela (Chile)
U.S. again complicit in an illegal coup, this time in Bolivia, by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout, Nov 27, 2019
The coup and the right-wing assaults in Bolivia, interview with Kathryn Ledebur of the Andean Information Network (resides in Cochabamba) and Bret Gustafson of Washington University in St. Louis, interview conducted by Corvin Russell from Toronto on Nov 22, 2019 [Discussion of the response by left-wing and environmental voices in the West begins at the 32-minute mark.]
CounterPunch publishes U.S. Trotksyist group’s condemnation of the Bolivian gov’t as led by Evo Morales and the ‘Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), published in CounterPunch on Nov 29, 2019 Excerpt: … The coup represents a grave defeat for the Bolivian masses and for working people around the world. Its lessons must be learned by revolutionaries everywhere and its mistakes never repeated. Morales and MAS are neither anti-capitalist nor socialist. Both Morales and his political party remain firmly committed to the capitalist framework of economic development and did little to challenge the power and curb the profits of the capitalist class…
[This text illustrates the ultraleft, ‘super-revolutionary’ outlook which heavily influenced the Trotskyist movement at its inception in the late 1920s and has accelerated over the decades. This ultraleftism is rooted in Trotskyism’s original theory of ‘permanent revolution’ as well as its its dismissal of the mixed-economy experiment of the New Economic Policy (NEP) of the early Soviet Union (from 1921 to 1928). Today, Trotskyism has fully declined and degerated into various forms of right-wing socialism. For another example of Trotskyist criticisms of the Morales and MAS-led governments in Bolivia, see an interview published in the Verso Books Blog on Nov 15 and republished in International Viewpoint. The interview contains much useful information but it is framed by this excerpt: …We cannot over-emphasize the fact that formerly independent social movements and trade unions were co-opted, divided, and absorbed into the state apparatus—or worse, as in the case of lowland indigenous movements—[by the Morales-led governments] maligned as agents of the right and of empire. For an ever-more extractive economy, declining market conditions do not translate into a slowdown of extractive activity, but rather a race to improve profitable conditions for extractive multinational capital, as indicated in the Morales government’s trampling of the right to meaningful consultation for indigenous communities prior to extractive development projects in their territories… We celebrate Lula’s recent release from prison [in Brazil] as an unambiguous democratic gain, without projecting a radicalism into his years in government that it never possessed. We need not claim a socialist pedigree for Morales in order to condemn his anti-democratic removal from office…]
With the right-wing coup in Bolivia nearly complete, the junta is hunting down the last remaining dissidents, by Wyatt Reed, The Grayzone, Nov 27, 2019 On the day of my scheduled interview with a leftist Bolivian journalist, I learned that he had been disappeared. Every outspoken opponent of the military junta is a target and subjected to charges of sedition.
Related: Reversing pro-Palestinian stance of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s coup government moves to restore ties with Israel, Common Dreams, Nov 29, 2019
Trump signs bills threatening sanctions against Hong Kong, Beijing vows retaliation. Now what?, Reuters, Nov 27, 2019 [The law directs the State Department to certify at least once per year that Hong Kong is autonomous enough to justify favourable U.S. trading terms that have helped it become a world financial centre. The law also threatens sanctions for ‘human rights violations’.].
Related: Thousands rally in Hong Kong to ‘thank’ U.S. for its new law threatening sanctions against China, video report in South China Morning Post, Nov 30, 2019 The pro-imperialist rally featured the waving of U.S. flags and signs vaunting the U.S. as a ‘beacon of democracy’.
The sword, the pen and the law: On Julian Assange, by Barbara Harriss-White, published in The Madras Courier, Nov 20, 2019 (Barbara Harriss-White is Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at Oxford University and Visiting Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.)
* Swedish fit-up against Julian Assange no longer needed by UK spy services, interview with Craig Murray, broadcast on RT, Nov 20, 2019 (five-minute interview)
* Britain: Land of tea and torture, by Alex Adams, Truthdig, Nov 26, 2019
The fantasy world of continued capitalist expansion, by Michael Roberts, published on his websiste, Nov 27, 2019
UN report warns only rapid and transformational action can stave off climate disaster, Common Dreams, Nov 26, 2019 An alarming report by the United Nations Environment Program released on November 26 says global temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.9°C by the end of the century, meaning only drastic and unprecedented emissions reductions can stave off the most devastating consequences of the climate crisis… UNEP’s ‘Emissions Gap Report’ comes one day after the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2018… [See the extensive headline/weblink reporting and archiving about the global warming emergency contained in the ‘Ecology newsroll’ page of the website A Socialist in Canada.]
Chief Rabbi Mirvis doesn’t speak for all Jews. The Labour and Tory record on racism speaks for itself, by Julia Bard, guest contributor, The London Economic, Nov 26, 2019
Related: Chief Rabbi Mirvis is helping stoke anti-semitism, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website, Nov 27, 2019 …Chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has not only misrepresented the known facts about Labour and its supposed antisemitism crisis. He has not only interfered in an overtly, politically partisan manner in the December 12 election campaign by suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn – against all evidence – is an antisemite. By speaking out as the voice of British Jews – a false claim he has allowed the UK media to promote – his unprecedented meddling in the election of Britain’s next leader has actually made the wider Jewish community in the UK much less safe…
‘The left in the Global North will continue to get stronger’, interview with Grace Blakely on Jeremy Corbyn and the challenges facing the left in the UK, published in Catalyst Magazine, Vol 3, #2, summer 2019 (Grace Blakeley is the economics commentator at the soft-left New Statesman magazine and a research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research. She is the author of Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation, Repeater Books, 2019.)
Death of founder of ‘White Helmets’, OPCW chemical weapons scandal lift mask on al-Qaeda’s allies in Syria, interview with Max Blumenthal by Aaron Maté, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ (The Grayzone), Nov 26, 2019 (35-minute brodcast) The recent death of White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier and an unfolding cover-up at the OPCW of an apparently staged chemical weapons incident in April 2018 have shed new light on the White Helmets’ shadowy role in the Syria proxy war.
Interview with Iraqi scholar Sinan Antoon: ‘Anti-government protests have created a ‘new sense of Iraqi nationalism’, interview broadcast on Democracy Now!, Nov 26, 2019
* Police kill nine in protests in Iraq on Nov 24 bringing death toll to 339 since eruption of protest movement in October, Reuters, Nov 24, 2019
* New scandals pour more fuel on protests in Iraq, by Ali Mamouri, Al-Monitor, Nov 20, 2019
* U.S. and Israel involved in killing Iraqi protesters, says leader of popular forces, Press TV, Nov 24, 2019
At Halifax International Security Forum, head of Hong Kong Democratic Party appeals to imperialist countries to ‘hold China to account’, by Justin Ling, National Post, Nov 25, 2019 …In the days before the weekend’s forum, the U.S. Congress nearly unanimously passed the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act. The bill would penalize China should it limit Hong Kong’s independent economic status and sanction Chinese officials found to be responsible for human rights violations…
* China’s ‘different view of the world’ major focus of Halifax security forum, The Canadian Press, Nov 24, 2019
* Hong Kong pro-democracy activists hailed at Halifax security forum, CBC News, Nov 24, 2019
[The Halifax International Security Forum is an annual gathering of the warmaking governments of the NATO countries, their allies, and their ideologues in academia and media. Media in Canada and other Western countries is awash in a barrage of anti-China prejudice and propaganda reminiscent of the anti-communist hysteria of the post-WW2 Cold War. Democracy activists in Hong Kong and left-wing voices in the West are playing with fire in hitching onto this barrage in naive hope that Western governments and agencies would assist in expanding democracy in the Chinese territory.]
The case of Sergei Magnitsky and his employer Bill Browder: Questions cloud the story behind U.S. [and Canadian] ‘Magnitsky’ sanctions against Russia. Investigative report by Benjamin Bidder, in Der Speigel Online, Nov 25, 2019 (translated from the original German in Der Speigel Magazine)
Thirteen French soldiers killed in Mali after two military helicopters collide, France 24, Nov 25, 2019 …Six officers and a master corporal were among the victims in the deadliest accident since France intervened in Mali in 2013 to drive back an Islamist insurgency [sic]…
[This news report by France 24 explains, “Northern Mali came under the control of al Qaeda-linked jihadists after Mali’s army failed to quash a rebellion there in 2012.” It ‘forgets’ to report that in the same year of 2012, the Western-armed and financed Mali military carried out a coup against the country’s elected president because of his policy of negotiating political autonomy with the Tuareg people in the northern, ‘Sahel’, region of the country. Right-wing paramilitary jihadists stepped into the political void caused by the coup. A French military intervention began in January 2013. 4,500 French soldiers continue to occupy the country, together with the usual list of NATO suspects, including under the cover of the UN Security Council.]
Amnesty International toes U.S. gov’t line in urging unrest in Iran, by Alan Macleod, Mint Press News, Nov 25, 2019 The U.S. gov’t has long attempted to foment popular uprisings and hijack or manipulate protests in Iran. Rights groups like Amnesty International seem to be parroting the tactic.
Large military and police presence in Colombia after two days of mass protests, Resumen LatinoAmerica, Nov 24, 2019
Related: Hundreds of thousands join national strike in Colombia in rebuke to right-wing president Iván Duque, Resumen LatinoAmerica, Nov 24, 2019 Bogota, the epicenter of Colombia’s protests, is recovering from its first imposed curfew in four decades. The measure was decreed as a response to riots following a mass strike on Thursday, November 21 against the administration of President Ivan Duque..
No peace for the government of Chile: National strike on Nov 24, general strike on Nov 25, Resumen LatinoAmerica, Nov 24, 2019
The end of the rule of law: The impeachable offenses by the Trump regime and its predecessors, by Chris Hedges, weekly column in Truthdig, Nov 25, 2019
Bolivian Congress approves law to hold new national election, Telesur, Nov 23, 2019 …The bill approved by both houses of Congress (Senate and Chamber of Deputies) must now be signed by the self-proclaimed president of Bolivia Jeanine Jañez. The next step is the formation of a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal in expectation of an election in early 2020…
* Breakthrough in Bolivia as bill for new election sails through Congress, Reuters, Nov 23, 2019 Both chambers of Bolivia’s Congress unanimously passed legislation on Nov 23 to annul the contested Oct. 20, 2019 election and pave the way for a new vote without former President Evo Morales, a major breakthrough in the country’s political crisis…
* Interview with Evo Morales, in New York Times, Nov 23, 2019
* Bolivia’s coup gov’t targets alternative media as crackdown turns increasingly violent, by Alan Macleod, Mint Press News, Nov 22, 2019
More than 800 scholars and activists sign open letter demanding U.S. end support for Bolivia’s right-wing coup regime, Common Dreams, Nov 24, 2019
* Fourteen Congressional representatives sign letter to Pompeo condemning Trump regime for its support to ‘military coup’ against Bolivia’s ‘democratically-elected’ president, Evo Morales, Common Dreams, Nov 23, 2019 From the text of the letter: …On November 10, Bolivia’s democratically elected president, Evo Morales, announced that he was stepping down after the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces called on him to resign. In a live television broadcast, Morales stated that a coup was underway and that he was resigning in order to avoid further bloodshed and unrest. Other resignations of top officials followed, resulting in a dangerous constitutional power vacuum. On November 12, opposition Senator Jeanine Añez declared herself President of Bolivia, in violation of Bolivia’s constitution. She received immediate support from the high command of the country’s armed forces…
* Bernie Sanders’ stance on Bolivia matters, by Jacob Sugarman, managing editor, Truthdig, Nov 18, 2019
How Human Rights Watch whitewashed a right-wing massacre in Bolivia, by Alan Macleod, Mint Press News, Nov 20, 2019 While some may be surprised by its response to the Bolivia crisis, Human Rights Watch’s support for a U.S.-backed right-wing coup is no aberration
Related: The hara-kiri of the ecological left in Bolivia, by Francine Mestrum, published in the English section of Alainet.org (Latin America), Nov 19, 2019
Turkish and its allied, right-wing paramilitaries launch major assault on key northern Syria town of Ayn Issa, Press TV, Nov 24, 2019 and read report by SANA news agency, Nov 23, 2019 [Ayn Issa is located app. 25 km south of the Turkey-Syria border and 45 km north of the city of Raqqa.].
* U.S. is occupying Syria oil wells, looting resources, charges Syria’s envoy to UN at meeting of Security Council, Press TV, Nov 22, 2019
* Did Turkey backstab Syrian opposition’s National Army with prisoner release?, by Khaled al-Khateb, Al-Monitor, Nov 20, 2019
OPCW report on Douma chemical incident on April 7, 2018 omitted and misrepresented key facts, leaked email by dissenting inspector shows, RT, Nov 24, 2019
Related: UN chemical weapons watchdog the OPCW accused of evidence-tampering by its own inspectors, by Jonathan Steele, published in CounterPunch, Nov 15, 2019 (Jonathan Steele is former chief foreign correspondent of The Guardian.) [The political pendulum over Syria continues to swing in the editorial offices of CounterPunch. Here is a selection of three past articles in the publication arguing that the Syrian government and military conducted a chemical weapons attack against the people of Douma (in southwest Syria) on April 7, 2018: columnist L. Proyect, April 13, 2018; author Sonali Kolhatkar, April 24, 2018; columnist Anthony DiMaggio, Feb 20, 2019.].
Previously reported: OPCW suppressed chemical weapons evidence in Douma, Syria in April 2018 after U.S. pressure, interview with Jonathan Steele, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ with host Aaron Maté, Nov 18, 2019 (20-minute interview)
Visiting Hiroshima, German foreign minister opposes removal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany, Deutsche Welle, Nov 23, 2019
The long coup in Ecuador, by Fabio Resmini, published in The Bullet (Toronto), Nov 22, 2019 (Fabio Resmini is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of British Columbia.)
Lessons from Bolivia: A view from Cuba, by Yassel A. Padrón Kunakbaeva, published in The Bullet (Toronto), Nov 21, 2019
The UK Labour Party’s economic policy, by Michael Roberts, published on his website blog, Nov 23, 2019
The economics of modern imperialism: Report from the 16th annual, Historial Materialism conference in London Nov 7-10, 2019, by Michael Roberts, published on his website blog, Nov 14, 2019 (The program of the Historial Materialism conference, Nov 7-10, 2019, 18 pages, is here.]
The OAS has deceived the public, terribly, on the Bolivian election, by Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic Policy Research (Washington DC), Nov 21, 2019
Related: What Bolivia needs from Senator Bernie Sanders, by Shamus Cooke, published in CounterPunch, Nov 22, 2019 (Shamus Cooke is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America in Portland, Oregon.)
South Korea makes last-minute reversal over ending 2016 military intelligence pact with Japan, Associated Press, Nov 22, 2019 …South Korea has also decided to halt a complaint it filed with the World Trade Organization over Japan’s tightened controls on exports of key chemicals that South Korean companies use to make computer chips and displays. Japan’s trade ministry has decided to resume discussions with South Korea on their dispute over the export controls …A senior South Korean presidential official said he expects the talks with Japanese officials to also include discussions on Tokyo’s decision to remove South Korea from a list of favored trading partners, which Seoul wants reversed…
Beijing warns Washington against provocations after two U.S. warships sail in South China Sea, Press TV, Nov 22, 2019
Why are poor Americans more patriotic than their wealthier counterparts?, by Francesco Duina, The Guardian, Nov 20, 2019 (Francesco Duina is professor of sociology at Bates College. His most recent book is Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country.)
* ‘Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger And Mourning On The American Right’, review of the book of the same title by author Arlie Russell Hochschild, review published in LSE Review of Books, Jan 14, 2019
* The great American tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota, The Guardian, Nov 14, 2019
Eight protesters killed as Bolivian police break up anti-coup protest in El Alto on Nov 19, report by Associated Press, Nov 20, 2019 and read: report in New York Times, Nov 20, 2019
Related: Canada daily voices concern over Bolivia coup backed by Canadian gov’t. Editorial in the Globe and Mail, Nov 20, 2019 …Mr. Morales is no angel, and he overstayed his welcome. But given that no one is disputing that he won the vote, the most democratic outcome would have been to allow him to take part in a new election, or in a runoff. Instead, protests and riots orchestrated by his opponents, and the loss of support of the military, forced him to resign and leave the country. In his stead is an interim government that has begun to purge Bolivia of his legacy, even though it has no democratic mandate to do so. It’s hard to see how that is not a coup. Countries backing the Anez government should withdraw their support and demand a new election immediately. [end editorial]
People’s Democratic Party delegates weighs resigning from Grand National Assembly to protest Turkish crackdown, by Ayla Jean Yackley, Al-Monitor, Nov 19, 2019 Authorities are intensifying a crackdown on Turkey’s second-biggest opposition party, sacking two dozen of its elected mayors and forcing it to consider withdrawing from parliament (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) and the municipalities it controls to potentially trigger by-elections. The purge coincides with a military operation Turkey launched in neighboring Syria last month to attack the Kurdish militia that had fought alongside U.S. troops to defeat the Islamic State. The incursion has stoked Turkish nationalist sentiment and has deepened animosity toward Kurdish political actors at home…
Impasse in Bolivia, by Forrest Hylton, published in London Review of Books Blog, Nov 20, 2019
The law is thrown out of the window in Assange’s case, Roger Waters tells RT, news story and eight-minute video interview with Roger Waters, on RT, Nov 20, 2019 Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters condemns Swedish prosecutors who yesterday dropped a rape investigation into WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, saying the whole thing was “a complete bogus set-up” from the beginning.
Businessman arrested on yacht over killing of Malta journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017, The Independent, Nov 20, 2019
A letter to intellectuals who deride revolutions in the name of purity, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Ana Maldonado, Pilar Troya Fernández and Vijay Prashad, published in MR Online, Nov 20, 2019 [This is an informative critique of the failed Western left. But it fails to name names and it fails to provide explanation for the historic failings of much of the present-day left in the Western imperialist countries. There is also little analysis of the countries and revolutionary processes which the statement aims to defend–Venezuela and Bolivia. As a result of all this, the analysis as a whole is very incomplete.]
U.S. reversal on illegal Israeli settlements draws international outrage, by Yumna Patel, Mondoweiss, Nov 18, 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on November 18 that the U.S. was softening its position on Israel’s network of settlements in the occupied Palestinain territory, saying it was revoking the notion that settlements are illegal under international law…
* UN General Assembly’s Thid Committee (human rights) votes 164 to 5 on Nov 19 for resolution affirming Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, UN News, Nov 19, 2019 [Voting against the Third Committee resolution ‘The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination’ were Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States; abstaining were Australia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Rwanda, Togo, Tonga and Vanuatu.].
* UN ‘regrets’ new U.S. position declaring legality of new Israeli settlements, UN News, Nov 19, 2019
* Canada casts rare vote against Israel at United Nations General Assembly meeting of ‘Third Committee’ on Nov 19, report by CBC News, Nov 20, 2019 …There are 16 UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that come up every year, dealing with issues such as sovereignty, refugees, East Jerusalem, human rights, settlements and holy places. All of them are passed by overwhelming majorities while being opposed by the United States and Israel, which are sometimes joined by a handful of other nations. Those other nations typically include an assortment of Pacific islands… and Canada…
* Israel moves closer to third elections after Gantz fails to form government, CNN, Nov 20, 2019 A third Israeli election within 12 months now appears more likely after former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz also failed to form a government…
One week after the coup in Bolivia, there is still no proof of electoral fraud, by Kevin Cashman, Jacobin, Nov 17, 2019 (Kevin Cashman is a senior associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC.) …At every critical junction since the election, various organs of the OAS have played an enormous role in driving the crisis that led to Morales’s ouster. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro validated the coup by refusing to characterize it as such and even suggested that Morales’s supposed fraud in the October 20 election–still unproven–was the real coup…
Related news and analysis:
* A coup in Bolivia, yet again, by Thomas Field, Jacobin, Nov 18, 2019
* Anti-Indigenous violence escalates in Bolivia as mass protests denounce the coup of Nov 10-11, 2019, interview with Kathryn Ledebur, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, broadcast on Democracy Now!, Nov 18, 2019 (12-minute interview, with transcript, on the Nov 10 massacre of anti-coup protesters by Bolivian police in the city of Sacaba)
Syrian govt. forces seize back major hydroelectric power plant east of Aleppo, Press TV, Nov 18, 2019 [The Tishrin hydroelectric dam has a generating capacity of approximately 630 megawatts. In July 2018, the Syrian government retook control of the Tabqa Dam (aka al-Thawra Dam) according to an agreement with the SDF Kurdish defense forces. Tabqa Dam is Syria’s largest, with a capacity of 824 MW (dams in Syria: Wikipedia). ]
Erdogan’s ethnic cleansing of Kurds in northern Syria is still happening and we have Trump to thank, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, Nov 17, 2019
Evo’s Bolivia is not over, by Sean Orr, published in Fightback News! (U.S.), Nov 14, 2019 also appearing in Orinico Tribune, Nov 17, 2019 Events have not gone well for the coalition of generals and reactionaries that overthrew Evo Morales on November 10. Far from consolidating their control over the government and the country, the right-wing forces now stand on the back foot, facing the full force of an organized and enraged mass movement ready to defend their constitution and their elected government…
United Nations and Inter-American Human Rights Commission condemn the killings and jailings of anti-coup protesters in Bolivia, report on Telesur, Nov 17, 2019 The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has condemned the “disproportionate use” of police-military force in the repression that took place on November 15 in the district of Cochabamba where eight coca growers died and dozens were injured…
* Interim leader of Bolivia meets UN envoy as violence by police and army escalates. Report by Associated Press, Nov 17, 2019 [This widely-cited news report by AP says the number of people killed in Bolivia so far by police and army repression following the coup on Nov 10, 2019 is 23, including eight near the city of Sacaba in Cochabamba district on November 15. Other news reports say hundreds of anti-coup protesters have been jailed.].
* Bolivia’s de facto gov’t grants impunity to police, armed forces, Telesur, Nov 16, 2019
* Bolivia’s coup government threatens to arrest leftist lawmakers and journalists, Common Dreams, Nov 18, 2019
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov answers a question on Bolivia from Prensa Latina news agency, published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Nov 14, 2019 Full text:
Question: Will Russia recognise Jeanine Anez, the Bolivian Senate’s second vice-president, as Bolivia’s interim president?
Sergey Ryabkov: We have taken note of the report that the Senate’s second vice-president assumed the post of Bolivia’s interim president. We presume that the appointment, and the main thing – the legitimacy of the head of state must clearly correspond to the legislative norms of the country’s Constitution, to serve to unite rather than divide the nation.
The issue of electing leaders is the internal and sovereign matter of the country and its people. We are concerned that recent developments were reminiscent of a coup. The Senate could not gather a quorum to elect Ms Anez president. Correspondingly, her decision to lead the country is based on an interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, if we proceed from the current situation in Bolivia, it is clear that Ms Anez will be accepted as Bolivia’s leader until the issue of a new president is resolved through an election. Our recognition or non-recognition of her in this position is not an issue.
Bolivia needs a calm, inclusive and peaceful dialogue now. It is important to resume the functioning of state institutions within the constitutional framework. We hope that all members of the international community will show a responsible approach both in Latin America and outside it.
Russia is interested in a politically and economically stable Latin America, including Bolivia with which we have close relations of friendship and mutually advantageous cooperation.
Ocasio-Cortez insists the Democratic Party is not headed too far left, is merely reaching back to New Deal policies, report by Common Dreams, Nov 17, 2019 ‘I want to be the party of the New Deal again. The party of the Civil Rights Act, the one that electrified this nation and fights for all people. For that, many would call us radical.’
Progressives are concerned over Elizabeth Warren’s two-stage ‘medicare for all’ strategy, Common Dreams, Nov 17, 2019
Related: Elizabeth Warren’s new health care plan would doom the fight for medicare for all, by Carl Beijer, Jacobin, Nov 16, 2019
The U.S. military is poisoning Okinawa, by Pat Elder, published in Truthout on Nov 17, 2019, originally published: on World Beyond War, Nov 12, 2019 (Pat Elder is an investigative journalist with Civilian Exposure, an organization based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina that tracks how the U.S.military poisons people around the world.)
Western media whitewash the far-right coup in Bolivia, by Lucas Koerner and Ricardo Vaz, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Nov 15, 2019
* The Guardian daily discusses its pro-coup stance with article headlined ‘Is it a coup or a return to democracy?’ Report by two Guardian journalists, The Guardian, Nov 17, 2019 …After weeks of escalating demonstrations over contested election results which saw police mutiny, trade union allies desert him and then the military call for his departure, President Evo Morales submitted his resignation and fled the country… The electoral fraud threw Morales’s claim of a first-round win into doubt, and as protests mounted he eventually agreed to call fresh elections. But it was too little too late. Within days, he had fled the country and what began as a popular rebellion to protect democracy [sic] is being denounced in Bolivia and abroad as a coup…
* New York Times calls the anti-Indigenous racism that underlies the coup in Bolivia a case of ‘ethnic rifts bursting into view’. Report in New York Times titled ‘Ethnic rifts in Bolivia burst into view’, Nov 16, 2019
Mass, anti-coup protests explode across Bolivia, Common Dreams, Nov 15, 2019
* Bolivian security forces open fire on Indigenous protesters in city of Sacaba, Cochabamba district, killing at least five, Common Dreams, Nov 15, 2019
* Five dead in Bolivia after security forces open fire on supporters of former president, Press Association (Ireland), Nov 15, 2019 [Notwithstanding its accurate headline, this news report uses the universal language of Western media, including The Guardian, in covering up the increasingly violent coup in Bolivia on November 10. Here is the Western media text being used, including in the above report: …”Morales stepped down on Sunday [November 10] following nationwide protests over suspected vote-rigging in an 20 October election in which he claimed to have won a fourth term in office. An Organisation of American States audit of the vote found widespread irregularities. Morales has denied there was fraud…”] * Coup against Evo Morales moves towards consolidation, report by Marco Teruggi in La Paz, translated and published by Resumen, Nov 14, 2019
* Bolivia’s new leader instructs doctors and diplomats to leave country, Reuters, Nov 16, 2019
* Boliva’s interim government to ask Venezuelan diplomats to leave the country, Reuters, Nov 15, 2019
* The great lithium problem of climate change mitigation, by Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, Nov 16, 2019 The crisis in Bolivia has an urgent message for environmental policy in the United States … Meanwhile, demand for lithium is set to explode. Building a green energy grid, expanding renewables and electrifying everything from cars to cooktops requires more lithium and other so-called technology metals that are central to clean energy. The Institute for Sustainable Futures, for instance, projects that a world run fully on renewables by 2050 would demand 280 per cent of the planet’s lithium reserves—those which are economically viable to extract—and 85 per cent of the planet’s total lithium resources…
* Bolivia president’s initial indigenous-free cabinet heightens polarization, The Guardian, Nov 14, 2019
Statement by the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of Bolivia, Nov 12, 2019 [The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) is the party led by Evo Morales and is the majority party of the legislature and senate of Bolivia. Evo Morales was elected for a fourth term as president of Bolivia on October 20, 2019. He called for a new election three weeks later on November 10 but resigned soon after and accepted asylum in Mexico. This was part of a now-ongoing effort to defend the Bolivian people from an uprising of extreme, right-wing violence unleashed upon the country by a political opposition doing the bidding of U.S. imperialism and its imperialist allies in Canada and Europe.]
Police attack mass protest in Bolivia’s capital city La Paz against the Western-backed coup of Nov 10 against President Evo Morales and his gov’t, story and video broadcast on RT, Nov 13, 2019
Related: Protests swell in Bolivia as new interim leader challenged, Associated Press, Nov 13, 2019 [In this pro-coup news article, Associated Press says the opposition political leader and second-vice president of the Senate, Jeanine Anez, has been “thrust into the post” of interim president of Bolivia “because of a power vacuum”. This is the polite, ‘what coup in Bolivia?’ language being employed by the near-totality of Western media.]
Interview with Bolivian feminist, Indigenous Aymara and anti-colonial fighter Adriana Guzman, translated and published in Truthout.org, Nov 12, 2019
Top Bolivian coup plotters were trained by U.S. military’s School of the Americas, by Jeb Sprague, published in The Grayzone, Nov 13, 2019
What the coup against Evo Morales means to indigenous people like me, commentary by Nick Estes, in The Guardian, Nov 14, 2019 [The Guardian is playing a two-faced role in reporting the events in Bolivia. It permits the publication of the very insightful commentary above, but it is a strident voice in favour of the overthrow of the president and government of Venezuela. A different commentary on Bolivia published by The Guardian on November 13 argues “…The Bolivian conflict is not black and white. What we need at this moment is not a simplistic condemnation or uncritical defense of Morales and the MAS…” A news article on November 13 refers to the coup as a “resignation of Evo Morales” and writes further that Morales “resigned under pressure from police and the army after a fiercely disputed election”.]
Ukrainegate impeachment saga worsens U.S.-Russia Cold War, interview with Professor Stephen Cohen, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ with host Aaron Maté, Nov 13, 2019 (Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, a contributing editor at The Nation, and author of War with Russia: From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate. Aaron Maté is the host of the ‘Pushback’ interview program on The Grayzone. and a contributor to The Nation magazine.)
[In this interview exchange, Aaron Maté and Stephen Cohen share the naive belief that Donald Trump wishes to see ‘peace’ in Ukraine and better relations with Russia but he is blocked in doing so by the (undoubted) warmakers in the Democratic Party and U.S. state apparatus. In this scenario, the two-party, warmaking regime which governs in Washington becomes a thing of the past.
[In the interview, Stephen Cohen makes a passing reference to an unexplained ‘Minsk process’. This is the foundational ‘Minsk 2’ peace and ceasefire agreement signed in February 2015 following Ukraine’s military defeat by the pro-autonomy forces in Donbass (regions of Donetsk and Lugansk lying between Ukraine and Russia). Minsk 2 was endorsed by no less that the UN Security Council but has been violated by Ukraine from the beginning with NATO (including Trump regime) encouragement.
[Discussing the 2014 coup in Ukraine, Stephen Cohen is asked by Maté whether Russia can ever be expected to “give back” Crimea to Ukraine. Nowhere in this exchange is it mentioned that the Crimean people voted overwhelmingly on March 16, 2014 to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The impetus for the referendum vote was the coup in Ukraine three weeks earlier which installed an extreme-right, ultranationalist governing regime in Kyiv, fully backed by NATO and the West.]
Fears of civil war in Bolivia as U.S. welcomes power grab, Press TV, Nov 13, 2019
* The Bolivian economy has been the fastest-growing in South America while following heterodox policies, press release by the Cener for Economic Policy Research (Washington), Oct 17, 2019 A new research report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) analyzes Bolivia’s economic changes since 2006 in the context of the Bolivian government’s main policy decisions. It finds that policy choices, not merely a “commodities boom”, have been the driving force in Bolivia’s surge to be the fastest-growing economy in South America over the past five years. Strong economic growth has allowed Bolivia to reduce poverty by 42 per cent and extreme poverty by 60 pe rcent since President Evo Morales took office in 2006…
* Socialism doesn’t work? An emerging middle class of Bolivians would beg to differ, by Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, Oct 17, 2019 [This is a very favorable report on Bolivia’s social and political transformation since the first election of Evo Morales as president in December 2005. But it fails to mention the world-leading role of Morales and the Bolivian government in condemning the global warming emergency and the central responsibility of the growth imperative of the capitalist system in causing the emergency.] Watch: Bolivia President Evo Morales Ayma’s full speech to the UN General Assembly, Sep 24, 2019
The coup in Bolivia is led by Christian fascist paramilitary leader and millionaire, with foreign support, by Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone, Nov 12. 2019
Bolivia’s coup threatens the struggle for social liberation and economic justice, by Olivia Arigho-Stiles, published in Novara Media, Nov 12, 2019
For corporate media, the coup in Bolivia is not a coup because the U.S. gov’t wanted it to happen, analysis by Alan MacLeod, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR.org), Nov 11, 2019
No evidence that Bolivian election results were affected by irregularities or fraud, statistical analysis shows, press release by Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Nov 8, 2019 Examination finds tally sheets consistent with evo morales’s first-round victory and read: What happened in Bolivia’s 2019 vote count?, 13-page report by Center for Economic Policy Research, Nov 8, 2019
In setback for Trump, Louisiana re-elects Democratic governor in Nov 16 vote, Al Jazeera, Nov 17, 2019 [The Democratic Party victor is a conservative, anti-abortion zealot who has supported the policies of the Trump regime.].
Related: How voters turned the state house of Virginia from Republican to Democrat in Nov 5 election, New York Times, Nov 9, 2019 [Results of Virginia’s election to the House of Delegates and Senate on November 5, 2019 are here in Wikipedia]
Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders draw largest Iowa crowd of democratic primary so far with call for ‘solidarity’ over unity, Common Dreams, Nov 9, 2019
* Bernie Sanders joined by Naomi Klein and Sunrise Movement at Climate Crisis Summit in Iowa, Common Dreams, Nov 9, 2019 (includes weblink to YouTube broadcast, three hours long, of Climate Crisis Summit in Iowa on Nov 9, 2019)
* Fighting antisemitism is at the heart of the left’s struggle against oppression, commentary by Senator Bernie Sanders, in The Guardian, Nov 12, 2019 …In 1963, I lived on a kibbutz near Haifa. It was there that I saw and experienced for myself many of the progressive values upon which Israel was founded. I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution…
Trump regime detained record-breaking 70,000 children in 2019, Common Dreams, Nov 13, 2019 The U.S. held a record 69,550 migrant children in detention facilities in 2019, a November 12 report from The Associated Press and PBS Frontline found, leading to major psychological and physiscal harm and lasting trauma. “No other country held as many immigrant children in detention over the past year as the United States—69,550,” said AP tech reporter Frank Bajak in a tweet promoting his colleagues’ work…
Related: AFP and Reuters scrub news stories about 100,000 detained migrant children after UN says it happened on Obama’s watch, RT, Nov 20, 2019
As a U.S. military veteran, I refuse to celebrate war on November 11, commentary by Rory Fanning, commentary in Truthout.org, Nov 11, 2019
More deaths, fewer joint replacements, huge costs: The superbug crisis is already here, report warns, by Sharon Kirkey, columnist, National Post, Nov 12, 2019 …A new report is raising the stark possibility of Canada returning to an almost pre-antibiotic era — the prospect of a future where antibiotics against common infections no longer work. “There have been few health crises on this scale in Canadian history,” warns the Council of Canadian Academies expert panel report, ‘When Antibiotics Fail’… and read: Drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050, report predicts, by Laura Kane, Canadian Press, Nov 12, 2019 Problem already costs the national health-care system $1.4B per year
Report: ‘When Antibiotics Fail’: Report of The Expert Panel on the Potential Socio-Economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada, issued on Nov 12, 2019 (268-page report) [The report understates the effects of the use of anti-microbial medications on animals raised for slaughter and consumption, even though the report acknowledges “the [agricultural] industry accounted for about 78% of antimicrobial use in Canada in 2016…”]
Spain’s far right ‘Vox’ party doubles seats in election resulting in hung parliament, Reuters, Nov 10, 2019 The Socialist Party of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez finished first but with fewer seats than in the previous ballot in April and further away from a majority. Sanchez gambled that a repeat parliamentary election after the April 2019 vote would strengthen his hand. Full election results here on Wikipedia
Related: Spain’s Socialists and Podemos reach preliminary coalition deal, Deutsche Welle, Nov 12, 2019
Tens of thousands of far-right and fascist shock troops march in Warsaw, Poland on November 11, RT, Nov 12, 2019 and read: report in Reuters, Nov 11, 2019
Related: 15,000 protest small, neo-Nazi rally that officials permitted in western German city of Bielefeld, Deutsche Welle, Nov 9, 2019 The far-right rallu took place on teh 81st anniversary of ‘Kristallnacht’ (Night of Broken Glass) when Nazi Germany unleashed its anti-Jewish pogrom.
Western media conceal Chile’s state criminality, delegitimize Bolivia’s democracy, by Lucas Koerner, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR.org), Nov 5, 2019
Chilean court to investigate President Sebastian Piñera for crimes against humanity, Telesur, Nov 7, 2019
Colombia defense minister resigns amid pressure over extrajudicial killings, Reuters, nov 6, 2019
Brazil’s top court ruling releases former president da Sylva from near two-year imprisonment while his persecution conviction is under appeal, Telesur, Nov 8, 2019
Turkey faces uphill battle to improve image after Syria operation, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Nov 8, 2019
Related: Turkish government fears compensation claims for Armenian genocide, by Orhan Kemal Cengiz, Al-Monitor, Nov 8, 2019
Is the PKK worried by the YPG’s growing popularity?, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Nov 7, 2019
Ankara faces hostility in north Syria as Turkish-Russian patrols continue, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Nov 5, 2019
* Turkey intensifies military attacks against Kurds in northern Iraq, Kurdistan 24, Nov 8, 2019
* 400,000 people were displaced from southeast Turkey due to Turkey’s military operations against Kurdish forces and local and regional elected governments, Turkish Minute, Nov 8, 2019
* Syrian Kurds OK U.S.-led oil mission, by Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor, Nov 6, 2019
Labour Party candidate in UK election is pressured to resign after expressing view sympathetic to Palestinians, The Independent, Nov 7, 2019
Trump approves expanded U.S. military mission in Syria to seize the country’s oil fields, report by Associated Press, Nov 5, 2019
Related: U.S. building new military bases, sending additional soldiers and military equipment, to oil-rich areas in Syria, Anadolou news agency (Turkey), Nov 5, 2019
‘The disappeared’: Searching for 40,000 missing victims of Mexico’s drug wars, report in The Guardian, Nov 6, 2019
Related: Mexico now has a backlog of more than 30,000 unidentified corpses as murder rate soars, News Corp Australia, Nov 6, 2019 The Mormon family massacre on November 4 has shined a spotlight on the Mexican murder crisis as thousands of bodies pile up in trucks and morgues.
Russia’s president hosts his Cuban counterpart for talks on expanding ties, Associated Press, Oct 29, 2019 … Vladimir Putin told Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel that Russia has always remained supportive of Cuba. “It’s not easy to solve economic and social issues in the conditions that Cuba finds itself in, but you have done it successfully,” he said. “We are glad to see the strengthening of the Cuban state.” …Russian-Cuban trade has more than doubled since 2013, to an expected $500 million this year, mostly in Russian exports to Cuba. Over the past year Russia has sent Cuba 1,000 minibuses, 50 locomotives, tens of thousands of tourists and a promise to upgrade the island’s power grid with a multimillion-dollar improvement plan…
Related: Venezuela and Russia come to aid of ally Cuba with oil shipments, but Cuba’s energy woes persist, Reuters, Oct 4, 2019
[The right-wing socialists in the West (anarchists, Trotskyists, social democrats) who villify the Russian government and fail to defend the Russian people against imperialism’s threats are simultaneously stabbing the people of Cuba and Venezuela in the back. For the Cuban and Venezuelan people, economic ties with Russia, China and other countries are increasingly a matter of life and death.]
How Trump reshaped the presidency in over 11,000 tweets, feature interactive article in New York Times, Nov. 2, 2019 …For Mr. Trump, Twitter is often the beginning of how policy is made. “Suddenly there’s a tweet, and everything gets upended and you spent the week trying to defend something else,” said Representative Peter King, Republican, of New York. “This person thrives on chaos. What we may find disconcerting or upsetting or whatever, it is actually what keeps him going.” …
54 soldiers killed in suicide attack in northern Mali, Al Jazeera, Nov 2, 2019 [Present-day Mali is the victim of a military coup in 2012 followed by military intervention and occupation by French less than one year later. And where imperialist military intervention goes, murder and mayhem follow. The pro-Western military coup was spurred by disatisfaction in the Mali military with the efforts of the Mali government of the day to negotiate political autonomy with the Tuareg national minority in the north of the country. The Tuareg are part of the Berber group and number some two million in the Sahel region of Africa. The story of their tribal and national aspirations is firmly censored by Western media. Instead, the surge of right-wing jihadism that predictably and inevitably followed France’s military occupation of Mali in 2013 is presented as the only story of Mali worthy of attention. To read more on Mali, go to the ‘Mali’ category page on A Socialist In Canada website]
‘Phase One’ report on Grenfell Tower disaster shifts blame onto firefighters, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Nov 1, 2019