The following website page archive contains world news headlines for the months of July, August and September 2018. To find subjects on this and other news pages on this website (current pages as well as archived pages), use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. For months preceding July-to-September 2018, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu.
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, Sept 2018 (find headlines for July and August 2018 further below)
UK to retain military presence in Germany after Brexit, German foreign minister welcomes planned increase of U.S. troop presence, Deutsche Welle, Sept 30, 2018 See also: Britain’s ‘backyard’? UK wants to deploy 800 troops to defend ‘interests’ in the Arctic, RT, Sept 30, 2018
* Norway to invite more U.S. Marines, for longer and stationed closer to Russia, Reuters, June 12, 2018 … Some 330 U.S. Marines were scheduled to leave Norway at the end of this year after an initial contingent arrived in January 2017 to train for fighting in winter conditions. They are the first foreign troops to be stationed in Norway, a member of NATO, since World War Two.
* U.S. doubles the number of marines stationed in Norway, report published in The Local, Aug 15, 2018 … The Norwegian Defence Ministry said today that the U.S. had recently informed it of plans to increase the number of U.S. marines stationed in Norway from 300 “up to 700”… The marines are the first foreign troops stationed in Norway since World War Two. The original 300 were expected to leave Norway by the end of 2018 but the (larger) posting will now last for up to five years…
Son of a U.S. Marine wins Okinawa election on promise to oppose military base, by Motoko Rich, New York Times, Sept 30, 2018 Denny Tamaki, the son of a Japanese mother and a United States Marine, became the first mixed-race governor in Japan on Sunday after winning a close election in Okinawa, a southern archipelago heavily populated by American military installations. His victory poses a setback to plans by the Japanese government and the United States to transfer a busy Marine air base on Okinawa from the city of Ginowan to a less populated coastal area on the island…
Related: Election of Tamaki in Okinawa ensures feud over Futenma U.S. military base will continue, by Eric Johnston, Japan Times, Sept 30, 2018
Friends, after all: Canada reaches agreement with U.S. to join Mexico in modest revising of North American Free Trade Agreement, report by Tom Blackwell, in Financial Post, Sept 30, 2018
[Mexico and the U.S. agreed in August 2018 to a revamped NAFTA. That triggered weeks of hectic, secretive bargaining between the U.S. and Canada to bring Canada into the agreement. U.S. officials threatened to ‘go it alone’ with Mexico if Canada did not make concessions. The U.S. insisted on an October 1 deadline because that would allow Mexico’s outgoing president to sign the deal and get it ratified before he leaves office on November 30. The October 1 date would also satisfy American law which requires the text of any new trade agreement to be released 60 days before it is signed and approved. A handshake between the U.S. and Canada by October 1 would suffice. Trump is hailing the last-minute deal a great triumph for his ‘U.S. first’ mantra, but it amounts to tinkering. Assessments of the Canada-U.S. deal are here: CBC News, Canadian Press, Council of Canadians, and Reuters. The real upheavals in U.S.-Canada come from tariffs such as those imposed earlier this year by the U.S. on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, and other such measures disrupting historic investment and trade patterns.
[The UNIFOR union in Canada is hailing the revised NAFTA agreement. It is Canada’s largest industrial union. It supports any and all industrial/lifestyle production that nets dues dollars from industrial workers–be it producing arms for sale to Saudi Arabia or climate-wrecking automobile and passenger aircraft. UNIFOR national president Jerry Dias has very kind words for Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland (“Chrystia”) in an interview on CBC hailing the agreement.]
* With its new trade deal, Canada surrenders sovereignty to a bully, commentary by conservative CBC journalist/commentator, CBC News, Oct 1, 2018
* Revised U.S./Canada/Mexico trade deal does no harm and breaks no ground, by Kevin Carmichael, National Post, Oct 1, 2018
* ‘It’s a win-win for the Americans’: Questions over compensation arise after dairy farmers take hit, by Jesse Snyder, National Post, Oct 1, 2018
* Trump’s ‘historic’ trade deal with Canada and Mexico: How different is it from NAFTA? by Shawn Donnan, Andrew Mayeda, Jenny Leonard and Jeremy C.F. Lin, Bloomberg News, Oct 2, 2018
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address to UN General Assembly on Sept 28, broadcast on UN TV, Sept 28, 2018 (15 minutes, with English-language voiceover)
* Transcript of Sergey Lavrov’s address to UN General Assembly on Sept 28, 2018, English-language transcript published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
* Press conference by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, broadcast on UN TV, Sept 28, 2018 (70 minutes, in English or with English voiceover)
Syrian Foreign Minister calls for withdrawal of U.S., French and Turkish forces from their ‘occupations’ of Syrian territory, report by Associated Press, Sept 29, 2018
* Address to UN General Assembly on Sept 29 by Syrian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Walid Al-Moualem, broadcast by UN TV, Sept 29, 2018 (30 minutes, with English voiceover)
* Pro-Turkey rebels start pullout from Syria’s Idlib under deal, Deutsche Welle, Sept 30, 2018
German, Turkish presidents exchange barbs during state dinner in Berlin on Sept 28 , Deutsche Welle, Sept 28, 2018
* Merkel and Erdogan clash in Berlin over Turkish reporter and political exile Can Dundar, by Patrick Donahue and Taylan Bilgic, Bloomberg News, Sept 28, 2018
* Turkey, Germany try to turn new page in name of mutual interests, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Sept 26, 2018
* Erdogan warms to Germans ahead of trip, but Berlin visit may disappoint, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Sept 25, 2018 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to fly to Berlin on Sept. 27 on his first formal state visit to the German capital, where he will be received with full honors by his German counterpart Frank Walter Steinmeier…
Colombia’s peace crumbles as social leaders killed with impunity, by Valerie Carmel, Telesur, Sept 25, 2018 Two years after Colombia signed the final peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) the war against Afro-Colombian, Indigenous, and Campesino communities, who are being targeted, threatened and murdered, continues…
Back to normality for the U.S. economy?, by Michael Roberts to ‘Momentum’ conference, published on his website, Sept 25, 2018
At party conference, British Labour Party activists discuss bank nationalizations or lesser measures, presentation by Michael Roberts to ‘Momentum’ conference, published on his website, Sept 25, 2018
After Russia-Turkey de-escalation agreement over Idlib, Turkey sets sight on Kurdish-held areas in Syria, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Sept 26, 2018 Following a compromise with Russia in Idlib, Turkey has again raised the specter of a military intervention in Kurdish-held zones, hoping to extract new gains from the complex situation in northern Syria.
* Manbij government denies Turkish patrol as Ankara pushes for access, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Sept 27, 2018 … Turkey continues to push for access to the city and may be finding a more receptive audience among the Donald Trump administration’s new Syria team led by high-flying former ambassador to Turkey Jim Jeffrey, who has Erdogan’s ear…
* In state visit to Germany, Turkey’s President Erdogan and Chancellor Merkel vow to rebuild ties despite rifts, Agence France presse, Sept 28, 2018
Anti-Russia, anti-China screed published by Australian ‘Green Left Weekly’, commentary by Kim Leevers, in Green Left Weekly, Sept 25, 2018 ‘Australia has had its eye off the ball in the South Pacific for many years‘ The USA has many friends and many foes, as does the Russian Federation. The perceptions about these nuclear armed powers is mainly determined by their leaders: President Trump, supposedly the leader of the ‘free world’, and President Putin, the autocratic former KGB operative strong man who rules with an iron fist. Their recent Helsinki summit does little to reassure people, friends or enemies, of whom of these two to believe or trust…
Palestinians were right to reject partition in 1947, by Fathi Nemer, Mondoweiss, Sept 24, 2018 (Fathi Nemer is a teaching fellow at the Democracy and Human Rights program at Birzeit University, located in the West Bank of historic Palestine.) The Trump presidency has been very good for Israel. Settlement construction is booming, the annexation of occupied East Jerusalem has been legitimized, and even attempting to discuss Israel’s obligations under international law is met with extreme hostility…
Israel’s new Jewish Nation State law is a reaction to Palestinian demands for equality says author Ben White, by Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss, Sept 24, 2018 (Ben White’s latest book is Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel, published in 2018 by Pluto Press.)
How an American anthropologist tied to U.S. regime-change proxies became the mainstream media’s man in Nicaragua, by Max Blumenthal, Mint Press News, Sept 26, 2018 The Guardian, The Washington Post, the BBC and NPR have assigned an American anthropologist with no previous journalistic experience to cover the crisis in Nicaragua. The novice reporter, named Carl David Goette-Luciak, has published pieces littered with falsehoods that reinforce the opposition’s narrative promoting regime change while relying almost entirely on anti-Sandinista sources. An investigation for MintPress reveals that Goette-Luciak has forged intimate ties to the opposition, and has essentially functioned as its publicist under journalistic cover…
Related: Complicating the narrative on Nicaragua, by James Phillips, published by NACLA, Sept 24, 2018 Many reports on the situation in Nicaragua have failed to capture the complexity of the crisis
Historic UN meeting on tuberculosis commits to eradicating the disease, by David Branigan, published on Intellectual Property Watch, Sept 27, 2018 and World leaders reaffirm commitment to end tuberculosis by 2030, as General Assembly adopts declaration outlining actions for increased financing, treatment access, press release by UN News Service, Sept 26, 2018
* ‘A curse from the gods’: India’s tuberculosis crisis, by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism (Britain), Sept 25, 2018
* The moral and economic case for action to end tuberculosis, by Bjorn Lomborg and Aaron Motsoaledi, op-ed commentary in The Globe and Mail, Sept 24, 2018 (Bjorn Lomborg is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Aaron Motsoaledi is South Africa’s Minister of Health and chairman of the Stop TB Partnership Board.)
The world laughed at Donald Trump, but his speech to the UN General Assembly on Sept 25 is a serious threat to world order and peace, by Vijay Prashad, Salon.com, Sept 27, 2018 (view Trump’s speech, copy of which broadcast by the BBC)
* At UN Security Council meeting, Trump treats the rest of world as U.S. footstool, RT, Sept 27, 2018
* In speech to UN General Assembly, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro rejects U.S. interventionism, Telesur, Sept 27, 2018
* Nicholas Maduro in New York: Harlem stands with Venezuela as U.S. allies appeal to Int’l Criminal Court, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Sept 27, 2018 Venezuela received the backing of a number of governments attending the UN General Assembly who denounced the latest round of sanctions from the Trump administration.
* Canada joins multilateral move to take Venezuelan government to International Criminal Court, CBC News, Sept 25, 2018 [This is the first time that Canada has made a reference to the ICC since joining the body 20 years ago. Joining Canada’s hostile action are the governments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, members of the so-called ‘Lima Group’ of countries (Wikipedia) formed to isolate and threaten Venezuela. CBC does not report that the large majority of countries in Latin America are not joining Canada’s hostile action at the ICC. On October 4, 2017, Canada’s political parties in Parliament unanimously voted in favour of a ‘Magnitsky Act’ which targets leaders of Russia and Venezuela with economic and political sanctions.] * Bolstered by ‘unwavering’ U.S. support, Netanyahu thunders from the UN General Assembly dais, RT, Sept 27, 2018
Being Julian Assange, feature article by Suzie Dawson, Consortium News, Sept 25, 2018 (Suzie Dawson is a journalist, activist and current president of the Internet Party of New Zealand.) As Julian Assange’s fate may soon be resolved, here’s an in-depth look at the history of WikiLeaks, the infiltration of activist communities and the strength and vulnerability of the world-changing publisher whose freedom is at stake.
* WikiLeaks names new editor-in-chief as Julian Assange sits in Ecuadorian Embassy, Deutsche Welle, Sept 26, 2018 Julian Assange has named Kristinn Hrafnsson as WikiLeaks’ new editor-in-chief. Assange remains in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where for the last six months he has only been able to communicate with his lawyers.
* Extraordinary and deliberate lies from the Guardian concerning Julian Assange, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 23, 2018 I am just back from a family funeral – one of a succession – and a combination of circumstances had left me feeling pretty down lately, and not blogging much. But I have to drag myself to the keyboard to denounce a quite extraordinary set of deliberate lies published in the Guardian about a Russian plot to spring Julian Assange last December…
The real reasons behind Washington’s war on UNRWA, by Ramzy Baroud, published in his weekly column in Jordan Times, Sept 25, 2018
Comparing crises: 1929 with 2008 and the next, by Jack Rasmus, published on his blog, Sept 24, 2018 (Jack Rasmus is a professor of econoimcs at St. Marty’s College in California. He has published a number of books on U.S. political economy.)
Related: Trump at the UN: Lies, damn lies, and statistics, by Jack Rasmus, published on his blog, Sept 24, 2018
Emotional, ‘heroic’ and with factual gaps: Highlights from Kavanaugh’s accuser’s testimony, RT, Sept 27, 2018
Related: The elite legal world’s ‘conspiracy of silence’, by John F. Muller, Politico, Sept 27, 2018 (John F. Muller writes and studies philosophy in Wisconsin. He was formerly a lecturer at Harvard Law School and an attorney in Los Angeles.) What do the Kavanaugh hearings reveal about many of our top law schools, professors, judges and former clerks? A self-interested blindness, where every incentive works in favor of those with the most power. [This headline/weblink is drawn from the many headline/weblinks about this subject on the daily ‘Newsvandal’ e-bulletin of Sept 27, 2018. Find out more about Newsvandal here.]
Top five targets in Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to Labour Party conference, report on RT, Sept 26, 2018 (60-minute speech) [In his speech to his party’s conference, Jeremy Corbyn endorsed the long-failed ‘two-state’ proposal to recognize national rights for the Palestinian people, and he said Russia is guilty of “reckless attacks” which poisoned Sergei and Julia Skripal in Salisbury, England on March 4, 2018 (“… the evidence painstakingly assembled by the police now points clearly to the Russian state”, at 44-minute mark of Corbyn’s speech). RT does not report Corbyn’s call in his speech to hire 10,000 more police to patrol British towns and cities.]
Related news and analysis:
* Labour will vote against PM May’s Chequers Brexit plan, says Corbyn, by Elizabeth Piper, Kylie MacLellan, Reuters, Sept 26, 2018
* UK Labour leader aims to shift focus from Brexit to economy, by Jill Lawless, Associated Press, Sept 26, 2018
* Labour Conference 2018: Some good policies but will Corbyn’s compromises cost the party dear?, by Neil Clark, columnist, RT, Sept 26, 2018
* Video of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the British Labour Party conference on Sept 26, 2018, posted by the Labour Party. [View also the 19-minute speech by Labour Party Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry. The speech is a mix of language opposing racism and fascism, including the “racism” of Israeli policy towards the Palestinian people. Her references to “fascism” were drawn from events in Spain 80 years ago, not from the current support of the British military to the extreme-right government in Ukraine.] * Labour Party conference votes for policy banning arms sales to Israel and condemning U.S. cut of humanitarian aid to Palestinians, report in Middle East Eye, Sept 26, 2018 … The debate was the first time in living memory that Palestine has been discussed at the party’s conference, where delegates from local parties voted to put the issue on the agenda on Sunday… It comes as almost 300 Israeli citizens including artists, academics and members of the Knesset have signed a letter [text here] in support of Corbyn and the Labour Party, rejecting the claims of ‘anti-Semitism’ directed against him…
* Pro-Israeli terror threat at Labour conference covered up by mainstream media, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 26, 2018 A fringe venue at the Labour conference was evacuated last night after the screening of a film about my friend Jackie Walker was cancelled by a terrorist bomb threat. Jackie, a black Jewish prominent critic of Israel, is currently among those suspended from the Labour Party over accusations of anti-semitism which are, in her case, nonsense…
Background on Palestine and the Labour Party:
* Jeremy Corbyn may long regret capitulation on anti-Semitism definition guidelines, by Daniel Lazare, special to Consortium News, Sept 15, 2018 The British Labour Party’s decision to adopt the contested anti-Semitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is a victory for the Israel lobby and for forces on both sides of the Atlantic seeking to stifle criticism of Mideast policy.
* British Labour Party adopts in full the anti-Semitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Al Jazeera, Sept 4, 2018
* What brought down Joan Ryan, Labour MP and chairperson of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’, The Canary, Sept 7, 2018
* Local party votes to oust Labour MP Joan Ryan who faked anti-Semitism charge against Corbyn, by Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Intifada, Sept 6, 2018
* BBC interview with John McDonnell shows why Corbyn’s ‘racist Israel’ clause is so desperately needed, The Canary, Sept 7, 2018
* U.S. academics condemn British Labour Party’s adoption of ‘antisemitism definition’ of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, statement by The United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (no date provided in statement, Google listing says Sept 8, 2018) … As many critics have observed, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism is itself racist in that it falsely equates antisemitism with anti-Zionism. That both major political parties in the U.K. have now adopted this definition in full is a sad and ironic reflection on a government that has historically been the major enabler of the dismemberment of Palestine and the continued dispossession of the Palestinian people…
Venezuela’s President Maduro and Foreign Minister Arreaza reject Trump’s attacks at UN General Assembly gathering, Telesur, Sept 25, 2018 [The Trump regime has levied new sanctions against Venezuelan leaders and encouraged a military coup.]
* Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro grants citizenship to all migrants in the country, Telesur, Sept 26, 2018 Maduro’s announcement came in a speech in which he rejected Trump’s comments against the Venezuelan government and in support of a military coup.
* Trump tells reporters at UN that Venezuela’s socialist president could easily be toppled by the country’s military, by Scott Smith, The Military Times, Sept 25, 2018
Europe finally has an excuse to challenge the dollar, by Leonid Bershidsky, columnist, Bloomberg News, Sept 25, 2018 … “There are two possible outcomes if these institutions proceed to work with Iran despite U.S. secondary sanctions. Either U.S. authorities fail to take enforcement action given the massive consequences for the operations and integrity of the American financial system, serving to ‘defang’ the enforcement threats and reduce the risk of European self-sanctioning on the basis of fear, or U.S. authorities take such an enforcement action, a step that would only serve to accelerate European efforts to create a defensible banking architecture that goes beyond the Iran issue alone.”
Vice President Mike Pence heads the U.S. campaign against anti-imperialist Latin American governments, says Bolivian president Evo Morales, report on RT, Sept 25, 2018
Related: Is Latin America still the U.S.’s ‘backyard’?, by Alexander Main, Common Dreams, Sept 12, 2018 … Given these and other pronouncements by Trump and his team, it is tempting to consider that the current U.S. administration is intent on derailing a progressive and enlightened Latin America policy initiated under Obama. But closer scrutiny of the policies underway suggests that, for the most part, the Trump administration is pursuing essentially the same political, economic, and security objectives in the region as Obama, albeit at times in a more brazen and aggressive manner… (Alexander Main is Director of International Policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington DC.)
Teachers’ strikes may reinvigorate U.S. labor movement, by Andy Piascik, Consortiumn News, Sept 24, 2018 Events of recent weeks shows there’s gut-level support for radical change, including on the state of education and teacher’s working conditions. This building momentum could help spark a new labor movement.
Labour Party conference approves policy leaving open a second Brexit referendum, by Lizzy Buchan, The Independent, Sept 25, 2018 The position advanced by shadow Brexit secretary Keir appears to contradict that stated earlier by party deputy leader and shadown chancellor John McDonnell.
* The Labour Party’s shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, may have just cost his party the next election by backing a second Brexit referendum, says George Galloway, report in RT, Sept 25, 2018
* Theresa May backs new immigration system for post-Brexit that allows some low-skilled workers into UK, by Joe Watts, political editor, The Independent, Sept 24, 2018 A new system will create a specific route for low-skilled workers to come into the country for specific sectors
German industry defends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Deutsche Welle, Sept 24, 2018
The Federation of German Industry (BDI) on Monday defended the controversial Nord Stream 2 project that will expand Russia’s natural gas supplies to Germany while bypassing Poland and Ukraine. In July, US President Donald Trump accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance and urged Berlin to halt work on the $11 billion (€9.4 billion), Russian-led gas pipeline to be built in the Baltic Sea.
“I have a big problem with a third country interfering in our energy policy,” BDI President Dieter Kempf told the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday, adding that establishing a link between dropping the project and buying US liquefied gas instead was unacceptable…
German Catholic Church reveals vast scale of sexual abuse, Deutsche Welle, Sept 25, 2018 The scope of sex abuse within Germany’s Catholic Church has been laid out for all to see following a four-year investigation. Head bishop Cardinal Reinhard Marx admitted that the Church has lost public trust.
Related: Pope Francis and the Catholic Church’s moral bankruptcy, commentary by Alexander Gorlack, on Deutsche Welle, Aug 27, 2018 My first visit to Boston was in 2002 — just after the church abuse scandal that swept through the city, a Catholic stronghold in the United States, had reached its peak… After the revelations broke in Boston, similar stories emerged in Australia, Ireland, Germany, the Philippines and Tanzania…
At UN gathering, Trump reiterates support for failed U.S. ‘war on drugs’, CBS News, Sept 24, 2018 Donald Trump spoke on September 24 to the UN forum ‘ Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem’. The White House has published the text of Trump’s comment calling for a doubling down of the U.S.-led ‘war on drugs’ that in 2017 alone contributed greatly to the deaths of 70,652 people in the U.S. killed by drug overdoses (poisonings).]
Related: Canada and Mexico sign on to U.S.-led renewal of war on drugs, by Stephanie Nolen, Latin America correspondent, The Globe and Mail, Sept 24, 2018
The incredible case of Boshirov and Petrov’s visas to visit Britain from Russia, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 24, 2018 (Craig Murray was formerly a career diplomat in Britain. He served as Britain’s ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.)
* Lynch mob mentality, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 14, 2018 I was caught in a twitterstorm of hatred yesterday, much of it led by mainstream media journalists like David Aaronovitch and Dan Hodges, for daring to suggest that the basic elements of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov’s story [of their tourism visit to England in March 2018] do in fact stack up. What became very plain quite quickly was that none of these people had any grasp of the detail of the suspects’ full 20 minute interview on RT, but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media…
* The strange alibis of Russian citizens Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 13, 2018
Russia to supply S-300 to Syria within 2 weeks after Il-20 downing during Israeli raid, RT, Sept 24, 2018 Russia will deliver to Damascus within two weeks an S-300 air defense system, previously suspended on a request by Israel. It comes as part one of several responses announced by the Russian president to the downing of a Russian Il-20 plane amid an Israeli air raid on Syria on September 17… Related: Missile tracking data of Russian Ministry of Defense shows Israeli F-16 hid behind Russian Il-20 to avoid Syrian missile, RT, Sept 24, 2018
* In detailed chronology of military aircraft downing by anti-aircraft missile fire on Sept 17, Russian Ministry of Defense cites Israeli ‘criminal negligence’ or disregard for Russia ties, RT, Sept 23, 2018
* Russian plane shot down over Syria on Sept 17 puts Russia-Israel relations to the test, by Maxim Suchov, Al-Monitor, Sept 20, 2018
* Israel manipulates shootdown by Syrian air missile defense of Russian military transport plane above Latakia, Syria, 13-minute video report on RT, Sept 18, 2018
* Photos showing Israeli air force strike against Latakia, Syria, RT, Sept 19, 2018
* Russia ‘reserves right to respond’ after saying Israel’s actions led to downing of Il-20 by Syria, RT, Sept 18, 2018
* Putin says Israel’s shootdown of a Russian military plane in the skies over Latakia, Syria ‘looks accidental, like chain of tragic circumstances, RT, Sept 18, 2018
* Russian military plane with 14 on board disappears during Israeli strikes on Syrian city of Latakia, RT, Sept, 17, 2018
* Russia detects missile launches from French frigate off Syria’s coast in Mediterranean, RT, Sept 17, 2018
Behind the scenes of the Turkey-Russia Idlib deal, by Ece Goksedef, Middle East Eye, Sept 21, 2018
[This is a rare, serious and informative analysis of the situation in the territories in northern Syria occupied by Turkey and its proxies. But the analysis is silent about the elephant in the room: Turkey’s NATO membership and NATO’s doctrine of ‘an attack on one is an attack on all’. Never mind the alleged ‘conflicts’ between the U.S. and Turkey: NATO-member countries will invoke the ‘attack on one’ doctrine at the drop of a hat the moment it suits them. Only the naïve or the malevolent believe and write otherwise. That includes the myriad of analysts in Western mainstream and alternative media who claim that Russia ‘agreed’ in January 2018 to Turkey’s unilateral invasion of Afrin (Kurdish) region in the northwesst of Aleppo province. In August 2016, Turkey invaded and occupied the upper Euphrates River region of Aleppo province.]
Related: Idlib buffer zone: Pro-Turkey Syrian rebels refuse to disarm, Deutsche Welle, Sept 23, 2018
Opposition SPD party expresses outrage over neo-Nazi marches in Dortmund, western Germany, Deutsche Welle, Sept 23, 2018 On September 21, two different neo-Nazi rallies took place in Dortmund. Footage showed about 100 extremists who paraded through the streets holding flags of the pre-World War I German empire. They used pyrotechnics and shouted slogans like “Whoever loves Germany is an anti-Semite,” and “National Socialism now!”…
Veteran activist Mike Treen fires shouts over Gaza, by Vaughan Gunson, columnist, New Zealand Herald, Sept 23, 2018 Mike Treen spoke to a public forum in Whangarei (North Island) last weekend. He described his experiences in August 2018 on board a medical aid boat trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza
… This wasn’t a holiday. Weeks in cramped quarters on a small Norwegian fishing boat on the Mediterranean Sea ended with a violent confrontation with the Israeli navy off the coast of Gaza.
When their boat was boarded by masked gun-wielding Israeli soldiers, Mike received blows with blunt weapons and was tasered multiple times, finally to the head, rendering him semi-conscious on the ship’s deck. After being further roughly treated and “processed”, he was bundled on a plane to Hong Kong, minus all his belongings. He subsequently found out he had cracked ribs and a broken bone in his foot…
Mike’s experiences, scary as they were, can’t compare to what’s inflicted on the people of Gaza year after year. Earlier in his talk, Mike set the scene for those of us at the meeting by describing the harsh realities of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, enforced since 2007. Mike prefers to call it a siege…
* Portrait of Mike Treen, Palestine solidarity advocate and National Director of Unite Union, by Rob Mitchell, published in Stuff.nz, Sep 21, 2018 … “I think purpose in life has got to be bigger than self. Yes, you’ve got to look after yourself, yes you’ve got to look after your family, but I think purpose comes from having a bigger family, and the bigger the family the better the purpose.”
* Mike Treen’s open letter to New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters on August 6, 2018 and his rejoinder on September 3 to Peters’ response, published by Kia Ora Gaza, Sept 4, 2018
China’s ‘Peace Ark’ hospital ship makes maiden visit to Venezuela, RT, Sept 23, 2018
* Maduro returns from four-day visit to China with $5bn in loans, joining China’s ‘New Silk Road Initiative’, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Sept 17, 2018 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro returned to Caracas on September 17 following a four-day visit to the People’s Republic of China which saw the two countries strengthen political ties and sign 28 bilateral agreements, including a new US$5 billion Chinese loan and joint plans for a fourth satellite…
* Venezuela’s allies as well as adversaries condemn AOS Secretary-General Almagro over his military threats, by Venezuela Analysis and Telesur, Sept 17, 2018 Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro said on September 14 in the border city of Cucuta, Colombia that a “military intervention aimed at overthrowing the regime of Nicolas Maduro” should not be “excluded” as an option. His remarks have drawn reaction from across the region…
* State visit to China by President Nicolas Maduro spooks a U.S. plotting Venezuela’s isolation, by Elliot Gabriel, Mint Press News, Sept 14, 2018
* Challenges facing the Latin American left, by Yisell Rodríguez Milán, published in Granma (Cuba daily), Sept 13, 2018 [The challenge for the left in Latin America is similar to that of the rest of the world: Champion a political course to overcome the grave dangers facing humanity: Global warming, increased imperialist war and militarism, and growing social inequities. This article fails to address and integrate these central concerns. ]
Related: Reactions to attack in Ahvaz, Iran: How Western media sees it differently, Press TV, Sept 22, 2018
Korea’s historic peace move puts onus on Washington to end conflict, by Finian Cunningham, columnist, RT, Sept 21, 2018 It can’t get more symbolic than that. The leaders of the two Koreas this week clasped hands atop the highest mountain on the peninsula, vowing to unite in peace. The ball is now in Washington’s court to help deliver that peace… Moon and Kim hiked up Mount Paektu accompanied by their wives and delegates. The mountain is revered by North and South Koreans as the spiritual birthplace of the nation, going back 5,000 years… (Pictured are South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) atop Mt. Paektu, North Korea on September 20, 2018, the third and final day of their historic summit in Pyongyang.)
[In this otherwise informative essay, the RT columnist buys into the Donald Trump ruse that Trump welcomes the political direction towards peace issuing from the historic summit meeting of the two leaders of Korea in Pyongyang on Sept 18-20, 2018. The RT report refers to two differing “factions” in Washington with respect to Korean. But there is only one faction in Washington: the bipartisan Democrat-Republican faction that wishes to maintain Korea’s subordinate status viz-a-viz the imperialist countries that waged a near-genocidal war against the Koreaan people from 1950-53. That outlook is shared by the ruling elites in London, Tokyo, Ottawa, Canberra and other imperialist capitals.]
Fate of jailed Kurdish leader Ocalan questioned as Turkey shuns peace, lengthy essay by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Sept 20, 2018 [This informative essay is provided for the information of readers. A sidepoint in the essay is the writer’s repetition of the unproven trope that “Turkey captured the Kurdish-dominated enclave of Afrin with Russia’s blessings [sic] in March …”]
Related: ‘Gezi generation’ is fleeing Turkey, by Kadri Gursel, Al-Monitor, Sept 21, 2018
[… Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank — a long-time chief adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before joining the Cabinet after the June 2018 elections — lamented that Turkey is “unfortunately losing its qualified human resources through brain drain.” It was a rather remarkable statement, for such admissions are rare in Turkish government quarters.
[Varank’s statement is backed by newly released official statistics that speak of an accelerating, dramatic brain drain that is stripping Turkey of its well-educated youth — the sole strategic asset the country has for any quest of global competitiveness and prosperity. According to migration data released Sept. 6 by the Turkish Statistical Institute, the number of Turks emigrating due to “economic, political, social and cultural” reasons increased 42.5% to reach 253,640 in 2017. More than 42% of those emigrants were aged 25-34, and 57% were from big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Bursa and Izmir. In other words, roughly half of the those leaving Turkey are young urban people…]
German society not as polarized as you’d think, study shows, Deutsche Welle, Sept 19, 2018 … A study presented in Berlin at the beginning of the week initially seemed confusing. It stated that the climate between migrants and non-migrants had not deteriorated significantly in the wake of the 2015/16 refugee crisis and was still positive. At first, critical-minded journalists shook their heads in doubt…
Related: Germans upbeat about immigration, study finds, Deutsche Welle, Sept 17, 2018
People living in Germany continue to view the country’s multicultural society positively, according to a new study published by the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR). The ‘Integration Barometer 2018’ report is the first representative study on the matter to come out since the start of the so-called refugee crisis in 2015, which saw hundreds of thousands of people escaping war and poverty in their home countries enter Europe.
Despite refugees and immigration policy dominating the news and politician’s speaking points in Germany, the study found that most people still think that life with their immigrant or non-immigrant neighbors is going well…
* UK Labour Party’s John McDonnell says the party wants to push ahead with Brexit, portrait of John McDonnell, shadow finance minister and deputy leader of the UK Labour Party, by Heather Stewart, political editor of the virulently anti-Labor Party The Guardian, Sept 22, 2018
* What on Earth is the point of the Australian Labor Party?, by Liam McLoughlin, The New Matilda, Sept 23, 2018
EU’s Tusk delivers savage blow to British PM Theresa May: Brexit plan ‘will not work’, RT, Sept 20, 2018
* EU, UK fail to resolve differences over Brexit as deadline looms, Associated Press, Sept 20, 2018
* Theresa May’s Brexit humiliation at EU gathering in Salzburg, Germany, by Richard Seymour, Sept 20, 2018 Theresa May was not schooled for the EU’s brutal rebuff today. She expected some yield in the EU’s position, instead they brutally mugged her. Her press conference, once she’d given a fluent reading of prepared remarks, was horrendous…
Ecuador has pledged to not kick out Assange, but threat of U.S. prosecution is still serious, his lawyer tells RT, report on RT, Sept 20, 2018 (includes 17-minute interview by RT host with Jennifer Robinson, lawyer of Julian Assange) Despite widespread speculation a few months ago that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy by the country’s new leadership, his asylum seems to be safe for now, his lawyer has told RT…
Related: Generation being born now is the last to be free – Assange in last interview before blackout, print article, and 53-minute interview with Julian Assange, on RT, Sept 20, 2018
The leaders of the two Koreas declare de facto end of Korean War, news analysis published in The Hankyoreh, Sept 20, 2018
* Korean leaders Moon and Kim stage an exuberant summit in Pyongyang, by Tim Shorrock, The Nation, Sept 20, 2018 Bold proposals on demilitarization break the logjam with Washington
* North Korea ready to denuclearize, hopes for 2nd summit with U.S., Yonhap News Agency, Sept 20, 2018
* Pyongyang Declaration hopefully marks irreversible progression toward peace, editorial, The Hankyoreh, Sept 20, 2018
[Forward-looking reporting in South Korean media stands in sharp contrast to the hostile reporting by Western media about the September 18-20, 2018 summit meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Western media is all negative, predicting or hoping for failure in achieving peace and reconstruction for the Korean people and peninsula. It persists with its grim narrative laying the blame on North Korea for ongoing military tensions on the Korean peninsula. The aggressor U.S. and allies (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan) who waged a near-genocidal war against the Korean people from 1950-53 and have never signed a formal agreement to end the war are treated as peace-desiring heros.]
Hold the front page: The reporters are missing, by John Pilger, special to Consortium News, Sept 19, 2018 So much of mainstream journalism has descended to the level of a cult-like formula of bias, hearsay and omission. (This is a slightly edited forward to the new book
Related: Propaganda Blitz, a new book by Media Lens and an urgent appeal for support, by the editors, Media Lens (Britain), Sept 19, 2018 Propaganda Blitz: How The Corporate Media Distort Reality, by David Edwards and David Cromwell, Pluto Press, Sept 2018, 336 pp, ISBN 978 0 7453 3811 8 (David Edwards and David Cromwell are the founding editors in 2001 of Media Lens.)
Where is the West as the endgame in Syria looms?, commentary by Mary Dejevsky, published by the Valdai Discussion Club (Russia), Sept 18, 2018 (Mary Dejevsky is a columnist at The Independent (Britain).)
* The Forever War’s cheerleaders, commentary by Lyle Jeremy Rubin, published in The Nation, Sept 19, 2018
* An unending U.S. War in Syria?, by Paul R. Pillar, The National Interest, Sept 18. 2018 (Paul R. Pillar is a contributing editor at the conservative magazine The National Interest.)
* Sun newspaper in Britain deletes ‘Putin wants to kill me’ story it ran in latest Salisbury poisoning hoax, RT, Sept 20, 2018
Korean presidents Moon and Kim announce Pyongyang Declaration, including measures for permanent denuclearization, The Hankyoreh, Sept 19, 2018
On Sept. 19, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un jointly announced the September Pyongyang Declaration, which includes an agreement by North Korea to permanently shut down its missile engine test site and launch pad at Dongchang Village. The agreement also includes a promise to shut down the Yongbyon nuclear facility, depending on corresponding measures from the U.S. “South and North Korea have agreed on concrete denuclearization measures for the first time. This is a very meaningful result,” Moon said.
Furthermore, Kim agreed to visit Seoul for a fourth inter-Korean summit within the year given that no special circumstances arise. After signing the September Pyongyang Declaration Agreement at the Paekhwawon Guest House, Moon and Kim held a joint press conference.
…Regarding concrete improvements in inter-Korean economic cooperation, Moon said, “Within this year, South and North Korea will begin construction on projects that link railways and roads along the East and West seas. We will also normalize operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and resume Mount Kumgang tourism when conditions allow.” “We will also soon push ahead with environmental cooperation as well as medical cooperation to prevent the influx and spread of contagious diseases,” Moon added.
* Korean defense chiefs sign ‘military pact’ after Kim and Moon adopt denuclearization roadmap, RT, Sept 19, 2018 South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have signed a joint statement during three days of bilateral talks in Pyongyang which began on September 18. The countries’ defense chiefs have meanwhile signed a separate military pact…
* Koreas to start work to connect railways, roads within year, Yonhap News Agency, Sept 19, 2018
* North Korea gives unprecedented welcome to South Korea president Moon, The Hankyoreh, English edition, Sept 18, 2018
* Pyongyang summit more specific in approach to resolving inter-Korean tensions, The Hankyoreh, English edition, Sept 17, 2018 The three main agenda points are denuclearization, peace regime and inter-Korean relations
[Corporate media as well as much of the anti-Russia ‘alternative’ media in the West have been predicting (hoping for?) a large military attack by Syria against the right-wing paramilitary forces entrenched in the province of Idlib in northwest Syria. This, they have predicted, ‘will’ create a massive ‘humanitarian disaster’. This would serve as a pretext for greater Western military intervention. But the predictions were never more than reckless slander and disinformation. The ‘buffer zones’ agreement between Russia and Turkey for the beginning of a lasting ceasefire in Idlib is another important step towards peace and reconstruction in Syria. The aformentioned media have no interest in such. Now they are dismissing the significance of the Turkey-Russia agreement. ‘So what?’, they report. They want a violent overthrow of the Syrian government. Luckily, their wishes are coming to naught.]
Region in Ukraine’s west bans Russian-language books, movies, The Associated Press, Sept 19, 2018 [unreported story]
The Syria Deception: Part one, Al Qaeda goes to Hollywood , 24-minute documentary film with print introduction, by Dan Cohen, published and broadcast on The Grayzone Project, Sept 15, 2018
Time for more light on Trump-Russia investigation, commentary by Mark Penn, The Hill, Sept 18, 2018 (Mark Penn served as pollster and adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 2000.) …this investigation of the Trump campaign, his administration, family and associates has gone on for more than two years without any serious evidence supporting the Russia-Trump collusion theory…
Kurds step up efforts to form self-government in northeast Syria, by Sardar Mlla Drwish, Al-Monitor, Sept 18, 2018
Related: Turkish-supported public services flourish in Euphrates Shield area, by Khaled al-Khateb, Al-Monitor, Sept 17, 2018
Yemen’s descent into hell: A Saudi-American war of terror, by Rajan Menon, published on Tom Dispatch (a project of The Nation Institute), Sept 18, 2018
Related: Germany approves Saudi arms sale despite formal ban on sales to parties to Yemen war, Deutsche Welle, Sept 20, 2018
U.S. Air Force calls for 74 more squadrons to prepare for possibility of war against major power, by Stephen Losey, Air Force Times, Sept 17, 2018
How Yasser Arafat led the Palestinians to Trump’s ‘deal of the century’, by As’ad AbuKhalil, special to Consortium News, Sept 17, 2018 Compromises made by the late PLO leader have the paved the way for the most humiliating deal offered the Palestinians yet
* A ‘gentleman’s agreement’: How Israel got what it wanted from Oslo, by Jonathan Cook, published in Middle East Eye, Sept 13, 2018 Twenty-five years on, analysts say the agreement between Israel and PLO leader Yasser Arafat in Oslo didn’t fail, it offered Israel a formula to block the emergence of a Palestinian state
* From peace to Armageddon: The Israel-Palestine nightmare, by Sandy Tolan, published on Tom Dispatch (a project of The Nation Institute), Sept 13, 2018
* For artists, playing the ‘escapist’ Meteor festival in an Israeli kibbutz is like playing Sun City in South Africa during the days of Apartheid, by Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss, Sept 11, 2018
* UK would ‘recognise Palestine as state’ under Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn says, by Chris Baynes, The Independent, June 23, 2018
Seymour Hersh: A life of adversarial democracy at work, book review by John Kendall Hawkins, published in CounterPunch, Sept 18, 2018 Reviewing: Reporter: A memoir, by Seymour Hersh, publisher Alfred A. Knoff, 2018, 355 pp, ISBN 978-0-307-26395-7
The protest movement in Haiti for PetroCaribe transparency and accounting, by Kim Ives, co-editor, Haiti Liberté (print weekly and online), Sept 12, 2018
Related: Haitian demonstrators ask: ‘Where is the PetroCaribe money?’, by Milo Milfort, Haiti Liberté, Sept 5, 2018
China tariffs hammer drops: Trump announces new duties on $200bn worth of Chinese goods, RT, Sept 18, 2018
Related: As Chinese find ways to cope with Trump’s trade bullying, Americans are still set to lose, by Jonah Shepp, New York Magazine‘s ‘Daily Intelligencer’, Sept 18, 2018
‘Highly plausible’ that Pussy Riot activist Verzilov was poisoned, German doctors say, RT, Sept 18, 2018
Related: Berlin doctors say Russian Pussy Riot activist may have been poisoned, Deutsche Welle, Sept 18, 2018
[German doctors are treating Russian political activist Pyotr Verzilov. They cannot say if he was ‘poisoned’. All they have to go on is observation, saying a poisoning is “possible” but that the effects of any potential poison are worn off. But that doesn’t stop Western media from running with the story, presenting a long litany of other alleged poisonings by Russian state agencies in order to shine up this latest, vaccuous allegation.]
Disarray in the Blairite ranks as Labour meets in Liverpool, by George Galloway, published in RT, Sept 17, 2018
Related: Editor of UK newspaper Jewish Chronicle claims Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic for calling out inequality, The Canary, Sept 16,2018
Foreign Affairs New Zealand’s ‘mission creep’ in Iraq, by Sam Sachdeva, political editor, Newsroom.nz, Sept 18, 2018 In 2016, then-leader of the Labour Party in New Zealand Andrew Little promised he would withdraw Kiwi troops from Iraq if Labour won government. Two years later, new party leader and New Zealand Premier Jacinda Ardern has extended their stay in the country.
Related: New Zealand extends Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, by Henry Cooke, Stuff.nz, Sept 17 2018
Lynch mob mentality, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 14, 2018 I was caught in a twitterstorm of hatred yesterday, much of it led by mainstream media journalists like David Aaronovitch and Dan Hodges, for daring to suggest that the basic elements of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov’s story do in fact stack up. What became very plain quite quickly was that none of these people had any grasp of the detail of the suspects’ full 20 minute interview, but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media…
Related: The strange alibis of Russian citizens Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 13, 2018 Like many, my first thought at the interview broadcast on RT of Boshirov and Petrov – which apparently are indeed their names – is that they were very unconvincing. The interview itself seemed to be set up around a cramped table with a poor camera and lighting, and the interviewer seemed pretty hopeless at asking probing questions that would shed any real light. I had, in fact, decided that their story was highly improbable. Until I started seeing the storm of twitter posting, much of it from mainstream media journalists, which stated that individual things were impossible which were, in fact, not impossible at all…
Farmers movement leaders in Venezuela call off hunger strike as government agrees to accelerate land reform measures, by Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis, Sept 13, 2018
Related: New York Times editorial opposing military intervention in Venezuela may do more harm than good, by Steve Ellner, Venezuela Analysis, Sept 11, 2018
The situation in Syria, report by Maria Zakharova, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, delivered to Russian and foreign journalists in Moscow on Sept 13, 2018 (scroll down the page at the weblink to the section ‘Developments in Syria’)
‘We’re not agents’: Exclusive interview with the two Russian nationals accused by the UK government as suspects in Skripal case, RT, Sept 13, 2018 (print story, and 25-minute video interview (sub-titled in English) by RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan)
Related: UK claims men in RT interview were GRU intelligence agents despite their denial, RT, Sept 13, 2018
[Western media has been stung by the interview on the RT network with Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. They are the small businessmen in Russia who have unwittingly found themselves at the center of an international firestorm after British Prime Minister Theresa May accused them on September 5 of being a Russian government assassination team. She said the two traveled from Russia to Salisbury, England in March 2018 and placed a deadly poison (‘novichok’) onto the doorknob of the home of Russian nationals Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Many hours after leaving their home on March 4 and having dinner at a local restaurant, the two Skripals were found stricken in a public park. Taken to hospital, they recovered from whatever was ailing them. Yulia has recently visited family and friends in Russia, further confounding the British PM’s story that the Russian government wants her dead.
[Western media has been acting as press agents for the British PM’s outlandish claims and is once again rushing to her defense. Here is how the austere Associated Press has reacted to the RT interview. Twice AP refers to RT as “Kremlin funded”. Every major government in the world, of course, funds its own news/entertainment networks. Most Western media is far more sneering and mocking than this example from AP.]
The Mueller investigation is sending people to jail, but not for ‘Russia collusion’, by Aaron Maté, The Nation, Sept 13, 2018 The belief that the prosecutions of George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort would turn over evidence of collusion with Russia over the 2016 U.S. presidential election got ahead of reality (Aaron Maté is a host of The Real News Network and a regular contributor to The Nation.)
Aaron Maté is a beast!, by Stephen Boni, writer in Oakland California, published on The Ghion Journal, Sept 12, 2018
… Even during his youthful Democracy Now! days, Maté showed a genuine talent for interviewing people with a dogged focus on facts and an absolute inability to let his interviewees get away with bullshit, regardless of their perceived status…
… Journalists aren’t supposed to behave this way anymore. They’re not supposed to act like skeptical detectives. They’re not supposed to look at the evidence. They’re not supposed to question their betters. But Maté has ignored that memo…
White Helmets making films of ‘chemical attacks’ with orphans in Idlib, reports Russian military, RT, Sept 12, 2018
* Filming of staged chemical attack in Syrian Idlib begins, reports Russia’s Ministry of Defense, RT, Sept 11, 2018
* The situation in and around Idlib, Syria, 20-minute video presentation followed by 40-minute q&a by Kevork Almassian, publisher of Syriana Analysis, Sept 13, 2018 (see also the YouTube channel of Syriana Analysis)
Can Erdogan intimidate Assad into backing off Idlib?, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Sept 12, 2018
* Turkish influence in Idlib takes hit as Syria talks open in Geneva, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Sept 10, 2018 The United Nations’ special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, began talks in Geneva today with officials from Turkey, Russia and Iran to discuss the establishment of a constitutional committee for Syria, part of a Moscow-led effort to include opposition groups in a negotiated solution to the seven-year Syrian conflict. The talks are expected to last two days… [The reporter includes in her report this now-standard refrain by Al-Monitor: “The consensus among many experts [sic] on the Syrian conflict is that the regime and its allies will move against Idlib regardless of the human cost.”] * Beyond Orwellian: The myth of UK’s ‘non-intervention’ in Syria, by Neil Clark, op-ed commentary in RT, Sept 12, 2018
* Syria peace talks in Geneva will resume on Sept 14, report by Xinhua, Sept 12, 2018
I prowled the front lines in Syria’s Idlib province, but found no massed Syrian army, by Robert Fisk, The Independent, Sept 10, 2018 The only massed forces I came across were vast herds of sheep and, close to Aleppo, a string of camels. War might be coming, but not yet [Robert Fisk has done something that will confound the Western journalists/propagandists predicting (hoping for?) a ‘humanitarian disaster’ soon to be visited upon the people of Syria’s Idlib province by the Syrian government and its army. He actually went to Idlib to investigate. Novel idea! Alas for the Western propagandists, he found no Syrian army invasion force.]
* Thousands of Syrians displaced as threat of Idlib attack grows, by Patrick Wintour, diplomatic editor, The Guardian, Sept 10, 2018 UN warns Idlib civilians could be facing worst humanitarian disaster this century
* ‘Massive air strikes’ and ‘many people dying’ in Idlib, say interview guests presented on Canada’s state-run broadcaster, interviews on CBC Radio One‘s weekday newsmagazine program ‘The Current’, Sept 10, 2018
* Battle for Idlib: Civilians ‘have nowhere to go’ as air strikes pound hospitals, Middle East Eye, Sept 10, 2018
Please write to your MP now without delay – War, terrible war, may be on the way again, by Peter Hitchens, columnist, The Daily Mail (Britain), Sept 11, 2018
‘Meteor’ music festival in Israel left in shambles as 20 acts — including Lana Del Rey — withdraw in support of BDS, Associated Press, Sept 10,2018 A growing list of performers, including Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman and singer Lorde, have cancelled appearances in Israel in recent months
Related: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters hits out at musicians for crossing Israel picket line’, RT, Aug 10, 2018
World scholars, artists and activists call for demilitarization of Okinawa, open letter signed by 133 scholars, artists and rights activists, dated Sept 7, 2018, published on Consortium News, Sept 9, 2018
The Guardian continues its shameless misinformation campaign against Nicaragua and its people, by Camilo Mejia, published on his website, Sept 9, 2018
Explosive Skripal allegations may blow up in Syria, commentary by George Galloway, on RT’s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Sept 11, 2018
Germany mulls joining U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria, Deutsche Welle, Sept 10, 2018 The German Defense Ministry is reportedly in talks with its U.S. counterpart to hammer out details for the Bundeswehr to join possible airstrikes by U.S., British and French forces on Syrian targets, Germany’s mass-circulation Bild newspaper reported on Monday…
* ‘No’ to a German military intervention in Syria, commentary by Nina Werkhäuser, writer at Deutsche Welle, Sept 11, 2018 German politicians are currently at odds over whether the country’s military should increase its presence in Syria. Inflicting even more violence on the Syrian people won’t help, however
* Netherlands ends support to Syrian militants and White Helmets, since Assad ‘will soon win’, RT, Sept 10, 2018
Hate and hope in Germany as rightists rampage while left wing counters and organizes, by Victor Grossman, CounterPunch, Sept 10, 2018
Sweden faces weeks of uncertainty after close election, Deutsche Welle, Sept 9, 2018 Sweden faces weeks of a stalemate after its traditional center-left and center-right blocs tied with neither holding a majority. The far-right made gains on a hardline anti-immigration platform. Sweden’s center-left and center-right blocs emerged neck-and-neck after Sunday’s election. The far-right Sweden Democrats made significant gains to hold third place…
Results of September 9, 2018 national election in Sweden. There are 349 seats in the Swedish Parliament: (Wikipedia)
Social Democrats: 101 seats (down 12), 1.7 million votes (28%)
Moderate Party (conservative): 70 seats (down 14), 1.2 million votes (20%)
Sweden Democrats (extreme-right, anti-immigrant): 62 seats (up 13), 1.1 million votes (18%)
Center Party (conservative): 31 seats (up 9), 537,000 votes (9%)
Left Party: 28 seats (up 7), 500,000 votes (8%)
Christian Democrats (conservative): 23 seats (up 7), 398,000 votes (6%)
Liberal Party (conservative): 19 seats (no change), 342,000 votes (6%)
Green Party: 15 seats (down 10), 271,000 votes (4.3%)
* Sweden in deadlock, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in Britain), published on his website, Sept 10, 2018
* Analysts might be getting the Swedish election all wrong, by Zaid Jilani, The Intercept, Sept 10, 2018 What if the rise of the Sweden Democrats has less to do with exposure to immigration, and more to do with rising inequality, driven by austerity and financials shocks?
* Opening the door to the far right in Sweden, by Petter Nilsson, published in Jacobin, Sept 6, 2018 (Petter Nilsson is a member of the Center for Marxist Social Studies and works for the Left Party in Stockholm.)
* Sweden’s military madness, unsigned and undated commentary published by World Beyond War, summer 2018 The government of Sweden has reinstated the military draft and sent a war propaganda brochure to all Swedes promoting fear, Russophobia, and warlike thinking
* Sweden scares population with war pamphlets amid push to join NATO, interview with Norwegian journalist Eirik Vold, The Real News Network, May 25, 2018 [Sweden is fully investing into NATO’s anti-Russia new cold war. The country is boosting military spending and last year it staged its biggest military exercises in nearly a quarter of a century. On March 2, 2017, Sweden’s Social Democrat-Green coalition government voted to re-introduce military conscription, abolished seven years earlier by a conservative government.]
Is Russia really ‘fascist’? A reply to Timothy Snyder, by Marlene Laruelle, Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia), September 2018 (Marlene Laruelle is Research Professor, Associate Director of IERES, Director of the Central Asia Program, and Co-Director of PONARS Eurasia at The George Washington University.)
Egypt sentences 75 protesters to death over anti-coup demonstrations in Cairo in August 2013 where 900 were killed by security services, by Shehab Khan, The Independent, Sept 8, 2018 …In August 2013, up to 900 people were killed in Rabaa and nearby al Nahda squares in Cairo by security services after people gathered to demonstrate against the coup which had removed the elected president Mohamed Morsi…
How I got hijacked, kidnapped, tasered, cracked ribs and a fractured foot at the hands of the Israeli military in international waters, by Mike Treen, published in The Daily Blog (New Zealand), Sept 9, 2018 The headline of this article tells the end of the story following an attempt by myself and others this past summer to take a Norwegian fishing boat loaded with medical supplies to the Palestinian territory of Gaza… (Mike Treen is National Director of the Unite Union in New Zealand.)
Drumbeat for regime-change war against the people of Venezuela on Canada’s state-run broadcaster. Canada’s government and state-run broadcaster the CBC are following the lead of Donald Trump and his regime in pressing for a violent overthrow of the socialist government of Venezuela. Here is the first of a series of reports being filed this coming week by one of the CBC‘s leading propagandists (‘journalists’), Adrienne Arsenault: Venezuelan migrants face uncertainty as they flee starvation [sic], CBC News, Sept 10, 2018. Arsenault is interviewed from the Venezuela-Colombia on September 11 on CBC Radio One‘s weekday newsmagazine ‘The Current’. The report is headlined ‘Venezuelans selling their hair to feed their families, says CBC reporter at border’. In it, Arsenault says, Donald Trump-style, that Venezuelan migrants are bringing dangerous diseases with them into Colombia.
Related: Venezuela Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza: There is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, Telesur, Monday, Sept 10, 2018 Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Monday that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela,” but rather an “economic crisis,” as a consequence of the sanctions and the blockade exercised by sectors of the international political right against the South American nation…
Venezuela denounces U.S. coup plotting after New York Times report, Telesur, Sept 8, 2018 According to a report by the New York Times, United States officials have been meeting with Venezuelan coup plotters for over a year
* Trump administration discussed coup plans with rebel Venezuelan officers, New York Times, Sept 8, 2018 [A word of caution is in order concerning this report in the anti-Venezuela New York Times. The Trump regime is seeking the overthrow of Venezuela’s government, but is it true, as the New York Times would have its readers believe, that significant figures in Venezuela’s military, unnamed by the Times, are prepared to collaborate in such an endeavour?] * Empire journalism: Venezuela, the U.S. and the late John McCain, report by Media Lens (UK), Sept 6, 2018 …To realise how incomplete and distorted is BBC News coverage of Venezuela, you only have to listen to the superb independent journalist Abby Martin, who has risked her life to report what the corporate media is not telling you about Venezuela. It is little wonder that, as she discusses here, her important news programme, ‘Empire Files’, is currently off-air as a result of US sanctions against left-leaning TeleSUR, the Venezuela-based television network…
* The economic crisis is not to blame for sterilization in Venezuela: A response to The Intercept, by Sahili Franco Cipriani, Venezuela Analysis, Sept 10, 2018 Venezuelan women’s rights activist Sahili Franco Cipriani argues against the “decontextualized” message in the video by the U.S. news outlet The Intercept headlined ‘No birth control options, desperate Venezuelan women resort to illegal abortion and sterilization’
U.S Army to send 1,500 more troops to Germany even though Trump complains U.S. spends too much defending Europe, RT, Sept 8, 2018
The U.S. Army is to further bolster the number of troops it has stationed in Europe by a further 1,500, despite repeated complaints by President Trump that NATO allies are not spending enough to defend the continent. U.S. Army Europe said the troops will be deployed to Germany by September 2020, calling it a “display of our continued commitment to NATO and our collective resolve to support European security,” AFP reports quoting a statement from the service. The additional troop build-up will add to the 33,000 US troops already based in the country.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the new deployment “a welcome sign of the vitality of transatlantic relations”…
Prisoners strike across U.S. and Canada to end penal enslavement, interview with Amani Sawari, spokesperson of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and resident of Seattle, broadcast on The Real News Network, Sept 7, 2018 (20-minute interview, video and transcript)
Clashes between Kurds and Syrian army troops leave 18 dead, Reuters, Sept 8, 2018
* Missile attack by Iran against Iranian Kurdish opposition group base in Iraq, Reuters, Sept 8, 2018 (and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps confirms missile attacks on KDP-I terrorists, FARS News Agency (Iran), Sept 8, 2018
* Turkish jets bomb hillsides near Amedi in Iraqi Kurdistan, Rudaw news agency, Sept 8, 2018
Anonymous op-ed from Trump’s White House shows the dangers of America’s imperial presidency, by Jon Schwarz, The Intercept, Sept 8, 2018
NATO member Latvia pushes unilingual language teaching in schools, excluding Russian language, report in Deutsche Welle, Sept 8, 2018
* Advocates of Latvia’s Russian schools stage fresh protest against language reform, Xinhua, June 3, 2018
* New education law in Ukraine renews controversy over minority language schooling, by Halyna Mokrushyna, New Cold War.org, October 10, 2017
Text of statement by the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey on the situation in Syria, statement issued following summit meeting in Tehran on Sept 7, 2018
Western media/government nexus working overtime to protect rightist militias in Syria’s Idlib province
[The Syrian province of Idlib has been a haven for the right-wing militias seeking the overthrow of the Syrian government. The Western media/government nexus is working frantically to forestall the Syrian government from regaining its sovereign control of the province. It terms the militias ‘rebels’ or ‘opposition forces’. The nexus is whipping up hysteria by claiming that Syria and its allies are preparing a military attack in Idlib that would have grave humanitarian consequences, even though the presidents of Russia and Iran have agreed to Turkey’s request to forestall any large military move in Idlib.
[An example of the absurdities in Western media reporting is provided by Reuters in a report dated September 7, 2018. Its report is headlined ‘Russia, Turkey, Iran fail to agree on ceasefire for Syria’s Idlib’. But its report opens with: “Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, meeting in Tehran for a summit of key foreign players in Syria’s war, agreed in a final statement that there could be no military solution to the conflict and it could only end through a negotiated political process…” Al-Monitor, meanwhile, headlines its weekly news summary of Sept 9, 2018 with ‘Bashar al-Assad’s troops are about to attack Idlib while the last rebel stronghold in Syria prepares a desperate last stand’.]
Saudi-backed delegates leave Yemen peace talks in Geneva, Press TV, Sept 8, 2018 A delegation from Yemen’s former government has left UN-brokered talks in Geneva after representatives of the Houthi movement were prevented by Saudi Arabia from attending the negotiations…
Related: After sabotaging Yemen peace talks in Geneva, Saudi-led forces launches massive attack on city of Hodeida, by Ahmed Abdulkareem, MintPress News, Sept 7, 2018 One day before the attack on Hodeida began, the Saudi coalition, which imposes restrictions on Yemen’s airspace, banned a delegation of negotiators, including the Houthis from flying to Geneva to attend UN-brokered peace talks.
China offers African countries $60 billion in development aid with ‘no strings attached’, by Emma Fiala, MintPress News, Sept 4, 2018
Tehran summit meeting discussing Syria’s future ends with a call for terrorists in Idlib province to lay down arms, RT, Sept 7, 2018
Turkey seems to have prevailed during tripartite talks with Russia and Iran, convincing the other parties that a major offensive in Syria’s Idlib governorate would not be the wisest move at the moment…
At Erdogan’s suggestion, the final communique of the summit was amended to include a call for all armed groups in Idlib to lay down arms and seek a political transition in the country. Putin and Rouhani agreed, which may indicate that a major offensive in Idlib is not likely to be launched in the immediate future, unless some major development happens on the ground…
Putin’s remarks on the situation in Syria tilted towards humanitarian aspects and the necessity to reconstruct the country. He said that many people who had fled violence in Syria to other nations may now return to their homes…
* Russia accuses terrorists occupying Idlib of laying waste to infrastructure, intensifying repression, TASS Russian news service, Sept 7, 2018
* Putin warns summit meeting in Tehran that paramilitaries in Idlib province are preparing chemical weapons provocations, report in Press TV, Sept 7, 2018
* Inside Israel’s secret program to back Syrian rebels, by Elizabeth Tsurkov, Foreign Policy Magazine, Sept 6, 2018 Fighters were armed and paid to keep Iranian-linked forces away from Israel’s border
[The leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Tehran on September 7 to discuss their respective roles in assisting (or maybe not, in the case of Turkey) the government of Syria in reasserting its sovereign control of the country. Western media and governments (one and the same) are reacting with alarm to the prospect that the Syrian army may undertake an offensive to end the control over the province of Idlib (see map) by the paramilitaries. They are seeking to ride to the rescue of the paramilitaries, predicting terrible bloodshed and massacres in Idlib by the Syrian army, even the use of chemical weapons. Here, for example, is the ‘news’ report in The Guardian on September 7. It is headlined ‘U.S. warns of Idlib chemical attack as leaders meet on Syria in Tehran’. Canada’s state-run broadcaster, the CBC, acknowledges in its national, morning news broadcast on September 7 that what it calls “jihadists” control Idlib, but the propaganda agency tempers that acknowledgement with, “There is a moderate opposition in Idlib, too.” All this is a repeat of the dire warnings issued during the earlier liberations by Syrian armed forces in and around Aleppo (late 2016) and Damascus (recent months). In both cases, fighting was averted by ceasefire agreements. Time will tell if a similar ceasefire is reached in Idlib. One thing is for sure: a peaceful outcome for Idlib will not please Western governments/media and anti-Russia leftists.
[Even the otherwise informative Al-Monitor has been predicting for weeks the iminent onset of military hositlities by Syria. It maintains its stance following the Tehran summit meeting in this Sept 7 report. It writes, “A regime attack on Idlib will likely [sic] move ahead despite Turkey’s appeals for more time to use carrot-and-stick diplomacy with the jihadis…” Democracy Now!, meanwhile, keeps up the anti-Russia drumbeat with a September 7 report headlined, ‘Idlib on brink of humanitarian catastrophe as Syrian military threatens to invade rebel-held city’. It is shameful that in Democracy Now!‘s scenario, it is not the Western powers’ six-year regime change war against Syria that has caused the real humanitarian disaster in the country but rather the Syrian government’s efforts to resist its violent overthrow.]
Washington Post reports ‘Trump agrees to an indefinite military effort and new diplomatic push in Syria’, report in Washington Post, Sept 6, 2018 President Trump, who just five months ago said he wanted “to get out” of Syria and bring U.S. troops home soon, has agreed to a new strategy that indefinitely extends the military effort there and launches a major diplomatic push to achieve American objectives, according to senior State Department officials…
* Trump wanted Syria’s Assad assassinated, Bob Woodward claims in extraordinary new book, by Chris Stevenson, The Independent, Sept 4, 2018 Donald Trump ordered his defence secretary to assassinate Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad and “kill the f****** lot of them” in the leader’s regime, in the wake of a chemical attack [sic] against civilians [in April 2017], according to Bob Woodward’s new book Trump: Fear In The White House…
* U.S. military conducts exercise in Syria amid growing US-Russian tensions, by Rudaw news agency, Sept 7, 2018
The plot to attack Nicaragua and vilify Daniel Ortega, interview with Dan Kovalik, broadcast on Gorilla Radio (CFUV station in Victoria BC), with host Chris Cook, Sept 6, 2018 (22-minute interview, begins at three-minute mark. Dan Kovlaik is a professor and human rights lawyer at the University of Pittsburgh.)
* The U.S. and Nicaragua: A case study in historical amnesia and blindness, by Dan Kovalik, CounterPunch, June 15, 2018
* Right-wing socialists of U.S. ISO welcome the protest movement in Nicagua aiming to overthrow the country’s elected president, article reprinted in Socialist Worker.org on June 21, 2018
What does Reality Winner’s NSA leak to The Intercept tell us about Russian vote hacking?, interview with Jim (James) Risen, by Aaron Maté, host, The Real News Network, Sept 4, 2018 (audio and transcript) [On August 23, 2018, NSA employee Reality Winner was sentenced to five years and three months in prison for violating the Espionage Act. She pleaded guilty to providing The Intercept with a document that she and her supporters claim proves ‘Russian interference’ in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Hers is the longest sentence ever imposed for an unauthorized disclosure to the media.]
Trump protects Al Qaeda, ‘The Resistance’ applauds, cursing ‘Russians’, by Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, Sept 6, 2018
Related: ‘We love the CIA!’ How the U.S. left is losing its mind, by Ann Garrison, contributor, Black Agenda Report, Sept 5, 2018
Signing up for war: The U.S. military agreement with Australia you probably know nothing about, by Bevan Ramsden, The New Matilda (Australia), Sept 6, 2018 (Bevan Ramsden is a representative from New South Wales to the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network.) The Force Posture Agreement was signed between the U.S. and Australian governments in 2015. It makes Australia a base in the Indo-Pacific-South East Asia for the U.S. military, from which it can parade its strength, intimidate and launch hostile acts against Australia’s neighbours…
Turkey and Germany huddle over looming Idlib operation, by Nimet Kirac, Al-Monitor, Sept 4, 2018 [Like the rest of Western media as well as much alternative media, Al-Monitor has been predicting for weeks now “major military action to take place in the last Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib”. But more likely is a political settlement between the Syrian government and those forces in Idlib seeking the government’s violent overthrow. A political settlement will be treated by Western media as a disaster for its regime-change intentions. so they will under-report and distort a settlement should it be reached. This has already been the case with the settlement in December 2016 that ended fighting in the city and province of Aleppo and the settlement that recently ended fighting in and around Damascus. Meanwhile, this same Al-Monitor report reveals, inadvertently, where Turkey’s true interests and allies lie–with its fellow NATO members. The next stage in this drama will take place in Tehran on September 7 when Russia, Iran and Turkey meet to discuss the future of Syria. Russia and Iran will press Turkey to give up its joint pursuit with the U.S. and NATO to overthrow the Syrian government.]
Britain says two Russian ‘intelligence agents placed ‘Novichok’ poison on a doorknob, causing the collapse of Sergei and Yulia Skripal many hours later, reports in anti-Russia Guardian, Sept 4, 2018 and in RT, Sept 5, 2018
* Moscow says it knows nothing of two people named by Britain as responsible for alleged poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal on March 4, 2018, RT, Sept 5, 2018
* Latest Skripal development is rocket fuel to existing anti-Russia fever in London, by John Wight, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, Sept 5, 2018
* Skripals – When the BBC hides the truth, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Aug 27, 2018
* The holes in the official Skripal story, by Craig Murray, published on his website, July 12, 2018
* These are the unanswered questions that still remain after Yulia Skripal’s shock reappearance, by Mary Dejevsky, The Independent, May 24, 2018
New Labour’s irrational adoration of Thatcher exposed as Theresa May faces ‘where were you?’ questions about 1980s-90s anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Sept 3, 2018
Chemnitz rocks against the far-right, Deutsche Welle, Sept 3, 2018 Tens of thousands of mostly young people packed a square in the eastern German city of Chemnitz on the evening of September 3, spilling across a major intersection and into the streets beyond to attend a rock concert in support of refugees…
* Anti-racist protesters confront neo-Nazi march on Sept 1 in east German city of Chemnitz, Deutsche Welle, Sept 1, 2018 (and Associated Press report, Sept 1, 2018)
* Nazis on the march in Germany, by Victor Grossman, published in MR Online, Aug 30, 2018
* The riots in Chemnitz and their aftermath, by staff, Der Spiegel, Aug 31, 2018
* Right-wing mob wreaks havoc on German city, by Raphael Thelen, Der Spiegel, Aug 28, 2018
* The facts on Chemnitz and the far-right’s challenge to democracy in Germany, by Cat Moir, The New Matilda (Australia), Aug 29, 2018 [For all its merits, this analysis continues the trend of left-wing analysts in the West attempting to explain the rise of the extreme-right in Europe while completely ignoring the country where this is most advanced–Ukraine. The NATO countries are providing military and other forms of assistance to the far-right paramilitaries and extreme-right government in Ukraine. The anti-Russia prejudices of many, if not most, Western leftists, compromises their integrity and wrecks their capacity to objectively analyze events in Ukraine since the rise of the ‘EuroMaidan’ movement in 2013-14 and implications for the contemporary world.]
Russia dismisses Trump’s warning about offensive in Syria’s Idlib province, Press TV, Sept 3, 2018
Related: Trump warns Assad against ‘reckless’ attack on Syria’s militant-held Idlib, RT, Sept 3, 2018
Austerity and corruption to blame for Brazil National Museum fire, Telesur, Sept 3, 2018
… On Monday morning people had gathered in the area to get a glimpse of what remained of the Romanesque building declared National Heritage in 1938. At one point police in riot gear resorted to using tear gas on a part of the crowd angry that the government had neglected the museum and the infrastructure to save it, opting to spend instead on World Cup and Olympic stadium deals on which corrupt politicians earned millions in kickbacks.
… Luiz Duarte, a vice-director for the museum said politicians were to blame for failing to support the museum leaving it to decay. “For many years, we fought with different governments to get adequate resources to preserve what is now completely destroyed,” he said. “My feeling is of total dismay and immense anger.” …
Nicaragua: ‘Scientific American should stick to science’, by Dr. Paul Oquist, Telesur, Sept 1, 2018 (Dr. Paul Oquist is Nicaragua’s chief climate negotiator.)
* Camilo Mejia analyzes the soft coup attempt in Nicaragua, by Rick Sterling, Telesur, Aug 28, 2018
* [Two U.S. academics have recently published commentaries merging with the arguments of those seeking the violent overthrow of the elected president and government of Nicaragua. Below are weblinks to the two the commentaries, including one-paragraph quotations from each. What is striking is that each writer makes very similar arguments to those advocating the violent overthrow of the Syrian government. As in the Syria arguments, no credible opposition forces in Nicaragua are identified or described. One of the said commentaries is published by ‘Pulse Media‘. Most of Pulse Media‘s published material consists of advocacy of the violent overthrow of the Syrian government.]
* A massacre, not a coup: A response to misinformation on Nicaragua, by Mary Ellsberg, published in Pulse Media, Sept 1, 2018 …It is true that the opposition is extremely diverse, which reflects many different agendas—including the business community. But this is not unique in Nicaraguan history… After the repression of the last three months, the current regime has zero credibility…
* The Nicaraguan crisis and the manicheanism of the U.S. left, by William I. Robinson, Alainet, Sept 3, 2018 … Finally, have right-wing forces taken advantage of the uprising to try to gain control over it? Absolutely. Have these forces deployed their own violence. Yes. Have they manipulated a disorganized and politically incoherent grassroots opposition to Ortega-Murillo? Yes. Would the post-Ortega scenario the Right seeks to achieve be “more, not less, neo-liberal, repressive, and authoritarian” than the regime, as the article suggests? Probably… [Although the author Willieam Robinson speaks of the ‘U.S. left’ in the title of his article, the sum total of this named ‘left’ is a published analysis by Roger Harris. William Robinson teaches Latin American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Strangely for a scholar on Latin America, his website collection of writings is silent on the extensive efforts by the U.S., Canada and Europe to destabilize and overthrow the Venezuelan government. These efforts have intensified since the death in March 2013 of former president Hugo Chavez in 2013.]
Background: Social security protests in Nicaragua? Hold on a second…, by Jake Johnston, published in the ‘Americas Blog’ of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR, in Washington DC, April 27, 2018
Tens of thousands gather in Donetsk city to mourn and bid farewell to Alexander Zakharchenko, head of Donetsk People’s Republic killed by terrorist bomb on Aug 31, Donetsk New Agency Sept 2, 2018 (and see report in RT, Sept 2, 2018, with extensive photos)
There is a deeper, darker agenda afoot as U.S. administration cuts funding to the UN Palestine refugee agency UNRWA, by Jonathan Cook, The National (UAE), Sept 2, 2018
… Over the past 25 years, peace talks have provided cover for Israel’s incremental takeover of what was supposed to be a future Palestinian state. In the words of Palestinian lawyer Michael Tarazi, while Israel and the Palestinians were discussing how to divide the pizza, Israel ate it all.
So Mr Trump’s team has, in effect, reverse-engineered a “peace process” based on the reality on the ground that Israel has created. If Israel won’t compromise, Mr Trump will settle the final status issues – borders, Jerusalem and the refugees – in the stronger party’s favour. The only hurdle is finding a way to bully the Palestinians into acceptance…
Central to a planned disruption of UNRWA is stripping millions of Palestinians of their status as refugees. The Trump administration is due to publish a report later this month, according to Israeli media, that will propose capping the Palestinian refugee population at 500,000 – a tenth of the current number…
The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine in February 2014: Revelations from trials and investigations, summary of presentation by Ivan Katchanovski (University of Ottawa) to the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association held in Boston Aug 30 to Sept 2, 2018. Presentation summary is here.
The eccentric theory of ‘sub-imperialism’ in today’s world. [An essay by Andy Higginbottom published on June 19, 2018 by the Review Of African Political Economy and reposted on September 1 in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal argues, “Patrick Bond highlights the emergence of sub-imperialism of the BRICS countries as a major phenomenon of the last period that has to be taken fully into account. We can agree with this…” What data and other factual analysis do Higginbottom and Patrick Bond draw upon to make their case for the existence and role of what they term ‘sub-imperialist’ countries? Why, none at all. They string together anecdotal observations accompanied by commonplace arguments that the capitalist classes in middle, non-imperialist powers such as Russia, China and Brazil exploit labour and natural resources as a consequence of their capitalist economies. The entire academic school of ‘sub-imperialism’ constitutes a diversion from discussion and analysis of the complexities of the new cold war conflict which sees the large imperialist countries attacking the large capitalist countries of Russia and China in a bid to impose upon them a subordinate status. Do the actions of Russia and China in standing up to imperialism have any consequences for the liberation struggles of oppressed peoples in the world, for example in the Middle East and eastern Europe? Does this open space for those resisting imperialism, in Syria or Latin America, for example? Who knows, who cares, say the theoreticians of ‘sub-imperialism’. They have an eccentric theory that for at least five years now has conveniently served to ignore such vital questions.]
Are Russia and the U.S. back to square one on Syria?, by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor, Sept 1, 2018 ‘Until now, Moscow had been coming to the belief that although the crisis involving Idlib is serious, Russia’s contacts with Turkey were capable of producing a diplomatic solution that would ultimately suit all parties, at least for the time being, and that could deal a blow both to the terrorists and to those from the opposition who continue to refuse to lay down arms.’
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, August 2018 (find headlines for July 2018 further below)
Terrorist bombing in restaurant kills Alexander Zakharchenko, head of Donetsk People’s Republic, Sputnik International, Aug 31, 2018 The Donetsk People’s Republic Operational Command announced today that exits and entrances to Donetsk have been closed following a blast that left the republic’s head Alexander Zakharchenko dead and three more injured…
* Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls murder of Donbass leader Alexander Zakharchenko a ‘blatant provocation’, RT, Sept 1, 2018
* Lavrov: Killing of rebel leader in Ukraine aimed against 2015 ‘Minsk 2’ treaty, Deutsche Welle, Sept 1, 2018
U.S. cuts its annual $300 million funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency, Deutsche Welle, Aug 31, 2018
The Trump administration’s spoiler foreign policy, by Patrick Lawrence, special to Consortium News, Aug 31, 2018 U.S. strategy abroad is assuming a curious shape. Whether the president or his minders are running affairs, the is U.S. being reduced to playing a spoiler role in the Middle East and Northeast Asia.
In fit of anti-Trump pique, American liberals shamelessly embrace ‘deep-state’ criminals, by Michael McCaffrey, published in RT”s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Aug 31, 2018
Hundreds of thousands march in Argentina on Aug 30 to denounce social spending cuts, defend public education, Telesur, Aug 31, 2018
Revised NAFTA shows every sign of being another Trump scam, monthly column by Pete Dollack, published on his website Systemic Disorder, Aug 29, 2018
Thousands demonstrate in Berlin on August 30 against extreme-right rampage in city of Chemnitz earlier in the week, report in Deutsche Welle, Aug 30, 2018 What was expected to be a small gathering of one hundred or so individuals speaking out against hate and xenophobia turned into a demonstration of thousands in the Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln on Thursday night.
* Top bands organize concert against racism in Chemnitz for Sept 3, Deutsche Welle, Aug 30, 2018
* Eyewitness to the extreme-right, racist rampage in Chemnitz, eastern Germany on Aug 27, 28, 2018, interview on CBC Radio One’s ‘As It Happens’, broadcast on Aug 28, 2018 (seven minute interview with Grisha Stanyek, head of media relations of the Berlin-based Jewish Forum For Democracy And Against Anti-Semitism, interview begins at 28’/25″ mark)
* Arrest warrant that sparked mob attacks in Chemnitz, Germany was leaked by police, Agence France presse (AFP), Aug 29, 2018
* Why Germany’s far-right is finding its home in Saxony, commentary by Matthias Kolb, published in Globe and Mail op-ed page, Aug 28, 2018 (Matthias Kolb is an editor for iSüddeutsche Zeitung in Munich.)
* Clashes in eastern German city of Chemnitz as extreme-right escalates attacks against immigrants, Deutsche Welle, Aug 27, 2018 (and report in The Guardian, Aug 28, 2018) Rival protests have once again broken out in Chemnitz, a day after a deadly stabbing provoked an anti-immigrant demo. Chancellor Merkel condemned rioters who she said were “hunting down” foreigners.
* German police fight far-right infiltration claims, Deutsche Welle, Aug 23, 2018
* Germany returns human remains from Namibia genocide, Deutsche Welle, Aug 29, 2018 The German government has handed over the remains of indigenous men and women killed during Germany’s colonial era in Africa. Namibian activists have called on Berlin to apologize and provide reparations for massacring thousands.
* Austria’s far-right hipsters, Deutsche Welle, Aug 28, 2018
Argentina lifts interest rates to world high 60 per cent, seeks IMF aid to save peso, by Carolina Millan, Patrick Gillespie and Ignacio Olivera Doll, Bloomberg News, Aug 30, 2018
* Turkish lira left to tank as markets downplay contagion fears, Deutsche Welle, Aug 30, 2018
* Argentina hikes interest rate to 60 per cent as peso crashes, Telesur, Aug 30, 2018
* South America’s ‘made in the USA’ growing crisis–How Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela are destabilized, by Jack Rasmus, published on his website Predicting the Global Economic Crisis, June 10, 2018 (Jack Rasmus is a Keynesian economist who teaches economics and politics at St. Mary’s College in California.)
‘Vital’ U.S. moles in the Kremlin go missing!, commentary by Stephen Cohen, The Nation, Aug 29, 2018 According to New York Times intel leakers, “informants close to” Vladimir Putin have “gone silent”. What can it all mean? Referencing: Kremlin sources go quiet, leaving CIA in the dark about Putin’s plans for U.S. November midterm elections, by Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, Aug. 24, 2018
Related: Comment by Fred Weir, reporter for the Christian Science Monitor in Moscow, on his Facebook page:
This is amazing, astounding, really. All these stories, including this one [New York Times article cited above], splashed over front pages, are purporting to tell us something about the most sensitive and hidden of secret agents, and what they are getting up to on any given day? For the CIA to have even one reliable source “close to Putin” would be a massive coup, the crown jewel of sources, whose existence — you might think — would be a closely-kept secret, never mentioned in public. Whenever intelligence officials are hauled before Senate hearings and such, they will dodge even the simplest questions by saying they fear compromising “sources and methods.” And probably that’s right; there are trade-craft reasons why they keep even the tiniest and seemingly superficial aspects of some things secret for 30 years, then vigorously redact whatever they finally release.
Yet for the past two years we’ve been inundated with these stories, about almost real-time intercepts of secret Russian communications, supposed revelations of the inner workings of the GRU, even what kinds of orders Putin issues inside his Kremlin office. People take seriously the Christopher Steele dossier, that supposedly reveals kompromat held in the deep vaults of the FSB, among other extraordinary things, knowledge of which would be limited to a tiny circle of Russian top officials. Are the journalists writing this stuff not aware that this kind of information — if it were genuine — has had to have been painstakingly gathered by some highly-placed Russians, who are committing treason, and have Russian counter-intelligence breathing down their necks every day? Even the slightest [accurate, or even inaccurate] hint about them, their activities, what order they may have overheard, even the claim here that they are going to ground, could be tantamount to betraying them. Ditto for some really cool form of techno-surveillance that enables the CIA or NSA to find out all this stuff. We definitely don’t want the Russians to hear the slightest breath about such capabilities, ever, do we? But the NYT and WaPo treat us to this stuff routinely, as if Russian counter-intelligence isn’t in the room with us and reading it all too. I’m sure these papers are getting it from real sources inside the “intelligence community” but I also doubt there is a word of truth in any of it. We are living amid a shitstorm of disinformation, would be my conclusion.
Will Turkey’s ‘strategic partnership’ with Russia cover Syrian province of Idlib?, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Aug 29, 2018 [This latest analysis in Al-Monitor departs somewhat from the publication’s unproven assertions during these past weeks that the Syrian government is preparing an all-out military assault on the Syrian province of Idlib, currently a haven for foreign-backed, right-wing militias seeking the violent overthrow of the Syrian government. Now we read, “… eyes are now focused on the Sept. 7 summit in Tehran between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Turkey will be the weak link in Tehran, since both Russia and Iran are keen to see Idlib cleared of all jihadi elements and the region returned to [Syrian government control]. Retired Turkish Brig. Gen. Naim Baburoglu believes Turkey will have little choice but to submit to pressure from Russia and Iran…”
Iraqis split over U.S. military decision to stay in Iraq, by Omar al-Jaffal, Al-Monitor, Aug 30, 2018 … The Pentagon estimates 5,200 US troops are deployed in Iraq to provide training and consultations to Iraqi security forces. However, media outlets talk about the presence of more than 7,000 US troops.
Why did John McCain continue to support war?, by Matt Tabibbi, Rolling Stone, Aug 28, 2018
I was surprised to hear the great Stevie Wonder — the creator of the searing anti-war, anti-Vietnam song “Front Line” — paid tribute to John McCain in the middle of a concert this past weekend.
On one hand it made sense, as Wonder has always been about love and forgiveness, and he’s rarely had a bad word for anyone. But he is also a political voice, who sings passionately about America’s inability to reckon with its violent nature.
That 1983 song, “Front Line,” describes a phenomenon we don’t talk about much: Our unthinking worship of all things military, and our unparalleled ability to quickly forget military atrocities, so as to embrace the inevitable next invasion…
McCain was not, generally speaking, a man of strong beliefs. One of the most honest things he ever said was that he didn’t run for president to enact reforms or out of some “grand sense of patriotism,” but simply because “it had become my ambition to be president.” If anything, he often seemed bored by domestic issues, and was even famous after a fashion for “reaching across the aisle” on matters like campaign finance. But he did have one unshakeable conviction: Wherever America had a foreign policy problem, the solution was always to bomb the fuck out of someone…
* Washington Post uses photo of John McCain alongside Ukrainian neo-Nazi Oleh Tyahnybok to praise McCain’s ‘human rights’ work, by Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), Aug 29, 2018
* Beware the hero worship of John McCain, by Scott Ritter, Truthdig, Aug 29, 2018
* John McCain: Not ‘war hero’ but war criminal, by Max Blumenthal, special to Consortium News, Aug 27, 2018 If the paeans to McCain by diverse political climbers seems detached from reality, it’s because they reflect the elite view of U.S. military interventions as a chess game, with the millions killed by unprovoked aggression mere statistics.
* John McCain wasn’t a hero, by Branko Marcetic , Jacobin, Aug 27, 2018 John McCain’s greatest achievement was convincing the world through charming banter and occasional opposition to his party’s agenda that he was anything other than a reactionary, bloodthirsty war hawk.
* Investigating John McCain’s tragedy at sea, Truthdig, Aug 26, 2018 (originally published by Truthdig in 2008)
In Kabul, echoes of the fall of Saigon, by Ahmed Rashid, NYR Daily (New York Review of Books), Aug 28, 2018
How the Department of Homeland Security created a deceptive tale of Russia hacking U.S. voter sites, by Gareth Porter, special to Consortium News, Aug 28, 2018
In national televised address, Putin details amendments to soften impact of impending pension system changes, RT, Aug 29, 2018
Related: Putin softens controversial pension reform, by Anna Smolchenko, Agence France presse (AFP), Aug 29, 2018
Turkey strives to unite rebel factions in Syria against Assad, by Khaled al-Khateb, Al-Monitor, Aug 27, 2018 [Reports in Al-Monitor are filled with speculation-presented-as-fact that a military attack by Syria is imminent against the right-wing militias granted haven in Syria’s Idlib province. Turkey, meanwhile, is scrambling to deepen an institutional footprint in the areas of northern Syria which it occupies illegally–the province of Afrin and the area between Afrin and the Euphrates River. See, for example: Turkey connecting Syria’s al-Bab to its power supply, by Khaled al-Khateb, Al-Monitor, Aug 31, 2018.)
* Erdogan set to meet Putin, Rouhani in Iran to weigh options on Syria, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Aug 27, 2018
* ‘Free Syria Army’ takes a hit with the slump of the Turkish lira, report by Khaled al-Khateb, in Al-Monitor, Aug 28, 2018
Venezuelan immigration crisis?, by Ollantay Itzamná, Resumen, Aug 24, 2018
Related: Ecuador calls for summit on Venezuelan migration amid tightening regional restrictions, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Aug 23, 2018
An open letter to ‘socialists’ who might be fronting for the Democratic Party, commentary by Quetzal Cáceres, Black Agenda Report, Aug 22, 2018
Masked neo-fascists strike fear into Ukraine’s Roma, The Guardian, Aug 27, 2018 [It is very ironic to see an article published in The Guardian daily newspaper about the ascendance of the extreme right in Ukraine. That’s because for the past four years and a half, the newspaper has played games with the story of the rise of the extreme-right in Ukraine and the right-wing coup it staged in 2014. The newspaper has waged a sustained effort to turn that story into a fictionalized story of Russian attacks and intervention against Ukraine while simultaneously absolving the U.S., European Union and Canada for financing and arming the right-wing Ukrainian government and its extreme-right paramilitary legions.]
Related: A question of attitude, by Professor Paul Robinson (University of Ottawa), published on his website Irrussianality, Aug 24, 2018
Zionism – the stumbling block to peace, by Leslie Bravery, The Daily Blog (New Zealand), Aug 25, 2018 Some Zionists assert that there is no such thing as Palestine, going so far as to deny its culture and history.
* Israel’s racist lynch mobs are hunting Arabs. And they’re fueled by government incitement, commentary by Noam Shuster Eliassi, Haaretz, Aug 27, 2018
* Anti-Semitism vs. anti-colonialism, by Joseph Massad, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 24, 2018 …The ongoing fight in Britain is fundamentally not over those few marginal racists who still believe in some Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. It’s whether labeling Israel as a colonial-settler state is anti-Semitic; whether anti-colonial resistance to Israeli settler-colonialism and racist laws constitutes anti-Semitism; whether questioning the legal and institutional religious, racial and colonial privileges accorded to Israeli Jews over the indigenous Palestinians constitutes anti-Semitism. …This is a most perplexing debate for any political observer, as it is Israel that claims to be a “Jewish state”, representing the Jews of the world, even though a majority of the world’s Jews are not Israeli citizens…
* Boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS): How a controversial non-violent movement has transformed the Israeli-Palestinian debate, lengthy essay by Nathan Thrall, in The Guardian, Aug 14, 2018
Greece was never bailed out – it remains locked in an EU debtor’s prison, commentary by Yanis Varoufakis, published in The Guardian, Aug 26, 2018 Over the past week, the world’s media have been proclaiming the successful completion of the Greek financial rescue programme mounted in 2010 by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund… A more careful reading of the facts points to a different reality. In the very week that a devastated Greece entered another 42 years of harsh austerity and deeper debt bondage (2018-2060), how can the end of austerity and Greece’s regained financial independence be presented as fact? Instead, last week should be cited in our universities’ media schools and economics departments as an example of how consent can be built internationally around a preposterous lie…
Obituary for ousted Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull: Out of the frying pan, into the fire, by Ben Eltham, The New Matilda, Aug 27, 2018 So, Prime Minister Morrison. Congratulations, I guess, are in order. I can’t think of too much more to say than that, because on any deeper level the events of last week were a devastating indictment of Australian democracy and, more particularly, of our political class…
Related: The rise of the far-right in Australia demands an urgent progressive response, by Ben Eltham, published in The New Matilda, Aug 20, 2018 [A surprising omission from this article is how Australia’s foreign policy supporting right-wing regimes abroad—in Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, for example—encourages extreme-right politics at home.]
Cuba debates new constitution, by Helen Yaffe, published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (UK), Aug 10, 2018
NATO and the myth of the liberal international order, by Tony Wood, NYR Daily (New York Review of Books), Aug 21, 2018 …The foreign policy course on which the Trump administration is embarked—including the revocation of the Iran nuclear deal; exacerbation of the conflict in Israel–Palestine; continued antagonism with Russia; destabilizing trade wars—is likely to multiply sources of discord with Europe. For all that, NATO’s European members are clearly not going to try to overhaul the alliance in the near future, let alone consider scrapping it. On the contrary, they appear to have embraced their subordination ever more closely…
Is Israel’s hidden hand behind the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn?, by Jonathan Cook, published in Middle East Eye, Aug 24, 2018 Israeli group submits freedom of information request as evidence grows of meddling by Netanyahu government in UK politics
* The anti-Semitism campaign against Corbyn leaves out Palestinians, interview with Ghada Karmi, broadcast on The Real News Network, Aug 22, 2018 (18 minute interview) Palestinian scholar Ghada Karmi explains that in defending himself from false and outlandish accusations of anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn – the head of the British Labour Party – is reneging on his responsibility towards Palestinians
The Druze have to face that in Israel, some are far more equal than others, by Jonathan Cook, Middle East Eye, Aug 22, 2018 The Israeli Jewish public’s assumption that the Druze enjoy equal status in Israel was always fanciful illusion
Renowned news show ‘Empire Files’ on Telesur goes off air due to crippling U.S. sanctions, by Mohamed Elmaazi, The Canary, Aug 23, 2018
Related: That Facebook will turn to censoring the left isn’t a worry, it’s a reality, by Alan MacLeod, published by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), Aug 22, 2018
Spain exhumes its painful past, by Omar G. Encarnación, published in NYR Daily (New York Review of Books), Aug 24, 2018
Related: Spanish government approves exhumation of fascist dictator Francisco Franco, El Pais, Aug 23, 2018 …The deputy prime minister went on to explain that the Franco family will have two weeks to take charge of the remains of the former dictator, and should they fail to do so, the Spanish government will choose a “dignified and respectful” place for him to be reinterred…
Less than 24 hours after U.S. Senate rejects effort to curb slaughter in Yemen, 26 more children killed by U.S.-backed Saudi bombing, by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Aug 25, 2018 … Condemning the bombing near the Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah that occurred on August 23 but was not widely reported until the following day, the United Nation’s humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, and head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, said the attack—in which four women, in addition to the children, were killed—took place as the victims tried to flee the area…
Prison labor is modern slavery. I’ve been sent to solitary for speaking out, by Kevin Rashid Johnson, published in ‘Comment Is Free’ feature in The Guardian, Aug 23, 2018 I may be locked up in solitary confinement, but I stand with the men and women rejecting modern slavery in America (Kevin Rashid Johnson is co-founder of the New African Black Panther Party during the 1990s. He is serving a life sentence for a murder conviction; he says he was wrongly convicted. His website is here.)
Crashed, more the how than the why, book review by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in UK), published on his website, Aug 24, 2018 Reviewing: Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World, by Adam Tooze, publisher Allen Lane (Penguin), Aug 2018, 720 pp
… In my own book on this period, The Great Recession, which is a chronological account, month by month, of the crisis from 2005 to 2010, I describe how the big banks in particular completely escaped the consequences of this scam, thanks to the U.S. government. Indeed, the whole ugly story of the activities of Goldman Sachs and other investment banks before, during and after the credit crunch and the Great Recession beggars belief. Tooze’s lengthy book covers the significant financial crises of the previous ten years in much more detail than Lewis or me – and is global in scope. Its length does not mean it is boring at all, as he presents us with vignettes of the major players and their decisions…
Ankara startles banks as indebted companies hope for lifeline, by Mustafa Sonmez, Al-Monitor, Aug 24, 2018 Ankara’s apparent intention to dictate “tolerance” by banks toward heavily indebted companies has raised concerns in the banking sector and potential rescue plans lack real financing options
* How Turkey’s lira crisis was written in Istanbul’s skyline, by Pesha Magid and Umar Farooq, The Guardian, Aug 23, 2018 The crash of the Turkish lira last week after two years of steady decline spooked global markets – but anyone looking at Istanbul’s skyline would have been far from surprised. Everywhere you look in the city, evidence of a debt-fuelled construction boom abounds… According to government statistics, at the end of 2016, nearly 90 per cent of the credit in Turkish real estate companies came from loans in foreign currencies… The Turkish economy’s dependence on the construction sector for growth particularly dangerous. In the third quarter of 2017, construction made up 18.7 per cent of the economy…
* Turkey: total meltdown, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in Britain), published on his website, July 11, 2018
The beautiful and the damned: Washington’s hypocrisy exposed as children die from sanctions and missiles, commentary by Finian Cunningham, in RT’s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Aug 24, 2018
Russian Foreign Ministry says time has come for Russia to finally ditch US dollar for trade transactions, RT, Aug 24, 2018 [Related to this is the beginning earlier this year of China opening its oil futures purchases in the Chinese currency (‘renminbi’), the yuan.]
Moon over Korea, book review by E. Tammy Kim, published in New York Review of Books, print edition of Aug 16, 2018 Reviewing: Moon Jae-in eui Unmyeong [The Destiny of Moon Jae-in] by Moon Jae-in, Bookpal (Seoul), 488 pp (in Korean language) Read the review here in PDF format: Moon over Korea.
Related: RIP to the liberal order: American mourning after the U.S.-North Korea June summit, by Suzy Kim (Rutgers University), published by Korea Policy Institute, Aug 19, 2018
… What the majority of liberals fail to acknowledge is just how similar Trump’s message of unilateralism and America First (what one White House official recently characterized as the “We’re America, Bitch” doctrine) is to the idea of American exceptionalism that has defined American identity since the end of World War II. The “indifference to democracy and human rights and cultivation of dictators” is not a “new world” Trump is creating, as Schake claims; it has undergirded the United States’ superpower status since 1945.
… Reactions to the summit in the United States are a kind of mourning at the disintegration of the Pax Americana and the pride of American exceptionalism with it. But this feeling of loss at the end of the liberal order should be put into proper perspective. The last 70 years hold a very different significance for Korea, which was divided into two separate states in 1948 precisely to uphold that liberal order. The Republic of Korea as the bulwark against the Communist North was founded exactly 70 years ago on August 15, 1948, followed by the DPRK the following month. It’s long overdue for Korea to be able to chart its own future. It’s time to bid farewell to the liberal order. [End article.]
The U.S. is building a drone base in Niger that will cost more than $280 million by 2024, by Nick Turse, The Intercept, Aug 21, 2018
Cohen bombshell sparks fresh calls for Trump impeachment, but what happened to Russia collusion?, RT, Aug 22, 2018
* Proof that Manafort & Cohen are criminals adds no weight to Mueller’s Russia collusion probe, commentary by Danielle Ryan, RT, Aug 22, 2018
* Fear Trump will pardon Manafort? See what pardon king Clinton and these other decision makers did, RT, Aug 22, 2018
*Four things we learned from the trial of Paul Manafort, by Adrian Morrow, U.S. correspondent, The Globe and Mail, Aug 17, 2018 [This report in the virulently anti-Russia Globe and Mail explains: “…U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, is on trial for tax evasion in connection with more than US$60-million he made from oligarchs and politicians connected to [sic] Russian President Vladimir Putin. …The case against Mr. Manafort does not directly relate to the 2016 election…”
Russiagate conceals Israeli meddling and threatened war with Iran, by Max Parry, Dissident Voice, Aug 22, 2018
Related: 1953 Iran coup – a crime authored in London and Washington, by John Wight, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, Aug 16, 2018 This week marks 65 years since the Western-orchestrated coup in Iran. August 19, 1953 is the day that Iranians were taught a hard lesson in the rules of the game when it comes to empire and hegemony. For on this day, the country’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, was overthrown at the hands of Washington and London. It was, by any measure, an act of international banditry that continues to cry out for just redress…
What’s left in Nicaragua after Ortega, by Roger D. Harris, Dissident Voice, Aug 18, 2018
* A response to Mary Ellsberg’s minformation on Nicaragua: It was a coup, not a ‘massacre’, by Charles Redvers, published on The Grayzone Project, Aug 15, 2018 … Mary Ellberg’s article is an incomplete depiction of what is happening on the ground, ignoring many salient facts that have come to light and which have been outdated by recent events. The following is a brief response to Ellsberg’s main points from someone who lives in Nicaragua and has observed the situation directly and intimately… (Charles Redvers is a Canadian who has lived in Nicaragua at different times over the last three decades, currently in León.)
* Nicaragua’s failed coup, by Charles Redvers, published on Open Democracy [anti-Russia publication], Aug 9, 2018
* How Nicaragua has defeated a right-wing U.S.-backed coup attempt: Report from Managua, reports by Max Blumenthal and Nils McCune from Nicaragua, broadcast on Moderate Rebels, with host Ben Norton, July 26, 2018 (Read an excerpt here in which Nils McCune discusses the role of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) in formenting a violent overthrow of the Nicaragua government.)
Savchenko, Sentsov & Udaltsov: Blatant hypocrisy makes Russians deeply cynical about the West, commentary by Bryan MacDonald, published in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, Aug 22, 2018 (Bryan MacDonald is an Irish journalist based in Russia.)
* Western hypocrisy over convictions in Russia of Oleg Sentsov and Alexander Kol’chenko, by Victor Shapinov, Aug. 28, 2015 [Western media is raising a hue and cry over the 2015 criminal conviction in Russia of Ukrainian national Oleg Sentsov. He was convicted of planning terrorist attacks in Crimea following the March 2014 referendum to secede from Ukraine.] * Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service rejects reports jailed Ukrainian filmmaker being fed forcibly, TASS Russian news service, Aug 21, 2018
* Kremlin comments on filmmaker Sentsov case, TASS, Aug 15, 2018
Venezuela’s new economic program: Will it stop hyperinflation?, interview by Greg Wilpert with Mark Weisbrot, broadcast on The Real News Network, Aug 20, 2018 (15 minute interview) President Maduro is introducing a series of deep economic reforms, to put an end to hyperinflation and to re-start the economy. But this can only happen if faith is restored in the currency and if US financial sanctions come to an end, says Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington DC-based Center for Economic Policy Research
* Venezuela’s new currency, economic reforms go into effect, Telesur, Aug 20, 2018 …Economists Tony Boza and Elio Córdova told Telesur that the measure of anchoring the Sovereign Bolivar and salaries to the Petro seeks to avoid the depreciation of the monetary currency and protect the purchasing power of Venezuelans. In an exclusive interview with Telesur, the two economists explained that the governmental objective is to stop the imbalance, a product of the economic war, induced from abroad…
* Confusion reigns as Maduro mega-devaluation roils Venezuela, by Jose Orozco and Fabiola Zerpa, Bloomberg News, Aug 18, 2018 The government has raised the minimum wage more than 3,000 per cent
* Venezuela to sell off assets of public bus network and civil aviation institute as fears of privatisation grow, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Aug 15, 2018
Investors, ignore the crisis in Turkey at your peril, column by David Rosenberg, in Globe and Mail ‘Report On Business’, Aug 21, 2018 (subscriber only)
While attention from the financial media only began to pick up late last week, the problems in Turkey have been piling up for many months. This is an economy saddled with just more than US$460-billion in external debt (mostly denominated in U.S. dollars and mostly in the corporate sector), equivalent to roughly 56 per cent of the country’s GDP. The current account deficit has ballooned to 6 per cent of GDP. Complicating matters further, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s insistence on low-interest-rate policy means the country’s central bank is abandoning any semblance of monetary orthodoxy – ensuring that inflation will spiral higher still.
What makes Turkey particularly vulnerable is that, 1), US$122-billion of this debt comes due within a year and 2), it has very little cushion in the form of foreign-currency reserves. This is a problematic mix that is very similar to what we saw in Thailand in 1997. The fact we don’t have a fixed-exchange regime in place now (as we did back then in most emerging-market countries) misses the point, because the 44-per-cent plunge in the Turkish lira isn’t that far off the decline (58 per cent) in the Thai baht that followed its devaluation just more than two decades ago. Currently, the question in the market is whether or not there are knock-on effects from this that might morph into some sort of wider contagion…
The limits of Elizabeth Warren, by Sam Husseini, special to Consortium News, Aug 22, 2018 Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday, August 22, Senator Elizabeth Warren launched into a blistering attack on unfettered corporate power in America but waffled when asked about military spending and Israel’s recent brutal reaction to Palestinian resistance… We’ve been here before with would-be champions of the people who run up against the “system.” I could not help but think of Bernie Sanders in his 2016 presidential run when he was remarkably vague on foreign policy…
* Accountable, inclusive or responsible capitalism?, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in UK), published on his website, Aug 21, 2018
* Concerning Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Palestine, open letter to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and to the National Electoral Committee and New York City chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, July 24, 2018
The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real), feature commentary by Norman G. Finkelstein, Mondoweiss, Aug 19, 2018 (commentary to be continued) The current hysteria engulfing the British Labour Party resolves itself into a pair of interrelated, if discrete, premises: Anti-Semitism in British society at large and the Labour Party in particular have reached crisis proportions. If neither of these premises can be sustained, then the hysteria is a fabrication. In fact, no evidence has been adduced to substantiate either of them; on the contrary, all the evidence points in the opposite direction. The rational conclusion is that the brouhaha is a calculated hoax—dare it be said, plot?—to oust Jeremy Corbyn and the principled leftist politics he represents from British public life…
* Accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ against the UK Labour Party: Corbyn’s Labour is being made to fail, by Johnathan Cook, published on his website blog, Aug 16, 2018
* Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn files complaint with regulator against right-wing media over media’s ‘anti-Semitism’ hysteria, RT, Aug 16, 2018
In advocating for a Palestinian state, Haaretz forgets about the Palestinians, by Meron Rapoport, published in +972 Magazine, Aug 20, 2018 According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, all Israel has to do to maintain the relevance of the two-state solution is evacuate 9,800 Jewish families from the West Bank. How do the Palestinians factor into this vision? They do not. (Meron Rapoport is an editor at Local Call, where a version of this article first appeared in Hebrew. Read it here.)
Related: In detaining Peter Beinart, Israel is effectively declaring that it no longer represents millions of Jews overseas, by Jonathan Cook, published in The National (UAE), Aug 19, 2018
What happens now Greece’s financial bailout is over?, by Ben Chu, economics editor, The Independent, Aug 20, 2018
Trial and investigation testimonies by 43 protesters wounded by snipers on Maidan Square in Kyiv in February 2014, video presentation of testimonies, prepared by Ivan Katchanovski and broadcast on YouTube, Aug 17, 2018 (53-minute video, English-language subtitles. (Ivan Katchanovski is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Ottawa..))
This video consists of excerpts from testimonies by 43 wounded Maidan protesters at the Maidan massacre trial and investigation. The testimonials speak of the snipers who shot from Maidan protest-controlled buildings and areas in central Kyiv on February 20, 2014. The video is an appendix of papers prepared for presentation at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in Boston (Aug 30 to Sept 2, 2018) and the ‘Regimes and Societies in Conflict: Eastern Europe and Russia since 1956‘ conference hosted by the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University and the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, to take place at Uppsala University (Uppsala, Sweden) on Sept 13, 14, 2018. Publication of the papers presented at these two conferences is forthcoming.
Book review: Russia’s response to sanctions, review by Professor Paul Robinson (University of Ottawa), published on his website Irrussianality, Aug 16, 2018 Reviewing: Russia’s Response to Sanctions: How Western Economic Statecraft Is Reshaping Political Economy In Russia, by Richard Connolly (University of Birmingham), published by Cambridge University Press, June 2018, ISBN 9781108227346, online information here
Remembering dependency theory: A Marxist-humanist review, by Edward Tapia, published in New Politics magazine, Summer 2017 This article aims to show that dependency theory underlines vividly the problem of examining the logic of capital independent of Marx’s concept of value…
[Samir Amin passed away in Paris on August 13, 2018 at the age of 86 (Wikipedia). He was a self-declared Marxist and leading proponent of the ‘dependency theory’ school of thought devoted to analysing the workings of the world imperialist system. Tributes to him are being written and published by academic Marxist colleagues and publications.
[The above essay by Edward Tapia provides a Marxist critique of dependency theory, arguing that its proponents are “fixated upon the fetishized world of appearances, that is, exchange value, without penetrating into social relations of production.” Edward Tapia is a writer on imperialism and dependency theory. His writings appear in New Politics and on the website of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization.
[Samir Amin worked for United Nations agencies during the 1960s and 1970s. At the beginning of the 1980s, he founded the Third World Forum, a forum for exchange of ideas between left-wing academics. He directed it until his passing. In recent years, Amin supported the French military intervention into Mali in January 2013 and the military-fascist coup in Egypt in July 2013, in both cases citing his opposition to ‘political Islam’. He believed in the possibility that imperialist Europe could embark upon a ‘multipolar’ break from its alliance with the United States and join with Asian countries such as Russia and China in a new and progressive global human development. He wrote in a 2017 essay, “Europe’s status on the international political scene is condemned to insignificance by its support for Washington’s project for world domination. If it were to follow the path outlined above [break from U.S. foreign policy], it could then exploit its economic power for the reconstruction of an authentic multipolar world…” Amin’s 2016 book on the ‘Arab Spring’ received a sharply critical review by UK writer Kevin Crane.]
After Senate vote on Aug 15 to reject legalization of abortion services, Argentines sign up to abandon Catholic Church, Common Dreams, Aug 18, 2018 … The Catholic Church lobbied aggressively against the legalized abortion bill. Every year, about 500,000 illegal and unsafe abortions take place in Argentina…
U.S. ends $230 million Syria stabilization funding, says its ‘allies’ will provide it, Associated Press, Aug 18, 2018 [Readers of Western, corporate news reports on Syria must navigate prejudices and nonsensical statements mixed in with news. For example, this Associated Press report, written by an AP ‘diplomatic writer’ no less, begins, “The Trump administration is ending funding for Syria stabilization projects as it moves to extricate the U.S. from the conflict…” Later in the article, it repeats the same theme: “Still, the move [the Trump regime axing $230 million for so-called stabilization funding in post-ISIS areas of Syria] was seen as a sign the administration is heeding Trump’s demand to end U.S. involvement in Syria and reduce its commitment there.” But the U.S. is increasing its military presence in or against Syria, as is its Israel ally. In doing so, it is cooperating with its NATO ally Turkey notwithstanding mainstream news claims that the U.S. and Turkey are into a spiral of declining relations. These declining relations presage an emerging new, Turkey-Russia alliance, the mainstream claims and would have us believe.]
Nazi collaborator greeting ‘Glory to Ukraine’ becomes official Ukraine army salute, by Mordechai Sones, Israel National News, Aug 16, 2018
In Kyiv, the square of broken hopes, documentary film by Israeli investigative journalist Anna Stephan, posted to YouTube, July 2018 (50 minute video)
Related: Ukraine’s ‘Maidan’ protets four years on: A quest for truth, report published by EU Reporter, March 25, 2018
ISIS given ‘breathing space’ in parts of Syria under U.S.-backed forces’ control, RT, Aug 18, 2018 Islamic State managed to regain access to Syrian oil fields and make profits from selling oil, a new UN report reveals. While the UN did not point fingers, the IS reemergence seems to occur in areas held by the US-backed forces. “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS], having been defeated militarily in Iraq and most of the Syrian Arab Republic during 2017, rallied in early 2018. This was the result of a loss of momentum by forces fighting it in the east of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the recent report from the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team reads. The document is dated July 27, but was only released to the public this week…
Trump just triggered a new financial crisis. Here’s why, commentary by Dan Glazebrook, in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, Aug 17, 2018
Corporate media in the U.S. and its ‘freedom of the press’ day on August 16, commentary by Sam Husseini, published on his website Posthaven, Aug 16, 2018 (This essay is originally titled ‘Trump-media logrolling’. Sam Husseini is a Washington DC-based independent journalist. He writes for The Nation and also appears in Consortium News, CounterPunch and elsewhere. On July 16, 2018, he was forcibly removed by Finland police from the press conference in Helsinki held by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin following their summit meeting that day.)
Mission accomplished: Why solidarity boats to Gaza succeed despite failing to break the siege, by Ramzay Baroud, published in Middle East Monitor, Aug 13, 2018 Also published in CounterPunch, Telesur and Kia Ora Gaza (New Zealand). (Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a U.S.-Arab journalist and author. He is the editor of Palestine Chronicle since 1999, former managing editor of the London-based Middle East Eye 2014-15, former editor-in-chief of The Brunei Times and former deputy managing editor of Al Jazeera online. He is the author of four books and a contributor to many others; his latest volume is The Last Earth, a Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London, 2018).) He publishes the website Politics For The People where all his writings can be found.
Turkey kills PKK leader in Sinjar, northern Iraq, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Aug 16, 2018 A Turkish airstrike has killed Zaki Shingal, a senior leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party, to the dismay of the Iraqi Yazidis rescued from ISIS by the PKK in 2014.
How regional politics is restraining Kurdish militancy in Iran, by Fazel Hawramy, Al-Monitor, Aug 6, 2018
Despite the feud, Canada remains complicit in Saudi Arabia’s abuses, by Davide Mastracci, blogs associate editor, HuffPost Canada, Aug 15, 2018 Canada shouldn’t be seen as a country daring to take the first step against Saudi Arabia, but rather as a bully’s friend who said the wrong thing.
Bridges across Europe are in a dangerous state, warn experts, The Guardian, Aug 16, 2018 [Key tunnels and bridge crossings all over Europe are reaching the end of their life. A vast span of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, northern Italy caved in during a heavy rainstorm on August 14, sending about 35 cars and several trucks plunging 45 metres (150ft) onto railway tracks below. The number of known deaths is 42; as many as 20 others are feared dead.]
* Italian motorway operators’ shares plummet after deadly bridge collapse, RT, Aug 16, 2018
* Atlantia motorway operator: Not just active in Italy, Deutsche Welle, Aug 16, 2018 Linked to the bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy’s Atlantia toll road operator has come under enormous pressure, seeing its shares tanking in Milan. With activities in many countries, the firm has a lot to lose…
* Italy’s populists dismissed Genoa bridge fears as ‘fairytale’ in 2013, Deutsche Welle, Aug 15, 2018 The anti-establishment, now governing, Five Star Movement faced scrutiny Wednesday because in 2013 its Genoa activists had opposed a planned road bypass…
‘Too big to fail’: Russia-gate one year after Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity showed that emails damaging to Democratic Party 2016 election were a leak, not a hack, by Patrick Lawrence, special to Consortium News, published Aug 14, 2018 One year has passed since highly credentialed intelligence professionals produced the first hard evidence that allegations of mail theft and other crimes attributed to Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election rested on purposeful falsification and subterfuge.
Turkey wants its share of Syria’s reconstruction, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Aug 15, 2018 Turkey is bargaining with Russia for the reconstruction of Aleppo and to promote field projects in order to get a share in the reconstruction efforts of the war-torn country. Although Turkey publicly appears to sustain its anti-Bashar al-Assad stance on Syria, it is actually getting ready for a new Syria that will allow Assad to stay on as the country’s president. While a termination of the de facto Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria seems to be the first precondition for a possible normalization between Ankara and Damascus, there is another unspoken condition as well: the allotment of a share in Syria’s reconstruction…
New border crossing to create direct Iraq-Turkey link, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Aug 14, 2018
All hands on deck: the Caspian sails towards Eurasia integration, Asia Times, Aug 14, 2018
Related: Caspian deal an antidote to Washington’s bullyboy tactics, commentary by Finian Cunningham, published in RT‘s Op-Ed feature, Aug 14, 2018
New Zealand bans most foreigners from buying homes, Associated Press, Aug 15, 2018 (and report in The Independent (UK), Aug 15, 2018) [Only one quarter of adults in New Zealand own their own home, compared with half in 1991. In in the last five years, homeless figures have increased, with some New Zealanders forced to live in cars, garages and under bridges. A report by the Economist in 2017 found New Zealand had the most unaffordable house prices in the world, with prices in Auckland climbing 75 per cent in the last four years, although the market has cooled in recent months.]
Facebook restores Telesur page with vague explanation of controversial block, RT, Aug 15, 2018
* Facebook vanishes Venezuela-based news network Telesur again, RT, Aug 14, 2018
* Venezuela Analysis official statement on Facebook’s removal then reinstatement of its page on August 9, published in Venezuela Analysis, Aug 9, 2018
Cuban ‘acoustic attack’ report on US diplomats flawed, say neurologists, by Ian Sample, science editor, The Guardian, Aug 14, 2018 Tests stating staff suffered brain damage were ‘misinterpreted’ and ruled out other explanations such as mass psychogenic illness
Google tracks your movements, like it or not, exclusive report by Associated Press, Aug 13, 2018
Boycott/divestment/sanctions movement shakes Israel’s apartheid regime over Palestinians, commentary by Amjad Iraqi, in London Review of Books, print issue of July 19, 2018 … There is a simple reason for the Israeli government’s vast investment in undermining the right to boycott: BDS is working. But it’s vital that the right is protected. The three tenets of the BDS movement – to end an occupation, to achieve equal rights and to repatriate refugees – shouldn’t be controversial. To believe that they threaten the existence of the ‘Jewish state’ is to admit that the state is inherently antithetical to those values. Palestinians can’t be denounced on the one hand when they resort to violence, and on the other when they pursue the only non-violent means still available to them. (Amjad Iraqi is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, writer for +972 Magazine and resident of London.)
U.S. militarism marches on, by Marty Hart-Landsberg, published on his blog Reports from the Economic Front, July 31, 2018
The federal budget for fiscal year 2018 (which ends on September 30, 2018), included more money for the military than even President Trump requested. Trump had asked for a military budget of $603 billion, a sizeable $25 billion increase over fiscal year 2017 levels; Congress approved $629 billion. Trump had also asked for $65 billion to finance current war fighting, a bump of $5 billion; Congress approved $71 billion. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, which set the target budget for the Department of Defense at this high level, was approved by the Senate in a September 2017 vote of 89-9.
In the words of the New York Times on Sept 18, 2017: “In a rare act of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill . . . that sets forth a muscular vision of America as a global power, with a Pentagon budget that far exceeds what President Trump has asked for.” …
Related: Here’s a list of new military weapons and equipment in the 2019 defense bill, by Laura Widener, American Military News, Aug 13, 2018
Taliban forces overrun Afghan city of Ghanzi, boosting position in truce talks, report by Al Jazeera, Aug 14, 2018
British media is drowning in a sea of its own mendacity, by George Galloway, published in the Op-Ed section of RT, Aug 13, 2018
Court jails Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader for life, Reuters, Aug 12, 2018 Mohamed Badie, the head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and other leaders of the banned group were sentenced to life in prison on Sunday, judicial sources said, on charges of incitement to murder and violence during protests five years ago…
* The Aug 2013 Rabaa massacre in Cairo, Egypt: Human Rights Watch calls for international probe, Deutsche Welle, Aug 13, 2018
* ‘Egyptian society being crushed’ five years after military coup, feature report by Zena Tahhanby, Al Jazeera, July 2, 2018 Since the 2013 coup military coup, Egypt faces abuses to a degree unseen in the Mubarak years, analysts say.
* Egypt court upholds life sentence of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, The Jurist, Nov 16, 2017
* Egypt court upholds ex-president Morsi’s life sentence, Al Jazeera, Sept 16, 2017
[Extensive news and analysis of the July 3, 2013 military-fascist coup in Egypt and its aftermath is archived here in A Socialist In Canada. The coup was welcomed by leftists in the West as a victory for the ‘Tamarod’ street protests aimed at a violent overthrow of the elected President Mohammed Morsi and his Freedom and Justice Party government. The overthrow would presage a ‘workers revolution’ to follow, said the leftists. See examples here and here (Socialist Alliance of Australia) and here (Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt, supported by International Socialist Organization in the U.S.). Months later, much of the Western left similarly supported the street protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square that led to the overthrow of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. In both cases, the protests were manipulated by the wealthy elites and their paramilitary or police forces. A similar ‘revolution’ to overthrow Syria’s president and government has been thwarted, thanks in part to the government’s international supporters in Russia and Iran]
Turkey: total meltdown, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in Britain), published on his website, July 11, 2018
* Turkish economic shadow looms over Europe and beyond, Deutsche Welle, Aug 13, 2018 …According to the Bank for International Settlements, Spanish banks are owed $83.3bn (€73bn) by Turkish borrowers and French banks are owed $38.4bn. Italian lenders are owed $17bn in a mix of local and overseas currencies. With the lira still falling towards an uncertain fate, the possibility of Turkish borrowers turning their back on these loans is regarded as a distinct possibility by several ratings agencies… While Turkey may not quite be like Italy in terms of critical importance to the EU economy, it appears less than prudent to downplay the impact a possible financial catastrophe in the Mediterranean country could have on the eurozone and beyond. [End article.] * Turkey’s central bank attempts to curb currency crisis, Deutsche Welle, Aug 13, 2018
* Erdogan warns of ‘economic war’ as Turkish lira carnage spooks global markets, Deutsche Welle, Aug 11, 2018
* Turkey shaken by financial fears and tariffs imposed by Trump regime, report by Suzan Fraser, Associated Press, Aug 10, 2018
* Turkey financial crisis erupts, stoking concerns of contagion, Bloomberg News, Aug 10, 2018
* As Turkish lira freefalls, cooperation with Erdogan by European financial institutions is revealed, ANF News, Aug 11, 2018
U.S. bomb pieces found at Yemen bus strike site as Pentagon says ‘we may never know’ who supplied it, RT, Aug 13, 2018
* Video of schoolchildren just moments before being massacred by U.S.-backed Saudi bombing, by Jake Johnston, Common Dreams, Aug 13, 2018
* Saudi Arabia adds school bus and dozens of children to its list of victims killed by its U.S.-backed war against Yemen, by Ahmed Abdulkareem, Yemeni journalist reporting from Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, Mint Press News, Aug 9, 2018 A Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a school bus in Yemen on August 9, killing dozens of people, mostly children. The bombing of the school bus, a Saleh bedouin camp and a family farm were among the dozens of massive Saudi attacks targeting Yemeni civilians this past week.
‘Resist apartheid:’ Tens of thousands rally against Israel’s nationality bill, Telesur, Aug 11, 2018 … On Saturday, August 11, at least 30,000 demonstrators marched from Rabin square to the Plaza of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art under the banner “Abolish nation-state law. Yes to Equality.” Protesters waved Israeli and Palestinian flags, wore kufiyas, and held signs condemning the law as enshrining apartheid…
Related: Nation-state law protest led by Israeli Arabs, Haaretz, Aug 11, 2018 Protesters waving Palestinian and Israeli flags chanted ‘Nation-state is apartheid’ Tens of thousands of demonstrators protesting the nation-state law gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday night in the wake of last week’s mass march, which drew tens of thousands of Israelis to protest in solidarity with the country’s Druze community…
Anti-racism march in Charlottesville, Virginia marks anniversary of historic 2017 march and criticizes police for intimidation tactics, report by Lois Beckett, The Guardian, Aug 12, 2018 (with photos) Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, August 11 as a rally to mark the anniversary of last year’s fatal white nationalist gathering turned largely into an anti-police protest…
Related: Thousands protest handful of extreme rightists gathering in Washington DC on August 12 under protection of DC police, report by Michael Kunzelman and Sarah Rankin, Associated Press, Aug 12, 2018 … Earlier this month, Facebook stunned and angered counterprotest organizers when it disabled their Washington event’s page, saying it and others had been created by “bad actors” misusing the social media platform. The company said at the time that the page may be linked to an account created by Russia’s Internet Research Agency — a troll farm that has sown discord in the U.S. — but counterprotesters said it was an authentic event they worked hard to organize…
[Western media is uniformly airbrushing the image of racist, extreme-rightists in the U.S. by using the nonsensical term “white nationalists” to describe them.]
Related: ‘Serious consequences’ to Trump’s re-imposing sanctions on Iran and gutting the 2015 nuclear deal, interview with Trita Paris, on The Real News Network, Aug 10, 2018 (ten-minute video) (Trita Parsi is a founder and former president of the National Iranian American Council. His most recent book is Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy [Aug 2017].)
$2 billion warplane purchase by Labour gov’t in New Zealand stirs little protest, by Bryce Edwards, columnist, New Zealand Herald, July 16, 2018 (Bryce Edwards is a lecturer in Politics at Victoria University of Wellington.) [Similar commentary on the absence of anti-militarism protest can be made of Australia and Canada, whose governments are making massive increases in military spending. In Britain, the ‘renewal’ of the country’s Trident nuclear-armed submarine missiles is supported by the Labour Party, though not by party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Campaigning for nuclear disarmament and in favour of the historic, July 2017 United Nations General Assembly resolution to ban all nuclear weapons is at a low ebb.]
‘Israel’s war is a war against every part of Palestinian identity’: Israel destroys popular Gaza cultural center in 12 air strikes, by Ahmad Kabariti, Mondoweiss, Aug 10, 2018 … On the evening of August 9 at 18:00 Gaza time, 12 successive explosions were heard as Israeli warplanes flew over Gaza City, hitting the popular Said al-Mishal Foundation for Culture and Science, one of the very few cultural outlets left for Gaza’s youth in the besieged enclave. The five-story building held three theatres, offices for cultural associations, a library, and hosted an office for Gaza’s Egyptian community…
* Israel is ‘killing Palestinian children at record rates,’ group says, by Yumna Patel, Mondoweiss, Aug 7, 2018 The first half of 2018 has been deadly for Palestinian children, with at least 35 children killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip, according to Defense for Children International — Palestine (DCIP). In a report published on Monday, DCIP said that between January and July, the number of slain Palestinian children was three times higher than during the same time period in 2017…
* Israel kills medic during Gaza protests, by Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 10, 2018
Surge in returns to Syria of internally displaced, by Agence France presse, July 21, 2018 An estimated 750,000 internally displaced Syrians returned to their homes through the first half of 2018, nearly equal the amount for all of last year, the United Nations said Friday. The returns have largely occurred in areas that government forces have clawed back from opposition groups including Aleppo, Homs and rural Damascus, the U.N. refugee agency said in a statement. The rate of returns this year has outpaced that of 2017, when an estimated 760,000 people went back to homes they had been forced to flee…
Related: For displaced Syrians, an offer to return home presents agonizing choices, by Alexandra Zavis, LA Times, Aug 5, 2018
Why the attempt to assassinate Maduro?, by Farooque Chowdhury, MR Online, Aug 8, 2018
Police in Berekley, California post mugshots of detained anti-fasciust protesters even though prosecutors have laid no charges, FOX News, Aug 9, 2018 … Berkeley cops said that 20 people were arrested demonstrating against a rally on Sunday, August 5 organized by so-called ‘alt-right’ groups. The mugshots of those arrested, their names and what they were arrested for allegedly doing was posted to the BPD’s Twitter account — a practice that is not unusual. The mugshots were posted before the protesters were formally charged. The department told The Guardian on Monday that the protesters’ cases were not brought before prosecutors…
As many as 50 dead, mostly children, in Saudi aerial bombing of school bus in Yemen, RT, Aug 9, 2018 (and report by Reuters, Aug 9, 2018) [The attack took place on August 9 in the area of the Dahyan market in Saada province, controlled by the Houthi- movement led governing coalition in Yemen. The province lies along the border with Saudi Arabia. The bus was ferrying local civilians, including many children.]
* State Dept deflects questions on U.S.-backed Saudi strike that killed dozens of children, RT, Aug 10, 2018 State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert deflected questions about a US-backed Saudi airstrike that killed dozens of children in Yemen on August 9, instead choosing to highlight “Houthi attacks” against Saudi Arabia…
* The Pentagon says it doesn’t know if the bombs in Saudi jet fighter attack on a school bus in Yemen on Aug 9 were U.S. made or not, VOX.com, Aug 10, 2018
* Yemen suffers as the truth is distorted and obscured by Western media, by Dan Glazebrook, published in Middle East Eye, Aug 10,2018 From burying coverage of atrocities to downplaying the level of killing, Western media puts a gloss on the Western-backed war in Yemen Even by the depraved standards of the Western-backed, Saudi-led aggression against Yemen, the bombing of a school bus on 9 August was a new low. The bus had stopped at a market while taking the children back to school from a picnic when it was targeted, according to Save the Children. Yemeni health officials have informed the world that the strike killed 47 people with 77 more injured. Those numbers are likely to rise...
* Liberal image of Canada’s government gets snared by its approval of $11.5bn Saudi arms deal, op-ed commentary by Finian Cunningham, RT, Aug 9, 2018 A dramatic diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia has forced Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to enter the public fray in a bid to calm tempers. But what’s bothering Canada is the possible loss of a major Saudi arms contract worth billions…
* Corporate media blackout of bombing by Saudi Arabia killing dozens in Yemen port city of Hodeidah on August 2, including at city’s main hospital, by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, Aug 2, 2018
* World Health Organization warns of new Yemen cholera epidemic, asks for ceasefire to vaccinate, Reuters, Aug 3, 2018
* U.S. allies have killed thousands of Yemeni civilians from the air. After 22 died at a wedding, one village asks, ‘Why us?’, by Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, July 26, 2018
Turkey squeezed as Syrian gov’t plans to reassert its sovereign control of Idlib province, report by Amberin Zaman, in Al-Monitor, Aug 9, 2018
Related: Turkey’s position in Syria may now become untenable, commentary by David Romano, published in Rudaw news service (Iraqi Kurdistan), Aug 1, 2018
Why does Rashida Tlaib, congressional Democratic Party candidate for Michigan, support U.S. military aid to Israel?, by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 9, 2018 Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib will become the first Muslim woman to enter Congress if, as widely expected, she wins election in November. The euphoria over Tlaib recalls the ecstasy when Barack Obama was elected president.
Related: * Israel Defense Forces sets new annual record for killing children in Palestine, by Whitney Webb, Mint Press News, Aug 9, 2018 The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have killed at least 35 Palestinian children, around 30 in Gaza and five in the occupied West Bank, making 2018 a record-breaking year for child fatalities in Palestine with nearly four months still to go…
Jonathan Cook: UK Labour Party’s crisis is over Israel, not anti-semitism, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, Aug 8, 2018. Read it here on A Socialist In Canada, Aug 8, 2018, with extensive, related readings appended, updated on Aug 9 and 10.
Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine, by Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 8, 2018
* Belarusian Nobel laureate Alexievich cancels speaking event in Odessa, Ukraine following threats by right-wing extremists, report by Radio Free Europe, Aug 9, 2018 The Green Theater in Odessa, site of the scheduled talk, wrote on Facebook that Alexievich’s name had been added to a list of “enemies of Ukraine” by the Ukrainian nationalist website Myrotvorets (Peacekeeper) four hours before Alexievich’s scheduled meeting with readers on August 8.
* Sniper rifles from Canada expected to soon be in the hands of the Ukrainian military, by David Pugliese, The National Post, Aug 7, 2018
* Global neo-Nazism is increasing. Why is the U.S. State Department anti-Semitism envoy position still vacant?, by Hannah Rosenthal, Forward, Aug 6, 2018 As a former Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (SEAS) for the State Department, I remain concerned that for the past 18 months, this post has been vacant. The absence of a Special Envoy makes the media’s role of spotlighting outbreaks of hatred and anti-Semitism even more vital. This is why I was deeply alarmed to see the New York Times downplay and whitewash a neo-Nazi gang in a recent article [July 21] about Ukraine… [The writer is a former U.S. State Department envoy. She displays far more insight into the danger of the extreme-right in Ukraine than left-wing writers in the UK such as John Rees (Counterfire), book author Liz Feteke, and book reviewer Martin Hall (Counterfire). In their writings on the extreme-right in Europe, no mention is made of an extreme-right in Ukraine, even though Ukraine is the European country with the most influential and powerful of extreme-right movements.] * U.S. Congress welcomes the neo-Nazi speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament as neo-Nazi violence rages in Ukraine, by Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone Project, July 2, 2018 While racist violence rages through Ukraine, punctuated by a wave of attacks on Roma encampments by the state-funded C14 neo-Nazi militia, the U.S. Congress played host to an actual Ukrainian fascist. He was Andriy Parubiy…
Russiagate without Russians: The trial of Paul Manafort is painting Trump’s former top campaign aides as crooks and liars, report by Greg Walters and Jack Brewster, in VICE.com, Aug 8, 2018 (and report by the same writers in Vice.com, Aug 7, 2018) [Mainstream media in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West has painted the conduct of former Trump advisor Paul Manafort as proof of ‘Russia-Trump’ collusion. But Manafort’s trial currently underway in Washington DC merely reveals de rigeur white collar crime that is so typical of life in the NATO-member capitalist countries that it struggles to be news.]
China announces date to match $16 billion U.S. tariffs, Bloomberg News, Aug 8, 2018
China has confirmed that it will impose 25 per cent tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of imports from the U.S. beginning Aug. 23, matching an earlier move from Washington in another ratchet higher for the trade war between the two nations. The U.S. decision to levy 25 per cent tariffs on the same value of Chinese goods is “very unreasonable,” and China will have to retaliate to protect its rightful interests and the multilateral trading system, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
The tit-for-tat protectionist measures are poised to surge even higher, with the U.S. reviewing 10 per cent duties on a further $200 billion in Chinese imports that it may even raise to 25 per cent after a comment period ends on Sept. 6. Should the U.S. proceed with those tariffs, China’s ready to slap duties on an additional $60 billion of American goods…
Moscow to work on retaliatory measures in response to new U.S. sanctions, RT, Aug 9, 2018
British collusion with sectarian violence part four: The Afghan crucible, by Dan Glazebrook, RT, Aug 9, 2018
June 24 national elections in Turkey boost authoritarian rule, further threaten Kurdish national rights, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, August 7, 2018
Leaked document reveals that Vladimir Putin lobbied Trump on arms control at their July 16 meeting in Helsinki, by Bryan Bender, Politico, Aug 7, 2018 [The anti-Russia Politico refrains from peppering this factual report with its usual Russia-related conspiracy pirouettes.]
In interview with Flashpoints Radio, John Pilger slams Western media on silence over the fate of Julian Assange, interview with John Pilger, broadcast on ‘Flashpoints Radio’, with hosts Dennis Bernstein and Randy Cardico, Aug 3, 2018 Interview transcript published on Consortium News, Aug 7, 2018. John Pilger talks about Julian Assange’s deteriorating health and the physical dangers he faces during this period of virtual isolation. Pilger also excoriates the Western media for their silence and pro-government stand on the marginalizing and potential prosecution of Assange. The interview is part of a continuing national radio series titled Assange: Countdown to Freedom.
Related: U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee calls Julian Assange to testify, RT, Aug 8, 2018 https://www.rt.com/usa/435433-us-senate-intelligence-committee-calls/
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait is the last person to listen to when it comes to Russia, by Branko Marcetic, In These Times, Aug 1, 2018 Chait says Russiagate skeptics are foolish. Here’s why he’s completely wrong.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance wows San Francisco’s Mission district. Her speech not so much, by Charlotte Silver and Julian Mark, Mission Local, Aug 1, 2018
Following Ocasio-Cortez’s 20-minute speech, Alisha Foster, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, said she would have liked for the candidate to have been more “explicitly socialist.”
“It felt like a watered-down message. She was jumping around and discussing tactics for getting elected, but she avoided the big issue, which is capitalism.”
* The vital possibility of Abdul El-Sayed, by Maximillian Alvarez, The Baffler, August 3, 2018 Michigan’s gubernatorial race on August 7 tests the future of the progressive wave [Michigan governor Democratic Party primary result: Gretchen Whitmer 51%, Abdul El-Sayed 30%, Shri Thanedar 17%] * Is the Michigan gubernatorial race the Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders of 2018?, by Andrea González-Ramírez, Refinery 29, Aug 6, 2018
* Missouri votes to repeal Republican ‘right to work’ attack against unions, by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, Aug 8, 2018 … According to the Associated Press, 67 percent voted to repeal the right to work measure, which the GOP-controlled state legislature passed and then-Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law last year. If implemented, the measure would have barred private-sector unions from collecting dues from all workers to pay for the costs of representation…
The blowup with Canada is the latest Saudi overreach. Will they ever pay a price?, by Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept, Aug 7, 2018
Related: Spat with Saudis hits home for armoured vehicle plant in southwestern Ontario, by Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press, Aug 7, 2018
The apartheid state of Israel: Decoding the ‘Basic Law’ and the meaning of a ‘Jewish Nation’, by N D Jayaprakash, published in The Leaflet (Lawyers Collective in New Delhi), Aug 6, 2018 The latest ‘Basic Law’ that was enacted by the Israeli Knesset on July 19, 2018 has adverse effects on Palestinians within Israel and in the occupied territories of Palestine and contravenes even the assertions made in the Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Government of Israel on May 14, 1948. The existence of at least 65 other laws that seek to discriminate Arab Palestinians vis-à-vis their Jewish counterparts provide proof of the existence of an Apartheid system in Israel, which is well captured in the ESCWA Report (United Nations) of 2017.
Trump says anyone trading with Iran will not trade with U.S. as sanctions come into force, RT, Aug 7, 2018
* Trump’s Iran sanctions spook Europe as Daimler halts investments, by Tami Maximiliane Holderried , Margaret Talev and Ladane Nasseri, Bloomberg News, Aug 7, 2018 U.S. President Donald Trump’s desire to isolate the Iranian economy seems to be working. Within hours of Washington unveiling its first round of sanctions, German carmaker Daimler AG froze a plan to make Mercedes Benz trucks in Iran. That’s even after the European Union tried to salvage the Iran nuclear deal by pledging to protect firms from Trump’s assault…
* How the EU plans to get around U.S. sanctions on Iran, Deutsche Welle, Aug 7, 2018
* Defy Trump on Iran sanctions, EU foreign policy chief urges firms, The Irish Times, Aug 7, 2018
* Trump warns EU over decision to protect Iran trade, Press TV, Aug 7, 2018
* Founder of National Iranian American Council calls for public outcry against U.S. cancellation of 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and new U.S. sanctions, interview with Trita Parsi, broadcast on ‘Counterspin’, the weekly radio podcast of Fairness and Accountablity in Reporting (FAIR), Aug 6, 2018 (Trita Parsi is a founder and former president of the National Iranian American Council. His most recent book is Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy [Aug 2017].)
* Russian Foreign Ministry reaffirms commitment to Iran nuclear deal, TASS news service, Aug 7, 2018
Syria’s Kurds cautiously sound progress in talks with Damascus, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Aug 6, 2018 … Salih Muslim, who in 2011 emerged as the co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), has played a key role in promoting the autonomy movement in Europe and served for three terms as the PYD co-chair, the maximum allowed by the party’s bylaws, provided Al-Monitor with his assessment of the dialogue with Damascus. Muslim said none of the parties came to the talks with preconditions, and both gave priority to building confidence between the two sides…
Turkey’s economy struggles with new political reality, by Mustafa Sonmez, Al-Monitor, Aug 6, 2018
China’s petro-yuan oil contracts surge as U.S. sanctions hit Iran, RT, Aug 7, 2018
Related: The petro-yuan could usher in a new era for global energy, by Alex Katsomitros, World Finance.com, July 17, 2018 China’s decision to push forward with the Petro-yuan appears to be a challenge to the global energy market hegemony of the United States. But it remains to be seen if it can make a significant impact.
The dawn of a new Armageddon, lengthy essay by Cynthia Lazaroff, published on the website of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Aug 6, 2018
… The world has entered an unimaginably deadly new arms race, with no rules of the road and no scheduled arms control talks for these new weapons systems. In three years, New START, the US-Russia agreement that limits nuclear arsenals, is set to lapse, removing the last agreed restraint on arsenal sizes.
President Trump has said that he wants the US nuclear arsenal to return to the “top of the pack.” His administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review calls for expanding the use of nuclear weapons—specifically new, “low-yield” nuclear weapons. The United States is now planning to use little nukes in response to an array of non-nuclear attacks—say, cyberattacks on our infrastructure. This frightening policy is disguised with the seemingly innocuous label “tailored deterrence,” as if the Defense Department had just ordered a new suit of nuclear clothes…
Amnesty Int’l demands independent probe of civilians massacred in 2017 during U.S. ‘annihilation tactics’ in Raqqa, Syria, by Andrea Germanos, staff writer, Common Dreams, Aug 6, 2018
Senate Democrats, with few exceptions, are a gang of warmongers, by Dave Lindorff, CounterPunch, August 7, 2018
Democrats in the U.S. Senate showed themselves to be just another war party this week, with 40 of their number out of 47 voting to pass a record $717-billion military budget for FY 2019…
For those who may have hoped that perhaps the growing number of self-described “democratic socialist” candidates running for seats in Congress might call out this war-mongering by the Democratic Party establishment, there was just silence.
Senator Sanders, to be sure, said he would vote against the bill, but he didn’t say he was doing that because he thought it was an outrageous amount of money to spend on war and preparations for war. In fact, he prefaced his opposition by saying, “I support a strong U.S. military”…
Anastasia Ocasio-Cortez… is one of the few such avowed socialist Democrats to actually say she wants the U.S. to have a “peace budget,” which one has to assume would mean one with a much smaller military. Yet when asked how she would pay for the programs she advocates, instead of saying, “by drastically cutting military spending,” even she instead talked about fairer tax policies, as though just ending corporate welfare and taxing the rich more would do the trick…
Conduct of New Zealand’s consulate in Israel ‘disgraceful’ says Mike Treen, detained and imprisoned in Israel, interview with Unite Union National Director Mike Treen on Radio New Zealand‘s ‘Morning Report’, Monday, August 6, 2018 (four minute interview)
Related: 2018 Freedom Flotilla: A predictable end to an unpredictable journey?, by Chris Graham, New Matilda (Australia), July 29, 2018 New Matilda editor Chris Graham reports from the Al Awda, a lead ship steaming through the Mediterranean Sea about 24 hours from an attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade on the Palestinian people of Gaza.
Saudi Arabia freezes new trade, investment after Canada demands activists be freed, The Canadian Press, Aug 5, 2018 It isn’t immediately clear what new business could be affected between the two countries. Bilateral trade reached $3.9 billion Cdn in 2016, with tanks and fighting vehicles among the top Canadian exports to the kingdom, according to government statistics.
* Saudi Arabia ‘youth’ group defending Saudi gov’t apologizes for social media posting appearing to threaten Canada with a 9/11-style attack, report on CBC News, Aug 6, 2018
* Saudi Arabia state airline cancels flights to Canada amid growing dispute, by Joshua Berlinger, CNN, Aug 7, 2018
The UK Labour Party and ‘anti-Semitism’ crisis, by Kenneth Surin, CounterPunch, Aug 7, 2018
Related: Jewish support and solidarity for Corbyn’s position on Israel is growing globally, by Fréa Lockley, The Canary, August 6, 2018
Social imperialism in the 21st century: Owen Jones, Paul Mason and the problem with the UK left, lengthy essay by Louis Allday, published in MR Online [Monthly Review], Aug 6, 2018
Owen Jones and Paul Mason are widely considered to be the UK’s pre-eminent left-wing commentators; both appear frequently on television and radio, write regularly for mainstream publications like The Guardian and The New Statesman, have had books published (and subsequently translated into multiple languages) and attract enormous followings on social media… However, what becomes clear upon a sober analysis of their positions on a wide range of issues is that they are in fact distinctly un-radical, frequently opportunist in nature, and particularly in Mason’s case, openly reactionary and imperialist.
This article will focus on some of the most egregious of these views and examine what it means that they are able to express them without significantly damaging their career as professional ‘leftists. In addition, since Jones and Mason are merely the two most prominent examples of what is a more widespread phenomenon, the broader implications of their esteemed standing on ‘the left’ are also considered…
Writer Vijay Prashad covers all bases in writing on ‘Russian meddling’ in 2016 U.S. election, article by Vijay Prashad, titled Trump and the Russian hand, published in CounterPunch, Aug 6, 2018 … The investigation [by former and longtime head of the FBI Robert Mueller] suggests that the Russians created a troll farm to influence voters on social media. But, again, much [how much?] of the public record is circumstantial and inconclusive…
Three reasons why ‘fire and fury’ won’t work with Iran, by Scott Ritter, published in Truthdig, Aug 3, 2018
Venezuela’s President Maduro blames ‘ultra-right’ and Colombia for the drone bombing attack directed against him during Aug 4 outdoor speech, RT, Aug 5, 2018
* Moscow condemns attack on Maduro, RT, Aug 5, 2018
* World extends solidarity to Venezuela’s Maduro after Aug 4 attack against him, Telesur, Aug 5, 2018
* Canada’s state-run broadcaster CBC dismisses the assassination attempt against Venezuela president in the latest of its ongoing agitation for his overthrow, report on CBC News, Aug 5, 2018 … Venezuela’s government routinely accuses opposition activists of plotting to attack and overthrow Maduro, a deeply unpopular leader who was recently elected to a new term in office in a vote decried by dozens of nations.
* Venezuela’s marching campesinos meet Maduro on August 2, denounce corruption and revolutionary ‘reversals’, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Aug 2, 2018
Corporate media blackout of bombing by Saudi Arabia killing dozens in Yemen port city of Hodeidah, including at city’s main hospital, by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, Aug 2, 2018 [And while they’re at it, state-run media and corporate media in the West is also blacking out news of peace talks between the Syrian gov’t and Syrian Kurdish forces and news of the Syria peace talks which took place in Sochi, Russia on July 30, 31. Those talks brought together the Syrian government, political opposition forces and the governments of Russia, Iran and Turkey. For news of that, see: Sochi peace talks focus on preserving Syria’s sovereignty, KUNA news service (Kuwait), July 31, 2018]
* World Health Organization warns of new Yemen cholera epidemic, asks for ceasefire to vaccinate, Reuters, Aug 3, 2018
* U.S. allies have killed thousands of Yemeni civilians from the air. After 22 died at a wedding, one village asks, ‘Why us?’, by Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, July 26, 2018
New Zealand activist Mike Treen tells of alleged beating and tasering by Israeli military, print report in New Zealand Herald and four-minute interview on Newstalk Radio, Aug 2, 2018 [Comment by Mike Treen on his Facebook page: “The radio interviewer uses aggressive Israeli embassy sound bites about “violating” the Israeli blockade of Gaza. He argues that the Israeli blockade is ‘legal’, which it is not. Simply lazy journalism actually.”]
* Tasered, beaten and handcuffed by Israel, but Mike Treen says ‘I would do it all again’, by Rahul Bhattarai, Asia Pacific Report, Aug 2, 2018
* Norway demands Israel explain seizure of boat bound for Gaza, Middle East Monitor, July 31, 2018 Norway has asked Israel to explain the legal grounds for detaining a Norwegian-flagged fishing boat seized while activists tried to sail with aid to the Gaza Strip, Norway’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday. The ministry said its diplomats in Israel had been providing consular assistance to five Norwegians who were among the 22 passengers and crew detained onboard the vessel Kaarstein [Al Adwa] on July 29. Two Israelis on board were quickly released…
* Public talk by Mike Treen, Sunday, Aug 5, 2018. 7 pm at Freemans Bay Community Centre, Hepburn St, Auckland NZ, organized by Kia Ora Gaza. More details here.
Russia to deploy military police on Golan Heights in support of longstanding UN policing mission that ceased functioning six years ago, Reuters, Aug 2, 2018
Empire in decline, really? The American war machine continues to grow, by Vijay Prashad, Alternet, Aug 1, 2018 (also appearing in Common Dreams, Aug 2, 2018) Everything this administration does is geared toward intimidation and war Last week, on July 26, the United States House of Representatives passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which will then go on to the U.S. Senate and finally to the U.S. president. It is worthwhile to note that 139 Democrats, including the entire Democratic Party leadership, voted for this bill. This Act provides the U.S. government with $717 billion for a year’s military spending. This is $100 billion more than was spent last year…
Truthout.org’s Marjorie Cohn sides with U.S. ‘intelligence agencies’ in dispute with Russia, says Trump is going soft on North Korea.
[In a July 31 article in Truthout.org, legal and constitutional affairs writer Marjorie Cohn sounds a lot like Russia-bashing Democrats in criticizing the foreign policy of the Donald Trump regime. Focusing on Trump’s threats against Iran, she writes, “Trump is likely threatening Iran to distract from the widespread outrage at his adoption of Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. In siding with Putin, Trump rejected the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence agencies [emphasis added] that Russia tampered with the election” Using the same anti-Russia argument, she goes on to absolve the U.S. government of aggression against Iran, writing, “Other people who know Mr. Trump said his decision to respond [to Iran] in such fiery terms was driven almost entirely by his search for a distraction from questions about Russia.”
[In another sentence, Cohn excuses decades-long, bipartisan U.S. hostility against the Palestinian and Iranian peoples by writing that Trump’s pro-Israel policy is a case of “capitulation to Israeli pressure”. Cohn suggests we can rest easy over Trump’s outrageous threats against Iran, however, thanks to member of the House of Representatives. “The House of Representatives just passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, which includes an amendment stating that ‘nothing in this Act may be construed to authorize the use of forces against Iran’.”]
Gaza blockade: Unite Union leader Mike Treen returns to New Zealand with ‘a few stories to tell’ after his kidnapping and detention by the Israeli navy, report in News Hub NZ, Aug 2, 2018 (with three-minute news video of Aug 2 reception for Mike Treen at Auckland airport)
Israel PM Netanyahu threatens Iran with ‘all Israel’s arms’ if Tehran blocks key waterway off Yemen, RT, Aug 2, 2018
UK Labour cruising towards split over Israel-Palestine, commentary by George Galloway, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, Aug 1, 2018
Britain’s Labour Party prepares to split; the Israel-Palestine issue breaks up the party after 100 years, to the relief of Prime Minister Theresa May. At least, that’s the proximate cause of the rapidly approaching schism in the opposition Labour Party.
Attempts to effectively outlaw existential criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel have foundered on the rocks of the obduracy of the veteran Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. His commitment to the Palestinian cause has been a leitmotif of his 40 years in left-wing politics. Support for the Palestinians and opposition to Israel has grown massively in recent decades in Britain and throughout the Western world…
Scoundrel time: From the Rosenbergs to Russiagate, by Jeff Sparrow, published in Overland (Melbourne, Australia), Aug 1, 2018
The pair died despite a prolonged campaign for clemency by progressives who correctly identified the prosecution as less a punishment for the theft of ‘atom secrets’ (a charge of which Ethel, at least, was almost certainly innocent) and more as a warning to terrify dissidents at home. The Rosenberg killings duly played a key role in consolidating domestic repression during the fifties, their deaths signaling to radicals the fearful consequences of opposition to the state.
Now look at this [see adjoining image]…
Will Russia and Iran dash Turkey’s hopes of becoming energy (natural gas) corridor?, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Aug 1, 2018
Russiagate covers up Black vote theft, by Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist, Black Agenda Report, Aug 1, 2018
* The bizarre Facebook path to corporate fascism, by Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, Aug 2, 2018 Facebook has assumed additional political police powers, disrupting a planned counter-demonstration against white supremacists set for August 12 in Washington on the grounds that it was initiated and inspired by “Russians” as part of a Kremlin campaign to “sow dissention” in the U.S. The Facebook intervention is a qualitative escalation of the McCarthyite offensive launched by the Democrat Party and elements of the national security state, and backed by most of the corporate media…
* As it screams ‘Russia’, the U.S. ruling class continues its process of elimination, by Danny Haiphong, contributor, Black Agenda Report, Aug 1, 2018
Fake U.S. World War 2 history underlies permanent bipartisan hostility toward Russia, by Bruce Dixon, managing editor, Black Agenda Report, Aug 2, 2018
The deep history of the never-ending cold war against Russia by the U.S. and Britain, by Finian Cunningham, published by Strategic Culture Foundation (populist, pro-Russia website), May 4, 2017
After decades of delaying, the United Nations finally released archives from the Second World War-era war crimes commission investigating the Nazi Holocaust. The source of those archives on Nazi war crimes were Western governments, including those in exile at the time of the war, such as the Belgian, Polish and Czechoslovakian. The time period covered is 1943-1949. Washington and London had long sought to halt the release. Why?
Notably, the landmark publication of the files last month was given scant Western media coverage. Surprisingly, perhaps, because the story that can be gleaned from the documents tells of a hidden history of the Second World War, namely the systematic collusion between the American and British governments and the Nazi Third Reich.
As a report in Deutsche Welle remarked on the released archives, “The files make clear that [Western] Allied forces knew more about the Nazi concentration camp system before the end of the war than has generally been thought”…
* ‘Why have you come to Murmansk?’: 1918 letter addressed to invading British soldiers by the Russian Soviet government in early 1918, text published on the website of the Bristol (UK) Radical History Group, October 2011
* The U.S.-British invasion of northern Russia (Murmansk) in 1918-19, Wikipedia
Are asylum seekers crossing into Canada illegally? A look at facts behind the controversy, feature article by Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail, Aug 1, 2018
… Since the beginning of 2017, more than 31,000 people have crossed into Canada [from the U.S. by land outside of official border crossings]. Their arrival corresponds with the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose approach to refugees differs markedly from Canada’s. Under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, refugee claimants who first arrive in the United States and then seek entry to Canada will likely be denied. A growing chorus of Canadians are calling for the suspension of the agreement, which they say would diminish the need to cross at unofficial border points.
… Globally, the refugee population rose to 25.4 million at the end of last year, the highest level since at least the Second World War, according to the UN refugee agency. About half of this population comprise of children. The number of people who became refugees last year grew by about 2.9 million people, the biggest annual increase on record.
Canada received about 50,000 refugee claimants last year. Though that is about double 2016 levels, by way of context, “this is literally one day in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, during the peak of the Rohingya crisis,” said the UNHCR’s Canada representative Jean-Nicolas Beuze… Legal experts say Canada’s immigration laws are clear: “They’re not illegal border crossers,” said James Hathaway, founding director of the University of Michigan’s program in refugee and asylum law, who is Canadian, and a leading global authority on refugee law.
Palestine solidarity advocate and New Zealand Unite Union leader Mike Treen released and deported by Israel, message posted on the Facebook page of Mike Treen, Aug 1, 2018
Full text: Hi all – I have just arrived at Hong Kong Airport after deportation. They stole almost everything I had except my wallet – less most of the money. Now I have no phone, computer etc. I am using another deportee’s laptop. He was a journalist and treated a bit better. I arrive home on Cathay Pacific at 11.50am tomorrow, August 2. Roughed up a bit, tasered a few times, had my foot stomped on, but we gave them a bit of a message as well. See you soon. A few stories to tell. [A rally hosted by Unite Union and Kia Ora Gaza will take place at Auckland airport arrivals to welcome home Mike Treen. Thursday, Aug 2, 2018, 12 noon NZ time. The ‘Freedom Flotilla’ humanitarian aid ship Al Adwa of which he was a part was intercepted and seized by the Israeli navy on July 29, 2018 while en route to Gaza.
Russian embassy in UK raises concerns about cremation of body of Dawn Sturgess, alleged victim of ‘Novichok’ chemical poisoning, TASS, Aug 1, 2018
Background: The plot thins: How gel became a liquid and the whole Novichok affair began to smell to high heaven, commentary by George Galloway, published on the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, July 23, 2018 … Four out of five of those affected by ‘Novichok’ – Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Detective Sergeant Bailey, and Charlie Rowley – have survived the contact, with only poor Dawn Sturgess, a homeless alcoholic, succumbing to its “deadly” effects. A polythene bag would have been a rather more effective method of assassination…
Federal judge in Seattle blocks release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns, Associated Press, Aug 1, 2018, 2018
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, July 2018
Turkey becomes more dependent on Russia due to tense situation in Idlib province of Syria, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, July 31, 2018
* Is a storm brewing for Turkey in Idlib?, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, July 31, 2018
* Ankara’s eyes on Idlib as Astana group gathers in Sochi, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, July 31, 2018 ‘The shape of any deal over the future in northern Syuia between Russia and Turkey remains unclear as Turkey continues parallel talks with the United States to defang Syrian Kurdish forces’
Far-right extremists in NATO leader Germany have been keeping ‘lists of enemies’, report in Deutsche Welle, July 31, 2018 Tens of thousands of people were on the radar of right-wing extremist groups in Germany, a parliamentary question revealed. The lists were found during raids, arrests and investigations into prominent far-right attacks…
Genocide in Namibia: Germany remains at odds with its colonial legacy in Africa, Deutsche Welle, July 30, 2018 Namibia’s Herero people have filed a lawsuit in the US against Germany over a genocide in the early 20th century. The case, which got underway on Tuesday, shows how Germany is still struggling with its colonial past…
World trade and imperialism, by Michael Roberts (UK economist), published on his website, July 30, 2018
Unite Union NZ National Director Mike Treen repeatedly tasered by Israeli Occupation Forces, others injured and hospitalised when Israeli navy boarded and kidnapped ‘Al Adwa’ humanitarian aid ship bound for Gaza, report by Unite Union New Zealand, July 31, 2018, 0615 NZ time
We have now received a direct report from Mike in Israel’s Givon Prison. He was tasered repeatedly by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) while in the wheelhouse of the Al Awda on July 29 and then tightly handcuffed. He received injuries to his face and head and was bleeding but is now recovering.
… Local civil rights lawyers met with all those detained a few hours ago. All their belongings, including their passports have been seized and not returned, despite promises they would if they co-operated.
Despite KiaOra Gaza contacting the New Zealand Honorary Consul in Tel Aviv requesting assistance, we are unaware of any contact, visit or action from the New Zealand Government or its representatives to assist.
(Update at 1600 July 31: The Honorary Consul has now been to see Mike. Winston Peters has responded to the letters sent to him but the Government has taken no specific action apart from alerting the Cairo embassy to Mike’s situation. The next flotilla boat, the ‘Freedom’ continues to approach Gaza.)
* New Zealand foreign minister dodges demands that he condemn attack on humanitarian aid ship to Gaza and demand release of NZ union leader kidnapped by Israeli navy, text of letter by NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters, July 30, 2018 (including the written reply to Winston Peters by ‘Kia Ora Gaza’, a partner in the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition)
* Freedom Flotilla boat carrying medical supplies for Gaza hijacked by Israeli forces, press release by Freedom Flotilla Coalition, July 29, 2018
U.S. must return to nuclear deal before future talks with Tehran says Iranian presidential aide, RT, July 31, 2018
* Iran says impossible to engage with current US govt. due to its extreme hostility, Press TV, July 30, 2018
* Confusion emanating from Washington: Trump, Pompeo words at odds over Iran preconditions, Press TV, July 30, 2018
Federal court judge in LA rules Trump administration must stop giving psychotropic drugs to migrant children without permission, by Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill, July 31, 2018
Humanitarian aid ship ‘Al Awda’ en route to Gaza violently intercepted and seized by Israeli navy, by Joe Lauria, Consortium News, July 30, 2018
* New Zealand trade union leader Mike Treen detained by Israeli military, by Chris Bramwell, Radio New Zealand, July 30, 2018
* UN report says Israel a ‘racist state’ and ‘apartheid regime’, The Irish Times, March 15, 2017 The report is ‘first of its type’ to conclude ‘apartheid system persecutes Palestinian people’
Syrian Kurdish leaders agree to peace and constitutional talks with Syria government, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, July 30, 2018 Betrayed by the United States and the U.S. alliance with fellow NATO member Turkey, Syrian Kurds are turning to the Syrian and Russian governments for a political settlement of the war in that country. This opens the door to a lasting peace and acceleration of national reconstruction.
Solution for Syrian Kurds’ future won’t be found in talks with Damascus, says political force tied to Turkey and Western friendly ‘Kurdistan Regional Government’ in Iraq. Report in Rudaw news service, July 29, 2018 [The Kurdish National Council (ENKS) is a Syrian Kurdish political front funded by Turkey and the U.S.-allied President Masoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.]
Related: Ilham Ehmed, co-chair of Syrian Democratic Forces, reports to her supporters that the historic meeting with Syrian government officials on July 26 was positive, report by ANF News, July 31, 2018
Israel has no right of self defense against Gaza, by Norman Finkelstein and James Stern-Weiner, published on Jacobin Magazine, July 27, 2018 (also appearing on the website blog of Norman Finkelstein, July 28, 2018)
… But the fact is, Israel cannot claim a right to use any force in Gaza — whether moderate or excessive, proportionate or disproportionate; whether protesters are unarmed or armed, don’t or do pose an imminent threat to life. If it appears otherwise, that’s because the current debate ignores critical caveats in international law and abstracts from the specific situation in Gaza.
… The only morally sane question presented by the situation in Gaza is, Does Israel have the right in the name of “self-defense” to poison one million children? It is a sad commentary that this simple question has not just been sidestepped, but is not even visible in the current debate.
The Jewish establishment’s ‘War against Corbyn’ risks bringing real anti-semitism to Britain, by Robert A. H. Cohen, published on his web page ‘Writing From the Edge’ on Patheos, July 28, 2018
Resilient Russia, by Paul Robinson, published on his website Irrusianality, July 25, 2018 (Paul Robinson is Professor Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.)
What happens when Assad wins the war in Syria?, by Patrick Lawrence, published in Salon.com and on his own website, July 16, 2018
… It would be hard to overstate the significance of this outcome. Apart from bringing the most tragic conflict of the post–Cold War decades to an end, the larger consequences of a peace achieved in this way — political, diplomatic, strategic — are many.
…To take the impending outcome as a victory merely for Bashar al–Assad’s political survival — as press reports and Washington officials encourage us to do — is too narrow a view and misses the essential point: This will be an advance for national sovereignty, non-intervention, international law, and secular government…
[The author makes the unfounded claim in his article that Donald Trump favours an end to the U.S. regime-change drive in Syria. “It will not be easy for Trump to pursue it [an ‘opportunity’ to rebuild Syria], even though he favors withdrawal from the Syria conflict.”
The utility of the RussiaGate conspiracy, by Alan MacLeod, published in Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, July 27, 2018 The new McCarthyism allows corporate media to tighten its grip, Democrats to ignore their own failings … Bernie Sanders has consistently and explicitly endorsed the RussiaGate theory, claiming it is “clear to everyone (except Donald Trump) that Russia was deeply involved in the 2016 election and intends to be involved in 2018.” Despite his stance, Sanders has also been constantly presented as another Russian agent…
Related: Trump blasts back after New York Times publisher decries ‘enemy of the people’ attacks, by Martin Pengely, The Guardian, July 30, 2018 (and realted report in The Hill (Washington DC), July 30, 2018) [The thieves are falling out among each other as NYT, WaPo and The Guardian criticize Trump for his dangerous, anti-media rhetoric. But Trump’s anti-media conspiracy talk serves as mirror image of the corporate media’s Russia conspiracies.]
Mainstream, liberal media sanctifies the NATO imperialist military alliance in its criticisms of Trump, commentary by Gregory Shupak, published in Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), July 26, 2018
Travel ban and sanctions by U.S. obstruct humanitarian efforts in North Korea, by John Letman, Truthout.org, July 30, 2018
Within moments of returning from his summit with Kim Jong Un, President Trump struck a triumphant tone, buoyantly tweeting, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea … North Korea has great potential for the future!”
But just nine days later he extended an existing executive order “Notice Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to North Korea” declaring, “North Korea continue[s] to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States” …
Plea for support from Mike Treen, New Zealand solidarity activist on board the Gaza (Palestine) aid flotilla ship hijacked today by the Israel navy, report by Pacific Media Center, July 30, 2018 (New Zealand time)
* Israeli navy intercepts Norwegian-flagged Gaza-bound ship, Press TV, July 29, 2018
* ‘Resistance continues’: Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi home after eight months in Israeli jail , RT, July 29, 2018 (with video news report)
North Korea transfers the remains of 55 U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korea War, by Reuters, July 27, 2018 [Millions of Korean and Chinese people died a near-genocidal war by the Western powers against the Korean people from 1950-53. The war aimed to prevent a united, socialist Korea from coming into existence and to destroy the country in consequence. More than 7,700 U.S. troops remain unaccounted from the war, of which some 5,300 died in what is now North Korea.]
How the media has woven a narrative of North Korean nuclear deception, by Gareth Porter, published on 38 North, July 26, 2018 Since the June 12 Singapore Summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the U.S. media has woven a misleading narrative that both past and post-summit North Korean actions indicate an intent to deceive the US about its willingness to denuclearize…
Former British ambassador Peter Ford on ‘White Helmets’ in Syria, the Golan Heights, the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus and more, published by Just World Educational, July 27, 2018 Peter Ford was Britain’s ambassador to Syria from 2003-2006. He speaks about the Western countries’ regime-change project in Syria in a 30-minute audio interview with Just World Educational (Charlottesville, Virginia). Listen to the interview here.
An alliance of Kurdish and Arab militants in Syria says it has come to an agreement with the Syrian government to develop negotiations to end violence in Syria. The announcement was made after the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), sent a delegation to Damascus for talks with Syrian officials earlier this week. The SDF, itself, is a US-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants.
The SDC said in a statement on July 28 that it had agreed with the government of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to form committees that would “chart a roadmap to a democratic, decentralized Syria” …
[The Syrian Democratic Council is a Kurdish-led alliance of political parties and blocs founded on Dec. 8-9, 2015. It is the political wing of the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is still fighting the remaining groups affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria, on the border with Deir ez-Zor. ]
* Alliances shift as Syrian Kurdish alliance holds talks with Assad regime, by Agence France presse, July 27, 2018
* Rojava Kurds consider pact with Syrian president Assad, news analysis by Hannah Lynch, Rudaw news service, July 28, 2018
* Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Council holds talks in Damascus, by Rudaw news agency, July 27, 2018 A delegation of Syrian Kurds has arrived in Damascus to begin negotiations with the government of Bashar al-Assad. Although the stated aim of the talks is to discuss electricity infrastructure, military collaboration could also be on the table. Riad Darar, co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), told Reuters on Friday the delegation in is headed by Ilham Ahmed, executive head of the SDC…
* Syrian Kurdish-backed council holds talks in Damascus, by Tom Perry, Reuters, July 27, 2018
Why Syria’s Kurds are inclined to negotiate with Damascus, by Mohammad Bassiki, Al-Monitor, July 26, 2018 [The political left as well as corporate media in the West have long censored any reporting of the talks taking place haltingly between Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government. The talks are aimed at a political settlement of the longstanding political conflict between the two sides. The Syrian government and people are considering amending the country’s constitution to expressly provide national and social right to the Kurds and other national minorities. The reason for the media censorship in the West is the fact that Russia has been encouraging and sponsoring a political settlement, including urging ammendments to the constitution. As ‘we’ all know, anything that involves Russia must be bad and must therefore go unspoken and unreported.]
Historians say massacres by Australian settlers killed thousands of Indigenous people, report by Reuters, July 27, 2018 … Historians from the University of Newcastle in Australia say they have drawn on settler diaries, contemporary newspaper reports, evidence from Indigenous groups and state and federal archives to attempt to catalog the [settler conquest] violence for the first time. “To date we have identified about 250 massacre sites in colonial Australia and we estimate there will be about 500 when the project is finished,” lead researcher Lyndall Ryan told Reuters…
Austerity and rampant urban expansion fueled Greece’s deadly fires, by Yanis Varoufakis, published in Project Syndicate and other mainstream news outlets, July 26, 2018 (and see extensive news reports dated July 24 on the ‘Ecology newsroll’ page of A Socialist In Canada) The deadly fires in Greece on the Attica peninsula July 23, 24 reflect the vulnerability caused by decades of irresponsible, unregulated development. Still, over the course of the last ten years, Greece has lost many more people to the austerity tragedy caused by the EU establishment than to any flood or wildfire.
… The EU played no role in helping us fight the flames, a task not in its remit, and it cannot be held responsible for the fires or for 70 years of Greek society’s abuse of the natural environment. But it is unquestionable that over the past decade, the Troika of Greece’s official creditors – the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – has actively deprived the Greek state of the resources and capabilities it needs in such situations…
* Greek firefighters join public outcry at ‘woeful’ response to lethal wildfires, by Helena Smith, The Guardian, July 28, 2018 [As of July 28, 2018, the death toll from the fires is 88 people.] * The Greek fires: A catastrophe fueled by austerity, by Kevin Ovenden, published in Counterfire, July 26, 2018
* If you love Greece, help us get rid of Alexis Tsipras and his zombie party, commentary by Zoe Konstantopoulou, The Guardian, July 9, 2018 (Zoe Konstantopoulou is the former president of the Hellenic parliament.)
Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on developments in Syria, published on the ministry’s website, July 23, 2018 … It is well known that it was the White Helmets who were implicated in the most odious provocations during the Syrian conflict. They acted exclusively in areas controlled by Islamic radicals and concocted outright fakes, which were then used as a pretext to level accusations at the Syrian authorities…
Trump lashes out at Erdogan, threatens sanctions over pastor Andrew Brunson imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, July 26, 2018 [Al-Monitor can’t let go of its long-argued, multi-dimensional belief in the imminent breakup of relations between NATO members Turkey and the U.S. Never mind how the two are illegally occupying Syrian territory and have long conspired together to overthrow the Syrian government.]
U.S. secret wars in Africa rage on, despite talk of downsizing, by Nick Turse, The Intercept, July 26, 2018 … According to figures provided to The Intercept by U.S. Special Operations Command, 16.5 per cent of commandos overseas are deployed in Africa. This is about the same percentage of special operators sent to the continent in 2017 and represents a major increase over deployments during the first decade of the post-9/11 war on terror. In 2006, for example, just one per cent of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa – fewer than in the Middle East, the Pacific, Europe, or Latin America. By 2010, the number had risen only slightly, to three per cent…
War propaganda and the July 16, 2018 summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, statement by the United National Antiwar Coalition (United States), issued on July 24, 2018 (with additional, related readings)
Forget about Russia under Putin, the West has made its own terrible decisions, by Scott Taylor, published in his weekly column in the Chronicle Herald (daily in Halifax, Canada), July 23, 2018 (also published in Esprit de Corps, the military magazine published by Scott Taylor)
Marta Harnecker’s ‘Venezuela after the elections: What is to be done?’ and Marx, Luxemburg, and Lenin on the role of cooperatives, by Stansfield Smith, published in Venezuela Analysis, July 24, 2018 Stansfield Smith critiques Marta Harnecker’s recent article about the post-electoral situation in Venezuela
Hundreds of migrant children still separated from their families as Trump regime fails to meet court-ordered reunification deadline of July 26, Associated Press, July 26, 2018 The Trump administration said Thursday that more than 1,800 children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border have been reunited with parents and sponsors but hundreds remain apart, signaling a potentially long wait for anguished families. The federal government was under a Thursday deadline to reunify more than 2,500 children separated from their parents under a new immigration policy designed to deter immigrants from coming here illegally…
* Despite today’s court-ordered deadline, more than 900 migrant children remain separated from parents, interview with Ofelia Calderón and Carlos García., on Democracy Now!, July 26, 2018
* Iraqi-American pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha on the trauma of child separation and the travel ban, interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, on Democracy Now!, July 26, 2018
* Why abolishing ICE doesn’t go far enough: Oscar Chacón on the roots of Trump’s immigration crackdown, interview with Oscar Chacón, on Democracy Now!, July 26, 2018
The deep state is real and Donald Trump is its latest tool, weekly commentary by John Whitehead, published by the Rutherford Institute, July 23, 2018 (John W. Whitehead is the founder and president of the Rutherford Institute, a civil rights research and advocacy institute in Charlottesville, Virginia.)
The Corbyn project, by Robin Blackburn, New Left Review, print issue of May-June 2018
… Defence policy is likely to stay a redoubt of the Blairite diehards.
… If the Labour Left now has a real chance of heading a government, it remains a slim one. Though—barring accidents—Corbyn’s position as leader seems secure for now, his hold over the party shouldn’t be taken for granted. Strengthened by the enormous influx of 350,000 new members, the Labour Left has advanced through the labyrinthine committee structures. But the organization of the party at national and regional level remains fundamentally undemocratic…
The New York Times quietly warns that prosecution of Julian Assange would be a dire threat to freedom of the press, by Ray McGovern, Consortium News, July 26, 2018
* Judges hear warning against prosecution of WikiLeaks, by Maria Dinzeo, Courthouse News, July 24, 2018
* Germany offers asylum to eight White Helmets, some MPs ask why not to Assange?, news report on RT (five minute video), July 26, 2018
Blacks need to stop calling the enemy ‘we’ and ‘us’, by Margaret Kimberley, published in her weekly column ‘Freedom Rider’ in Black Agenda Report, July 25, 2018
Related: High crimes and misdemeanors: Not by Trump but Obama and Democrats, by Ajamu Baraka, editor and columnist, Black Agenda Report, July 25, 2018 (Ajamu Baraka was the vice-presidential candidate for the U.S. Green Party in the 2016 presidential election.)
Islamic State kills 215 in southwest Syria attacks: local official, Reuters, July 24, 2018 Islamic State militants have killed more than 200 people in a coordinated assault on a government-held area of southwestern Syria on Wednesday, local officials and a war monitor said, in the group’s deadliest attack in the country for years…
Pakistan’s cricket legend Imran Khan declares election victory, Reuters, July 26, 2018
* Muzzling the media: How Pakistan’s army helped Khan win, by Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, Asia Times, July 31, 2018
* Imran Khan’s Pakistan, by Shahid Javed Burki, Project Syndicate, Jul 29, 2018
* ‘Army-backed’ Imran Khan set to be Pakistan prime minister, Asia Times, July 26, 2018
Meeting with Trump in Washington, European Union agrees to buy more U.S. soybean product, import more liquified natural gas in effort to avert trade war, RT, July 25, 2018 (and report by Reuters, July 25, 2018)
Related: Trump and Juncker revive Obama-era trade goals, commentary by Gina Chon, Reuters, July 25, 2018
No water or electricity: why southern Iraqis are at a breaking point, France 24, July 24, 2018 Major protests have erupted in several Iraqi cities over the past two weeks due to water and power cuts. The movement started in the southern region of Basra, and then spread to Kerbala and Baghdad. Our Observers in Basra explain that the protesters blame corruption and poor management by the authorities for these cuts, which are particularly painful since Iraq is currently experiencing temperatures nearing 50 degrees Celsius.
The plot thins: How gel became a liquid and the whole Novichok affair began to smell to high heaven, commentary by George Galloway, published on the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, July 23, 2018 … Four out of five of those affected by ‘Novichok’ – Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Detective Sergeant Bailey, and Charlie Rowley – have survived the contact, with only poor Dawn Sturgess, a homeless alcoholic, succumbing to its “deadly” effects. A polythene bag would have been a rather more effective method of assassination…
Mike Treen reports as Gaza flotilla sails from Sicily, by Mike Treen, The Daily Blog (New Zealand) July 23, 2018
Background: Mike Treen leaves NZ for Gaza Flotilla, by Mike Treen, The Daily Blog (New Zealand), July 18, 2018
Maternal health care crisis in Haiti, by Dr. John Carroll, published in his column ‘Dispatches From Haiti’, Journal Star (Peoria, Illinois), July 22, 2018 (Dr. John Carroll is a U.S. physician who has lived and operated a medical clinic in Haiti since before the 2010 earthquake. His ‘Dispatches From Haiti’ appear in the Journal Star in Peoria, Illinois.)
Violent coup attempt fails in Nicaragua, interview with Stephen Sefton, author of the blog Tortilla con Sal, broadcast on ‘Clearing The Fog’ podcast, with hosts Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, July 17, 2018 (Interview begins at 14′ mark, 33 minutes long, ‘Clearing The Fog’ is a weekly podcast on the website of Popular Resistance published by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.)
* Defending the record of the Nicaragua government under Daniel Ortega, by Chuck Kaufman, published by the Alliance for Social Justice, July 25, 2018 (original title: ‘The case against Daniel Ortega’) … I think it is an indictment of us on the Left in the U.S. that so many of us are willing to accept the groundless charges against Ortega and his government because we have a deep-seated bias against government period…
* Interview with Nicaragua president Daniel Ortega, broadcast on FOX News, July 23, 2018 (14 minute interview)
Trump threatens Iran with what ‘few throughout history have suffered before’, Press TV, July 23, 2018
… Addressing a group of Iranian diplomats in Tehran on July 22, President Hassan Rouhani said, “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
“You declare war and then you speak of wanting to support the Iranian people,” he told the U.S. president, adding “You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests” …
Related: Iran opens missile production line, rejects Trump’s threat, Press TV, July 23, 2018
Israel evacuates some 420 ‘White Helmets’ personnel and their families from Syria to Jordan, RT, July 22, 2018 Israel has evacuated a reported 422 people from Syria to Jordan, including members of the controversial Western-backed ‘White Helmets’ agency. They will be resettled later in the UK, Canada, and Germany, according to statements from Tel Aviv and Amman. Emmanuel Nahshon, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, had confirmed on Twitter that “Israel has completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization (“the White Helmets”) and [their] families.” He chose not to disclose further details, adding only that the evacuees have been brought “to a neighboring country” … Jordanian authorities have revisited the numbers, saying that only 422 people have actually made it into Jordan…
[The refugee sponsorship by some Western governments of ‘White Helmets’ activists (not the U.S., it has a travel ban against some countries of Muslim faith including Syria) is a result of the Syrian government’s successes in retaking the country’s territory from right-wing militias supported by the West and the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia). The Russian embassy in Israel stated on July 23: “Yesterday, 442 White Helmets militants and their family members were evacuated from South-West Syria. At least there is one positive consequence. A chance that White Helmets will use chlorine in order to stage a chemical provocation in South-West Syria has decreased.” The evacuations will make it more difficult for Western governments and the agencies they finance to stage further accusations against the Syrian government of chemical weapons usage and other human rights violations. The activists and their sponsors also escape the ramifications under Syrian and international law of making false accusations. Many Syrians have died from Western bombings conducted under the pretense of retaliation for ‘chemical weapons attacks’ allegedly conducted by the Syrian government.]
* Damascus condemns evacuation of ‘White Helmet’ agency members by Israel, incited by the West, as ‘criminal operation’, Reuters, July 22, 2018
* UK resettlement offer to ‘White Helmets’ operatives comes under criticism, RT, July 23, 2018 The UK is to offer asylum to members of western-backed White Helmets group. It operated in areas of Syria controlled by right-wing (‘jihadist’) paramilitaries. The move has prompted dire warnings about who exactly Britain might be admitting. Some 98 White Helmets members were rescued [sic] by the Israel Defense Forces on the night of July 21 as part of an evacuation mission that saw a total of 422 people collected from Syria and transferred across Northern Israel and into Jordan at three points, the Guardian reports…
* UK agrees to take in some White Helmets evacuated from Syria by Israel, by Patrick Wintour and news agencies, in The Guardian (anti-Russia and pro-regime change in Syria), July 22, 2018 The UK is willing to offer asylum to some of the 500 members or relatives of the Syrian volunteer civil defence forces known as the White Helmets who have been rescued from Syria and evacuated to Jordan, the Guardian has learned…
* Whitewashing the White Helmets: Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria, responds to UK government statement, published in 21st Century Wire, July 23, 2018
* Netanyahu: Trump and Trudeau asked Israel to evacuate White Helmets from Syria, RT, July 22, 2018
* Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria, Canadian Press, July 22, 2018
* Western governments seek evacuation of ‘White Helmets’ from Syria, resettle them in Canada, by Whitney Webb, Mint Press News, July 17, 2018 The Western-funded ‘White Helmets’ civil response agency has been shown to effectively be the same organization as terror group al-Nusra Front and has been caught on film aiding al-Nusra terrorists executing Syrian civilians. It is hard to imagine any Westerner who would want the White Helmets as neighbors.
Background: The ‘White Helmets’ controversy, by Rick Sterling, originally published on Consortium News, Oct 23, 2016
Dutch journalists discover large pieces of wreckage at MH17 crash site, TASS news agency, July 23, 20188
… A July 16 article by Stefan Beck at the Novini news outlet in Holland on the crash of Malaysian airlines Flight 17 four years ago contains a number of photos and a video showing pieces of wreckage of the plane, apparently including the aircraft’s tail-plane, pieces of aircraft covering, pieces of a wing and an oxygen generator.
“They are so big that they even can be seen using Google Earth,” said Eric van de Beek, a journalist also at Novini. “Very much to our surprise, no Dutch paper or program has reported this news. I knew that what we are doing is Samizdat, but that the big media in The Netherlands leave this major discovery unreported is beyond me,” he added…
The death of a once great city: The fall of New York and the urban crisis of affluence, by Kevin Baker, published in Harper’s Magazine (monthly), issue of July 2018 [This is a lengthy essay on the withering of working and living conditions of working class people in New York city during the era of globalized capitalism, 1980 to the present.]
It can happen here: Fascism in 1930s Germany and the lives of ordinary citizens, book review by Cass R. Sunstein, New York Review of Books, issue of June 28, 2018 [With apologies for inflicting on interested readers the opening sentences of the book review consisting of gratuitous slights against the leaders of present-day Russia and China.]
* They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, by Milton Mayer, with a new afterword by Richard J. Evans, University of Chicago Press, 2018, 378 pp.
* Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the Twentieth Century, by Konrad H. Jarausch, Princeton University Press, 2018, 446 pp
Thousands march across Australia to protest refugee detention, SBS News, July 22, 2018
Related: Letter from Manus Island: The ongoing abuses of Australia’s refugee policy, by Michael Green, Harpers Magazine (monthly), July 2018 print issue
Ecuador to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange at London embassy and hand him over to the UK, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, July 21 2018 (related reports in RT, July 21, 2018 and in Telesur, July 20, 2018)
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been using a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed, actual purpose of the President’s trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.
Moreno’s itinerary also notably includes a trip to Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish officials still seething over Assange’s denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain’s central government against protesters marching for Catalonia independence. Almost three months ago, Ecuador blocked Assange from accessing the internet, and Assange has not been able to communicate with the outside world ever since. The primary factor in Ecuador’s decision to silence him was Spanish anger over Assange’s tweets about Catalonia…
* Inside WikiLeaks, the publisher that changed the world, by Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, Mint Press News, July 20, 2018
* The war on Julian Assange is a war on press freedom, by Chris Hedges, weekly column in Truthdig, July 15, 2018
* ‘A Cancer in the Amazon’: ChevronTexaco’s environmental disaster in the Ecuadorean Amazon, documentary film broadcast on Telesur, July 20, 2018 (13 minute video)
Debate on political crisis and violent deaths in Nicaragua: Camilo Mejía vs. Julio Martinez Ellsberg, broadcast on Democracy Now!, July 18, 2018 (Camilio E. Mejia is a Nicaraguan-born antiwar activist who served nine years in the U.S. army, including in Iraq. In 2004, he was sentenced to one year in U.S. military prison for desertion from service in Iraq. He is the author of the book Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejía, 2007, 320 pages.)
From an earlier, ‘world news’ posting in A Socialist In Canada, June 2018:
* Nicaraguan/U.S. antiwar activist condemns Amnesty International political interference targeting Nicaragua government, open letter by Camilo E. Mejia, published in Telesur, June 13, 2018
* The U.S. and Nicaragua: A case study in historical amnesia and blindness, by Dan Kovalik, CounterPunch, June 15, 2018 (Dan Kovlaik is a professor and human rights lawyer at the University of Pittsburgh.)
* Deciphering the Nicaraguan student uprising, by Lori Hanson and Miguel Gomez, NACLA, June 15, 2018 [The authors of this article have hailed the violent, ‘autonomist’ protest movement in Nicaragua as socially and politically progressive, so the scepticism they voice in this latest article is especially noteworthy.] * Right-wing socialists of U.S. ISO welcome the protest movement in Nicaragua aiming to overthrow the country’s elected president, article by Oscar René Vargas, reprinted in Socialist Worker.org on June 21, 2018
U.S. and other Western governments push back with laws against boycott/divestment/sanctions campaigns against Israel, commentary by Amjad Iraqi, London Review of Books, July 19, 2018 In late June 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee approved the latest version of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which is now one step closer to becoming law… The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which enjoys the support of more than half the members of both chambers of Congress, is part of a wave of U.S. legislation aiming to counter the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). Twenty-five state legislatures have enacted some form of anti-BDS law, with more bills being considered in all 50 states and at the federal level…
Turkey ends state of emergency, but introduces restrictive new rules, by Ayla Jean Yackley, Al-Monitor, July 19, 2018
Related: Is Turkey’s state of emergency really over?, by Sibel Hurtas, Al-Monitor, July 19, 2018 … Turkey’s democratic standards have crumbled so badly that the discussion now is about differences and similarities between various states of emergency. How will the upcoming period differ from the one of emergency rule that just passed? The Council of Ministers and then the parliament once had the power to shape states of emergency, but the new bill also empowers governors and senior public officials in what looms as a “limitless state of emergency” in camouflage.
Haitian ‘mobs’ and ‘mayhem’, or a popular uprising?, by Jane Regan, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), July 19, 2018 (Jane Regan is associate professor at the College of Communication at Boston University. She has lived and worked in Haiti for some 14 years over the past three decades.)
Related: Haiti’s popular uprising calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s removal, by Kim Ives, co editor, Haiti Liberté (print weekly), July 11, 2018
Ceasefire in Syria’s western province of Quneitra has Syria gov’t restoring control over Golan Heights border with Israel, report by Reuters, July 19, 2018 President Bashar al-Assad is set to recover control of the Syrian frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in a major victory over rebels who have agreed to surrender terms, sources on both sides said on Thursday…
Staged theatre by Donald Trump regime tricks writers on the left
[The otherwise perceptive writer Gary Leupp in CounterPunch takes Donald Trump’s foreign policy theatrics at good coin, particularly the idea that Trump wants better relations with Russia. Leupp writes on July 20: “Trump is taking heat for his tweet 9:27 Tuesday morning [July 17]: ‘Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!’ He is mocked on cable for sensationalizing, with his talk of war. But he’s right…”
[In the conclusion to Leupp’s article, we read “We are heading towards a multi-lateral world, in which several powerful players, including the EU, Japan, China, and Russia, interact under new rules necessitated by the U.S. president’s madness. His bizarre behavior and remarks make him less relevant as a partner, while his weakness and the U.S. government’s general disarray allow others to take new initiatives.” But how does that square with the following sentence: ” ‘Liberal’ anchors who despise Trump in general offer praise and express relief when he blows something up in Afghanistan or Syria; it comforts them to know he too has the traditional patriotic courage to kill big-time to ‘advance U.S. interests’.” Naive assumptions aside, it’s obvious that the U.S. ruling class remains united in its new cold war policy drive to dominate the world and keep its allies as well as competitors at heel. The rest is theatrics designed to confuse and bamboozle the world. Judging by the writings even of left-wing writers, the Trumpian foreign policy and theatrics are working nicely. They keep the world on edge and off balance while big capital in all countries steamrolls ahead, pillaging and flattening the Earth’s biosphere and the people who live in it.]
Time magazine’s creepy Putin-Trump cover is what media subversion really looks like, by Simon Rite, RT, July 20, 2018
After half million deaths, the Syrian conflict ending where it began, by Steven Sahiounie, Mint Press News, July 16, 2018 The American model of change at the ballot box is touted as the gold standard in democracy; however, the U.S. foreign policy for Syria under Obama called for armed rebellion and wholesale destruction of the infrastructure, not to mention the thousands killed, maimed and displaced.
Related: The OPCW interim report on alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018: No nerve agents found, report by Media Lens, July 17, 2018 On July 6, 2018, the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued an interim report on the FFM’s investigation regarding the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The following passage jumps out of the report: ‘No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties’…
Russiagate is a ruling class diversion, by Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, July 19, 2018
* Russiagate and Black misleadership, by Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist, Black Agenda Report, July 18, 2018
* As Trump readies concentration camps, where is the Green Party?, by Bruce Dixon, managing editor, Black Agenda Report, July 19, 2018
Israel adopts law defining itself as a Jewish state and downgrading status of Arab language, NBC News, July 19, 2018 (also: Israel passes controversial Jewish nation-state bill after stormy debate, Haaretz, July 19, 2018)
* Jewish Nation-state law makes discrimination in Israel constitutional, by Mordechai Kremnitze, Haaretz, July 19, 2018 The nation-state law is another step in the direction of annexing the territories, but in reverse: The territories have annexed the state
* Palestinians outraged at Jewish nation-state law, by Daoud Kuttab, Al-Monitor, July 20, 2018
* Palestinians respond to ‘Nation-state of Jewish people’ law, by Yumna Patel, Monodweiss, July 20, 2018
Interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, interview by Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, July 16, 2018 (70-minute broadcast) (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Congress on June 26, 2018. She is 28 years old. Ada Colau is the left-wing mayor of Barcelona, elected in 2015. She is 44 years old.)
1918: When the U.S. invaded Russia, by Jeff Klein, Consortium News, July 18, 2018 Amidst the backdrop of increased U.S.-Russian tensions and even talk of war, long forgotten is the time the U.S. actually invaded
U.S. prosecutors charge 29 year old Russian student with conspiracy, NPR, July 16, 2018 Just hours after President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and held a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart that stunned many political observers in the U.S., federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed a criminal complaint against Maria Butina, alleging that the Russian graduate student living in the D.C. area conspired to act as an agent of Russia without registering, as required, under U.S. law…
Related: The curious path of Maria Butina, by Angela Charlton, Associated Press, July 18, 2018
Detente bad, cold war good, by Craig Murray, published on his website, July 17, 2018 (Craig Murray was UK ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2001-2004.)
* Denial and guilt: U.S. liberals collectively lose their minds over #Treasonsummit, by George Galloway, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, July 17, 2018 (George Galloway was a long-serving Labour Party MP in Britain. He hosts a weekday program on Talk Radio.)
* Two American scholars say the real threat to the U.S. is Russophobia, interview by VICE News with Stephen Cohen and John Mearsheimer, July 17, 2018 (five minute interview)
* On attitudes to Russia, it’s U.S. politicians versus the people. [Gallup Poll published its most recent monthly surveying for June 2018 of U.S. citizens perceptions of ‘Most Important Problems’. ‘Situation with Russia’ scored less than 0.5 per cent.] * U.S. leftists echo Trump-Putin conspiracy language of pro-war liberals, report in Socialist Worker.org, July 17, 2018
… After a press conference with Vladimir Putin at the end of his Europe trip where Trump managed to look like a dupe of one of the most transparently evil people on the planet
… Trump’s press conference in Helsinki will refuel the speculation machine about what Putin has on him. We at Socialist Worker have no trouble believing this — though our money has always been on criminal business dealings, rather than an election-fixing plot.
… From the moment Trump touched down in Brussels last week for the summit of the NATO military alliance, he couldn’t have been clearer about his hostility toward traditional U.S. allies in Europe, particularly Germany — and his admiration for Russia and its authoritarian leader.
Real News Network host Aaron Maté casts sceptical eye on the indictments by Robert Mueller against 12 Russians, interview by Aaron Maté with investigative journalist Michael Isikoff, broadcast on The Real News Network, July 18, 2018
‘Fourth anniversary of the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 is time and reason to doubt the allegations’: Interview with Dutch researcher and writer Max van der Werff, translated from the Dutch original by John Helmer and published on his website Dances With Bears, July 17, 2018 (View the original interview in Dutch here in Novini.nl, July 11, 2018.)
Ukraine’s anti-Roma pogroms ignored as Russia is blamed for global far right resurgence, by Max Parry, published on his web page at Medium.com, July 15, 2018
My grandfather: Lithuanian hero and Jew-killer. A U.S. author’s journey to discover dark family past, RT, July 18, 2018
Related: My grandfather wasn’t a Nazi-fighting war hero — he was a brutal collaborator, by Sylvia Foti, Salon.com, July 14, 2018 A deathbed promise led to me discovering his complicity in the Holocaust — and what it means beyond my family
‘Don’t hold U.S.-Russia ties hostage to internal politics’: Five takeaways from Putin’s interview on Fox News, RT, July 17, 2018
* Vladimir Putin’s interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, report on FOX News and 33-minute video interview, July 17, 2018
* U.S. media is losing its mind over Trump-Putin press conference, by Joe Lauria, Consortium News, July 16, 2018 (Joe Lauria is the editor of Consortium News.)
* Debate on Putin-Trump summit meeting, between Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, and Glenn Greenwald, founding editor of The Intercept, broadcast on Democracy Now!, July 16, 2018
* Criticisms of Trump over press conference with Putin are ‘like mob violence’, interview with Professor Stephen Cohen, on FOX News, July 16, 2018 (five-minute interview)
* Climb down from the summit of hostile propaganda, by Norman Solomon, Truthdig, July 16, 2018
* Meet the Nation reporter dragged from Trump-Putin press conference for trying to ask about nuclear treaty, interview with Sam Husseini, broadcast on Democracy Now!, July 17, 2018 ‘There are signs all over town here about how Finland is in favour of press freedom… So I felt it rather ironic that Finnish officials were dragging a journalist (me) out of a news conference and manhandling me. When I shouted that to them, they threw me to the gournd, handcuffed me and threw me into the back of a police van and took me to a detenition center where I was held until midnight [late on July 16]…’ [The interview with Sam Husseini includes the Democracy Now! hosts introduction giving credence to the ‘Russia collusion’ conspiracy theories that dominate mainstream media in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West. This is standard fare on Democracy Now!] * The Real News Network looks at relations between Russia and the United States and concludes that the two countries are equal threats to the world, interview with Paul Jay, senior editor at The Real News Network, with host Aaron Maté, July 16, 2018 ‘Whether the Kremlin meddled in the U.S. election or not, the hyper-focus on Russiagate overlooks bigger threats: Russian elites to the Russian people, and U.S. elites to the American people.’ [Paul Jay voices the trope that the Trump regime in Washington has a friendly stance towards Russia because it wishes to weaken if not attack China and Iran. And sounding very left-wing, he caves to the Russia conspiracy theories abounding in the West: “Maybe the Russians did these things to an American election. Maybe they wanted a Trump victory, maybe they wanted to weaken a Clinton presidency, as people are accusing. Maybe it’s all true. But the truth is that this is normal stuff in the competition between these big countries…” Two years following the outset of Russia conspiracy theorizing, Jay says, “I tend to think there might be some truth to it” and “I don’t really know”.]
Indictment of 12 Russians: Under the shiny wrapping, a political act, by Scott Ritter, Truthdig, July 16, 2018 (Scott Ritter was a chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-98 and is a critic of United States foreign policy in the Middle East.)
Related: The king of chaos, by Scott Ritter, Truthdig, July 7, 2018 … Whether through his simultaneous critique of NATO and embrace of Russia, or the policy of withdrawal and disruption that governs America’s multilateral relationships at the UN and World Trade Organisation, Trump seems to relish his role as the ‘King of Chaos’, challenging the established world order by simply tearing it apart. This “my way or the highway” approach plays exceptionally well to Trump’s domestic political base…
In pictures, Canadian dailies’ juvenile reporting of Putin-Trump summit meeting in Finland:
The 1933 Reichstag Fire in Germany and the July, 2016 military coup in Turkey: Similarities, and call for investigation in Turkey, by Zakir Gul, Modern Diplomacy, July 15, 2018 (Zakir Gul, Ph.D. is an associate professor in criminal justice at State University of New York (SUNY) in Plattsburgh, upper New York state.)
* Turks enter uncharted waters as Erdogan forges ahead with new powers, by Sibel Hurtas, Al-Monitor, July 13, 2018 The swearing-in of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 9 marked the end of Turkey’s parliamentary system and ushered the country into a new form of governance that accumulates power in the hands of the president…
* ‘Erdoganism’ makes Western debut at NATO summit, by Cengiz Candar, Al-Monitor, July 11, 2018
Summit meeting of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018 [The Summit meeting of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018 has seen an unprecedented outpouring of anti-Russia hate and distortion by mainstream media in the West. Among other consequences, this outpouring serves to obscure the war and militarism agenda of the Trump-led regime in the United States. The liberal, anti-Trump media in the West shares that war agenda. That is why it is so alarming to see much of the political left in the West succumb to the anti-Russia propaganda drive or bite its tongue and keep its silence. In the ‘related’ news item below, Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom notes the complete absence of domestic opposition to Canada’s recent decisions to dispatch military missions to Mali and Iraq. Below is a weblink to the transcript of the press conference by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump following their summit meeting.]
* Undermining Trump-Putin summit means promoting war, by Dave Lindorff, published in CounterPunch, July 16, 2018 [This article by writer Dave Lindorff examines the sham of 12 Russian ‘intelligence officers’ being criminally indicted by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller on July 13, 2018. They are accused of criminal interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The evidence is bare, and conveniently for U.S. authorities, there will never be an actual trial on the matter. No, the charges will float as established fact in the Western media newsphere for time immemorial. Inexplicably, writer Dave Lindorff informs his readers that Donald Trump’s meeting in Helsinki on July 16 with Vladimir Putin is intended by Trump to “ease tensions” with Russia. But Trump’s wishes are being thwarted by the U.S. “deep state”, hence the origin of Mueller’s indictments. And so it is that the theatrics of the war president Donald Trump succeed in fooling even the most perceptive of analysts such as Lindorff. Yes, there is discordance among the U.S. ruling class. But this ruling class is united in an agenda of war, militarism and continued pillage of the Earth’s limited resources. The new cold war against Russia and China are an integral part of that agenda. Only those distracted by theatrics can fail to see all that.] * If Mueller investigation sends official request to question suspects, Russia will facilitate that, Putin tells press conference in Helsinki, RT, July 16, 2018
* Three charts explain how Russians see Trump and U.S., by Erik Nisbet and Olga Kamenchuk (Ohio State University), The Conversation, July 13, 2018 ‘Seventy one per cent of Russians have an unfavourable opinion of Donald Trump. Seventy seven per cent say he is self-centered.’
* More Potemkin indictments from Helsinki’s would-be saboteurs, by Jed Babbin, published on The American Spectator, July 16, 2018 [The author and the publication are proponents of U.S. imperial policy.] … Whether or not the Democrats had been tipped off by Mueller or Rosenstein, they reacted with near-record speed demanding that the president cancel the Putin meeting… The president has, unaccountably and illogically, treated Putin with kid gloves since he began his 2016 campaign. That isn’t to say that he’s treated Russia that way. Thanks to Trump, we now have severe economic sanctions on Russia in place.
* Justin Trudeau is supporting Donald Trump’s military agenda, by Thomas Walkom, national affairs columnist, Toronto Star, July 16, 2018 (Read here in pdf format: Justin Trudeau is supporting Donald Trump.)
Transcript of press conference by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump following their summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018, published on the website of the President of Russia, July 16, 2018
Mass protests meet Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki over human rights, free speech, climate action, interview from Helsinki on Democracy Now! with Heidi Hautala, an anti-Russia member from Finland of the European Parliament, July 16, 2018 [Listen as Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman gives credence in her story introduction to the witchhunt investigation by Robert Mueller of alleged ‘Russian interference’ in the 2016 U.S. election. And contrary to the story headline, Heidi Hautula provides no meaningful information about the actual protests that greeted the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki on July 16. With the encouragement of the program host, Hautala instead condemned Russian society and made equivalence between the foreign and domestic policies of the U.S. and Russia.]
Trump’s direct road to nuclear ruin, by Andrew Cockburn, published in Harper’s Magazine (monthly), issue of July 2018 (sub-headline: How to start a nuclear war) ‘Critics of the current nuclear arrangements of the United States, while quick to advocate for arms reduction or call for a reduction in executive power, generally accept the fundamental premise of deterrence.’
William Browder: Hero of Canada’s state-run broadcaster the CBC, letter to the CBC, July 16, 2018
Hello CBC Early Edition,
I listened this morning to your host’s interview with the commentator on the Trump-Putin summit meeting in Finland. I noticed your program host’s continued propagation of the story of the formerly Russia-based financier/oligarch William Browder. He is the former U.S. citizen who renounced his citizenship in order to take advantage of the UK’s more lax corporate tax regime. If anyone on your program is interested, you can read the story of Browder as told by Lucy Komisar of the U.S.-based 100 Reporters project. Her article is contained in this article by myself on the subject of Browder and his international crusade to discredit the Russian government. You can also read here a report on Vladimir Putin’s comments on William Browder during the Russian president’s press conference with Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16, 2018.
Komisar’s article was published in October 2017. She and the rest of the crew at 100 Reporters are genuine journalists, something which is otherwise is very short supply at the CBC and elsewhere in Western journalism when it comes to all things Russia.
‘Carnival of Resistance’ as hundreds of thousands march in Britain against Trump, news report in Common Dreams, July 13, 2018 [Hundreds of thousands of anti-Trump demonstrators took to the streets of some 60 cities in Britain on Friday, July 13. In London, there was a massive turnout of a reported 250,000 people. Protests took place the following day in Scotland, the largest being in Edinburgh with thousands of participants.]
* News report here in Associated Press; aerial view of London protest here on BBC; video of London protest, including excerpts of speeches, here on RT Ruptly.)
* Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to anti-Trump rally in London on July 13, 2018, video of nine minute speech
Trump brings reality-show style to NATO, and leaves satisfied, Reuters, July 12, 2018 … “We’ve had a very amazing two-day period in Brussels,” Trump told reporters. “Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before… And now we’re very happy and have a very, very powerful, very, very strong NATO, much stronger than it was two days ago.”
* Declaration by NATO Summit Meeting in Brussels, statement issued by the heads of state and government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels July 11-12, 2018
* Trump calls his own interview ‘fake news,’ slams changes from European immigration, ABC News, July 13, 2018
[Donald Trump’s theatrical performance at the NATO summit meeting in Brussels was impressive, but his critics in Western governments and media have also staged impressive performances in their anti-Russia conspiratorial zeal. At the summit, Trump not only affirmed his support for NATO but compelled NATO member countries to snap to attention and significantly boost their military spending. This is all to serve NATO’s rising threats against Russia. Yet to take but one example from Western media, Mark MacKinnon in the Canadian daily Globe and Mail has written with a straight face following the summit:
“Concern remains high that Mr. Trump will make concessions in Helsinki to Mr. Putin [at the Trump-Putin meeting to take place on July 16], whom many in the alliance view as a legitimate military threat in the wake of Russia’s 2014 seizure and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
“Some alliance members are concerned that Mr. Trump will borrow a page from his recent summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – where Mr. Trump, without consulting his generals or the South Korean government, suspended U.S. military drills on the Korean Peninsula – and promise to halt NATO exercises in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Another worry is that Mr. Trump might waver on sanctions on Russia, or formally or informally agree to recognize Russia’s claim to Crimea…”]
How Israel helped to revive Europe’s ugly ethnic nationalisms, by Jonathan Cook, published in Middle East Eye, July 12, 2018 Israel preserved a tribal idea of citizenship that followers of Trump and Europe’s far-right now seek to emulate [It is disappointing to read that like other writers on the subject of the far right in Europe, Jonathan Cook seems unaware or uncaring of the fact that by far the most advanced front of far-right surge in Europe is in Ukraine. One can also mention the small Baltic countries on the front lines of NATO’s new cold war against Russia. This with the full acquiescence and backing of the EU and NATO, no less. Cook’s article focuses on Hungary and mentions Poland only once. Yet Poland is a key NATO member. Whence such oversight, if not a case of bending to the prevailing anti-Russia narratives?]
Ceasefire agreements alongside military push by Syrian government ends regime-change war in southern Syria province of Daraa, Xinhua, July 12, 2018 [Western media is so obsessed with its longstanding dreams of the violent overthrow of the Syrian government that it cannot provide the slightest accurate information of the situation in southern Syria. Reports of the return of the southern Syria province of Daraa to government control are accompanied by grossly exagerated reporting of the humanitarian situation and bemoaning the defeat of the paramilitary forces that have controlled the region for several years. The dire reporting recalls similar reporting when Western-backed rebels agreed to withdraw from Aleppo city and province in December 2016.]
What’s behind the U.S. trade wars?, by David M. Kotz, published in Jacobin, June 28, 2018 (David M. Kotz is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism.) … The conflict with China is a very dangerous one. It is not the same as the Cold War, which pitted two different systems — capitalism and state socialism — against each other. It is a battle between U.S.-led capitalism and a rising power [China] whose system is difficult to classify, with an economy that is largely capitalist but a state that retains many of the practices of state socialism…
When ‘resistance’ becomes capitulation: A response to the July 11, 2018 open letter in The Nation, by Robert Scheer, Truthdig, July 12, 2018 (Robert Scheer is the publisher of Truthdig. On July 11, The Nation magazine published an open letter signed by 23 scholars, diplomats, politicians, writers and activists calling for “secure elections and true national security in the United States: Common ground: For secure elections and true national security, open letter dated July 11, 2018 and published in The Nation.)
While The Nation deserves credit for this important effort, and I am a huge fan of Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, I find this statement to be an inadequate response to the jingoistic blather of the Democratic Party and of course the Republican leadership…
At chaotic NATO summit meeting in Brussels on July 11, 12, Trump denounces Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline and demands NATO members spend more on war preparations, report in Associated Press, July 11, 2018 [Despite the surface appearance of chaos at the NATO summit meeting in Brussels, conservative warmongers and liberal warmongers in the NATO countries are two peas in the same pod. Donald Trump is waging a continued militarization drive and yet Russia conspiracy theorizing by liberal media and politicians in the West is alive and well. That’s because anti-Russia conspiracy theories play a vital role in distracting attention from gathering stormclouds of war, global warming and rising social inequities.]
Related: Trump’s criticism of NATO ignores the real questions, by Jonathan Marshall, Consortium News, July 12, 2018
Trump theatrics in Brussels rattles NATO allies with U.S. demand to boost military spending to four per cent of GDP, report in Reuters, July 11, 2018 [The Trumpian off-the-cuff suggestion that NATO country military spending rise to four per cent of GDP annually is doubly comedic. Firstly, NATO countries have already been scrambling to jump to attention and salute Trump’s demand for two per cent of GDP military spending. Secondly, the anti-Russia conspiratorialists must now explain how it is that a supposedly ‘Russia friendly’ Trump is voicing new threats and upping the military ante against Russia yet again, this time with his ‘four per cent’ demand. The ever-comedic, anti-Russia Guardian daily in the UK managed to spin a Russia conspiracy story out of the latest Trump theatre when it wrote on July 11, “The chaotic first day [of the NATO summit meeting in Brussels on July 11] dismayed NATO officials and will please Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has long pursued a strategy of creating division in NATO. Trump is due to meet Putin in Helsinki next week.” The laughable conspiracy mongerers in Western media attribute every moment of tension between NATO allies to an evil ‘Dr. Putin’ in Moscow.]
Three predictions about Mali’s July 29 presidential election, by Bruce Whitehouse, published on his blog Bridges From Bamako, July 11, 2018
What’s happening in Nicaragua?, statement in support of Nicaragua, by the Task Force on the Americas, July 1, 2018 (The Task Force on the Americas is a 32-year-old anti-imperialist human rights organization.)
The Donald Trump/NATO summit gong show in Brussels July 11-12, 2018:
* Intentional chaos: Trump and the global NATO alliance, by Joseph Gerson, Truthout.org, July 10, 2018 [In this insightful analysis of the NATO military alliance, the writer nonetheless works an anti-Russia spin into his analysis, blaming Russia for provocations that contribute to the new cold war military escalations by the NATO countries. Truthout.org continues to voice anti-Russia hysteria, accusing Russia of nefarious interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other instances of U.S. domestic politics.]
* Arriving at NATO summit meeting in Brussels, Trump scolds allies for not spending enough on war preparations, report by Associated Press, July 11, 2018
* Donald Trump says Germany is ‘captive to Russia’, blasts NATO defence spending, by Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press, July 11, 2018
* Canadian PM talks tough in Latvia, backing anti-Russia NATO and extending Canada’s military adventure in Latvia to 2023, report by The Canadian Press, July 10, 2018
* Canada to intervene in Iraq with 250 soldiers, under the guise of ‘training’, report by CBC News, July 11, 2018
Russia hysteria reaches fever pitch in U.S. media as Trump-Putin summit looms, RT, July 11, 2018
Related: Liberals’ Trump-Russia fever dreams have reached parody status, by Matthew Walther, published in The Week, July 10, 2018 [Critiquing this lengthy essay: At Trump-Putin meeting, will Trump be meeting with his counterpart or his handler?, feature essay by Jonathan Chait, in New York Magazine, July 8, 2018 … I give voice to the above lunatic fancy, which I was able to concoct with almost minimal effort in a matter of about 30 seconds with the use of Twitter, Google, and Wikipedia, in the hope of reminding readers how easy it is to put together a plausible-sounding hypothesis if you are already convinced of certain premises. In this case, that premise is the fact that despite the lack of any real evidence, there exists or existed a high-level conspiracy between Trump and various members of his 2016 campaign and various agents of the Russian government, up to and potentially including Vladimir Putin himself, to elect Trump president of the United States two years ago…
Media and foreign policy hardliners in the U.S. play up North Korean nuclear ‘deception’ claim, by Gareth Porter, Truthout.org, July 10, 2018
OPCW findings regarding Douma nerve gas attack: Grim reading for Western ideologues, by John Wight, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature on RT, July 11, 2018
Trump targets $200 billion more Chinese goods for tariffs, by Doug Palmer and Adam Behsudi, Politico, July 10, 2018
Related: China’s foreign minister responds to U.S. announcement of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, Xinhua news service, July 11, 2018
Erdogan assumes office, vast new powers, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, July 9, 2018
… Erdogan is hungry for global legitimacy. In his inaugural speech, he vowed, “In the new era, Turkey will further advance in all areas, including democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms and economy.” Indeed, commentators on Turkey’s state television channel TRT were at pains to explain that the new model, which allows the president to issue executive decrees and to appoint and sack senior judges, Cabinet ministers and other senior officials without the parliament’s assent, would make the country more stable and democratic… With tens of thousands of bureaucrats, policemen, army officers and others purged since the failed July 2016 coup, one may well ask if there are enough remaining to block the system as the commentator claimed.
Critics say with the media shackled, the opposition — including the Kurds — squashed, and academia and civil society unremittingly intimidated, there are no checks and balances and Turkey is now formally under one-man rule…
* Erdogan’s great purge continues two years after the coup, six-minute report on Ahval TV, July 9, 2018
* Three newspapers and a television station closed down under Turkey’s State of Emergency, published by Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), July 8, 2018 … Some 190 media outlets have been closed down through emergency decrees since the declaration of the State of Emergency in July 2016. A full list can be viewed here on Turkey Purge.]
UN report details human rights abuses in regions of northern Syria controlled by Turkish military and its proxies, Turkish Minute, July 9, 2018 [As Western media bemoans the liberation by Syrian armed forces of Syria’s southern region of Daraa from right-wing paramilitaries, it simultanously self-censors reporting of the grim ethnic cleansing by Turkey’s armed forces of the Kurdish populations in northern Syria.]
McCarthyism and ‘open season’ on Russia: Reactions to MSNBC attack on Glenn Greenwald, RT, July 10, 2018
Related: Glenn Greenwald: ‘I came to Russia to combat the U.S. toxic view of the country’, RT, July 6, 2018
Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s pick to replace Anthony Kennedy and kill Roe vs Wade?, by Ian Millhiser, editor, Think Progress, July 9, 2018
* Brett Kavanaugh’s record, published in Axios, July 10, 2018
* Inside the right-wing history of Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, interview with Ian Millhiser, editor of Think Progress, broadcast on Democracy Now!, July 10, 2018 (with related stories in the July 10 broadcast)
Bookies slash odds on a general election in Britain as government descends into Brexit chaos, by Stefan Schmid, The Canary, July 9, 2018
‘Make peace great again’: Ahead of NATO summit, anti-Trump protest draws thousands in Brussels, by Julia Conley, staff writer, Common Dreams, July 08, 2018 ‘We are against this logic where militarization takes preference against the struggle against poverty, climate protection, migrant reception.’
Jewish group wants Trudeau to condemn glorification of Nazis during Latvia visit, by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, July 9, 2018 [Pro-imperialist, anti-Russia Jewish groups in Canada such as B’nai Brith are caught in their own contradictions as they voice concern with the rise of extreme right forces in NATO-member countries such as Latvia as well as Ukraine. Governmentsand extreme-right groups there are trying to rewrite World War Two-era history hat favours Nazi sympathizers, with parades and demonstrations.]
* Trudeau government commits to more troops, extended stay in provocative NATO mission in Latvia, report in CBC News, July 10, 2018
* Rights groups demand Israel stop arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine, by John Brown, Haaretz, July 9, 2018 Human rights activists in Israel petition the High Court Of Justice to cease Israeli arms exports to Ukraine since some of these weapons reach neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine’s security forces
No plausible explanation for latest Russian ‘poisonings’, by Scott Taylor, published in his weekly ‘On Target’ column in the Halifax, Canada daily Chronicle Herald, July 8, 2018 (also appearing in Esprit de Corps magazine, published by Scott Taylor), July 9, 2018
* If the novichok was planted by Russia, where’s the evidence?, by Simon Jenkins, columnist, The Guardian, July 8, 2018 [Even some of the columnists at Britain’s notoriously anti-Russia Guardian daily are having trouble swallowing the newest, unproven ‘chemical poisoning’ accusations by the British government levied against Russia. Britain says two people were stricken by chemical poisoning in Amesbury, England on June 30. One of those, Dawn Sturgess, died in hospital on July 8. Mainstream media says the two alleged victims were sickened by a chemical poison called ‘Novichok’. The proof? Why, the crisis-stricken British government as well as Britain’s spy and police agencies say so! What else need be said or investigated?] * Dawn Sturgess, by Craig Murray, published on his website July 9, 2018 (Craig Murray is a British former diplomat turned political activist, human rights campaigner, blogger and whistleblower. He was UK ambassador to Uzbekistan) 2002-04. Wikipedia.)
The terrible death of Dawn Sturgess [in hospital on July 8] casts a new shadow over the Salisbury Affair. Dawn appears to have been a popular and well grounded woman with close friend and family ties, whose life had taken a downward turn before being cruelly ended.
The illogical, inconsistent and shifting government narrative over events in Salisbury and Amesbury had appeared so ludicrous as to be tragi-comic. Any sense of amusement is now abruptly dispelled. But less us take a serious and sober look at the government case…
One state, one vote, by Gideon Levy, published in Haaretz, July 8, 2018 (read the commentary here in pdf: One state, one vote)
* Iroquois First Nation lacrosse team defies calls not to play in Israel, report on Electronic Intifada, July 9, 2018 (title on Electronic Intifada : ‘ Iroquois Nationals criticized for ignoring Israel boycott call’) and: Palestinians urge Iroquois lacrosse team to withdraw from Israel tournament, Electronic Intifada, July 4, 2018
* Socialist International of 140 political parties globally adopts Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions policy against Israel, also calls for military embargo, by Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), July 5, 2018
A brief history of the Turkish left, interview with Foti Benlisoy, published in two parts in Left-East magazine, May 2018 Part one: from the Origins to the 1980 Coup, May 3, 2018
Part two: From the 1980 coup to the present, May 7, 2018 (Foti Benlisoy is a member of the socialist group Başlangıç in Turkey, a historian and a co-founder of the Greek-Turkish publishing house Istos.)
U.S. opposition to breastfeeding motion stuns world health officials, by Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, in The Irish Times, July 7, 2018 Russia saves measure at World Health Assembly to promote breastfeeding after U.S. move to defend interests of formula makers
Lula or nothing? The dilemmas of the Brazilian left, by Felipe Antunes de Oliveira, MR Online, July 9, 2018 (Dr. Felipe Antunes de Oliveira is a lecturer in International Relations at Sussex University.)
Related: Brazil court orders release of ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’), Telesur, July 8, 2018 [Later on July 8, the president of the Federal Regional Court of the South of Brazil rescinded the earlier judicial order that da Silva be released from prison detention.]
Trump’s delusional Iran oil gambit is decades too late, by Dan Glazebrook, published in ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, July 9, 2018
Ceasefire agreement reached with leaders of armed groups in southern Syria province of Daraa, RT, July 7, 2018
Related: Thousands head home in south Syria after ceasefire deal, monitor says, news agency reports, in The Times of Israel, July 7, 2018 Calm reported in Daraa region Saturday as sides finalize truce; regime troops celebrate recapture of Nassib border crossing with Jordan
… According to the July 6 deal, rebels are expected to hand over their heavy weapons, while those who reject the agreement will be bused with their families to the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, state media has said.
Following talks in Pyongyang, U.S. side hails results while North Korea condemns ‘regretable’ U.S. demand for unilateral denuclearization, report in Reuters, July 6, 2018
* Pyongyang slams Washington’s ‘rapacious demands’ in talks, Press TV, July 6, 2018
* North Korea sanctions not lifted until ‘verified denuclearization’, says Secretary of State Pompeo in Japan after talks in Pyongyang, RT, July 8, 2018
* 100,000 workers rally in Seoul, calling on President Moon Jae-in to honor pledge to respect workers rights, report in Zoom In Korea, July 3, 2018
Court in NATO-member Turkey sentences six journalists of former Zaman daily to eight-to-ten years on ‘terrorism’ charges, Turkish Minute, July 6, 2018
… According to the ruling, Mümtaz’er Türköne and Mustafa Ünal received sentences of 10 years, six months; İbrahim Karayeğen was given nine years; and Ahmet Turan Alkan, Şahin Alpay and Ali Bulaç were handed down sentences of eight years, nine months each. The court decided to release Alkan and Karayeğen pending appeal. The incarceration of Türköne and Ünal will continue.
… The Zaman daily, which was Turkey’s best-selling newspaper, was closed down along with dozens of other media outlets due to their links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016…
* Five acquitted in Zaman trial, two journalists released from jail, report by Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), July 6, 2018 Court convicts sixjournalists of “FETÖ membership” while acquitting all 11 defendants of the “coup” charge in the indictment
The long-running case into 11 former columnists and editors of the Zaman daily newspaper, closed down in 2016 through a statutory decree, came to an end on July 6. The trial court convicted six of the journalists standing trial of “membership in a terrorist organization” while acquitting five of the defendants…
* Zaman columnist Ahmet Turan Alkan returns home after 709 days in prison, Turkish Minute, July 7, 2018
* Int’l organizations decry verdicts for Zaman journalists, calling them ‘perversion of justice’, Turkish Minute, July 7, 2018
Trade war and depression, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in the UK), July 6, 2018 Today is a threshold date for the global economy. Trump’s U.S. administration starts imposing trade tariffs on $34bn of imports from China while Beijing is set to target an equal amount in retaliation. Add that to the pile of tariffs and counter-tariffs growing across the Atlantic and North America, the value of trade covered by the economic wars that Trump has launched will race through the $100bn mark by today. And that’s just the beginning. This escalating trade war could easily surge through the trillion-dollar mark, taking 1.5% of global GDP…
‘Manbij remains secure’, says U.S.-Turkey ‘coalition’ after blast injures protesters in Manbij, northern Syria, report in Rudaw news agency, July 5, 2018
Trump eyes even higher tariffs as China trade war escalates, Bloomberg News, July 5, 2018 and, Trade war begins: China retaliates with 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. imports, RT, July 6, 2018
Thousands march in Quito, Ecuador condemning judicial pursuit of former president Rafael Correa, Telesur, July 5, 2018
* In a repeat of Brazil model, judge orders detention of Rafael Correa, by Pavan Kukarni, The Dawn News , July 4, 2018
* Ecuador ex-president Rafael Correa dismisses arrest warrant as government plot, AFP, July 4, 2018
* Latin American, international leaders back Rafael Correa as Ecuador court tries to frame him Lula-style, Telesur, July 4, 2018
* ‘They want me dead’: Interview with Rafael Correa, RT, July 4, 2018
Erdogan regime wins June 24 Turkey election. Fascism looms and left-wing forces face historic challenge, by Baris Karaagac, July 6, 2018 (Baris Karaagac teaches international political economy and economic development at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. He is the editor of the 2013 book Accumulations, Crises, Struggles: Capital and Labour in Contemporary Capitalism.)
Novichok’ strikes again (but doesn’t kill) and all the old questions re-emerge, news analysis on RT, July 5, 2018
* The latest ‘chemical weapon’ mystery, in Amesbury, England, by Craig Murray, published on his website, July 5, 2018
* Wheel out the Skripal story again, by Craig Murray, published on his website, July 4, 2018
* ‘Curiouser and curiouser’: Salisbury, the Skripals and the epic failure of the British ‘chemical poisoning’ fairy tale, commentary by George Galloway, in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, July 3, 2018 (View also July 5, 2018 article dutifully published in the anti-Russia Guardian daily wherein UK foreign minister Sajid Javid accuses Russia of using Britain as a ‘dumping ground’ for poisonous chemicals.)
* Joining some dots on the Skripal case, part six : Tying up the loose ends, by Rob Slane (journalist in Salisbury, England), June 23, 2018 Over the last five pieces (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5), I have slowly but surely advanced a theory of what happened in the Skripal case. I must confess to having done so with a fair amount of unease. I don’t want to believe that my Government has been stating a case that is false. I don’t want to believe that the public have been lied to. I don’t want to have to think that there has been a lot of effort made to present an explanation that hides the truth. And yet, given the fact that the Government story contains self-evident fallacies, and cannot be made to add up, I don’t think that there’s much alternative than to be hugely sceptical about their claims…
Corporate media’s about-face on Ukraine’s neo-Nazis, by Daniel Lazare, Consortium News, July 5, 2018 The Ukrainian state is so weak and riddled with so many ultra-rightists in key positions – Andriy Parubiy, founder of the neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine, is speaker of the parliament while ultra-rightist Arsen Avakov is minister of the interior – that the path before them is clear and unobstructed. [Corporate media in the United States has spent the past four-plus years dismissing the role of neo-Nazis in Ukraine’s 2014 coup. Suddenly, some of it is going through a conversion, as Daniel Lazare reports. Corporate media in Canada, meanwhile, is unmoved from its anti-Russia hysteria, including at the state-run Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). George Galloway reports similarly from Britain where unproven and irrational reports of ‘chemical poisonings’ by ‘Russian agencies’ have ruled the airwaves. See the July 5, 2018 article dutifully published in the anti-Russia Guardian daily and citing UK foreign minister Sajid Javid accusing Russia of using Britain as a ‘dumping ground’ for poisonous chemicals.]
* As another Roma is murdered in Ukraine, Kyiv’s control over far-right paramilitary groups is called into question, by Vladislav Davidzon, Tablet Magazine, July 5, 2018
* Ukrainian nationalists ransack Roma encampment, by Associated Press, June 8, 2018
* Denial of the obvious: The far right in the 2014 Maidan protests in Ukraine and the danger today, academic research paper by Volodymyr Ishchenko, published in Left-East, May 11, 2018
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the challenge before the U.S. left, by Margaret Kimberly, weekly column in Black Agenda Report, July 4, 2018
* Data suggest that gentrifying neighborhoods powered Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, by Zaid Jilani and Ryan Grim, The Intercept, July 1, 2018
* Mexican president Lopez Obrador isn’t Mexico’s Trump nor is he Trump’s natural enemy, by Jonah Shepp, New York Magazine, July 5, 2018
Asylum seekers win in court as federal judge rules against indefinite and arbitrary detention, interview with Eunice Lee, broadcast on Democracy Now!, July 5, 2018 (Eunice Lee is co-legal director at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies)
Russia calls on world to aid Syria in its reconstruction, TASS news agency, July 4, 2018
Trump warns NATO allies to spend more on defense, or else, New York Times, July 2, 2018 On the eve of NATO’s annual summit meeting to begin in Brussels on July 11, President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies — including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada — taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance…
* Trudeau to rebut Trump’s charge of defence-spending lag with July 9 visit to Canadian troops in Latvia en route to NATO summit, by Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, July 3, 2018
* 2017 was the third consecutive year of increased NATO-members military spending, Bloomberg News, March 15, 2018
In August 2017, Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, Associated Press, July 5, 2018
Colombia: Gustavo Petro’s campaign coordinator murdered, Telesur, July 5, 2018 Ana Maria Cortes, a social leader and the coordinator of Gustavo Petro’s presidential campaign in the city of Caceres, Antioquia was murdered Wednesday.. She is among many social leaders murdered after being threatened by paramilitary groups in Colombia.
As global one per cent seize economy’s gains, ‘unprecedented wage stagnation’ for everyone else, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, July 5, 2018
Egyptian president Al-Sisi is key to Trmp’s plan to kill a Palestinian state, by Jonathan Cook, Middle East Eye, July 5, 2018
Former detainees at secret U.S. prisons call for inquiry into UK role in U.S.-led torture and jailing, The Guardian, July 5, 2018
China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade, by Robin Emmott and Noah Barkin, Reuters, July 3, 2018
Catastrophic drought threatens Iraq as major dams in surrounding countries cut off water to its great rivers, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, July 2, 2018 … Dams built upriver in Turkey, Syria and Iran since the 1970s have reduced the flow of water that reaches Iraq by as much as half and the situation is about to get worse…
Breaking: Syrian gov’t, Kurdish PYD make important agreement in Al-Hasakah, eastern Syria, by Leith Aboufadel, Al-Masdar News, July 2, 2018
* Meeting in Geneva on June 18 of Syria Constitution Committee, TASS, June 18, 2018 Meeting included representatives of Russia, Turkey and Iran along with 150 Syrian members of the Syrian Constitution Committee
* Syrian opposition’s list for constitutional committee referred to guarantor nations, TASS, June 18, 2018 The Syrian National Dialogue Congress that was held in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on January 30, 2018 yielded an agreement to form a constitutional committee that would be tasked to draft, along with UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, the country’s new constitution. As many as 150 candidates have been nominated as committee members, of whom 100 are delegates from the government and pro-government opposition (domestic and moderate) and 50 are delegates from the external opposition…
[News of ceasefire agreements and discussions towards a long-term political settlement in Syria cannot be found in Western corporate media nor much of Western alternative media. They want regime-change war for Syria, not peace. So their news reporting is tailored to censor any reporting of movement towards peace.]
Behind the secret U.S. war in Africa, by Wesley Morgan, Politico, July 2, 2018
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at 50: Awaiting good faith, by Robert Dodge, Common Dreams, July 2, 2018 (Robert Dodge is the Co-Chair of the Security Committee of National Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles.)
[In this brief article, the author misrepresents the history of nuclear weapons proliferation. North Korea’s highly defensive program gets mixed in with the offensive programs of India, Pakistan and Israel, which long pre-dated North Korea’s program. The author falsely claims that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons acquisition until the 2015 diplomatic agreement reached with the U.S. and Europe. He makes no mention of the U.S. role in provoking a new nuclear arms race, first with the Soviet Union then with Russia. And there is no mention of the role of nuclear energy companies and governments in the West in enabling nuclear weapons proliferation over the decades. Finally, how is nuclear weapons abolition to be achieved when the main obstacle presently–the new cold war drive by Western imperialism–is ignored?]
Neo-Nazism on the rise in Ukraine, by Scott Taylor, weekly ‘On Target’ column in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, July 1, 2018
After the ‘Amazon Tax’ betrayal in Seattle, by Kshama Sawant, Counterpunch, July 2, 2018 Seven Seattle City Council members voted on June 12 to repeal the Amazon tax, capitulating to big business pressure to overturn the ordinance just passed unanimously less than a month earlier. (Kshama Sawant is a Seattle city councillor and a member of the Socialist Alternative party.)
* Amazon crushes a small tax that would have helped the homeless, by Maya Kosoff, Vanity Fair, June 12, 2018 … The issue was a $275-per-employee tax on large employers in the city, passed in May 2018 to help alleviate the city’s spiraling homelessness crisis. The tax would have targeted businesses making at least $20 million in gross revenue, beginning in January, with the goal of raising some $50 million annually to help keep people off the streets…
* U.S. cities and states give big tech $9.3bn in subsidies in five years, by Dominic Rushe, The Guardian, July 2, 2018 Giant technology companies in the United States, which include some of the world’s most profitable firms, have been pledged at least $9.3 billion in state and local subsidies over the last five years – much of it coming from the coffers of cities and states with failing infrastructure, struggling schools and broken budgets. The analysis by watchdog group Good Jobs First shows that the size of individual handouts appears to be growing. The latest – and largest – award of $4.8bn went to Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer of the iPhone, PlayStation and other electronic goods, for its enormous new plant in Wisconsin…
* Amazon’s fusion with the state shows neoliberalism’s drift to neo-fascism, interview with Yasha Levine and John Bellamy Foster, Mint Press News, June 29, 2018 (Yasha Levine is the author of the 2018 book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet. John Bellamy Foster is the editor of Monthly Review editor. They speak about the rise of the Amazon.com empire and the merger of Big Data, finance capitalism, and the U.S. state apparatus.)
Parents separated from their children by Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy ask: ‘Will I ever see my child again?’, by Tamsin McMahon, U.S. correspondent, Globe and Mail, July 1, 2018
… The Trump administration sparked an international outcry against its “zero tolerance” policy of criminally charging thousands of Central American asylum seekers flocking to the border. For the six weeks that the family separation policy was in effect, parents were held in jails and prisons across the Southwest to await criminal court proceedings. Some still remain there. At the same time, more than 2,300 of their children have been sent to shelters and foster homes as far away as New York State and Michigan.
U.S. President Donald Trump ended the practice in a June 20 executive order, promising to keep migrant families together, while still finding a way to charge and detain parents. But the family separation policy unleashed a reign of chaos and confusion at the border. As the government removed thousands of boys and girls from their mothers and fathers, and scattered them across the country, many parents are asking: Will I ever see my child again? …
* New Mexico president Lopez Abrador vows to fight corruption, promises to ‘respect’ NAFTA following landslide win, Telesur, July 2, 2018
* Lopez Abrador’s election coalition ‘Together We Will Make History’ could gain majority of Senate and Congress, Telesur, July 2, 2018 Mexicans also elected over 3,400 state representatives and local officials, 128 senators, 500 overall deputies and 8 State governors.
* Andrés Manuel López Obrador wins Mexican presidential election in landslide victory, interview with Christy Thornton, broadcast on Democracy Now!, July 2, 2018 (Christy Thornton is assistant professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University and is currently writing a book about Mexican economic history. She was an election observer for the Scholar and Citizen Network for Democracy.)
* Who is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the left-wing rebel tipped to take power?, by Dave Graham, The Independent, June 30, 2018
* How does Mexico’s revamped electoral system work?, Telesur, June 30, 2018
* Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Mexico’s watershed presidential election on July 1, by Richard Roman and Edur Velasco Arregui, The Bullet, June 29, 2018
Mexico awash in violence, corruption and inequality: New President Lopez Obrador to the rescue?, by Michael Roberts, published on his blog The Next Recession, July 2, 2018
U.S. Congress welcomes the neo-Nazi speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament as neo-Nazi violence rages in Ukraine, by Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone Project, July 2, 2018
While racist violence rages through Ukraine, punctuated by a wave of attacks on Roma encampments by the state-funded C14 neo-Nazi militia, the U.S. Congress played host to an actual Ukrainian fascist. He was Andriy Parubiy. Besides being the proud founder of two Nazi-like parties — the Social-National Party and the Patriot of Ukraine — he was the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council from February to July 2014 and was elected speaker of the the Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) in Aporil 2016.
During a meeting hosted by the American Foreign Policy Society inside the Senate, I seized the chance to ask Parubiy’s hosts why they were welcoming a figure who was so central to the extremism overtaking Ukrainian society. I also put the question to Michael Carpenter, a former Pentagon official who helped deepen the US relationship with post-coup Ukraine during the Obama administration. The responses I received reflected a semi-official policy of denying the very existence of Ukraine’s far-right plague in order to turn the heat up on Moscow…
[Andriy Paruiby (Wikipedia) was welcomed in Ottawa by the Liberal Party government of Justin Trudeau in February 2016. Max Blumenthal’s findings that members of the U.S. Congress follow a “semi-official policy of denying the very existence of Ukraine’s far-right plague” applies equally to Parliamentarians of all parties in Ottawa and also to the political left in Canada.]
Pentagon test-drops upgraded nuclear bomb from B-2 stealth bomber over Nevada, RT, July 1, 2018 The U.S. Air Force has tested the B61-12 nuclear bomb by dropping a dud from a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber over Nevada as part of an ambitious project to extend the service life of the bomb, introduced in 1968, by another 20 years.
…After former President Barack Obama authorized a nuclear modernization program, Trump revised it into an ambitious 30-year project that would cost at least $1.2 trillion to complete. Some $800 billion will be spent on maintaining nuclear forces, while about $400 billion will be spent on modernizing them, under the pretext of an existential need to deter “revisionist powers” such as China and Russia…
Related: Nuclear gravity bomb completes first quality tests on B-2 bomber, Military.com, July 2, 2018
How the West and its allies sabotaged Venezuela, by Val Reynoso, Venezuela Analysis, June 28, 2018
Syrians celebrate as Syrian army purges more towns of terrorists in southwest region of Daraa, Press TV, July 1, 2018