The following website page contains world news headlines for the months of January to June 2018, in chronological order. To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser.
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, June 2018
Hundreds of thousands take to streets in U.S. to protest Trump’s ‘zero-humanity’ migrant policies, Common Dreams, June 30, 2018
What we know about the June 28 shooting of journalists in Annapolis, Maryland, CNN, June 28, 2018
Related: Accused killer of journalists at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland had dark links to the extreme right, by Paul Rosenberg, Salon.com, June 30, 2018 In Jarrod Ramos’ disturbing Twitter history, far-right connections and hints of violence against journalists
[Anti-Russia journalists in Canada and elsewhere in the West who have turned a blind eye to the rise of extreme-right violence in Ukraine or denied that such violence is taking place–including violence against journalists and governmental suppression of their work–are lamenting that the guns were turned on some of their own in Annapolis, Maryland on June 28, 2018. Cf Rosie Dimanno in the Toronto Star, Heather Mallick in the same publication.]
The threat to abortion rights in the U.S. upon the retirement of Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, interview with Sarah Weddington, VOX.com, June 29, 2018 (Sarah Weddington is the attorney who represented Jane Roe in the historic, 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that removed many restrictions to abortion services.)
On magical thinking vs sober analysis of the Ocasio-Cortez victory in NY Democratic primary nomination election, by Bruce A. Dixon, managing editor, Black Agenda Report, June 30, 2018
* The Democratic Socialists of America show their muscle in New York congressional upset, by Hunter Walker and Christopher Wilson, Yahoo News, June 29, 2018
* How did she win? With a ‘laser-focused message of economic, social, and racial dignity for working class Americans,’ explains Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, by Julia Conley, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 27, 2018
* Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic Party primary in New York state as a movement candidate, by D.D. Guttenplan, The Nation, June 27, 2018
* The Congressional nomination win of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Sure we can elect the occasional progressive Democrat, then what?, by Bruce Dixon, managing editor, Black Agenda Report, June 28, 2018
10,000 children killed, maimed in conflicts worldwide, by Associated Press, June 28, 2018 … The UN blames a U.S.-backed Arab coalition fighting in Yemen for at least half of the more than 1,300 child deaths or injuries recorded in that poor nation. They were victims of aerial and ground attacks by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Houthi rebels opposed to Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
Interview with Seymour Hersh, broadcast on ‘The Intercepted’ weekly radio broadcast of The Intercept, June 27, 2018 (30-minute interview) [The liberal, award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh discusses with Intercepted host Jeremy Scahill the staged, anti-Russia drive of Democratic Party ideologues and the cabal of pro-new cold war liberals and leftists internationally. The Intercept has itself been a stooge of the ‘Russiagate’ ideologues, so its new-found focus on diminishing if not dismissing the story says a lot about Russiagate’s original credibility.]
The death of a once great city: The fall of New York and the urban crisis of affluence, by Kevin Baker, Harpers Magazine (monthly), print issue of July 2018 [This is a lengthy, searing essay tracing the history of the assault by globalized capitalism against New York’s stock of public housing and the city’s public spaces. The essay tells a story of all of the world’s cities caught up in the frenzied house price bubbles of the past several decades. To wit, see a related essay below on the tragegy of the Grenfell Towers fire in London, England on June 14, 2018. The fire killed 72 people and injured 70 more.]
Related: The tower, by Andrew O’Hagan, London Review of Books, print issue of June 7, 2018 [This is a book-length essay on the history and aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire of June 14, 2017 in London, England. The public housing project was plagued by criminal misconduct by local and national government managers; 72 people died in the fire, another 70 were seriously injured.]
The birth of the Cuban polyclinic, by Don Fitz, Monthly Review, print issue of June 2018 … The years 1959–64 aimed at overcoming the crisis of care delivery, as half of the island’s physicians fled. It was during the second half of the decade (1964–69) that Cuba began redesigning medicine as an integrated system. The resulting reconceptualization of health care, which put the area polyclinic at the center of medical care, created a model for poor countries that has changed medicine ever since…
Human rights organizations in Turkey say almost 6,000 people were subjected to torture or mistreatment in 2017, Turkish Minute, June 28, 2018
Related: Turkey purge, since July 2016. The following figures are published on the website Turkey Purge, dated June 25, 2018 (see the related notes at the original weblink):
Dismissed (fired from job): 151,967
Schools, dormitories and universities shut down: 3,003
Academics lost jobs: 5,822
Judges, prosecutors dismissed: 4,463
Media outlets shut down: 189
Journalists arrested: 319
Sorry, Howard Dean, pogroms in Ukraine are not ‘Russian propaganda, by Lev Golinkin, columnist, Forward, June 26, 2018 [Forward columnist Lev Golinkin reponds to a drive-by smear by Democratic Party stalwart Howard Dean directed against Golinkin’s recent reporting on the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine and how Western governments are collaborating with same.]
EU leaders compromise to share refugees and establish migrant centers on ‘voluntary’ basis, RT, June 29, 2018
* EU establishment appeases Italy & other anti-migrant govts in bid to salvage bloc’s survival, op-ed commentary by Finian Cunnigham, RT, June 29, 2018
* EU leaders seek ways to halt migrants amid political turmoil, by Associated Press, June 27, 2018 Leaders of the European Union will gather in Brussels on June 28 to examine new ways to stop migrants entering Europe, desperate to ensure that their differences over managing the flows do not tear the 28-nation bloc apart…
U.S. Supreme Court ok’s Trump’s travel ban against five Muslim countries, rejects accusations of anti-Muslim bias, Associated Press, June 27, 2018
The roots of Trump’s family separation policy, an interview with Susan J. Terrio, published in Jacobin, June 26, 2018 (Susan J. Terrio is a professor at Georgetown University and the author of the 2015 book, Whose Child Am I? Unaccompanied, Undocumented Children in U.S. Immigration Custody.)
Related: Trump’s brutality is part of the legacy of Barak Obama, commentary by Jacob Bacharach , published in Truthdig, June 25, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court sides with billionaires against workers with its ‘Janus’ ruling on public sector union dues, by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, June 27, 2018
* Labor’s choice after U.S. Supreme Court rules against public sector unions in ‘Janus’ decision, by Chris Maisano, Jacobin, June 27, 2018 In a landmark 5-4 decision in Janus v. American Federation State, County, and Municipal Employees, the Supreme Court has effectively imposed a right-to-work regime on public sector unions in all 50 states…
* The devastating implications of the Supreme Court’s ‘right to work’ ruling in the Janus case, by Jacob Sugarman, Truthdig, June 27, 2018
* Worker rights in the United States, by David Ruccio, published on his website blog Occasional Links and Commentary, June 25, 2018 (Re-published in MR Online, June 27, 2018.) (David Ruccio is Professor of Economics, member of the Higgins Labor Studies Program and Faculty Fellow of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University in Indiana.)
What’s next for Turkey following Erdogan’s election win?, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, June 25, 2018
Related: Turkish opposition fails miserably in critical election test, by Sibel Hurtas, Al-Monitor, June 27, 2018
Raised eyebrows as Madeleine Albright and Bana Alabed to be honored for ‘defending freedom’, RT, June 20, 2018 The pro-NATO Atlantic Council think tank is set to honor former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Syrian child activist Bana Alabed at its Freedom Awards this week. The Freedom Awards honor individuals who “defend and advance the cause of freedom around the world” and will be hosted in Berlin later this week — but the nominations have caused quite a few puzzled reactions online…
Related: ‘Bellingcat’ and pro-NATO Atlantic Council join in presenting ‘freedom’ awards to exploited Syrian child ‘Bana Alabed ‘ and American mass murderer Madeleine Albright, by Eva Bartlett, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, June 28, 2018
Welcome to Hadar: A Syrian village under siege by al-Qaeda and Israeli forces alike, by Eva Barlett, Mint Press News, June 22, 2018 The village of Hadar, in Southern Syria, is buttressed on one side by Israeli watchtowers and walls – and endures deadly attacks from jihadist Syrian rebels from the other three. (Eva Bartlett is a Canadian journalist. She compiles her writings on her website In Gaza and beyond.)
Venezuela criticizes ‘politicized’ UN human rights report, Telesur, June 22, 2018
The politics of food in Venezuela, by Ana Felicien, Christina Schiavoni and Liccia Romero, feature essay in Monthly Review, print issue of June 2018
Nicaragua resumes national dialogue with IHRC mediators, Telesur, June 25, 20188
* Nicaragua rejects ‘partial’ OAS report, slams ‘fake news’, Telesur, June 22, 2018
* Nicaragua: Breaking out of ‘soft coup’ psychosis, by ‘Tortilla con Sal’ (Nicaraguan writer and blogger), published in Telesur, June 25, 2018
* Nicaragua’s crisis – the latest stage in a permanent war, by ‘Tortilla con Sal’ (Nicaraguan writer and blogger), published in Telesur, June 22, 2018
Canadian military joins the destructive military intervention by France, U.S. and UN Security Council into Mali, Africa, by Roger Annis, June 25, 2018
Attack on Roma camp by right-wing extremists in Ukraine leaves one dead, four injured, SBS News (Australia, state-run), June 24, 2018 … The incident follows a series of attacks on Roma communities in Ukraine’s capital Kiev and in the cities of Lviv and Ternopil that have been condemned by rights groups.
* Atlantic Council finally admits Ukraine’s Nazi problem, and seems upset RT reported it earlier, by Bryan MacDonald, op-ed commentary in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, June 25, 2018
* Ukrainian nationalists ransack Roma encampment, by Associated Press June 8, 2018
* Denial of the obvious: The far right in the Maidan protests and their danger today, by Volodymyr Ishchenko, published in Left-East, May 11, 2018
Erdogan proclaimed winner of Turkey’s presidential election, HDP receives third highest vote for legislature at 11.5 per cent, report by Reuters and Associated Press, in Haaretz, June 25, 2018
Related: Erdogan’s Turkey, by Michael Roberts (UK economist), published on his blog June 25, 2018
Brazil: Austerity, debt and trade, by Michael Roberts (UK economist), published on his website blog, June 19, 2018
Algeria has expelled an estimated 13,000 migrants into the Sahara Desert since 2017, The Associated Press, June 25, 2018 Algeria’s mass expulsions have picked up since October 2017, as the European Union renewed pressure on North African countries to head off migrants going north to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea or the barrier fences with Spain.
Colombian President-elect Ivan Duque will not recognise Venezuela’s government, by Paul Dobson, Venezela Analysis, June 22, 2018 Ultra-rightist Ivan Duque has also announced Colombia’s withdrawal from UNASUR.
The West and its Arab stooges are terrified of a genuinely independent Yemen, op-ed commentary by Dan Glazebrook, RT, June 23, 2018
Today, the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah is under ferocious attack in the latest stage of the West’s aggression against the indomitable people of Yemen.
This war was initiated as a ‘proxy’ war to be fought by their Gulf underlings, but defeats and setbacks have increasingly led Western countries to have more direct involvement. Already deeply implicated from the start – not only through the arming and training of Saudi and Emirati militaries, but also by playing a leading role with Western officers embedded in the targeting rooms, not to mention the high-level “Yemen quartet” for war planning – Western forces now appear to be openly involved in the latest escalation…
Despite Singapore summit, U.S. says North Korea remains a nuclear threat, renews harch economic embargo for one year, reports by Washington Post and AFP, June 22, 2018 Two scheduled military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea have been cancelled.
* Presidents Moon Jae-in and Vladimir Putin hold economic summit meeting in Moscow, report in Asia Times (Hong Kong), June 23, 2018 (And report in The Hankyoreh, here.)
* North Korea agreed to denuclearize, when will the U.S?, by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout.org, June 19, 2018 After North Korea agreed in principle to get rid of its nukes, the U.S. continues to ignore its obligation under the NPT to also eliminate its nuclear weapons.
U.S. military bases prepare to house up to 20,000 children as Trump regime pursues arrests of all undocumented migrants, report by Alex Ward, VOX News, June 21, 2018
* Flores agreement: Trump’s executive order to end family separation might run afoul of a 1997 court ruling, by Dara Lind and Dylan Scott, VOX News, June 20, 2018 Getting rid of the requirement to let kids out of immigration custody quickly will take more than a stroke of the pen.
* The reality for Canada of scrapping the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, June 21, 2018
* How U.S. policy in Honduras set the stage for today’s mass migration, by Joseph Nevins, published in the Conversation, Oct 31, 2016 (Joseph Nevins is Associate Professor of Geography, Vassar College, California)
As Iran, Russia and Turkey meet in Geneva, questions loom over Syrian constitution, by Anton Mardasov, Al-Monitor, June 21, 2018
Related: As conditions shift in Syria, Kurds open to talks with Damascus, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, June 21, 2018
Donald Trump signs order stopping separation of families crossing border illegally, by Jill Colvin and Colleen Long, The Associated Press, June 20, 2018
* Trump’s immigration order replaces one crisis with another, by Anita Kumar And Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy News, June 20, 2018 President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order attempts to solve one contentious action — the separation of families — but will bring back another — locking them up together indefinitely.
* It’s time to decriminalize immigration, by Bob Libal and Judy Greene, Texas Observer, June 20, 2018 … Few people are aware that even before this latest move to ramp up the criminal prosecutions of parents, the practice of criminally prosecuting immigrants was already widespread and deeply appalling… (Writer Bob Lidal appears in an interview on Democracy Now! On June 21, 2018 on the topic of the for-profit, prison industry in the United States.)
* Texas officials allow 15 immigrant shelters to hold more kids than licenses permit, by Gus Bova, Texas Observer, June 19, 2018 To accommodate Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, Texas officials have allowed at least 15 shelters to hold more than 700 additional kids, records show.
* Migrant children to U.S. sent to shelters with histories of abuse allegations, by Aura Bogado, Patrick Michels, Vanessa Swales and Edgar Walters, Reveal News (Center for Investigative Reporting), June 20, 2018
* Immigrant children forcibly injected with drugs, lawsuit claims, by Matt Smith and Aura Bogado, Reveal News (Center for Investigative Reporting), June 20, 2018
* Some U.S. airlines refuse to transport immigrant children separated from parents for government, airline workers unions applaud the move, by Bart Jansen, USA Today, June 20, 2018
* How private contractors enable Trump’s cruelties at the border, by David Daye, The Nation, June 20, 2018 Private-prison groups and several Fortune 500 companies are profiting off ‘zero-tolerance’ enforcement.
* Wave of asylum seekers crossing U.S. border in Quebec and Manitoba floods Toronto’s shelters, by Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail, June 21, 2018
North Korea expected to return remains of hundreds of U.S. soldiers, Agence France presse, June 20, 2018 [The U.S. and North Korean leaders agreed to the repatriations during their historic June 12 summit in Singapore. Between 1990 and 2005, the United States was granted the repatriation of 229 sets of remains from the North under an earlier agreement that was subsequently suspended when ties between the two countries deteriorated. Some 35,000 U.S. soldiers died during the genocidal war against the Korean people from 1950-53 by the U.S. and its allies, including Britain, Australia and Canada.]
How reporter Seymour Hersh uncovered a massacre, and changed the Vietnam War dialogue, interview with Seymour Hersh on ‘The Current’ newsmagazine program on Canada’s state-run CBC Radio One, June 14, 2018 (26-minute interview) [On March 6, 1968, U.S. soldiers went on a killing spree against women, children and elderly men in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Some 500 defenseless Vietnamese were slaughtered in a heinous war crime. Seymour Hersh uncovered and reported the massacre and helped change the course of the American War in Vietnam. Hersh has just published a memoir titled Reporter: A Memoir. In the CBC interview, the program host seeks to bask in the glory of Seymour Hersh’s award-winning journalism. But the astute listener will know that the CBC is an example of the very slavish, self-censoring, pro-war media that Hersh has made a career of criticizing.]
Related: Looking for Calley: How a young journalist untangled the riddle of My Lai, by Seymour Hersh, Harper’s Magazine, print issue of June 2018
Iran denies supporting Turkey’s military operation against Kurds into the Qandil Mountain region of northern Iraq, fueling Turkish resentment, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, June 19, 2018
Iran’s refutation of official Turkish claims that it supports the military operation launched by Turkey against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Iraq’s Qandil region has stoked more resentment for Tehran in Ankara. In a statement issued last week, Iranian military spokesman Gen. Abulfazil Shekarchi also denied Turkish suggestions that Iran was considering mounting joint operations with Turkey against the PKK in Iraq.
… “The Islamic Republic of Iran thinks military action against the territory of another country without permission from its legitimate government, with the excuse of combating terrorism, is illegal,” Shekarchi said in his rebuttal of the Turkish ministers’ claims…
The U.S. has taken more than 3,700 children from their parents — and has no plan for returning them, by Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, Tuesday, June 19 2018
The Trump administration’s program of systematically separating migrant children from their parents is steadily expanding, government officials confirmed Tuesday. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s “zero tolerance” doctrine, U.S. authorities have been ordered to criminally prosecute all individuals arrested for illegally crossing the border without exception, including asylum-seekers and parents arriving with small children.
The result has been historic, and catastrophic, with the U.S. government intentionally creating thousands of so-called unaccompanied minors whose immigration cases have now become separate from their parents, plunging them, on their own, into an already overwhelmed system of federal bureaucracies…
… Last week, the government said it separated 1,995 children from their parents from April through May. Today, the Border Patrol cited a somewhat larger number, 2,342, for May through June. Earlier this month, The Intercept reported a minimum of 1,358 children were separated from their parents from October 2017 through mid-May. While precise numbers remain fuzzy, due to overlapping timelines reported by different media outlets, it is safe to say the number of migrant kids separated from their parents by the Trump administration is well over 3,700 and climbing.
* U.S. officials likely lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied migrant kids, by Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar, McClatchy News, June 19, 2018 The Trump administration has likely lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied migrant children, thousands more than lawmakers were alerted to last month, according to a McClatchy review of federal data…
* ‘Infest’: The ugly Nazi history of Trump’s chosen verb about immigrants, by Aviya Kushner, published in Forward, June 20, 2018
* Opioid crisis in the U.S. is sending thousands of children into foster care, by Emily Birnbaum and Maya Lora , The Hill, June 20, 2018 The opioid epidemic ravaging states and cities across the country has sent a record number of children into foster and state care systems, taxing limited government resources and testing a system that is already at or near capacity…
As Trump regime detains immigrant children, Consortium News publishes anti-immigrant arguments by writer Diana Johnstone, article published on Consortium News, June 20, 2018 [Diana Johnstone is also published in CounterPunch. She writes from Paris. In 2017, she wrote a series of articles published in Counterpunch expressing much sympathy for Marine Le Pen, leader of the extreme-right National Front, (rebranded the Rassemblement national on June 1, 2018). See here and here.]
U.S. leaves UN Human Rights Council, citing the HRC’s ‘anti-Israel bias’, report on RT, June 19, 2018 [Of course the Trump regime would depart this world body, weak as it is. Look at what the regime is doing to migrants and refugees along its southern border.]
The world may soon be awash in advanced, lethal drones, by R. Jeffrey Smith and Matt Stroud, published jointly by Center For Public Integrity and The Beast, June 14, 2018
White House ties border wall to migrant family separations, by Tamsin McMahon, U.S. correspondent, Globe and Mail, June 18, 2018 [In the media reporting of the U.S. Trump regime’s new policy of detaining refugee families and children, little attention is paid to the conditions that refugee families are fleeing, namely, the societal wreckage of U.S.-sponsored civil wars and coups d’etat in Central America, going back decades. Canada has also waged such policy, for example the coups d’etat in Haiti in 2004 and Honduras in 2009. Today, Canada is fomenting a coup d’etat in Venezula.]
* Listen to children who have just been separated from their parents at the U.S. border, by Ginger Thompson, Pro Publica, June 18, 2018 ProPublica has obtained audio from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, in which children can be heard wailing as an agent jokes, “We have an orchestra here.”
* UN refugee agency reports a record 68.5 people million displaced worldwide in 2017, Associated Press, June 18, 2018
* Canada detains migrant kids, too, and it needs to stop, experts say, by David P. Ball, StarMetro Vancouver, June 18, 2018 Canadian Border Services Agency figrues show that on average, 182 minors a year have been detained across Canada since Liberals took office in 2015.
* New U.S. migration family seperation policy fuels calls for Canada to end Safe Third Country Agreement, by Cormac MacSweeney and Lasia Kretzel, News 1130, June 19, 2018 [Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement, signed in 2002 between Liberal Party gov’t in Ottawa and George W. Bush regime in U.S, Wikipedia.]
Et tu, Bernie?, weekly column by Chris Hedges, in Truthdig, June 17, 2018 There are two versions of Bernie Sanders. There is the old Bernie Sanders, who mounted a quixotic campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination as a democratic socialist who refused corporate cash and excoriated corporate Democrats. And there is the new Bernie Sanders, who dutifully plays by the party’s rules, courts billionaires, refused to speak out in support of the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for rigging the primaries against him and endorses Democratic candidates who espouse the economic and political positions he once denounced…
Turkish forces enter Syria’s Manbij region as part of deal with U.S., Hurriyet Daily News (pro-Turkish gov’t outlet), June 18, 2018
* Joint Turkey-US patrol forces enter Syria’s Manbij region, Anadolou News Agency (Turkish state-run agency), June 18, 2018
* Turkey takes on Kurds in evolving Qandil operation, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, June 15, 2018
* Turkey cultivating ever-deeper roots in Syrian territory, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, June 14, 2018
The Singapore summit meeting: A U.S. pivot toward ending the Korean War?, by Simone Chun, Truthout.org, June 16, 2018 (Dr. Simone Chun has taught at Northeastern University in Boston, and served as an associate in research at Harvard University’s Korea Institute. She is an active member of the Korea Peace Network, and a member of the steering committee of the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea.)
‘Palestinian mass, peaceful resistance cannot succeed without our support, just as the U.S. civil rights movement in the South could not succeed without support from the North’, interview with author and scholar Norman Finklestein, broadcast on RT’s weekly interview program ‘On Contact’ with host Chris Hedges, June 17, 2018 (Norman Finklestein is the author of the newly published book Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom.)
Opinion polls only deepen uncertainty of Turkey’s June 24 election, Turkish Minute, June 14, 2018 [According to Turkey’s electoral law, a ten-day limit prior to an election date means no further polls can be published for the June 24 presidential and legislative election. This article in Turkish Minute explains the complexities of the presidential election process making it difficult to predict an outcome. Analysts have criticized the methodology of a recent Bloomberg News poll and article predicting the possibility that incumbent Recept Tayyip Erdogan could achieve a narrow first-round victory with just over 50 per cent of the vote.]
Related: Turkey takes on Kurds in evolving Qandil operation, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, June 15, 2018 Despite growing tension over the June 24 elections, Turkey’s agenda in recent days has been taken over by its military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq’s Sidekan region. At the moment, about 1,500 Turkish troops of a commando brigade and a light infantry brigade responsible for border security at Semdinli, along with gendarmerie and army special operations battalions, are trying to open a corridor to advance from Sidekan toward Qandil, the “headquarters” of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)…
Liberal, anti-Russia media pundits worry the threat of nuclear war is being reduced by U.S.-Korea talks, by Gregory Shupak, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), June 14, 2018 Media outlets don’t want America to negotiate with North Korea; they want the US to hold North Korea for ransom.
* Why do U.S. media only worry about one authoritarian’s nukes and not the other’s?, by John C. O’Day, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), June 14, 2018 … With an arsenal of over 6,000 nuclear warheads at its disposal, one might expect this concern over the United States’ authoritarian trajectory to be reflected in analysis of events as they unfolded in Singapore. But when corporate media’s focus turns outward, it seems the only radical, isolated and cultish dictator we need to worry about is Kim.
* Why bother opposing the threat of nuclear war against Korea, UK ‘Counterfire’ leftists argue. The overwhelming sentiment of the Korean people, north and south, is to press the United States to back away from its provocative threats of war on the Korean peninsula and the gross inhumanity of the U.S. economic embargo against North Korea. But this completely escapes Counterfire leader John Rees in his June 12 analysis dismissing the significance of the June 12 meeting in Singapore between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. An alternative view to that of Counterfire leftists is here: However tenuous and whatever his motives, Trump’s summit agreement with Kim Jong-un is praiseworthy, by Dave Lindorff, CounterPunch, June 15, 2018.
* Progressives denounce Democratic senators for trying to keep Trump on a ‘permanent war footing’ in Korea, by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 15, 2018
Flight MH17, Ukraine And The New Cold War: Prism Of Disaster, interview with Kees Van Der Pijl, broadcast on ‘Gorilla Radio’ on CFUV radio station in Victoria BC, with host Chris Cook, June 14, 2018 (23-minute interview, begins at 36-minute mark)
(Kees Van Der Pijl is Professor Emeritus at the University of Sussex in England and author of many books including The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class (1984, reprinted 2012), Transnational Classes and International Relations (1998), and Global Rivalries from the Cold War to Iraq (2006). His forthcoming book is titled Flight MH17, Ukraine And The New Cold War: Prism Of Disaster, to be published by Manchester University Press in July 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 (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. He is the author of the book Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejía (2007, 320 pages).
* 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 arrticle is especially noteworthy.] * Nicaragua to resume dialogue on June 15 despite 24-hour strike by opposition, Telesur, June 14, 2018
* Interview about May 20 Venezuela presidential election in Venezuela and May 27 first-round presidential election in Colombia with professor and human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik, broadcast on Gorilla Radio, with host Chris Cook, May 31, 2018 (Interview begins at 37-minute mark.)
* 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
NATO members U.S. and UK veto UN Security Council resolution calling for end to Saudi/UAE assault on Yemen port of Hodeidah, report in The Telegraph, June 15, 2018 … David Miliband, chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, says “The immiseration of the Yemeni people is quite extraordinary. Twenty-two million in need of humanitarian need; eight million at risk of starvation; 50,000 died last year from cholera or cholera-related diseases.” (Two-minute interview on CNN, June 14, 2018, in which Miliband expresses sympathy for aggressor Saudi Arabia, citing Iran’s opposition to the war being waged by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the past three years in Yemen.)
Related: How Saudi Arabia tried to blame Doctors Without Borders after bombing its cholera treatment center on June 11, by Ben Norton, published on The Grayzone Project, June 14, 2018
Scottish Parliament welcomes founder of Ukrainian neo-Nazi party, by Conrad Landin, Morning Star, June 15, 2018 Scottish politicians gave a round of applause to the founder of a Ukrainian neonazi party today, prompting calls for a review of parliamentary vetting processes. Andriy Parubiy, who co-founded the neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU) in 1991, was welcomed to Holyrood in his role as chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament…
Related: Far-right fascist politician from Ukraine welcomed into Scottish Parliament as guest of honour, by Andy Philip, The Daily Record (Edinburgh), June 15, 2018 Andriy Parubiy was at the Scottish Parliament during First Minister’s Questions yesterday, a regular spot for visiting foreign dignitaries.
Trump meets Kim Jong-un, averting threat of nuclear war. U.S. pundits are furious, by Tim Shorrock, The Nation, June 13, 2018 The Western media response, from both liberals and conservatives, betrays a cynical disregard for South Korea.
* However tenuous and whatever his motives, Trump’s summit agreement with Kim Jong-un is praiseworthy, by Dave Lindorff, CounterPunch, June 15, 2018
* Trump-Kim Jong-un June 12 summit meeting in Singapore, and North Korea’s proposals for peace and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, special one-hour broadcast on Flashpoints Radio,with host Dennis Bernstein, June 12, 2018 (featuring analyst KJ Noh, New Zealand analyst and author Tim Beal, and Christine Ahn of ‘Women Cross DMZ’)
The indictments of Trump acolytes by Robert Mueller still don’t add up to collusion, by Aaron Maté, The Nation, June 13, 2018 In just over one year, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia has generated five guilty pleas, 20 indictments, and more than 100 charges. None of these have anything to do with Mueller’s chief focus: the Russian government’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s suspected involvement…
Caging children, separating families: Has the U.S. war on immigration gone too far?, by John W. Whitehead, published on the website of the Rutherford Institute, June 12, 2018 The White House’s new “zero tolerance policy” for separating undocumented parents from their children at the border as a way of discouraging illegal immigration is pushing us into dangerous territory morally and otherwise.
* Almost 2,000 children separated from families at U.S. border following Trump administration ‘zero tolerance’ policy, by Emily Shugerman, citing Associated Press, in The Independent, June 15, 2018
* 1,358 children and counting — Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ border policy is separating families at staggering rates, by Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, June 8 2018
* Staggering pattern of sexual abuse in U.S. immigration detention, by Alice Speri, The Intercept, April 11 2018
Saudi and UAE warships pound Yemen port of Hodeidah, heralding a worsening of the humanitarian emergency in the country, report in Middle East Eye, June 13, 2018 [As liberal media in the West condemn North Korea’s fragile steps to peace and denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, the Western-backed Saudi regime opens a new stage in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. NATO governments are awash in war crimes in Yemen through their sales of weapons and provision of military training to the venal autocracy in Saudi Arabia.]
* International Red Cross withdraws from Yemen, citing threats and dangers to its 71 staff members, statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross, published on June 7, 2018
* Port of Hudaydah, Yemen operates normally despite Saudi-UAE assault, Press TV, June 14, 2018 * Commment by UK writer Dan Glazebrook, on his Facebook page, June 13, 2018 So the long-dreaded U.S.-UK-Emirati-Saudi invasion of the port city of Hodeidah is, since the early hours of this morning, now underway. Hodeidah is THE lifeline for Yemen, through which 70 per cent of the country’s supplies arrive (in a country dependent on imports for 90 per cent of its food, fuel and medicine). The battle now underway will likely completely knock out its capacity for months. How many of the nine million on the verge of famine will now be pushed over the edge is apparently inconsequential to those conducting this war against the threat of an independent Yemen. The Telegraph today referred to “warnings from the UN that the attack could leave 250,000 dead and drive the war torn country further into famine”, and added: “The fight for Hodeidah is likely to be the largest battle in the three-year war between the Arab military coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the Houthi rebel group… Hodeidah is a city of 600,000 people and the coalition and its Yemeni allies have never before tried to drive the Houthis from such a large and well-defended area, raising fears of bloody street battles with civilians caught in the crossfire… Aid agencies have warned that any disruption at the port from fighting could strangle supplies of food, medicine and fuel to large parts of Yemen.”
U.S. public misled on Trump-Kim summit, by Gareth Porter, Consortium News, June 11, 2018 Establishment media was either unwilling or unable to accurately cover the intricacies of the Trump-Kim summit as well as Pyongyang’s serious diplomatic efforts, says Gareth Porter.
… The idea that North Korea could not possibly agree to give up its nuclear weapons or its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) has become an article of faith among the journalists covering the issue for big media. Two themes that have appeared again and again in their coverage are that the wily North Koreans are “playing” Trump and that previous administrations had also been taken by North Korea after signing agreements in good faith.
But the media have gotten it all wrong. They have assumed that North Korea cannot live without nuclear weapons—without making any effort to understand North Korea’s strategy in regard to nuclear weapons.They have invariably quoted “experts” who haven’t followed North Korean thinking closely but who express the requisite hostility toward the summit and negotiating an agreement with the Kim regime…
[In Canada, the state-run CBC is taking an active role in dismissing the significance of North Korea’s efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. That’s understandable: Canada was a lead participant in the near-genocidal war against the Korean people from 1950-53 and this war is lionized by official Canadian military history. North Korea stands as a beacon of condemnation and reminder of that near-genocidal war. Meanwhile, the publisher of the online National Observer has chimed in with a particularly vitriolic tirade against North Korea, inline with the publication’s established anti-Russia, pro-U.S. Democratic Party stance on world affairs. Recall that for decades, Democratic Party and Reublican Party presidents alike have opposed and sabotaged efforts towards peace and denuclearization in Korea.]
Bloomberg poll shows tight win for Erdogan in Turkey’s June 24 presidential election but no AKP majority in legislature election, Bloomberg News, June 13, 2018
Russia’s take on the deal between the U.S. and over Manbij, Syria is wait and see, by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor, June 12, 2018 [The following analysis puts the lie to longstanding claims by corporate and alternative media in the West (including by the very Al-Monitor) that the Russia government is colluding with Turkey to suppress the national rights of the Kurdish people in Syria. No proof of this lie is offered, it is merely asserted as fact. Meanwhile, this same media self-censors the news concerning Russia’s longstanding role seeking to convince the Syrian government and people to amend the country’s constitution in order, in part, to accord more formal rights to Kurds and other national minorities. Turkish Minute reports the following on June 14: Turkish, US military officials reach agreement on plan for Manbij, Turkish Minute, June 14, 2018]
The eerie silence surrounding the case of Julian Assange, interview with John Pilger, by ‘Flashpoints Radio’ host Dennis Bernstein, June 1, 2018 (begins at 19 minute mark), transcript published by Consortium News, June 9, 2018 [John Pilger delivered a brief statement to a panel session of the Left Forum in New York City on June 2, 2018 on the topic of ‘Russiagate and Wikileaks’. John Pilger begins his statement with “There is a silence among many who call themselves left. The silence is Julian Assange. As every false accusation has fallen away, every bogus smear shown to be the work of political enemies, Julian stands vindicated as one who has exposed a system that threatens humanity…” But the named ‘left’ is not identified nor explained in the Pilger interview. ‘Flashpoints’ radio program and its host Dennis Bernstein refer to Russiagate as a ‘witchhunt’.]
Brazil Supreme Court denies suspension of imprisonment of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pending outcome of his trial on staged corruption charges, report on Telesur, June 13, 2018
Joint statement of Presidents Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump following June 12, 2018 summit meeting in Singapore, published on Zoom In Korea, June 12, 2018
Related: Trump, Kim claim big summit success, but details are scant, Associated Press, June 12, 2018
Trump’s tantrums and the world economy, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in the UK), published on his website, June 10, 2018
… And thus the trade war has begun – a war that the major capitalist economies have not engaged in since the 1930s depression and which was supposed to be resolved by international agreements like General Agreement on Tariifs and Trade (GATT), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the post-war period.
What all these Trumpist antics revealed is that the period of the Great Moderation and globalisation, from the 1980s to 2007, when all major capitalist states worked together to benefit capital in all countries (to varying degrees) is over. The Great Recession of 2007-8 and the ensuing Long Depression since 2009 has changed the economic picture. In a stagnating world capitalist economy, where productivity growth is low, world trade growth has subsided and the profitability of capital has not recovered, cooperation has been replaced by increasingly vicious competition – the thieves have fallen out.
The Chinese economy: problems and prospects, by Martin Hart-Landsberg, published in the author’s blog Reports from the Economic Front, June 5, 2018 (Martin Hart-Landsberg is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon and a member of the Board of Directors of the Korea Policy Institute.)
Fallout continues following G7 summit meeting: Top Trump advisor says ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, report on CBC News, June 10, 2018
… “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door,” trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox News.
… It seemed the two-day G7 leaders’ summit in La Malbaie, Quebec on June 9 and 10 had avoided descending into chaos over trade disagreements after a joint communiqué signed by all seven participating nations was issued June 10. But minutes after the official release of the document, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the communiqué citing “false statements” by Trudeau and calling the Canadian leader “very dishonest and weak”…
Related: Ontario could feel the pain if Trump makes good on auto tariff threat, CBC News, June 11, 2018 Newly-elected, right-wing Premier Doug Ford of Ontario has publicly stated support for Trump and isn’t saying what he’ll do to mitigate possible fallout of threatened 25 per cent tariffs
Canada exports some $80-billion of vehicle parts and final assembly annually to the U.S. There are some 40,000 jobs in auto assembly and 80,000 more in auto parts, almost all in the province of Ontario. By comparison, the Canadian steel and aluminium industries recently hit with 25 per cent U.S. tariffs are roughly one-quarter the size.
Trump drops bombshell after leaving G7 summit in Quebec, accusing summit chairperson Trudeau of ‘false statements’, by Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star, June 9, 2018
* At Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Xi extols free trade as G7 meeting ends in disarray, Associated Press, June 10, 2018
* Putin, Xi hail Russia-China partnership on eve of Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit meeting, Bloomberg News, June 7, 2018
* Full text of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the 18th SCO Qingdao summit, Xinhua, June 10, 2018
* Let’s stop ‘babbling’ and get back to real work: Putin fires back at G7 criticism on Russia, RT, June 10, 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin hit back at the latest G7 criticisms of Russia, saying they should get back to cooperating instead of “creative babbling,” following the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit meeting in Qingdao, China…
* Dairy and poultry sectors are the weak link in Canada’s trade defences, by Barry McKenna, business columnist, Globe and Mail, June 8, 2018 (subscriber only) Read the article here in pdf format: Dairy and poultry sectors are the weak link
* Why Ottawa’s countertariffs could boost the country’s food industry, by Sylvain Charlebois, commentary in The Globe and Mail, June 6, 2018
Latest Trump theatrics: ‘Russia should be re-admitted to the G7’, report on RT, June 8, 2018 [Donald Trump is setting off a new round of naive echoes by corporate and alternative media that he really, really likes Russia and would like to see it back in the G7. Never mind his regime’s record of deepening economic sanctions and heightened military threats against Russia. That’s the real world. For naive or malevolent reasons, media only hears the Sound of Music.]
U.S., Turkey agree on Manbij road map, but when will they get there?, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, June 6, 2018
… Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu’s remarks to Turkish reporters in Washington showed, however, that nothing should be expected to happen in Manbij in the coming days, or weeks.
… The pro-government media in Turkey has taken these vague remarks as confirmation that the deal struck with Washington will be implemented within six months. Press reports from Washington, however, show that the American side is reluctant to give a specific timeline for the implementation of the Manbij road map.
… The YPG announcement one day after the Cavusoglu-Pompeo talks that it was pulling its military advisers out of Manbij was also taken with a grain of salt by Ankara. The semi-official Anadolu News Agency quoted Col. Thomas Veale, the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, who said on the same day as the YPG announcement that there had been no operational changes in Manbij yet.
Related: The demographic changes in Afrin under Turkish occupation after Kurdish population fled, aka ethnic cleansing, report in the anti-Russia Guardian, June 6, 2018 [In contrast to this Guardian report, Al-Monitor published a report on June 3 saying the condition of Kurds in Afrin is rather positive. Al-Monitor‘s sources? The quisling paramilitary forces installed to power by the Turkish occupation.
Bowing to U.S. sanctions, European refiners winding down purchases of Iranian oil, Reuters, June 6, 2018
… Although European governments have not followed Washington by creating new sanctions, banks, insurers and shippers are gradually severing ties with Iran under pressure from the U.S. restrictions, making trade with Tehran complicated and risky.
U.S. President Donald Trump on May 4 announced his decision to quit a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. The sanctions on Iran’s petroleum sector will take effect after a 180-day “wind-down period” ending on Nov. 4.
Syrian Kurdish officials say group ready to talk to Damascus, Associated Press, Wednesday, June 6, 2018
The dominant U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish party in control of northeastern Syria is prepared to hold talks with the Syrian government over the future of the area, senior Kurdish officials said Wednesday. A Damascus-based political group called the “Syrian Democratic Front,” which is seen as close to the government, visited the Kurdish-led administration to “start a dialogue” with the government, said Ilham Ahmed, who co-chairs the U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Council in northeast Syria.
… Ahmed suggested time may be ripe for dialogue with the Syrian government, which has opposed the Turkey-U.S. deal on Manbij.
… “We are seeking … a vision that ends the war,” said Ahmed. “We want to secure our (self-administration) project and the Americans care for that too.”
… There was no immediate response from Damascus to the Kurdish comments. A previous round of talks between the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, sponsored by Russia, yielded no results.
Kurdish forces to withdraw from Syria’s Manbij under U.S.-Turkey deal, France 24, June 6, 2018
* Military council in Manbij, Syria warns Turkey not to ‘stir up’ northern Syria as YPG self-defense forces depart, Rudaw news agency (Iraqi Kurdistan), June 6, 2018
* Manbij military council rejects Turkish control of strategic Syrian town, France 24, June 6, 2018
CHP party leader Muharrem Ince galvanizes Turkey’s opposition hopes in June 24 presidential race, by Jasper Mortimer, Al-Monitor, June 5, 2018
At meeting in Washington, NATO allies U.S. and Turkey agree on greater cooperation in Syria, including removing Kurdish forces from Manbij, report by Reuters, June 4, 2018 [The U.S.-Turkey agreement explodes the longstanding, naive and malevolent reporting and analysis by corporate and alternative media in the West alleging serious U.S.-Turkish discord over Syria and growing rapprochement between Turkey and Russia. This has gone so far as to falsely accuse Russia of agreeing to Turkey’s military intervention and occupation of the Syrian province of Afrin in Syria northwest beginning in January 2018 (Turkey’s so-called Operation Olive Branch). Even Russia-friendly media has bought into the myth of deepgoing U.S.-Turkish discord.]
* Breaking news: YPG confirms withdrawal from Syria’s Manbij after Turkey-US deal, Al Jazeera, June 5, 2018 (and, report by Reuters, June 5, 2018)
* U.S.-Turkey road map in Syria risks Kurdish blowback, by Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor, June 4, 2018 … “What [Trump’s] team wants to do is find an agreement with Turkey that doesn’t sell the SDF down the river but creates a larger northern Syria NATO zone,” said Nick Heras, a Middle East fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “The first big milestone on that road would be a working arrangement [with Turkey]”… [The Al-Monitor report provides its own fantasies with this claim: … Even as Mattis turns the military’s focus away from [sic] the terror fight [sic] in the Middle East and toward emerging adversaries such as China and Russia, experts say Kurdish elements will need U.S. security guarantees akin to the American-led no-fly zone over Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region in the 1990s.
* Electoral noose tightens in Turkey’s critical southeast, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, June 4, 2018 … with under three weeks left before the June 24 presidential and parliamentary vote in Turkey, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is being squeezed more tightly than ever. HDP officials charge that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to prevent the HDP from winning the minimum ten per cent of the vote needed to take seats in the parliament so as to ensure the AKP’s continued dominance of the legislative body…
Four years of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: This ‘vikas’ has no vision for future, by Vijay Prashad, published in the National Herald (India), May 26, 2018
Massive truckers’ strike exposes political chaos as Brazil gears up for elections in October, by Leandro Demori, Piero Locatelli, The Intercept, June 5, 2018 and, The week that stopped Brazil, by Caio Almendra, published in Jacobin, June 5, 2018
* Brazilian candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva still crushing his rivals from jail, but his prospects for candidacy in October 2018 presidential election are doubtful, by João Feres Júnior (Rio de Janeiro State University) and Fabio Kerche (Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa), published in The Conversation, May 16, 2018
* Brazil, scared and leaderless, looks to the military, by Brian Winter, Americas Quarterly (pro-U.S. foreign policy), May 31, 2018
* Paralyzed, Brazil enters eighth day as hostage of truck drivers, by newsroom, Brazzil.com, May 27, 2018 A nine-day strike by truck drivers ended in late May. The drivers were protesting the Temer government’s ten per cent hike in diesel fuel prices.
* Brazil’s Petrobras fuel pricing drama is a huge negative for the economy, by Kenneth Rapoza , Forbes Magazine, June 4, 2018
Three articles on the state of journalism and political rights in Maidan Ukraine, news compilation on A Socialist In Canada, June 4, 2018
Amnesty International says U.S.-led coalition destroyed Syria’s Raqqa, France 24, June 5, 2018
Related: Raqqa, Syria in ruins and civilians devastated after U.S.-led ‘war of annihilation’, report by Amnesty International, June 5, 2018
Vladimir Putin’s interview with ORF television network in Austria, RT, June 5, 2018 [You can read an English-language transcript of the interview on the website of the President of Russia, here. The Russian president exercised great patience during the interview in the face of constant interruptions and badgering by the ORF host.]
The ‘two-state’ solution is dead, Palestinian courage should spur international action, by Rick Sterling, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, June 4, 2018
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – funded by Britain’s Foreign Office, report by Media Lens, June 4, 2018
Thieves falling out: In U.S. television interview, Canadian prime minister slams fellow NATO member U.S. for ‘insulting’ tariffs against steel and aluminum, report on CBC News, June 3, 2018 (Watch here the full interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on NBC’s ‘Meet The Press, June 3, 2018.) [Joined in lockstep with the United States in waging a new cold war against Russia and regime change in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela, Canada and Europe squirm as the Trump administration squeezes them over changes to investment and trade policy.]
* Few days left to avoid full-scale trade war between U.S. and EU, says France’s finance minister, RT, June 2, 2018
* G7 finance ministers meet in Canada, six of them criticize U.S. tariff war, CBC News, June 3, 2018
* Putin signs law on countermeasures against US and its allies, RT, June 4, 2018
The state of the campesino struggle in Venezuela, by Tatuy TV, produced for Venezuela Analysis, May 28, 2018 In this exclusive article for Venezuela Aalysis, community broadcasters TatuyTV examine one of the hot topics in Venezuela in light of food shortages and economic crisis: the state of the campesino struggle and land reform.
The ideal of a free media died long ago, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, June 4, 2018
Brazilian candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva still crushing his rivals from jail, but his prospects for candidacy in October 2018 presidential election are doubtful, by João Feres Júnior (Rio de Janeiro State University) and Fabio Kerche (Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa), published in The Conversation, May 16, 2018
* Brazil, scared and leaderless, looks to the military, by Brian Winter, Americas Quarterly (pro-U.S. foreign policy), May 31, 2018
* Paralyzed, Brazil enters eighth day as hostage of truck drivers, by newsroom, Brazzil.com, May 27, 2018 A nine-day strike by truck drivers ended in late May. The drivers were protesting the Temer government’s ten per cent hike in diesel fuel prices.
* Brazil’s Petrobras fuel pricing drama is a huge negative for the economy, by Kenneth Rapoza , Forbes Magazine, June 4, 2018
Italian debt crisis erupts: Is this a Greek debt crisis writ large?, by Jack Rasmus, published on his website, June 1, 2018
Related: Italian nightmare: A crash will cripple the world, New Zealand Herald, June 1, 2018
How identity politics has divided the left: An interview with Asad Haider, interview published in The Intercept, May 27 2018 (Asad Haider is the author of Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump, Verso Books, 2018, 144 pages)
In Colombia, Liberal Party’s vice-presidential candidate breaks rank, vows support for Gustavo Petro in second-round presidential vote on June 17, Telesur, June 3, 2018
Related: Venezuela says Colombia joining NATO is a threat to regional peace, Telesur, May 29, 2018
Ukrainian reporter describes his faked slaying, by Yuras Karmanau and Nataliya Vasilyeva, Associated Press, June 1, 2018
… Arkady Babchenko’s faked death caused real shock in Ukraine, where other journalists have been killed in recent years. It also brought widespread criticism from press freedom groups.
Sergei Tomilenko, head of the Ukrainian Journalists Union, complained that authorities had presented no evidence that an assassination plot actually existed or that Russia was involved. Without such evidence, he said, the deception could be considered politically motivated, “which discredits not only journalists, but the image of Ukraine.”
Added Pauline Ades-Mevel of the group Reporters Without Borders: “We condemn the use of these means to protect journalists.”
* Kiev’s fake Babchenko murder erodes media and information credibility, charges International Federation of Journalists, RT, May 31, 2018
* Babchenko case: intolerable and unacceptable, statement by the International Federation of Journalists, May 31, 2018
* International Federation of Journalists condemns threats against journalists in Ukraine, statement by International Federation of Journalists, June 1, 2018
Report by Canada’s spy agency CSIS warns of Chinese interference in New Zealand, by Steven Chase and Robert Fife, Globe and Mail, May 30, 2018
Related: Chinese interference in New Zealand at ‘critical’ stage, says Canada spy report, The Guardian, June 1, 2018
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, May 2018
Feature interview with Bashar Al-Assad, print story and 28-minute video interview, RT, May 31, 2018
Eight things I learned about Palestine while touring eight Western nations, by Ramzy Baroud, Foreign Policy Journal, May 30, 2018
Related: ‘Summary executions and unacceptable brutality’: The Gaza flotilla massacre by Israel in 2010 against the MV Mavi Marmora, RT, May 30, 2018
Last of girls featured in Australian film ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’ dies, ABC.au.net, May 30, 2018 The youngest of three girls from Western Australia’s north-west, whose life story inspired the award-winning film Rabbit-Proof Fence, has died at the age of 95
Related: Doris Pilkington Garimara, author of book that inspired film ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’, dies, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, May 4, 2014
Jovenel Moïse in Taiwan: How Taiwan (‘Republic of China’) is buying Haiti, again, by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, May 30, 2018
Stephen Pinker’s ‘Enlightenment Now’ rationalizes the violence of empire, by Vijay Kolinjivadi, The Conversation, May 30, 2018
Masha Gessen downplays Ukraine regime’s manipulation and endangering of journalists in its fake ‘Russian assassination’ of Arkady Babchenko, column by Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, May 31, 2018
[The anti-Russia, U.S.-resident New Yorker columnist Masha Gessen leapt on the lying story invented by Ukraine’s national police that ‘Russia’ had assassinated Arkady Babchenko in Kyiv on May 29. She penned an anti-Russia diatribe the same day, only to have to sheepishly withdraw it some 24 hours later. But her faith in all things anti-Russia remains unscathed. She concludes her new column on the story with, ” Whether or not there were indeed other options for apprehending G [a fake ‘Russian assassin invented by Ukraine police and accepted as good coin by Masha Gessen], the story of the staged murder of a journalist will make it easier for dictators to cast any future murders of reporters as ‘fake news’. But that doesn’t make the threat Babchenko faced any less real.”
[Like the rest of Western media, Gessen treats the Babchenko story with bemused curiousity, something akin to hiring a killer whose dependability causes occasional discomfort to the one doing the hiring.
[The pro-Maidan, Canadian former head of the Ukraine mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Michael Borciukiw, strikes a similar pose in CNN. He gives credence to Ukraine’s cockamamie gimmick, concluding his opinion piece with, “As for Babchenko? It could be that the price for his head has significantly increased, and he will likely require round-the-clock protection for the rest of his life…” ]
Russiagate: Spooks spooking themselves, by Dan Lazare, Consortium News, May 31, 2018 With the news that a Cambridge academic-cum-spy named Stefan Halper infiltrated the Trump campaign, the role of the intelligence agencies in shaping the great Russiagate saga is at last coming into focus…
* It’s time to admit the Russia investigation was illegitimate from the start, by Margot Cleveland, The Federalist, May 23, 2018 While claims that the FBI properly inquired of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia were valid to a point, that point has long since passed.
* Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese phantom of Russiagate, by Lee Smith, RealClearInvestigations, May 30, 2018
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party vs the European Union’s single market, by Costas Lapavitsas, Jacobin, May 30, 2018 (Costas Lapavitsas is a professor of economics at SOAS (University of London) and a former member of the Greek Parliament.
Has the U.S. conceded to Turkey in Manbij?, by Semih Idiz, columnist, Al-Monitor, May 30, 2018 [There is important information in this analysis of the U.S.-Turkey collaboration against the people and sovereignty of Syria. But the analysis is also interspersed with Al-Monitor‘s continued acceptance of the myth that the U.S. and Turkey are in conflict over Syria, specifically over the U.S. manipulation of Kurdish forces to further its aims in Syria and the broader region.]
Cuba leader praises Maduro in ‘solidarity’ visit to Venezuela, Telesur, May 30, 2018 Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel chose Venezuela as his first foreign visit.
* Interview about May 20 Venezuela presidential election with researcher and writer Alan MacLeod, broadcast on Gorilla Radio, with host Chris Cook, May 31, 2018 (25-minute interview, begins at three-minute mark. Alan MacLeod is a researcher and PhD graduate at the University of Glasgow. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting, was recently published by Routledge.) Related by Alan MacLeod: A primer on the Venezuelan presidential election of May 20, 2018, by Alan Macleod, CounterPunch, May 18, 2018, and: Writing off democracy in Venezuela, U.S. press and politicians dream of a coup, by Alan MacLeod, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), May 16, 2018
* Interview about May 20 Venezuela presidential election in Venezuela and May 27 first-round presidential election in Colombia with professor and human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik, broadcast on Gorilla Radio, with host Chris Cook, May 31, 2018 (Interview begins at 37-minute mark. Dan Kovlaik is a professor and human rights lawyer at the University of Pittsburgh.)
* Venezuela condemns new sanctions by Canada against it, says they violate international law, Telesur, May 31, 2018
Ukraine faked a killing in Kyiv of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, report in the anti-Russia Guardian, May 30, 2018
[Western media was quick to report the story faked by Ukrainian police of the murder of anti-Russia journalist Arkady Babchenko on May 29. The story had a juicy anti-Russia slant catering to Western media’s prejudices and agenda. The same Western media has long been silent on the real killings, intimidation and silencing of journalists taking place in extreme-right, ‘Maidan’ Ukraine.
[Babchenko did not inform his family (wife and six children!) of his participation in the ruse. His resurrection from the dead on May 30 has been the occasion for Western media to repeat cockamamie Ukrainian police stories that Russia was planning all along to assassinate the journalist, a Russian who moved to Ukraine last year. Oh dear, 29 other journalists in Ukraine were said by Ukrainian police storytellers to be targetted.
[University of Ottawa researcher Ivan Katchanovski has commented on his Facebook page: “The faking of the killing of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko by the Security Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine for political and propaganda purposes is another example how easily Ukrainian politicians can stage political violence and how easily the media, politicians, and various self-proclaimed experts can be taken for a ride and react like Pavlov dogs, as in the staged Maidan massacre in 2014.” He is referring to the overwhelming evidence he has compiled and reported during the past four years that the sniper killings of police and protesters on Kyiv’s Maidan Square on February 20, 2014 were staged by extreme-right paramilitaries. Western media universally reported that Ukraine’s police force, then directed by the government of President Victor Yanukovych, carried out the killings. That story played a key role in the overthrow of Yanuovych by a right-wing coup on Feb 21, 2014. The ‘Maidan massacre’ story was dutifully broadcast by Western media, and it went on to hail the coup. Media has been silent ever since about the revelations of who were the true killers on February 20, 2014. ]
* ‘Assassinated’ journalist Babchenko alive, Kiev accuses Russian intelligence of murder plot, RT, May 30, 2018
* Why Arkady Babchenko’s strange resurrection is a PR gift for the Kremlin, by Oliver Carroll, in Moscow, The Independent, May 30, 2018
… There may well be serious evidence to come out of this as-yet-unclear special operation. But the fake story has other, rather more obvious consequences.
First, journalists will no longer accept Ukrainian official statements on face value. This is good practice anyway, given the increasingly creative endeavours emerging from the government in Kiev.
Second, news of threats to journalists will now be doubted at every turn. As foreign correspondent Lindsey Hilsum tweeted: “Thanks, Ukrainian security services. That’s really helpful to all who care about journalists’ safety.”
Third, the Kremlin has a new get-out-of-jail-free card: Ukraine is now a storyteller; nothing that comes out of Ukraine is really how it seems; everything Ukraine says is to show Russia in a bad light. Russia has been accused by the US of using disinformation campaigns to try and affect the 2016 presidential election and in such a climate there is no doubt Moscow will use the staged killing to undermine news out of Kiev.
… But in agreeing to take part in a police operation, he also put the credibility of an entire profession at stake. “It’s crossing a line big time,” author Andrei Soldatov said on Twitter. “Babchenko is a journalist, not a policeman, for Christ sake, and part of our job is trust, whatever Trump and Putin say about fake news.”
Katya Sergatskova, founder of Zaborona, a new media platform in Ukraine, said the incident had shown the country’s security service to be out of its depth. “They thought they were showing off, but they have no idea how awful this looks on the international arena.”
The death and resurrection of Arkady Babchenko in Kyiv: You couldn’t make this sh*t up, but Ukraine did, by Bryan MacDonald, columnist, RT, May 30, 2018
UK fraudster Bill Browder briefly detained in Spain on Russian warrant, RT, May 30, 2018
The character of the war in Syria and how peace may be won, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, May 29, 2018
Amazon, Starbucks pledge money to repeal Seattle employment tax, Associated Press, May 23, 2018
Amazon, Starbucks, Vulcan and other companies have pledged a total of more than $350,000 toward an effort to repeal Seattle’s newly passed tax on large employers intended to combat homelessness…
The so-called head tax will charge businesses making at least $20 million in gross revenues about $275 per full-time worker each year. The tax would begin in 2019 and raise about $48 million a year to build affordable housing and provide emergency homeless services…
* Amazon battles Seattle—and loses, by Sonali Kolhatkar, Truthdig, May 24, 2018
* In major win over ‘corporate bullying,’ Seattle approves tax on Amazon to combat homelessness, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 15, 2018 [Leaders of construction unions in Washington state whose dues-paying members are building Seattle’s housing bubble lost out in their opposition to the ‘Amazon tax’. It must be said that as in Vancouver and Toronto in Canada, tinkering with taxes on the wealthy à la Seattle’s ‘Amazon tax’ to subsidize landlords renting housing to the poor and working class is hardly a solution to the growing housing and shelter crisis in Canadian and U.S. cities. The solution is to build publicly-financed, community-controlled housing projects as part of ending capitalist, automobile-driven urban sprawl.] * Construction unions in Seattle join with high-tec industry in opposing municipal ‘Amazon tax’ that would fund housing, report in The Guardian, May 13, 2018 [The federal government in Ottawa as well as the BC provincial government and Vancouver city municipal government are falling over themselves to welcome Amazon’s soundings of transferring 3,000 jobs to an expanded tech hub in Vancouver. Are they scabbing on nearby Seattle’s municipal government and residents, who are trying to deal with the house price bubble in their city? Currently, there are some 6,000 people in Canada working for Amazon. The Seattle construction unions’ selfish stand resembles the support for tar sands pipelines by industrial unions in British Columbia and Alberta.]
Harvard study puts hurricane deaths in Puerto Rico at nearly 6,000 people—70 times official count, by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 29, 2018 Findings are ‘confirmation of an American tragedy,’ says Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.)
* Puerto Rico’s pain and the decimation of its population, by David Usborne, The Independent, May 5, 2018 Perhaps more people would have remained on the island if if anything like the resources rushed to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida last year had also come to Puerto Rico.
The exodus from Puerto Rico traces back to 2005, when a recession took hold that never let go. The Pew Research Centre estimates that between 2005 and 2013 more than 500,000 people left the island for the mainland – five per cent of its population.
… according to a report released by City University of New York’s Centre for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro), the island will lose an additional 470,000 residents by the end of next year [end of 2019] as a direct consequence of the storm. Already there are more Puerto Ricans living in the 50 states than there are in Puerto Rico.
* Challenges for science in post-hurricane Puerto Rico, by Michael Johansson, Scientific American, May 24, 2018 Eight months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the day-to-day crises are far fewer for most of us, but the island remains a profoundly changed place. One of the most pernicious challenges is electricity. Few people had power after Irma and no one had power after Maria, which hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Local outages are a daily reality; large-scale blackouts occur occasionally; and tens of thousands of households have yet to be reconnected to the grid…
* Eight months after Hurricane Maria, the death toll in Puerto Rico remains a mystery, by Joshua Hoyos, ABC News, May 20, 2018
… The current death toll, according to the Puerto Rican government, is 64. Skepticism has lingered, however, with some Puerto Ricans and its officials believing the number is much higher.
… According to Alexis Santos, director of graduate studies in applied demography at Pennsylvania State University who has studied the daily mortality data from the Puerto Rico government, says there were approximately 1,000 more deaths on the island in the month after Maria.
Freedom Flotilla statement on Israeli interception of Gaza Flotilla, May 29, 2018 The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) condemns Israel’s brutal act of state piracy in attacking the aptly named Hurriya (Liberty) vessel which attempted to leave the port of Gaza today filled with people needing urgent medical assistance as well as students and crew, as they attempted to peacefully make safe passage to Cyprus…
* Four Freedom Flotilla boats gather in Amsterdam, published by Kia Ora Gaza (New Zealand), May 29, 2018
* Amid rocket fire and airstrikes, Gazans launch fishing boats to challenge Israel’s naval blockade, by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 29, 2018
* BDS campaigners rejoice as Shakira will not perform in Israel in July, Telesur, May 29, 2018
Israel pushes U.S. to recognize Golan Heights sovereignty, by Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, May 28, 2018
Turkey’s agricultural decline rings alarm bells, by Mehmet Cetingulec, Al-Monitor, May 28, 2018
Eyewitnesses to Venezuela’s May 20 presidential election: ‘Western media never talks about the improvements to life for Venezuela’s poor’, news and analysis posted to A Socialist In Canada, May 28, 2018
House of Representatives passes $717B war budget, report by Associated Press, May 24, 2018 The bipartisan 351-66 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where a key panel completed a companion measure in a closed-door session on Wednesday. The military will receive a 2.6 per cent hike, the largest in nine years.
After Ireland’s vote to legalize abortion services, New Zealand’s anti-abortion laws are an embarassment, commentary by Jo Moir, in Stuff.co.nz, May 27, 2018
* Could Theresa May’s pact with the DUP lead to a united Ireland?, by Dawn Foster, columnist, The Guardian, May 29, 2018
* Protesting outside abortion clinics in New South Wales may be outlawed within a 150-metre radius, by Angela Lavoipierre, ABC News, May 15, 2018 Abortion is still illegal in some Australian states
Peace and denuclearization in Korea: A big ‘no’ from Trump, then a big ‘yes’ from Korea, by Tim Shorrock, published on his website Dispatch Korea, May 26, 2018
Related: President Moon vows to ‘take driver’s seat’ in facilitating summit revival, by Seong Yeon-cheol, staff reporter, The Hankyoreh, May 26, 2018 The Blue House was officially notified of Trump’s cancellation of June 12 summit meeting after the press announcement.
U.S. warns Syrian government not to advance on southern enclave of anti-government paramilitaries in and around Daraa, Associated Press, May 26, 2018
* Syria says it hopes negotiations can return Daraa region to sovereign control, report in Al-Araby, May 27, 2017
* U.S. warns of ‘firm’ response ahead of Syria’s anti-terror operation in Dara’a, Press TV, May 26, 2018
* Iran to maintain role in Syria, support resistance, says top Iranian official, report on Press TV, May 27, 2018
Inside Damascus district of Ghouta as Syrian government fully controls its capital city for the first time in seven years, by Alex Thomson, chief correspondent, Channel Four News, May 24, 2018 (five-minute video report)
66.4 per cent win for repeal of 1983 anti-abortion constitutional amendment marks ‘the day Ireland stepped out from under the last of our shadows’, The Independent, May 26, 2018 Door is now open for legislation allowing terminations, meaning women will no longer have to travel abroad for procedures. In 2015, Ireland voted for same-sex marriage equality with a majority of 62 per cent, but it was widely expected that this vote would be much closer
Related: Theresa May refusing to push for abortion reform in Northern Ireland amid DUP pressure, by Benjamin Kentish, The Independent, May 27, 2018 Theresa May is under pressure to give MPs a free vote on legalising abortion in Northern Ireland after the Republic of Ireland voted comprehensively in favour of reform. The prime minister is facing calls from within her Cabinet to scrap the ban on abortion and bring it in line with the rest of the UK. It creates a fresh headache for Ms May, whose parliamentary majority relies on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is fiercely anti-abortion.
Here’s what we know about Russia’s hypersonic waverider weapon, by Edd Gent, Live Science, May 24, 2018
The coming collapse, by Chris Hedges, published in his weekly column at Truthdig, May 20, 2018 [Chris Hedges presents a stark account of the significance of the election of Donald Trump and the deadly cycle of capitalist expansionism that threatens runaway global warming and nuclear war. His presentation is troubling and accurate, but his outlook is nihilistic. He offers no political strategy for how humanity may take control of its destiny and overcome the triple scourge of imperialist war and militarism, rising social inequities and global warming.]
Leftist Gustavo Petro defies odds in Colombian presidential race, by Joe Parkin Daniels, The Guardian, May 24, 2018 First round voting in Colombia’s presidential election takes place on May 28 Related: The paramilitary threat in post-conflict Colombia, Philipp Wesche, published by NACLA, May 24, 2018 While the Colombian government is implementing its peace accord, paramilitaries and complicit landowners continue to persecute the victims of the conflict. But the judiciary fails to hold those behind the violence to account.
After election, intransigence in Venezuela, by Steve Ellner, published in NACLA (‘reporting on the Americas Since 1967’), May 25, 2018
Margaret Mead: The original social justice warrior who smashed stereotypes, by Richard Schiffman, New Scientist, print issue of April 28, 2018 Read text here in pdf: Margaret Mead Margaret Mead’s 1920s solo trip to live among people in Samoa was just the start of a boundary-breaking and myth-demolishing career
Looking for Calley, by Seymour Hersh, Harper’s Magazine, June 2018 How the young journalist Seymour Hersh untangled the riddle of the U.S. massacre of Vietnamese peasants in the village of My Lai on March 16, 2018 Subscriber only article. Read here in pdf format: Looking for Calley, Seymour Hersh, Harper’s Magazine, June 2018. To subscribe to Harper’s Magazine, click here (one year $46, two years $60, in U.S. or Canadian dollars.)
Related: My Lai Massacre, Wikipedia
Yulia Skripal and the Salisbury WUT [what?], by Craig Murray, published on his website, May 24, 2018
… “I do not wish to avail myself of their services” is simply not a translation of what Yulia Skripal says in Russian and totally misses the “I am not ready” opening phrase of that sentence. My conclusion is that Yulia’s statement was written by a British official and then translated to Russian for her to speak, rather than the other way round. Also that rather than translate what she said in Russian themselves for the subtitles, Reuters has subtitled using a British government script they have been given…
Why are Russia, WikiLeaks and the British far left out to get this ‘pro-Israel’ Wikipedia editor?, by Omer Benjakob, columnist, Haaretz, May 24, 2018 [In this column, a Haaretz columnist offers a defense of the ‘Philip Cross’ operation that controls the political slants on Wikileaks. See UK writer Craig Murray’s research on this operation: part one of four parts is here.]
* War against the left: Relentless Wikipedia editor ‘Philip Cross’ shows intriguing patterns, RT, May 25, 2018
* The ‘Philip Cross’ affair: The right-wing ideologues who publish and edit Wikipedia, analysis by Craig Murray, published on his website, May 17, 2018
‘Skirmishes’ and ‘clashes’: Israel’s Syria blitz, Media Lens alert, May 23, 2018 A key ‘mainstream’ media theme in covering the Israeli army’s repeated massacres of unarmed, non-violent Palestinian civilians protesting Israel’s military occupation in Gaza – killing journalists, a paramedic, the elderly and children – has been the description of these crimes as ‘clashes’…
Sweden scares population with war pamphlets amid push to join NATO, interview with Norwegian journalist Eirik Vold, The Real News Network, May 25, 2018
Related: Sweden aims for NATO membership, issues ‘prepare for war’ pamphlet to all households, report in The Guardian, May 20, 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.]
Trump cancels North Korea summit, citing ‘open hostility’, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 24, 2018 ‘You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.’
* Trump cancels North Korea summit scheduled for June 12, from newswire reports, published on Asahi Shimbun (Japan), May 24, 2018
* N. Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch, The Associated Press, May 24, 2018
No Russian missile system ever crossed into Ukraine says Russian Ministry of Defense, rejecting claims of Dutch investigators, RT, May 24, 2018
* Missile that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014 came from Russian military says int’l investigators, RT, May 24, 2018
* Flight MH17 brought down in Ukraine by Russian missile, investigators say, The Associated Press, May 24, 2018
Steven Pinker’s ideas are fatally flawed. These eight graphs show why, by Jeremy Lent, Open Democracy, May 21, 2018 I agree with much of what Pinker has to say [in his 2018 book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.] His book is stocked with seventy-five charts and graphs that provide incontrovertible evidence for centuries of progress on many fronts that should matter to all of us: an inexorable decline in violence of all sorts along with equally impressive increases in health, longevity, education, and human rights. It’s precisely because of the validity of much of Pinker’s narrative that the flaws in his argument are so dangerous. They’re concealed under such a smooth layer of data and eloquence that they need to be carefully unraveled. That’s why my response to Pinker is to meet him on his own turf: in each section, like him, I rest my case on hard data exemplified in a graph…]
Trump backs away from demand for immediate North Korean denuclearization, New York Times, May 22, 2018
President Trump opened the door on May 22 to a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, backing away from his demand that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, completely abandon his arsenal without any reciprocal American concessions.
The president’s hint of flexibility came after North Korea declared last week that it would never agree to unilaterally surrender its weapons, even threatening to cancel the much-anticipated summit meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump scheduled for June 12 in Singapore…
Trump forbids Russian ‘Nord Stream 2’ natural gas pipeline to Germany, Europe pushes back, by Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg News, May 18, 2018
Related: Ukraine fears prompt Canada to raise alarm over proposed Russian pipeline, by Shawn McCarthy global energy reporter, Globe and Mail, March 19, 2018 [The Globe and Mail is championing the efforts of the extreme-right government in Ukraine to goad NATO countries into ever-harsher economic sanctions against Russia. The latest instalment of that effort is this article on March 19 urging Germany to cancel a planned twinning of the ‘Nord Stream’ natural gas pipeline delivering Russian natural gas to Germany under the Black Sea. Nord Stream 1 and the proposed Nord Stream 2 allow Russia to bypass overland gas pipeline transit across Ukraine or Baltic republics. Ukraine stands to lose substantial gas transit revenues as Russia reconfigures its gas shipments away from the territory of its extremely hostile neighbour.]
Maduro’s election win in Venezuela: A bright spot in dark times, by Nick Pemberton, CounterPunch, May 23, 2018
… Across the United States, the press tells us that Venezuela is failing because of socialism. The U.S. left has not been much better, often painting the situation as a complicated two way fight to the bottom between the Venezuelan government and U.S. sanctions…
Canada’s tar sands bitumen is displacing Venezuellan heavy oil in U.S. Gulf Coast refineries as U.S. ponders deeper economic sanctions, report by Geoffrey Morgan in Financial Post, May 22, 2018
* Venezuela slams new U.S. sanctions as Washington hints at oil embargo, Venezuela Analysis, May 22, 2018
* G7 countries reject outcome of May 20 Venezuela presidential election, statement by the ‘G7 group of countries, May 23, 2018
* ‘Lima Group’ of 12 Latin American governmetns plus Canada says does not recognize Venezuela’s election, Reuters, May 21, 2018
* Venezuela expels the two top U.S. diplomats in the country, Telesur, May 22, 2018
A new flotilla steams towards Gaza, by Elizabeth Murray, special to Consortium News, May 22, 2018 Elizabeth Murray is aboard a new flotilla to highlight the illegality of the 12-year old blockade that is choking the people of Gaza.
Zionist lies and preparation for nuclear war, by Leslie Bravery, published in The Daily Blog (New Zealand), May 19, 2018 (with additional related news)
More analysis of the 2018 budget of New Zealand’s Labour Party-led coalition gov’t:
* Does this New Zealand budget turn the tide?, by Susan St John, The Daily Blog, May 22, 2018
* Budget 2018 – Half of something and half of nothing, by Alan Johnson, The Daily Blog, May 22, 2018
* Budget 2018: Labour’s pre-emptive capitulation to Kiwi capitalism’s discontent, by Chris Trotter, The Daily blog, May 22, 2018
Israel continues aggression against Syria while playing the victim, by Zak Witus, Truthout.org, May 21, 2018 In recent months, writers have poured sweat and ink over the pages of The New York Times and other leading Western journals about the possibility of war between Israel and its adversaries in the region; but the truth is that Israel has been at war in Syria for years…
[Memo to Trotskyists, ‘International Socialists’, anarchists and others in the Western left who have disrupted and blocked potential antiwar action for years in arguing that the U.S.-led regime-change drive in Syria is actually a ‘popular revolution’ worthy of financial and military support by the West: The war danger in Syria by the U.S.-Israel-Europe cabal continues even as the Syrian government continues to deal setbacks to the right-wing paramilitaries being supported by Western media and certain Western leftists.]
* Syrian government declares capital Damascus fully under its control, by Zeina Karam, Associated Press, May 21, 2018
* Syrian army declares Damascus area secure after clearing out last ISIS-controlled pocket, RT, May 21, 2018
* Syria talks involve many cooks — and many kitchens, by Anton Mardasov, Al-Monitor, May 18, 2018 After a lengthy pause in the series of Syrian peace talks held in Astana, Kazakhstan, this week’s round — the ninth — wasn’t expected to produce any breakthroughs. Yet the very fact that the talks happened at all can be seen as a success given that until the last moment no one knew if the Syrian opposition would even participate. The next round of talks, set for July, will take place in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi…
* Russia says Syria rejects new constitution that would dilute presidential powers, Bloomberg News, May 21, 2018
Trump regime threatens socialist Venezuela with new sanctions following Nicholas Maduro’s successful re-election, report by RT, May 21, 2018
* Venezuela’s Maduro wins re-election with 67.7 per cent of vote, opposition candidate Falcon cries fraud, by Lucas Koerner, Venezuela Analysis, May 21, 2018
* Venezuela expels the two top U.S. diplomats for ‘conspiring’ against people and government, RT, May 22, 2018
* ‘Lima Group’ of anti-Venezuela countries in Latin America denounce President Nicholas Maduro, recall ambassadors, Deutsche Welle, May 21, 2018
* Canada downgrades its diplomatic presence in Venezuela as it pursues regime change alongside Trump’s U.S., report by Andy Blatchford, Canadian Press, May 21, 2018
* Labour Party gov’t in New Zealand sides with ‘Lima Group’ of countries seeking overthrow of Venezuela gov’t, press release by Foreign Minister Winston Peters, May 22, 2018
It’s time to help the children of Gaza, commentary by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, Toronto Star, May 22, 2018 … So, today, I am writing to Prime Minister Trudeau to ask him to keep his promise and, indeed, his word. He has the power to do that. Now, he must show the will to help Palestinian children in desperate need… (Izzeldin Abuelaish is Associate Professor of Global Health at the University of Toronto and author of I Shall Not Hate. Three of his daughters and a niece were killed by Israel during its 2009 war against Gaza. He is suing the Israel government.)
Maduro wins Venezuelan election branded ‘illegitimate and undemocratic’ by U.S., Canada, western Europe and opposition, RT, May 21, 2018
… With 92.6 per cent of the vote counted, Maduro has won presidential election with 5,823,728 of the votes, National Electoral Council chief Tibisay Lucena announced. His main adversary, Henri Falcon of the Progressive Advance party, obtained 1,820,552 votes while the independent candidate Javier Bertucci won 925,042 votes.
… Over eight million Venezuelans participated in the election, which witnessed a low 46.1 per cent participation rate after opposition parties called for a boycott of the election, declaring them a “fraud.”
* Nicolas Maduro wins Venezuelan presidential election, Telesur, May 20, 2018
* Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Nicholas Maduro’s election victory is a triumph over coup plotters, intervention, Telesur, May 21, 2018
Trump’s plan to win U.S.-China trade war hits a great wall, commentary by Nicholas Sargen, Market Watch, May 21, 2018
* Trump’s phony trade war, by Jack Rasmus, part one of a three-part series, published on his blog Predicting the global economic crisis, May 2, 2018 … There’s a dual track policy underway: One a phony trade war with U.S. allies; the other a potential (but not yet) trade war with China that may also, in the end, prove less than a bonafide ‘trade war’ as well.
* Part two: Is the China-US trade war for real?, by Jack Rasmus, published on his blog Predicting the Global Economic Crisis, May 8, 2018 If Trump’s trade policy toward U.S. allies is ‘phony’, by seeking only token adjustments to trade relations, then the U.S. trade offensive targeting China is for real
The props supporting Russiagate are coming apart, by Daniel Lazare, Consortium News, May 18, 2018 As months turn into nearly two years and no solid evidence emerges to nail Russia for nabbing Election 2016, some big Russia-gate cheerleaders are starting to cover their tracks
* How Russia-obsessed Democrats set the stage for Trump’s disastrous violation of the 2015 Iran agreement, by Michael Arria and Sarah Lazare, In These Times, May 9, 2018 Leading Democrats have bundled their push for a tough stance on Russia with escalation towards Iran. An anti-war front rooted in solidarity with the people of Iran, Russia and North Korea is nowhere to be found.
* ‘Common Dreams’ online publication pumps up ‘Russia election interference’conspiracy theory, report in Common Dreams, May 20, 2018 … The [New York Times] report marks the first indication that foreign entities other than Russia may have sought to influence the election, working closely with the Trump campaign. [Note the conspiracy language affirming the still-unproven claim that Russia sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.]
Sleeping next to royals: Windsor, England’s homeless struggle on amid Harry and Meghan wedding hysteria, RT, May 19, 2018 (with video news report)
51 million U.S. households can’t afford basics, news release by United Way’s ALICE Project, May 17, 2018 There are 50.8 million U.S. households that can’t afford a basic monthly budget including housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to new data released by the United Way ALICE Project (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). The report shows that the number of poor households in the U.S. is double the numbers of those under the official poverty line…
Ireland’s May 25 referendum on abortion: These five facts prove why you should vote to repeal the eighth ammendment, by Ailbhe Smyth Dublin, The Independent, May 19, 2018 … In 1983, the country amended its constitution to provide equal rights to the life of a woman and the unborn child, effectively banning abortion and prohibiting Irish politicians from legislating for change.
* Ireland sets May 25 date for historic abortion referendum, The Guardian, March 28, 2018
… Abortion has long been a divisive issue in the once stridently Catholic country. A complete ban was only lifted in 2013, when terminations were allowed in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.
Voters will be asked on May 25 if they want to repeal article 40.3.3 – known as the eighth amendment – which since 1983 has given unborn foetuses and pregnant women an equal right to life, in effect enshrining a ban on abortion in the country’s constitution. If Ireland votes in favour of repeal, the government has said it will introduce legislation permitting unrestricted abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Currently, terminations are only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk, and the maximum penalty for accessing an illegal abortion is 14 years in prison. The UN’s human rights committee has condemned the ban as “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.
* Trump moves to ban funding for family planning clinics offering abortion services, by Matt Kwong, CBC News, May 18, 2018 Until family planning clinics stop performing abortions or referring women to abortion providers, those health-care facilities won’t collect a penny from the U.S. government under a new proposal issued by the Trump administration on May 18…
* Iowa’s new six-week ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill is a blatant attempt to reverse Roe v. Wade, NBC News, May 5, 2018 Late on the evening of May 1, Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature passed an abortion bill that now has the dubious distinction of being the most restrictive — and intentionally unconstitutional — abortion law in America. Gov. Kim Reynolds officially signed the bill into law on May 4…
* Protesting outside abortion clinics in New South Wales may be outlawed within a 150-metre radius, by Angela Lavoipierre, ABC News, May 15, 2018 Abortion is still illegal in some Australian states
New Zealand budget 2018: A ‘triumph of neoliberalism’, by Guyon Espiner, ‘Morning Report’ presenter on Radio NZ, May 18, 2018
* New Zealand budget: A squandered opportunity to be transformational on poverty, by Alan Johnson, The Spinoff, May 18, 2018
* Budget 2018 – Fiscal restraint and state housing – ideological craziness exposed, by Mike Treen, The Daily Blog, May 19, 2018
* New Zealand budget: Ardern’s efforts too little, too late for poor families, commentary by Susan St John, The Guardian, May 18, 2018 (Susan St John is an associate professor in the economics department of the University of Auckland and a founding member of Child Poverty Action Group)
* Three reasons why the 2018 Budget is so depressing for the left, by Martyn Bradbury, The Daily Blog, May 19, 2018* NZ budget 2018: gains for health, housing and education in fiscally conservative budget, (authored by four professors at Massey University, see weblink for names), published in The Conversation, May 17, 2018
New reality for high school students: Calculating the risk of getting shot, New York Times, May 20, 2018
Just hours after a gunman killed 10 people at a Texas high school on May 18, two students 1,000 miles away worried about the safety of their usual seats in the school cafeteria.
… A 2016 report from the United States Government Accountability Office found that two-thirds of school districts conduct exercises to prepare for an active shooter.
Assad visits Putin in Sochi as Russia continues Iran-Israel mediation, by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor, May 18, 2018
… Arguably the most important outcome of the meeting is that Assad has finally embraced the need to form a committee tasked with drafting a Syrian constitution.
… Other items on Moscow’s to-do list to be implemented in parallel with the political process include enlisting international support for rebuilding Syria’s infrastructure and economy as well as addressing humanitarian issues, which Putin said are “long overdue and complicated.”
Related: Putin and Assad hold ‘extensive’ talks in Sochi, discuss political settlement, constitution, humanitarian situation, RT, May 19, 2018
UN Human Rights Council votes to launch war crimes investigation into Israel’s Gaza massacre of May 14, 2018, by Samuel Osborne, The Independent, May 18, 2018
* As UN approves war crimes probe, its human rights chief rips Israel’s ‘horrifying’ massacre of Palestinians, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 18, 2018
* Gaza border protests resume as UN calls for inquiry, Associated Press, May 18, 2018 … Since the demonstrations began March 30 [as part of the Right of Return movement spearheaded by Palestianian refugees], more than 110 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,500 wounded by live fire, according to the Health Ministry. Palestinian officials say most of the casualties have been unarmed protesters. One Israeli soldier has been wounded…
* Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, statement delivered to the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, May 18, 2018
Appalling recent events in Gaza have called this Council into Special Session. Since the protests began on 30 March, 2018, 87 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli security forces in the context of the demonstrations, including 12 children; 29 others, including three children, were killed in other circumstances. And over 12,000 people have been injured, more than 3,500 of them by live ammunition…
* Turkey and Israel: Barking, biting, but still doing business, by Cengiz Candar, Al-Monitor, May 18, 2018
Armenian-Turkish deputy of HDP party is targetted for criminal prosecution over comments on 1915 genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turkey, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, May 17, 2018
Nine HDP lawmakers, including the party’s presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas, are currently in jail facing a cocktail of terror charges together with hundreds of other party officials. But the accusations against HDP deputy Garo Paylan stand out… Prosecutors have largely steered clear of Article 301 (‘insulting the Turkish nation’)…
Iraq’s legislative election on May 12: A vote against sectarianism and corruption, by Sam Hamad, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (The New Arab), May 15, 2018 The election gains of Sairoun (‘On The Move’) electoral bloc of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq is proof that a significant popular base exists that is ready to accept radical change, regardless of who offers it.
Results of May 12, 2018 legislative election in Iraq, total of 329 seats, voter turnout 45 per cent (from Wikipedia):
Sairoon (Muqtada al-Sadr) 54 (up 20 seats)
Fatah Alliance (Hadi Al-Amiria) 47 (new party)
Al-Nasr Alliance (incumbent prime minister Haider al-Abadi) 42 (new party)
State of Law Coalition (former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki) 25 (down 67 seats)
* Iraqi election results leave Iran scrambling to preserve influence, by Ali Mamouri, Al-Monitor, May 17, 2018
* Shapeshifting Sadr will not bring change to Iraq, by Tallha Abdulrazaq, The New Arab, May 18, 2018 A major contributing factor to the all-time low turnout (45 per cent) is the fact that millions of Iraqis are still languishing in internally displaced persons camps or are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance…
* Elections will do nothing to address Iraq’s decay, by Tallha Abdulrazaq, The New Arab, May 11, 2018
The Russia temptation, opinion essay by Rich Lowry, Politico Magazine, May 16, 2018
An Iranian viewpoint on the battle for Syria, by Rick Sterling, Consortium News, May 17, 2018 A new feature from Iran gives a totally different perspective of the war raging in Syria compared to the narrative fed to Western audiences
Julian Assange’s asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy is ‘under threat’, interview with former Ecuardor foreign minister Guillaume Long, by host Gregory Wilpert, The Real News Network, May 17, 2018 (15-minute interview)
Related: Ecuador under Lenin Moreno: An interview with Andres Arauz, member of the economic team of former Ecuador president Rafael Correa, by Joe Emersberger, published in Counterpunch, May 15, 2018
Veteran of CIA torture programs is approved by U.S. Senate to head the agency, report by Associated Press, May 17, 2018
Related: Six Democratic senators vote with Republicans to confirm torturer Gina Haspel as CIA chief, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 17, 2018 … “The confirmation of Gina Haspel marks the completion of President Trump’s new war cabinet,” Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action’s senior director for policy and political affairs. “We now have a Bush-era neocon serving as national security adviser, an Islamophobic war hawk as Secretary of State, and a torturer as CIA director.”
Venezuela on the eve of presidential elections: The U.S. empire isn’t sitting by idly, by Roger Harris, CounterPunch, May 18, 2018 (Roger Harris is a member of the State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party in California. He will be an oberserver of the May 20 presidential elecotin in Venezuela as part of a delegation organized by Venezuela Analysis and the Intrepid News Fund.)
* A primer on the Venezuelan presidential election of May 20, 2018, by Alan Macleod, CounterPunch, May 18, 2018 (Alan MacLeod is a researcher and PhD graduate at the University of Glasgow. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting, was recently published by Routledge.)
* Writing off democracy in Venezuela, U.S. press and politicians dream of a coup, by Alan MacLeod, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), May 16, 2018
Trump brandishes a Libya-style regime-change threat against North Korea, report by Associated Press, May 17, 2018
Related: Clashing visions of denuclearization pose risk to U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, by Gregory Elick, published on Zoom In Korea, May 17, 2018
Secrecy surrounds Canadian arms sales to right-wing Ukraine after federal government approved them six months ago, report by Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press, May 17, 2018
UN human rights body to hold special session on Israel gun violence on May 14 that killed 62 Palestinians in Gaza and wounded hundreds more, report by The Guardian and news agencies, May 16, 2018
The United Nations’ Human Rights Council will hold a special session on May 18 to discuss “the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories” after the killing of 62 Palestinians by Israeli troops at mass border protests on May 14.
The meeting comes as the office of the prosecutor of the world’s permanent war crimes court on Wednesday expressed “grave concern” about escalating violence in Gaza, and said alleged crimes could be investigated…
Related: ‘There is no opposition in Israel’ says Israeli journalist Gideon Levy as Netanyahu massacres, interview with Gideon Levy on The Real News Network, with host Ben Norton, May 16, 2018 (11 minute interview)
[In the interview with Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, Real News Network host Ben Norton said, “Russia has not spoken out vociferously against the massacres of Palestinians in Israel.” For the record, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova made the following statement on May 16, 2018:
“Moscow is extremely concerned over this dangerous escalation. We express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the Palestinians who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. We reaffirm the right of the Palestinians to peaceful protest and condemn the use of armed force against civilians. We urge all parties to show restraint and avoid taking steps that will heighten tensions.”
[Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists in Moscow on May 16:
“We are deeply alarmed by the situation in the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, which is essentially under siege. People have problems with bare necessities there, including food and humanitarian products. Like in most other situations in the Middle East, there are extremists there who reject the path of agreements, including between Hamas and Fatah, refuse to restore Palestinian unity and also seek to radicalise the situation. We do not accept the situation when these extremists involve civilians in protests that are fraught with clashes and civilian casualties, and we will speak up against this.
“On the other hand, I cannot accept the claim that the dozens of civilians killed during these clashes, including children, are terrorists. This offensive statement was designed to stop an honest and serious discussion on the essence of the problems, which are tearing the Middle East apart and are preventing the implementation of the UN General Assembly decisions on the creation of a Palestinian state. This state can only be created through a direct dialogue, including on the status of Jerusalem. This is not a matter for unilateral decisions. It must be discussed, and agreements must be negotiated through a direct dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership.
“We are ready to provide all-round assistance to this dialogue. However, we must remember that the Palestinian problem, which remained unresolved for decades, is one of the most serious factors creating conditions for the recruitment of young people by extremist groups.”
[Russia has opposed the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. It did not attend the ceremonial opening conducted on May 14 as 62 Palestinians were being massacred by Israeli soldiers.]
Canadian prime minister offers cheap sympathy for victims of Israel’s massacre of Palestinians, report by CBC News, May 15, 2018
[Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Israel used “excessive force” in Gaza on May 14 when it killed 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters with gunfire and injured hundreds more. The action was “inexcusable” and Trudeau wants an investigation. But the gesture is cheap grandstanding. Trudeau is only moved to his statement because of the publicity surrounding one of those injured by Israeli sniper fire–Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani. Past ‘investigations’ of Israeli brutality have changed nothing for the Palestinian people living in Gaza, the world’s largest, open-air prison. Real gestures would be the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Canada and defiance of Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza in the form of aid to improve the desperate conditions of the people living in Gaza, for example, the provision of potable water. But Canada is a close ally of Israel and its most important ally and partner in crime, the United States. All parties in the Canadian Parliament are staunch supporters of Israel no matter how grave the crimes it commits.
[You can view or read the transcript of an interview with Dr. Tarek Loubani broadcast on Democracy Now! on May 17 (22-minute interview, begins at 13-minute mark). He argues that an investigation of Israel’s killings should be welcomed but will not improve the human and social disaster caused by Israel in Gaza. What is needed is material and humanitarian aid, if necessary in defiance of Israel’s blockade of Gaza.]
Palestinians engaged in non-violent protest, Israel responded with a massacre, by Sharif Abdel Kouddous, The Nation, May 17, 2018 (Sharif Abdel Kouddous is an independent journalist based in Cairo. He is a Democracy Now! correspondent and a fellow at The Nation Institute.)
Related: Meet Tarek Loubani, the Canadian doctor shot by Israeli forces on May 14 while treating Gaza’s wounded, interview with Dr. Tarek Loubani, in Gaza, on Democracy Now!, May 17, 2018 (22-minute interview, begins at the 13-minute mark) Dr. Tarek Loubani was one of 19 medical personnel short by Israeli snipers on May 14, 2018.
As Western media resumes its vilification of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for supposedly sabotaging nuclear talks, Japanese daily reveals U.S. is demanding unilateral disarmament, report on RT, May 17, 2018
* U.S. and North Korea jostle over dismantling of nuclear weapons, by Yoshihiro Makino, Asahi Shimbun (Japan), May 17, 2018
* North Korea threatens to cancel Trump-Kim summit over U.S. push for ‘unilateral’ denuclearization, by Jesse Johnson, staff writer, Japan Times, May 16, 2018
* Peace on the Korean Peninsula hits roadblock, news analysis by Lee Je-hun, senior staff writer, The Hankyoreh (South Korea), May.17, 2018
Is Imperialism still imperialist? A response to Patrick Bond, by Walter Daum, published by Review of African Political Economy, May 16, 2018 (Walter Daum is the author of The Life and Death of Stalinism: a Resurrection of Marxist Theory (1990) and articles on Marxist economic analysis. He taught mathematics at the City College of New York for 35 years.) [Daum’s essay reviews recent debate between John Smith and David Harvey on the nature of modern imperialism. He expresses agreement with the theory of ‘sub-imperialisms’ by South African sociologist Patrick Bond. Like Bond, he uses the phrase, “Russia, for one, stands out as a full-fledged imperialist power in its own right” but without supplying the slightest evidence. Indeed, Daum goes on to write, “even though [Russia’s] economy cannot match those of the major Western powers.” Alas, such is the intellectual rigour employed by the ‘Russia is imperialist’ ideologues.
Ukrainian court jails chief of ‘RIA Novosti Ukraine’ news agency while he awaits trial for ‘treason’, RT, May 17, 2018
Get ready for the New Middle East battlefield: The Golan Heights, by Sharmine Narwani, The American Conservative, May 16, 2018 Last week’s exchange of missiles on the Syrian-Israeli border forebodes the greatest danger of Mideast war in seven years
Related: The rebuilding of Syria, eyewitness report by Jeff Klein, Consortium News, May 16, 2018
The unrecognized U.S. contribution to bloodshed in Syria, by As’ad AbuKhalil, Consortium News, May 15, 2018 (This is part two of the essay. Part one was published on April 29, 2018 and can be read here. As’ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus.)
Bashar Al-Asad did not intend to declare enmity with the U.S. when he took over the presidency of Syria from his father in 2000. On the contrary, he was keen on impressing Western leaders and governments. He incorporated many of the Western-promoted economic “reforms” (a code word for neo-liberal policies which dismantle state social programs, end subsidies to the poor and initiate privatization plans which benefit MNCs).
Bashar also continued a previous regime policy of security-intelligence cooperation with the U.S. … He was keen on pleasing Western powers perhaps in the hopes of obtaining Western investment and political pressure on Israel over the occupied Golan Heights.
… The U.S. plot against Syria, however, doesn’t imply that the hundreds of thousands of Syrian protesters who took to the streets in 2011 were agents of foreign powers. Far from it: there were real and legitimate reasons for the Syrian people to protest against the regime and to demand real change. The republican Baa’thist coup of 1970 developed in time into a full-blown family dynasty. The corruption of the regime was pervasive, while the early, (theoretical) ideological championing of the working classes had been long forgotten. And the regime did not relax the hold of the intelligence apparatus. The slight political freedoms promised by Bashar were soon discarded. But long before Syrians protested, the U.S. government had been planning regime change…
North Korea cancels talks with South, threatens to call off U.S. talks over U.S./South Korea military drills, RT, May 15, 2018
Rising world inequality, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in the UK), published on his website, May 15, 2018
West’s failure to act will be cause of the next Gaza massacre, by Jonathan Cook, published in The National (UAE), May 15, 2018
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) issues manifesto for June 24 presidential election in Turkey, ANF News, May 15, 2018
* Turkey’s HDP pledges to annul terror law, abandon presidential palace, Rudaw, May 15, 2018
* U.S. pullout from Iran deal rattles Turkey’s Syria agenda, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, May 15, 2018
Burlington, Vermont says ‘no’ to F-35s, setting off a chain reaction, by James Marc Leas, Truthout.org, May 15, 2018
* South Burlington Council votes in opposition to F-35 basing, Associated Press, April 19, 2018
* Burlington, Vermont mayor says after review, he strongly supports F-35 basing, Associated Press, April 11, 2018
* Burlington City Council requests Air Force cancel F-35 basing and send quieter plane, by Liam Elder-Connors, Vermont Public Radio, March 27, 2018
* Burlington, Vermont voters approve anti-F-35 ballot initiative, by Mark Davis, Seven Days, March 6, 2018 Burlington voters approved a ballot initiative on March 6 meant to prevent the basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport. The advisory vote, which passed 6,482 to 5,237 in a preliminary tally, asks the Burlington City Council to request that federal officials cancel the basing decision…
* Democrats and Progressives push U.S. war machine in Vermont, by William Boardman, Reader Supported News, Feb 1, 2018
Israel’s horrific massacre of Palestinian protesters in Gaza on May 14, 2018, news and analysis compiled on A Socialist In Canada, May 15 (Nakba Day), 2018
New and terrible massacre by Israel kills 43, injures 1,900 protesters in Gaza as U.S. embassy opens in Jerusalem, RT, May 14, 2018 [Western media is reporting with a ‘ho hum’ Israel’s ongoing massacres of unarmed Palestinian protesters, relfecting the stands of the governments it serves. Where is the outrage in its pages and broadcasts? There is none.]
* U.S. opens embassy in Jerusalem on ‘great day’ as Palestinian protesters are killed and injured, RT, May 14, 2018
* Western leaders betrayed Palestinians 70 years ago. There is no sign that is about to change, by Jonathan Cook, published in The National (UAE), May 13, 2018
On May 15, Palestinians will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe–their mass expulsion and dispossession 70 years ago as the new state of Israel was built on the ruins of their homeland. As a result of the Nakba, most Palestinians were turned into refugees, refused by Israel the right to return to their homes. Israel is braced nervously for many tens of thousands to turn out in the occupied territories this week to protest against decades of its refusal to make amends or end its oppressive rule…
Israel’s violence against the non-violence of Palestinians in Gaza, interview with author Norman Finklestein, on The Real News Network, with host Aaron Maté, part one, May 11, 2018 , 14 minutes. The interview is in three parts; part two is here, May 14, 2018, 15 minutes. (Norman Finklestein’s new, just-published book is Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom.)
How Russia-obsessed Democrats set the stage for Trump’s disastrous violation of the 2015 Iran agreement, by Michael Arria and Sarah Lazare, In These Times, May 9, 2018 Leading Democrats have bundled their push for a tough stance on Russia with escalation towards Iran. An anti-war front rooted in solidarity with the people of Iran, Russia and North Korea is nowhere to be found.
As U.S. demands nuclear disarmament, it moves to expand its own arsenal, by David Sanger and William Broad, New York Times, May 13, 2018
Australian socialists play the ‘blame Russia’ card in Syria while ignoring U.S. and NATO betrayals and crimes, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, May 12, 2018
Oliver North worked with cocaine traffickers to arm terrorists. Now he’ll be president of the NRA, by Jon Schwarz, The Intercept, May 12, 2018
* Film ‘Kill the Messenger’ sheds light on dark time for late Sacramento reporter Gary Webb, film review and essay by Carla Meyer, Sacramento Bee, Oct 6, 2014
* The 2014 film Kill the Messenger, Wikipedia
To pay for a ‘Russia first’ agenda, Vladimir Putin takes ax to military spending, by Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor, May 8, 2018
… In the first strategic program of his new and possibly final presidential term, Vladimir Putin announced plans for a relentless focus on domestic development, to be partially paid for by sharp cuts in defense spending. Recent opinion polls suggest that Mr. Putin’s priority shift coincides with a war weariness on the part of Russians. A survey last month found that at least half of Russians appreciate their country’s return to great power status, but 45 percent fault Putin for “failing to ensure an equitable distribution of income in the interests of ordinary people” …
Two decades of war have eroded the morale of America’s troops, by Phil Klay, The Atlantic (monthly magazine), issue of May 2018 (Phil Klay is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the author of the National Book Award–winning short-story collection Redeployment.) After nearly 17 years of war, service members have seen plenty of patriotic displays but little public debate about why they’re fighting.
The team probing Syrian war and Skripal poisoning case reveal all, RT, May 11, 2018 The founders of the UK-based ‘Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media’ explain their research work.
Unidentified attackers burn down Roma settlement in suburb of Lvov, Ukraine, article in Essence of Time, May 11, 2018
Four years since the Odessa tragedy of May 2, 2014, article in Essence of Time, May 5, 2018
Ukrainian agents threaten Russian diplomat inside UN headquarters, RT, May 12, 2018
[The threatening conduct of Ukrainian agents within the headquarters of the United Nations on May 9 mirrors life in today’s ‘Maidan’ Ukraine where right-wing extremists threaten or violently shut down most if not all expressions of political dissent. The Western world, including on the political left, shows little or no concern about the troubling ascendance of the extreme right in Ukraine.]
More Israelis are moving to the U.S., and staying for good, by Yardena Schwartz, Newsweek, May 10, 2018 Spurred by the high cost of living, low salaries, and political and demographic trends, Israelis are leaving the country in droves, trying to build their lives elsewhere, mostly in the United States.
Letter from ten Canadian antiwar organizations on Iran Nuclear Agreement, published on the website of the Iranian Canadian Congress, May 11, 2018 ‘We, the undersigned NGOs, are writing to convey our concerns regarding the Trump Administration’s irresponsible decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran Nuclear Deal. We believe that Canada must defend the Iran Nuclear Deal as an important victory for international diplomacy, peace and non-proliferation…
[The Iranian Canadian Congress is Canada’s largest organization of Iranian Canadians. Recent statements by the organization oppose Canada’s economic sanctions on Iran and call on Trudeau to restore diplomatic relations with Iran.
[The Iran Nuclear Deal (‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ – JCPOA) was signed in 2015 after 20 months of intensive negotiations by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council–Britain, China, France, Russia, and the U.S.—and the European Union, Germany, and Iran. It imposed on Iran severe cutbacks in its nuclear energy program in return for a promise that sanctions against Iran would be eased. The imperialist powers claimed that Iran had a nuclear weapons program which the agreement would stop, but there was and is no evidence of such a program.
[The Trump regime in Washington has recently abrogated the JCPOA agreement. It aims to force its imperialist allies to follow its lead and re-impose ruinous sanctions on Iran. Top U.S. government officials are talking of “regime change” and beating the drums for war.
[A similar appeal by 200 noted scholars and intellectuals issued on May 14 and upholding the 2015 JCPOA calls on the European Union “to save the Iran Nuclear Deal”. For the full text, see Open Letter to Federica Mogherini.
[At a talk in Vancouver BC delivered by ecosocialist theoretician John Bellamy Foster on April 26, an audience member hostile to the Iranian government commented on the current situation in the country. She lamented there are too few international protests against the Iranian government calling for its overthrow, citing the burst of small civil protests that occurred in Iran in late 2016. She asked Foster for his views on the matter.
[Foster’s response revealed three failings. One, he failed to challenge the questioner’s underlying premise that a violent overthrow of the Iranian government in the current context would be a good thing. Two, he stated that people in the West “need to struggle against imperialism and also against sub-imperialism”. The latter referred to Iran and was a riff on the theory of ‘sub-imperialisms’ advanced by South African political theorist Patrick Bond. The theory blurs the all-important line between countries which are imperialist and those such as
Russia and China which are not. The theory is quixotic–something akin to saying a pregnant woman is only ‘partly pregnant’–and it also opens the door to the idea that a violent overthrow of the ‘sub-imperialist’ Iranian government might well be a good thing. Three, Foster did not explain the basic precept that the task of fighting anti-worker policies in Iran belongs to the Iranian people, not foreign interventionists, and what’s more, the Iranian people have proven themselves more than up to the task of forging their own, sovereign political future.]
New Ebola outbreak in one of Africa’s largest countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, VOX News, May 11, 2018 30,000 people were infected and 11,000 died during the Ebola outbrdeak in 2014-15 in West Africa
* WHO to announce end of Ebola in Liberia, thanks to Cuba, Telesur, June 9, 2016
* The Cuban response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa: Lessons in Solidarity, research paper by Enrique Beldarraín Chaple and Mary Anne Mercer (University of Washington state), published in International Journal of Health Services, Dec 11, 2016
Interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, broadcast on the website of Kathimerini daily newspaper in Greece, with executive editor Alexis Papachelas, May 10, 2018 (ten minute interview in English)
The quiet Americans behind the U.S.-Russia imbroglio, by Keith Gessen, New York Times Magazine, May 8, 2018 [This is a meandering essay amounting to a description of various foreign policy actors in the United States who harbour quiet doubts about the aggressive pace of the new cold war by the U.S. and NATO against Russia. Keith Gessen is a journalism professor at Columbia University and is the brother of the anti-Russia writer and author Masha Gessen. Professor Paul Robinson of the University of Ottawa recommends the essay highly on his website blog.]
Related: Accusations of Russian disinformation are snowballing, by James Carden, The Nation, May 9, 2018
Trends in world military expenditure, report published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, May 2018 (eight page report, here as pdf) [The top 15 military spending countries in 2017 are, in order: United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, France, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, Italy, Australia, Canada, Turkey.]
No way to account for billions of dollars of aid funding sent to Afghanistan, warns audit, by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, April 25, 2018
The latest report (April 2018) from the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) outlines more problems with accountability for the billions of dollars being spent in that country. SIGAR released its audit of the World Bank-administered Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), one of the largest sources of funding to Afghan government operations outside the security sector. (Report here, 55-page pdf.)
Vladimir Putin scores 5 goals in exhibition hockey game, Associated Press, May 10, 2018
Threat of larger war soars as Israel claims credit for massive attack on ‘Iranian targets’ in Syria, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 10, 2018
Dramatically escalating the risk of an all-out regional war in the aftermath of U.S. President Donald Trump’s violation of the Iran nuclear accord, Israel launched an “extensive” bombing campaign against what it claimed were Iranian targets in Syria early Thursday and warned the Syrian government that it will face “dire consequences” if it dares to respond…
* 28 Israeli jets fired about 60 rockets in overnight strikes on Syria, reports Russian Ministry of Defense, RT, May 10, 2018
… Some 28 Israeli aircraft fired around 60 air-to-surface rockets in a massive overnight strike in Syria, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Syrian air-defense systems managed to intercept more than half of the missiles.
A total of 70 projectiles, including 60 air-to-surface rockets and more than 10 surface-to-surface missiles, hit Iranian military targets and Syrian air-defense systems near Damascus and in the south of the country on Thursday morning, the Russian military said in a statement…
* Western media provides ‘alternative narrative’ to describe Israel’s overnight, May 9/10 missile attack against Syria [Western media reporting claims that Israel’s missile attacks against Syria during the overnight of May 9/10, 2018 were provoked by Iran firing missiles against Syrian territory occupied by Israel (the Golan Heights). Typical is this Associated Press report published in Canada’s two leading dailies, the Tornto Star and Globe and Mail: “Iranian forces based in Syria fired 20 rockets at Israeli front-line military positions in the Golan Heights early Thursday, the Israeli military said, triggering a heavy Israeli reprisal and escalating already heightened tensions in what appeared to be the most serious violence in years.”
[The New York Times begins its May 9 news report with: “Israeli fighter jets struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria overnight, Israeli officials said, following soon after what the Israeli military described as an unsuccessful Iranian rocket attack against its forces in the Golan Heights.” The Guardian played a similar tune, beginning its May 9 news report with “Israel has claimed it hit nearly all key Iranian military targets in Syria during airstrikes launched in response to a rocket attack on its troops in the occupied Golan Heights it blamed on Iran.” Australia’s News.com.au made no pretense of objectivity in printing an Agence France presse report making Israel’s narrative the only official story. Its lead sentence reads: “Israel hit some 50 military targets in Syria after Iranian rockets fired towards its forces sparked a sharp escalation between the long-term enemies.”
[All this closely resembles the ‘Russia invaded Crimea and Ukraine’ argument used during the past four years by Western media to justify its support to extreme-right paramilitaries in Ukraine and the right-wing government brought to power by the ‘Maidan coup’ in Kyiv in February 2014. Hiding the actual facts on the ground while banging out alternative narratives is a key part of the media effort, be it in Syria or in right-wing Ukraine.]
Turkey’s June 24 presidential election: Interview with Kurdish politician and former peace negotiator Zubeyir Aydar, interview by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, May 9, 2018
Related: Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem Ince visits jailed leader and presidential candidate of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, report in ANF News, May 10, 2018
The West doth protest too much (about Russian protests), by Neil Clark, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, May 9, 2018
Russian natural gas sales to EU hit record high despite the Skripals, election meddling and all that jazz, RT, May 10, 2018
‘This is how the Iran war started’: Grave warnings as Trump ditches nuclear deal, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 8, 2018
* Right after Trump decision on 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Israel launches airstrikes in Syria, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 8, 2018
* Reports say Israeli missile strikes kill 15 in Syria, Middle East Eye, May 9, 2018
* Iran press, people react after Trump pulls U.S. out of nuclear deal, Press TV, May 9, 2018
* U.S. weapons manufacturers’ stock price soars as Trump pulls out of Iran deal, RT, May 9, 2018
* U.S. Treasury says full sanctions against Iran will be re-imposed, including against Boeing and Airbus deals announced in Dec 2016, Press TV, May 9, 2018 U.S. National Security Advisor and war ideologue John Bolton warns European companies they will face immediate sanctions for new deals with Iran and have at most six months to wind down already existing agreements
* U.S. weapons manufacturers’ stock price soars as Trump pulls out of Iran deal, RT, May 9, 2018
Four martyred, 24 injured due to terrorist rocket attacks in Damascus on May 9, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), May 9, 2018
Related: New round of talks on Syria to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 14-15, TASS Russian news agency, May 9, 2018 Along with the guarantor countries of Iran, Russia and Turkey, delegations of the Syrian government and opposition groups have been invited to the Astana talks along with a United Nations delegation and observers from the United States and Jordan.
Ukraine launches army-led joint forces operation in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, Xinhua news service, May 2, 2018
Ukraine has launched a joint forces operation (JFO) controlled by the army in the conflict-hit Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the country’s Defense Ministry said on May 1 in a statement. The new regime will replace the four-year-long “anti-terror” operation, which was ruled by the State Security Service of Ukraine.
The JFO covers both – the government-controlled and the non-government-controlled territories of eastern Ukraine…
* U.S. confirms delivery of Javelin antitank missiles to Ukraine, report on Radio Free Europe, April 30, 2018 … A $47 million U.S. military-aid package approved last year and confirmed in March 2018 specified 210 Javelin antitank missiles and 37 Javelin launchers, two of them spares, for Kyiv.
[Following the State Department approval in December 2018 of the sale of Javelin missiles to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, “The United States is, in fact, encouraging the resumption of large-scale bloodshed in Donbass, where the situation is already on the edge due to continuing shelling from the Kiev-controlled side…Washington, in fact, becomes an accomplice in the killing of people.”] * Canadian arms manufacturer hopes to sell assault rifles to Ukraine as country looks to upgrade weaponry, by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Feb 14, 2018 In December, the Liberal government made changes to Canada’s arms export rules to allow the sale of machine-guns and other small arms to Ukraine
* Donetsk People’s Republic sets course for strengthening independence and convergence with Russia, Donetsk News Agency, May 7, 2018 T
he ‘Donetsk Republic’ social movement has endorsed a draft development project titled ‘Donbass Power’ which is to become the basis for the Republic’s forthcoming leadership election campaign. The document was recently approved at the social movement meeting in the Donetsk Musical and Drama Theatre, where 520 delegates were present including the DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko. Overall, 400 thousand people have participated in discussions of the program in the course of nearly 5,000 meetings, bringing forward about 4,000 propositions…
* People’s Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic (official English language website)
Russia displays advanced weapons in Victory Day parades, Press TV, May 9, 2018 Russia has celebrated its Victory Day [May 9] with massive military parades across the country, showcasing some of its most advanced weapons, including hypersonic missile, Arctic-rated anti-aircraft systems and a new strike drone. The parades on May 9 commemorated the 73rd anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II…
Homeownership is dead, the future lies in public housing, by Tanner Howard, In These Times, May 3, 2018
Capitalism is unfolding exactly as Karl Marx predicted, by Olivia Goldhill, published in Quartz, May 5, 2018
[The author sums up the experience of the early Soviet Union with this unfortunate sentence: “However, the politics that developed in the Soviet Union were ‘not part of Marx’s vision of a social structure but developments of Leninism and the Russian revolution’, says Professor Nick Nesbitt of Princeton University.”
[In this interpretation, the foreign military intervention that ran from 1918 to 1921, killed millions and caused famine is made to ‘disappear’. Similarly ‘disappeared’ is the foreign economic embargo that continued even after the foreign-backed uprising of Russia’s economic and military elite ended in 1921.
[The early Soviet Union operated as a survival economy, waiting and hoping for similar socialist revolution to occur in western Europe. But that didn’t happen; the country and the revolution remained starved and isolated by the poverty and backwardness inherited from the capitalist and imperialist regime of the Russian Tsars (monarchy) in November 1917. These were hardly the conditions for a socialist democracy to survive and flourish. The foreign intervention proved more damaging and destructive than even the harshest survival economy could withstand. THIS is the main reason why authoritarian socialism came to prevail in the Soviet Union. The government led by V.I. Lenin did everything in its power to avoid being so harshly trapped.]
State broadcaster in Germany reports that the April 7 ‘chemical weapons attack’ in Douma, Syria was ‘probably staged’ by the right-wing forces seeking the violent overthrow of the Syria gov’t, report on The Skwawkbox (UK), April 23, 2018
ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) is the licence-funded, state-broadcaster German equivalent to Britain’s BBC2 – not a TV station you’d easily imagine is given to flights of fancy or groundless speculation. Last Friday, April 20, the station’s ‘ZDF Heute’ (ZDF Today) programme broadcast an interview with its correspondent Uli Gack, who is on the ground in Syria. His frank, explosive report – which describes rebels stockpiling chlorine containers and even conducting and filming practice runs – gave a glimpse of what might be broadcast by the BBC had our national broadcaster not spent six or seven decades vetting out all but Establishment-friendly figures from positions of influence…
The family-party-state nexus in Nicaragua, by Trevor Evans, published in The Bullet, May 9, 2018 [The author provides a review of Nicaragua’s economic performance during the past 30 years. He shows little sympathy or understanding of Nicaragua’s status as a country ravaged for many decades by the imperialist world order.] Related: * Nicaragua regains its balance after social reform protests, by Nicaraguan writer ‘Tortilla con sal’, published on Telesur, April 28, 2018
Borderland: Greece and the EU’s southern question, essay by Stathis Kouvelakis, in New Left Review #110, March-April 2018
… Greece stands at the intersection of at least three regions of broader significance: the Balkans, Southern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean… Exploding after decades of seemingly successful European integration, the recent double ‘crisis’ of which it has been the epicentre—the debt crisis and the migrant crisis—confirmed its identity as Europe’s ‘Other within’. Both marginal and central, its singularity thus revealed the cracks multiplying through the European edifice, as well as the latter’s role in the increasing instability and disruption affecting the broader region…
[In his article conclusion, writer Stathis Kouvelakis makes an ill-defined critique of the European left. He writes, “The Greek case discloses the impotence and the illusions of the ‘radical’ European left. It is because of [the left’s] inability to understand the powerful mechanisms at work in this polarized, hierarchized space, abstracted from any possibility of democratic control, that left-wing attempts, however partial, to break with this regime [the EU ‘Troika’] have been doomed to failure. This incomprehension is not the result of simple intellectual oversight. It is at bottom political, arising from the refusal of real confrontation with the dominant forces, which in turn derives from the left’s internalization of its historic defeat…”
[But Kouvelakis and New Left Review betray their own “inability to understand the powerful mechanisms at work” in today’s Europe because entirely missing from his analysis and from anything else published in NLR is any mention of the New Cold War against Russia in which the large countries of Europe are fully invested.]
Russia calls for EU nations not to become accomplices in Ukrainian war crimes, RT, May 4, 2018
* Shellings by Kiev forcese during Easter truce leaves 5 Donetsk civilians dead, 25 injured, Donetsk News Agency, May 4, 2018
* Ukrainian forces violate ceasefire 165 times over past week, reports Donetsk Peoples Republic military command, Donetsk News Agency, May 4, 2018
* Ninety five per cent of captives freed from Ukrainnian detention since Feb 2015 Minsk agreement have suffered torture, Donetsk News Agency, May 4, 2018
* Russian diplomats blast U.S. for its silence over May 2014 massacre in Odessa, Ukraine and stalled probe since then, RT, May 3, 2018
* Elderly couple’s home in Donetsk struck by Ukrainian shelling, eight-minute video by independent journalist Patrick Lawrence, broadcast on his YouTube channel, May 4, 2018
Freedom no more in new cold war-driven Britain, by Craig Murray, published on his website, May 4, 2018
RT buys into latest U.S.-Turkey theatre saying the two NATO members are having a ‘deepening rift’, report on RT, May 5, 2018 [Turkey and the United States are conducting a two-front partition of Syria as the U.S. manipulates Kurdish forces, but RT would have us believe the two NATO allies are at odds.]
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) announces ‘hostage’ Selhattin Demirtas as presidential candidate in snap June 24 presidential election in Turkey, published in Rudaw, May 4, 2018
Related: Release Demirtaş during presidential election campaign, says HDP, Turkish Minute, May 4, 2018
America’s collusion with neo-Nazis, summary of interview by Stephen F. Cohen on The John Batchelor Show, published in The Nation, May 2, 2018 [Audio of May 1, 2018 broadcast is available at the weblink above in two parts, 40 minutes total. Or, part one here, part two here.)
… Few realities of the New Cold War are more important than the role played by neo-fascist forces in U.S.-backed, Kiev-governed Ukraine since 2014. Not even many Americans who follow international news know the following examples…
[John Batchelor and Stephen Cohen discuss the ‘official’ policy in today’s Ukraine which glorifies WW2-era Nazism in Ukraine and its collaboration with the German Nazi-led Holocaust. Cohen analyzes the widespread refusal of mainstream Western media to inform its consumers of the existence and extensive influence of the extreme-right in the government and armed forces of Ukraine. A recent example in the ‘respectable’ iPolitics online publication in Canada compares today’s Russia led by President Vladimir Putin to 1936 Nazi Germany! Cohen cites the silence of Western media concerning the revelations showing conclusively that the ‘sniper massacre’ on Maidan Square in Kyiv on February 21, 2014 was NOT perpetrated by the police of the government then led by President Viktor Yanukovych but, rather, by the neo-Nazi paramilitaries who led the violent overthrow of Yanukovych that same month. Researcher Ivan Katchanovski at the University of Ottawa has pioneered research into the sniper shootings, but his findings are totally shunned by Western media because they counter the established dogma that ‘Russia’ is to blame for all the social, economic and political ills in Ukraine.
[Cohen stops short of informing listeners that large sections of the political left in the West are equally culpable. Amidst his very informative interview, he makes a bizarre and outrageous comparison between the triumph of the party and government led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in the Russia Revolution of 1917 and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler 15 years later. ]
* 57 members of U.S. House of Representatives condemn Holocaust distortion in Ukraine and Poland, statement by 57 members of U.S. House of Representatives dated April 23, 2018, published on Defending History, April 25, 2018
* The foreign neo-Nazi fighters in Ukraine who Australia’s laws won’t stop, by ABC Investigations, May 2, 2018
… Australian Ethen Tilling and former Royal Australian Air Force airman Jared Bennet joined a patchwork of pro-Ukrainian militia groups taking on the Russian-backed separatists in a chaotic and stuttering conflict, which has become to right-wing extremists what the war in Syria is to jihadists.
… Unlike Australians who break strict foreign fighter laws by joining Islamic State or the Kurds who oppose them, neither Mr Tilling nor Mr Bennet, from Melbourne, have broken any Australian law by taking up arms in Ukraine.
The latest act in Israel’s Iran nuclear disinformation campaign, by Gareth Porter, special to Consortium News, May 3, 2018 Benjamin Netanyahu’s stage performance about Iran seeking a nuclear weapon not only was based on old material but evidence shows it was fabricated too, reports Gareth Porter. [See also the related items below dated May 1, 2018.]
… There’s a dual track policy underway: One a phony trade war with U.S. allies; the other a potential (but not yet) trade war with China that may also, in the end, prove less than a bonafide ‘trade war’ as well.
Part two: Is the China-US trade war for real?, by Jack Rasmus, published on his blog Predicting the Global Economic Crisis, May 8, 2018 If Trump’s trade policy toward US allies is ‘phony’, by seeking only token adjustments to trade relations, then the US trade offensive targeting China is for real
War propaganda firm Bellingcat continues lying about Syria, by Caitlin Johnstone, ‘rogue journalist’, published on her website, April 30, 2018
… So what is this brilliant, damning evidence Higgins compiled [the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria on April 7, 2018] which is sure to have “Putin-Assad apologists” all over the world cursing the sky with raised fists and slithering back under the rocks from whence they came? Well, there’s not actually much there…
Also by Caitlin Johnstone:
‘Russian talking points’ look an awful lot like well-documented facts, by Caitlin Johnstone, published in Consortium News, May 2, 2018 Taking positions critical of U.S. foreign policy long predates the existence of RT. But to protect themselves from legitimate criticism, Western elites brand you a Moscow mouthpiece.
Breaking news in The Guardian (not): UK government (along with its top NATO allies) intends to continue its anti-Russia drive, report by Patrick Wintour, ‘diplomatic editor’, The Guardian, May 3, 2018
Related: The house of mirrors of The Guardian and its Russia correspondent Luke Harding, report by Luke Harding in The Guardian, May 3, 2018 [The Guardian‘s Luke Harding draws on Twitter comments and anti-Russia ideologues to create his claim that the British public is reacting positively to the British government’s anti-Russia drive. Then he lets slip this revelation (including a swipe at Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for failing to snap to attention to the shrill cries of new cold war warriors): “Still, the Kremlin’s protestations have had some impact on UK politics. In the House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn appeared reluctant to blame Russia. Boris Johnson then claimed the government science facility at Porton Down had identified Russia as the source of the novichok poison. But it had not: the UK’s case was based on intelligence and analysis of previous Kremlin assassinations, including the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko…” Oops, so it turns out the British government’s foreign minister is a liar. This is the government and foreign minister that The Guardian would have us rush alongside into war against its declared enemies.
Russia cuts oil exports to Europe and ramps up trade with China, RT, May 3, 2018
Russia cuts military spending for first time over past 19 years, TASS, May 2, 2018
… According to an annual report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), “Russia’s military spending fell by 20 per cent to $66.3 billion, making it the fourth largest spender.”
… The United States remained a global leader in military spending ($610 bln), which accounted for more than a third of the world total in 2017. The US spending was 2.7 times greater than the next highest spender, China.
Related: Global military spending remains high at $1.7 trillion, annual report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, May 2, 2018
Jailed HDP leader Demirtas: HDP and the left can defeat the AKP, ANF News, May 2, 2018 These elections, writes Demirtas, could determine the future of politics in Turkey.
* HDP calls on workers to unite to oust ruling party, Rudaw, May 1, 2018
* CHP and HDP to announce presidential candidates on May 4, Turkish Minute, May 1, 2018
* Prosecutor seeks five year sentence for HDP deputies Demirtas, Önder, Turkish Minute, May 1, 2018
* Turks mark May Day far from traditional rallying site as gov’t bans rallies on Taksim Square, by Ayla Jean Yackley, Al-Monitor, May 1, 2018
* Armenian church in Istanbul trashed by nationalists, Turkish Minute, April 30, 2018
U.S.-led ‘anti-ISIS’ coalition affirms its support and confidence in Kurdish-led SDF, report on ANF News, May 2, 2018
Related: More US, French Troops Deployed to Syria’s Manbij: report in Sputnik International, May 2, 2018
South Korean president says U.S. troops to remain in South Korea even if peace treaty signed with North, RT, May 2, 2018
* Seoul: U.S. forces to stay regardless of potential peace treaty with North, Press TV, May 2, 2018
* Nearly 80 per cent of South Koreans say they trust Kim Jong Un, by Kanga Kong, Bloomberg News, May 1, 2018
Israel vs. Iran: Winds of war in Jerusalem, with backing from Washington, by Amos Harel, Haaretz, May 1, 2018 Israel is determined to oust Iran from Syria, but if it miscalculates, Hezbollah and Hamas could be thrown into the ring. Netanyahu is prepared to undertake risks – bordering on gambling [The Haaretz writer includes two whoppers in his analysis: “The U.S. is scaling back its presence in the [Syria] region” and “Israel has a justifiable purpose in Syria”.]
* In ‘bizarre’ PowerPoint event, Netanyahu channels Iraq invasion rhetoric to push U.S. towards war with Iran, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 1, 2018 ‘Netanyahu is trying to manipulate ‘facts’ to kill the Iran nuclear deal. He wants to drag us into another war. Don’t let him.’
* UN nuclear agency: ‘No credible indications’ of Iran nuclear activity after 2009, by John Bowden, The Hill, May 1, 2018 The United Nations’s nuclear agency on Tuesday rejected claims from Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran’s government is conducting nuclear weapons research in secret.
* ‘Clerical error’? Trump White House forced to retract false claim Iran has nuclear weapons program, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 1, 2018
* ‘Smoking gun’ or ‘warmed-over noodles’? Either way, Netanyahu’s Iran show seems aimed at Trump alone, CBC News, May 1, 2018
* The Iran nuclear deal explained, RT, May 1, 2018
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, April 2018
Ukraine receives first of its U.S. Javelin missile systems boasts Poroshenko, Reuters, April 30, 2018
* Ukraine switches from paramilitary-dependent to full-out armed forces operation in Donbas, Press TV, April 30, 2018
* Kyiv announces further militarization of its presence in eastern Ukraine, TASS, May 1, 2018
Ten journalists among 36 killed in bomb attacks in U.S./NATO-occupied Afghanistan, by The Guardian and Associated Press, April 30, 2018
The (unrecognized) U.S. contribution to bloodshed in Syria, by As’ad AbuKhalil, special to Consortium News, April 29, 2018 (Part one of two) ‘Media of the left and right (those ideological distinctions are meaningless when it comes to the coverage of the Syrian war in the US) have contributed to a narrative that basically presents the US as an innocent bystander to the bloodshed in Syria.’
Vietnam’s socialist dream hits on hard times, by David Hutt, Asia Times, April 19, 2018
Where they tell you not to look: The Guardian’s Luke Harding in the age of Russia bashing, by Craig Murray, published on his website, April 30, 2018 (Craig Murray was a career UK diplomat, including ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002-04.) ‘MI6’s most important media conduit (after Frank Gardner) is Luke Harding of the Guardian.’
Also by Craig Murray: Probable Western responsibility for Skripal poisoning, by Craig Murray, published on his website, April 28, 2018
Author Timothy Snyder doesn’t like Donald Trump. Really, really doesn’t like him. He fears that under Trump, American (and also European) democracy may collapse into some sort of nasty fascist tyranny. And he wants us all to know who is to blame for this terrible state of affairs, so that we can defend ourselves against it while there is still time. And who is to blame? You know the answer, of course. It’s Russia.
Snyder explains all this in his new book, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America…
Related: Timothy Snyder’s lies, essay and book review by Daniel Lazare, published in Jacobin, Sept 9, 2014 Reviewing: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, by Timothy Snyder (book published in 2010)
Jailed leader of People’s Democratic Party, Selahattin Demirtaş, to run as presidential candidate in Turkey, Ahval news agency (Turkey), April 30, 2018
The jailed former leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, will stand as a presidential candidate whether he is found guilty or not, the secular Cumhuriyet newspaper said.
Citing health reasons, 44-year-old Demirtaş did not attend a hearing at an İstanbul court on Monday where he faces terrorism charges. Demirtaş, who has been jailed since November 2016, could face jail sentences totalling more than 100 years on a string of charges…
* Turkey’s top Kurdish politician to run for president from behind bars, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, April 25, 2018
* Demirtas trial postponed to June 8, Rudaw news agency, April 30, 2018 Selahattin Demirtas, former co-chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was expected to appear in court at Silivri prison in Istanbul to defend himself against charges which date back to five years ago. But he did not appear due to health problems and he had declined to attend via video link…
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces clash with Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zor, report on Rudaw, April 29, 2018
Overnight missile strikes against Syrian army bases, RT, April 30, 2018
Nicaragua regains its balance after social reform protests, by Nicaraguan writer ‘Tortilla con sal’, published on Telesur, April 28, 2018
The value (price and profit) of everything, book review by Michael Roberts, published on his website on April 25, 2018 Reviewing: ‘The Value Of Everything’: Making And Taking In The Global Economy’, by Mariana Mazzucato, publisher Allen Lane (Penguin), April 2018, 384 pp (Michael Roberts is a Marxist economist in the UK. His new book is Marx 200: A Review Of Marx’s Economics 200 Years After His Birth, published by Lulu, March 2018, 176 pp ISBN 9780244076252.)
Related: Karl Marx at 200: Mark Carney, Sam Bowles and Yanis Varoufakis comment, by Michael Roberts, April 23, 2018
The West closes its ears to Douma testimony, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, April 28, 2018
Related: Ignore, deny, downplay: Accounts of Syrians from Douma have no place in Western narrative, RT, April 28, 2018
Historic agreement between North and South Korea towards peace and denuclearization, news compilation and comment by Roger Annis, on A Socialist In Canada, April 29, 2018
Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter refutes U.S. chemical weapons claim in Syria, interview with Scott Ritter, on ‘Flashpoints Radio‘, KPFA station, with host Denis Bernstein, April 23, 2018 (Transcript of the interview is published here on Consortium News, April 27, 2018)
Introduction by Dennis Bernstein:
In the 1980’s, Scott Ritter was a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, specializing in intelligence. In 1987, Ritter was assigned to the On-Site Inspection Agency, which was put together to go into the Soviet Union and oversee the implementation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. This was the first time that on-site inspection had been used as part of a disarmament verification process.
Ritter was one of the groundbreakers in developing on-site inspection techniques and methodologies. With this unique experience behind him, Ritter was asked in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, to join the United Nations Special Commission, which was tasked by the Security Council to oversee the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. From 1991 to 1998, Ritter served as a chief weapons inspector and led a number of teams into Iraq.
According to Ritter, in the following Flashpoints Radio interview with Dennis Bernstein conducted on April 23, US, British and French claims that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians last month appear to be totally bogus.
A call to defend Rojava, open letter published in New York Review of Books, April 23, 2018
[An open letter by 20 U.S. intellectuals calls for an escalation of the U.S. military presence in Syria in the form of more weapons and diplomatic support to the Kurdish-led SDF military forces. It also calls on the U.S. to impose arms sanctions against its fellow NATO member Turkey.
[The letter makes an equivalency between the Turkish military intervention into Afrin, Syria and the national self defense of Syria by the country’s armed forces. It writes, “While the attack on Afrin is a violation of international law comparable to those of the Assad government, the Trump administration has made only feeble protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s depredations.”
Related: Calling for U.S. military involvement in Syria, by Whitney Webb, Mint Press News, April 26, 2018 [Critical commentary of the April 23, 2018 open letter ‘A call to defend Rojava’.]
A celebration of the life of Robert Parry, video of memorial service in Arlington, Virgina on April 14, 2018, broadcast on Vimeo (70 minutes)
Introduction by Consortium News, April 26, 2018:
A memorial service for Robert Parry, the founder and editor of Consortium News, was held in Arlington, Virginia on April 14. Bob’s wife, Diane Duston, introduced friends and colleagues to recount their memories of Bob, whose work impacted the nation.
The speakers were Lynn Neary, the NPR broadcaster; Spencer Oliver, a former Congressional staffer and one of Bob’s then unnamed sources; Jill Abramson, the former New York Times executive editor and a long-time neighbor of Bob and Diane’s; Brian Barger, Bob’s partner at the AP on many Iran-Contra exclusives; Joe Lauria, the Consortium News editor-in-chief who also read a tribute to Bob from legendary journalist John Pilger who was unable to attend; a video tribute from Oliver Stone, the filmmaker, and Bob’s two sons, Sam and Nat.
We present here a video of the entire memorial for the many admirers of Bob who were likewise unable to attend. It runs one hour and seven minutes. Broadcasters can request an abridged version or individual speakers by writing to [email protected].
‘Three killed, 174 wounded’ as Palestinians march on Israel-Gaza border for fifth week, Haaretz, April 28, 2018 Three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces Friday as thousands participated in the “March of Return” along the Israel-Gaza border for the fifth week in a row, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. At least 174 Palestinians were wounded by live fire, said the ministry…
Previous reporting on A Socialist In Canada: Four more Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Gaza border protest, Associated Press, April 21, 2018
Caribbean immigrants to Britain of the post-WW2 ‘Windrush Generation’ fight racist deportations, by Jamie Ross, The Daily Beast, April 19, 2018 Decades ago, workers traveled to Britain from the Caribbean to help rebuild the country after World War II. Now, some are being told to leave. … The Windrush generation’s case has near-universal sympathy among the British public. In polling on the matter, 78 percent of British people said the Windrush generation should be given the right to stay.
Related: The latest royal baby was delivered by the same NHS workers that Theresa May and Amber Rudd might deport, by Fréa Lockley, The Canary, April 24, 2018
Amid missiles and bombs in Damascus, by Jeff Klein, Consortium News, April 27, 2018 Special report to Consortium News from the Syrian capital of Damascus. Jeff Klein describes a people getting back on their feet after the defeat of jihadists in Ghouta, while explosives remain a part of daily life.
Kurds, the survivors of the Syrian wars, by Patrick Cockburn, London Review of Books, April 5, 2018 (available to subscribers only)
[In his latest contribution to the London Review of Books (writing date March 23), Patrick Cockburn provides valuable information on the recent history and current, difficult circumstances facing Syria’s estimated Kurdish population of 2.5 million. Turkey has invaded the Kurdish region of Afrin in northwest Syria and is conducting an ethnic cleansing of the region. The U.S., meanwhile, is using the Kurdish forces of northern Syria in its plan to weaken and partition Syria.
[Cockburn’s authority is based on his extensive travel and reporting from Syria. But he continues his habit of describing Syria using unproven allegations against Russia and the Syrian government. Thus, we read the following in this latest contribution to the London Review of Books: “Russia gave Turkey permission to use airpower freely over Afrin, withdrew its military contingent from the enclave and opened the door for Turkish forces to invade, which they did on 20 January .”
[This is how Cockburn describes Russia’s wise decision in January 2018 not to take NATO’s bait and engage militarily against NATO member Turkey in Afrin on behalf of Kurdish forces aligned with NATO member United States. For that decision, writers in the West such as Cockburn heap disparaging distortions of the truth on Russia’s head.
[Furthermore, in typical fashion of those making such allegations, not a word is reported by Cockburn of Russia’s longstanding proposals to the Syrian government and people that they modify the Syrian constitution to provide recognition of Kurdish national (autonomous) rights. Nor is there any mention of the proposal by the Syrian and Russian armed forces to the Kurds of Afrin in December 2016 that the Kurds accept the entry of Syrian armed forces and allies into Afrin region in order to forestall the anticipated Turkish intervention. Kurdish acceptance of the proposal would have stirred U.S. ire. In other words, for good or for bad, the Kurdish leadership in Afrin bowed to the Turkish intervention and inevitable ethnic cleansing that followed rather than jeopardize their alliance with the United States and its illegal intervention and occupation in oil-and-gas-rich eastern Syria.]
[The plans by Turkey and the U.S. to partition Syria are passively described by Cockburn as follows: “The country is now divided into three zones, each under a different authority and supported by a different foreign sponsor.” Note how NATO members Turkey and the U.S. are described as “different” from one another in their objectives in Syria and not at all described as the illegal, foreign invaders and occupiers that they are. Syria’s national government in Damascus is reduced to one of three “different authorities”, alongside the two illegal occupiers.]
On Russia-truthing and Russia-conspiracies in the West, CounterPunch’s Paul Street comes down squarely… on the fence, article titled ‘The double Russia conspiracy trap’, published in CounterPunch, April 27, 2018
… Are we really supposed to pretend, as good leftists, that Trump’s campaign didn’t contain highly placed and significantly Russia-compromised players (e.g., Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn)? That the Trump campaign didn’t exhibit a creepy willingness to accept whatever dirt Russia may have possessed on Hillary Clinton? That Trump hasn’t behaved in odd ways for a U.S. president regarding Putin and Russia? That we know for a fact that Russia doesn’t have anything on Trump? That U.S. and Western NATO-expansionist imperialism, Hillary’s aggressive imperialism, and Washington’s long history of intervening in other nation’s internal affairs all over the world – Russia included – didn’t give Putin practical realpolitik motives for at least trying to have some say in the 2016 U.S. election? Seriously? …
… Do I think Bashar al-Assad chemical bombed civilians in Douma? I have my doubts, but I don’t pretend to possess a definitive understanding of what happened…
Breaking my silence on RussiaGate, by Jill Stein, published on the website Jill2016 (Undated on the website, dated April 26, 2018 on the Facebook page of Jill Stein.) … The cutting-edge tactics of the Cambridge Analytica scandal make alleged Russian social media meddling look primitive and insignificant by comparison.
‘It just doesn’t ring true’: Alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria on April 7, 2018. Part two, report on Media Lens (UK), April 26, 2018 (Part one is here: Deception in plain sight: Alleged chemical attack in Douma. Part one, report on Media Lens (UK), April 25, 2018)
No attack, no victims, no chemical weapons: Witnesses from Douma, Syria speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague, RT, April 26, 2018
Schedule finalized for April 27 inter-Korean summit, The Hankyoreh, April 26, 2018 Presidents Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un will greet each other on April 27 at Panmunjeom on the Demilitarized Line separating northern from southern Korea. The greeting will be televised live.
* On eve of Korean presidential summit meeting, South Koreans express desire for peace by displaying Unification Flags, The Hankyoreh, April 26, 2018
* The Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, report by Reuters, April 26, 2018
* Frenemies at the table: Kim and Moon to foster goodwill at historic meeting, but Trump’s shadow looms, unsigned commentary on RT, April 26, 2018
* The struggle against the U.S. THAAD missile system in Korea continues, Zoom In Korea, April 23, 2018 … Protesters mobilized on the night of April 22 in anticipation of construction material entering the THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] base. They had set up to block Jinbat Bridge, which is the only road that leads to the military base. The residents and supporting peace keepers linked themselves to each other by wrapping large nets around their bodies. The protesters endured through cold rain overnight as well as confrontation with the police…
The war America forgot, by Charles Hanley, published by Korea Policy Institute, Feb 23, 2018 (Charles J. Hanley is a retired Associated Press correspondent who was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporting team that confirmed the No Gun Ri Massacre in 1999. He is co-author of The Bridge at No Gun Ri (Henry Holt and Company, 2001.) … But we know anecdotally, from my own and others’ reporting, that terrible things were done by American troops when they entered the north. One 7th Cavalry Regiment veteran told me, “I personally killed anything in front of me when we moved up. … You’ve heard of the Rape of Nanking in China?” he asked me. “Similar to that.”
Syria and chemical weapons: Debating the regime-change war in Syria, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, April 24, 2018 (with postscripts)
‘The U.S. is not at all interested in the welfare of the Syrian people’: Interview by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting with Gregory Shupak, interview broadcast on ‘Counterspin’, April 20, 2018 (with transcript). Gregory Shupak is on the faculty of the University of Guelph-Humber, Ontario.
… I agree with [Jonathan] Cook’s assessment; I think the US ruling class is being pretty clear that they either want the Syrian government out and/or to keep the war going for as long as possible, so that Syria remains divided and weak and bleeding.
… All that people I think in America, and countries allied with America, can do is call for the US to get out, and call for the US allies to get out of Syria.
… calling for an end to sanctions, that is another crucial aspect of what has to happen.
Imperialism today: the debate between David Harvey and John Smith, overview by Adam Mayer, published online by the Review of African Political Economy, April 10, 2018 (with weblinks to texts of the debate) John Smith battles David Harvey’s problematic assertions with a political economy toolkit from his magnificent volume ‘Imperialism In The 21st Century’ (Monthly Review Press, 2016). And related: A critique of David Harvey’s analysis of imperialism, essay by John Smith (author of Imperialism In The 21st Century), published on MR Online, Aug 26, 2017.
Cuba’s new president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, interview with Peter Kornblugh, on Democracy Now!, April 24, 2018 (with transcript)
Related: Venezuela’s President Maduro is the first world leader to visit Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, Venezuela Analysis, April 23, 2018
Turkey installs governing council in Afrin region of Syria that it occupies, report by in Al-Monitor, April 23, 2018
[Reports say that most of Afrin’s Kurdish population of 350,000 fled in advance of Turkey”s military intervention and occupation which commenced January 20, 2018. Turkey is re-populating the region with non-Kurds, including paramilitary forces hostile to the national government of Syria.]
Related: Stymied in Syria, Turkey quietly ups actions against PKK in Iraq, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, April 24, 2018
More confusion n the Western left concerning Syria and how to bring the war there to an end, April 24, 2018
[An April 24 commentary on Syria by writer Sonali Kolhaktar is published on CounterPunch: ‘The left, Syria and fake news‘. The commentary is re-posted from Truthdig, where it originally appeared on April 19 under the title ‘Why are some on the left falling for fake news on Syria?‘. Many such commentaries are being published by ostensible leftists lamenting that antiwar and left wing voices in the West are resolutely defending Syria’s national sovereignty in the face of a determined drive by U.S.-led imperialism to overthrow the Syrian government. Common to all the laments, including this latest one by Kolhatkar, is that they say and propose absolutely nothing by way of how the war in Syria could end. That’s because they favour the violent overthrow of the Syrian government and president. The rest is talk.
[On April 23, Truthdig published a reply by U.S. writer and journalist Max Blumenthal to Kolhatkar’s original article: ‘Syria controversy: Don’t believe the official narrative‘. It also published a brief rejoinder by Kolhatkar to Blumenthal on the same date. Kolhatkar wrote, “We need to get beyond the battle over Assad’s crimes to unite against U.S. militarism, but unfortunately, pro-Assad sentiment undermines the left’s credibility on this issue.” But we get not a hint of how an antiwar left could “unite against U.S. militarism”. It certainly cannot and should not “unite” in turning a blind eye to the U.S. regime change war in Syria. Nor should it offer abstract calls for Russia to withdraw its military support to the Syrian government. A political agreement is required to end the war in Syria and open a process of national reconstruction. In the absence of such political agreement, calls for withdrawal of Russian and Iranian support to Syria amount to calls for the people of Syria to surrender their sovereignty to imperialism. Thankfully, the people of Syria are not about to follow such counsel.]
[CounterPunch makes no mention of the Blumenthal-Kolhatkar exchange of April 23 in its re-posting of the original April 19 Truthdig commentary by Kolhatkar. To be honest, there is a dearth across the board of discussion in the West as to how a movement of solidarity with the Syrian people can assist a process of national ceasefire and dialogue.]
Beware of White Helmets bearing news, by Ann Wright, Consortium News, April 21, 2018 The celebrated White Helmets of Oscar fame appeared to have made their own feature film in Douma, Syria on the night of an alleged chemical attack on April 7
Related: Trump’s Syria ‘withdrawal plan’ is subcontracting the U.S.’ dirty work, commentary by Finian Cunnigham, published on the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, April 23, 2018
Trump’s blank cheque for war, by Marjorie Cohn, Consortium News, April 22, 2018 On April 23, a Senate committee will consider a new bill that would solidify the unconstitutional shift in power to declare war from Congress to the White House.
Related: Senate proposal to constrain Trump’s warmaking would actually expand perpetual war, by Kevin Gosztola , ShadowProof, April 23, 2018
‘False flag’ incidents just pretexts for conflict, by Scott Taylor, published in his ‘On Target’ weekly column in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, April 22, 2018
In recent weeks, we have seen two major incidents occur — the March 4 poisoning [in Salisbury, England] of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and the April 7 attack on the embattled Syrian town of Douma.
In both cases, we were told by Western intelligence agencies, before any actual investigation had taken place, exactly who the culprits were. In the Skripal incident, it was of course Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose bumbling secret service are supposed to have used a nerve agent in the attempted murder. The Douma attack was pronounced to be a chemical strike by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, assisted by his ally, Putin.
In both cases, punishment has already been meted out by the same Western countries who pride themselves on representing the rule of law…
‘False flag’ incidents, or staged hoaxes, have been used throughout history as clumsy pretexts to initiate conflict…
Related: At G7 war ministers’ meeting in Toronto, Ukraine foreign minister gets top media billing with his warnings of Russian ‘threats’ to Western democracy, report by The Canadian Press widely published in Canada dailies on April 22/23, 2018
Why Ukraine’s radical parties are sitting pretty for upcoming elections, by Mykola Vorobiov, published on the website of the Atlantic Council, April 19, 2018
[The right-wing Atlantic Council is unsettled over the rise of the extreme-right paramilitaries in Ukraine. (The Council uses the term “radical” to describe the extreme right and neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine.) Prospects look quite good for several of the extreme parties to surpass the five per cent threshhold in Parliamentary elections to take place next year in Ukraine. As for the presidential election also in 2019, the field for the far right is wide open as the polling numbers for the incumbent Petro Poroshenko, the darling of NATO countries, sit in the single digits.]
[Russia analysist Mark Ames commented as follows on Twitter about the publication of the above article by the Atlantic Council: “Now even NATO’s front group [the Atlantic Council] is worried about Ukraine’s Nazi problem. Until recently, these same hacks smeared anyone worried about Ukraine’s Nazi problem as ‘Russian disinformation’, ‘Putinist’, ‘Kremlin bot’ etc.”]
Path to denuclearization? North Korea announces six pivotal decisions, RT, April 20, 2018
* Korean Americans discuss inter-Korean vow for peace, news reporting and analysis on Zoom In Korea, April 20, 2018
The summit meeting between North and South Korea is just one week away. A senior official of South Korea’s Blue House indicated that replacing the armistice regime with a peace treaty is a major agenda item for the meeting between the leaders Kim Jong-un (North Korea) and Moon Jae-in (South Korea)…
* Korean Americans join spring action to end wars at home and abroad, Zoom In Korea, April 18, 2018 People across the U.S. mobilized on April 14-15 to demand an end to U.S. wars around the world. In dozens of cities, including New York, Oakland, Washington DC, and Atlanta, protesters rallied as part of the “Spring Action to End U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad.” Several hundred U.S. organizations participated in the actions to demand the following:
* End U.S. overt and covert wars, drone wars, sanction/embargo wars, and death squad assassination wars.
* Close all U.S. bases on foreign soil. Dismantle all nuclear weapons.
* Bring all U.S. troops home now. Self-determination, not military intervention. U.S. hands off the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. End military aid to apartheid Israel. Self-determination for Palestine. The U.S. cannot be the cop of the world.
* Trillions of dollars for human needs… for jobs and social services, quality debt-free education and single payer health care. No to anti-union legislation. For $15 and a Union Now.
* Defend the environment against life-threatening fossil fuel-induced global warming. For a just transition to a 100 percent clean, sustainable energy system at union wages for all displaced workers.
* No to white supremacy, police brutality/murder. End racist mass incarceration. Black Lives Matter.
* No human being is illegal. No to mass deportations. Yes to DACA and TPS (Temporary Protective Status)…
The psychology of Russiagate, interview with Glenn Greenwald, published in Jacobin, April 17, 2018
[In this interview, Glenn Greenwald continues to play both sides of the fence when it comes to accusations that the Russian government, its president and its security agencies manipulated the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While most of the interview dismisses the accusations, Greenwald also states, “What I have said from the very beginning was exactly the same as what I say now, which is that of course it’s possible, and even plausible, that Russia engaged in disinformation campaigns or hacked with the intention of undermining or destabilizing the US, because this is something that the Russians and the US have done to one another and to everybody else for many decades. Nobody would ever say, ‘Oh, this isn’t something that Vladimir Putin would do, he’s too ethical, he’s too cautious.’ …”
[In interviews and articles with respect to the regime-change war in Syria (example, on Democracy Now!, April 9, 2018), Greenwald’s view is that the Syrian government and its Russia ally are ‘likely’ responsible for the use of chemical weapons and other war crimes, but this should not serve as a reason for Western powers to go to war with either of them. He describes the conflict in Syria as a ‘proxy war’ between the U.S. and Russia and their respective allies. In this scenario, the longstanding U.S.-led regime-change war against Syria and its plan for a U.S.-controlled protectorate in eastern Syria thus disappears. Calls or suggestions that Russia withdraw its military presence from Syria in the absence of a lasting political agreement to end the West’s regime-change intentions amounts to a call for the Syrian government and people to surrender.]
North Korea science and technology: Enriching the soil, producing beyond subsistence, by Kim Soobok, part three of a series translated and published on Zoom In Korea, April 20, 2018 Kim Soobok traveled and researched in North Korea for this series between 2012 and 2015. Previous instalments of this series:
- Introduction, February 6, 2018
- Part 1: Science and technology as the path to economic progress, Feb 6, 2018
- Part 2: Watering the fields: A two-decade struggle, Feb 7, 2018
U.S., France and allies should not leave, must build ‘new Syria after war’, says French president Macron, RT, April 22, 2018
U.S. out of Syria, by Greg Shupak, Jacobin Magazine (online and in print), April 18, 2018 We should oppose the ongoing, disastrous U.S. intervention in Syria without reservation.
[The above commentary in Jacobin refrains from any comment on the military support provided to Syria by its allies Russia and Iran. To its credit, the commentary declines to call for ‘all foreign troops’ to withdraw from Syria, as many ‘leftist’ publications and groups in the West are doing. Yes, a negotiated end to the war in Syria is needed, and part of such a negotiated settlement could indeed be the withdrawal of all foreign military forces from the country. But Russia and Iran are present in Syria at the request of the Syrian government. Without a political settlement, the withdrawal of Russian and Iranian forces would amount to a surrender of Syria’s national sovereignty in the face of the cruel regime change war being waged since 2011. Meanwhile, those foreign forces illegally present in Syria—notably those of Turkey and the United States—should most emphatically be immediately withdrawn.
[CounterPunch continues to publish the writings of its right-wing, Trotskyist columnist in support of the regime change war in Syria, most recently on April 20 and April 13. The Intercept has recently stepped up its support for the overthrow of the Syrian government—see the entry below dated April 19. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on the other hand, has sharply condemned the April 13/14, 2018 U.S./UK missile strikes against Syria. The Plurinational State of Bolivia was one of four members of the UN Security Council that voted on April 14 to condemn the missile strikes. The Western leftist friends of Venezuela and Bolivia that simultaneously support regime change in Syria may thus be described as ‘fair weather friends’.]
Near victory, why would Assad be so stupid? (on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria on April 7, 2018), commentary by Scott Taylor, published in Esprit de Corps magazine and in Scott Taylor’s weekly ‘On Target’ column in the Chronicle Herald, April 16, 2018 (Scott Taylor is a military analyst, weekly columnist in the Chronicle Herald daily (Halifax, Canada), and publisher of Esprit de Corps military magazine.)
VIII Americas Summit in Peru: Cuba and Bolivia stand by Venezuela amid U.S. threats, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, April 16, 2018 U.S. Vice President Pence and regional right-wing leaders pushed for more sanctions against Caracas, despite failing to secure anti-Venezuela language in the final declaration.
* Maduro: ‘Summit of Americas a complete imperialist failure’, Telesur, April 14, 2018
* Venezuela condemns U.S., French and British attack against Syria, statement by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, April 16, 2018* Maduro sides with campesinos against big landowners, by Cira Pascual Marquina, Venezuela Analysis, April 10, 2018 The president distributed 44 thousand hectares of land to farmers and pledged to halt evictions.
* No support for socialist president Maduro in May 2018 Venezuela presidential election’, say right-wing socialists in U.S., commentary published in New Politics, April 18, 2018
North Korea halts nuclear, ICBM missile tests, from Washington Post, April 21, 2018 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared he will suspend nuclear and missile tests starting on Saturday[ April 21], and that he will shut down the site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted. The surprising announcement comes just six days before Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a precursor to a historic summit between Kim and President Donald Trump…
Related: ‘Mission complete’: Kim Jong-un halts any further nuclear & missile tests, shuts down testing site, RT, April 20, 2018
A cure worse than the disease: The ‘fake news’ hysteria is unleashing a wave of free-speech crackdowns worldwide, by Branko Marcetic, Jacobin, April 16, 2018
Over 20,000 march in Northern Israel to mark ‘catastrophe’ of Israeli independence in 1948, by Jack Khoury, Haaretz, April 19, 2018 The ‘Procession of Return’ commemorates the Nakba and calls to attention the rights of Arabs uprooted from their villages during the 1948 Israeli-Arab war (see also this report on the WAFA Palestinian news agency)
* Four killed as Gaza ‘Great March of Return’ protests enter fourth week, Middle East Eye, April 20, 2018
* As international outrage grows, Israeli soldiers injure hundreds in fourth week of Gaza protests, by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams, April 20, 2018 Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman was among those to express concern over the continuous violence
Despite mounting concerns from the international community—including Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman—Israeli soldiers reportedly killed at least four Palestinians and injured hundreds on Friday as the March of Great Return continued for the fourth straight week in Gaza. Snipers with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are still shooting Palestinians who are protesting Israeli occupation at the fenced border, even as human rights advocates worldwide have denounced Israel’s “horrifying use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters.” The Gaza Health Ministry said 729 Palestinians were wounded Friday—more than 150 of them by live fire…
Trouble brews as right-wing Syrian militias amass on Turkey’s border, report by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, April 20, 2018
The Intercept goes all out in arguing ‘who cares?’ whether the Western powers overthrow the sovereign government of Syria. Commentary by Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan, titled, ‘Dear Bashar al-Assad apologists: Your hero is a war criminal even if he didn’t gas Syrians’, April 19, 2018.
[Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan says he doesn’t care who is killing who or for what reasons in Syria during the past six years. All that matters to him is his view that the president of Syria is guilty of alleged war crimes and should therefore be overthrown. His entire construct is a grim argument that the overthrow of Syria’s president and government by the Western powers and their local, right-wing militias trumps all other concerns–the experiences of Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Ukraine in 2014 notwithstanding. He makes the false and slanderous assertion that those who oppose the Syrian government’s overthrow are ipso facto culpable for each and every action taken by the government. His argument is loaded with all the false or unproven accusations against the Syrian government and its allies of chemical weapons usage, targetting of civilian and health delivery infrastructure by warplanes, and on and on. How could the war in Syria be brought to an end? Not a word from the wise counsellor of The Intercept. Calling for Syria to renounce the assistance it has received form Russia is tantamount to advocating a unilateral surrender of the country to U.S.-led imperialism.]
What are ‘Assad apologists’? Are they like those “Saddam apologists” of 2002?, by Caitlin Johnstone, rogue journalist, Medium.com, April 19, 2018
Isn’t it fascinating how western journalists are suddenly rallying to attack the dangerous awful and horrifying epidemic of “Assad apologists” just as the western empire ramps up its longstanding regime change agenda against the Syrian government? Kinda sorta exactly the same way they began spontaneously warning the world about “Saddam apologists” around the time of the Iraq invasion?
The increasingly pro-establishment Intercept has published an article titled ‘Dear Bashar al-Assad Apologists: Your Hero Is a War Criminal Even If He Didn’t Gas Syrians’, condemning unnamed opponents of western interventionism in Syria for not being sufficiently condemnatory of Bashar al-Assad in their antiwar discourse…
The revolution which the U.S. raid on Syria launched: No more U.S. air superiority means everyone is on their own, by John Helmer, published on his website Dances With Bears, April 18, 2018 ‘The U.S. can no longer count on air superiority anywhere in the world where Russian air defences operate, backed by Russian command-and-control systems.’
Related: Interview with John Helmer, broadcast on ‘Gorilla Radio’, with host Chris Cook, on CFUV-FM (Victoria BC), April 19, 2018 (25-minute interview, first item in the podcast)
Medical personnel in Douma, Syria who treated alleged victims of a ‘chemical weapons attack’ on April 7, 2018 say there was no chemical attack, video posted by Syria Alikhbaria, April 17, 2018 (16 minute video) [The video showing an alleged ‘chemical attack’ in Douma was scripted by right-wing militias and the ‘White Helmets’ agency, then shown to the world by Western media. The U.S. and UK used the video to justify their unilateral missile attacks against Syria on April 13/14. But the doctors and first responders in Douma say there was no chemical attack.]
Roger Waters slams Syria’s White Helmets as ‘a fake organization fronting for terrorists’, Haaretz, April 17, 2018 During a concert in Barcelona on April 13, Waters denounced the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize nominee rights group a ‘fake organization’ that provides propaganda for ‘jihadists and terrorists’
Related: Emails reveal White Helmets tried to lobby ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, RT, April 19, 2018
How the U.S. occupied the 30 per cent of Syria containing most of its oil, water and gas, by Whitney Webb, Mint Press News, April 17, 2018 While gaining control of key resources for partitioning Syria and destabilizing the government in Damascus, the U.S.’ main goal in occupying the oil and water rich northeastern Syria is aimed not at Syria but at Iran.
Related: Saudi Arabia considers U.S. invitation to send troops to eastern Syria, Rudaw, April 19, 2018
Related: Two more HDP deputies ousted from Turkish parliament, Rudaw, April 19, 2018
Eleven of HDP’s deputies have now been stripped of their parliamentary membership, leaving them with 48 sitting MPs since the parliament voted in 2016 to lift immunity from a select group of lawmakers facing criminal convictions…
Jailed HDP deputies include the party’s former leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag
Ukraine’s NATO bid risks even worse U.S.-Russia ties, by Will Porter, Consortium News, April 18, 2018 Ukraine has made new moves towards joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which would cross a Russian “red line” and further deteriorate U.S.-Russia relations, argues Will Porter.
What’s driving trade tensions between the U.S. and China? by Marty Harts-Landsberg, published on his blog Reports From The Economic Front, April 12, 2018
Monthly Review Online peddles story that Russia gave ‘political consent’ to NATO-member Turkey’s invasion and occupation of Afrin, Syria, two-part article published in MR Online, part one here, part two here , both published on April 17 [The only thing missing from MR Online’s published article are facts to prove it. Meanwhile, the article ‘overlooks’ reporting Russia’s longstanding proposals to the Syrian government and people that the country’s constitution be modified to provide recognition of autonomous rights to Syria’s Kurdish population. Kurds number some 2.5 million out of a Syria population of 18.5 million.]
An alternative explanation to the Skripal chemical poisoning mystery, by Gareth Porter, Consortium News, April 17, 2018
… The British government is well aware that such an alternative explanation does exist. It is based on the well-documented fact that the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent synthesized by Soviet scientists in the 1980s had been sold by the scientist who led the development of the nerve agent to individuals linked to Russian criminal organizations as long ago as 1994. It was used to kill a Russian banker in 1995.
The connection between the Novichok nerve agent and a previous murder linked to the murky Russian criminal underworld would account for the facts of the Salisbury poisoning far better than the official line that it was a Russian government assassination attempt.
The credibility of the May government’s attempt to blame it on Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered because of Yulia Skripal’s relatively rapid recovery, the apparent improvement of Sergei Skripal’s condition and a medical specialist’s statement that the Skripals had exhibited no symptoms of nerve agent poisoning…
* Russia’s representative to the OPCW exposes ‘eight UK lies’ in Skripal case, RT, April 19, 2018
* Britain admits OPCW did not confirm ‘essential evidence’ on origin of Skripal poison, RT, April 18, 2018 The British delegation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has admitted that international chemical weapons inspectors did not confirm the origin of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury ex-spy poisoning. Peter Wilson said identifying the nerve agent is an “essential part of the investigation,” and that the OPCW has identified neither its origin nor the laboratory where it was produced…
Investment firm where husband of British PM Theresa May works is the largest shareholder in arms producer BAE, its shares have soared since Syrian airstrikes, RT, April 17, 2018
… The company, Capital Group, is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a U.S. military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares also have rocketed since the missile strikes last week.
… The latest news comes on the back of a recent deal agreed by BAE Systems and the Saudi government for the provisional sale of 48 Typhoon jets to the kingdom. The deal was welcomed by the relevant government officials from the UK and Saudi Arabia, who say it would help safeguard jobs. However, it was criticized by arms campaigners worried about the ongoing war in Yemen.
Robert Fisk puts to test the free-press myth in Douma, Syria, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, April 18, 2018
… Just a few days after the U.S., UK and France had bombed Syria, in violation of all principles of international law, on the grounds that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Douma, Fisk interviewed a doctor at the clinic where the victims were treated. The doctor said no chemical attack occurred. The video footage from last week was genuine, the doctor added, but it showed civilians who had inhaled dust after a Syrian bombing attack, not gas…
So the Guardian appears to have intentionally blocked its readers from learning about the Fisk report, even though it is highly relevant to an informed debate about western actions in Syria…
Related: UK accuses Russia of creating ‘fantasies’ over Salisbury attack as radio/television regulator OFCOM launches investigation into RT, by Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, April 18, 2018 Programmes to be ‘investigated’ include show hosted by George Galloway
Dirty money or dirty politics? UK hypocrisy over ‘Russian oligarchs’, commentary by Neil Clark, published in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, April 18, 2018 According to Russia’s Prosecutor General, 61 criminals who stole up to $10 billion in Russia are enjoying life in the UK. Britain claims to be concerned about ‘dirty money,’ but has rejected requests from Moscow for extradition.
It was the financial heist of the century. The looting of Soviet Russia’s wealth by a group of well-connected oligarchs in the 1990s enriched a tiny few, but impoverished vast swathes of the country’s population. The foundations for this massive, reverse-Robin-Hood redistribution of wealth were laid with Gorbachev’s ‘restructuring’ economic reforms of the late 80s. However, the process reached its peak under Boris Yeltsin…
In report from Douma, Robert Fisk rips away excuses for air strike on Syria, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, April 17, 2018
[Robert Fisk’s findings in Douma disprove the claims of Western governments of a ‘chemical attack’ in the town on April 7, 2018. They also happen to contradict Fisk’s earlier, ill-considered assertion suggesting that Russia and its president are directly responsible for the alleged attack. He wrote in The Independent on April 12, “This does not mean any excuses for the Syrian government – though I suspect, having seen Russia’s Syrian involvement with my own eyes, that Putin might have been getting impatient about ending the war and wanted to eradicate those in the last tunnels of Douma rather than wait through more weeks of fighting. Remember the cruelty of Grozny…”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov interviewed on BBC on April 13/14 Syria missile strikes and ‘Skripal’ chemical poisoning accusations, posted to the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, April 16, 2018 (32 minute interview) [Foreign Minister Lavrov is confronted with an extremely aggressive BBC journalist and host, Stephen Sackur, who accuses Russia of the alleged, March 4 chemical poisoning in Salisbury, England and the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria on April 7. The journalist’s offered proof of the alleged April 7 attack is that French President Emmanuel Macron says so! Such is the state of toxic, Western media in the year 2018.]
Related: BBC news presenter declares ‘info war against Russia’ after ex-navy chief questions ‘evidence’ behind U.S./UK missile attack against Syria, RT, April 18, 2018
Jilted Kurds ignore Western hand-wringing over Syria gas attack, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, April 12, 2018 Syrian Kurds have been notably silent on U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to punish Damascus over a suspected chemical attack on Douma, likely disillusioned and choosing to focus on condemning Turkey’s ongoing offensive in Afrin.
Additional analysis of Kurds:
* My Kurdish oppressor, by Hoshang Waziri, in New York Review of Books, April 16, 2018
* High-level Kurdistan Regional Government delegation in Turkey, BAS News, April 16, 2018
* Interview with Kurdish-Turkish journalist Ali Ornek, broadcast in three parts on The Real News Network, with host Ben Norton (with transcripts)
* Part one, April 4, 2018 By capturing the rich oil fields of Deir el-Zour and gas fields of central Syria for the sake of U.S. plans, Syrian Kurds cannot expect Russia to come and save them from Turkey.’
* Part two, April 8, 2018
* Part three, April 16, 2018
* Interview with leader of Syrian Kurds, in ANF News, April 17, 2018 [ANF journalist as well as interview subject accuse Russia of assisting NATO member Turkey in its occupation of Afrin region of Syria and accuse Syrian government of waging a chemical attack in Douma on April 7, 2018.] * Syrian Kurd leader say Russia poisoned the Skripals in England and should be punished, complains the world turns a blind eye to Turkish crimes in Afrin, report in Rudaw, April 16, 2018
After missile strikes, Trump resumes exit strategy for Syria [sic], ‘Week In Review’, published by Al-Monitor, April 15, 2018
[Al-Monitor is a serious online journal of mainstream analysis of the Middle East. But it is fixated on the absurd belief that the U.S. government is planning on ‘exiting (ceasing) its political and military intervention into Syria. The publication also promotes the erroneous thesis that the U.S. and Turkey are in conflict over their respective relations with the Kurdish population of Syria (some 2.5 million people out of 18.5 million for Syria as a whole). The reality is that the U.S. is moving forward on a partition plan for Syria, and it is doing so in step with its NATO ally Turkey (and with its erstwhile Syrian Kurd ‘allies’). Turkey has fully endorsed the missile strikes against Syria conducted by its NATO allies the U.S. and UK during the night of April 13/14, 2018.
[Meanwhile, an April 12 article by Al-Monitor‘s Amberin Zaman summarizes the reaction of Syrian Kurdish forces to the missile attacks, which were being threatened but not yet carried out at the time of the article. Kurdish forces had said nothing and this remains the case in their English-language media. According to Al-Monitor, they are signalling their displeasure towards the United States for its failure to speak out against its ally Turkey’s takeover of the Afrin region in northwest Syria.]
Democracy Now! bemoans that U.S./UK missile strikes against Syria were ‘limited’, story on Democracy Now!, April 16, 2018, headlined ‘Syrian-American activist: Limited U.S. airstrikes send signal to Assad he can continue mass killing’
[Democracy Now! Host Amy Goodman interviews Ramah Kudaimi on April 16. She is described by Goodman as ‘a Syrian-American activist, a member of the Syrian Solidarity Collective and on the National Committee of the War Resisters League’. Speaking of the April 13/14 missile attacks by the U.S. and UK against Syria, Kudaimi says, “Nothing much has changed under Trump, in terms of the United States has claimed, proclaimed that, oh, it wants to see and support the Syrian people’s revolution, that it wants to see freedom and democracy in Syria, but in fact has really intervened in ways that have strengthened the regime. So, its primary goal, the defeat of ISIS, i.e. the ‘war on terror’, is really what’s brought the U.S. into Syria very forcefully…
[“Once in a while, as Trump did last year, as then Trump did this year, they’ll bomb a regime target—really an empty airfield, an empty chemical weapons factory—and then say, ‘See, we want Assad gone.’ And yet, again and again, their actions have proven that, in fact, they want regime preservation.”
[Goodman leads her guest to condemn the call by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for negotiations to arrive at a political settlement in Syria. Kudaimi says, “It seems like we talk about U.S. and Russia, and that’s what Corbyn is also saying, is that, ‘Oh, well, the U.S. and the Russia need to talk things out’. Where’s the justice for the Syrian people?”
[A similar lamenting that the U.S. government is ‘not serious’ about violently overthrowing the Syrian government is published in the U.S. online publication Socialist Worker.org on April 16, authored by staff writer Ashley Smith.]
Over 350,000 Catalans flood Barcelona in support of jailed and exiled independence leaders, Telesur, April 15, 2018
Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy holds media briefing to report on U.S./UK military strike against Syria, published by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, April 14, 2018
[The Russian military reports that a significant number of the estimated 110 missiles fired against Syria by U.S. and UK ships and aircraft during the night of April 13/14 were intercepted and destroyed by Syrian air defense. It states, “It is to be stressed that several years ago, given the strong request by our Western partners, Russia opted out of supplying the S-300 Air Defense systems to Syria. Taking into account the recent incident, Russia believes it possible to reconsider this issue not only regarding Syria but other countries as well.”
[Recall the dismay in Western capitals and media editorial offices on March 1, 2018 when Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian military has succeeded in developing new weapons systems to counter the U.S. drive to achieve a nuclear first-strike capacity.
[The Russian military also reports that misleading Western media notwithstanding, no French warplanes or ships took part in the missile attacks against Syria.]
Related: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks on chemical weapons accusations in Salisbury, England and Douma, Syria, video from RT posted to YouTube on April 14, 2018 (16 minutes)
Canada should support peace in Syria, not U.S. missiles, by Yves Engler, published on his website, April 14, 2018 (Yves Engler is an author and independent journalist in Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has endorsed the April 13-4 U.S./UK missile strikes against Syria.)
Five thoughts on missile strikes against Syria, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog on April 14, 2018
Russia says the goal of the bombing of Syria was to prevent chemical watchdog’s fact-finding mission in Douma, RT, April 14, 2018
[Read extensive coverage on RT of the NATO countries’ bombings of Damascus and Homs, Syria during the night of April 13, 14.
[The bombings are an escalation of U.S., French and British intervention into Syria, seeking the overthrow of the country’s president and government. That intervention is growing precisely at a time when the Syrian government and its allies have inflicted major defeats of the right-wing, Western/Saudi backed paramilitaries that have wrecked much of Syria since 2011. The Damascus region has recently been liberated from the last of the rightists’ grip there. NATO-member Turkey is a partner in the Western intervention.
[Theatrics between Washington and Ankara have been played up by Western media and gullible analysts as proof of policy differences over Syria, including on the issue of Kurdish national rights. But there are no policy differences. Both countries are embarked upon the partition and weakening of Syria.
[Liars in Western media and fools in the Western left have been downplaying or denying the existence of the U.S.-led NATO effort to cripple the sovereignty of Syria and its people. Today, all the nonsense of the past 18 months to the effect that Donald Trump seeks a less militaristic U.S. foreign policy must be definitively consigned to the trash can and a global, antiwar movement to oppose NATO’s aggression and expansionism is needed.]
Russia’s UN Security Council resolution calling for end to aggression against Syria defeated on April 14, report on RT, April 14, 2018 The resolution called to “immediately and without delay cease the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic and refrain from further aggressive acts in violation of the international law and the UN Charter.”
For: Russia, China, Bolivia
Against: U.S., Britian, France, Côte d’Ivoire, Kuwait, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden,
Abstentions: Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Peru
Related: UN press release on Security Council meeting of April 14, 2018 (with extensive summary of the debate at the meeting)
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov: Swiss lab says ‘BZ toxin’ used in Salisbury, England on April 4 is not produced in Russia, was in U.S. and UK service, RT, April 14, 2018
The substance used on Sergei Skripal was an agent called BZ, according to Swiss state Spiez lab, the Russian foreign minister said. The toxin was never produced in Russia, but was in service in the US, UK, and other NATO states.
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with an incapacitating toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, citing the results of the examination conducted by a Swiss chemical lab that worked with the samples that London handed over to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Swiss center sent the results to the OPCW. However, the UN chemical watchdog limited itself only to confirming the formula of the substance used to poison the Skripals in its final report without mentioning anything about the other facts presented in the Swiss document, the Russian foreign minister added. He went on to say that Moscow would ask the OPCW about its decision to not include any other information provided by the Swiss in its report…
Syria ‘chemical attack’ staged to provoke U.S. airstrike, London pushed perpetrators, says Russian Ministry of Defense, RT, April 13, 2018
UN Security Council is gathering on April 13 at Russia’s request to discuss U.S./UK/France threats against Syria, TASS, April 13, 2018 [You can watch the podcast of the Security Council meeting here on UN Web TV.]
Yulia Skripal is plainly under duress, by Craig Murray, former UK diplomat, published on his website April 11, 2018
How Turkey’s campaign in Afrin is stoking Syrian hatreds, by Molly Crabapple, New York Review of Books, April 11, 2018
George Galloway warns of a ‘slow motion beginning to what may become a third world war’ caused by U.S./France/UK aggression against in Syria, audio of introduction by George Galloway to his ‘Talk Radio’ program in Britain on April 11, 2018 (14 minutes) [To complicate his program mix, Galloway invites a pro-war Conservative party MP to the first segment of his April 11 program.]
OPCW team arrives in Syria to investigate alleged attack, RT, April 12, 2018
The first four chemical weapons experts from the OPCW have arrived in Syria on a fact-finding mission (FFM) into the April 7 Douma incident, while Western leaders continue to blame the Syrian government for the alleged attack.
“We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was use of chemical substances,” said Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s envoy to the UN in New York, adding that a second team is due to arrive on April 13…
* Russia’s military options to counter threatened U.S. strike in Syria, RT, April 12, 2018 (with photos)
* International lawyers say a military strike against Syria would be iIlegal, statement published in Consortium News, April 11, 2018
* Journalist Patrick Cockburn says claim of chemical attack by Syrian gov’t in Douma ‘appears’ to be true, report published in The Independent, April 11, 2018 (and reprinted in CounterPunch) [Cockburn’s proof consists of second and third-hand reports by foreign outlets citing as sources the paramilitary forces who, with Western backing, have been seeking for years the violent overthrow of the Syria government.]
France’s Macron shamelessly peddling war opportunities over Syria, op-ed commentary by Finian Cunningham, RT, April 12, 2018
The imperial intentions of Trump’s trade war babble, by Andrew M. Fischer, published on BLISS, the blog of the International Institute of Social Studies, April 6, 2018
Related: China’s rise threatens U.S. imperialism, not American people, by Ajit Singh, MR Online, April 9, 2018 [In this informative analysis of China’s place in the world, the writer somehow fails to mention China’s largest bordering country and closest diplomatic ally, Russia. Alas, such lacune over Russia is all too typical of Monthly Review.]
Trump threatens Syria and Russia with missile strikes in schoolboy Twitter threats, report in RT, April 11, 2018
[Trump has been holding consultations with Britain and France. The three imperialist amigos have agreed on taking ‘joint action’ against Syria and Russia. Coincidentally, the popularity of Theresa May is in the toilet tank while railway workers and public service workers in France are continuing with strikes in opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s drive to cut jobs as well as pensions and other benefits. Macron is the latest Western leader to host a visit by the head of the feudal monarchy Saudi Arabia and defend sales by his country’s arms producers to that regime.]
* Russia asks U.S. if its threatened missile attacks are an attempt to destroy evidence in ‘chemical attack’ allegations in Douma, RT, April 11, 2018
* OPCW will deploy fact-finding mission to Douma, Syria, press release by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, April 10, 2018
* When a government declares a verdict before an investigation, it’s because there’s a pre-existing agenda, by Caitlin Johnstone, published on Medium.com, April 9, 2018
How we were misled about Syria: George Monbiot of The Guardian, by Tim Hayward (University of Edinburgh), published on his website, April 11, 2018
Why New Zealand’s new Labour/Green government isn’t a ‘transformational government’, commentary by Bryce Edwards, columnist, New Zealand Herald, April 11, 2018
UN Security Council fails to pass three different resolutions on Syria ‘chemical attack’ as Russia calls for restraint, RT, April 10, 2018
OPCW to send chemical weapons investigators to Syria’s Douma, RT, Apr 10, 2018
* Russia and Syria call for on-the-ground probe in Douma, pledge to provide security to OPCW experts, RT, April 10, 2018
* As U.S. response looms, Russia and Syria urge inspection of attack site, Reuters, April 10, 2018 … Meanwhile on the ground, thousands of militants and their families arrived in rebel-held northwestern Syria after surrendering Douma to government forces. The evacuation deal restores Assad’s control over the entire eastern Ghouta – formerly the biggest rebel bastion near Damascus.
U.S. missile destroyer reportedly sailing toward Syria as Trump weighs how to use latest ‘chemical weapons attack’ story against Syria, RT.com, April 10, 2018
* In battle group rotation, U.S. deploying Truman aircraft carrier strike group to Middle East, RT, April, 2018 Frigate of German junior partner is accompanying Trump’s flotilla
* UN says it is unable to ‘independently verify allegations’ of alleged chemical attack in Douma, RT, April 10, 2018
* Iran condemns chemical weapons attacks, denies Syria’s role, Al-Monitor, April 9, 2018
Erdogan rebuffs Moscow’s call to hand Afrin to Syrian government, by Ayla Jean Yackley, Al-Monitor, April 10, 2018 [Al-Monitor continues to publish reports claiming that Russia is quietly aiding Turkey in the latter’s military intervention into northern Syria. Fringe leftists in the West make the same claim. All the more contradictory for Al-Monitor is the above report in its pages; it puts paid to unfounded ‘Russia supports Turkey’ stories.]
Who will take on the 21st century tech and media monopolies?, by Justin Anderson, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, April 10, 2018 [This article provides an overview of the crushing monopoly over internet advertising revenues enjoyed by Facebook and Google. They earn 60 per cent of all such revenues (not counting China). As to the writer’s proposal that “more regulation” can solve this problem, readers can judge that for themselves. Unmentioned in the article is how the monopoly and misuse of internet data by internet giants is obfuscated and unchallenged by Western governments and mainstream media as part of their toxic and relentless new cold war against Russia.]
Reflecting on a recent learning course by U.S. students to socialist Cuba, by Hannah Noyes, The College Voice (Connecticut), April 5, 2018
Two Israeli warplanes carry out bombings of Syrian airbase in the dead of night April 8-9, reports Russian Ministry of Defense, RT, April 9, 2018 Syrian and Iranian soldiers were killed in the attack
Two Israeli F-15 fighters targeted Syria’s T-4 airbase in Homs province, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday. The jets fired eight guided missiles, but five of them were shot down before they hit the airfield. In a statement on April 9, the Russian military said: “Two Israeli Air Force F-15 jets fired eight guided missiles at the T-4 airfield.” The Israeli aircraft did not enter Syrian airspace and launched the strikes while flying over Lebanon…
The strike on the Syrian T-4 are base came shortly after Western powers accused the Syrian government of orchestrating an alleged a chlorine attack in the militant-held town of Douma on April 6. The chemical incident was reported by the White Helmets, a controversial group repeatedly accused of having ties to terrorists…
* Trump vows quick decision on Syria after suspected chemical attack, Reuters, April 9, 2018 U.S. ambassador to UN tells April 9 Security Council meeting that “important decisions” are being weighed by the U.S. in response to chemical attack blamed on Syria
* State Dept accuses Russia and Syria of gassing civilians before any investigation, by Caitlin Johnstone, Medium.com, April 8, 2018 [Caitlin Johnstone is an independent journalist in Australia. Her work also appears in Consortium News.] * On Democracy Now!, Glenn Greenwald says evidence is ‘quite overwhelming’ that Syrian government carried out a ‘chemical attack’ in town of Douma on April 6, then he says ‘we shouldn’t make hasty conclusions’ until there is a real investigation, interview on Democracy Now!, April 9, 2017 . [Glenn Greenwald thinks it is ok to accept the latest, unfounded accusations against the Syrian government. He then absolves himself by saying military action by the U.S./Israel/Saudi Arabia axis would be bad. He describes the conflict in Syria as a ‘proxy war’ between the U.S. and Russia and their respective allies. In his scenario, the longstanding U.S.-led regime-change war against Syria and its plan for a U.S.-controlled protectorate in eastern Syria is made to disappear. Writing in The Independent on April 10, as the U.S. boasts it is preparing missile strikes on Syria, Patrick Cockburn voices a similar, casual ‘Assad probably did it’ view as that of Greenwald.]
Protests in Gaza are leading to many deaths and injuries among Palestinians, yet Israel has faced little criticism, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, April 6, 2018
The political price for Israel of besieging or blockading urban areas like Gaza is rising because it is impossible to prevent information about the sufferings of those trapped inside such an enclaves becoming public
Thousands of protesters returned to the Israel-Gaza border on April 6, burning great heaps of tyres to produce a black smokescreen which they hoped would hide them from Israeli snipers. Gaza’s health ministry has said that five people were killed and 1,070 people were wounded on Friday, including 293 by live fire…
The sheer scale of the casualties on the first day of the protest one week ago on March 30 is striking, with as many as 16 killed and 1,415 injured, of whom 758 were hit by live fire according to Gaza health officials…
* Gazans hope protests lead to change as border clashes turn deadly, by Hana Salah, Al-Monitor, April 6, 2018 Thousands of Palestinians are participating in demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border for the second week in a row, with at least seven protesters killed by Israeli army gunfire April 6, according to the latest statistics from Gaza’s Ministry of Health. This follows massive clashes March 30 that left 17 dead and over 1,000 wounded. The Great Return March that took off March 30 on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip comes amid growing frustration at a decade-long border blockade on the coastal enclave…
* After Gaza Massacre, Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes, by Marjorie Cohn, Consortium News, April 8, 2018
* Statement by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, published on Facebook, April 7, 2018
* The campaign to exterminate Muslims, weekly column by Chris Hedges, in Truthdig, April 9, 2018 The Israeli army’s wanton slaughter of unarmed Palestinians trapped behind the security barriers in Gaza evokes little outrage and condemnation within the United States because we have been indoctrinated into dehumanizing Muslims… The Israeli massacre of Palestinians is a prelude to a dystopian, neocolonial world where global elites, hoarding wealth and controlling the mechanisms of power, increasingly resort to
widespread bloodshed to keep the oppressed at bay…
* Israel snipers shooting unarmed people at 100 meters isn’t a ‘clash’, by Adam Johnson, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), April 9, 2018
* Radio silence in New Zealand after massacre on the border of Gaza, by Tali Williams, The Daily Blog, April 6, 2018
* When it comes to Palestine, many Canadian politicians are silent, by Monia Mazigh, Rabble.ca, April 6, 2018 [The headline is misleading. When it comes to Palestine, all Canadian politicians are silent, with one exception, Green Party leader and MP Elizabeth May, in a statement issued April 9. She was in Israel during and after the Land Day Massacre of March 30. The statement criticizes the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli Army while simultaneously solidarizing with the historical project of Israel.]
Green Party in New Zealand swings left as Marama Davidson is elected co-leader, by Henry Cooke, Stuff.nz, April 9, 2018 [The Green Party holds four ministerial posts in the national government led by Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.]
Moscow condemns false reports of ‘chemical attack’ in Douma, warns against Syrian intervention, RT, April 8, 2018
Reports of an alleged gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma are ‘fake news’ aimed at justifying potential strikes against Syria, Moscow said. It warned of “dire consequences” in the event of any military interference.
The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the latest reports about a chemical attack that allegedly affected dozens of civilians in the militant-controlled town of Douma. It said the reports were another example of a “continuous series of fake news about the use of chlorine and other chemical agents by the government forces.”
The ministry pointed out that the source of the reports was the notorious “civil defense” group, the White Helmets, which has been repeatedly accused of having ties to terrorists, as well as other groups based in the U.S. and UK…
Related: U.S. says it holds Russia ‘ultimately responsible’ amid reports of dozens gassed in Syrian town of Douma in Damascus region, RT, April 8, 2018
Salisbury, England hospital becomes secret rendition center for Yulia Skripal, by John Helmer, published on his website Dances With Bears, April 8, 2018
The economics behind the Skripal poisoning, interview with Michael Hudson, broadcast by the Left Out interview program, April 3, 2018. The broadcast transcript is published here on Counterpunch. This interview is the third episode of ‘The Hudson Report’, hosted every week on Left Out. Michael Hudson is a professor of economics at the University of Missouri and an author and columnist. The episode discusses the alleged chemical poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England on March 4, 2018. It also touches on the long history of collaboration between Russian oligarchs and Western banks and how this fits into the larger project pursued by Western powers following the demise of the Soviet Union.
Trump, trade and the tech war, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist in the UK), published on his website, April 4, 2018
President Trump has now moved on from steel tariffs (with exemptions for some allies) to the real battle: stopping China from gaining market share in America’s key industries: technology, pharma and other knowledge-based sectors. Can China make further inroads globally or will Trump’s policies stop them? …
* China vows to fight Trump tariffs ‘to the end’ as tensionrRises, Bloomberg News, April 6, 2018 President urges levies on $100 billion more of Chinese goods. China says it doesn’t want a trade war but is ready to fight.
* U.S. needs China more than China needs the U.S., Bloomberg News, April 6, 2018 To avoid Trump’s disastrous trade war, three things need to be addressed.
* Xi takes center stage to defend China’s trade from Trump barrage, Bloomberg News, April 7, 2018 … The Chinese president’s first chance to hit back in person comes in a speech on April 10 at the Boao Forum for Asia — China’s answer to Davos — on the tropical island of Hainan.
RT publishes reports saying U.S. policy in Syria is ‘confused’, but is it?
[RT publishes two reports on April 7, 2018 saying that U.S. policy towards Syria is “confused”. But the editors of RT have it wrong.
[One report consists of an ‘op-ed’ commentary by a former U.S. military official. He begins his analysis with, “President Trump for now has decided to allow about 2,000 U.S. troops to remain in Syria. But the controversy over whether or not to withdraw them is symptomatic of Washington’s lack of overall strategy for the Middle East.” Donald Trump, we read, recently decided to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Syria but then changed his mind under pressure from his military advisors. The commentary then tells us, “Given U.S. backing of the Kurds in and around the northern Syrian city of Manbij, a military standoff appears to have developed between the U.S. and Turkey. This could push the two NATO allies into a shooting war.”
[The other report is a news report repeating some of the above points. It focuses in on what it calls ‘strained relations’ between NATO members Turkey and the U.S. “Relations between the two NATO allies have been particularly strained since Ankara launched its Operation Olive Branch [against the Afrin region of northwest Syria on Jan 20, 2018].”
[RT editors would do well to read the long analysis by the pro-U.S. Daily Beast published on April 3. It provides detail of what has seemed evident all along: the U.S. is planning to establish a U.S. protectorate in eastern Syria. This would be in flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty and create a long-term threat to Syria and all the countries and peoples of the region. Kurdish leaders of the PYD party and SDF self-defense forces appear to be cooperating with the U.S. plan. Turkey and the U.S. will easily come to a common agreement for such a plan, if they have not done so already. The public words of the two NATO allies suggesting otherwise are theatrics, designed to deflect attention and fool the unwary.]
George Galloway speaks to his ‘Talk Radio’ audience in the UK on the ‘chemical weapons’ accusation against Russia. He destroys the case of the British government and its allies and mouthpieces, broadcast on You Tube, April 5, 2018 ‘If you believe this story, then you are an idiot.’
Yulia Skripal’s cousin Viktoria denied UK visa to visit poisoned relatives in hospital, by Lizzy Buchan Political Correspondent, The Independent, April 6, 2018
* More sanctions levied against Russia by U.S. as ‘chemical weapons’ story in UK loses credibility, report on RT, April 6, 2018
* U.S. takes aim at Putin’s allies in Russia [sic] with new sanctions, Associated Press, April 6, 2018
… Since Trump took office last year, the U.S. has punished 189 Russia-related people and entities with sanctions.
[Tell us again, Western media, how Donald Trump has a soft spot for Russia? Thanks for the laugh.]
Speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Seventh Moscow Conference on International Security, April 5, 2018 (13 minutes) (The video recording of the speech with voiceover is here on YouTube. The text of the speech with more thorough editing is published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, here. The Moscow Conference on International Security is organised annually by the Russian Defence Ministry.)
Fifty years after the death of Martin Luther King, America hasn’t learned a thing. Racism, materialism and militarism still reign supreme, weekly commentary by John W. Whitehead, published on Rutherford Institute, April 3, 2018
I was sitting in a crowded bar, drinking a beer, when the news broke that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed. The room erupted in cheers. It was April 4, 1968. I’ve never forgotten that moment.
Twenty-two years old and a junior at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, I was horrified that King’s death was being greeted with such glee. Then again, as hard it is to believe it today, there was rejoicing all across the country on that dark day that this man—a black activist—a troublemaker—an extremist—had been silenced for good.
Despite having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, graced countless magazine covers, and consorted with movers and shakers throughout the country, King was not a popular man by the time of his death. In fact, a Gallup poll found that almost two-thirds of Americans disapproved of King. Fifty years later, the image of the hard-talking, charismatic leader, voice of authority, and militant, nonviolent activist minister/peace warrior who staged sit-ins, boycotts and marches and lived through police attack dogs, water cannons and jail cells has been so watered down that younger generations recognize his face but know very little about his message. There’s a reason for that…
Protesters in NATO-member Slovakia keep up pressure over corruption, demand resignation of police chief, Reuters, April 6, 2018
Protests in Slovakia over the murder of a journalist have led to the prime minister’s resignation and a cabinet reshuffle. Still not satisfied, the demonstrators now want the police chief out and a crackdown on corruption. Nearly 50,000 people marched through the capital Bratislava and other cities on April 5 in a fresh sign of anger over a cozy political system many say turns a blind eye to graft.
The outcry began in February when 27-year-old Jan Kuciak was found shot dead at home with his fiancée Martina Kusnirova. His investigative reporting had focused on graft involving politically-connected businessmen so public anger at his killing was also directed at Prime Minister Robert Fico who has led the Smer party’s government for 10 of the last 12 years…
[Slovakia is one of the NATO governments that has declined to expel Russian diplomats over the collapsing accusations of Russian ‘chemical poisoning’ on British territory. Anton Hrnko, Chairman of the Slovak Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee, told journalists in Moscow on April 6 that the British government should present the evidence it claims to have. Novel idea!]
Following his daughter’s recovery, Sergei Skripal also improving rapidly in Salisbury, England hospital, RT, April 6, 2018 [The mysterious ‘chemical poisoning’ of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England on March 4, 2018 grows more mysterious. UK writer and former diplomat Craig Murray has written on April 5 that the ‘official’ explanation by the UK government of the alleged poisoning is absurd. Police say a deadly poison was spread on the doorknob of the house where the two alleged victims lived. Hours after exiting the house, they fell ill after dining at a local restaurant. So let’s recap: hours after apparently coming into direct contact with one of the most deadly chemical poisons known to science (though the ‘novichoks’ poison was heretofore unknown to the world’s chemical weapons prohibition agency, the OPCW), the couple went for a stroll, dined, and only then fell ill.]
Justin Trudeau oversteps, casting doubts and uncomfortable questions over Canada’s expulsions of four Russian diplomats, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, April 6, 2018
The wheels are coming off the ‘Russian chemical poisoning’ story being waged by the UK government and its NATO allies, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, April 5, 2018Her e’s what the Trump administration is really plotting in Syria, The Daily Beast, April 3, 2018 ‘As it happens, the White House actually has got a long-term plan for Syria, according to past and present administration officials, which is to say that the plan is for the U.S. to stay put, indefinitely.’ [This chilling analysis by the pro-U.S. and anti-Russia Daily Beast stands in sharp contrast to the naive or malevolent reporting in Western mainstream media giving good coin to Donald Trumps’s deception uttered in Ohio on March 29 and repeated in Washington on April 2 that the U.S. ‘is thinking seriously’ about withdrawing its armed forces from Syria. On the contrary, the U.S. is barreling steam ahead with a plan to carve itself a protectorate in eastern Syria. This is being done in full collaboration with Turkey, though the naive or malevolent media would have us believe that Turkey is ‘in conflict’ with the U.S. over the U.S. cultivation of relations with Kurdish and Arab tribal forces in eastern Syria.]
Stephen Cohen: The madness and acute danger of Russophobia in the New Cold War, news analysis by The Nation, published on April 4, 2018 Several factors make this US-Russian Cold War more dangerous than its predecessor. Russo-madness is one of them.
The Israel massacre forces, commentary by Gideon Levy, published in Haaretz (Israel), April 1, 2018 The killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes.
How many people has the U.S. killed in its post-9/11 wars? Part 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan, by Nicholas Davies, published on Consortium News, April 3, 2018
In the first part of this series, I estimated that about 2.4 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the illegal invasion of their country by the United States and the United Kingdom in 2003. I turn now to Afghan and Pakistani deaths in the ongoing 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. In part three, I will examine U.S.-caused war deaths in Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. According to Ret. U.S. General Tommy Franks, who led the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in reaction to 9/11, the U.S. government does not keep track of civilian casualties that it causes. “You know, we don’t do body counts,” Franks once said. Whether that’s true or a count is covered up is difficult to know…
Martin Luther King’s legacy betrayed, by Margaret Kimberley, Consortium News, April 4, 2018 The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated 50 years ago today, has been cynically exploited by corporate and political leaders who care more for the needs of their rich donors than black constituents. (Margaret Kimberley is Editor and Senior Columnist at Black Agenda Report.)
Ankara’s Afrin plan triggers acrimony among Kurds, by Fehim Tastekin, columnist, Al-Monitor, April 3, 2018
U.S. possibly setting up new military bases in Syria, despite Trump’s ‘withdrawal’ promise, RT, April 4, 2018 [Only the naive or the malevolent give credence to Donald’s Trump’s deception uttered on April 2 that the U.S. ‘is thinking seriously’ about withdrawing its armed forces from Syria. Naivete appears in Al-Monitor in this article on April 3: Turkey baffled by Trump’s pledge to exit Syria as Macron vows to step in and this article on April 4: Deadly Ankara-West fault line cracks open at Syria’s Manbij. On the more malevolent side is this headline and Associated Press article appearing in the Toronto Star on April 4 and headlined ‘Trump plans ‘rapid end’ to U.S. in Syria’. For a reality check, read this lengthy report in the pro-U.S. Daily Beast: Here’s what the Trump administration is really plotting in Syria, The Daily Beast, April 3, 2018. ‘As it happens, the White House actually has got a long-term plan for Syria, according to past and present administration officials, which is to say that the plan is for the U.S. to stay put, indefinitely.’]
The Land Day Massacre of March 30, 2018 along the Gaza/Israel border, by Chris Cook, Pacific Free Press, Saturday, March 31, 2018, appearing in A Socialist In Canada along with news compilation updated as of April 2, 2018
Syrian rebels begin evacuating last stronghold near Damascus, by Philip Issa, The Associated Press, April 2, 2018
Related: Damascus Countryside Education Directorate: Nearly 12,000 students return to schools in Damascus Countryside towns, published on Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), April 2, 2018 [SANA also reports, on April 3, that the liberation of Eastern Ghouta will allow Syria to proceed with its national polio vaccination program. It has been blocked in Eastern Ghouta by the control exercised by occupying right-wing militias.]
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, March 2018
All Eastern Ghouta towns liberated, key highway out of Damascus open after seven years of blockade, RT, March 31, 2018
Syrian army says it has regained control over most of eastern Ghouta, Reuters, March 31, 2018 [Reuters fills its report with the viewpoints of the right-wing ‘rebel’ militias that are finally losing their murderous grip over the urban territories on the eastern edges of Damascus region.]
Assange’s internet blackout and Skripal ‘chemical poison’ case are part of a propaganda war that risks a real one, interview with John Pilger, RT, March 30, 2018
1980 redux: Neocons try to sabotage a sporting festival in Russia once again, by Neil Clark, published in ‘Op Ed’ feature of RT, March 30, 2018
The Bolton appointment: How scared should we be?, by Daniel Lazare, Consortium News, March 30, 2018
Iraqi and Syrian deployments hinder Turkish operations against Kurds, Rudaw, March 30, 2018
[This report is informative but is littered with the unfounded accusation that Russia gave a “green light” to Turkey’s military intervention and occupation of Afrin in northwest Syria. The reality is the following: Russia declined to follow the urgings of armchair generals that it enter into a foolish and dangerous military confrontation with Turkey in Afrin over Kurdish forces declaring their loyalty to an alliance with Turkey’s fellow NATO member the United States. See March 29 report below reporting that Syrian Kurd officials met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on March 29 and urged him to send troops and jet fighters to join the illegal U.S. intervention into northern Syria.]
Anti-Russia screed published by socialists in Australia, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, March 29, 2018
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explains Russia’s retaliation against the expulsion of Russian diplomats, published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, March 29, 2018
Press release on Russia’s response to unfriendly UK steps, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, March 30, 2018
‘The Russian Federation, as has been repeatedly stated, is ready for a substantive and responsible interaction both within international legal formats and bilaterally in order to establish the truth as well as look for and find the individuals involved in the Salisbury incident.’
Iraqi and Syrian deployments hinder Turkish operations against Kurds, Rudaw, March 30, 2018
[This report is informative but is littered with the unfounded accusation that Russia gave a “green light” to Turkey’s military intervention and occupation of Afrin in northwest Syria. The “green light” accusations against Russia are actually saying, ‘Russia declined to enter into a reckless and dangerous military confrontation in Afrin with NATO-member Turkey over Kurdish forces declaring their loyalty to an alliance with Turkey’s fellow NATO member the United States.’ One of the worst recent offenders is Al-Monitor, in this article dated March 29 and titled ‘Deciphering Russia’s delivery of Tell Rifaat to Turkey‘. But there are no Turkish forces in Tell Rifaat, a town east of Afrin! There is merely a threat by Turkey to invade and occupy the town.]
France declines Syrian Kurds’ urging to send troops and jet fighter to join illegal U.S. occupation forces in northern Syria, report on ANF News (Kurdish news outlet), March 30, 2018
[Mainstream Western media is reporting that France has offered to ‘mediate’ the conflict between the Turkish government and Syrian Kurdish forces. Turkey is refusing the offer, but who knows what is truly taking place.]
At least 12 killed by Israel in ‘Land Day’ protests along Israel/Gaza border, RT, March 30, 2018 (and report by Reuters here) Tens of thousands of people are protesting for the right of Palestinian people to return to the lands, houses and villages that were stolen from them by Israeli occupation
The biggest prison on Earth: A history of the occupied territories, book review by Michelle Weinroth, published in The Monitor (Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives), March-April 2018 edition (review begins on page 41), reviewing the book of the same name, by author Ilan Pappe. See also by Ilan Pappe: Ten Myths About Israel, Verso, May 2017, reviewed here (review begins on page 59).
The challenges of building a united resistance in Duterte’s Philippines, by Joshua Makalintal, published in Waging Non-Violence, March 14, 2018
Big American money, not Russia, put Trump in the White House: Reflections on a recent report, by Paul Street, published in CounterPunch, March 30, 2018 (lengthy essay)
Watching as Islamist fighters are evacuated from war-torn Eastern Ghouta, by Robert Fisk, The Independent, March 29, 2018
* France ready to send troops to Manbij: French media, by Rudaw News Network, March 29, 2018
France is ready to send troops to Manbij to reinforce American forces in the city and block any possible Turkish offensive, President Emmanuel Macron told a visiting delegation from Rojava, according to French media.
“An Arab, Kurdish and Christian delegation from Syria is being received at the Elysee to discuss the situation in Afrin and northern Syria,” a Rojava office announced on Twitter, Reuters reported. “Important announcements are expected from France.”
The Rojava delegation included co-chair of the ruling TEV-DEM coalition Asya Abdullah, co-chair of Afrin’s executive council Hevin Reshid, SDF’s Redur Khalil, YPJ spokesperson Nesrin Abdullah, and Rojava’s representative in France Khalid Issa, according to ANF. Macron assured the Kurdish delegation that French forces would be deployed to Manbij “very quickly,” Le Parisien reported, citing an unnamed Kurdish representative….
* Trump, Macron discuss intensifying ties with Turkey in Syria, says White House, by Rudaw, March 27, 2018 [Whatever happened to the supposed conflict in Syria between NATO members Turkey and the United States? Western media and naive observers have talked this up endlessly.]
* Turkish President threatens to launch wider offensive against Kurds after capturing Afrin, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, March 19, 2018 Turkey’s vow to ‘hand [Afrin] back to its real owners’ suggests fears of the ethnic cleansing of the Syrian enclave may be realised
Russian relations with Kurds in Syria have not changed, by Rudaw, March 29, 2018
… Kurdish leaders have accused Moscow of giving Ankara the green light for its military operation in Afrin. In Manbij, military leaders are placing their hope in support from US forces based in the city to shield them from a Turkish assault.
Lavrov, in a joint press conference with the UN’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Moscow on Thursday, reiterated Russian concerns that the Americans were “exploiting” their Kurdish allies in Syria. He called on all parties to work to restore peace and stability and stressed that the rights of Kurds must be preserved along with all groups in Syria…
Debate in U.S. over gun violence is a narrow opportunity for Democrats but a wide one for the left, by Bruce Dixon, managing editor, Black Agenda Report, March 29, 2018
Poland buys $4.75 billion Patriot missile system from U.S., Deutsche Welle, March 28, 2018
Patriot missiles are made in America and fail everywhere, by Jeffrey Lewis, Foreign Policy Magazine, March 28, 2018 The evidence is in: the missile defense system that the United States and its allies rely on is a lemon.
Russophobia and cold war-era politics skew nuclear disarmament letter by Bernie Sanders and three other U.S. Democratic senators, commentary by Patrick Lawrence, published in The Nation, March 27, 2018
Skripal poison saga just another episode in West’s propaganda campaign to corral Russia, commentary by Finian Cunningham, on RT‘s ‘Op Ed ‘feature, March 29, 2018
Sixty eight killed in Venezuela police station riot and fire, RT. March 29, 2018
North Korean and Chinese presidents hold talks in Beijing, RT, March 27, 2018 ‘It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.’—Kim Jong-un, president of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
China says North Korea’s Kim pledged commitment to denuclearization, Reuters, March 27, 2018
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization and to meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated neighbor…
Calls for state governor to resign in Kemerovo, Siberia following tragic shopping mall fire, RT, March 27, 2018 In visit to the site of the March 25 tragedy, President Vladimir Putin asked after local negligence and corruption
How The Guardian became the west’s Pravda, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, March 28, 2018 (Jonathan Cook is an award-winning, former mainstream journalist. He lives and writes from Nazareth, Palestine.)
… Reading between the lines of this Guardian article, one can understand that Russia is causing problems to western interests at the UN because it has an agenda – in supporting the Syrian goverment of Bashar Assad – that conflicts with Washington and Israel’s agenda of breaking apart the central authority holding Syria together. Both sides are dressing up their own, self-interested agendas in the language of human rights. A real journalist should be wary of taking either side’s word at face value on this matter.
But the failure of this article as journalism goes way beyond this kind of one-sidedness. How can a supposedly serious journalist in a supposedly serious liberal newspaper write about current threats to the protection of human rights at the UN and refer only to Russia and China? It is possible only if Borger sees his job not to act as a watchdog on power but as a promoter of a western diplomatic agenda intended to stoke anti-Russian and anti-Chinese sentiment…
The sharks circling around Corbyn scent blood, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, March 26, 2018
After a short reprieve following Jeremy Corbyn’s unexpected success in Britain’s general election last year, when he only narrowly lost the popular vote, most of the Labour parliamentary party are back, determined to bring him down. And once again, they are being joined by the corporate media in full battle cry.
Last week, Corbyn was a Soviet spy. This week we’re in more familiar territory, even if it has a new twist: Corbyn is not only a friend to anti-semites, it seems, but now he has been outed as a closet one himself.
In short, the Blairites in the parliamentary party are stepping up their game. Corbyn’s social justice agenda, his repudiation of neoconservative wars of aggression masquerading as “humanitarianism” – lining the coffers of the west’s military-industrial elites – is a genuine threat to those who run our societies from the shadows…
The anti-semitism paradox damaging the British Labour Party, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, March 27, 2018
Why do white people like what I write?, book review and essay by Pankaj Mishra, published in London Review of Books, print issue of Feb 22, 2018 Reviewing: We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, publisher Hamish Hamilton, Oct 2017, 367 pp, ISBN 978 0 241 32523 0 (Read it here in pdf format: Eight years of Obama in power)
The precarious rise of the Gulf states despots, essay by Nicolas Pelham, published in London Review of Books, print issue of Feb 22, 2018 (Read it here in pdf format: Gulf states despots)
Hitler’s stormtroopers, book review by Richard J. Evans, published in London Review of Books, print issue of Feb 22, 2018 Reviewing: Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts, by Daniel Siemens, Yale University Press, Oct 2017, 459 pp, ISBN 978 0 300 19681 8 (Read it here in pdf format: Hitler’s stormtroopers)
Afrin’s displaced people face new crisis as Turkey threatens operation on Tal Rifaat, Rudaw news agency, March 26, 2018
Turkey commences Tal Rifaat operation, Rudaw, March 27, 2018 Turkey has begun its takeover of Tal Rifaat, in the northern Aleppo countryside on Tuesday, where at least 50,000 people displaced from Afrin have sought shelter.
Turkey now occupies 28 villages in Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, Rudaw, March 26, 2018
What are Canadian special forces still doing in Iraq?, by Vassy Kapelos, CBC News, Mar 25, 2018 Down from 210, 120 troops remain six months after mission was suspended because of fighting between Iraqis and Kurds
Gang of 14 EU states plus U.S. and Canada stage coordinated diplomatic attack against Russia, report on RT, March 26, 2018 [The stooges in Canada and Europe are cheek-to-cheek with the Trump regime in Washington in ramping up their new cold war. One big family.]
Days after appointing war hawk John Bolton as national security advisor and days after hundreds of thousands protest gun violence in Washington, Trump regime expels 60 Russian diplomats, closes consulate in Seattle, report on RT, March 26, 2018
Three years of Yemen bloodbath marked by U.S. and UK arms deals with Saudis, RT, March 26, 2018
[Germany and Canada are also major arms peddler to the heavily armed dictatorship running Saudi Arabia. The anti-Russia stands of the Western imperialists distract and weaken antiwar opposition to their domestic and international arms peddling.]
The War on Drugs is far deadlier than most people realize, by Brian Saady, Foundation for Economic Knowledge (FEE), March 26, 2018 A significant percentage of the world’s violence could be prevented by ending the War on Drugs
Disgraced ex-president of Peru Pedro Kuczynski banned from leaving Peru, Telesur, March 24, 2018
* Peruvians call for new elections, rejecting Canada-friendly vice-president appointed to replace his disgraced predecessor, report on Telesur, Mar 22, 2018
* Peru’s new president Martin Vizcarra is ‘more of the same’ say analysts, Telesur, March 24, 2018* Peru’s new president is former ambassador to Canada and is unknown to most Peruvians, CBC News, March 23, 2018
* Canada voices solidarity with corrupt Peruvian leaders, statement by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on situation in Peru, March 23, 2018 [Peru has become a key ally in the drive by the United States, Europe and Canada to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist president Nicholas Maduro. Peru will host the Eighth Summit of the Americas, to be held in Lima on April 13 and 14, 2018. The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Democratic governance against corruption’. Serious! Venezuela has been excluded from the event.] * Another former Peruvian president is sent to jail, this time as part of growing corruption scandal, LA Times, July 14, 2017
Catalan leader Carlos Puigdemont arrested in Germany under Spanish extradition warrant, Telesur, March 25, 2018
Venezuela president Maduro says Spain’s persecution of Catalan leaders is ‘shameful’, Telesur, March 25, 2018
The Skripal chemical poisoning affair, by Richard Sakwa, published by the Valdai Discussion Club, March 23, 2018 (Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent and Associate Fellow of Chatham House. He is the author of the 2015 book Frontline Ukraine.)
Reflections on the March 18, 2018 Russian presidential election and on the Sergei Skripal chemical poisoning case, by Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, March 22, 2018
Other countries could have made ‘Russian’ nerve agent, by Debora MacKenizie, exclusive to New Scientist, March 20, 2018 (Read the article in pdf format here: Other countries making Novichok poison.)
Ceasefire deal agreed in Syria’s eastern Ghouta, The Guardian, March 23, 2018 [The Guardian report includes rote accusations of ‘chemical weapons’ usage by Syrian armed forces and it ascribes ulterior motives to the Syria government in making this latest ceasefire agreement. Its report is cited here because next to no other Western news outlet is reporting the ceasefire development. BBC, another top anti-Syria outlet, is also reporting the ceasefire.]
A ceasefire deal that will allow the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians and fighters under Russian guarantees has been reached in the besieged Syrian enclave of eastern Ghouta. The agreement, which was confirmed by the spokesman of the second-largest rebel group in the area, will allow civilians and fighters to either leave for northern Syria or remain in their homes and reconcile with the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with guarantees from Moscow that they will not be prosecuted for opposition activities…
* More than 100,000 civilians safely leave Syria’s Eastern Ghouta since Feb. 28, reports Russia’s Reconciliation Center, RT, Mar 24, 2018
* Unlike U.S.-led coalition, Russia not hitting civilian homes in Syria with incendiary bombs, says Russian Ministry of Defense, RT, Marc 23, 2018
Russian Air Forces are not carrying out airstrikes on residential areas in Eastern Ghouta and don’t use incendiary bombs, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, refuting reports by Syrian pro-opposition activists as “glaring falsehoods.”
“Russian aviation doesn’t strike residential areas in Eastern Ghouta and, moreover, it doesn’t use incendiary ammunition, unlike the U.S.-led international coalition,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The damning reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the White Helmets group are a “glaring falsehood,” the ministry added, calling the two groups “swindlers” who are taking advantage of the sorrow of the Syrian people…
European Union member Spain charges 13 Catalan separatist leaders with rebellion, AP News, March 24, 2018
Related: Profiles of Catalonia’s rebels: The jailed, exiled & persecuted independence leaders, RT, March 23, 2018
[Western media editorialists are outraged that the Spanish government and legal system is embarked on vicious retribution against Catalonia leaders for holding a democratic referendum. No wait, correction: the editorialists are too busy filling their pages with anti-Russia venom and prejudice to bother with reporting the ugly reality of their own Western back yard.]
Turkish-backed forces capture Afrin: What comes next for Kurds and Syria?, interview with former UK Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford and Kani Xulam, founder of the American-Kurdish Information Network, on Sputnik Radio’s ‘Loud and Clear’, with hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, March 20, 2018
[Peter Ford answers the nonsensical arguments of Western leftists and others that Russia ‘betrayed’ the Kurds of Afrin by declining to engage in direct military conflict with NATO-member Turkey when Turkey began its invasion of the territory (on January 20, 2018). Ambassador Ford correctly points to the Kurdish leadership’s military alliance with the United States as a dead end for the Syrian Kurdish population. Kurdish defense forces withdrew from Afrin with the assistance of Syria and Russia, moving south by land and then being flown to the Kurdish territories east, but don’t look for news of that in left-wing media in the West.]
The Skripal poisoning case goes to UK court for the first time: New uncertainties for the British and Russian governments, by John Helmer, published on his website Dances With Bears, March 22, 2018
European Union takes punitive against Russia over UK poisoning story, Reuters, Thursday, March 22, 2018
European Union member states agreed at a summit in Brussels to take further punitive steps against Russia in the coming days for the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, as Moscow accused the bloc of joining a London-driven hate campaign against it.
Late on Thursday, in a boost for British Prime Minister Theresa May, the 28-member EU collectively condemned the attack on a former Russian spy and said it was “highly likely” Moscow was responsible. They also recalled the EU ambassador to Russia. “Additional steps are expected as early as Monday at the national level,” summit chair Donald Tusk told reporters…
[Defenders of Russia have been saying for the last four years that leaders of France and Germany don’t wish to follow the aggressive stance against Russia of the U.S., UK and Canada. Nonsense. But doubling down, RT commences its March 22 report on the Bolton appointment with, “Despite being elected on an anti-interventionist program, Donald Trump has now surrounded himself with foreign policy hawks and Iraq war apologists…”]
John Bolton, Trump’s new national security advisor, was a prime mover of the Iraq ‘weapons of mass destruction’ fiasco, by Greg Thielman, reprinted from Dec 16, 2016
[Whatever happened to the Donald Trump that so many naive analysts in 2016 and 2017 said was critical of the 2003 U.S. war in Iraq and was bent on bucking the U.S. foreign policy establishment?]
The trained seals in Canada’s Parliament vote unanimously on March 19 to condemn Russian role in alleged chemical attack in Britain on March 4, report by iPolitics, March 20, 2018
Trump’s trade tantrums – free trade or protectionism?, by Michael Roberts, Marxist economist, published on his website The Next Recession, March 19, 2018
… China is also pushing aggressively into ‘the belt’ countries of its ‘one road’ project. That’s reflected in its exports, with sales to these states double those to the U.S. So any restrictive measures taken by the Trump administration against China can only accelerate this reallocation process.
… Back in the 1940s, foreign subsidiaries of U.S.-based corporations accounted for only seven per cent of all U.S. profits –the same proportion as exports. Globalisation of U.S. corporate operations and capital investment has changed that in the last 35 years. In 2016, the share of domestic profits has shrunk to 48 per cent of total profits, while the shares of foreign operations and exports have grown to 40 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
How many millions of people have been killed in America’s post-9/11 wars? Part one: Iraq, by Nicolas J.S. Davies, Consortium News, March 22, 2018
…‘The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the U.S. Invasion’ which I co-wrote with Medea Benjamin estimates the death toll in Iraq as accurately and as honestly as we can in March 2018. Our estimate is that about 2.4 million people have probably been killed in Iraq as a result of the historic act of aggression committed by the U.S. and U.K. in 2003…
Statement by Inder Comar on the 15th anniversary of the Iraq war, statement delivered at a side event of the 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 15, 2018 (Inder Comar is a lawyer in San Francisco.)
Boris Johnson’s Putin-Hitler comparison is a provocation too far, by John Wight, published in the ‘Op-Ed’ feature of RT, March 22, 2018
… Indulging Boris Johnson’s foray into the sporting history of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, we direct the foreign secretary to 1938, two years after the Berlin Olympics – a Berlin Olympics which, en passant, Moscow boycotted unlike Great Britain – at a time when the British government and ruling class, with few exceptions, were mired in the appeasement of Hitler’s fascist regime.
It was a shameful period in the country’s history, culminating in Britain colluding in the fascist dictator’s expansionist ambitions in Europe with regard to his desire to annex Czechoslovakia. This collusion was enshrined in the Munich Agreement, reached in conjunction with France and fascist Italy on 30 September 1938.
In May of the same year, England’s national soccer team had travelled to Berlin to play a friendly against Germany. As both teams lined up for the usual pre-match rituals, the England players, under instruction from the UK Foreign Office, gave a Nazi salute. England won the match, but Hitler won something far more important: cultural and sporting recognition of the barbarous master race ideology that was to lead to the death of tens of millions across Europe and beyond over the succeeding decade…
Iraq reaches political agreement with the Kurdish Regional Government, New York Times, March 22, 2018 The agreement comes as Iraq prepares for legislative elections in May
Iraq sends money to pay Kurdish salaries for first time since 2014, Reuters, Monday, March 19, 2018
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq sent money to pay salaries of state employees in the Kurdish region on Monday for the first time since 2014, the Baghdad government said, although a dispute over how much it will send the Kurds in future remains unresolved.
Monday’s agreement represents a step toward normalizing relations between the central government and the autonomous Kurdish region, which held a vote for independence last year that the central government swiftly crushed…
In Diyarbakir, eastern Turkey, tens of thousands celebrate Kurdish holiday of Newroz, condemn Turkish military intervention in Syria’s Afrin, Rudaw, March 21, 2018
Newroz celebrations take place under tightened security in Diyarbakir, Ahval, March 21, 2018
Sergei Skripal was of ‘zero value’ to Russia after spy swap, so why poison him?, asks Russian president’s media spokesman, RT, March 21, 2018 A full-length interview with Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of Vladimir Putin, will be broadcast on RT’s ‘Sophie Co’ program on March 23.
UK news program ‘The Day’ directed at school children says Vladimir Putin is ‘most dangerous leader since Hitler’, RT, March 22, 2018 (with related video news rpeort) Online news program ‘The Day’ is used by one in three UK schools.
Turkey rolls into Afrin, apparently on way to Manbij, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, March 20, 2018
… According to another source who also spoke on condition of anonymity, the YPG command east of the Euphrates River instructed the forces to hand over Afrin. At first, some YPG units did not heed the call and kept up the resistance, but the source said they had to give up after three days.
… The YPG withdrew its forces from Afrin via a military air base near Tel Rifaat under Assad’s control. This indicates that the regime and Russian forces had advance knowledge of the YPG’s decision to withdraw. It’s not yet clear what price Russia and the Syrian regime might have charged for allowing Kurdish forces to use the air base…
Erdogan impatient to charge ahead in Syria as Ankara sizes up Pompeo, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, March 20, 2018
The poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal is a terrorist attack on Russian citizens, says Russian foreign ministry, RT, March 21, 2018
Comment by the Russian foreign ministry on the statement of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on March 19, 2018 concerning the incident in Salisbury (United Kingdom), March 19, 2018
… Despite the attempts of the EU nations to observe some semblance of balance, the statement of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on March19 is based on the British version of the incident and, as a consequence, suffers from the same speculation and lack of proof.
… The EU Council ignores the fact that Russia has destroyed all chemical weapons, as the OPCW confirmed in 2017. Should this be interpreted as EU and British mistrust of the international chemical weapons watchdog? We have absolutely nothing to “declare,” as the EU demands. Russia does not produce or store any toxic chemical Novichok.
Toxic nothingburger: Cambridge Analytica exposé is dangerous political attack posing as journalism, commentary by Igor Ogorodnev, on RT, March 20, 2018
Trump pushes arms sales to Saudi Arabia as he lauds visiting ‘prince’ bin Salman, report by Middle East Eye and agencies, March 20, 2018
President Donald Trump feted Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday and lauded U.S. defence sales as a boost to American jobs.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers killed a measure seeking an end to U.S. support for Riyadh’s bombing campaign in Yemen. The Senate voted 55-44 to dismiss the resolution…
Saudi Crown Prince visit to Britain, March 2018, by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK government ‘On 7th March 2018, Britain’s relationship with one of our oldest friends in the Middle East will begin a new chapter with the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.’
* British PM Theresa May defends deal to sell 48 British fighter jets to Saudi Arabia dictatorship, report in Middle East Eye,. March 9, 2018
* Theresa May defends Saudi ties as crown prince visit sparks anger, Agence France presse, March 7, 2018
… “The link that we have with Saudi Arabia is historic, it is an important one, and it has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country,” May said, pausing her answer briefly as opposition lawmakers cried “Shame!”…
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman joins UK monarch for lunch on March 7, 2018
* Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia includes ‘heavy assault’ vehicles, by Murray Brewster, CBC News, March 19, 2018 ‘These are combat-ready vehicles and certainly not the jeeps that the government once told us that they were’–Cesar Jaramillo, the executive director of Project Ploughshares
* Three million children born into war in Yemen, more than 5,000 killed since March 2015, press release by UNICEF, Jan 16, 2018
* ‘Short of engaging in combat’, UK has Saudi Arabia’s back in Yemen war, op-ed commentary by Dan Glazebrook, published on RT.com, March 9, 2018
On being a dissenting voice in 2018, by Craig Murray, published on his website, March 20, 2018 (Craig Murray was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010)
I just thought I might give you a little taste of what it means to your personal life to express dissent from the government line in the UK in 2018…
Question less! ‘Liberal’ witch-finders hunt for heretics in modern Britain, by Neil Clark, in RT‘s ‘Op-Ed’ feature, March 20, 2018 (Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger.)
Why is the world not more outraged by the chemical attacks of the West?, by Chris Trotter, Stuff.nz (New Zealand), March 20, 2018
Back to the future? New Zealand’s break with colonial-era fealty to Britain can’t be undone, by Brian Rudman, columnist, New Zealand Herald, March 20, 2018
Watching last weekend’s current affairs shows, at times I wondered if I’d stumbled on a Doctor Who repeat by mistake.
First it was all aboard the Tardis [time machine] for a flashback to the Cold War era, with Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters being blackguarded for being soft on the Russkies. Then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern got the third degree for failing to wrap herself in the Union Jack and sing ‘Rule Britannia’ to Mother England in her present spat with Russia…
Two weeks after an alleged chemical poisoning on its territory and more than one week after making grave accusations against Russia, UK foreign minister invites in OPCW inspection, RT, Mar 19, 2018
[Boris Johnson made an announcement inviting OPCW inspectors into Britain on March 18, from the couch of Andrew Marr’s interview program on BBC.
[The international Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997 (Wikipedia). The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was established by international agreement to enforce the Convention. Part 11 of the convention outlines the procedures to be followed by OPCW inspectors when a member state makes an allegation of chemical weapons usage and requests international inspection. The full text of the 1997 convention is here (beginning on page 324 of pdf); Part 11 begins on page 456 of pdf.]
The CBS interview with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman was a crime against journalism, by Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept, March 19, 2018
… In a spirit of constructive criticism, and in an attempt to try and push back against the U.S. media’s bizarre love affair with Mohammed bin Salman ahead of his visit to Washington on March 20, Here are ten much tougher, more relevant questions that “60 Minutes“ could and should have asked:
International Red Cross head calls for aid access to Afrin’s civilian population, by Rudaw, March 19, 2018 (A summary of this story also appears on RT.) The ICRC says some 250,000 civilians have fled Afrin city and region in recent days due to the Turkish military offensive. The UN recently estimated the refugeee-flooded population of Afrin at 323,000.
Boris Johnson issues completely new story on ‘Russian novichoks’, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Mar 18, 2018
* First recorded successful novichok synthesis was in 2016 – by Iran in cooperation with the OPCW, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Mar 17, 2018
* ‘Skripal case is a carefully-constructed drama’, interview with John Pilger, RT, March 18, 2018 Russia-UK relations plunge amid row over the poisoning of a former spy. Award-winning journalist John Pilger joins RT to discuss this issue.
Tens of thousands fleeing Eastern Ghouta, Syria to reception centers as five years of militia control ending, RT, Mar 18, 2018
[Accurate news reporting is scant of the ending of control by right-wing militias of the Eastern Ghouta district east of Syria’s capital city of Damascus. Western media continues years of biased and downright inaccurate reporting, constantly advocating the violent overthrow of the Syrian government. Its reporting of the latest developments in Syria is toxic. For a look back at the U.S. and allied ‘regime change’ drive in Syria, see: Western Syria: It would all be over by now without the ‘regime-changers’, commentary by by Neil Clark, RT, March 18, 2018]
Kurdish city of Afrin in northern Syria falls to invading Turkish forces, by Rudaw news agency (northern Iraq), March 18, 2018 [The pre-war population of Afrin region was some 200,000, of which the city of the same name numbered app. 35,000.]
* Syrian rebels, backed by Turkey, seize control of Afrin, by Carlotta Gall, New York Times, March 18, 2018
… The Syrian rebel forces, which have served as advance troops for the Turkish operation, seemed to enter the city without a fight, after the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., withdrew to the surrounding hills. Tens of thousands of civilians had evacuated in the previous days, as Turkish troops encircled the city but left a corridor open to the south…
* Syria’s Afrin city center ‘entirely under Turkish control’, RT, March 18, 2018
Behind Colin Powell’s legend: His role in the American War in Vietnam and covering up the 1968 My Lai Massacre, by Robert Parry and Norman Solomon, 1996 article reprinted in Consortium News, March 17, 2018
50 years after My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, revisiting the slaughter the U.S. military tried to hide, broadcast on Democracy Now!, March 16, 2018
Turkish forces fire on Kurdish-controlled Afrin in northern Syria killing 18 civilians, by Beth McKernan, The Independent, Mar 16, 2018 More than 10,000 people flee Afrin in 24 hours as YPG and YPJ prepare for imminent ground attack from Turkish troops and allied Syrian militias
* Amid massacres perpetrated by Turkish occupation, Afrin people are forced to flee their homes, ANHA news agency, Mar 17, 2018
* Turkish army bombs Avrin hospital in Afrin: 15 killed, ANF news agency, Mar 17, 2018
* Turkish army attacks civilian convoy in Afrin: Dozens killed, ANF news agency, Mar 17, 2018
* Without a state, Syrian Kurds likely to eventually make a deal with Damascus, news analysis on Rudaw, March 16, 2018
Arms deals between Turkey and Germany are like a well-oiled machine, by The Region (west Asia), March 15,2018
Terrorist capabilities laid bare in an Eastern Ghouta chemical lab, by Sharmine Narwani, RT, March 16, 2018 (Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics. She is a former senior associate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and has a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University.)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn joins Theresa May’s unfounded anti-Russia accusations, statement by Jeremy Corbyn, published in The Guardian, March 15, 2018
… Theresa May was right on Monday to identify two possibilities for the source of the attack in Salisbury, given that the nerve agent used has been identified as of original Russian manufacture. Either this was a crime authored by the Russian state; or that state has allowed these deadly toxins to slip out of the control it has an obligation to exercise.
… We agree with the government’s action [expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats], but measures to tackle the oligarchs and their loot would have a far greater impact on Russia’s elite than limited tit-for-tat expulsions. We are willing to back further sanctions as and when the investigation into the Salisbury attack produces results.
[The reputations of both leaders will be stained the longer the allegations blaming Russia sit unproven. But won’t everyone be tired and worn out by the propaganda barrage if and when the truth ever emerges? Reminder: Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash on July 17, 2014. The ‘Russiagate’ barrage in the U.S. has evolved in this direction, the end result being political bewilderment and disempowerment of ordinary citizens. All under the shadow of an escalating nuclear arms race by NATO…]
The Iraq death toll 15 years after the U.S. invasion, by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies, Common Dreams, Mar 15, 2018 Our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion
Enough! In historic day of action, one million students walk out of schools in the U.S. demanding action on guns, Democracy Now!, March 15, 2018
The racist origin of the U.S. Second Amendment and the rise of Black gun ownership, by Zenobia Jeffries, YES! Magazine, March 13, 2018
The ‘Novichok’ chemical weapon story is another Iraqi WMD scam, by Craig Murray, published on his website, March 14, 2018
Going down with the bad ship U.S.A., by Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, March 15, 2018
Besieged enclave of Ghouta on brink of falling to Syrian government forces, The Guardian, Mar 15, 2018
* Thousands evacuated as families, injured leave E. Ghouta during ceasefire, RT, Mar 15, 2018 (with photos and video)
* Red Cross aid convoy enters Syria’s eastern Ghouta, Reuters, March 15, 2018
Maidan icon Nadiya Savchenko faces arrest after claiming top Ukraine official ‘led snipers to central Kiev’ at the height of the ‘Maidan’ protest movement in early 2014, RT, March 15, 2018
Ukrainian MP Nadezhda Savchenko, who was lauded as a hero for her role in the Donbass military campaign and her prosecution in Russia, is now accused of plotting to blow up the national parliament in Kiev. The General Prosecutor’s Office in Kiev has requested that the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, strip Savchenko of legal immunity and allow her arrest…
[During the past four years, University of Ottawa researcher Ivan Katchanovski has documented the killings of dozens of protesters and police by sniper fire which took place in Maidan Square, Kyiv on February 20, 2014. His research as well as evidence presented in the interminable trials of those accused of the killings prove that the sniper shootings were perpetrated by the extremist, right-wing forces which overthrew the elected president Viktor Yanukovych. The shootings were a pivotal moment in the Feb 21, 2014 coup against Yanukovych. More recently, several of the foreign mercenaries that were brought into Ukraine to assist the sniper shootings have come forward with confessions. But Western media along with left-wing apologists have shunned and boycotted all this evidence because it contradicts their scenario claiming that ‘Russian intervention’ provoked the Ukraine crisis and Maidan coup. Read a selection of the evidence of the 2014 Maidan Square sniper shootings here.]
Trump’s latest torture-tainted nominations for secretary of state and CIA head recall failure to prosecute Bush-era abuses, by Nat Parry, Consortium News, March 14, 2018 The declining human rights standards on display with the Haspel and Pompeo nominations are the latest in a long line of policy failures that include the Obama administration’s lack of prosecutions of Bush-era torture.
‘Russian spy attack’ program special: What’s next for Russia and United Kingdom?, broadcast of RT‘s London-based ‘Going Underground’ program, March 15, 2018 (Host Afshin Rattansi speaks to journalist Lembit Opik, professor Piers Robinson, and conservative think-tank director Ben Harris-Quinney.)
The chumps at Canada’s Globe and Mail daily will promote anything that serves their anti-Russia agenda
[The lead news article in the March 15, 2018 Globe and Mail is an agitational piece calling on Canada to act more aggressively against Russia over the evidence-bare accusations of British Prime Minister Theresa May. She says the “Russian state” carried two attempted assassinations against on British soil on March 4 against two former Russian nationals using a chemical poison. “Canada and other Western allies offered little more than words of support…” laments the Globe article in its lead paragraph. Meanwhile, a Globe editorial on the same day chides Theresa May’s government and calls on it to follow the lead of the U.S. and Canada by adopting its own variant of a ‘Magnitsky Act‘.
[Not to be outdone, the weekday newsmagazine program, ‘The Current’, on Canada’s state-run broadcaster the CBC invites a Russia-hating ideologue onto its broadcast of March 15 to vent hatred against all things Russian. The guest is no less that Bill Browder, a former U.S. citizen become British citizen, twice convicted of financial crimes in Russian courts in 2013 and 2017. As the CBC program host leads him along, Browder accuses Britain of being ‘soft’ in its treatment of Russia. The host then leads a second anti-Russia guest to a conversation likening Theresa May’s accusations to parallel accusations that Russia has a hand in chemical weapons attacks in Syria.]
Canada on wrong side of Venezuelan conflict, op-ed commentary by Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star, Mar 15, 2018
Noam Chomsky, Danny Glover and 150 other activists slam U.S.-Canadian sanctions against Venezuela, open letter first published on March 9, 2018
The strange case of the Russian spy poisoning, by James O’Neill, published in Consortium News, March 13, 2018 (James O’Neill is a barrister and geopolitical analyst in Australia.) Applying the principle of cui bono – who benefits? – to the case of Sergei Skripal might lead investigators away from the Kremlin as the prime suspect and towards Western intelligence agencies
Expel Russian diplomats, ask for more powers – Theresa May’s plan over Sergei Skripal poisoning case, RT, Mar 14, 2018
* Russia calls UK’s ‘hostile’ actions a provocation, vows response, RT, Mar 14, 2018
* Britain’s presumption of guilt towards Russia invites conflict and chaos, op-ed commentary by Finian Cunningham, RT, Mar 14, 2018
* Corbyn under fire from own MPs over response to PM’s Russia statement, The Guardian, Mar 14, 2018
[Taking her cue from the appointment of the rightist Mike Pompeo as U.S. imperialism’s main point-man on foreign policy, British Prime Minister Theresa May is doing her part to ramp up the new cold war by expelling 23 Russian diplomats from that country. She claims the ‘Russia state’ conducted two attempted murders in England on March 8 using chemical poison. Her evidence? Why, none. ‘You don’t need to know any facts, just trust us’, say May and her ruling class partners. Their British state becomes a self-appointed judge, jury and executioner.]
Trump picks CIA torturer Gina Haspel to head the agency following appointment of extreme-rightist Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, report on Associated Press, by Deb Reichmann, March 14, 2018
[Canada and the rest of the United States’ NATO allies now have the right-wing extremist Mike Pompeo as their leader-in-chief on foreign policy matters. He is a declared opponent of the 2016 U.S.-Iran political agreement, he vows to continue the U.S. threats and war escalation against Russia, and he defends the torture record of the CIA he headed. Watch the NATO allies all line up like trained seals and pledge their subservience…]
‘Godmother of torture’ Gina Haspel should be in dock at The Hague, not head of CIA says CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou in RT interview, RT, Mar 13, 2018
‘Enough’: U.S. students come together in spectacular walkout to end gun violence, The Guardian, Mar 14, 2018
The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn claims the Syrian government is waging a war of ethnic cleansing. His evidence? None
[Patrick Cockburn has assembled and published on March 13, 2018 in The Independent a concocted story that the Syrian government is carrying out a war of “ethnic cleansing” in the Eastern Ghouta district of the capital city Damascus. His article is headlined, ‘Syria’s war of ethnic cleansing’. It is truly an odd concoction because the article details Turkey’s military assault in Afrin, northern Syria which is, unarguably Cockburn explains, a war against the Kurdish people of that region, that is, a war directed at a specific ethnic minority (nationality).
[As to Cockburn’s claim that an “ethnic war” is being waged against Eastern Ghouta, his argument consists of several opinions of self-declared opponents of the Syrian government. Cockburn writes, “As the Turkish army closes in on Afrin and the Syrian army penetrates deeply into the opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, people in both areas fear that they will be the victims of enforced demographic change.” He quotes the opinion of UK resident Rami Abdulrahman as to why Syrian government actions in Eastern Ghouta are equivalent to those of the invading foreign power Turkey in Afrin: “President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have taken 60 per cent of Ghouta and [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s forces have taken 60 per cent of Afrin.” As to who, exactly, is the ‘ethnic minority’ in Eastern Ghouta being targetted, we are left in the dark. Cockburn declines to enlighten us.
[Patrick Cockburn’s article is reprinted in CounterPunch on March 14.]
U.S. refusal to negotiate nuclear de-escalation with Russia increases likelihood of nuclear war, by Marjorie Cohen, Truthout, March 12, 2018
Novichok – toxic questions about chemical at center of Skripal saga in Britain, including Russia’s UN-verified destruction of its entire chemical weapons capacity in 2017, RT, Mar 13, 2018
No British media outlet will work in Russia if London shuts down RT says Russian foreign ministry, RT, Mar 13, 2018
Russia won’t respond to UK ultimatum until samples of alleged chemical weapon received, says foreign minister Lavrov, RT.com, Mar 13, 2018
… “We have certainly heard the ultimatum voiced in London,” Lavrov said on Tuesday. “The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry has commented on our attitude to this,” he added referring to Maria Zakharova branding of May’s appearance in Parliament as a “circus.”
He added that a case of alleged use of chemical weapons should be handled through the proper channel, being the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – of which both Russia and Britain are members.
“As soon as the rumors came up that the poisoning of Skripal involved a Russia-produced agent, which almost the entire English leadership has been fanning up, we sent an official request for access to this compound so that our experts could test it in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC],” Lavrov said. So far the request has been ignored by the British side, he added…
Skripal crisis: Russia rejects UK ultimatum; demands chemical samples, news analysis by Alexander Mercouris, The Duran, Mar 13, 2018
Russian to judgement, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Mar 13, 2018 (Craig Murray was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010)
U.S. prepared for military action in Syria if United Nations doesn’t stop the bloodshed, Nikki Haley tells UN Security Council, Reuters, Mar 12, 2018
* Lavrov warns of ‘grave consequences’ of U.S. talk of new strikes against Syria, TASS, Mar 13, 2018
* Russian Ministry of Defense says it will respond if Russians are harmed in U.S. threats against Damascus, RT, Mar 13, 2018
… “Following the [planned chemical weapon] provocation, the United States is planning to accuse Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons,” according to head of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov. In the aftermath it would “present the international community the so-called ‘evidence’ of the apparent mass deaths of civilians at the hands of the Syrian government and “supporting it, the Russian leadership.”
In response, Washington will strike the government quarters of Damascus, the general has alleged
Turkey poised to open a military front in Iraq, by Zülfikar Dogan, Al-Monitor, March 12, 2018
The new cold war is here and now has three major powers, by Michael T. Klare, The Nation, March 8, 2018
Behind the U.S.-North Korea detente, interview with Tim Shorrock and Christine Ahn, broadcast on The Real News Network, with host Aaron Maté, March 9, 2018 (Tim Shorrock writes for The Nation and the Korea Center for Investigative Reporting; Christine Ahn is founder and international coordinator of Women Cross DMZ and co-founder of the Korea Policy Institute.) Part two of the interview, with Tim Shorrock, The Real News Network, Mar 10, 2018
Historic turning point: U.S. agrees to summit with North Korea, by Zoom In Korea, March 9, 2018
Transcript of Vladimir Putin’s interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, broadcast by NBC on March 9, 2018, published on the website of the President of Russia
* NBC’s interview with Vladimir Putin, news analysis by Ray McGovern, Consortium News, March 12, 2018
* Russia’s next-generation hypersonic and nuclear weapons are ‘not a bluff but the new reality’, says Russian Defense Ministry, RT.com, Mar 12, 2018
* Text of Vladimir Putin’s address to the Russian Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018, published on the website of the President of Russia
* The implications of Russia’s new weapons systems, by Andrei Martyanov, UNZ Review, March 5, 2018
Caracas international solidarity meeting declares ‘Venezuela is not alone, we are all with her!’, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Mar 9, 2018
* Venezuelan and Colombians gather in the border for peace and self-determination of the people, by Katrina Kozarek, Venezuela Analysis, Mar 8, 2018
* Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current urges support for Maduro in Venezuela’s May 20 presidential election, interview with BZRC leader Kevin Rangel, published on Venezuela Analysis, March 8, 2018
New Zealand foreign minister says ‘no evidence’ Russia shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 or meddled in U.S. election in 2016, report on News Hub, March 10, 2018 (includes 12-minute video interview with New Zealand Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters) [In the interview, Foreign Minister Peters challenges the anti-Russia lies, allegations and conspiracy theories aggressively argued by the News Hub host.]
Russian President Vladimir Putin in feature, 90-minute interview with NBC‘s Megyn Kelly, March 9, 2018
[NBC‘s Megyn Kelly interviewed Vladimir Putin in Kaliningrad some days following Putin’s historic speech in Moscow on March 1 to the Russian Federal Assembly. In his speech, Putin announced that Russia has succeeded in thwarting the United States drive to achieve nuclear first-strike capacity. Russia is matching the U.S. research and development of new, offensive missile systems.
[NBC titles its broadcast ‘Confronting Putin’, which describes well Megyn Kelly’s performance. She spends a great deal of her time in the interview voicing ‘Russian interference’ conspiracy theories and goading President Putin to respond. The full interview, sub-titled in English, can be viewed here on YouTube.]
When government drew the color line, book review by Jason DeParle, published in New York Review of Books, print edition of Feb 22, 2018 Reviewing: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein, Liveright, 345 pp., ISBN-13:978-1631492853
… Richard Rothstein, an education analyst at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, thinks John Roberts is a bad historian. The Color of Law, his powerful history of governmental efforts to impose housing segregation, was written in part as a retort. “Residential segregation was created by state action,” he writes, not merely by amorphous “societal” influences. While private discrimination also deserves some share of the blame, Rothstein shows that “racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments…segregated every metropolitan area in the United States.”
‘Short of engaging in combat’, UK has Saudi Arabia’s back in Yemen war, op-ed commentary by Dan Glazebrook, published on RT.com, March 9, 2018 (also published here on Dan Glazebrook’s website)
London was not a coincidental choice of Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince for his first official visit to the Western world. The UK has been deeply involved in the brutal war the Saudis are waging on Yemen.
When the Yemen war began three years ago this month, then-foreign minister Philip Hammond explained that Britain’s policy was to support the war “in every practical way short of engaging in combat”. He has been true to his word. Since then, not only has Britain licenced over £6 billion ($8.3 billion) worth of military equipment, but has supplied no less than 166 personnel to assist the Saudi arms forces, including several officers deployed in the air-force control room, advising on targeting…
Fury as UK signs huge deal to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, RT.com, March 9, 2018
British firm BAE Systems will sell 48 Typhoon fighter jets to the Saudis after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Prime Minister Theresa May for talks…
RT’s ‘Going Underground’ program interviews Professor Theodore Postol of MIT and Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy, on the current situation in Syria, broadcast on March 10, 2018, with host Afshin Rattansi Theodore Postol: ‘It’s extraordinary how inaccurate the reporting in the West on Syria has been’
Russia considering course change after new challenges in Syria, by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor, March 9, 2018
* Syrian rebels agree to evacuate Qaeda-linked fighters from Eastern Ghouta, by Anne Barnard, New York Times, March 10, 2018
* First group of militants surrender arms and leave East Ghouta after Russia-brokered talks, RT.com, Mar 10, 2018
* Syrian rebels in eastern Ghouta agree to evacuate imprisoned Nusra fighters, Reuters, Mar 9, 2018
* Snipers slam shut an escape hatch from Eastern Ghouta, by Anne Barnard, New York Times, Mar 9, 2018 BEIRUT– Rebel snipers are preventing Syrian civilians from leaving the besieged area of eastern Ghouta through a corridor opened this week by the government to facilitate evacuations, a United Nations official said…
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump will meet in May, The Hankyoreh, Mar 10, 2018
[The United States is claiming victory that its threats against North Korea have created potential diplomatic breakthroughs. Western media is dutifully playing along. Never mentioned as decisive factors are the steadfastness of the North Korean people and the widespread antiwar sentiment of the people of South Korea.
[Also playing along is South Korea National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong. He told U.S. media on March 8, “[President Trump’s] leadership and his maximum pressure policy, together with international solidarity, brought us to this juncture.” And, “The Republic of Korea, the United States, and our partners stand together in insisting that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, and that the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions.” The full text of his remarks is here.
[No sitting U.S. president has ever met with a leader of North Korea.]
South Korea special envoys arrive in US to share results of meeting with Kim Jong-un, The Hankyoreh, Mar.8, 2018
Dearth of Korean experts in Trump administration could pose problems for future negotiations with North Korea, news analysis by Yi Yong-in, Washington correspondent, The Hankyoreh, March 9, 2018
Reports suggest U.S. is scaling back the military hardware in U.S.-South Korea military exercises planned for April 2018, The Hankyoreh, March 9, 2018
Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less about false accusations’, NBC News, Mar 10, 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told NBC News that he “couldn’t care less” if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin.
In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC‘s Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote that put Donald Trump in the White House…
When will there be a film on Winston Churchill showing the barbaric monster with the blood of millions on his hands?, by Shree Paradkar, columnist, Toronto Star, Mar 9, 2018 Imperialistic pop culture has enshrined Churchill only as a military great, a fun drunk, a loyal monarchist with a penchant for fine speech and a flair for loquacious prose. But the British PM lacerated the world with tragedies, profiting from plunders and mass murders in India, Kenya and elsewhere.
How Washington provoked—and perhaps lost—a new nuclear arms race, comments by Stephen F. Cohen, published in The Nation, March 7, 2018. Vladimir Putin declared on March 1 that the long U.S. attempt to gain nuclear superiority over Russia has failed. He said he hopes Washington “will listen now”.
[The Nation publishes here a transcript of the views of Stephen Cohen voiced on March 6, 2018 in his weekly appearance on the John Batchelor Show, a weekday, 9 pm to 1 am, radio program on WABC-AM in New York City (and on stations in other cities in the U.S.).
President Moon Jae-in acknowledged the difficulties in ultimately achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but sent a resolute message while explaining his vision and solutions for inter-Korean relations to conservative leaders in a midday meeting with the heads of five parties on Mar. 7 at the Blue House’s Spring House reception room…
What the U.S. government is not telling you about those ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba, by Peter Kornbluh, The Nation, Mar 7, 2018 The key victims were CIA agents. Not a single tourist was affected, and the island remains among the safest countries in the world to visit.
… Militants in Eastern Ghouta have been blocking civilians from leaving the suburb, opening fire on the humanitarian corridor that was established by the Syrian governmental forces and the Russian Center for Reconciliation on February 27.
California’s Democratic Party primary and the sham of elections, by Scott Tucker, Truthdig, Mar 8, 2018
Prospects for diplomatic solution to North Korea nuclear issue are brightening, news analysis by Park Byong-su, senior staff writer, and Noh Ji-won, staff reporter, The Hankyoreh, Mar.7, 2018
South Korean special delegation to travel to U.S. on March 8, news report in The Hankyoreh, Mar.7, 2018
The members of the special delegation to North Korea plan to visit the U.S. on March 8 to explain to the Donald Trump administration the outcome of their visit after being given the “optimal conditions” from leader Kim Jong-un to mediate dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.
Afterwards, the delegation members plan to visit China, Russia, and Japan to share the content of their discussions and solicit cooperation. The plans mean South and North will effectively be joining forces to enlist support from the other countries in the Six-Party Talks framework…
U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises not likely to sidetrack progress in inter-Korean relations, The Hankyoreh, Mar.7, 2018
North Korea: We could finally see an historic agreement, by Vijay Prashad, AlterNet March 7, 2018
‘Progressive’ journalists join the Russiagate bandwagon, by Ray McGovern, Consortium News, Mar 7, 2018
A lack of skepticism has characterized much of the reporting on Russiagate, with undue credibility being given to questionable sources such the Steele dossier. Now progressives like Jane Mayer (New Yorker, author of Dark Money) and Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) are joining the bandwagon…
Breaking news: The two Koreas meet and set out on the path to peace, report on Zoom In Korea, Mar 6, 2018, (including text of full press announcement by the South Korean special envoy to Pyongyang)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agrees to summit talks with South Korea next month, brief report by Associated Press, March 6, 2018
South Korea’s presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong said the two Koreas have agreed to hold their third-ever summit at a tense border village in late April…
[Vladimir Putin’s March 1, 2018 speech reporting that Russia is keeping pace with the U.S. nuclear weapons escalation has left the imperialist world stunned. Imperialist media is trying to manufacture a ‘major new threat to the world by Russia’, but this is falling flat. No less than the mayor of Tampa Bay responded with a yawn when journalists asked his response to the brief video image accompanying Putin’s speech of missiles descending on what looked like the Florida peninsula. The mayor is implicitly confirming what sane people know–the nuclear threat to the world emanates from Washington, not from Moscow or Pyongyang.
[The announcement on March 6 that the two Korean republics are taking initiatives to reduce military tensions on the peninsula, possibly leading to a de-nuclearization is another stunner. It’s a big climbdown for the U.S., even if Donald Trump and Western media are trying to paint the situation as a reversal by North Korea. Media is headlining the story as though resulting from Trump administration action. But it is the U.S. which has said all along that it would not engage with the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea without unilateral concessions by the DPRK. The U.S. is now scrambling to climb down from such ultimatums; Trump-friendly Western media is happy to help out.
[The situation exposes the liberal and left-wing commentators who have argued the wrong-headed thesis of ‘two crazies’ in Washington and Pyonyang with their fingers on the nuclear button. Yes, there is a crazy in Washington. But he does not have unrestricted power to unleash a crazy nuclear act. In Pyongyang, meanwhile, is a leader who has carefully weighed the history of imperialist aggression against his and other countries and is acting in consequence.]
Decadence and Downfall: Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party, 2016 documentary film, 76 minutes, on the rise of the Pahlavi family dynasty in Iran and the overthrow of the last shah of Iran in 1979produced by the BBC‘s ‘Storyville’, watch here on YouTube
Six ways the Democratic Party-led ‘Resistance’ gave Trump a dictator’s toolkit, by Lee Camp, published on Truthdig, March 5, 2018 (Lee camp hosts the weekly comedy program on RT.com, ‘Redacted Tonight’)
The evidence is damning. And the silence underscores the arrogance. More than seven weeks after a devastating report from the media watch group FAIR, top executives and prime-time anchors at MSNBC still refuse to discuss how the network’s obsession with Russia has thrown minimal journalistic standards out the window.
FAIR’s study, MSNBC ignores catastrophic U.S.-backed war in Yemen, documented a picture of extreme journalistic malfeasance at MSNBC…
The day the BBC decided Putin murdered his mate, RT.com, Mar 6, 2018
Crying at the funeral of a friend is a sign you murdered them, according to top journalists at the BBC. Well, only if you’re Russian, and your name is Vladimir Putin. Shedding tears at the last goodbye for former mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak, embracing said friend’s wife, and showing emotion was a giveaway of blood on the Russian president’s hands, apparently…
Syria war: What the mainstream media isn’t telling you about Eastern Ghouta, op-ed by Rania Khalek, in RT.com, March 5, 2018
Turkey seeking to take key town in Afrin operation, the battle promises to be ugly, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, March 5, 2018
Vladimir Putin’s speech on March 1, 2018: ‘Are you listening, America?’, commentary by Scott Ritter, published in Truthdig, March 2, 2018 (This article was re-posted on March 5, 2018 to the main news page of A Socialist In Canada, along with related readings compiled by A Socialist In Canada.
South Korea sends delegation to North Korea to probe de-nuclearization talks, report by Reuters, March 3, 2018
[The announcement on March 3 that South Korea is taking initiatives to bring about a meeting of North Korean and U.S. leaders with a view to de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula is a stunner. Donald Trump now says he is open to dialogue. It’s a big climbdown by the U.S., Trump’s accompanying bravado notwithstanding. It also exposes the liberal and left-wing who have argued the thesis of ‘two crazies’ in Washington and Pyonyang with their fingers on the nuclear button. Yes, there is a crazy in Washington, but thankfully he does not have unrestricted power to unleash a crazy nuclear act. Meanwhile, in Pyongyang there is a leader who has carefully weighed the history of imperialist aggression against his country and others and has acted to protect his country and thus the world.]
Musings by U.S. leaders of steel import tariffs may weaken U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance, report on Zoom In Korea, Mar 3, 2018
The Cold War: A world history, book review by Jonathan Steele, published in London Review of Books, print edition of Jan 25, 2018. Read it here in pdf format: Book review, The Cold War Reviewing: The Cold War: A World History, by Odd Arne Westad, Allen Lane, Aug 2017, 710 pp ISBN 9780241011317
[Some 25,000 people marched in protest in the Slovakia capital of Bratislava on March 2. Rallies took place in about 20 other cities and towns in NATO and EU-member Slovakia and in some other European capitals.]
[For background on the nuclear arms race which the United States has escalated for some years ago now, read: The new nuclear race: Why North Korea isn’t the real story, by Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist, Sept 20, 2017, plus related materials, published on New Cold War.org, September 2017. The United States military, let us recall, spends ten times more than its counterpart in Russia and three times more than China. The U.S. accounts for 36 per cent of the world’s military expenditure and is the world’s largest peddler of arms.]
Trump extends anti-Russia sanctions for another year, RT.com, March 2, 2018
President Donald Trump has extended the sanctions against Russia and Russian individuals by another year. The sanctions were imposed by former President Barack Obama in March 2014, in response to the political crisis in Ukraine…
Write for love, not money? Journalists appalled, attack Media Lens, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, March 2, 2018
Patrick Cockburn relays Western government claims against Syrian government regarding Eastern Ghouta, report by Patrick Cockburn in The Independent, Feb 27, 2018
[Patrick Cockburn is the venerable Middle East correspondent for the UK Independent. His article on Feb 27, 2018 is headlined, ‘Trapped in eastern Ghouta: How both sides are preventing civilians escaping the horror in Syria siege’. The first sentence reads, “Syrian rebels and government forces are both preventing civilians fleeing the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, according to a teacher who has been trying to get his family out.” But his article makes no such case. In his account, it is the right-wing jihadist forces fighting to retain control of Eastern Ghouta who are blocking the humanitarian movement of civilians from Eastern Ghouta. He dismisses the efforts of the Russian government to establish humanitarian corridors for the movement of civilians and aid, and he dismisses the ceasefire agreement in December 2016 that ended the violent conflict in the eastern districts of the city of Aleppo (related article by Roger Annis here).
[Cockburn’s article (re-posted in the eclectic CounterPunch on March 2) does contain a rare admission normally silenced in Western media: that the right-wing jihadist forces in Eastern Ghouta have for years directed mortar fire and car bombs against civilians in Syria’s capital city of Damascus. Cockburn’s Independent colleague Robert Fisk, no stranger himself to blaming any and all sides without distinction in Syria, reports on February 23: “From within the Syrian military, there are attempts to explain the ruthlessness of the assault [against Eastern Ghouta]. Thousands of soldiers have been killed in the battles around Ghouta since 2013; vast military “resources” – the word the army uses – have been poured into this battle over the years. Most of the car bomb attacks in Damascus and the constant shelling across the centre of the capital for the past four years have come from Islamist forces in Ghouta, especially from the Douma district.”
[One week earlier, Cockburn penned an article dismissing the condemnations against OXFAM workers for paying for sex from destitute women and girls in Haiti. CounterPunch also reprinted that article. Cockburn wrote, “Though nobody died in the Oxfam sex scandal, it is described as “terrible” and “heart-breaking”, words normally reserved for tragedies such as the enslavement and rape of thousands of Yazidi women by Isis in Iraq.” He goes on to defend the failed record of the large charity and NGO industries in Haiti. They are complicit in the longstanding imperialist gangup against Haiti which has seen the country stripped of its democracy and national sovereignty. That story here.]
Amnesty International winks at Trump’s economic attack on Venezuelans, by Joe Emersberger, published in CounterPunch, March 2, 2018
* Candidates agree to postpone Venezuela’s presidential election to May 20, Telesur, March 1, 2018
* Maduro announces 58 per cent rise in minimum wage, 67 per cent rise in food vouchers, Telesur, March 2, 2018
* Wall Street Journal’s epic distortion of Colombian and Venezuelan refugees, by Joe Emersberger, published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Feb 18, 2018, also published in Telesur, Feb 19, 2018
* Venezuela’s Communist Party and Homeland for All party back Nicholas Maduro’s presidential candidacy, by Rachael Boothroyd Rojas, Venezuela Analysis, Feb 27, 2018
* Text of Feb 26 electoral agreement between Communist Party and governing socialist party (PSUV) in Venezuela, English text published on Venezuela Analysis, March 1, 2018
The wrath of the centurions: The My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968, book review by Max Hasting, London Review of Books, print issue of Jan 25, 2018 Reviewing: My Lai: Vietnam, 1968 and the Descent Into Darkness, by Howard Jones, Oxford, June 2017, 504 pp
The Nazis used it, we use it: Alex de Waal on the return of famine as a weapon of war, London Review of Books, Vol 39, #12, June 15, 2017 [In his essay’s survey of 20th century military/political atrocities, the writer makes a few scant references to the 1932-34 famine in Ukraine. He calls it “Stalin’s starvation of Ukraine from 1932 until 1934 (now known as the Holodomor)” and “Stalin’s administration of famine in Ukraine”. He offers no proof to substantiate the claim; it is stated as historic fact. There was tragic famine during those years in Ukraine. Famine also occurred in other areas of the Soviet Union during the same period. See the extensive documentation on that here in the New Cold War.org.]
Western media dismayed as Vladimir Putin announces that Russia has matched U.S. hypersonic missile development, report by Associated Press, March 1, 2018
[Western media and governments are portraying Vladmir Putin’s March 1 announcement (see report immediately below) of new generations of Russian-designed and built missiles as a new ‘Russian nuclear arms race’. This propaganda drive carefully omits mention of the years-long hypersonic missile development by the United States along with all manner of other research and development of new generations of nuclear weapons. For full background on the nuclear arms race which the United States has escalated for some years ago now, read: The new nuclear race: Why North Korea isn’t the real story, by Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist, Sept 20, 2017, plus related materials, published on New Cold War.org, September 2017.]
Russian president Vladimir Putin unveils new Russian nuclear arsenal, RT.com, March 1, 2018
… Putin stressed that Russia would not need all these new weapons if its legitimate concerns had not been ignored by the U.S. and its allies. “Nobody wanted to talk with us on the core of the problem. Nobody listened to us. Now you listen!” he said.
He suggested that the U.S. abandon its costly and inefficient hostile plans towards Russia and start negotiating a security arrangement which would take Moscow’s interests into account. “To those who for the last 15 years have been trying to fan an arms race, achieve unilateral advantage against Russia, impose sanctions, which are illegal from the standpoint of international law and are aimed at holding back the development of our country, including in the military area, I have this to say: All the things you were trying to prevent through your policies have already happened. You have failed to hold Russia back,” Putin said.
“You now have to acknowledge this reality, confirm that everything I said is no bluff – which it isn’t – think for some time, send into retirement the people stuck in the past and incapable of looking into the future, [and] stop rocking the boat that we all ride in and which is called planet Earth,” he said…
* Putin’s missiles are pointing at Tampa Bay but local mayors take laidback view, by Richard Luscombe, The Guardian, March 1, 2018
[Isn’t this news report in the anti-Russia Guardian an explicit recognition that many middle class Americans do not regard Russia as a threat to them?]
PM Jacinda Ardern makes visit to Australia, asks Canberra not to deport New Zealand citizens to New Zealand if they have never set foot in the country, ABC.au.net, March 1, 2018 Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has defended deporting New Zealand citizens as moral, even though the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern says it makes no sense for someone who has never set foot in her country to be sent there.
Related: New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters appointed Minister of Nuclear Disarmament, News Hub.co,nz, Feb 27, 2018 In her first foreign policy speech on February 27, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adhern said, ‘The greatest challenge we have today comes from North Korea, situated right here in our region’
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, February 2018 (further below, find world news headlines for January 2018)
British journalist Iona Craig wins George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for her reporting on U.S. raid in Yemen in January 2017 killing civilians, by the Pulitzer Center, Feb 26, 2018
* Iona Craig’s award-winning reporting on Yemen in 2017, here in The Intercept
* Interview with Iona Craig, interview by ‘The Current’ weekday newsmagazine on Canada’s state-run broadcaster CBC, Feb 28, 2017 [Canada’s government has come under intense fire domestically for permitting the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, which together with the U.S. and other regional dictatorships has been waging a cruel war for years against the people of Yemen.]
Syria’s tragedy, America’s crime: The collapse of national sovereignty, by Patrick Lawrence, published on his website, Feb 25, 2018 (article also appears in Salon Magazine)
… The three foreign interventions into Syria just described [U.S., Turkey, Israel] now fill daily press reports from the region. Each one is an open-and-shut breach of international law. I mentioned the original sins committed during Syria’s seven-year nightmare. We need to review these to understand what it is we witness now. While one cannot say for sure, I am halfway certain that had those earlier crimes not been perpetrated, the news from Syria today would be other than what it is.
Why Russia is emerging as the world’s indispensable diplomatic power, by Patrick Lawrence, published on his website, Feb 22, 2018 (article also appears in The Nation)
… I am well aware of the perils arising from any suggestion that Russia is up to anything but evil in all it does. The arguments in this line have never impressed me when placed against perfectly discernible realities, and they do not now. Too often, the operative assumption is that however Moscow describes its intentions they must be otherwise, for Russians never mean what they say. This is amateur logic on the face of it, but never mind that. In most cases—all of those noted here—one need only consult a map to recognize that Moscow’s interests lie where it indicates they lie. It wants a stable, secular Syria and a Middle East committed to regional security agreements (as favored by Iran, among others). It does not gain as Ukraine, with which Russia has long, dense, economic ties among much else, drifts toward failed-state status. There is much in it for the Russian Far East if North Korea can be brought into a regionally interdependent economy.
… Hostilities between the Assad government in Damascus and some Syrians erupted, as they did in numerous neighboring nations, in the course of the Arab Spring. What ensued in Syria could have been termed a civil war only for a brief interim. By 2012, and possibly earlier, the Obama administration authorized the first CIA operations intended to depose the Assad government. To this we must add Turkey’s interventions, motivated partly by Ankara’s animosity toward the Kurdish minority and partly by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s daydreams of a neo-Ottoman restoration across the region…
* Russia’s call for Turkey-Syria dialogue over Afrin irritates Ankara, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Feb 27, 2018
* Syrian Kurds angered by Western silence on Afrin, by Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Feb 25, 2018
* Czech authorities release Syrian Kurd leader, won’t follow Turkey’s request for extradition, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Feb 27, 2018
Russiagate revisited, by Jackson Lears, published in London Review of Books online blog, Feb 22, 2018 (Jackson Lears is the Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University and Editor in Chief of the Raritan Quarterly Review.)
The anti-Russian hysteria in Washington has slipped beyond self-parody. We now have front-row seats in a theatre of the absurd, watching the media furor explode after Robert Mueller’s ‘indictments’ of 13 Russians and three Russian companies for interfering in the 2016 presidential elections.
Mueller’s actions deserve the scare quotes because they are not really indictments at all. The accused parties will never be extradited or brought to trial. Nor is it clear that their actions rise to the level of crimes. The supposed indictments are merely dramatic accusations, a giant publicity stunt.
Even if they were real indictments, they would not be convictions. American journalists seem to have forgotten that distinction…
Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit speech enhances his standing as UK prime minister in waiting, op-ed commentary by John Wight, RT.com, Feb 27, 2018 [The text of Jeremy Corbyn’s February 26, 2018 speech in Coventry, England on the topic of Brexit is here. In it, Corbyn stated, “Let us learn the lessons of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and be clear that we will not take our country down the road of regime change wars again.” The words ‘Russia’, ‘Ukraine’, ‘Syria’ or ‘Korea’ do not appear in the speech; these are areas of British political and military ‘regime change’ engagement.]
Armed and dangerous: If police don’t have to protect the public, what good are they?, weekly commentary by John W. Whitehead, published on the Rutherford Institute website, Feb 26, 2018 (John Whitehead is a constitutional attorney, founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, and author of the 2015 book Battlefield America: The War on the American People.)
… So when police in Florida had to deal with a 19-year-old embarking on a shooting rampage inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. [on Feb 14, 2018], what did they do? Nothing.
There were four armed police officers, including one cop who was assigned to the school as a resource officer, on campus during that shooting. All four cops stayed outside the school with their weapons drawn (three of them hid behind their police cars). Not a single one of those cops, armed with deadly weapons and trained for exactly such a dangerous scenario, entered the school to confront the shooter. Seventeen people, most of them teenagers, died while the cops opted not to intervene. Let that sink in a moment.
Now before your outrage bubbles over, consider that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed (most recently in 2005) that police have no constitutional duty to protect members of the public from harm. Yes, you read that correctly…
Gun control is a lost cause in America, op-ed commentary by Michael Adams, Globe and Mail, Feb 27, 2018 (Michael Adams is president of the Environics Institute polling firm and author of Could It Happen Here? Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit.)
* Why the shooting will continue, by Margaret Kimberley, senior columnist and editor, Black Agenda Report, Feb 28, 2018
* Will a boycott hurt the NRA? Take a look at Bill O’Reilly, by Anna North, Vox.com, Feb 27, 2018
* Canada’s Mountain Equipment Coop sport store chain to decide whether to drop outdoor brands owned by U.S. gun manufacturer, CBC News, Feb 26, 2018
Two excellent analyses of the situation in Syria, by Alexander Mercouris:
* East Ghouta: the last great battle of the Syrian war?, by Alexander Mercouris, The Duran, Feb 26, 2018
* Turkey, Russia and the Kurds: the struggle for Afrin Russia tries to broker a diplomatic solution to the Afrin conflict, by Alexander Mercouris, The Duran, Feb 25, 2018
[These two articles appear in The Duran, a website founded in 2015. Not so long after its launch, the website came to reflect the views of right-wing populists, whose idea of defending Russia from imperialism’s new cold war is to support the biggest cold warrior of them all (in the Clinton-Bush-Obama continuity), Donald Trump. The writings of Alexander Mercouris are a rare exception to that outlook in the The Duran.
[The author misses two important issues shaping the present situation. One, he only hints at Russia’s longstanding constitutional proposals to the Syrian government to accept Kurdish autonomy. Those proposals remains a key issue; for example, the recent all-Syria congress held in Sochi, Russia in January 2018 created a 150-member constitutional committee to work further on political solutions for Syria’s future.
[Two, he buys into the fiction of U.S.-Turkey conflict over the status of the Kurds in northern Syria. He writes, “[U.S. support to the Kurdish military forces] all but guarantees that the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds – and between Turkey and the U.S. – in Syria will continue and will escalate.” But Turkey and the U.S. know and understand what the other is doing and why. Turkey must put on a show for its domestic population of giving no quarter to the Kurds, while the U.S. is maneuvering to use the Kurds for its interests all the while preparing to betray them. In their Afrin intervention, Russia and Syria are parrying the NATO partners’ moves very well. But it’s all very unstable and dangerous–after all, Turkey is a NATO member, and NATO’s fundamental motto is ‘an injury to one of us is an injury to all of us’.]
Syria ceasefire resolution approved by UN Security Council, no date established for its start, ABC.au.net, from reports in AP and Reuters, Feb 24, 2018
… Sponsors Kuwait and Sweden amended the resolution in a last-minute attempt to satisfy Russia, dropping a demand that the ceasefire take effect in 72 hours.
… There is no set date for the ceasefire to take effect, but the resolution demands that [when and if a ceasefire is implemented] it be followed immediately by access for humanitarian convoys and medical teams to evacuate the critically ill and wounded…
* UN Security Council approves resolution on Feb 24 for 30-day ceasefire in Syria, RT.com, Feb 24, 2018
* Full text of UN Security Council resolution 2401 (2018)
* Security Council demands 30-day cessation of hostilities in Syria to enable humanitarian aid delivery, unanimously adopting resolution 2401 (2018), report by United Nations Press Service, Feb 24, 2018 (includes excerpts of discussion at Feb 24 Security Council meeting which adopted the resolution)
* Right-wing militias in Eastern Ghouta district of Syria’s capital city Damascus disrupt UN Security Council-demanded ceasefire, report on RT.com, Feb 27, 2018
* 150-strong Syrian constitutional committee agreed to at Sochi congress, RT.com, Jan 30, 2018
#Russiagate skeptics take a beating, by Matt Tabibi, Rolling Stone, Feb 22, 2018 We don’t know for sure where the Mueller probe is going, but don’t dare say that out loud
The hysteria over Russian bots has reached new levels, by Thomas Frank, The Guardian, Feb 27, 2018
[This column in the anti-Russia Guardian is an example of the growing numbers of mainstream publications or commentators who are discomforted by the absurdities, if not false claims, of the official investigation of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. That investigation is headed by Robert Mueller, the longest-serving head of the FBI and the present head of Special Counsel investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. The discomforted are waking up to the civil rights consequences of allowing the FBI and the entire machine of the U.S. state and government (including the Donald Trump part of that) as heroic defenders of democracy.]
The authoritarians who silence Syria questions, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, Feb 27, 2018
… Brian Whitaker’s latest outburst [in The Guardian] is directed against the impudence of a handful of British academics, including experts in the study of propaganda, in setting up a panel – the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media – to “provide a source of reliable, informed and timely analysis for journalists, publics and policymakers” on Syria. The researchers include Tim Hayward of Edinburgh University and Piers Robinson of Sheffield University…
New cold war hysteria and anti-Slavic racism in full flight in Canada as NATO peddles ‘Canadian Russiagate’: NATO researcher warns of Russian interference in 2019 Canadian election, by Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press, published in state-run CBC News, Feb 27, 2018
Reporter investigating corporate crime in NATO-member Slovakia killed, from reports in AP and Reuters, in ABC.net.au, Feb 25, 2018
[The assassination of 27-year old Jan Kuciak follows the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in NATO-member Malta on October 16, 2017 . She was a leading reporter in that country of corporate crime in Malta and Europe. The latest news of that investigation is here.]
Who murdered Malta’s most famous journalist?, The Atlantic (conservative monthly magazine), Feb 18, 2018 Some member sof the European Parliament are so concerned about the situation in Malta that they have called for the creation of a special rapporteur to monitor the criminal investigation in Malta
… Long before she began investigating the Maltese leads unearthed in the Panama Papers, Caruana Galizia’s one-woman blog, Running Commentary, drove the news cycle in the EU’s smallest member state. She had reported on money laundering, the Italian mafia, and a controversial program begun in 2014 that allows wealthy foreigners to purchase Maltese passports; that program has effectively turned the country into a backdoor to Europe, especially for wealthy Russians. Damning scoops tied the prime minister’s wife, an aide, and one of his ministers to suspicious financial transactions through a Maltese bank to a Panamanian shell company; another scoop alleged that the aide had personally profited from the sale of Maltese passports. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called a snap election last summer following the report about his wife—and won…
Turkey’s march on Manbij in north-central Syria stalled by wall of reality, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Feb 23, 2018
[The Al-Monitor writer voices the canard of “Moscow giving Turkey the green light on Afrin” when NATO-member Turkey undertook its invasion of the Afrin region of Syria on January 20. This is another of the frequent voicing in Western media, and by Western ‘leftists’, of the crazy idea that Russia would go to war with a NATO country (Turkey) in order to protect U.S.-allied Kurdish forces.
[The writer fails to explain to his readers that two, not just one, NATO country occupying Syrian soil have been dealt serious setbacks by Syrian-Kurdish cooperation in Afrin–Turkey, yes, but also the U.S.]
RT editors still have naive habit of believing Donald Trump’s words, report in RT.com on Feb 23, 2018 titled:’Get ISIS and go home’: Trump bucks Pentagon & State Dept. on ultimate U.S. goal in Syria’
[RT’s news reporting excels that of Western media. It rarely contains downright falsehoods as in the above report. But its columnists too-often intimate that Trump represents some kind of divergence from U.S. imperial policy, while embarassingly, a few columnists are downright pro-Trump.]
Some U.S. proponents of ‘election meddling’ conspiracy accusations against Russia getting cold feet, interview with anti-Russia writer Masha Gessen on anti-Russia Democracy Now!, Feb 23, 2018
[A curious phenomenon is happening amongst some of those in the West who have been peddling the allegations of ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The accusations are proving so unfounded and increasingly stale that some of its proponents are taking their distance. An example is the anti-Russia writer Masha Gessen, who resides in the U.S., interviewed by the anti-Russia Democracy Now! outlet on February 23, 2018. Gessen refers to Russia as a “mafia state” and the sub-title of her latest book (written for Western buyers) is ‘How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia’. She is now softpedaling her claims of ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2016 election, telling Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, “It was not bold. It was not sophisticated. And we don’t know and probably never will know whether it had any impact.”
[Goodman, for her part, speaks not of ‘alleged’ Russian meddling but “the Russian election meddling” as established fact. The interview consists of the one playing off the other in their various conspiracies of the supposed actions of the government led by President Vladimir Putin. Here is an example of one of several all-but incomprehensible questions put by Goodman to Gessen: “Also, in terms of the noise that’s out there, I mean, in social media, the amount of people in the United States—and, of course, this is outside, this is foreign influence, but I’m sure there were many others who were doing the same thing—I mean, how significant was this?”]
The real goal of “Russiagate” is to prepare for endless austerity and war, by Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, Feb 22, 2018
Yanis Varoufakis’s account of the Greek crisis of 2015: A self-incrimination, book review by Eric Toussaint, published in six parts between July 2017 and February 2018
Yanis Varoufakis was the finance minister of Greece during the capitulation of the government of the Syriza party led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the European Union financial oligarchs. Syriza was elected in January 2015; what followed was a punishing drive by U.S. and European imperialism to crush the left-wing aspirations of the Greek people. Varoufakis published a memoire in 2017 of the experience, titled Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment. Eric Toussaint has published a lengthy review of the book, in six parts beginning in July 2017. Toussaint is the director of the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt, based in Belgium. Parts one to five of the review are located at the weblink above. Part six is published on Feb 20, 2018, here: Tsipras move towards the disastrous agreement with the Eurogroup of 20 February 2015.
A modern Greek tragedy, book review by Adam Tooze, published in the New York Review of Books, print edition of March 8, 2018. Reviewing: Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment, by Yanis Varoufakis, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017, 550 pp
There WAS a ‘good guy with a gun’ at the Parkland High School shooting in Florida. He did nothing, by Elliot Hannon, Slate.com, Feb 22, 2018 In response to the shooting at the Florida high school where 14 students and three staff were killed on February 14, Donald Trump is advocating an arms race in U.S. schools
The American gun glut is a problem for the entire world, by Jonah Shepp, New York Magazine, Feb 23, 2018
James Risen and Glenn Greenwald debate opposing views on ‘Russiagate’, one-hour broadcast on The Intercept’s ‘Intercepted’ program, with host Jeremy Scahill, Feb 22, 2018 (Jeremy Scahill is a co-founder of The Intercept and a proponent of anti-Russia prejudice.) See below Glenn Greenwald’s February 20, 2018 article, ‘A consensus emerges: Russia committed an ‘act of war’ on par with Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Should the U.S. response be similar?’)
[Under questionsing by James Risen, Glenn Greenwald states “I think there is now some evidence that Russia [sic] did things in the  election to [the sentence is not finished]. The Mueller [FBI] indictment says it was to sow divisions in the United States…When you ask me now, do I believe Russia played a role in the election [cites the Mueller claims of 13 Russian individuals using social media to infuence U.S. citizens’ views]. I still don’t see any evidence… that Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s emails…”]
How charity Oxfam allowed sex abuse in ailing countries like Haiti, panel discussion on Democracy Now!, Feb 21, 2018 Discussion with Sean O’Neill, chief reporter at The Times newspaper in London, which broke the story of the Oxfam and Save the Children scandals; the Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat; and Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Broadcast in two parts.
* Oxfam received 26 new reports of alleged sexual misconduct after Haiti scandal emerged, MPs told, by Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, Feb 21, 2018
* OXFAM scandal sparks fears of crisis in aid sector, by Paul Waldie, Globe and Mail, Feb 21, 2018 (you can read the article here in pdf format: OXFAM scandal sparks fears of crisis in aid sector)
[In the Democracy Now! broadcast, there is no discussion of how Haiti has been stripped of its national sovereignty over the years and decades by imperialist intervention (the United States, Europe, Canada). Yet the only path to end the brutal exploitation of women and girls in countries such as Haiti are policies of national and social development, duly implemented by a national, democratic government.
[As we have known and are learning anew, even the charities of the imperialist countries, leave alone their armies, promulgate extreme exploitation of women and girls. Political and business leaders in the imperialist countries along with their pliant media turn a blind eye. In Haiti, the ‘blind eye’ operated following the 2004 paramilitary coup and has done so again as the failed 2010 earthquake response program rolled out.]
A consensus emerges: Russia committed an ‘act of war’ on par with Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Should the U.S. response be similar?, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Feb 20, 2018
… All of this underscores the serious dangers many have pointed to for more than a year about why all this unhinged rhetoric is so alarming. If you really believe that Russia — with some phishing links sent to Podesta and some fake Facebook ads and Twitter bots — committed an “act of war” of any kind, let alone one on par with Pearl Harbor and 9/11, then it’s inevitable that extreme retaliatory measures will be considered and likely triggered…
Syria pro-government forces enter Afrin to aid Kurds against Turkey, Reuters, Feb 21, 2018
[News reports are very sketchy about political agreements underlying the military moves which have seen pro-Syria government and Kurdish military forces come together in Afrin, northwest Syria to block further military advances into the region by Turkey. The Turkish government and its pro-government media are understandably denying that any agreements have taken place or that pro-Syrian government forces have entered Afrin.
[The situation is a huge domestic political setback to the Turkish government. In the time-honored tradition of all military invaders, the government is telling the Turkish population that all is going swimmingly for its forces in northern Syria. Meanwhile, the Western ‘leftists’ that have been backing or turning a blind eye to the military buildup and regime-change intentions in Syria of the United States and its ally Israel can be expected to keep silent over these latest developments. That’s because events in Syria continue to flatly contradict everything the leftists have said for years about the Syrian government and its allies Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. The leftists have claimed that a ‘popular
revolution’ has been taking place against the Syrian government and that an ‘imperialist’ Russia has joined the Syrian government in suppressing it. In reality, the Syrian ‘popular revolution’ is similar to the ‘revolution’ in Ukraine which overthrew that country’s elected president in February 2014–both are spearheaded by extreme-right forces armed and supported by Western imperialism.]
Interview with Pervin Buldan, new co-leader of People’s Democratic Party in Turkey, Reuters, Feb 14, 2018
Oxfam’s Haiti sex scandal, by Isabelle Papillon, Haiti Liberté (print weekly), Feb 14, 2018
[Liberal journalists in The Guardian as well as The Independent‘s Patrick Cockburn have leapt to the defense of OXFAM International following revelations that OXFAM’s country director and others engaged prostitutes as they joined the rest of the world’s aid and charity industries in descending on Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. The Guardian editorialized on February 12: “The debauchery of the Haiti sex parties [by OXFAM staff] is outrageous. But it must not be allowed to overshadow the courage and compassion of thousands of aid workers, nor the value of aid itself.”
[CounterPunch has reprinted Patrick Cockburn’s commentary. In it, he wrote, “Compare the lack of interest shown by the international media, politicians and assorted celebrities to this man-made calamity [outbreak of cholera in Haiti in October 2010], leading to the death of thousands of Haitians, to the hysterical outrage [emphasis added] expressed about Oxfam officials consorting with prostitutes in Haiti in 2011.”
[Cockburn shows his ignorance of the 2010 earthquake right off the bat in his column when he cites a figure of “220,000” earthquake deaths. Inflated figures such as that one ( ‘300,000’ was another popular figure bandied about by international agencies without the slightest documented proof) showed disrespect to the actual victims, who numbered 40,000 to 70,000. The inflated numbers were part of the fundraising effort of the aid and charity industries. Meanwhile, Cockburn’s insinuation that OXFAM has campaigned on behalf of the victims of the cholera epidemic introduced by United Nations occupation forces is risible. The agency’s Quebec outlet supported the 2004 paramilitary coup which brought UN soldiers to Haiti in the first place.
[OXFAM’s Haiti-induced crisis is far from over. It will be very difficult now to keep under wraps further scandalous revelations.]
From PyeongChang Olympics to lasting peace, by Hyun Lee, managing editor, Zoom In Korea, Feb 16, 2018
The FBI’s Robert Mueller, Russia and oil politics, by Rob Urie, CounterPunch, Feb 19, 2018
… The indictments [by the FBI of 13 individuals living in Russia] are a major political story, but not for the reasons given in mainstream press coverage. Once Mr. Mueller’s indictment is understood to charge the exploitation of existing social tensions (read it and decide for yourself), the FBI, which Mr. Mueller directed from 2001 – 2013, is precisely the wrong entity to be rendering judgment.
… It is the FBI’s legacy of conflating dissent with being an agent of a foreign power that Mr. Mueller’s indictment most insidiously perpetuates. Russians are ‘sowing discord,’ and they are using Americans to do so, goes the allegation. Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders are listed in the indictment as roadblocks to the unfettered ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. Russians are sowing discord, therefore discord is both suspect in itself and evidence of being a foreign agent…
Merchants of death: America’s toxic cult of violence turns deadly, by John W. Whitehead, published in his column on the website of The Rutherford Institute, Feb 19, 2018 (John W. Whitehead is the president of The Rutherford Institute, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People.)
Kurdish militias in Afrin join forces with Syria government-allied forces to resist Turkey’s military intervention, report in Telesur, Feb 19, 2018
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are arriving in the northern Syria region of Afrin to support the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) against an ongoing Turkish military operation. Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reports that “popular forces” loyal to the Syrian president would arrive in Afrin “within a few hours to support its people’s stand against the Turkish regime’s attack on the area and its people.” …
* Reports on February 18, 2018 in anti-Russia/anti-Syria media: Middle East Eye, and Deutsche Welle
* U.S must immediately leave area it controls in southern Syria, declares Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, RT.com, Feb 19, 2018
Ten signs we’re heading for ‘economic armageddon’, warns former economic advisor to Australian government, by Liam Dann, business editor, New Zealand Herald (largest daily newspaper in New Zealand), Feb 11, 2018 (with graphs and three-minute interview with Liam Dann) Read here in pdf format: Ten signs of economic armeggeddon
A Canadian arms manufacturer hopes to re-equip Ukraine’s military with new assault rifles as that country tries to set the stage to join NATO while at the same time battling Russian-backed rebels. Colt Canada of Kitchener, Ont., is chasing a deal that could see Ukraine order up to 100,000 rifles.
[The National Post here repeats the canard that Ukraine is battling “seperatists” in eastern Ukraine. It cannot bring itself to explain the truth, which is that since April 2014, the people of eastern Ukraine are defending themselves against a military incursion by an extreme-right governing regime in Kyiv that is backed to the hilt by NATO.]
At Munich Security Conference, China reiterates policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, Xinhua news agency, in Straits Times (Malaysia), Feb 18, 2018
… “I share and express the concern about the danger [of nuclear weapons prolifertion]” Fu Ying told a panel discussion at the conference in Munich. She is a veteran diplomat and chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress of China.
Former U.S. vice president vaunts sanctions and NATO pressure against Russia in threatening speech to Munich Security Conference, news analysis by Alexandre Antonov, RT.com, Feb 17, 2018
* Trump’s national security advisor tells Munich Security Conference that Russian ‘meddling’ is beyond dispute, scoffs at idea of cooperation on security issues, Associated Press, Feb 17, 2018
* Trump’s national security chief calls Russian interference ‘incontrovertible’, by David Sanger, New York Times, Saturday, Feb 17, 2018
… The evidence of a Russian effort to interfere in the election “is now incontrovertible,” General H.R. McMaster said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting of European and American diplomats and security experts, including several senior Russian officials. On Friday, just hours before the indictment, the top White House official for cyberissues accused Russia of “the most destructive cyberattack in human history,” against Ukraine last summer.
Taken together, the statements appeared to mark a major turn [sic] in the administration’s willingness to directly confront the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo also attended the Munich conference, and while they did not speak publicly, in private meetings with others here they reiterated similar statements.
The comments highlighted a sharp division [sic] inside the administration about how to talk about the [sic] Russian covert efforts…
Students and teachers in U.S. call for national day of protest against gun violence following Feb 14 killings of 14 students and three staff at Florida high school, Common Dreams, Feb 17, 2018
[Student activists and teacher representatives in the United States have called for a national day of protest in U.S. cities on April 20 against gun violence. This includes a planned march on Washington DC. April 20 is the anniversary date of the gun massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.]
Speech by student from Stoneman Douglas High School makes powerful plea for gun control, Common Dreams, Feb 17, 2018
Pentagon seeks massive boost in bomb budget for Iraq and Syria, by Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor, Feb 15, 2018
The Trump administration is seeking nearly $2 billion in precision-guided weapons for the Iraq and Syria battlefields as the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) faces increased threats [sic] from forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. That’s 20 per cent more than the Pentagon spent on munitions in all Middle East war zones in 2017…
Russians spooked by U.S. cyber-attack policy which threatens nuclear retaliation, by Ray McGovern and William Binney, Consortium News, Feb 16, 2018
Moscow is showing understandable concern over the lowering of the threshold for employing nuclear weapons to include retaliation for cyber-attacks, a change announced on Feb. 2 in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)…
* Anti-Trumpists use Mueller indictments to escalate tensions with nuclear-armed Russia, by Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News, Feb 17, 2018 Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 alleged members of a Russian troll farm is leading to calls for escalation with Russia, exacerbating tensions that are already at historic – and dangerous – lows.
* The New York Times’ ‘really weird’ Russiagate story, by Daniel Lazare, Consortium News, Feb 16, 2018
… Even Matthew Rosenberg, the Times reporter who wrote the story, described it as “a really weird one” in an interview with Slate. More than merely weird, however, the piece offers valuable insight into the parallel universe that is Russiagate, one in which logic is absent, neo-McCarthyism is rampant, and evidence means whatever the corporate press wants it to mean.
… The results are incoherent even by Times standards. One reason may be that Rosenberg dashed the story off at breakneck speed after long-time intelligence writer and former Times-man James Risen published a similar piece a few hours earlier in The Intercept. But another is that the Russiagate narrative that the Times is pushing is itself incoherent and that Rosenberg is guilty of nothing more than toeing the company line.
Amazon is a 21st-century digital chain gang, by Marshall Auerback, Alternet, Jan 26, 2018
The ongoing persecution of Julian Assange, by John Wight, published on Medium.com, Feb 15, 2018
U.S. escalates Syrian war, by Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist, Black Agenda Report, Feb 14, 2018
A faction of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) led by Selin Sayek Boke urges ‘extraordinary opposition’ to stop Erdogan, by Sibel Hurtas, Al-Monitor, Feb 14, 2018
Kurdistan Regional Government delegation arrives in Afrin, Syria as Turkey offensive softens Kurdish split, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Feb 13, 2018
Russian military contractors killed by US strike in Syria, Associated Press, Feb 13, 2018
An unknown number of private Russian military contractors were killed by a U.S. strike in Syria, Russian media reported on Tuesday, February 13 in a development that could further inflame Russia-U.S. tensions. Officials in both Moscow and Washington remained coy about the deaths, which would be an embarrassment for both countries if it turns out that Russian fighters were part of a unit that attacked a military force with American troops. The U.S. attack reportedly took place in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.
Last week, the U.S. military said it unleashed air and artillery barrages on Syrian government-backed troops after some 300 attackers launched what appeared to be a coordinated assault on Syrian opposition forces accompanied by U.S. advisers in the province of Deir el-Zour…
The Russian Defense Ministry has insisted that its troops weren’t involved in the incident, saying 25 Syrian volunteers were wounded in the U.S. strike. It also noted pro-government forces that advanced toward the area under control of the U.S.-supported forces had failed to coordinate their action with the Russian military in Syria…
Related: Foreign Ministry refutes reports about Russians killed in Syria, TASS Russian news agency, Feb 14, 2018
Reports on hundreds or dozens of Russians killed in Syria are misinformation, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS on Wednesday. “Reports on hundreds, dozens fatalities in Syria disseminated by some Western media outlets are classic misinformation,” the source said. [End of TASS report.]
[French president contradicts Western government and media propaganda when he says France has ‘no proof’ of chemical weapons use by Syria gov’t. But Emmanuel Macron’s threat creates risk of chemical weapon provocation.]
UK judge upholds UK arrest warrant for Julian Assange, tears into his defense, report on Courthouse News, Feb 13, 2018
[Most mainstream reporting of the UK judge’s Feb 13 decision are keeping silent on Sweden’s dropping of criminal charges against Julian Assange in May 2017 and the revelation only days ago that Swedish prosecutors acknowledged in 2013 that Sweden’s seeking of extradition of Assange from the UK would not hold legally (see below the Feb 12, 2018 report by Jonathan Cook). Those which mention the dropping of charges dismiss its significance, for example Paul Waldie’s reporting from London in the Globe and Mail. One of the few mainstream reports to acknowledge all this is in The Guardian, Feb 13, 2018.]
No proof of doping does not mean innocence, says secretary general of Court of Arbitration for Sport on banning of Russian athletes from Pyeongchang Olympics, RT.com, Feb 13, 2018
Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal boosts defense and immigration control, cuts benefit programs and environmental measures, by Justin Sink, Bloomberg News, Feb 13, 2018
… The Pentagon would see an $80 billion increase in its budget, up 13 percent. Entitlement programs would see a $1.7 trillion cut over a decade, including $237 billion from Medicare.
… Any president’s budget proposal is customarily dismissed by Congress — which controls the government’s purse strings, under the Constitution — as a dead-on-arrival wish list. That’s especially true with this year’s document. Just last week, Congress passed its own bipartisan two-year budget agreement that increased caps for both domestic and defense spending.
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said that Trump’s proposal “is a messaging document. The executive budget has always been a messaging document” …
Trump’s tax cuts near peak of the industrial cycle may precipitate, not head off, a new overproduction crisis, by Jon Britton, published in Liberation (U.S.), Feb 11, 2018
What we’ve learned from year one of Russiagate, by Aaron Maté, published in The Nation, Feb 12, 2018
… As high-level officials and investigators have repeatedly acknowledged, there is still no evidence so far of coordination between the Trump orbit and the Russian government over the release of stolen e-mails or any other campaign matter. There is only a curious cast of characters that makes for an unlikely conspiracy…
Shaun Walker, the Moscow correspondent at The Guardian, has a new book out, entitled The Long Hangover: Putin’s New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past. It advances the thesis that … this is where I run into a problem because he never explicitly says what his thesis is. But it’s sort of something like this: in an effort to unite the Russian people and raise the country’s patriotic spirit, Vladimir Putin has focused on a narrative of victory, above all victory in the Second World War. This focus has contributed to a situation in which Russians have failed to come to terms with the negative aspects of their Soviet past. This in turn helped to provoke and sustain the war in Ukraine…
Russia’s media scene: Not just a state affair, by Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor, Feb 6, 2018
Growing U.S. poverty and inequality: Statement by by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, following a two-week investigative visit to the United States, published on the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR), Dec 15, 2017
The water runs milky and can feel like fire. In this impoverished Kentucky county, Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan may not help, by Jenny Jarvie, LA Times, Feb 12, 2018
Saakashvili was a big supporter of Ukraine’s right-wing ‘Maidan’ revolution in 2013-14. In 2015, he was granted Ukrainian citizenship and appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region by President Petro Poroshenko. He resigned the post in November 2016, calling Poroshenko’s NATO-backed government hopelessly corrupt. His deportation on Monday came a week after a court in Kiev rejected his appeal against extradition to Georgia, where he faces three years behind bars on charges of illegally pardoning police officers accused of murder. He was president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013. In 2008, he provoked a military clash with Russia, expecting NATO to rush to his aid. But instead, Georgia’s armed forces were thrashed.
The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) of Turkey elects two new co-leaders to replace those arrested in 2016, Press TV, Feb 11, 2018 [32,000 (!) people streamed into the one-day party congress in Istanbul on February 11.]
Portraits of the new co-leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli, by Sezin Oney, Ahval news agency, Feb 10, 2018
The preceeding, interim female co-leader of the HDP, Serpil Kemalbay, has been issued a detention order by the NATO-member Turkish government for opposing Turkey’s military intervention into Afrin, northern Syria beginning in December 2017. She replaced Figen Yüksekdag who was jailed in November 2016, along with co-leader Selahattin Demirtas. Yüksekdag’s Parliamentary immunity was removed by a Turkish court in February 2017.
The UK’s hidden role in Julian Assange’s continued detention, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, Feb 12, 2018
It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade. Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that the two still wished to pursue the case…
Syria denounces ‘new aggression’ after U.S. warplanes bomb government forces on February 8, by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Feb 8, 2018
* Israel, Syria, Iran clash in the skies, by Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, Feb 11, 2018 [Amidst a dearth of factual reporting about Israel’s aerial attacks against Syria on February 10 and its the longer-term intentions of the U.S.and Israel, this account in Al-Monitor voices a positive spin (‘Iran made us do it’) on Israel’s aggression.] * Syria’s downing of F-16 jet sent warning message to Israel, news analysis in Press TV, Feb 10, 2018
* Israel, beware!, commentary in Press TV, Feb 11, 2018
U.S. vice-president’s bid to isolate North Korea at Olympics falls flat, by Zeke Miller and Matthew Pennington, Associated Press, Feb 9, 2018
Is South Korea straying off the U.S. leash in its recent relations with the north?, by Ramsey Liam posted on Zoom In Korea, Feb 9, 2018 (Ramsay Liem is Professor Emeritus and Visiting Scholar, Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College.)
Review of Raoul Peck’s ‘The Young Marx’, film review by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed by Scott McLemee, Feb 2, 2018
Opioids and alcohol lead Americans into ‘depths of despair’, by Melissa Healey, LA Times, Feb 8, 2018
An epidemic of despair is disproportionately claiming the lives of rural white Americans in the prime of adulthood. And for a second year in a row, their deaths by drugs, drink and self-destruction have caused life expectancy in the United States to fall….
North Korea’s scientific and economic advances, a four-part series by Kim Soobok, published in Zoom In Korea in early February 2018. Kim Soobok traveled and researched in North Korea for this series between 2012 and 2015.
- Introduction, February 6, 2018
- Part 1: Science and technology as the path to economic progress, Feb 6, 2018
- Part 2: Watering the fields: A two-decade struggle, Feb 7, 2018
To be continued. Watch this space or go to Zoom In Korea in the coming days for parts three and four.
Opening ceremonies of winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea: An opening for peace, by Bruce Arthur, sports writer, Toronto Star, Feb 8, 2018
Korean ‘Olympic truce’ fosters hope for detente, but would current world order allow it?, unsigned commentary on RT.com, Feb 10, 2018
Talks suspended in Dominican Republic between Venezuela government and opposition, by Rachael Boothroyd Rojas, Venezuela Analysis, Feb 8, 2018
Dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the country’s anti-Chavista opposition collapsed Tuesday, after opposition representatives refused to sign an official political agreement outlining a framework for democratic coexistence between the two warring political forces. The country is headed to a presidential election on April 22…
* Text of the political agreement agreed by the Venezuela government but rejected (for now) by the right-wing opposition, Telesur, Feb 8, 2017
* European Parliament calls for more sanctions on Venezuela, says it won’t recognize outcome of April 22 presidential election, by Ryan Mallett Outtrim, Venezuela Analysis, Feb 9, 2018
Russiagate and the surveillance duopoly, by Margaret Kimberley, published in her ‘Freedom Rider’ column in Black Agenda Report, Feb 7, 2018
‘We must oppose the surveillance state altogether and we should not be tricked by duopoly theatrics into thinking that either of the evil twins are acting in our interests.’
Related: The FISA memo is not a big nothing-burger, it’s a whopper with fries, by Ann Garrison, Black Agenda Report, Feb 7, 2018
Venezuela: Presidential election date set for April 22, by Rachael Boothroyd Rojas, Venezuela Analysis, Feb 8, 2018
… Current President Nicolas Maduro Moros is set to stand for re-election on behalf of the leftist We Are Venezuela party, the Socialist Unified Party (PSUV) and other smaller leftist parties allied to the government party.
* Venezuela’s Maduro launches new political party, by Lucas Koerner, Venezuela Analysis, Jan 29, 2018
* Venezuelan leftist parties mull backing Maduro for reelection, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Jan 30, 2018
Venezuelan Constituent Assembly approves workers’ councils law, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Feb 3, 2018
Venezuelan workers allege persecution, trade union leaders arrested, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Feb 7, 2018
Life expectancy in the U.S. drops for a second year in a year, drug poisonings and suicides are leading causes, USA Today, Feb 8, 2018
The New York Times (and a lot of other people) want you to believe that NATO allies U.S. and Turkey could come to blows in northern Syria, report in New York Times titled ‘On Northern Syria front line, U.S. and Turkey head into tense face-off’, Feb 7, 2018
[Like the Trump presidency itself, the U.S. and Turkish interventions in Syria are an elaborate game of smoke and mirrors to further Western interests. Only the naive believe that NATO’s and Turkey’s interests are at odds.]
Contrary to Western media speculation, North Korea says it is not interested in meeting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence while he is in South Korea for the Pyeongchang Olympics, report by Associated Press, Feb 8, 2018
U.S. House of Representatives approves release of Democrats’ memo answering Nunes memo released on Feb 2, RT.com, Feb 7, 2018
The House Intelligence Committee has voted to publish the memo authored by the Democrats challenging last week’s majority report about the FBI and DOJ abuses of surveillance powers to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign…
Stephen Cohen speaks on the memo released by Representative Devin Nunes on Feb 2: ‘Not Russiagate but Intelgate’, interview with Stephen Cohen on ABC Australia, Feb 5, 2018 Donald Trump claims the FBI abused its surveillance powers investigating his campaign’s possible Russia ties. Russia scholar Stephen Cohen says the Nunes memo shows ‘Russiagate without Russia’.
Stock market drop: Is it 1987, 2007 or 1937?, by Michael Roberts (Marxist economist), published on his website, Feb 6, 2018
Yesterday, the US stock market fell by the most in one day since mid-2007, just before the credit crunch, the banking crash and the start of the Great Recession…
Washington’s ‘crackpot’ nuclear posture endangers the world to an alarming degree, commentary by Finian Cunningham, published on RT.com, Feb 6, 2018
* Head of Nobel Peace Prize-winning group: Trump’s nuclear policy ‘puts us on the path to nuclear war’, interview with Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, broadcast on Democracy Now!, Feb 5, 2018 (audio interview and transcript)
A treaty intended to limit the United States and Russia’s long-range nuclear arsenals officially takes effect today. But the once-promising treaty, signed eight years ago by President Obama, is overshadowed by a new nuclear arms race sparked by President Trump. On Friday, the Trump administration unveiled its new nuclear weapons strategy, which involves spending at least $1.2 trillion to upgrade the United States’ nuclear arsenal, including developing some completely new nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Posture Review calls for developing low-yield warheads, which critics say blur the lines between the nuclear and non-nuclear weapons…
* U.S. continues to develop monster, non-nuclear bombs, including for use against Korea, report by Michael Klare, The Nation, Feb 7, 2018
* No time for complacency over Korea war threat, by Jonathan Marshall, Consortium News, Feb 7, 2018 Although the North Korea crisis has largely faded from the headlines, the chances of war breaking out are still unacceptably high – requiring greater attention from both the peace movement and Congress.
David Harvey denies imperialism, by John Smith, published in Review of African Political Economy, Feb 7, 2018 (John Smith is the author of Imperialism in the 21st Century, published by Monthly Review Press in 2016)
[David Harvey is a highly regarded Marxist economist, but his wrong-headed analysis of modern-day imperialism as explained here by John Smith underlines the frail state of analyses of contemporary imperialism by contemporary Marxists. Smith’s essay is perhaps a case of the pot calling the kettle black, for Smith’s highly-praised and valuable 2016 book nevertheless refrains from making any analysis of contemporary Russia. Is present-day Russia imperialist or not? Smith apparently decided that this crucially important question is not so important.]
UK court rejects Assange attempt to quash arrest warrant, RTE (Ireland), Feb 6, 2018
… Mr Assange, 46, has been holed up inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London for more than five years because he fears extradition to the United States. If he were to leave, he would face arrest by British police for skipping bail in June 2012 by seeking refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face an allegation of rape, which he denied.
The Swedish case has since been dropped but in the eyes of the British authorities Mr Assange remains in breach of his bail conditions.
… The judge said she would issue a further ruling on 13 February on whether the arrest warrant for Mr Assange for breaching his bail conditions should be kept in place. His lawyers made a new application asking her to consider whether it is in the “public interest” to maintain it.
Arrest warrant upheld in Julian Assange case, new hearing on February 13, RT.com, Feb 6, 2018
… According to Assange, only the first technical point of his legal challenge has failed. Judges will hear and decide on the other points on Tuesday afternoon [February 6] and if Assange wins any of them, the warrant falls. He wrote on Twitter, “Wall to wall fake news stating stating the government won today’s hearing. Nothing of the sort has happened. The hearing is still happening. Only one point has been ruled on.”
Poland’s president Andrzej Duda to sign controversial Holocaust bill into law, report by Reuters, Feb 6, 2018 The bill imposes jail terms for suggesting Poland was complicit in the Holocaust
Trump ‘national defense’ plan calls for new nuclear weapons, by Jacqueline Klimas, Politico, Feb 2, 2018
* Trump nuclear policy will adopt more aggressive stance toward Russia, CBS News, Feb 2, 2018
* Trump nuclear doctrine takes tougher stance on Russia, Associated Press, Feb 4, 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday announced it will continue much of the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons policy, but take a more aggressive stance toward Russia. It said Russia must be convinced it would face “unacceptably dire costs” if it were to threaten even a limited nuclear attack in Europe…
* The new U.S. defense strategy: War with great nations and a new arms race, by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, published in the weekly newsletter of Popular Resistance (U.S.), Feb 4, 2018
The frightening far-right militia that’s marching in Ukraine’s streets, promising to bring ‘order’, by Anna Nemtsova, The Daily Beast, Feb 5, 2018
[The Daily Beast and its anti-Russia correspondent Anna Nemtsova provide an insight into the reign of terror which the far right in Ukraine is exercising over the country’s political life. But the Daily Beast cannot resist adding a bizarre and gratuitous anti-Russia twist in the form of a sub-headline reading ‘Russia loves these guys’. The Beast and Nemtsova also dare not ask the question: ‘Why are Western media and governments, not to speak of the Western left, silent over the far-right phenomenon in Ukraine?]
Turkey tackles two roles in Syria: peacemaker, provocateur, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Feb 3, 2018
Revenge of the International Olympic Committee: IOC decides ‘not to invite’ to the 2018 games in Pyeongchang 15 of the 28 Russian athletes recently cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport of 2014 doping accusations, RT.com, Feb 5, 2018
… In its February 1 decision, the Court of Arbitration for Sport unanimously ruled there was not enough evidence against the 28 Russian athletes to conclude they had committed any anti-doping rule violations. Their appeals against Olympic bans were fully satisfied, while the request to reexamine the cases of another 11 were only “partially upheld”.
The CAS ruling meant the cleared athletes are technically eligible to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In addition, their medals won at the 2014 games in Sochi. Russia were reinstated, propelling Russia back to the top of the overall medal count…
Academics who serve as Israel’s useful idiots, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, Feb 5, 2018 (Jonathan Cook resides in Nazareth and reports extensively from Israel-Palestine on his website.)
No anti-aircraft weapons were sent to ‘our’ Syrian rebels, Pentagon says after downing of Russian jet, RT.com, Feb 4, 2018
… The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier the jet was attacked from the ground by rebels possibly using a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) in the designated ceasefire zone in Idlib province.
Democrats now love George Bush and the FBI more than Republicans do, commentary by Danielle Ryan, RT.com, Feb 3, 2018
‘Mind-bending’ reversal now has Dems defending FBI, Bush, by Alex Roarty, McClatchy News, Feb 5, 2018
Row over NATO-member Poland’s ‘we’re innocent’ Holocaust law: Angry Israel calls off visit by Polish security chief, RT.com, Feb 2, 2018
Reversal of Olympics convictions of Russian athletes shows an inept ‘Russian doping’ saga, unsigned commentary on RT.com, Feb 2, 2018
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has cleared 28 Russian athletes and dropped their life-bans over alleged doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Their results have been reinstated and the athletes are eligible to compete in the 2018 Winter Games… The court also partially upheld the appeals of other 11 Russian athletes as the evidence collected “was found to be sufficient to establish an individual ADRV [anti-doping rule violation].”
… More than 40 Russian athletes, including Sochi Olympic champions, were slapped with life bans from the IOC and had their Sochi records annulled as punishment for alleged doping violations in Sochi…
Western media turns its gunsights on the Court of Arbitration for Sport following its ruling reversing doping convictions of Russian athletes
[For several years, Canada’s state-run news broadcaster, the CBC, has pushed for a ban of Russian athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Its reporting has featured the campaigning of former International Olympics Committee member Dick Pound. He was part of the IOC when doping went rampant at the Olympics. He led the appeal to prevent Ben Johnson from being stripped of his gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
[In its print and broadcasting reporting of the CAS ruling, the CBC is highlighting the original accusations against the athletes, not how and why the arbitration court found those accusations lacking. An Associated Press report published on CBC on February 1 highlights the views of a U.S. athlete who says the court decision means “the integrity of sport is on the line”. Canadian luge athlete Sam Edney is cited as tweeting, “Above anything else, this is a very very very dark day for the Olympics.”
[The CAS decision casts new light on the accusation which lies at the center of the movement to ban or restrict Russia’s participation in the Olympics, namely the existence or not of an organized scheme by Russian government and sporting officials to manipulate doping control samples in the laboratory at the 2014 winter games in Sochi. The case against Russia was largely built on the testimony of the former head of its drug testing laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov. In 2016, he received special permission from the U.S. government to move to the United States. A February 1, 2018 report in the New York Times cites Rodchenkov’s U.S. lawyer: “Clean sport is dead. The CAS decision proves that certain countries can get away with anything and everything. Today’s decision will forever stand as the low point in sports integrity.” ESPN reports that the CAS received testimony from Rodchenkov in making its decision.
[The IOC itself is criticizing the CAS decision.]
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, January 2018
Ankara-Moscow dealings still tangled as Idlib smoke clears, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan 31, 2018
… Kivanc believes that at a certain point, Russia, Syria and Iran will inevitably combine forces to root out all the jihadis in Idlib and that Turkey will find itself facing a new wave of refugees. What will Turkey do then with its Free Syrian Army allies, and what will happen to some 10,000 al-Qaeda-linked Uighur Turk fighters?
The doomsday machine: Confessions of nuclear planner Daniel Ellsberg, book review by Thomas Powers, published in New York Review of Books, Jan 18, 2018 Reviewing: The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, by Daniel Ellsberg, Bloomsbury, 420 pp (Interview on CBC Radio One, 45 minutes, with Daniel Ellsberg on Feb 1, 2018, here.)
Trump’s state of the union speech: Long on theater, short on policy, by Jack Rasmus, published on his website, Jan 31, 2018
Now the U.S. is playing spoiler role in Korea, Syria and elsewhere. But why?, by Patrick Lawrence, published in Salon.com, Jan 28, 2018 (Patrick Lawrence is Salon’s foreign affairs columnist.) Washington can’t adjust to losing its role as global sheriff, and the entire world must bear the consequences
Trump signs executive order to keep Guantanamo Bay gulag open, embracing the original sin of the ‘swamp’ he said he would drain, by Noa Yachot, senior editor, American Civil Liberties Union, Jan 31, 2018
* State of the Union address: Donald Trump uses tragedy and despair to sell his message, by Philip Williams, chief foreign correspondent, ABC.net.au, Jan 30, 2018
* The Pentagon is planning for war with China and Russia — can it handle both?, by Aaron Mehta, Defense News, Jan 30, 2018 [‘Oh, did we neglect to mention Iran in our headline?’] * From Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on January 30, 2018: “As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression by any other nation or anyone else. Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly.”
The Russians are coming! Send money quickly!, commentary by Tomasz Pierscionek, published in the ‘Op Edge’ feature of RT.com, Jan 31, 2018 (Tomasz Pierscionek is editor of the London Progressive Journal)
The U.S. list of Russian oligarchs is a disgrace, by Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg News, Jan 30, 2018 [In which Bloomberg‘s Leonid Bershidsky laments that the U.S. list of wealthy Russians threatened with more sanctions should be more accurate and effective. “The Treasury list, copied uncritically from a Forbes Russia list, shows the Trump administration isn’t serious about sanctions.”]
‘It’s like the Americans just copied the phonebook’: Russian officials respond to the U.S. government’s new ‘Kremnlin list’, published on Meduza, Jan 30, 2018
Final statement of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi, Russia Jan 29, 30, 2018, published on the website of the Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan 30, 2018
* Sergei Lavrov’s comments to media following the close of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, Russia, published on the website of the Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan 30, 2018
* Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a plenary meeting of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, Sochi, January 30, 2018, published on the website of the Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan 30, 2018
Battle for strategic Syrian peak continues, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan 29, 2018
… Turkish-led forces capturing territory by day only to lose it to the Kurds by night is becoming something of a pattern [in Afrin, northern Syria], testing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bullish pledges to drive the YPG out of the more than half of Turkey’s 900-kilometer (560-mile) border with Syria that remains under Syrian Kurdish control.
Turkey’s image is already in tatters because of Erdogan’s brutal crackdown on dissidents, including scores of Kurdish leaders. It is fast losing the propaganda war over Afrin. Much of the global media coverage is highlighting the growing number of civilian casualties, including women and children, killed in wave upon wave of Turkish airstrikes. Social media is awash with images of charred babies who allegedly perished in Turkish attacks.
The monitoring group Airwars reports, “From the start of operations on January 20th to January 28th, at least 41 to 55 civilian deaths have been assessed by Airwars as likely caused by Turkish-backed forces, along with an estimated 10 to 15 civilian fatalities tied to Kurdish counterfire.” Turkish bombs have also reportedly damaged an ancient temple built by the Arameans in the first millennium B.C. that is part of Afrin’s rich archaeological heritage…
Related: Stop Turkey’s war against Afrin region of Syria, statement signed by several hundred politicians and other activists in Australia, January-February 2018
Hundreds killed in Afrin, including civilians, says Russia, by Rudaw news agency (Kurdish Iraq), Jan 30, 2018
… The death toll in Turkey’s military operation in Afrin stands at several hundred, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which denied “betraying” the Kurds in northern Syria, hinting that the blame lies with the United States. Hundreds have been killed and civilians are among the dead, Maria Zakharova, foreign ministry spokesperson, said in a press conference on Wednesday.
… Zakharova said Russia is seriously concerned about the situation in northern Syria and urged all parties to show restraint. Responding to accusations that Russia had betrayed Kurds by not preventing Turkey’s operation, she implied the United States should carry responsibility.
“We would like to note that it was not us who consistently created the conditions in northern Syria that Turkey considered a threat to its national security. We are not responsible for impeding the restoration of legitimate Syrian government’s control in that region,” she stated.
… “It was not us who has been building up forces in these areas to perform functions that belong solely to the Syrian state, and thus inciting separatism,” Zakharova stated. She stressed Russia’s commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected…
Russia’s role in Afrin, Syria, commentary by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor, Jan 29, 2018
Russia was first to propose the concept of including Kurdish autonomy in a new Syrian constitution, which, back in the day, perturbed Turkey and excited the Kurds. Russia believes the issue of Kurdish autonomy should also be negotiated. Therefore, the popular line of criticism about “Russia betraying the Kurds” doesn’t seem to bother Moscow on its merits…
Russia’s relations with the PYD [Syrian Kurdish party affiliated to the Syrian Democratic Forces] are likely to be sour, at least in the short term…. As for not having the PYD in attendance at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi [January 29, 30, 2018], Moscow doesn’t see that as its own failure; it expects the PYD’s absence to create a long-term problem for the PYD itself.
… Recently, Kurdish authorities in Afrin issued a letter urging the Syrian government “to undertake its sovereign obligations to protect its borders [from the Turkish offensive].” Though the letter doesn’t mention whether Kurdish officials see passing Afrin to Damascus control as an option, it might be a sign that a reality check is pushing the Kurds to consider options they previously resisted…[The following comment was posted by Roger Annis to the above Al-Monitor article: The accusations that Russia failed to defend the Kurds of Afrin and should have opposed the Turkish intervention which commenced on January 20 are facile and inaccurate. Russia made a reasoned proposal to forestall a Turkish intervention. This was rejected by the Syrian Kurds. They have entered into a willing alliance with the United States and seem ready to gamble on that, notwithstanding the long history of U.S. betrayals. The U.S. defense secretary stated that Turkey has ‘legitimate’ concerns in northern Syria which its intervention is addressing. So to summarize the madcap theory of a Russian ‘betrayal’ of the Kurds, Russia is to enter into a military conflict with a NATO member (Turkey) in order to defend forces allied with the U.S.? That is folly, it is armchair quarterbacking from afar. Russia has bent over backwards to achieve rights for the Kurds through the only process whereby this can happen–a political process of dialogue and agreement among Syrians. This is precisely a goal of the national dialogue congress taking place in Sochi. Although Turkey is attending that congress, it seems evident that its intervention into Afrin is designed to weaken if not sabotage the congress proceedings.]
Book review: Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder, by Paul Robinson (University of Ottawa), published on his website Irrussianality, Jan 28, 2018
In her latest book, Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder, Amy Knight wishes to convince us “how scary and unpredictable Russia has become”. (p. 3) To this end, her book recounts multiples instances in which, she alleges, the “Putin regime” has orchestrated the murder both of ordinary Russian citizens and of prominent political opponents. Knight is a respectable author whose 1993 biography of Beria I found quite informative. In Orders to Kill, however, she has abandoned academic neutrality in favour of political activism. The result is far from satisfactory…
German automakers conducted tests of poisonous auto fumes on monkeys, humans, Associated Press, Jan 29, 2018
Israel and NATO-member Poland agree to talks amidst tensions over Poland’s proposed law prohibiting blame to Poles for WW2-era Holocaust, The Daily Caller, Monday, Jan 29, 2018
… Israel has “no tolerance for the distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust,” Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, according to the Associated Press…
* NATO-member Polish legislature votes to criminalize Ukrainian Bandera-nationalist ideology, RT.com, Jan 27, 2018
* Poland’s Holocaust blame bill, by the Editorial Board, New York Times, Jan 29, 2018
Paving way for Syrian peace: Syria National Dialogue Congress opens in Sochi, Russia, RT.com, Jan 29, 2018 (with video news report at weblink)
Who is using chlorine as a chemical weapon in Syria?, by Charles Shoebridge, published in the ‘Op Edge’ feature of RT.com, Jan 27, 2018
The alleged use of chlorine as a weapon in Syria is back in the news in the U.S. and UK, with fresh incidents reported and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson taking the opportunity within the last few days to condemn Syrian President Bashar Assad over the issue. Unusually, he also later appeared to concede there may be some doubt – but asserted anyway that “whoever conducted the attacks, Russia bears responsibility”. So how does the alleged evidence that the Syrian government is carrying out chlorine attacks stack up? …
‘Unprecedented level of violence’ in the heart of Kabul as Taliban sends ‘clear message’ to Trump, interview with Lotfullah Najafizada, news director of TOLOnews, on Democracy Now!, Monday, Jan 29, 2018 (Video broadcast as well as transcript at the original Democracy Now! weblink. TOLOnews is a 24-hour news channel in Kabul, Afghanistan.)
In Afghanistan, Islamic State militants have carried out an early-morning attack on a military academy in the western outskirts of the capital of Kabul, killing at least 11 troops and wounding 16. This marks the latest in a wave of deadly attacks this month. Monday was already declared a national day of mourning in Afghanistan, after a Taliban attacker drove an ambulance filled with explosives into the heart of the city on January 27, killing at least 103 people and wounding as many as 235. One week earlier, Taliban militants killed 22 people at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel. Last week, another six people were killed in an assault claimed by the Islamic State on the office of aid group Save the Children in the eastern city of Jalalabad. This comes as the United States has stepped up its assistance to Afghan security forces and its airstrikes against the Taliban and other militant groups…[See below for news reports on the January 27, 2018 bomb attack in Kabul that killed more than 100.]
Erdogan’s plans for Afrin might not sit well with Syria, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Jan 26, 2018[Following the rejection by Kurdish leaders of Syria and Russia’s proposal to avert a Turkish military intervention into the Afrin region of northwest Syria, the people of that region are facing the fury of Turkey’s army and dictatorial governing regime as well as calculated betrayals by Turkey’s NATO ally, the United States. Turkey’s military intervention into Afrin began on January 20. It aims at establishing a full-fledged occupation, to be administered by ‘rebel’ paramilitary forces that have sought the overthrow of Syria’s government since 2011. [Al-Monitor writer Metin Gurcan explains events with this claim in a January 25 article: “It appears Turkey had Moscow’s go-ahead for the offensive, given that Russia controls all Syrian airspace west of the Euphrates River. Russia no doubt sees that the operation will drive a deeper wedge between the NATO allies Turkey and the United States in light of the latter’s support for the YPG. Moreover, Russia probably calculates that, faced with the threat of being overrun by Turkey and its Free Syrian Army (FSA) allies, the YPG will now be more open to Moscow’s earlier suggestion of handing Afrin back to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” The writer appears to believe it would be a mere trifle for Russia to knowingly enter into military conflict with NATO-member Turkey. His words echo the claims by Western leftists that Russia has “betrayed” the Kurds of Afrin by withdrawing its military forces from the region. Yet Russia has consistently argued that the Kurds and other national minorities in Syria should have significant representation in the country’s constitution and governing order. The Syrian government has entertained much discussion on the matter.]
Related: Is U.S. bailing on Syrian Kurds?. ‘Week In Review’ by Al-Monitor, Jan 28, 2018
What lurks behind Turkey’s unending emergency rule?, by Sibel Hurtas, Al-Monitor, Jan 28, 2018
… According to the opposition, the AKP [Turkey’s governing party] is planning to stick to the state of emergency up until November 2019, when Turkey is scheduled to go to the polls to elect its first executive president — who will officially assume the sweeping powers approved in a controversial referendum in April 2017. Some believe the government could opt for early elections this year…
Puerto Rico is a man-made disaster, by Charles R. Venator-Santiago, Huffington Post, Jan 29, 2018
Months after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico [Sept 6 and Sept 20, 2017, resp.], what should have been an example of how one of the most powerful nations in the world could rebuild a territory is instead an example of a man-made catastrophe now moving to the mainland. Today, only 60 per cent of Puerto Rico’s population has access to reliable electric power. Access to potable water is compromised. Food and jobs are scarce, and houses are uninhabitable. More than 40 per cent of schools do not have electricity. Thousands of police officers are not showing up to work, and violent crime is rampant…[The writer misses an opportunity (obligation?) to explain in his article that the failure of reconstruction in Puerto Rico mirrors the total failure of all the Western world’s big powers to ‘build back better’ following Haiti’s devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. The earthquake killed an estiamated 40,000 to 70,000 people. Nine months later, UN Security Council occupation soldiers from Nepal (!) brought cholera to the island because they were not pre-screened for the disease. More than 10,000 Haitians have died as a result of the criminal negligence of the UN.]
Robert Parry’s legacy and the future of Consortium News, by Nat Parry, Consortium News, Jan 28, 2018 Robert Parry, editor and publisher of Consortiumnews.com, died peacefully Saturday evening. In this tribute, his son Nat Parry describes Robert’s unwavering commitment to independent journalism.
Tall tales by Australia’s anti-Russia leftists about Turkey’s invasion of Syria [Green Left Weekly newspaper in Australia has a lengthy article dated January 26 which headlines, ‘Afrin invasion: Turkey attacks northern Syria’s democratic revolution — with Russian and US approval’. And the proof of the claim by the writer that Russia “approves” the Turkish intervention into Syria? Why, because the writer says so in his headline! Such is the state of anti-Russia journalism these days, even from the ‘left’. To read what Russia truly says, see the entry below dated January 25; it consists of two statements by the Russian foreign ministry on the Turkish intervention into Syria.]
The annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: Where talk on ‘inequality’ is cheap but a burger platter costs $59, by Neil Clark, published in the ‘Op Edge’ feature of RT.com, Jan 26, 2018
What were the Iran protests really about?, op-ed commentary by Peter Loewen, Janice Goss Stein, Farhaan Ladhani, published in The Globe and Mail, Jan 27, 2018
… Using a unique online platform that allows individuals to anonymously share their opinion, we surveyed 1,054 Iranian adults between Jan. 5 and 9.
… We found that support for the protests is thin. Only 27 per cent of respondents agreed that they supported them; 45 per cent disagreed. Three in 10 neither agreed nor disagreed. The protesters and their supporters are still very much in the minority.
What drives support among the minority who do back the protests? Our results suggest three factors matter: a lack of confidence in the government, a belief that corruption is rampant and, in a result that surprised us, a belief that life was better before the revolution. Our survey data do not support the argument that those among the Iranian public who are sympathetic to the protesters are motivated in an important way by anger about inequality…
Kabul bomb: 95 dead and 163 wounded in huge explosion in Afghanistan capital, by Harriet Agerholm, The Independent, Jan 27, 2018
* More bombs, deaths in Trump’s first year in office, by Sonali Kolhatkar, Truthdig, Jan 27, 2018 The greatest impact of Donald Trump’s first year as president has been kept out of sight from most Americans. The wars the U.S. waged during Barack Obama’s tenure have sharply escalated under Trump. The result has been a predictable and massive spike in civilian deaths…
* How the Pentagon enlisted Trump to continue its perpetual ‘war on terror’, by Gareth Porter, Truthout.org, Jan 25, 2018 The speech by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on January 17 laying out a series of conditions that would make it possible to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria confirmed what had already been revealed by the Pentagon itself: The Trump administration is planning to keep US troops in Syria indefinitely…
* Training quick and staffing unfinished, U.S. army units brace for surging Taliban in Afghanistan, New York Times, Jan 26, 2018 They are being heralded as a key part of President Trump’s new strategy to resolve the nearly 17-year war in Afghanistan. But their training has been cut short by months, and units are still short-staffed, as some of the estimated 1,000 additional military advisers prepare to arrive in Afghanistan in time for the spring fighting season, officials said…
* ‘The path to a win in Afghanistan’: What’s different in 2018?, press release by the NATO military alliance, Jan 15, 2018
Four factors affecting Turkey’s new operation in northern Syria, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor , Jan 25, 2018
Turkey, Russia wage proxy war against Washington in Syria, by Cengiz Çandar, Al-Monitor, Jan 24, 2018 [So says the headline writer at Al-Monitor.][This article is a speculative summary of Turkish policy considerations underlying its invasion of northern Syria’s Afrin region–‘Operation Olive Branch’ as Turkey calls it–beginning on January 20, 2018. Among the author’s mix of speculations is this claim: “… no one was left with any doubt that Operation Olive Branch had the Russian green light.” No evidence or explanation of this unfounded claim is offered. [How about an alternative explanation: Russia withdrew from Afrin in order not to risk a direct clash with the Turkish army in a de facto defense of the U.S. allied, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The SDF had rejected the Syrian government’s proposal for a cooperative assertion of Syrian government control over Afrin.What about the ‘coincidence’ that the Turkish intervention comes just days before the Syrian National Dialogue Congress which will take place in Sochi, Russia on January 29, 30? Turkey’s intervention appears very much as an efforft to sabotage those otherwise hopeful deliberations.
Two responses by the Russian foreign ministry and foreign minister on the Turkish military intervention into Afrin, northern Syria
1. From the weekly news briefing on January 25, 2018 of Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova:
… As we have already announced, Sochi will host the Syrian National Dialogue Congress next week, on January 29-30. Apart from Russia, Turkey and Iran are actively involved in preparations for the Congress. Invitations are being sent out to 1,600 Syrian participants. UN representatives and a number of regional and international partners have been invited to attend as observers.
Our efforts are designed to bring about peace and stability in Syria without delay, put its economy back on track and enable refugees to return to their homes. We hope that all those sincerely interested in seeing an end to the armed conflict will encourage the Syrians to voice constructive positions during this unique intra-Syrian event.
Unfortunately, other scenarios exist too. A delay in restoring the unity of Syrian society is fraught with new dangerous challenges, including the current developments in Afrin, where units of the Turkish Armed Forces jointly with the Syrian opposition are conducting a military operation. As you know, the Turkish side is presenting this as a response to security threats to Turkey in northern Syria at a time when the Syrian government does not control this territory…
… We are certain that it is unacceptable to turn Syria into a stage for confrontation between external forces pursuing their own interests. The people of Syria themselves must determine the future of their country. We hope that the upcoming Sochi forum will become an important step along this road.
2. Comment by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at press briefing on Jan 22, 2018
Question: The Turkish military operation against US-supported Kurds in northern Syria has been continuing for the last few days. What does Moscow think about this operation? Are you surprised at Washington’s extremely restrained response to these latest developments, and will they influence the place and role of the Kurds in the Syrian peace settlement?
Sergey Lavrov: First, you have no doubt read the statements from Moscow following the start of Turkey’s operation in Afrin. Statements have been made by the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry. We called for restraint and for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic…
U.S. adds 21 individuals, nine companies to anti-Russian sanctions list over Ukraine crisis, RT.com, Jan 26, 2018
UK defence secretary drops latest fear bomb, casually warns Russia is planning mass murder, news analysis by Simon Rite, RT.com, Jan 26, 2018
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is really settling into his job, and started the weekend early by scaring the hell out of the British public by claiming Russia could cause “thousands and thousands and thousands” of deaths… “What they [Russia] are looking at doing is they are going to be thinking ‘How can we just cause so much pain to Britain?’” Williamson said. “Damage its economy, rip its infrastructure apart, actually cause thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths, but actually have an element of creating total chaos within the country.” …
Related: Britain’s top Army general begs for more cash so he can fight… guess who, news analysis by Simon Rite, RT.com, Jan 22, 2018
Globe and Mail targets Canada’s new ambassador to China for favouring Canada-China economic ties[In a front-page news/commentary article on January 26, 2018, two top Globe and Mail writers score longtime Liberal Party mainstay John McCallum for saying (in the reporters’ words) that “Canada now has more in common with China’s authoritarian regime than with the United States under President Donald Trump.” McCallum was appointed ambassador to China in January 2017. The reporters write further: “China’s one-party state has come under significant criticism for its brutal human-rights record as well as its aggression in the South China Sea. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, China has, over the last decade, ‘effectively seized over 80 per cent of the South China Sea, an area about the size of Western Europe’ and built 12 ‘militarily significant facilities’ in the region, including three major fighter bases.’ “] [Beginning several years ago, the Globe and Mail has joined China to its already virulent new cold war drive against Russia. [Canada’s social-democratic party has positioned itself on the right extreme of Canada’s new cold war politics. During the 2015 federal election, then-NDP leader Thomas Mulcair taunted the incumbent Conservative Party, saying its anti-Russia sanctions were not harsh enough. Chiming in to the Globe and Mail‘s latest anti-China screed, NDP MP Nathan Cullen is cited as follows in the Globe report: “NDP MP Nathan Cullen described Mr. McCallum’s comments as facile, saying the average Canadian might be taken aback to hear a government representative saying this country is more in line with ‘Communist China than our American cousins’.”]
Trump and the Fed: U.S. shadow bankers about to deepen control of U.S. economy, by Jack Rasmus, Jan 24, 2018
… The Davos crowd may think they are sitting on their mountain in Switzerland, but they are really partying on the Titanic, as they steam on oblivious to what’s coming, unable to foresee the approaching economic icebergs below the surface. And as their mainstream economists, asleep on the bridge, almost in unison declare ‘steam on’, all is well and getting better.[Wikipedia: The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve or simply the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, after a series of financial panics (particularly the panic of 1907) led to the desire for central control of the monetary system in order to alleviate financial crises ]
Turkey continues its game of rhetoric with U.S. over U.S. maneuvering with Kurds in Syria, report by Reuters, Jan 25, 2018
Turkey urged the United States on Thursday to halt its support for Kurdish YPG fighters or risk confronting Turkish forces on the ground in Syria, some of Ankara’s strongest comments yet about a potential clash with its NATO ally…
The U.S. has around 2,000 troops in Syria, officially as part of an international, U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State…
[Reuters neglects to explain that the U.S. troop presence is completely illegal and is opposed by the Syrian government.]
Syrian Kurds seek Damascus’ protection as Turkey’s Erdogan vows to return Afrin to ‘owners’, RT.com, Jan 26, 2018
‘Charity’ institution of many of Britain’s economic elite is shut following annual gala permitting groping of 130 young women hired to serve food, drinks, The Independent, Jan 24, 2018
UN Security Council refrains from condemning Turkey, AFP, Jan 22, 2018
On January 22, the UN Security Council discussed Turkey’s intensifying offensive against Kurdish militias and the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria but did not condemn or demand an end to the sensitive Turkish operation…[Western media is propagating the idea of a Turkey-U.S. conflict over Syria. But Turkey is attacking the Kurds in Afrin province of Syria and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis says Turkey has “legitimate security concerns”. NATO countries spout ‘concern’ about their fellow NATO member Turkey’s operation, but this only means they may use such ‘concern’ as a cover to intervene themselves. NATO’s doctrine of ‘an attack against one member is an attack against all’ is an extremely dangerous side of the Turkish intervention in Afrin. Purported Turkish-U.S. conflicts can disappear in seconds when NATO interests are at stake. [For its part, Germany is expressing ‘concern’ about the Turkish operation in Afrin and says it will halt arms sales to Turkey so long as the conflict continues. This is NATO member Germany’s way of reminding Turkey of Turkey’s dependence on its fellow NATO members. ]
U.S. chemical weapons blame-game: Well-timed PR stunt or trick to justify military presence in Syria?, editorial comment in RT.com, Jan 24 2018
Conflicting reports emerge as Turkey’s ‘Olive Branch’ military intervention rakes Kurdish Afrin region in northwest Syria, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan 22, 2018
… With the exception of the pro-Kurdish bloc, Turkey’s main political groups are backing the Turkish intervention amid a tidal wave of nationalist euphoria that is gripping the public…
Before the deluge: How Washington sealed Puerto Rico’s fate, by Petra Bartosiewicz, Harper’s Magazine, print issue of February 2018, Vol 336, #2013 (In pdf format here, 11 pages: Puerto Rico, Harpers Magazine, January 2018)
In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action…
Post-Hurricane Maria [Sept 20, 2017], Puerto Rico looked familiar [as a case of ‘disaster capitalism’]. Yet here, of course, the disaster long predated the storm. What primed the island for the kinds of austerity measures already in motion were decades of repression so encompassing as to be an assault on society of hurricane proportions…
Our American poorhouse: Puerto Rico, Harper’s Magazine, June 1943 (In pdf format here, eight pages: Puerto Rico, Harpers Magazine,, June 1943) Puerto Rico is he poorhouse of the United States. Nowhere else under the American flag is there such a concentration of squalor, disease, and chronic starvation as exists on this island…
Russia Insider goes Goebbels: Debunking Charles Bausman’s warped vision of Russian reality, by Dmitry Babich, published on The Duran, Jan 18, 2018 (Dmitry Babich is a Russian political commentator. He is a regular on RT.com‘s ‘CrossTalk’ current affairs program which is hosted by Peter Lavelle.) Russia Insider’s editor-in-chief rails against the supposed Jewish origin of the world’s ills but totally fails to understand Russia’s history or its people
Congress’s ratification of Trump’s spying power is a direct threat to our privacy, by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout.org, Jan 22, 2018
When it voted 65 to 34 on January 18 to pass the National Security Agency’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Reauthorization Act of 2017, Congress gave Donald Trump vast authority to spy on Americans. Senate Republicans and Democrats have handed the Trump administration a dangerous tool to intercept our internet communications and target immigrants, people of color and government critics…
Senate votes to give Trump vast domestic spying powers that ‘no president should have, by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Jan 18, 2018
German arms manufacturers have Germany in the top five of the world’s arms peddling countries, report in Deutsche Welle, Dec 29, 2017
Glenn Greenwald hits out against Russiagate obsession of Western journalists, by Simon van Zuylen-Wood, New York Magazine, Jan 21, 2018 Where others see Russia collusion, Greenwald sees ‘McCarthyism’.
… “I used to be really good friends with Rachel Maddow,” Greenwald says. “I’ve seen her devolution from this really interesting, really smart, independent thinker into this utterly scripted, intellectually dishonest, partisan hack.”
Turkish troops cross Syrian border near Afrin, news analysis by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan 21, 2018
* Mattis says Turkey notified Pentagon before attacking U.S.-backed Kurds in Syria, RT.com, Jan 21, 2018
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Turkey gave advance notice that it was planning to launch an attack on U.S.-allied Kurdish militias in Syria, but he did not specify if Washington tried to dissuade Ankara… “Turkey is a NATO ally. It’s the only NATO country with an active insurgency inside its borders. And Turkey has legitimate security concerns,” said Mattis, who noted that gains against Islamic State did not soothe Turkey’s concerns over a breakaway Kurdish state on territory…
* Turkish assault on Kurdish enclave threatens to open deadly new phase in bloody seven-year civil war, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, Jan 22, 2018 [In this latest column, Patrick Cockburn falls for the ruse of a ‘fallout’ between NATO members U.S. and Turkey over policy towards the Kurdish people in Syria. But has the U.S. ever offered a peep of protest against Turkey’s internal war against its Kurdish population, including the jailings of the top leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the third-largest party in the Turkish legislature? What about U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis saying Turkey has ‘legitimate security concerns’ which underlie its military intervention into Afrin province in Syria beginning on January 19? Some ‘fallout’.]
Hollywood’s ‘The Post’ versus the real story of the Pentagon Papers, lengthy article by James DiEugenio, Consortium News, Jan 22, 2018
… Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have given us a combination Washington/Hollywood fairy tale. A ‘feel good’ film that works only for those who are unaware of the underlying facts, which they and their screenwriters have truncated and altered to produce their desired effect. The best thing I can say about this film is that it could provoke the viewer to get the real story by reading [Daniel] Ellsberg’s book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.
The foundation of lies of the gang-up conference in Vancouver against North Korea, column by Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom, Jan 22, 2018
… When [Canadian foreign minister Chrystia] Freeland first announced her plans in late November , she said China’s attendance would be crucial. “We absolutely intend to invite China and we very much hope China will be able to attend,” she told reporters then.
Exactly why Freeland and Tillerson changed their minds is unclear. But in the end, China was not invited as a full participant… Exactly what the summit [held in Vancouver on January 16] was intended to accomplish remains a mystery…
Donald Trump blasted as ‘five-time draft dodger’ by U.S. senator who lost her legs in Iraq War, by Amy Wang, The Independent, Jan 22, 2018 Veteran and Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth accuses President of placing U.S. national security at risk by goading North Korea
It’s time to call economic sanctions what they are: war crimes, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, Jan 19, 2018
… Economic sanctions are like a medieval siege but with a modern PR apparatus attached to justify what is being done. A difference is that such sieges used to be directed at starving out a single town or city while now they are aimed at squeezing whole countries into submission’
World’s richest one per cent bagged 82 per cent of global wealth in 2017, while poorest half got nothing, says Oxfam report, RT.com, Jan 22, 2018
The inequality crisis is worsening, according to a new study by global charity Oxfam, which found that the world’s richest 42 people own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50 percent worldwide. The annual report showed that 2017 saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history, with new ones created at a rate of one every two days. Their wealth has increased by 13 percent a year on average in the decade from 2006 to 2015…
* Growing gulf between rich and poor leaves 42 people with same wealth as world’s 3.7 billion worst-off, reveals new report by Oxfam, by Josie Cox, business editor, The Independent, Jan 22, 2018 Billionaire wealth rose by an average of 13 per cent each year between 2006 and 2015 – six times faster than wages of average workers
* The 2017 edition of the Global Wealth Report, produced annually by global banking giant Credit Suisse, says that “In the past 12 months, total global wealth grew by 6.4 percent. It is the fastest pace of wealth creation since 2012 and one of the best results since the financial crisis.” But the growth is not being shared: the super-rich — one percent of the global population — now own 50 per cent of the world’s wealth. In the bank’s words, “global wealth inequality has certainly been high and rising” since the great recession of 2008-09.
Conflicting reports surround Turkey’s claims that its ground forces have entered northwest Syria, report in RT.com, Jan 20, 2018
A liberal pillar of the Establishment: The Guardian has a ‘new look’ but old-style orthodoxy, by Media Lens (UK), Jan 18, 2018
Apple and The Guardian: Partners in a death spiral, by Jonathan Cook, published in his website blog, Jan 20, 2018
Tory favors, pensions hole and ‘blacklisting’ workers: The slow and ignoble fall of Britain’s Carillion construction and service conglomerate, RT.com, Jan 15, 2018
Carillion plc is going into liquidation after being overwhelmed by huge financial difficulties, throwing the futures of 43,000 employees into turmoil. Huge government contracts for nearly 900 schools, 50,000 Ministry of Defence homes, and hospitals across the UK are held by the crisis-hit firm saddled with a £1.5 billion ($2.07 billion) debt, sparking a rush to discover which projects could be in jeopardy…
Peace should be integral to the upcoming women’s marches across the United States, by Cindy Sheehan and Rick Sterling, published in CounterPunch, Jan 19, 2018 There is one thing missing from publicity and philosophy of the upcoming Women’s March in Washington DC and cities across the U.S.: the urgent need for peace not war!
Donald Trump’s first year in office and the illusion of choice in the U.S. two-party duopoly, by Neil Clark, published in the ‘Op-Edge’ feature of RT.com, Jan 19, 2018 The striking thing about Trump’s first twelve months compared to the Obama administration is not how different his foreign policies have been, but how similar…
Ankara might be awaiting Russian ok for Afrin operation, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Jan 18, 2018[It’s a mystery why Al-Monitor would believe that Russia will accept a military intervention by NATO-member Turkey against the Kurdish population in the Afrin province of northwest Syria. Russia has long advocated a federal constitution for Syria which would recognize certain autonomous political and social rights for Syria’s Kurdish population. Moreover, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to reporters at the United Nations in New York on January 19 about the double game which the United States is playing in its professed support to the Kurds. He said, “It’s a fact that U.S. forces are seriously involved in creating alternative government bodies on vast part of the Syrian territory. This, of course, absolutely contradicts their own obligations, which they committed to on numerous occasions, including at the UN Security Council, on maintaining the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Syria.”] [Russia and Syrian military aircraft control the skies over western Syria. Turkey cannot wage a sustained military intervention into Syria without military aircraft to provide air support for ground troops. This will limit its boastful and pre-announced intervention into Afrin province, much of which will take the form of punishing artillery attacks from Turkish soil.]
Knot over Afrin region in northwest Syria: How the battle for a small Kurdish enclave could be the death knell for U.S.-Turkey ties, lengthy news analysis by RT.com, Jan 18, 2018 This week, the countdown began for Afrin, a Kurdish-held enclave in the north of Syria which is feverously preparing for a major Turkish offensive…
What’s going on in Ecuador?, an interview with Wladimir Iza, by Joe Emersberger, published in CounterPunch, Jan 19, 2018 (Wladimir Iza is a longtime political activist in Ecuador and supporter of Rafael Correa.)
Vancouver summit on North Korea failed to provide alternative to Russian and Chinese proposals, says Russian foreign ministry, RT.com, Jan 17, 2018
Russia condemns Canada’s North Korea summit as ‘propaganda’, by Bruce Campion Smith, Ottawa bureau reporter, Toronto Star, Jan 18, 2018 [This Toronto Star report bends over backwards to provide a positive spin on the ‘nothing’ conference issuing more threats against North Korea which took place in Vancouver on January 16. Alternative media in Canada went further, with the National Observer and HuffPost Canada (the latter using a Canadian Press story) presenting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Donald Trump’s foreign policy emissary) and his Canadian sidekick Chrystia Freeland as heroic figures battling demon rulers of North Korea. The entire story of five decades of Western hostility, embargos and nuclear threats against the people of North Korea goes entirely untold in all of these media outlets.]
Winston Churchill: Hero, racist, and imperialist, by John Wight, published in the ‘Op Edge’ feature of RT.com, Jan 17, 2018
Tillerson says U.S troops will stay in Syria; U.S. huddles with allies over upcoming national dialogue conference in Sochi, Russia, by Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor, Jan 18, 2018
Syrian Foreign Ministry: U.S. military presence in Syria is an act of aggression against Syria’s sovereignty, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), Jan 18, 2018
Will Erdogan defy Russia and U.S. and attack Kurds in Afrin?, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Jan 17, 2018
* War rages in Turkish media in anticipation of military operation into Syria, by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan 17, 2018
* Damascus warns it may shoot down Turkish planes attacking Kurds within Syrian borders, RT.com, Jan 18, 2018 [Previous incursions by Turkey into Syria to attack Kurdish forces have gone unopposed by the Syrian military.]
Surprise: Gang-up conference in Vancouver against North Korea ends with threats of more sanctions and demands for unilateral disarmament of the country[The January 16 reunion conference in Vancouver of the genocidal warmakers against Korea in 1950-53 (what the Toronto Star calls a “coalition of countries” was a publicity stunt that ended on a tired refrain. The column reporting on the gathering by the Globe and Mail‘s Gary Mason is headlined, Why the Vancouver summit on North Korea was futile. Ironically, while the conference aimed to deepen the division of north and south Korea dating from 1953, the two Koreas have agreed to field a joint team at the Winter Olympics to begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea on February 9. Athletes from the two Koreas will march together during the opening ceremony under a “unification flag” depicting their peninsula and will field a single women’s ice hockey team. [Canadian media played along with the stage show in Vancouver, including by stirring Cold War-era nuclear fears in its reporting of false-missile alarms sounded in Hawaii and Japan on January 13 and 16, respectively. But skepticism over the conference was also sounded. The National Observer alternative media outlet fell for the stage show, providing gushing treatment of the words of U.S. Secretary of State’s Rex Tillerson as he reiterated the Trump regime’s threats against the Korean people. The Observer fashions itself as part of the ‘resistance’ to the Trump regime, but it echoes Trump’s warmaking threats against Russia, China and the Korean people.]
Erdogan says Turkey will ‘strangle’ U.S.-backed force in northern Syria ‘before it’s even born’, Reuters, Jan 15, 2018 [Russia is also concerned, for different reasons, about the U.S.-backed Kurdish border force in northern Syria, saying U.S. scheming threatens the sovereignty and territrial integrity of Syria.]
Trump’s racist comments on ‘s***hole’ countries: Eagerness for scandal betrays a cruel indifference to discrimination, by Shree Paradkar, opinion columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 13, 2018, Donald Trump’s latest round of vulgarism represents the contemptuous attitudes and biases that inform U.S. and Canadian immigration policy-making
* Love of Trump endures despite it all, by Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report, Jan 10, 2018
* What Canada and America owe Haiti, by Andray Domise, Maclean’s Magazine (Canada monthly), Nov 24, 2017 The United States and Canada have a brutal, ruinous record in Haiti. This should inform the treatment of asylum seekers today.
George Monbiot is not only a hypocrite, but a bully too, by Jonathan Cook, published on his website blog, Jan 12, 2018
More details emerge of gang-up against North Korea to take place at Vancouver conference on Jan 16 hosted by Canada, U.S., report by Lee Berthiaume, Canadian Press, Jan 11, 2018
Canada and its Korean War allies [!] will sit down in Vancouver next week to mull ways to tighten the screws on North Korea – including whether to intercept North Korean shipping.
U.S. State Department officials confirmed that China and Russia were not invited to Tuesday’s meeting… Instead, only those countries that deployed troops as part of the United Nations during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953 have been invited to participate in the discussions…
China says not all the main parties of the conflict in Korea will be in Vancouver and so it won’t attend, RT.com, Jan 10, 2018[A gang-up against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) will take place in Vancouver, Canada on January 16, 2018 in the form of a conference hosted by Canada’s foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state. North Korea is not invited, nor is Russia. China and Russia are the only two countries to share a land border with the DPRK. The two countries hosting the Vancouver conference were among those which waged a genocidal war against the Korean people from 1950 to 1953. Invitations to the conference are specifically directed at other countries that took part in waging that war. Reuters news agency reports, “Canada and the United States are co-hosting the meeting in Vancouver on Jan. 16 to demonstrate international solidarity against North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.”]
Related news: U.S. to sell Japan $133 million in missiles to counter North Korea threat [sic], by Ellen Mitchell, The Hill, Jan 9, 2018
Murder of lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska on Jan 1, 2018 shakes Ukrainians’ faith in justice system, Deutsche Welle, Jan 5, 2018 Related: Ukraine claims it has caught killer of campaigning lawyer, Irish Times, Jan 9, 2018
The Guardian, White Helmets, and silenced comment, by Tim Hayward (University of Edinburgh), published on his website, Jan 12, 2018
Trump isn’t another Hitler. He’s another Obama, by Caitlin Johnstone, published on Medium.com, Jan 5, 2018
Britain’s finance capitalists discuss prospects for Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, article in Financial Times, Dec 7, 2017. Read the article in pdf format: Jeremy Corbyn as Britain’s PM
Ideologue in Canada’s Globe and Mail daily presents four scenarios for war with North Korea, says ‘best possible’ outcome is to ‘eliminate’ the political leadership of the country before the bombs and missiles fly, by David Welch, special to the Globe and Mail, Jan 6, 2018 (David Welch is Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Chair of Global Security at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (University of Waterloo, Ontario) and CIGI Senior Fellow.)
… The best possible endgame would see someone high up in the North Korean leadership decide that their own long-term interest, and that of their family and compatriots, would be best served by taking matters into their own hands, eliminating Mr. Kim and his enablers, and signalling a willingness to co-operate with the international community…
Pouring it on in Canada:
* Kim Jong-un is a gangster: Here’s how to sort him out, by Robert Huish, professor of ‘international development studies’, Dalhousie U, Halifax, Nova Scotia, published on The Conversation, Jan 7, 2018
* Kim Jong Un is in the nuclear drivers’ seat, op-ed commentary by Simon Palamar, Toronto Star, Jan 8, 2018 [This CIGI ideologue claims the United States has been seeking a “denuclearization” policy on the Korean peninsula but has been frustrated by an intolerant government in North Korea. Donald Trump’s genocidal threats to reduce North Korea to nuclear ashes? ‘Don’t know of that.’ Decades-long economic sanctions by the U.S. against North Korea? ‘I’ll have to check into that.’ U.S. refusal to sign the 1953 armistice agreement ending the 1950-53 Korean War? ‘Never heard of it.’
First broadcast of 2018 of Lee Camp’s ‘Redacted Tonight’ weekly comedy program on RT.com, Jan 4, 2018. Watch Lee Camp speak of the grotesque feigning of concern by U.S. politicians for the discontent of some of people in Iran, for two minutes beginning at the 15’45” mark.
Four years of Ukraine and the myths of Maidan, interview with Stephen Cohen, broadcast on The John Batchelor Show, late December 2017. Print summary and audio of the interview are posted on The Nation, Jan 3, 2018.[The interview with Stephen Cohen provides a valuable overview of the events in Ukraine since late 2013. One item curiously missing from the print summary is any description of the civil war which the new, right-wing government in Kyiv launched in eastern Ukraine (Donbass region) in April 2014. A related curiousity is Stephen Cohen’s brief reference to that civil war as a “war which broke out against the Kyiv government”. Cohen also terms the March 2014 referendum vote in Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation an “annexation” by Russia.]
Seeing the unseen in Ukraine: Why is America sending arms?, by Patrick Lawrence, published in Salon.com, Dec 31, 2017 (with comment by Roger Annis)
These are the real causes of the Iran protests, by Trita Parsi, published in The Nation, Jan 4, 2018
Statement on Iran Demonstrations by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Dec 31, 2017
Trump’s vow to support Iran opposition carries ‘no credibility’ as demonstrations enter sixth day, interview on Democracy Now! with Trita Parsi and Reza Sayah, Jan 3, 2018 (Trita Parsi is a founder and the president of the National Iranian American Council and is the author of Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Legacy of Diplomacy; Reza Sayah is a freelance journalist based in Tehran, Iran.)
Glenn Greenwald on Iran protests: Trump tweets ‘Time for change’ while backing dictators worldwide, interview with Glen Greenwald, editor of The Intercept, on Democracy Now! Jan 2, 2018 Glenn Greenwald on Iran protests: Trump tweets ‘Time for change’ while backing dictators worldwide, interview with Glen Greenwald, editor of The Intercept, on Democracy Now! Jan 2, 2018 [One hour interview discussing U.S. foreign policy. The first 25 minutes of the interview discusses Iran. The interview then turns to ‘Russiagate’. Glenn Greenwald states that it is “obviously possible” that the Russian government was behind the 2016 hacking of the emails of members of the Democratic National Committee; he then goes on to state there is “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government. He says responsiblity for the deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations is shared by the governments of the two countries.]
Massive protests erupt in Iran against sanctions and unending poverty, by Vijay Prashad, AlterNet (pro-Democratic Party, anti-Russia outlet), Jan 3, 2018 Trump and Netanyahu are trying to take credit, but this movement is all about the people
My year inside Trump’s insane White House, by Michael Wolff, Hollywood Reporter, Jan 4, 2017
So Trump didn’t want to be president but colluded with the Russians to do it?, by Monica Showalter, The American Thinker, Jan 4, 2018 In his stemwinder piece on the early chaotic days of the Trump administration, Michael Wolff would have us believe that Donald Trump really didn’t want to be president…
The scary reality behind Trump’s long Tuesday of weird tweets, by Matthew Yglesias, VOX.com, Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018
… The tweet was just one of many inflammatory statements by Trump over a long day of bizarre tweeting that included everything from fanning the flames of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to attempting to take credit for airplanes being safe, calling for the prosecution of a top aide to Hillary Clinton, attacking the new publisher of the New York Times, and plugging Lou Dobbs’s show on the Fox Business Network. Along the way, he also reiterated a New Year’s Day dig at Pakistan.
It’s a puzzling array of topics that at first glance appears to defy any explanation as a communications strategy or a set of policy priorities. But the source turns out to be clear: It’s all Fox News…
The 12 victories of Venezuelan President Maduro in 2017, by Ignacio Ramonet, published on TeleSur, Jan 3, 2018
Statement from the Iranian Canadian Congress regarding protests in Iran, issued on Jan 2, 2018
… In the days since the protests began, some politicians and political groups in Canada and abroad who have for years advocated for sanctions and aggression against Iran have tried to exploit these protests to justify their anti-Iranian policies…These efforts constitute nothing but an attempt to cynically exploit people’s legitimate demands to advance these groups’ own political agenda..
My life as a New York Times reporter in the shadow of the war on terror, by James Risen, The Intercept, Jan 3, 2017 (lengthy essay)
… My case [in court in January 2015] was part of a broader crackdown on reporters and whistleblowers that had begun during the presidency of George W. Bush and continued far more aggressively under the Obama administration…