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’