This is an archived newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, consisting of headlines and weblinks, with occasional news summary and brief analysis, for the indicated month(s) and year. See the current, ‘World news’ website page here. To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada, mostly authored by Roger Annis.
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, February 2020
Dr. Bruce Aylward reports on the COVID-19 mission to China of the World Health Organization, by Kate Allen, science and technology reporter, Toronto Star, Feb. 29, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Dr. Bruce Aylward on WHO mission to China
* Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Feb 16 to 24, 2020, 40-page report
‘China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak has changed its course for the better’. Report on CBC News, Feb 28, 2020 …’It is the unanimous assessment of the team [the World Health Organization team that visited Wuhan, China this past week] that [the actions of Chinese government] have changed the course of this outbreak. It was a rapidly escalating outbreak. It has plateaued and is coming downward sooner than expected…’–Bruce Aylward, who led the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 mission to China Feb 16-24, 2020.
Reported previously on A Socialist In Canada: China’s Wuhan lockdown helped limit global spread of coronavirus, says World Health Organisation, South China Morning Post, Feb 24, 2020 China’s decision to put Wuhan into lockdown a month ago helped limit the global spread of Covid-19 outbreak, a senior official from the World Health Organisation said on Monday. Bruce Aylward, head of a WHO team that visited the city over the weekend, also confirmed that the number of new cases had been falling… “Cases are falling and they are falling because of the actions that have been taken.” … Aylward described the “all-government, all-society approach” as “extraordinary” and “probably the most ambitious and agile” in history… While China reported fewer infections over the weekend, the disease has now spread to 29 countries and regions with South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran all reporting a surge in new cases…
Turkey opens gates into Europe as migrants gather on border, Associated Press, Feb 29, 2020
* Will Russia, Turkey go to war over Syria’s Idlib?, by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al Monitor, Feb 28, 2020
* Deciphering Turkey’s darkest night in Syria, by Metin Gurcan, Al Monitor, Feb 28, 2020
* NATO holds urgent talks, urges Syria and Russia to halt airstrikes, Associated Press, Feb 28, 2020 [and from a report in Deutsche Welle on Feb 28: …The NATO alliance called the meeting under Article 4 of NATO’s charter, under which any member can request talks if they believe their “territorial integrity, political independence or security” is threatened…] * Turkey says it will lift restrictions on Syrian refugees reaching Europe after dozens of its troops killed, Reuters, Feb 28, 2020 [The foregoing Reuters report is contradicted by a report in Deutsche Welle, also on Feb 28. It says: …A spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday it did not have reports of people in Turkey on the move towards Greece or other parts of Europe. The EU has also expressed doubt about the influx of refugees reported by some media outlets. “I would like to stress that there was no official announcement from the Turkish side about any changes in their asylum seeker, refugee or migrant policy,” a spokesman for the EU’s executive told a news briefing…]
Idlib and the collapse of Erdogan’s foreign policy, by Semih Idiz, Al Monitor, Feb 27, 2020
First phase of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing: Extraordinary reporting by former UK diplomat Craig Murray. [Former UK diplomat Craig Murray has written these extraordinary accounts below of the first four days of the staged extradition process of Julian Assange. The hearing is being held in the notorious ‘Belmarsh’ anti-terrorist prison compound, east of central London. The UK court system is striving to carry out a U.S. government demand that Assange be extradited to the U.S. justice system gulag. After four days of hearings, the judge has adjourned the hearing until May 18.].
* Day one of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, report published on the website of Craig Murray, Feb 25, 2020
* Day two of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, by Craig Murray, published on Feb 26, 2020
* Day three of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, by Craig Murray, published on Feb 27, 2020
* Day four of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, by Craig Murray, published on Feb 28, 2020
Background: Julian Assange’s extradition case is finally heading to court, here’s what to expect, by Holly Cullen, adjunct professor, University of Western Australia, published in The Conversation, Feb 24, 2020
Bernie Sanders can beat Trump, here’s the math, op-ed by Steve Phillips, in New York Times, Feb 28, 2020 read the op-ed here in pdf format: The math behind Sanders vs Trump
Related: Sanders supporters denounce open threats by Democratic Party ‘superdelegates’ to steal nomination from him, Common Dreams, Feb 27, 2020 (referencing: Democratic Party leaders willing to risk party damage to stop Bernie Sanders, New York Times, Feb 27, 2020)
The failed Russiagate playbook can’t stop Bernie Sanders, by Aaron Maté, published in The Nation, Feb 25, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: The failed Russiagate playbook …Over the long term, if Sanders’ agenda has any chance of success, he will have to stand up to the militarist Cold War–addled agenda that has gripped the Democratic Party since 2016. The social programs that Sanders plans at home will not be possible so long as the United States is locked in a chauvinist, costly proxy conflict with the other top nuclear power. To break out of that death grip will require a political courage that other Democratic front-runners have lacked. Fortunately, Sanders has a record of defending politically fraught but principled stances, and an energized base to back him up. And that playbook—a politics rooted in real issues and real people—is far more powerful than any cynical methods that Sanders’s foes can deploy.
Russiagate 2.0 drowns out Trump’s reckless escalation of U.S.-Russia nuclear arms race, interview with Scott Ritter, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ (The Grayzone), with host Aaron Maté, Feb 23, 2020 (29-minute interview) Amid new fear-mongering about “Russian interference,” former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter on Trump’s overlooked, reckless escalation of the U.S.-Russia arms race
* Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign, The Washington Post, Feb 21, 2020 U.S. officials have told Senator Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter. President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill also have been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, those people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken… [emphasis added]
The Nevada caucus and the desperation of Democratic Party elites, by Jack Rasmus, published on his website, Feb 24, 2020 (Dr. Jack Rasmus, Ph.D in political economy, teaches economics at St. Mary’s College in California and his written numerous books on the world financial system.)
* Worried Democrats rush to slow front-runner Sanders, Associated Press, Feb 25, 2020
* Bernie Sanders scores an impressive victory in Nevada, by John Cassidy, The New Yorker, Feb 23, 2020
* How Bernie Sanders dominated in Nevada, New York Times, Feb 22, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: How Bernie Sanders dominated in Nevada
Death toll rises to 32 in religious violence in New Delhi, Reuters, Feb 27, 2020 and read: Trump praises religious unity in India during visit while sectarian, anti-Muslim riots in Delhi turn deadly. Report by ABC News, Feb 25, 2020
Related: Millions in India could end up in Modi’s new detention camps, Bloomberg News, Feb 25, 2020 Surrounded by a high boundary wall with watchtowers, a detention camp under construction and near completion in Assam will be able to hold 3,000 people found by the state government to be “foreigners” illegally staying in the state. The government is controlled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. It is pushing other states to follow Assam’s example and has broken ground on five similar facilities stretching from Karnataka in the south to Punjab in the north…
[The latest outbreak of anti-Muslim violence in India coincided with a 36-hour visit to the country by Donald Trump. He held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. CNN reports that the two made no major agreement. Trump was given a hero’s welcome on Feb 24 at a rally of 125,000 fans in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state. A new citizenship law approved in December gives undocumented immigrants of six religious faiths a fast-track to Indian citizenship but excludes people of Muslim faith. Muslims make up 14 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion people.]
Right-wing socialists in U.S. use platform of DSA’s ‘Socialist Forum’ magazine to argue for the overthrow of Venezuela and Nicaragua governments in Latin America and Syrian government in Middle East. The following essays appear in the winter 2020 issue of ‘Socialist Forum’. (See also two related commentaries on Nicaragua immediately below that.)
* The struggle for democracy and socialism in Latin America, by Dan La Botz, Fred Murphy, and Jared Abbott, published in Socialist Forum, print issue of winter 2020 …Left-of-center governments, desperate to retain power [Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia], began to bend the rules of democracy in ways that violated democratic and socialist principles…
* Against campism, for international working-class solidarity, by Jason Schulman and Dan La Botz, published in Socialist Forum, print issue of winter 2020 …We on the left must recognize that support, whether active or passive, for dubiously anti-imperialist figures like Putin or Assad or authoritarian governments like that of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela discredits the left as a whole… It has become politically impossible to even critically support the Maduro government. Maduro, when he lost an election, created a new legislature, violently suppressed some of his opponents right and left, and presided over the collapse of the Venezuelan economy and massive emigration of three million Venezuelans to neighboring countries. So we should support those in the working class and the left in Venezuela who seek to remove Maduro through elections [sic]… We do not in any way help the world’s oppressed and exploited people by identifying with or placing ourselves on the side of governments like those of Russia, Syria, China, Iran, or even Venezuela…
While Nicaragua returns to peace, media and international NGOs conjure epidemic of violence with dubious reporting, by John Perry, The Grayzone, Feb 19, 2020
Related: NACLA’s latest on Nicaragua is another shameless apology of U.S. imperialism, by Camilo Mejia, published on his blog Tirades and Diatribes, Feb 16, 2020 In line with previous coverage of the 2018 crisis, the latest article published by the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) once again provides cover and legitimacy to the fascist regime change operation financed by the U.S. via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and their affiliate agencies… (Camilo Mejia was born in Nicaragua and grew up in the U.S. He served in the U.S. military in the 2003 war against Iraq. He was sentenced to one year in military prison in 2004-05 for refusing to continue his service after witnessing U.S. war crimes in Iraq.)
Is Russia cozying up to Syria’s Kurds amid rift with Turkey?, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Feb 20, 2020 …The notion that Damascus should be the address of settlement on the Kurdish issue has gained weight as a general strategic choice for the Kurdish-led self-administration in northern and eastern Syria. …Until recently, the Kurds worried that Russia, in a bid to keep Turkey on its side in Syria, might allow it to take control of the Kurdish city of Kobani on the Turkish border in return for Turkish concessions in Idlib. In fact, this has been a fear recurring at each apparent progress in the Turkish-Russian partnership. Amid the recent head-spinning developments, however, the Kurds sense that the Russian door might open to them to an extent they have never imagined…
* Damascus brushes off Ankara’s threats as Assad’s forces make gains in Aleppo, by Mohammed al-Khatieb, Al-Monitor, Feb 21, 2020
* Syria announces Damascus-Aleppo highway has opened to traffic after years of closure by right-wing paramilitaries. Report by Reuters, Feb 22, 2020
* Syria’s Aleppo airport receives first scheduled flight in eight years, Reuters, Feb 19, 2020
Turkey, U.S. protect Al Qaeda in Syrian province of Idlib and worsen Syria’s suffering, interview with Scott Ritter, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ (The Grayzone), with host Aaron Maté, Feb 21, 2020 (24-minute interview)
In Germany, the far-right terror threat is coming from inside the guardhouse, by Doug Saunders, columnist and European correspondent, Globe and Mail, Feb 21, 2020 read the column here in pdf format: Far-right in Germany
* Eleven dead in far-right shooting attack in city of Hanau, Deutsche Welle, Feb 20, 2020
* Hanau residents protest against right-wing extremism and racism after xenophobic terror attack, Deutsche Welle, Feb 22, 2020
* The politics of hate takes a toll in Germany well beyond immigrants, New York Times, Feb 22, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: The politics of hate in Germany
* [NATO-member Germany has been a solid backer of the right-wing government of Ukraine. The government of Ukraine and the NATO-member countries which back it have facilitated and supported the merger of far-right and neo-Nazi paramilitaries into the police and armed forces ever since the right-wing coup in Ukraine in 2014. The far-right in Germany has lifted a page out of that experience, infiltrating that country’s police and armed forces.] * Hamburg election following tragic killings in city of Hanau: SPD win, far-right AfD scrape by, Deutsche Welle, Feb 23, 2020
The COVID-19 epidemic: A short and provisional summary, by Professor Mick Dunford (University of Sussex), exclusive report on New Cold War.org, Feb 15, 2020
Blueprint for a political revolution, by Jared Abbott and Dustin Guastella, published online in Jacobin, Feb 19, 2020 (Also published as a feature article in the print edition of Jacobin Magazine, winter 2020, #36. Jacobin Magazine is published in print four times per year.) If we’re going to change the United States, socialists will have to win the working class. And we urgently need a strategy and an organization to do just that.
The ‘Snipers’ Massacre’ on Maidan Square in Kyiv, Ukraine in February 2014, 60-minute video produced by Ivan Katchanovski, 2018 (Ivan Katchanovski is a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Ottawa. Born and raised in Ukraine, he is the world’s leading expert on the events in Ukraine in 2013-14 which led to the Western-backed, violent overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine on February 21, 2014.)
The senseless danger of the U.S. military’s new, ‘low-yield’ nuclear warhead, by Fred Kaplan, Salon.com, Feb 18, 2020 Sometime in the past two months, the U.S. Navy has deployed a new type of nuclear warhead in some of its Trident submarines. Called the W76-2, it is a “low-yield” warhead, which would explode with the blast power of about 8 kilotons—far less powerful than the Tridents’ other warheads, which have an explosive yield of 90 to 450 kilotons…
War is an enormous threat to the climate movement, commentary by Sarah Lazare, web editor, In These Times (U.S.), Feb 10, 2020 Unless challenged, U.S. military power imperils any serious response to the climate crisis. …To win a Green New Deal with the teeth to keep fossil fuels in the ground and secure a just transition and job guarantee for all workers, it will take organizing and protest on an unprecedented scale. U.S. wars, however, have historically been used to beat back and repress exactly the kind of left movements that we need to tackle the climate crisis.
[This is a rare and most welcome commentary by a left-wing publication arguing that the fight for mitigation of the global warming emergency is intrinsically linked to a fight against imperialist militarism and war. The environmental movement and left wing forces in the West have largely failed to develop a combined outlook and political strategy encompassing both of these global threats.]
Factchecking NPR’s attempted takedown of Bernie Sanders, by Robin Andersen, Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Feb 18, 2020
Also on FAIR.org:
* Media pundits look to Michael Bloomberg as their anti-Sanders savior, by Julie Hollar, Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Feb 14, 2020
* For media in New Hampshire, losing is winning and winning is losing, by Alan MacLeod, Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Feb 14, 2020 The ‘stop Bernie at all costs’ mentality explains why some media simply ignored Sanders’ victory altogether, part of a longstanding ‘Bernie blackout’ strategy.
* A Nevada Culinary Union member (UNITE-HERE) on why she supports Bernie Sanders, In These Times, Feb 21, 2020
* Why would UNITE-HERE union oppose medicare for all?, by Rolando Jackson, Portside Labor, Feb 16, 2020
Jury deadlocked, judge declares mistrial of defenders of Venezuela embassy in Washington DC, published by Cope Pink, Feb 14, 2020 (also published in The Grayzone) On February 14, a jury of 12 Washington DC residents were deadlocked over the issue of the embassy defenders, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial. The verdict is a blow to the U.S. government and to a judicial system that had stacked the odds against the embassy protectors.
U.S. household debt exceeds $14 trillion for the first time, Bloomberg News, Feb 11, 2020
Related: Sprawling homeless camps in California are ‘modern Hoovervilles’ recalling the years of the Great Depression, National Public Radio, Jan 13, 2020 …California’s homeless population jumped 16% in the past year. California has the highest number of tent cities, according to a report by the National Law Center On Homelessness & Poverty. And according to a new report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, California’s homeless population accounts for 53% of all unsheltered people in the U.S. Overall, the state has more than 150,000 people experiencing homelessness, according to the report… In Los Angeles County alone, the death rate for homeless people has risen steadily for years and in 2018 topped 1,000 — about three deaths per day…
Tissue of lies about Ukraine published by Germany’s state-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Feb 12, 2020.
[Deutsche Welle published a report on February 12, 2020 titled ‘Can the Minsk-2 peace deal of 2015 with Russia be salvaged?’ It is a typically dishonest and misleading report by Western media on the subject of right-wing Ukraine. Let us count the ways:
1. The Minsk-2 agreement was not a ‘deal with Russia’ as the DW headline falsely states. Rather, the agreement was signed (in Feb 2015) between the right-wing government of Ukraine and the pro-autonomy forces of eastern Ukraine (Donbass region, consisting of the autonomous republics of Donetsk and Lugansk). The Russian government was one of three guarantors of the agreement, also including the governments of Germany and France.
2. The pro-autonomy forces of eastern Ukraine are not ‘”seperatists”, as Deutsche Welle falsely claims. DW exposes its own lie when it acknowledges later in its article that the political measures now underway in Donbass consist of “incremental steps whereby Donetsk and Luhansk regions could gradually acquire special status” [within Ukraine].
3. Deutsche Welle writes in its report, “To this day, fighting continues to rage in the Donbass region. While the advance of Russian-backed separatists came to a standstill [in 2015], Ukrainian forces and separatists continue to engage in limited trench warfare…” There was never an “advance of Russian-backed separatists” in eastern Ukraine. The neo-Nazi paramilitary forces in Ukraine invaded eastern Ukraine (Donbass region) beginning in May 2014, less than three months after the coup d’etat which these same forces spearheaded in Kyiv. After some initial delay and mis-steps, the pro-autonomy forces successfully organized self-defense. The result has been a semi-permanent division of the Donbass region, recognized de facto in the Minsk-2 agreement. The rightist paramilitaries continue to wage a low-intensity war against the people of Donbass from their territorial base in eastern Ukraine, all sanctioned by the governing regime in Kyiv and the NATO military alliance based in Brussels.
4. DW writes, “While Russia chalked up Minsk-2 as a diplomatic victory, Ukrainians were more skeptical…” This is a lie, pure and simple. Poll after poll in Ukraine is showing a solid majority of Ukrainians want a peace agreement in Donbass. This sentiment was the largest factor in the landslide election victory of Volodymyr Zelensky as president of Ukraine in March/April 2019. He campaigned on a pledge of peace. But there is little democracy remaining in post-coup Ukraine, so the desires of Ukrainians for peace remain a dead letter.
5. The thorough dishonesty of the editors of Deutsche Welle is exposed by their report’s failure to mention that the police and armed forces of Ukraine are infested with neo-Nazi paramilitiaries. These forces, in turn, receive essential funding, weapons and training from the countries of the NATO military alliance. France and Germany are members of NATO–so much for their role as ‘guarantors of peace’ under the Minsk-2 agreement.]
The imperialist war drive against Iran, its people and its government, by Roger Annis, published in A Socialist In Canada, Feb 4, 2020 This article examines the ‘regime-change’ war drive being waged by Washington with the support of its imperialist allies in Europe, Canada and Australasia. And it analyzes the disturbing trend among some liberals and leftists in the West who continue to voice calls for the violent overthrow of the Iranian government. This trend, in turn, reveals a great deal about the difficult and flawed legacy of left wing thought and theory, including Marxism, bequeathed to us today from experiences of the 20th century.
HuffPost UK editor works with gov’t censorship program while smearing anti-war scholars as tools of Russia, by Ben Norton, The Grayzone, Feb 3, 2020
Understanding the Trump ‘Deal of the Century’ over Israel-Palestine: What it does and does not say, by Yumna Patel, Mondoweiss, Feb 3, 2020
* International reaction to Trump’s ‘Bantustan lite’ plan for Palestine shows the ‘two state’ solution was always a lie, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Feb 1, 2020
* Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ is so absurd and banal, it’s impossible to take it seriously, by Robert Fisk, The Independent, Feb 1, 2020
* The New York Times editorial on the Netanyahu/Trump annexation plan is a cowardly disgrace, by James North, Mondoweiss, Jan 31, 2020
* Trump-Netanyahu deal decried as shameful attack on Palestinian rights, Common Dreams, Jan 29, 2020
* Buried in Trump-Netanyahu deal is effort to ‘torpedo’ Int’l Criminal Court war crimes probe, Common Dreams, Jan 29, 2020 The plan announced on January 28 by the White House demands Palestinians “dismiss all pending actions” before the International Criminal Court.
France to boost military troops in Africa’s Sahel to counter terrorism, Deutsche Welle, Feb 2, 2020 The French government is planning to deploy a further 600 troops in addition to its already 4,500-strong operation in five countries across the Sahel region–Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
Related: Anti-French sentiment on the rise in West Africa as security situation deteriorates, Deutsche Welle, Dec 12, 2019 Despite the ongoing presence of French troops in the troubled Sahel region, violent attacks against civilians and security forces are still commonplace. So why isn’t the situation improving?
Venezuela’s capital is booming. Is this the end of the Revolution?, New York Times, Feb 1, 2020 [Reader beware. This is a typical New York Times report on the Venezuelan economy in which the vast, socialized sections of the economy do not figure into the analysis. Socialized sections include the subsidized food distribution program know as ‘CLAP’ which benefits 60 per cent of Venezuelan households. New government measures to tax market transactions made in U.S. dollars (see Bloomberg News report below) are also not reported in the Times report.]
* Visit to Venezuela in January 2020: Hardship and resistance, by Peter Lackowski, CounterPunch, Jan 29, 2020
* Venezuela considers tax on sales in U.S. dollars, Bloomberg News, Jan 23, 2020