‘World news’ is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing January 2018. It consists of headlines and weblinks, with occasional news summary and brief analysis by A Socialist In Canada [in square brackets]. Months preceding January 2019 are contained under ‘News pages archives’ which you can find in the listing of website categories. Beginning April 2018, article headlines in red denote articles published on the website main page (also listed in their respective subject categories). To find past subjects on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser.
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, January 2019
Kurds look to preserve autonomy, armed forces in talks with Damascus, report by Rudaw news agency (Iraqi Kurdistan), Jan 19, 2019 [The Kurdish-led civilian administration of northern Syria wants to preserve its local councils, armed forces, and languages as it negotiates with Damascus, according to media with close ties to the Rojava authorities. ANHA news agency reports today that it received thorugh sources a list of ten conditions defined by the autonomous administration as it negotiates with the Syrian government.]
Russia warns U.S. against arms race on Earth and in space after missile defense plans revealed, RT, Jan 18, 2019
U.S. rejection of any limitations on missile defense programs and readiness to weaponize space has drawn a blunt reaction from Moscow, with the Russian Foreign Ministry warning Washington not to restart the Cold War-era arms race.
Describing the US Missile Defense Review (MDR) published Thursday as “openly confrontational,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said the document shows Washington’s intent to establish military dominance and ability to conduct military operations anywhere on the planet with impunity, while rejecting any limitations on missile defense efforts. “We would like to note that the very same logic served as the foundation of the widespread nuclear missile race that brought the world to the brink of disaster multiple times,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday, adding that the US leadership has “apparently decided to step on the same rake, with predictable consequences.” Of particular alarm is the notion of deploying not just sensors but also weaponry in orbit, the Foreign Ministry said. The MDR “practically gives the green light to deploying elements with strike capability in space.” …
* Trump regime confirms it will commence U.S. withdrawal from the INF anti-nuclear weapons treaty on February 2, report in RT, Jan 16, 2019 and reports by Reuters, Jan 16, 2019 and by Associated Press, Jan 17, 2019 … U.S. missile defense officials declined on January 17 to provide any budget estimates or timelines for the programs.
* Weaponizing space and dreams of new tech: Trump regime’s new ‘missile defense review’ in a nutshell, analysis published in RT, Jan 17, 2019
* The Outer Space Treaty, Wikipedia. [Formally titled ‘The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’, the Outer Space Treaty came into force in 1967 and forms the basis of international space law. It prohibits the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space.]
Annual press conference by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussing the past year 2018, transcript in English, published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Jan 16, 2019
… There is another example of the absurdity of what is happening [in the United States]. Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been working for almost two years now. He interviewed dozens, if not hundreds, of people but found no leaks that would confirm alleged collusion between US President Donald Trump and the Russian Federation. No facts and no leaks were presented, which is very strange for the American political system. Leaks usually happen instantly there.
…Japan is the only country in the world that cannot fully recognise the outcome of World War II.
…We have heard statements that allow for a military intervention in Venezuela, and statements that the United States will recognise or may begin to recognise President of the National Assembly Juan Guaido as the legitimate President of Venezuela rather than Nicolas Maduro. All this is very disturbing and indicates that the United States continues to break down unfavourable governments as its priority strategy in Latin America and other regions.
…On the whole, the Syrian settlement process is making headway, although slower than desired and with problems that were hard to predict before. Nonetheless, progress is obvious… We are convinced that the most rational and the only correct solution to this issue [the future of northern Syria] would be to put these territories under the control of the Syrian Government, Syrian armed forces and Syrian administrative structures, with the understanding that the Kurds should be provided with all the necessary conditions in the places of their traditional residence. We welcome and support the contacts that have been established between Kurdish representatives and the Syrian authorities with a view to coming to terms on ways to restore life in a unified state without outside interference.
… The rights of national minorities, such as the Kurdish people living in Iraq and Syria, must, of course, be ensured with the help of dialogue between these minorities, their representatives, and central governments. We firmly advocate preserving and respecting the territorial integrity of every state in this region. In recent years, these countries have been subject and remain subject to severe trials relating the aggression organised against Iraq, then Libya, and now, Syria. It is vital for us to avoid the redrawing of borders here. I believe that the Kurdish people in both Syria and Iraq understand the necessity of reaching mutually acceptable agreements with the central government, which would take into account their interests without undermining the territorial integrity of the respective states.
U.S. officials confirm Feds confirm that jailed Iranian TV news anchor Marzieh Hashemi is not charged with a crime, say she is being detained as a ‘material witness’ to appear before a grand jury, Associated Press, Jan 18, 2019 …The jury is examining whether Hashemi’s employer, Press TV, failed to register in the US as an agent of a foreign government, Reuters news agency reported, citing a US government source…
Previously reported: U.S. detains Black American journalist working as television news anchor at Iran’s Press TV, report by Reuters, Jan 16, 2019 and report in Press TV, Jan 16, 2019 Marzieh Hashemi, a journalist and anchor working for Iran’s English-language Press TV television news network, has been detained and imprisoned in the United States for unspecified reasons … Hashemi has been living in Iran for years and is a Muslim convert. She has told her daughter that she was handcuffed and shackled, had her hijab forcibly removed and was photographed without her headscarf upon arrival at the prison. She has only been allowed to wear a T-shirt, and is currently using another one to cover her head. She has been offered only pork as meal – which is forbidden under Islamic law – and even denied bread and any other halal food after refusing to consume the meat…
Pro-Israel groups are trying to split the January 19 Women’s March in Washington DC with a Zionist alternative, by Amith Gupta, Mondoweiss, Jan 15, 2019
What evidence? BuzzFeed fuels ‘Russiagate’ with report on Trump and Cohen, RT, Jan 18, 2019
Related: Robert Mueller investigation denies claims in Buzzfeed report that it believes Trump directed his lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, news agency reports, on ABC News, Jan 19, 2019
Suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria kills two U.S. soldiers, two U.S. mercenaries and members of the Manbij military council, 19 people in total, throwing Trump’s ‘Syria withdrawal’ show into chaos, report by Reuters, Jan 16, 2019 and report by Al-Monitor staff, Jan 16, 2019
Related: Turkey, U.S. discuss Syria buffer zone as Manbij attack kills American troops, by Jasper Mortimer, Al-Monitor, Jan 16, 2019
Australian socialists want a ‘no fly zone’ over northern Syria directed against NATO member Turkey. In its first edition of 2019, the Australian Green Left Weekly has published a call by one of its writers for a ‘no fly zone’ to be imposed against Turkey by the ‘United Nations’ along the Turkey-Syria border. This, it is said, would protect the Kurdish people of northern Syria from Turkish threats of military intervention against them. People of Kurdish descent number some two million out of Syria’s 18 million-plus population. The ‘no fly’ call reveals an astonishing naivieté, considering that only the UN Security Council can approve military action by the world body and three of its five, permanent, veto-holding members–the U.S., Britain and France–happen to be fellow NATO allies of Turkey. Even worse, the last time a ‘no fly’ zone was approved by the Security Council was over Libya beginning in March 2011. The military action was waged by the NATO powers and predictably resulted in the destruction of Libyan sovereignty. There is a political path to blocking a Turkish military intervention into northern Syria. It lies through the ongoing political and constitutional talks amongst the Syrian people and their government, one of whose potential and hoped-for outcomes is a devolution of political powers (autonomy) to the Kurdish population. This would be a strong measure to thwart partition plans for Syria by the U.S., Turkey and the rest of NATO. But the anti-Russia prejudices of the writers and editors of Green Left Weekly has them belittling or dismissing this political process and outcome, even as Syrian Kurdish leaders themselves voice cautious optimism in favour.
* Kurds look to preserve autonomy, armed forces in talks with Damascus, report by Rudaw news agency (Iraqi Kurdistan), Jan 19, 2019 [The Kurdish-led civilian administration of northern Syria wants to preserve its local councils, armed forces, and languages as it negotiates with Damascus, according to media with close ties to the Rojava authorities. ANHA news agency reports today that it received thorugh sources a list of ten conditions defined by the autonomous administration as it negotiates with the Syrian government.].
* UN has no plans for deployment to north Syria safe zone, report by Rudaw news agency (Iraqi Kurdistan), Jan 18, 2019 The head of the United Nations has dismissed the idea that the UN might participate in securing a proposed safe zone in northern Syria. “We have not any plan for any deployment in Syria at the present moment,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on January 18. Washington and Ankara have suggested establishing a safe zone along the Turkey-Syria border to assuage Turkey’s security concerns. The proposal, while scant in detail, would be to create a 32-kilometre deep zone running the length of the border. The area in question is home to major Kurdish urban centres, is administered by Kurdish parties, and secured by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey alleges is linked with the PKK. U.S. President Donald Trump and his team have been vague on what they envision for the safe zone [sic] …
Ukraine rewrites history by celebrating World War Two-era Nazi collaborator, commentary by Scott Taylor, published in his ‘On Target’ column in Esprit de Corps magazine and website, Jan 14, 2019 (and see the accompanying reader comments)
For the approximately 200 Canadian military trainers currently deployed to Ukraine, it is likely that on the first of January they would have witnessed a torch-lit procession. Throughout Kiev and numerous other towns in Western Ukraine, thousands of civilians took to the streets – not to usher in the New Year but to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birth of a man named Stepan Bandera.
This was not the first time Ukrainian nationalists marched with torches to celebrate Bandera’s birthday, but it was the first time such a spectacle was an officially sanctioned affair. On December 28, 2018, Ukrainian Parliament passed Resolution 9234, which, among several other notable dates, made January 1 a formal holiday in Ukraine. The city of Lviv, which was Bandera’s birthplace, went one step further by declaring 2019 to be the ‘Year of Stepan Bandera’.
Ukrainian Independent News Agency (UNIAN) described Bandera as “a Ukrainian politician, one of the ideologists and theorists of the Ukrainian nationalists movement in the 20th Century”. Missing from this abbreviated resume is the fact that during World War II, Bandera was not only a Nazi collaborator, but also a direct participant in Hitler’s Holocaust…
Canada’s online journal The Bullet breaks its silence on Ukraine. Not really. [The online Canadian journal The Bullet has maintained a studied silence for the past five years on the new cold war being waged against Russia and increasingly against China by the U.S. government and its partners in crime in the NATO military alliance. An article published in The Bullet on January 18, 2019 appears to break the silence. The article is titled ‘Why does no one care that neo-Nazis are gaining power in Ukraine?’. In fact, the article merely voices the unease felt by some international publications with ascendance of the extreme right in Ukraine, all the while ignoring the ominous storm clouds surrounding the rising militarism of the imperialist powers (the real imperialist powers, not the make-believe ‘Russian’ or ‘Chinese’ imperialism). The article in The Bullet was first published three weeks ago in Forward, which is published in the U.S. and describes itself as ‘Jewish, fearless, since 1897’. The Forward writer makes no mention of the NATO military presence in Ukraine nor its military support to the Ukrainian military and the extreme-right paramilitaries which are part of the command structure of the Ukrainian armed forces. He repeats all the familiar tropes which ignore the NATO-supported, right-wing coup which took place in Ukraine in February 2014. The writer offers a rehashed, pro-Western conspiratorial view of what has taken place in Ukraine: “And no, I haven’t forgotten that Ukraine is still mired in a Russian-orchestrated war on part of its territory, and that Moscow likes to use Ukrainian nationalists in its propaganda – part of its longstanding practice of painting all Ukrainians, nationalists or not, as “Nazis” (not true), or as supporters of Nazi-era collaborationist movements that were active in some parts of Ukraine (also not true). I also don’t doubt that the Kremlin itself funds or supports some of the far-right agitation here [in Ukraine] so that it can use them for its own purposes…”
Learning from Cuba’s ‘medicare for all’, commentary by anti-Cuba columnist Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times, Jan 18, 2018 …In many ways, the Cuban and United States health care systems are mirror opposites. Cuban health care is dilapidated, low-tech and free. It is very good at ensuring that no one slips through the cracks. American medicine is high-tech and expensive, achieving some extraordinary results while stumbling at the basics: A lower percentage of children are vaccinated in the United States compared to Cuba while infant the mortality rate is 50 per cent higher in the U.S.
Another bogus Russiagate story by the New York Times revealed: Interview with journalist Aaron Maté, by Jimmy Dore, broadcast on the ‘Jimmy Dore Show’ on YouTube, Jan 17, 2019 (22 minute interview)
* The latest claim by investigator Robert Mueller that Paul Manafort shared 2016 election data with Russian officials is not a smoking gun, by Aaron Maté, The Nation, Jan 11, 2019 Proponents of the Trump-Russia collusion theory wildly overstate their case, again
* New York Times buries correction to its glaring mistake on Paul Manafort’s supposed ties to Russia, Sputnik News, Jan 11, 2019
* Where is the Trump-Russia collusion?: Interview with journalist Aaron Maté, interview by Jimmy Dore, broadcast on the Jimmy Dore show on YouTube, Jan 18, 2018 (38-minute interview, begins at the 10’30” mark, preceded by a review by Jimmy Dore of Aaron Mate’s interview on Dec 23, 2017 with Luke Harding, Guardian journalist and author of the 2017 book Collusion.)
Theresa May: An extinct prime minister and her dead-man-walking government, by George Galloway, columnist, RT, Jan 16, 2019
Trump recalls 46,000 furloughed federal employees to work, without pay, by Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine, Jan 15, 2019
Related: Trump orders thousands to work without pay during selective shutdown of U.S. government services, Bloomberg News, Jan 15, 2019
The Trump administration has ordered thousands of furloughed federal employees back to work without pay to inspect planes, issue tax refunds, monitor food safety and facilitate the sale of offshore oil drilling rights. The efforts in recent days illustrate how President Donald Trump is trying to limit the impact of the partial government shutdown and shield favored industries.
… The National Treasury Employees Union is suing the federal government for making those employees work without pay, arguing that forcing them to process tax refunds falls outside the scope of activities that should be permitted during a shutdown. A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday rejected a request by that union and other federal workers to issue a temporary order compelling the U.S. to pay its workers or let them take jobs elsewhere…
In India, epic worker mobilisations challenge the Modi government as never before, by Susan Ram, published by Counterfire (UK), Jan 14, 2019
California court rules that U.S. government cannot force citizens to unlock digital devices with fingerprint or facial image, by Thomas Brewster, Forbes Magazine, Jan 14, 2019
A California judge has ruled that American cops can’t force people to unlock a mobile phone with their face or finger. The ruling goes further to protect people’s private lives from government searches than any before and is being hailed as a potentially landmark decision.
Previously, U.S. judges had ruled that police were allowed to force unlock devices like Apple’s iPhone with biometrics, such as fingerprints, faces or irises. That was despite the fact feds weren’t permitted to force a suspect to divulge a passcode. But according to a ruling uncovered by Forbes, all logins are equal…
Russia truthers in mainstream media losing their minds as their Russia conspiracies fall flat. The New York Times published what has been called a ‘blockbuster article’ on January 11, 2019 explaining that the FBI launched an investigation in 2017 into Donald Trump. Three days earlier, the newspaper published an article claiming that in 2016, [then-Trump advisor] Paul Manafort “shared political polling data with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence”. The Times article called this “perhaps most damning of all” evidence of collusion between the Trump election campaign and “Russian operatives”. But the newspaper had to quickly ‘correct’ a central claim in the January 8 article when it turns out that the ‘Russian operatives’ with whom Manafort talked were Ukrainians with no ties to the Russia government. Journalist Aaron Maté in The Nation has shown in his latest article, once again, that the latest Russiagate claims are like the previous ones—full of air (weblink is also in the Jan 11, 2019 headline story below). Here is a selection of the latest efforts to promote various Russiagate conspiracies:
* A New York Times editorial on January 14, 2019 is subtitled, ‘Americans deserve to know what the president and Vladimir Putin are talking about’. It wants all the details of the July 2018 ‘summit’ meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to be aired, arguing “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in order to get Mr. Trump elected, of course. America’s intelligence community [sic] agrees on that…”
* A January 15 article in the Times resuscitates a parallel conspiracy story with an article titled ‘Trump discussed pulling U.S. from NATO, aides say amid new concerns over Russia’. It writes, “Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization…”
* An op-ed in the Globe and Mail published on January 15 is titled ‘The possibility of Trump as Russian agent’ and says “We have all been witnesses. The possibility that the President of the United States is working for Russia is now real…”
* Journalist Glenn Greenwald still cannot decide if there is anything to all the conspiracy-making. His article in The Intercept on January 14 argues two opposing lines of thought. To his credit, Greenwald warns of the dangers of accepting anything which the FBI and other police agencies do and say. “Such a state of affairs [the ongoing powers and actions of U.S. police-state institutions such as the FBI] is at least as dangerous for U.S. democracy as anything Trump is doing [sic] with Russia.” He then goes on to write, “Obviously, if there is reason to suspect that actual crimes have been committed – such as, say, Trump officials collaborating with Russia to hack into email inboxes or otherwise engaging in illegal deals with foreign powers – then it’s not just permissible but vital that the FBI investigate such allegations.”
The latest claim by investigator Robert Mueller that Paul Manafort shared 2016 election data with Russian officials is not a smoking gun, by Aaron Maté, The Nation, Jan 11, 2019 Proponents of the Trump-Russia collusion theory wildly overstate their case, again
Related: New York Times buries correction to its glaring mistake on Paul Manafort’s supposed ties to Russia, Sputnik News, Jan 11, 2019
Kurds in Turkey unite to take aim at Ankara in elections, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Jan 15, 2019 Saying they have taken enough abuse, Kurds in Turkey have formed an alliance to strengthen their standing in upcoming elections.
Related: Syrian jihadist group’s takeover of Idlib undermines Turkish plans, by Khaled al-Khateb, Al-Monitor, Jan15, 2019 [This is a Keystone Cops-style description of the bitter battles that have taken place recently between groups in Syria’s Idlib province that are striving to overthrow the government of Syria while at the same time vying for the patronage of NATO-member Turkey.].
The ‘private governments’ that subjugate U.S. workers, weekly column by Chris Hedges, in Truthdig, Jan 14, 2019
Turkish police obstruct delegation of European politicians visiting Diyarbakir (Amed, in Kurdish), Turkey, ANF News, Jan 13, 2019
* Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan granted prison visit from his brother in response to hunger strike by imprisoned Turkish MP Leyla Guven, report in Middle East Eye, Jan 13, 2019 … The Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) said their party’s MP Leyla Guven is suffering a “life-threatening” medical condition as her hunger strike entered its 66th day. It is unclear whether Guven, 55, would end her strike after the prison visit by Ocalan’s brother. Guven’s action was supported by more than 150 prisoners across Turkey in a show of solidarity. She was arrested in January 2018 for her opposition to Turkey’s military intervention into Afrin, Syria…
* Martina Anderson, Member of European Parliament from Ireland, meets family of Kurdish MP Leyla Guven, report on the website of Sinn Fein, Jan 12, 2019 [Martina Anderson is part of a delegation of members of the European Parliament visiting the city of Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey.].
* Speech by MP Bedia Özgökçe, Peoples Democratic Party of Turkey, to the congress of the Party of European Socialists, held in Lisbon on Dec 7-8, 2018. Report and speech published on the English language page of the website of the People’s Democratic Party, read it here in pdf format (two pages): Speech by Turkey MP Bedia Özgökçe in Lisbon, Dec 8, 2018 ‘Rising authoritarianism, racist nationalism and right-wing populism are not issues in Turkey alone. They are global problems.’
U.S. starts withdrawing supplies but not troops from Syria, by Robert Burns, Associated Press, Jan 12, 2019 [This Associated Press report is a mix of fact and fiction, capturing the planned, appearance of chaos which the Trump regime is sowing over its ongoing, illegal military presence in Syria.]
… The U.S. military has a limited network of bases inside Syria. Troops work mostly out of small camps in remote parts of the country’s northeast. Also, U.S. troops are among 200 to 300 coalition troops at a garrison in southern Syria known as al-Tanf, where they train and accompany local Syrian opposition forces.
… The withdrawal plan, whose details are classified, includes bringing hundreds of additional troops into Syria temporarily to facilitate the pullout…
* Israeli warplanes conduct missile attacks against Damascus, Reuters, Jan 12, 2019
* ‘We struck thousands of targets’ says IDF chief of staff about Israel’s ‘near-daily’ strikes for years against Syria, RT, Jan 13, 2019
* Russia says U.S. Syria pullout spurs need for Kurds and Damascus to talk, Reuters, Jan 11, 2019
The number of illegal crossings into the U.S. along the Mexico border went into sharp decline during the Obama presidency and have stayed there. These and other facts are reported in the New York Times, Jan 11, 2019
Left-wing agitation that downplays the threat of imperialist regime change directed against the government and people of Iran. January 11, 2019. [The online publication The Bullet based in Canada published on january 11 a statement by Iranian exiles calling for ‘solidarity’ with striking Iranian workers. But the statement says nothing about the ongoing military threats against Iran by the imperialist countries. ‘International solidarity’ with Iranian workers that does not campaign for an end to military threats and sanctions by the imperialist countries against Iran is dangerously misleading. The statement does contain a paragraph saying that economic sanctions against Iran should be opposed, but this is not at all integrated into the statement overall; the paragraph appears almost as an afterthought. The website of the statement authors (‘International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran‘) reports nothing about imperialism’s threats and sanctions against Iran. Considering that the Canadian government is a leading country in the military threats and economic sanctions against Iran, editors of The Bullet are doubly compromised by the publication of such a statement.]
Related: U.S. organizing international conference in Poland next month to further its regime-change drive against Iran, report by Reuters, Jan 11, 2019
Thousands of job cuts by Ford in Europe as overproduction and electric vehicle challenge bite global auto industry, report by Bloomberg News, Jan 10, 2019 [Ford employs some 54,000 workers across Europe, mainly in Germany, Britain and Spain. Its job cuts are another sign of pressure on traditional automakers as they grapple with fundamental technology changes, tougher environmental regulations and trade tensions. Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Land Rover, formerly part of Ford, plans to cut 4,500 jobs in Britain response to a sales slowdown. China has helped fuel the auto industry’s growth in recent years, but statistics issued on on January 9 show auto sales in China fell in 2018 for the first time in more than two decades. Steven Armstrong, Ford’s head of Europe, told a media conference call that the future of the company’s European operations lies in selling crossover vehicles and SUVs as sales of sedans and compact vans decline.]
The five-point ‘non-plan’ for Syria withdrawal delivered by John Bolton to Turkey, by RagipSoylu, Middle East Eye (conservative online journal), Jan 10, 2019 U.S officials failed to offer any specific details of an exit plan during John Bolton’s visit to Ankara on January 8, instead presenting a ‘non-paper’ for discussion
Related: Why Erdogan’s favorite general lost his job, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Jan 7, 2019
Interview with Venezuela President Nicholas Maduro, by Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet, interview translated and published in three parts by Venezuela Analysis, from the Spanish original published on Jan 1, 2019
Related: Nicholas Maduro sworn in for second presidential term, defying U.S. threats and intervention, report by TeleSur, Jan 10, 2019
New documents reveal the covert British military-intelligence smear machine called ‘Integrity Initiative’ is meddling in U.S. politics, special report by Max Blumenthal and Mark Ames, published by The Grayzone Project, Jan 8, 2019
Related: In interview on RT, Labour Party MP Chris Williamson says Britain’s mainstream media is not covering the Integrity Initiative scandal because ‘it might be involved’, RT, Jan 9, 2019
Turkish court hands jail term to Deutsche Welle reporter Pelin Unker, Deutsche Welle, Jan 9, 2019
On January 10, a court in Istanbul sentenced journalist Pelin Unker to 13 months and 15 days in prison. The sentence, along with a fine of 8,600 Turkish lira (€1,370, $1,570), was imposed for “insulting and slandering a public official.”
Unker’s original report appeared in Turkey’s secular, left-leaning Cumhuriyet newspaper, for which she no longer works. The allegations were linked to the ‘Panama Papers’ series of revelations about offshore entities used by politicians, celebrities and companies. Former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and his two sons sued Unker in November 2017 over a report about the sons’ alleged ties to five offshore companies in Malta.
Unker is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. She was not immediately jailed and is still able to appeal. The journalist told DW that she would appeal but that she nevertheless expected to serve time in prison…
The Real News Network succumbs to ‘Trump wants U.S. out of Syria’ belief, interview by TRRN host Ben Norton with journalist Patrick Cockburn, broadcast on The Real News Network, Jan 7, 2019 (audio and transcript at weblink)
Transcript: It’s The Real News Network, and I’m Ben Norton. The Donald Trump administration appears to once again be backtracking on one of its major promises. Now it appears that the United States may not soon be withdrawing its troops from Syria. There are currently around 2,000 U.S. troops that are occupying Syrian territory in violation of international law. And in December [December 19], President Trump surprisingly announced [on Twitter] that he would be withdrawing those troops and bringing them home within 30 days. This ignited a political firestorm with pro-war critics from both the Republican and the Democratic Parties condemning Trump for this decision, and even portraying it as part of a Russian government-backed conspiracy. But Trump’s neoconservative national security adviser John Bolton is now suggesting a major backtrack on this promise…
Bernie Sanders responds to Trump’s national televised address stoking fear and racism, by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, Jan 8, 2019
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un arrives in Beijing for talks, by Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press, Jan 7, 2019
A political settlement with Syrian government is ‘inevitable’ says leader of Syrian Kurd forces, report by Agence France presse, Jan 6, 2019
Related: Syrian Kurds seek political agreement with Damascus regardless of U.S. intentions, by Rodi Said, Reuters, Jan 4, 2019
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton says ‘withdrawal’ from northern Syria is awaiting the right conditions, by Associated Press, Jan 6, 2018
[John Bolton has told reporters while visiting Jerusalem that there are “conditions” the U.S. military wants fulfilled before departing northeast Syria. In the meantime, he wants the Kurds there to refrain from allying with the armed forces of Syria and its ally Russia. He also said U.S. troops would remain in the area of al-Tanf in southern Syria in order to counter ‘growing Iranian activity’ in the region.
[Canada’s Globe and Mail national daily has published the above Associated Press story but it created its own headline: ‘U.S. backs away from early Syria pullout’. Can you spot the corporate media sleight of hand? The revised headline reports as fact an ‘early Syria pullout’ by the U.S., referring to Donald Trump’s original tweet (!) on December 19. The Associated Press itself writes in its article: ‘Trump’s decision [a tweet!] last month drew widespread criticism from allies…’ But there was no Trump “decision” on December 19; there was, instead, a typical Trumpian media outburst intended to sow chaos and confusion. Sadly, it has worked like a charm.]
Related: Two British soldiers wounded, YPG fighter killed in ISIS missile attack in Deir Ez-Zor region in eastern Syria, report by Rudaw news agency, Jan 5, 2019 … British special forces are on the ground in northern Syria. Britain’s Ministry of Defense has not disclosed details…
U.S. has ramped up bombing of villages in southern Syria, following Trump’s Dec 19 Twitter announcement of a ‘withdrawal from Syria’, report by Trevor Aronson and Ali Younes, published in The Intercept (in partnership with Al Jazeera), Jan 3, 2019 [The Trump regime has played corporate and alternative media alike with his ‘Syria withdrawal’ Twitter announcement. All of them have reported the Trump tweet (!) as fact. This recalls the 1968 U.S. presidential election in which Richard Nixon pledged to bring about an end to the war in Vietnam. No serious analyst, certainly none sympathetic to the antiwar movement of the day, took Nixon’s words seriously. How times have changed. Today, naiveté apparently reigns.]
* Turkish army brass at odds over threatened military operation against Kurds in eastern Syria, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Jan 4, 2019 … Russia is trying to the persuade Ankara to give up its operational plans and promises a different type of buffer [along the Turkey-Syria border]: deploying the Syrian army to Manbij and east of the Euphrates River…
* Turkish battle plan for Syria shaky despite Trump’s promised pullout, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Jan 4, 2019 …Following Trump’s decision [Twitter announcement of sham U.S. withdrawal from Syria], Turkey announced that it would postpone its planned operation for the time being to allow a coordinated and orderly departure of U.S. forces from Syria. Questions remain, however, as to when and how this departure will actually take place…
President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Ms. Sebnem Korur Fincanci, sentenced to 30-month prison term for signing ‘Academics For Peace’ petition in 2016, statement by Worldwide Movement for Human Rights (FIDH, based in Paris), Jan 4, 2019 also: Turkish court sentences Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci to prison on false charges, press release by Physicians for Human Rights, Dec 19, 2018
… On January 10, 2016, 1,128 academics published a declaration entitled “We will not be party to this crime”, calling for peace within Turkey and denouncing human rights violations in the country, on behalf of the Academics for Peace initiative. The number of signatories later reached the total of 2,212. The declaration was followed by public comments from the authorities calling for the criminalisation of signatories and lawsuits were then filed against some of the academics on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” as per Article No. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713. As of December 27, 2018, 444 academics had stood trial. Sixty nine of them were given sentences ranging between 15 to 30 months. All but eight of the sentences are suspended…
* Trials of Turkish academics who signed antiwar petition lead to jail time and deferred sentences, report by Committee of Concerned Scientists, Dec 20, 2018 The first group of indicted Turkish academics have been brought before the courts recently. 700 (of 1,128) have been questioned by police; 542 have been indicted and are in some phase of the trial process. Fifty nine have been sentenced to 15 months, three have been sentenced to 18 months, one to 27 months and one to 30 months. All had their sentences deferred except for those refusing to agree to the postponement of the announcement of the verdict and those whose sentences exceeded two years. To date, eight did not receive deferred sentences and will begin the appeals process. The eight who are facing jail time are…
* World Medical Association expresses shock at prison sentences against physicians, statement by the World Medical Association, Dec 20, 2018 The World Medical Association has expressed shock at prison sentences handed down to several leading Turkish physicians…
* Turkey upholds sentencing of Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the People Democratic Party, third largest party in Turkish Parliament, report by Al Jazeera, Dec 4, 2018 A Turkish appeals court has upheld the “terror propaganda” conviction of former co-leader and presidential candidate of Selahattin Demirtas. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday the appeals court in Istanbul had unanimously voted to finalise a September verdict against him. The former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairperson was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison last September for a speech in 2013 which the court deemed to be in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)…
* Doctor arrested for allegedly insulting President Erdogan on social media, Turkish Minute, Nov 28, 2018 … According to the Turkish Penal Code, insulting the president carries a sentence of between one and four years. In 2016, 3,658 people were charged with insulting the president.
* Turkish doctors face far-reaching new police and intelligence checks, by Ayse Karabat, Middle East Eye, Nov 15, 2018
Stringent new security and background checks for newly qualified doctors in Turkey, including an assessment of their moral character and their political views, could prevent thousands of medical school graduates from working in public hospitals. A new law passed by Turkey’s parliament on November 14 means that doctors will be subjected to the wide-ranging checks, based in part on police and intelligence records, before they are permitted to undertake a compulsory period of “national service” in the public healthcare system in order to gain their medical diplomas.
The law also bans doctors who lost their jobs in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016 from returning to work in public hospitals. An estimated 3,315 doctors were among about 125,000 people who were dismissed from public institutions, the armed forces and the police, and accused of being linked to organisations threatening national security…
* Turkey’s Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) calls for release of imprisoned Turkish medical professionals, statement by Physicians for Human Rights (Turkey), Jan 30, 2018
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) strongly condemned the arrest on Tuesday of the leaders of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) and called for their immediate release. The unprecedented move by Turkish authorities to silence and intimidate the TMA followed days of threats and protests over the group’s statement criticizing war as a public health threat.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s come to this. The Turkish government’s dismantling of civil society now extends to locking up doctors who advocate for basic public health principles,” said Homer Venters, MD, director of programs at PHR. “Medical professionals must have the freedom to call out threats to public health without fear of retribution.”
The arrests came after the TMA issued a statement on January 24 decrying war as a threat to public health. Subsequently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a speech calling the TMA “terrorist lovers” and disparaging its anti-war stance.
People and their money are leaving Turkey in record numbers, by Carlotta Gill, New York Times, Jan 3, 2019 … More than a quarter of a million Turks emigrated in 2017, according to the Turkish Institute of Statistics, an increase of 42 per cent over 2016, when nearly 178,000 citizens left the country…
Bolsonaro unveils mass privatization plan for Brazil while slashing taxes for the rich and wages for the poor, by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Jan 4, 2019
* Brazil’s road to neo-fascism, by Pedro Rocha de Oliveira, published in Red Pepper, Jan 1, 2018
* Brazil: how big a defeat?, interview with Valério Arcary (member of PSOL party in Brazil), published by International Socialism (quarterly review, published by UK SWP), issue #161, Dec 2018 (online on Dec 13, 2018) You can read it here in pdf format: Brazil, interview with Valério Arcary, Dec 2018
The roots of Karl Marx’s anti-colonialism, by Thierry Drapeau, published by Jacobin Magazine, Jan 4, 2019 Through his relationship with the Chartist radical and labor poet Ernest Jones, Karl Marx came to realize the necessity of opposing slavery and colonialism in ending capitalism. Read the essay here in pdf format (seven pages): The roots of Karl Marx’s anti-colonialism, Jan 2019
Mumia Abu-Jamal Wins Major Court Victory, by Jeff Mackler, CounterPunch, Jan 3, 2019 On December 27, Philadelphia Superior Court Judge Leon Tucker ruled in favor of Mumia Abu-Jamal, holding that the actions of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge Ronald Castille demonstrated a “lack of impartiality” and “the appearance of bias”. Tucker’s decision represents a major victory for Abu-Jamal that opens the door to a new trial–or dismissal of the murder charges against him–after an appeal to the Pennsylvania courts…
Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China since Huawei executive’s extradition-to-U.S. detention in Vancouver on December 1, report in Globe and Mail, Jan 3, 2019
Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China since the high-profile arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on Dec. 1, Ottawa says. Global Affairs Canada spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said in a statement to The Globe and Mail that the government is aware that 13 Canadians have been detained in China, excluding Hong Kong, since Dec. 1, 2018. Previously, only Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver were publicly known to have been detained in China since Canada arrested Ms. Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. They were taken into custody after China promised retaliation for Ms. Meng’s arrest.
Mr. Bérubé said in the statement that at least eight of the 13 have been released. Global Affairs Canada did not disclose the identities of the other 10 Canadians. The federal government has not linked any of the detentions with Ms. Meng’s arrest, although it has demanded the “immediate release” of Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig.
China’s prosecutor-general, Zhang Jun, said at a briefing in Beijing on Thursday that Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, who are accused of endangering national security, had “without a doubt” violated the law…
Ankara seeking Russian permission for use of Syrian airspace, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Jan 2, 2019 [This analysis offers informative insight into the dilemma faced by the Turkish government as it ponders the difficulties and consequences of waging a military intervention into eastern Syria striking at Kurdish self-defense forces and autonomous governing structures. But the writer repeats the trope that Russia assisted the Turkish military intervention (‘Operation Olive Branch‘) into the Syrian province of Afrin beginning in January 2018. He creates this imagined scenario: “Moscow’s permission for Ankara to use Syrian airspace enables Russia to set the pace and duration of Turkish military operations inside Syria.” The writer’s scenario is further complicated by this sentence: “Moscow’s closure of Afrin airspace to Turkish planes between March 18-24  allowed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) elements to withdraw from Afrin to Tel Rifaat without being targeted by the Turkish air force.”]
Five weeks after The Guardian’s claim of Assange-Manafort meetings in Ecuador embassy in London, still no evidence, just stonewalling, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Jan 2, 2019 All the questions surrounding The Guardian’s sensational claims in late November 2018 remain unanswered, while writer Luke Harding and his editors maintain a strict silence. The Guardian prides itself in demanding transparency and accountability from everyone else, but in this case has refused to provide any of its own.
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un confirms commitment to denuclearization and 2nd summit in New Year’s address, report in The Hankyoreh, Jan 2, 2019 and, In ‘unprecedented’ speech, Kim Jong Un says North Korea is ready for another summit with U.S., but warns against sanctions, by Joohee Cho, ABC News, Jan 2, 2019 [Western media tailors its reporting of President Kim Jong Un’s January 1, 2019 speech to echo the views of the U.S. government and its Asia-Pacific allies, notably Japan and Australia. See this analysis in ABC.net.au (in which Donald Trump is described as “the leader of the free world”) and this extensive analysis in Associated Press (in which the writer absolves the U.S. of its historic crimes against the Korean people using sentences such as this: “Some analysts say North Korea has been trying to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul while putting the larger burden of action on the United States.”) ].
Chinese President Xi Jinping urges action on unification with Taiwan, report by Associated Press, Jan 2, 2019
Related: China’s Xi Jinping clashes with Taiwan’s Tsai over unity call, by Nikki Sun and Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia Review, Jan 2, 2019
China appears to have beaten U.S. in development of hypersonic ‘railgun’ naval artillery technology, by Alan Weedon, ABC.net.au, Jan 2, 2019 …Compared to conventional artillery that uses gunpowder to fire projectiles, a railgun uses a high-powered electric circuit to shoot a projectile along magnetic rails, firing at hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 or higher (five times the speed of sound). While the U.S. has been pursuing its railgun capability since 2005, China has taken the lead…