‘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 December 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 2020
Some Iraqis want foreign troops to leave, but the U.S., Canada and their NATO allies don’t appear to be going anywhere soon, by David Pugliese, military affairs columnist, Ottawa Citizen (Postmedia), Jan 16, 2020 Read the column here: NATO boosting military presence in Middle East
Related: NATO preparing to become ‘more involved’ in the Middle East, Al Jazeera, Jan 14, 2020
Canada and European countries meeting in London to coordinate threats and new pressures against Iran following Jan 8 plane crash over Tehran. Report by CBC News, Jan 16, 2020 (and read: report by Canadian Press, Jan 17, 2020) [The government of Holland was invited to the January 17, 2020 meeting of foreign ministers at the Canadian embassy in London though none of its nationals were on board the Ukraine Int’l Airlines flight that was shot down over Tehran. That’s because Holland brings expertise from its lead role in waging the anti-Russia investigation by self-appointed countries following the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The new, Canadian-led group consists of the countries whose citizens died in the crash–Canada, Britain, Sweden, Ukraine and Afghanistan but not including Iran, the country with the largest number of victims. One of the group’s battle cries announced in London was ‘Iran must compensate the victims of the airline crash.’ No such demand is placed on the country whose war actions against the people of Iran caused the crash to take place–the Trump-led United States. This confirms the propaganda purpose of the London initiative. Another key battle cry is that the work of the ‘investigating’ countries not be ‘obstructed’, that is, they be given free reign to go and do as they please in Iran proper.]
Trump’s trial begins, senators vowing ‘impartial justice’, Associated Press, Jan 16, 2020 …The Government Accountability Office said on Jan 16 that the White House violated federal law in withholding the security assistance to Ukraine, which shares a border with hostile Russia. At the same time, Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has turned over to prosecutors new documents linking the president to the shadow foreign policy being run by Giuliani. The developments applied fresh pressure to senators to call more witnesses for the trial, a main source of contention that is still to be resolved. The White House has instructed officials not to comply with subpoenas from Congress requesting witnesses or other information…
Related: Giuliani associate Lev Parnas names Trump, Pence and more involved in Ukraine conspiracy, Associated Press, Jan 17, 2020 …Lev Parnas says he delivered an ultimatum in May 2019 at Giuliani’s behest to the incoming president of Ukraine that no senior U.S. officials would attend his inauguration and vital American security aid would be withheld if an investigation into Biden wasn’t announced. He said Trump was aware of Giuliani’s efforts to secure an investigation and the president was briefed regularly. If true, Parnas’ account undercuts a key Republican defense of Trump during the impeachment investigation — that Trump’s withholding of vital military aid to Ukraine last summer wasn’t a quid pro quo for Biden investigations…
75 years later, newly-released wartime documents detail Soviet Red Army’s role in assisting 1944 uprising to liberate Warsaw, RT, Jan 16, 2020
Vladimir Putin’s State of the Nation address explained, by Dmitry Sudakov, in Pravda Report, Jan 15, 2020 …Putin paid first priority attention to issues of increasing the birth rate in Russia, increasing the income level of citizens, supporting young families, and overcoming poverty and economic stagnation…
Related: Text of the presidential address to Russia’s Federal Assembly on Jan 15, 2020, published on the website of the President of Russia, Jan 15, 2020
[Five noteworthy economic and political measures announced by Vladimir Putin in his January 15, 2020 speech are:
* Increases in family child support payments for children up to the age of three. These include monthly payments as well as one-time ‘maternity capital’ payments. They will be significantly increased again in 2021. In addition, family support payments will be introduced to cover children from three to seven years of age, inclusive.
* Expansion of existing, social welfare test programs.
* ‘The Constitution should guarantee that the minimum wage must not be lower than the subsistence level.’
* Further measures by the government to defend the historical truth about the victory over fascism in the Great Patriotic War (WW2).
* “In the coming years, the number of school graduates will increase. It is important to maintain equal, fair access to free, full-time higher education. In this regard, I propose to increase the number of state-funded places at universities annually and to give such places to regional universities in the first place.”
[Additionally in the speech: “The UN founding countries should set an example. It is the five nuclear powers that bear special responsibility for the preservation and sustainable development of mankind. It is five nations that must be first to take measures to eliminate prerequisites for a global war, develop new approaches to ensuring stability on the planet, which would fully take into account political, economic and military aspects of modern international relations.”
[The proposed social measures in Vladimir Putin’s speech go a long way to explain his high electoral popularity–68 per cent, according to a survey in mid-2019. This stands in contrast to the unpopularity of nearly every leader of a Western imperialist country. That said, the new social measures merit careful analysis and scrutiny in order to understand their scope and effectiveness. Alas, Western leftists, not to speak of corporate and state-run news outlets in the West, show zero interest in such analysis. When asked ‘Why does Russia act in the way it does–providing social welfare improvements domestically while opposing imperialist war and militarism on the international stage, including opposing the new nuclear arms race being waged by the U.S. and its allies–their motto remains ‘Who knows, who cares?’ Indeed, corporate media in the West is self-censoring any reporting of the social measures contained in Putin’s speech; instead, it is working up speculative and exaggerated stories of the secondary, constitutional changes announced in the speech, changes that the New York Times calls–cue the music–a “power shake-up” in an anti-Russia commentary which argues that Putin is surreptitiously aiming to become “president-for-life”. (And a prime example of biased, self-censored anti-Russia reporting is broadcast on the ‘alternative’ media site Democracy Now! on Jan 16, 2020.]
Related: Law on raising retirement age in Russia comes into effect on January 1, 2019, Moscow Times, Dec 31, 2018 …The average pension in Russia in 2018 was 14,100 rubles ($202). According to the new law, the average, monthly old-age pension for non-working pensioners will increase to 15,000 rubles in 2019 ($215–seven per cent increase) and to 20,000 rubles by 2024 ($286–33 per cent increase)… The new law preserves the right to early retirement for people working in harmful and dangerous conditions and for those injured as a result of radiation or man-made disasters. Also, the law secures early retirement to one of the parents or the guardian of a disabled person from childhood and it provides benefits to permanent residents in the Far North regions of Russia and equal areas–those who worked there as reindeer herders, fishermen and hunters…
In Jan 14 debate, Democratic Party candidates discuss ‘withdrawal’ or not of U.S. troops from Middle East but not ending endless wars, interview with Phylis Bennis, broadcast of Democracy Now!, Jan 15, 2020 …I think one of the things that was important to see last night was that all of the Democratic candidates, including the right wing of the group, as well as the progressives, as well as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, were vying with each other to see who could be more critical of the Iraq War… Now, on the specifics, I think there were some serious limitations, in two ways. On the specific question of withdrawing troops, everybody basically said, “I would leave troops.”… Across the board, particularly, of course, from the more centrist candidates, there was a focus on what’s going to happen to Americans — American jobs, American soldiers. We didn’t hear about human rights in the rest of the world…
[A contrasting analysis to Phyllis Bennis’ critical view of the foreign policies of the Democratic Party candidates for president is presented in the soft-left publication In These Times in its January 2020 issue (the article is re-printed on Jan 14, 2020 on the website of Jacobin, another soft-left website and magazine in the U.S.) Titled, ‘What a Bernie Sanders presidency would look like’, the article argues, “…Sanders promises to reshape the global order by exercising U.S. power in pursuit of negotiated geopolitical settlements…” And further, “Sanders has straightforwardly denounced the military-industrial complex, has long voted no on defense budgets, and stands alone in his consistent support for making the United States a partner to Global South struggles…”]
Australian gov’t signals shift from global warming denial to deflect and delay:
* Australia softens climate change rhetoric as bushfires, and voters, rage, Reuters, Jan 15, 2020 …A poll from the Australia Institute on Jan 15 showed the country’s bushfire crisis has intensified concerns about climate change with almost seven in ten Australians wanting the government to lead on climate action. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose popularity has sunk to its lowest levels since he took over leadership in 2018 over the government’s bushfire response, continues to espouse the merits of coal…
* Australia’s science minister calls for end to debate over whether climate change is real, SBS News, Jan 15, 2020 Top scientists will meet with Ms Andrews on Jan 15 to discuss a response to Australia’s unprecedented bushfires and how to address the effects of climate change fuelling their intensity.
* Two sides, same coin: It’s not about Labor or Liberal anymore, it’s too late for that now, by Nick Riemer, New Matilda, Jan 7, 2020 …Given the circumstances, distinctions between wet and dry, hard and soft, right and left in the ALP are ridiculous hair-splitting. Of course, there are ‘good people’ in the Labor Party. But they are no match for the careerist opportunists, apparatchiks-in-waiting, and nostalgists who will stick with the party regardless of what it actually stands for…
* What on Earth is the point of The Australian Labor Party?, by Liam McLoughlin, New Matilda, Sept 23, 2018 …For too long, there hasn’t been much of a choice for Labor Party voters. They could vote for the Labor Party whose leader promised to stop the boats, advocated boat turnbacks, killed the momentum of #LetThemStay, hobnobbed at exclusive, expensive fundraisers for business leaders, accepted political donations from fossil fuel companies, supported new coal mines and backed rafts of legislation transforming Australia into a police state, or they could vote for the Liberal Party…
Erdogan vows to defend Tripoli government after Libya in Moscow talks fail, Al-Monitor, Jan 13, 2020 After seven hours of indirect talks, the leaders of Libya’s rival factions left Moscow on Jan 13 without agreeing on a ceasefire deal. Russian and Turkish officials — which back opposing sides — had led the effort but came away empty handed when Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Hifter refused to sign a draft proposal he claimed did not satisfy his conditions… Though the Moscow talks ended without results, some analysts note that Russian and Turkish leadership in establishing a shaky cease-fire on Jan 12 and bringing the Libyan opponents into negotiations has been a diplomatic victory for Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. “Just like the Astana process in Syria, these talks show that Russia and Turkey are undertaking a parallel, rival diplomacy to the classic diplomacy dominated by the West,” Jana Jabbour, a political scientist and professor at Sciences Po Paris University, told Al-Monitor. “They also showed that Turkey and Russia have become makers and shakers of politics in the region at the expense of the Europeans and Americans.” …
* Libya’s Haftar leaves Russia without signing ceasefire deal, Deutsche Welle, Jan 14, 2020
* Germany to convene international conference on Libya Berlin on Jan 18, Deutsche Welle, Jan 14, 2020
The lies being used to justify U.S. acts of war against Iran keep coming. Two contrasting news reports:
* Hours of forewarning saved U.S., Iraqi lives from Iran’s missile attack. Report by Reuters, Jan 13, 2020 Nearly eight hours before Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on U.S. forces at bases in Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers at Ain al-Asad air base scrambled to move personnel and weaponry to fortified bunkers, two Iraqi officers stationed at the base told Reuters. By midnight, not a single fighter jet or helicopter remained out in the open, said one of the sources, an intelligence officer. Another Iraqi intelligence source said U.S. troops even seemed to know the timing of the attack, saying they seemed “totally aware” the base would be attacked “after midnight.” When the missiles finally landed at about 1:30 a.m., they struck “empty bunkers that had been evacuated hours before,” the intelligence source said. No one was injured or killed…
* U.S. commanders at al-Asad base in Iraq believe Iranian missile barrage was designed to kill, page one report in Washington Post, Jan 13, 2020 U.S. commanders at the Iraqi military base targeted by Iranian missiles said Monday they believe the attack was intended to kill American personnel, an act that could have pushed the two powers closer to outright war… “These were designed and organized to inflict as many casualties as possible,” said Lt. Col. Tim Garland, commander of Task Force Jazeera and one of the most senior officials on the base that day…
Related: ‘Four embassies’: The anatomy of Trump’s unfounded claim about Iran, page one report in Washington Post, Jan 13, 2020
The theory was born on Jan 9 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where President Trump stood before men in hard hats and orange construction vests for an environmental announcement and offered a fresh rationale for his controversial order to kill a top Iranian general. “They were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump said, referring to the heavily secured Baghdad facility that had become a magnet for protesters.
Later that night, at a raucous campaign rally in Ohio, Trump added to his story. The Iranians, he claimed, were planning to attack not only the U.S. Embassy in Iraq but also an undisclosed number of embassies in other countries. And then Trump fleshed out his claim even further. “I can reveal I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies,” he said in an interview with Fox News Channel on Jan 10. Based on what is known so far, Trump’s statement was at best an unfounded theory and at worst a falsehood.
At each turn in the commander in chief’s rapidly evolving narrative of why he authorized the Jan. 3 drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the machinery of government scrambled to adapt and respond. The result is a credibility crisis for an administration that has long struggled to communicate factual information to the public… In a rare public break with the president, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper acknowledged on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Jan 12 that he had not reviewed any such evidence of a plot to attack four U.S. embassies, as Trump had suggested…
* U.S. Defense Secreary Mark Esper says he has no hard evidence backing Trump claim of four U.S. embassies under threat, Associated Press, Jan 12, 2020 Defense Secretary Mark Esper has explicitly said that he had seen no hard evidence that four American embassies had been under possible threat when President Donald Trump authorized the targeting of Iran’s top commander, raising questions about the scale of the threat described by Trump last week. As the administration struggled with its justification for the drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Esper and other officials tried to refocus attention on voices of dissent in Iran… ( previously reported: Trump ups Iran accusations, says four U.S. embassies were being targeted, Associated Press, Jan 11, 2020, and see report in Washington Post, Jan 10, 2020 )
* Trump authorized the murder-assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago, NBC News, Jan 13, 2020
* Trump’s new foreign policy team falls into line on Iran, Washington Post, Jan 12, 2020 (or read here on MSN News) President Trump had from his earliest days in office raised the possibility of killing Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the powerful Iranian military commander who died this month in a U.S. military drone strike… Despite his reputation as an Iran hawk, former Defense Secretary James Mattis prioritized defeating the Islamic State. More broadly, during his time in the top civilian post at the Pentagon, Mattis was focused on preparing the military for possible conflicts with great powers such as China and Russia … Former White House officials who supported the killing of Soleimani this month viewed Mattis’s absence as one of the reasons the strike proceeded, surmising that Mattis either wouldn’t have supported such a strike or wouldn’t have presented the option to the president…
* Canada’s Maple Leaf CEO says the United States shares blame for Iran plane crash, The Canadian Press, Jan 12, 2020 [The Canadian government and the country’s corporate media and elite are marching in lock-step with the Trump regime’s war moves against Iran. But the head of Canada’s largest food processor is taking a pass.]
Without batting an eye, corporate and state media in the West uses the airline tragedy over Tehran to further war aims against Iran. [Jan 13, 2020 The U.S. assassination of Iran’s leading general Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020 was the latest act of war by the U.S. and its allies against the people of Iran. Ongoing and now-tightening sanctions by the West against Iran are another front of that war. The assassination and the immediate threat of more military action by the U.S. and its allies is the reason for the tragic crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 over Tehran on January 8, 2020 when an Iranian air defense crew mistook the plane for an incoming U.S. missile attack. All 176 passengers and crew died in the crash. Regardless of the tragedy, Western media is keeping up the drumbeat of violent overthrow of the Iranian government, including by inciting internal protest against the Iranian government. The headline of Canada’s Globe and Mail daily on Jan 13 captures the drumbeat: ‘Outrage grows in Iran over plane downing’. An accompanying photo shows perhaps one thousand student protesters at the University of Tehran criticizing their government. The New York Times headlined on Jan 13, ‘Protests over downed jet rage in Iran’, accompanied by a photo of a much smaller crowd of student protesters. (The Times‘ article and photo was reprinted the following day by the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation daily.) A photo gallery on the U.S. government’s Voice of America propaganda outlet similarly shows relatively small protests. Never mind that in the preceding days, many millions of Iranians took to the streets across the country to honour General Soleimani and demand that the U.S. be punished for its heinous act.]
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter analyzes the collapsing intelligence claims by the Trump White House to justify the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, interview with Scott Ritter, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ (The Grayzone), Jan 12, 2020 (31-minute interview) Scott Ritter is a former UN weapons inspector, Marine Corps Intelligence Officer and author of the 2019 book ‘Dealbreaker: Donald Trump and the Unmaking of the Iran Nuclear Deal’.
Ukrainian plane brought down over Tehran ‘due to human error’ announces Iran gov’t, Press TV, Jan 11, 2020 Iran says a Ukrainian plane which crashed outside Tehran this week had flown close to a sensitive military site and been brought down due to human error “at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism.” In a statement Saturday, the general staff of the armed forces touched on the tense situation in the hours after Iran’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq, saying Tehran was on the highest level of alert “in response to threats by the criminal American president and military commanders” to hit a large number of Iranian targets…
On the same day it killed Iranian General Soleimani, U.S. tried but failed to kill another Iranian military leader, Associated Press, Jan 11, 2020 The U.S. military tried, but failed, to take out another senior Iranian commander on the same day that an American airstrike killed the Revolutionary Guard’s top general, U.S. officials said on Jan 10. The officials said a military airstrike by special operations forces targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-ranking commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps but the mission was not successful…
Trump wants NATO expanded to Mideast and renamed ‘NATOME’, Associated Press, Jan 9, 2020
The U.S. is imitating Daesh (ISIS) in threatening to destroy Iran’s cultural sites, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Zarif tells UN Security Council, Press TV, Jan 10, 2020 Zarif’s speech was read to the January 9 UN Security Council session by Iran’s Ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, after the U.S. refused a visa to Zarif in a clear violation of its international obligations for Zarif to attend the meeting.
Background: U.S. blocks Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif from travel to New York to attend UN Security Council meeting, Common Dreams, Jan 7, 2020
From ‘Resistance’ to assistance: Little pushback in the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post to Trump’s Iran assassination, by Alan MacLeod, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Jan 9, 2020 When the president carries out dangerous, aggressive actions, such as the assassination of Iranian general and political leader Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3, “resistance” turns to assistance from the corporate press.
U.S. dismisses Iraq request to work on a troop withdrawal plan, Associated Press, Jan 10, 2020
Western countries accuse Iranian missiles of downing Ukraine International Airlines flight over Tehran on Jan 8, 2020. It’s a familiar accusation process. [Canada and its NATO allies are well-versed in the art of politically-driven accusations when an airline passenger tragedy intersects with political and military objectives–in this most recent case, the military objective being a continuation of decades-long aggression against Iran and its people. On July 3, 1988, a U.S. warship shot down an Iran Air Flight 655 in Iranian airspace, killing all 290 people on board (Wikipedia). The U.S. immediately told lie after lie, saying its ship had come under attack by an Iranian military plane. But the lies quickly fell apart and the U.S. issued a statement of ‘regret’ after some days. On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine (Wikipedia). Western countries seized upon that tragedy and used their ‘official’ investigation to escalate their new cold war against Russia. The investigation has never reached a satisfactory conclusion. On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 was downed over the Atlantic Ocean by bombs planted on board while flying from Montreal to London. The subsequent investigation and prosecution by Canadian police and courts lasted almost 20 years and resulted in acquittals of the two accused. Key surveillance files were destroyed by police before a trial of two accused finally got underway, in 2003! (Wikipedia).] Related: Ukraine airliner tragedy evokes memories of Iran Air shootdown by U.S. in 1988 and Cubana Flight 455 bombing on Oct 6, 1976, Common Dreams, Jan 10, 2020
Black Britons know why Meghan Markle wants out, it’s the racism, commentary by Afua Hirsch, New York Times, Jan 9, 2020 …If the media paid more attention to Britain’s communities of color, perhaps it would find the announcement by Prince Harry and Megan Markle they want out of royal duties far less surprising. With a new prime minister whose track record includes overtly racist statements, some of which would make even Donald Trump blush, a Brexit project linked to native nationalism and a desire to rid Britain of large numbers of immigrants, and an ever thickening loom of imperial nostalgia, many of us are also thinking about moving…
Related: Black Britons wonder what took Harry and Meghan so long, by Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times, Jan 11, 2020
U.S. and Iran avoid war, but Trump’s war-mongering goes on, interview with Sina Toossi, senior research analyst at the National Iranian American Council, broadcast on ‘Pushback (The Grayzone), with host Aaron Maté, Jan 9, 2020 (16-minute interview)
Related: Its missiles did little damage, but Iran has more potent weapons, New York Times, Jan 9, 2020
Canadian gov’t can’t properly serve the interests of airline safety nor the families of victims of the Jan 8 airline crash in Tehran due to Conservative gov’t’s decision in 2012 to sever diplomat ties with Iran, left in place by Liberal gov’ts elected in 2015 and 2019. Report by CBC News, Jan 8, 2020 [Fifty seven Canadians, mostly Iranian-Canadians, died in the Jan 8 crash (corrected from the original announcement of 63). A total of 138 passengers were en route to Toronto, out of 176 passengers and crew. The safety of those traveling between Canada and Iran has been compromised for nearly ten years by Canada’s banning of direct flights to and from Iran. Most European countries, too, have followed Washington’s diktats and cut direct flights to and from Iran. Passengers are obliged to fly through third countries on secondary airlines due to the harsh, anti-Iran air travel bans. In this case, passengers were flying to Kyiv on board ‘Ukraine International Airlines’, then on to Toronto.]
Largest-ever strike in India shakes up Modi government, by Subodh Varma, Newsclick (India), Jan 8, 2020 Workers in industries, banks, transport, ports and government offices stopped work, They were joined by farmers and rural labourers as well as students in over 60 universities and institutions.
Related: Diary of an Indian uprising, by Vijay Prashad, Newsclick, Jan 9, 2020
Juan Guaido installs parallel National Assembly in Venezuela as Washington threatens more sanctions, by Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis, Jan 8, 2020
* Venezuela opposition breaks up in National Assembly, published in Resumen Latino America, Jan 5, 2020
* This might be the final episode of Juan Guaidó’s surreal regime change reality show, by Leonardo Flores, The Grayzone, Jan 8, 2020
* For Western press, the only coup in Venezuela is the one they claim to be against Juan Guaidó, by Lucas Koerner, FAIR.org, Jan 10, 2020
A view from Tehran: Iranian professor condemns U.S. aggression and warns U.S.-backed Gulf states, interview with Professor Mohammad Marandi (Tehran University), broadcast on Democracy Now!, Jan 8, 2020 (28-minute interview)
More than 180 events planned across U.S. to protest Trump’s march to war with Iran, Common Dreams, Jan 8, 2020
Iran fires warning against U.S. with missile attacks against two U.S. airbases in Iraq, news updates on Al Jazeera, Jan 8, 2020
* Tehran’s moderate retaliation paves way for de-escalation, commentary on Deutsche Welle, Jan 8, 2020
* Trump re-election campaign seizes on Soleimani killing, Associated Press, Jan 8, 2020
* Trump is running hundreds of Facebook ads praising himself for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Buzzfeed News, Jan 7, 2020
* The evolving U.S. justification for killing Iran’s top general, CNN, Jan 8, 2020
* Special UN rapporteur on extrajudicial executions demands official UN probe of Soleimani assassination, Common Dreams, Jan 7, 2020
Dialogue roundtable in Venezuelan agrees on release of 14 prisoners, supports Luis Parra as National Assembly president replacing Washington’s and Ottawa’s lackey Juan Guaido, by Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis, Jan 6, 2020 The National Roundtable for Peaceful Dialogue announced on Jan 6 the release of 14 more jailed opposition figures. The majority of those freed were arrested during violent anti-government street protests looking to oust President Nicolas Maduro by force in 2014 and 2017. The protests left over 40 and 120 people dead, respectively… The roundtable meeting on Jan 6 came one day after self-declared ‘interim President’ Juan Guaido failed to secure reelection as head of the National Assembly. He was replaced by the more moderate opposition lawmaker Luis Parra…
* Fractured opposition replaces U.S. and Canada’s lackey Juan Guaido as head of Venezuelan National Assembly, by Lucas Koerner and Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis, Jan 5, 2020 …Last month, a group of opposition legislators broke with Guaido following a new corruption scandal engulfing senior National Assembly deputies accused of accepting kickbacks from a Colombian businessman purportedly linked to Venezuela’s CLAP food program…
* New York Times acknowledges, laments coup plans in Venezuela by U.S., Canada and Europe have suffered major setback. Article in New York Times, Jan 6, 2020
Millions bid farewell to hero General Qassem Soleimani at hometown funeral in Kerman, southeastern Iran, Press TV, Jan 7, 2020 …A separate mass funeral was held for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), in the southwestern city of Abadan. From there, his body will be transferred to Khorramshahr and Shalamcheh in Iran’s Khuzestan Province for similar mourning ceremonies… …An estimated seven million mourners packed an 11-kilometer thoroughfare in Tehran during a funeral ceremony on Jan 6…
* Millions pack the streets of Tehran on Jan 6 to pay homage to Major-General Qassem Soleimani, Press TV, Jan 6, 2020 …Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis chanting ‘Death to America’ joined the funeral procession for Gen. Soleimani and Iraq’s anti-terror commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad and the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iran on Jan 4…
* Iranians flood Twitter with photos of favorite cultural sites after Trump creature threatens sites with destruction. Report by Common Dreams, Jan 5, 2020
NATO imperialist alliance stands with U.S. after Soleimani assassination, says Iran must avoid ‘further violence’, Al-Jazeera, Jan 6, 2020
* After drone-killing U.S. regime stages murderous rampage, leaders of Germany, France and UK meet and tell Iran to ‘de-escalate’. Report in Deutsche Welle, Jan 6, 2020
* NATO ‘training mission’ in Iraq led by U.S. stooge Canada will stay, NATO meeting in Brussels declares. Report by Canadian Press, Jan 6, 2020
Middle East writer Patrick Cockburn blandly terms U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani part of a ‘US-Iranian rivalry’ and a ‘proxy war’ being fought at the expense of the Iraqi people. Article by Patrick Cockburn, published in The Independent, Jan 4, 2020 [Patrick Cockburn has long been treated as an authority on Middle East politics by certain left-wing publications, notably in the eclectic CounterPunch where he appears regularly as a proxy columnist. But his columns in the past few days show him to be a writer promoting some of the worst prejudices of Western media against the Iraqi and Iranian people (and Syrian people before that). Above is a reference and weblink to his column of January 4. In his latest column, on January 6, he describes the U.S. and Iran as “two outside powers” fighting for domination of Iraq and its people. The victims in the latest, murderous assault by the U.S. are not the Iraqi AND Iranian people, even though they have been attacked by U.S. imperialism for decades. No, the victim is a poor, hapless Iraq, caught between two ‘outside powers’. There is not a word of outrage in Cockburn’s writing over the criminal U.S. killing of General Soleimanie nor a word of the great peril to the entire world of the heinous act.]
* Right-wing socialists in Ontario publish second attack in three days against the people of Iran, Jan 7, 2020. [For the second time in three days, the right-wing socialists of the ‘Socialist Project’ have published a statement by Iranian exiles snearing at the righteous indignation of the Iranian people following the heinous assassination on January 3, 2019 of Iranian Major-General Qasem Soleimani by the Trump regime in Washington. The two statements are published in The Bullet, the online bulletin of the ‘Socialist Project’, an academic think tank based in Toronto and Ottawa. The statements do not appear on the website of the publication, only in email bulletin form. They can be read here (Jan 7, 2020) and here (Jan 5, 2020). The rambling statement published on January 7 is full of violent rhetoric and scaremongering, calling for ‘class war’ internationally. It says not a word about the decades of violence and regime-change sabotage directed by Washington and its allies against the people of Iran, including the harsh economic sanctions in place for decades. The statement reads, in part, …”The US military’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani, one of the top military commanders of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s expansionist regional policies and its proxy wars in the Middle East, can lead to retaliation by the Islamic regime. Such retaliation, the threat of further US retaliation and a chain reaction could further destabilize the region and endanger the lives of thousands of Iraqis, Iranians and other ordinary people in the Middle East.”] * Anti-Iran bias has long predominated in the pages of The Intercept, Jan 7, 2020. [Anti-Russia bias and Russiagate conspiracy mongering have long predominated in the pages of The Intercept. It has also consistently voiced sympathies for violent regime-change in Syria. These pro-imperialist positions are similar to those taken by Democracy Now! Parallel to all this is are the two publications’ hostility to the government and people of Iran. Iranian-supported military forces in Iraq and Syria have played an indispensable role in the war against the extreme-right ISIS. The assassinated General Qassem Soleimani was the central leader in this war. He and the anti-ISIS forces he helped to lead have played a far more consequential role in the battle against ISIS compared to the forces supported (or manipulated) by the U.S. and its imperialist allies, including among the Kurdish forces that the U.S. encouraged but only lightly armed. This lengthy, ‘special’ report in The Intercept from November 2019 entirely ignored this indispensable role which Iran-supported forces were playing in the war against ISIS. Instead, it promoted a conspiratorial and right-wing view of Iran as being a dastardly rival to the U.S. for domination of the Middle East, equally dangerous and equally illegitimate as the U.S. In a follow-up commentary published in The Intercept on January 9, 2020, a co-author of the November article, James Risen, regrets the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, but not on moral or anti-imperialist grounds. No, he writes instead, “The threat of retaliation has always been one of the most potent arguments against the use of assassination as a national security [sic] tool.”]
Stop the war, stop U.S. empire, by Greg Shupak, Jacobin Magazine, Jan 5, 2020
Iraqi PM reveals Soleimani was on peace mission when assassinated, exploding Trump’s lie of ‘imminent attacks‘, by Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone, January 6, 2020 The Trump administration claimed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was planning “imminent attacks” on US interests when it assassinated him. That lie was just destroyed, but not before countless corporate media outlets transmitted it to the public.
Trump’s march to war against Iran aided by Democrats’ weakness on sanctions and U.S. abrogation of 2015 nuclear deal, interview with Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ (The Grayzone), with host Aaron Maté, Jan 4, 2020 (22-minute interview) Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, discusses Trump’s radical neocon agenda in Iran and how Democratic votes for new sanctions against Tehran helped lay the groundwork for the current crisis.
Iraqi parliament votes to end U.S. troop presence, The National (UAE), Jan 5, 2020
Iraq’s parliament held an extraordinary session on January 5 and voted to end the presence of foreign troops and to lodge an official complaint against the U.S. over the drone killing of Qassem Suleiman. On Jan 3, regional tensions were dramatically escalated after Suleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.
The extraordinary session on Jan 5 was led by outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. He resigned earlier last week following protests at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad but is in office until a replacement has been decided. Parliament voted on a five-point action plan that would require the Iraqi government to end the presence of foreign troops in the country and withdraw its request for assistance from the anti-ISIS global coalition. This would require new legislation to cancel the existing agreement.
In attendance at the session were 173 of the 329 Iraqi MPs. The request for the vote was put forward on Sunday by the largest bloc in the legislature, known as Fatah, which includes leaders associated with the Iran-backed paramilitary Popular Mobilisation Units. Late on Jan 4, missiles hit the Baghdad enclave where the U.S. embassy is located and an airbase north of the capital housing U.S. troops, prompting President Donald Trump to threaten strikes on 52 sites in Iran. Parliament also called on the government to ban the use of Iraqi airspace by any foreign power… Mr Abdul Mahdi said asking the U.S. forces to leave “would be the best option to establish a strong friendship with the US and other countries, based on mutual respect for sovereignty”…
Related: From timeline report in Associated Press, Jan 5, 2020:
Iraq’s parliament has voted to expel the U.S. military from the country. Lawmakers voted on Jan 5 in favor of a resolution that calls for ending foreign military presence in the country. The resolution’s main aim is to get the U.S. to withdraw some 5,000 U.S. troops present in different parts of Iraq. The vote comes two days after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani inside Iraq, dramatically increasing regional tensions. The resolution was backed by most Shiite members of parliament, who hold a majority of seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.
Thousands take to streets in more than 70 cities across U.S. to protest Trump’s ‘reckless acts of war’ against Iran, Common Dreams, Jan 4, 2020
Related: Senator Bernie Sanders condemns the U.S. assassination-by drone of Major General Qassem Soleimani, seven-minute speech by Bernie Sanders, delivered on Jan 3, 2020
With Suleimani assassination-by-drone, Trump is doing the bidding of Washington’s most vile cabal, by Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept, Jan 3, 2020 … Assassination has been a central component of U.S. policy for many decades, though it has been whitewashed and normalized throughout history, most recently with Obama’s favored term, “targeted killings”… While many Democratic politicians are offering their concerns about the consequences of Suleimani’s assassination, they are prefacing it with remarks about how atrocious Suleimani was. Framing his assassination that way ultimately benefits the extremist cabal of foreign policy hawks who agitated for this very moment to arrive… For three years, many Democrats have told the country that Trump is the gravest threat to a democratic system we have faced. And yet many leading Democrats have voted consistently to give Trump unprecedented military budgets and surveillance powers…
Trump creature threatens bombing of cultural sites in Iran, considered a war crime under int’l law. Report in Washington Post, Jan 5, 2020
A shocked Iraq reconsiders its relationship with the U.S., New York Times, Jan 4, 2020 …The drone strike on General Suleimani “was a clear breach of the terms of the American forces’ presence,” Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said. He added the Iraqi Parliament will meet in the coming days to consider “appropriate measures to preserve the dignity of Iraq and its security and sovereignty,” including whether to ask the Americans to leave… The United States has nearly 5,000 troops in Iraq on a handful of bases… [Its junior partner Canada has 850 soldiers in the country, mostly in the kurdish region in the north.] …When militia fighters marched on the American embassy on Dec 31 to attack it, Iraqi security forces stepped aside to let them pass. As the protesters lay siege to the embassy, setting fire to buildings and effectively blockading embassy personnel in the embassy overnight, Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi found that he was powerless to get them to leave. For 24 hours, he held almost constant emergency meetings with the militia leaders, urging them to withdraw, according to officials involved in the meetings. “Please, you are putting me in a critical situation,” he begged, according to Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf. “We are a state, and we have to conduct ourselves as a state. We have to protect these embassies.” He finally persuaded the militia leaders to withdraw their forces only by threatening to leave his job and “leave the country to chaos,” according to Iraqi officials familiar with the exchanges…
Related: U.S. and allies suspend training of Iraqi forces, Reuters, Jan 3, 2020
U.S. assassinates Iran’s Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, Press TV, Jan 3, 2020
* Who was Major-General Qassem Soleimani?, Press TV, Jan 3, 2020
* Angry Iranians rally in huge numbers to call for revenge over U.S. assassinations, Press TV, Jan 3, 2020
* Trump just declared war against Iran, by Fred Kaplan, Slate.com, Jan 3, 2020 There’s no other way to look at the killing of Qassem Soleimani.
* ‘A more dangerous world’: Drone killing against top Iranian general triggers global alarm, Associated Press, Jan 3, 2020 …German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer described the U.S. strike as “a reaction to a whole series of military provocations for which Iran bears responsibility,” pointing to attacks on tankers and a Saudi oil facility, among other events… The British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said “we have always recognized the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qasem Soleimani.” …
* Fear of a major Mideast war, by Joe Lauria, editor, Consortium News, Jan 3, 2020
* Jeremy Corbyn demands UK ‘stand up to belligerent U.S.’ after Iran’s Soleimani killed, The Mirror, Jan 3, 2020 The outgoing Labour leader is among a host of left-wing figures urging the UK to condemn Donald Trump’s administration – which spoke to Britain today after launching an airstrike on Iranian General Qasem Soleiman
* Trump’s new year drone killing of Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani finally blows up the fake Russiagate narrative, commentary by Neil Clark, RT, Jan 3, 2020 [This important commentary is only available on RT, a publication whose editors and most of whose writers have otherwise long-promoted the naive (or malevolent) view that Donald Trump seeks ‘peace’ in the world but is blocked from achieving this by a U.S. ‘deep state’.].
* Interview with Aaron Maté on U.S. drone attack against Iran, broadcast on ‘Rising’ (The Hill), Jan 3, 2020 (nine-minute broadcast)
* Two opposing views on U.S. aggression against Iran.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, on Twitter: Let’s be clear, Trump is not responding to Iranian aggression. TRUMP IS THE AGGRESSOR. He is the one who tore up the nuclear deal that Iran had agreed to and adhered to. TRUMP IS THE AGGRESSOR. Period.
Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Party candidate for 2020 presidential election nomination, on Twitter:
Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.
U.S. railroads are slashing workers, cheered on by Wall Street to stay profitable amid Trump’s trade war, by Heather Long, Washington Post, Jan 3, 2020 …More than 20,000 rail workers have lost their jobs in the past year, the biggest layoffs in rail since the Great Recession and a nearly 10 percent decline in rail employment, according to Labor Department data through November…
OPCW leaks expose ‘criminal’ Syria cover-up — and U.S. media is silent, interview with award-winning MIT professor Theodore Postol, broadcast on ‘Pushback’ (The Grayzone), with host Aaron Maté, Jan 2, 2020 (31-minute interview) The U.S. media continues to ignore one of 2019’s top scandals: a cover-up inside the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that was used to justify U.S.-led military strikes on Syria in April 2018.
For a second day, protests in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq against U.S. presence in the country, Al Jazeera, Jan 1, 2020 Hundreds of Iraqi members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) and their supporters hurled stones at the United States embassy in Baghdad for a second day on Jan 1 while security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades in a bid to drive them away. U.S. troops also fired tear gas to disperse the protests, led by the Iranian-backed PMF, an umbrella grouping of paramilitary organisations that mostly consists of Iranian-backed Shia militias and that was integrated into Iraq’s armed forces…
Related: Protesters leave U.S. embassy zone in Baghdad, establish protest camp across the Tigris River, Al Jazeera, Jan 1, 2020
Iran re-opens truck assembly plant after German firms obeyed U.S. sanctions and left the joint venture, Press TV, Jan 1, 2020
Related: Iran says sanctions have lost steam, economy recovering, Press TV, Dec 18, 2019
Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul was even worse than we thought, by Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone, Dec 31, 2019
Related: Farmers got billions from taxpayers in 2019 and hardly anyone objected, National Public Radio, Dec 31, 2019
Venezuela is quietly ramping up oil production, Oil Price.com, Dec 31, 2019
Interview with 30-year old union leader Andrónico Rodríguez in Bolivia, potential successor to Evo Morales as presidential candidate of the MAS party, by Wyatt Reid, The Grayzone, Dec 28, 2019 (interview written in print form)