Brexit | Colombia | NATO | Myanmar

EU referendum: full results and analysis (Guardian)

Britain has voted by a substantial margin to leave the European Union. The picture that is emerging is of a heavily polarised country, with remain areas coming in more strongly for remain than expected, and leave areas more strongly for leave. Geographically, Scotland and London have voted overwhelmingly for remain, but outside the capital, every English region had a majority for leave.

Here’s an article by a Chinese friend who is studying in Britain right now:
风雨飘摇中的英国工党和左派(澎湃)
More on Brexit:
Joseph Richardson: The Left and the EU: Why Cling to This Reactionary Institution? (CounterPunch)

Why is it that many people who consider themselves left-wing have such difficulty grasping that the EU is a deeply reactionary institution? The mere fact that those running the EU present it as an internationalist venture dedicated to the creation of a world free of nationalist enmities does not make it so. If we want to examine the EU in its proper light, then we should ignore the high-flown rhetoric in which its supporters indulge, and consider its actual record. And what is the record of the EU, once we penetrate the obfuscatory rhetoric about ‘internationalism’ that surrounds EU policy? Without a doubt, that record is one that should cause those on the left now defending it acute embarrassment, as it starkly contradicts the ideals that the left has always claimed to uphold.

John King: The left wing case for leaving the EU (New Statesman)
John Mann: Now it’s time for Labour to listen to its voters (Guardian)

Traditional Labour supporters voted to leave the EU and create a fairer workplace. My party must not only listen, but take action to protect their rights.
The EU referendum has exposed the major schism between Labour and its core voters. The Labour party in Westminster struggled to reflect the language and aspirations of our traditional working-class communities. These Labour voters, aware of the long-term neglect of their voice and their aspirations, decided the result of the referendum. It should be no surprise to anyone that they chose to comfortably ignore the Labour call to vote remain.

Diane Abbott: The dispossessed voted for Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn offers real change (Guardian)
Martin Kettle: Jeremy Corbyn will struggle to hold his line over Europe (Guardian)
Giles Fraser: Brexit brought democracy back – now we need to start listening to each other (Guardian)

The wonderful thing about democracy is that it doesn’t give some an extra voting power if they are rich or well-educated. It’s the great leveller. Invented in this country by the Levellers. And things have now been levelled.
The biggest failure in all this has been the Labour party, often little more than a bystander in so vital a debate. If only Jeremy Corbyn had stuck with his natural instincts and led the leave campaign. He could now be the prime minister in waiting. And he could have shaped the debate away from immigrant blaming. Indeed, many of those who voted out were natural Labour supporters, but their anger has been dismissed as bigoted by those for whom some pop-up chai latte liberal individualism has replaced socialism as the dominant creed.
Tragically, Ukip has been the beneficiaries of this neglect, hijacking legitimate frustration and redirecting it towards the easy target of the outsider. With this referendum the gap between the present Labour party and its base has been exposed.

Brexit Vote Spells Political Crisis in Scotland and UK (Scottish Socialist Party)

Commenting on the Brexit vote SSP National Spokesperson Colin Fox said: “This result first and foremost represents an unprecedented rejection of the anti-democratic, neo-liberal EU by one of its most significant and powerful constituent nations.

An anti-racist, anti-austerity and socialist case to vote Leave (Socialist Worker)
Charlie Hore: Seeing the whole picture after the referendum (Socialist Worker)
Joseph Choonara: After the leave vote: we can beat back racism and austerity (Socialist Review)
Neil Davidson: The Socialist Case for Leave (Jacobin)

The European Union provides internationalism for the bosses, not for workers. We should join the vote to leave it tomorrow.

Ed Rooksby: The Left After Leave (Jacobin)
Jonathan Cook: Your EU vote is crucial because it won’t count

Here is a prediction about the outcome of today’s UK referendum on leaving the European Union. Even in the unlikely event that the remain camp loses, the UK will still not Brexit. Europe’s neoliberal elite will not agree to release its grip on a major western nation. A solution will be found to keep the UK in the union, whatever British voters decide. Which is one very good reason to vote Brexit, as I’ll explain in a minute.

Supporters of the EU sneer “Little Englander” at those with a different opinion, but most of the arguments against membership are left-leaning and liberal.

One solution, of course, is to vote again and again, until the desired result is obtained:
James Tapper: Petition to hold second EU referendum reaches 2m signatures (Guardian)
Peter Rásonyi: Zeit für Reflexion und Demut (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Was jahrzehntelang undenkbar schien, ist Tatsache geworden. Grossbritannien, die einstige Weltmacht, das drittgrösste Mitgliedsland, die zweitgrösste Volkswirtschaft, verlässt die Europäische Union.

Julie Hyland: In right-wing putsch, UK Labour MPs deliver overwhelming anti-Corbyn vote (World Socialist Website)

Fully 81 percent of the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) supported Tuesday’s motion of no-confidence in leader Jeremy Corbyn. Just 40 Labour MPs voted against the motion, with 172 in favour. Thirteen did not vote at all and there were four spoilt ballots.
The extraordinary scale of the right-wing coup, which had already seen Corbyn lose most of his shadow cabinet in a series of timed resignations, was intended to force the Labour leader to resign. But in a statement put out moments after the result, Corbyn said that he had been elected “by 60 percent of Labour members and supporters” only last September, and “I will not betray them by resigning.”
The no-confidence motion, he said, has “no constitutional legitimacy.”

Andrew Griffin: Jeremy Corbyn supporters to march on parliament to demand that Labour leader keeps job (Independent)
Labour resignations a ‘disgusting, organised coup’, says Alex Salmond (Herold)

Sibylla Brodzinsky, Jonathan Watts: Colombia and Farc rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict (Guardian)

The Colombian government and Farc guerrillas have declared the final day of one of the world’s oldest wars with the signing of a ceasefire agreement to end more than 50 years of bloodshed.

German minister warns Nato against ‘warmongering’ (BBC)

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned Nato against “warmongering”, after it conducted military exercises in Eastern Europe.
Mr Steinmeier said that extensive Nato manoeuvres launched this month were counterproductive to regional security and could inflame tensions with Russia.
He urged the Nato military alliance to replace the exercises with more dialogue and co-operation with Russia.
Nato has carried out a 10-day exercise simulating a Russian attack on Poland.
The drill, which ended on Friday, involved about 31,000 troops, as well as fighter jets, ships and 3,000 vehicles.

Jennifer Rankin: Eastern Europe needs permanent Nato troops, say ex-US policymakers (Guardian)

Nato troops should be stationed permanently in eastern Europe to guard against potential aggressive moves by Russia, two former US policymakers have said in a report that could raise tensions with Moscow.
Just weeks ahead of a Nato summit in Warsaw, Nicholas Burns, a former US ambassador to the organisation, and Gen James Jones, a former supreme allied commander for Europe, have called for permanent air, sea and ground troops to be based in the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria…
Any such move would be bound to be seen by the Kremlin as a hostile act. Moscow argues that the plan to set up rotating battalions in Poland and the Baltic States would violate a 1997 agreement that Nato would not mass “substantial combat forces” in Europe.

Reuters: Aung San Suu Kyi tells UN that the term ‘Rohingya’ will be avoided (Guardian)

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told the UN special rapporteur on human rights that the government will avoid using the term “Rohingya” to describe a persecuted Muslim minority in the country’s north-west.
The statement came as the top UN human rights official issued a report saying the Rohingya had been deprived of nationality and undergone systematic discrimination and severe restrictions on movements. They had also suffered executions and torture that together may amount to crimes against humanity, the report said…
Feted in the west for her role as champion of Myanmar’s democratic opposition during long years of military rule and house arrest, Suu Kyi has been criticised overseas, and by some in Myanmar, for saying little about the abuses faced by the Rohingya…
Some 120,000 Rohingya remain displaced in squalid camps since fighting erupted in Rakhine State between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012. Thousands have fled persecution and poverty.

Julian Vigo: Disenfranchisement Laws, Race and the U.S. Presidential Election (CounterPunch)

5.8 million Americans cannot vote because of felony conviction. One out of every thirteen African Americans has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement laws. Compare this with one in every forty-five non-black voters and it is clear that something is amiss with the US electoral process. The 2000 presidential elections gave Republican nominee, George W. Bush, a narrow win over the Democratic, nominee, Al Gore, where the margin of Bush’s victory in this state were fewer than 1,000 votes. It is widely viewed that had disenfranchisement laws not been in vigour in Florida which prohibited as many as 620,000 citizens from voting, history would have decided a different US president.

David Palumbo-Liu: The UN’s damning report on Israel and torture: The desperate case of Palestinian youth in the occupied territory (Salon)

Just recently, Israel was elected to chair one of the United Nations’ permanent committees — the Sixth Committee, called the “Legal Committee.” It oversees issues related to international law, including human rights issues and issues of decolonization. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon remarked, “I am proud to be the first Israeli elected to this position… Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism…We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our knowledge with the countries of the world.” This presents a case of overwhelming contradiction, as Israel itself has been sharply and persistently criticized for violations of human rights and its continued colonial project in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
In May 2011, Danon wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times where he advocated that Israel annex all West Bank settlements and “uninhabited areas.”

Amira Hass: Palestinian City Parched After Israel Cuts Water Supply (Haaretz, also via Google News)

Chickens and gardens in Salfit die of dehydration, and factories are shut down in an effort to conserve water; ‘We woke up one morning to an empty reservoir,’ the mayor says. ‘Had we known ahead of time that the water would be cut off, we would have stocked up.’

Amira Hass: Israel Admits Cutting West Bank Water Supply, but Blames Palestinian Authority (Haaretz)

Since the start of this month, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been suffering the harsh effects of a drastic cut in the water supplied them by Israel’s Mekorot water company.
In the Salfit region of the West Bank and in three villages east of Nablus, homes have had no running water for more than two weeks. Factories there have been shut down, gardens and plant nurseries have been ruined and animals have died of thirst or been sold to farmers outside the affected areas.

Amira Hass: Israel Incapable of Telling Truth About Water It Steals From Palestinians (Haaretz, also via Google News)
Nir Hasson: Four Out of Five East Jerusalemites Live in Poverty, a Sharp Rise Over Past Years (Haaretz, also via Google News)

Eighty-two percent of East Jerusalem residents lived under the poverty line in 2014, a sharp increase from previous years, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.
In comparison, the poverty rate for Israel as a whole is 22 percent, the rate for Jerusalem as a whole is 48 percent. In 2013, the poverty rate recorded in East Jerusalem was 76 percent, JIIS said.

Yuval Eylon: An Israeli-Palestinian confederation? Not so fast (+972 Mag)

A new initiative seeks to find a new, creative way to solve the conflict. The only problem? It forgets about equality…
Two States One Homeland proposes a confederation based on 1967 borders, freedom of movement, and joint institutions. The settlements will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, the settlers will be able to keep Israeli citizenship, and a similar number of citizens of Palestine will be able to live as residents in Israel…
On paper it seems like a fair exchange. However with hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens in sovereign Palestinian territory, the Palestinian state will inevitably lack all sovereignty. The disparities in power ensure that Palestinian sovereignty will remain a formality, while actual sovereignty will remain in the hands of Israeli settlers. On the other hand the State of Israel will gain hundreds of thousands of laborers who lack both citizenship or even the very ability to become citizens of Israel.

James North, Philip Weiss: Front-page article in ‘NYT’ exposes the lie that wall is a security barrier (MondoWeiss)

The New York Times today has a top-of-the-front-page article about tens of thousands of Palestinians managing to get over or through “what Israelis call the security barrier” to work without papers inside Israel…
On the one hand, the article by James Glanz and Rami Nazzal, marks real progress: the Times is showing that the wall is not really a security barrier — 55,000 Palestinians legally pass through it and 30-60,000 illegally. If Palestinians really want to kill Israelis, the wall is no obstacle at all.
The industry offers economic benefits for everyone involved: Palestinian workers earn double or quadruple the wages they can in the West Bank; Israeli contractors and restaurant owners pay less for illegal labor than for Palestinians with permits…
The article makes clear that only the tiniest fraction of those who come in to Israel come in to attack; 99.9999 percent come to work. Thus the article exposes the lie that the wall has stopped attacks on Israelis. There are no attacks because Palestinians are choosing by and large not to resort to violence to counter the occupation. And the two societies are interdependent.
So why the wall?
That’s the big flaw in the article. It doesn’t address the political purposes of the wall: to grab as much Palestinian land with maximum Jews on it.

James Glanz, Rami Nazzal: Smugglers in West Bank Open Doors to Jobs in Israel, and Violence (New York Times)

Brazil | Wikileaks | Israel

A very good article with background on Brazil:
Perry Anderson: Crisis in Brazil (London Review of Books)

The BRIC countries are in trouble. China, … Russia: under siege, … India: holding up best, but unsettling statistical revisions. South Africa: in free fall… Nowhere, however, have economic and political crises fused so explosively as in Brazil, whose streets have in the past year seen more protesters than the rest of the world combined.

Even more background, in Portuguese and published in July 2015:
André Singer: Cutucando onças com varas curtas – O ensaio desenvolvimentista no primeiro mandato de Dilma Rousseff (Novos Estudios, July 2015)
Democracy Now had a long interview with Noam Chomsky. They also talked briefly about Brazil.
Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky: Climate Change & Nuclear Proliferation Pose the Worst Threat Ever Faced by Humans | Today’s GOP is a Candidate for Most Dangerous Organization in Human History (Democracy Now)

What’s happening in Brazil now is extremely unfortunate in many ways. First of all, there has been a massive level of corruption. Regrettably, the Workers’ Party, Lula’s party, which had a real opportunity to achieve something extremely significant, and did make some considerable positive changes, nevertheless joined the rest—the traditional elite in just wholesale robbery. And that should—that should be punished. On the other hand, what’s happening now, … is … a kind of a soft coup. The elite detested the Workers’ Party and is using this opportunity to get rid of the party that won the elections. They’re not waiting for the elections, which they’d probably lose, but they want to get rid of it, exploiting an economic recession, which is serious, and the massive corruption that’s been exposed. But as even The New York Times pointed out, Dilma Rousseff is maybe the one politician who hasn’t—leading politician who hasn’t stolen in order to benefit herself. She’s being charged with manipulations in the budget, which are pretty standard in many countries, taking from one pocket and putting it into another. Maybe it’s a misdeed of some kind, but certainly doesn’t justify impeachment. In fact, … we have the one leading politician who hasn’t stolen to enrich herself, who’s being impeached by a gang of thieves, who have done so.

Patrick Wintour: Sweden asks to meet Julian Assange inside Ecuador embassy (Guardian)

Ecuador has received a formal request from the Swedish authorities to interview Julian Assange, inside its London embassy, in a potential breakthrough to the long-running saga…
Ecuador has been asking throughout Assange’s stay that he be interviewed inside the embassy, and said it welcomed the apparent Swedish “change of heart, and signs of a new political will”.
Ecuador’s foreign minister, Dr Guillaume Long, said on Monday, …: “Interviewing Mr Assange inside the embassy has been Ecuador’s request for four years. Over 4,400 days we have been asking the Swedes to come and interrogate him in our embassy. So it is welcome there has been change of heart and some sign of political will.
“But since November 2010 and March 2015 Sweden made 44 such requests to other countries to interview suspects in other cases. So it is very common and could be easily done, but we faced total refusal for years.”

Andy McSmith: Ecuador must stop protecting Julian Assange and ‘bring case to a close’, says UK (Independent)

Jacob Kornbluh: Trump Says U.S. Should Consider Racial Profiling, Cites Israel as a Role Model (Haaretz)

‘You look at Israel and you look at others and they do it and they do it successfully,’ presumptive Republican nominee says, though it wasn’t immediately clear how the tactic should be employed.

‘If You Don’t Think Walls Work, Just Ask Israel,’ Says Trump (Haaretz)
Dan Williams: Israeli Minister Justifies Security ‘Profiling’ Hailed by Trump (Haaretz)

‘Ultimately these (security) apparatuses… must build a profile of characteristics as to where the danger comes from and locate it,’ Yisrael Katz tells foreign reporters.

Chemi Shalev: On Walls and Racial Profiling, Trump Damns Israel With Loud Praise (Haaretz)

One can argue whether Israel is or isn’t a light unto the nations, but it has certainly served as role model for Donald Trump in recent weeks. On Monday, Trump cited Israel’s “success” as a reason for American to rethink its attitude towards racial profiling. In the past, he has praised the efficacy of Israeli barriers in keeping out terrorists and illegal immigrants as an inspiration for the controversial wall he wants to build along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Israeli Court Rules to Keep Palestinian Clown in Jail Without Trial (Haaretz)

Mohammed Abu Saha’s arrest sparked an international campaign by circus performers for his release. Though no charges have been filed against him, Shin Bet claims he’s a member of the PFLP terrorist group.

TTIP | Philippines | USA | Britain | Korea | Israel/Palestine | Austria

Greenpeace Netherlands releases TTIP documents (Greenpeace)

Today Greenpeace Netherlands releases secret documents of the EU-US TTIP negotiations. On www.ttip-leaks.org the documents will be made available for everyone to read, because democracy needs transparency.

Andrew Griffin: TTIP leak could spell the end of controversial trade deal, say campaigners (Independent)

Hundreds of leaked pages from the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) show that the deal could be about to collapse, according to campaigners.
The huge leak – which gives the first full insight into the negotiations – shows that the relationship between Europe and the US are stronger than had been thought and that major divisions remain on some of the agreement’s most central provisions.
The talks have been held almost entirely in secret, and most information that is known in public has come out from unofficial leaks. But the new pages, leaked by Greenpeace, represent the first major look at how the highly confidential talks are progressing…
They indicate that the US is looking strongly to change regulation in Europe to lessen the protections on the environment, consumer rights and other positions that the EU affords to its citizens.

Arthur Neslen: Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal (Guardian)

Jorgo Riss, the director of Greenpeace EU, said: “These leaked documents give us an unparalleled look at the scope of US demands to lower or circumvent EU protections for environment and public health as part of TTIP. The EU position is very bad, and the US position is terrible. The prospect of a TTIP compromising within that range is an awful one. The way is being cleared for a race to the bottom in environmental, consumer protection and public health standards.”
US proposals include an obligation on the EU to inform its industries of any planned regulations in advance, and to allow them the same input into EU regulatory processes as European firms.
American firms could influence the content of EU laws at several points along the regulatory line, including through a plethora of proposed technical working groups and committees.
“Before the EU could even pass a regulation, it would have to go through a gruelling impact assessment process in which the bloc would have to show interested US parties that no voluntary measures, or less exacting regulatory ones, were possible,” Riss said.

Leak Confirms Fears: TTIP Is Huge US Threat to EU’s Sovereignty (teleSUR)

The TTIP is possibly the greatest U.S. threat to EU’s sovereignty warned a U.K.-based NGO as leaked documents obtained by Corporate Europe Observatory and the British newspaper the Independent confirmed that United States corporate power could have big sway over laws in the European Union if the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership goes through.

TTIP: UK Parliament ‘would not be able to stop NHS sell-off if treaty is passed (Belfast Telegraph)

The UK Parliament may not have the power to stop or reverse the privatisation of the NHS if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership passed at EU level, Unite has warned…
Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said that it was “a scandal” that MPs may not have the democratic power to stop TTIP, which she said “threatens the irreversible sell-off of our NHS”.
“The House of Commons will have the power to delay the trade deal but it would only be a matter of time before TTIP eventually slips through,” Ms Cartmail said.

TTIP: The terrible truth (Morning Star)

Every Time we get a look at the details of EU-US trade deal TTIP and its implications we come away disgusted.
Unelected, unaccountable EU bureaucrats are desperate to keep the inner workings of the treaty under wraps for the simple reason that it will be bad for everyone except big business.
That the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has only commissioned a single risk assessment of TTIP — and only one part of it, three years ago — suggests that officials don’t want to leave a record spelling out the truths that they deny so vigorously in public.

Larry Brown: The TPP: A Corporate Bill of Rights (teleSUR)

What we aren’t told by our governments is that these so-called trade deals are really not very much about trade at all. They are international corporate constitutions, aimed at limiting the ability of our governments to control transnational corporate behavior: an international Corporate Bill of Rights.

Pepe Escobar: NATO on Trade, in Europe and Asia, is Doomed (RT)

Everything civil society across Europe – for at least three years – has been debating, and fearing, is confirmed; this is a sophisticated, toxic US-led corporate racket, a concerted assault across the spectrum, from the environment and animal welfare to labor rights and internet privacy. In a nutshell; it’s all about the US corporate galaxy pushing the EU to lower – or abase – a range of consumer protections…
Predictably, the lobbyist-infested European Commission (EC) fiercely defends TTIP, stressing it could benefit the EU’s economy by $150 billion a year, and raise car exports by 149 percent. Obviously don’t expect the EC to connect these “car exports” to a US-led GMO invasion of Europe.

Lorenz Niel Santos: As Filipinos vote for change, will they heed Aquino’s warning? (Asia times)

On Monday, Filipinos will choose their new leader. The question is will they listen to President Benigno Aquino III’s warning that a vote for frontrunner Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would mean a vote for the possible return of dictatorship.
Aquino has been campaigning against Duterte saying he is showing signs of being a dictator. His mother, the late President Corazon Aquino led the people power revolution in the 80s and toppled strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Josh Hoxie: American Tax Havens: Elites Don’t Have to go to Panama to Hide Their Money–They’ve Got Delaware (CounterPunch)

Notably, few American names have been listed [in revelations from the Panama Papers] to date. That could change in revelations to come, but it also might not. States like Delaware offer very similar hands-off approaches to regulation that individuals and companies can exploit to hide their business dealings without going overseas.
One single address in Wilmington, for example — 1209 North Orange Street — is listed as the headquarters for 285,000 separate businesses exploiting Delaware’s lax laws. Indeed, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have firms registered in that two-story office building.
In fact, the Tax Justice Network ranks the United States third in the world for financial secrecy, behind only Switzerland and Hong Kong. Panama is No.13.

Margaret Kimberley: Dishonoring Harriet Tubman (CounterPunch)

The history of American presidents is one long tale of criminality and Andrew Jackson was one of the worst of the lot. Jackson grew rich on his Tennessee plantation made profitable by the unpaid labor of 200 enslaved people…
Jackson was perhaps more responsible than any other person for driving indigenous people out of the southern states. The Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears were his handiwork…
With great fanfare the Treasury Department announced that new faces will appear on the $5, $10 and $20 notes. Currently George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and Benjamin Franklin appear on the almighty dollar in the most commonly used denominations. With the exception of Abraham Lincoln it is a list of slave holders. Some, like Washington and Jackson, owned hundreds of people, Franklin and Grant a few, but they were all participants in one of the worst evils of human history. Alexander Hamilton gets false credit from popular culture as an abolitionist although he held slaves too. At first the public were told that Tubman would replace Jackson as the new face of the $20 bill. Instead she and Jackson will appear together and make an even greater mockery of her legacy.

David Wagner: When Liberals Run Out of Patience: the Impolite Exile of Seymour Hersh (CounterPunch)

Seymour Hersh’s The Killing of Osama bin Laden a pocket-size collection of stories written for the London Review and printed during the second Obama administration arrives at an awkward moment for the expatriate journalist who not so long ago was esteemed as the finest investigative reporter in the United States. Hersh now publishes abroad because his talent, though undiminished, no longer fits into the publication plans of the nation’s newspaper and magazine publishers. He has, it appears, failed to adapt to the times. His revelations about deceit and brute force in the conduct of foreign affairs that delighted his editors when he raised a torch over Dick Cheney lost its shine when he reported on President’s Obama’s not-so-different Cold War liberalism.

Anshel Pfeffer: Sadiq Khan’s Victory in London Is Also a Victory for a Different Style of Politics (Haaretz; also via Google News)

While Labour was mostly punished by Jewish voters outside of London, Khan’s proactive engagement with city’s Jewish community while also distancing from Corbyn earned him – more than his party – a landslide victory.
The first election of a Muslim politician to a prominent political position in Britain, actually in the entire western world, is in itself of course a historical event. As fears of the rise of populist and racist politicians and parties, from the left and the right, abound in both the United States and Europe, Sadiq Khan’s victory in London gives grounds for some optimism.

Aeyal Gross: Decision to Outlaw Islamic Movement Criminalizes Thousands (Haaretz; also via Google News)

There is no evidence that the northern branch was involved in terrorist activities; banning the organization will serve to radicalize Israeli Arabs [i.e. Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship].
The defense minister’s decision to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel is based on the Defense (Emergency) Regulations from 1945, a draconian Mandatory law and relic of the colonial era that gives state authorities far-reaching powers.

Mel Gurtov: Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea (Japan Focus)

North Korea has now been sanctioned five times by the United Nations Security Council for its nuclear and missile tests: resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) and 2270 (2016). UNSC Resolution 2270 is the strongest one yet, spelling out in great detail the proscribed goods and requiring that all parties neither import them from nor export them to North Korea. Each resolution obliges the members to carry out the terms of the sanctions and (as the April 15 press statement of the UNSC says) “facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.” This is a case of mission impossible for two fundamental reasons: the sanctions will not work, and the fact of them impedes any chance for a “peaceful and comprehensive solution.”

Reuters: Migration crisis: Italians protest over Austria border fence plan (Guardian)

read more:

Wikileaks | Iran | Kurdistan | Palestine

Owen Bowcott, David Crouch: UN panel calls on UK and Sweden to end Julian Assange’s ‘deprivation of liberty’ (Guardian)

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the UK and Sweden for more than five years and should be released immediately with compensation, according to a United Nations report…
The panel calls on the Swedish and British authorities to end Assange’s “deprivation of liberty”, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement and offer him compensation…
A UK government spokesperson said: “This changes nothing. We completely reject any claim that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention. The UK has already made clear to the UN that we will formally contest the working group’s opinion…”

Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Radically Changes Its Story of the Boats in Iranian Waters: to an Even More Suspicious Version (Intercept)

Martin Chulov: Iraqi Kurdistan president: time has come to redraw Middle East boundaries (Guardian)

Massoud Barzani claims era of Sykes-Picot is over and a new international agreement is needed for the Middle East

Pepe Escobar: Why Israel is in love with Kurdistan (RT)

What Big Oil in the US – and also Israel – sees, most of all, is the mirage of a Western-friendly major oil exporter in the long run. That’s why Balkanization sounds so juicy. This has nothing to do with the welfare of the historically wronged Kurdish people. It’s hardcore business. And yet another Divide and Rule power play.

Deepak Tripathi: Why Israel is backing Kurdish independence (Middle East Eye)

Ban Ki-moon: Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel (New York Times)

In Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, 2016 has begun much as 2015 ended — with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse. That polarization showed itself in the halls of the United Nations last week when I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation.

Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man: IDF admits spraying herbicides inside the Gaza Strip (+972)

The Israel army has confirmed that it used crop-dusters to kill off vegetation — and perhaps inadvertently, agricultural crops — inside the Gaza Strip last week. According to Palestinian officials, over 420 acres of land were damaged by the spraying.
For years now, the IDF has unilaterally maintained a lethal “no-go zone” on the Palestinian side of the border with Gaza. Now, it seems, it has also implemented a “no-grow zone.”

Belal Aldabbour: Israel spraying toxins over Palestinian crops in Gaza (AlJazeera)

On January 7, a low-flying agricultural aircraft sprayed herbicides on to Palestinian farmlands along the eastern border, eradicating or damaging up to 162 hectares of crops and farmland along the Israeli border fence.
“Herbicides are sprayed in high concentrations. Thus, they remain embedded in the soil, and then find their way to the water basin. This constitutes a real hazard for the population,” said Anwar Abu Assi, manager of the chemical laboratory at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The sprayed areas belong to Israel’s unilaterally imposed and poorly delineated “buffer” or “no-go zone”.
The zone, which amounts to an estimated 17 percent of the entire territory of the Gaza Strip and a third of its agricultural lands, erodes into the Strip’s most vital and fertile soils…
With the Strip being merely five kilometres wide in some areas, a few hundred metres prove essential to the Strip’s food security…
A few days ago, Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza’s main agricultural experiment station, causing $300,000-worth of damages and destroying the station’s building, laboratories, vehicles and a large power generator.
The station developed new seeds and strains for use by local farmers. Bombed and completely destroyed during the 2014 war, Israel seems insistent on keeping the station out of service, effectively stifling every Palestinian attempt to attain self-sufficiency or independence, even agriculturally.

Peter Beaumont: Palestinian families homeless as Israeli military demolishes West Bank houses (Guardian)

Israeli military bulldozers have demolished 23 houses in two impoverished southern West Bank villages, including structures that were home to more than 100 people…
According to Israeli NGO Peace Now, among the 110 people made homeless during the demolitions were dozens of children from 12 different families.

Gideon Levy: Don’t Celebrate the Israeli Occupation’s Impending Demise Just Yet (Guardian)
Gideon Levy: Yes, Israel Is Executing Palestinians Without Trial (Haaretz)

We should call it like it is: Israel executes people without trial nearly every day. Any other description is a lie. If there was once discussion here about the death penalty for terrorists, now they are executed even without trial (and without discussion). If once there was debate over the rules of engagement, today it’s clear: we shoot to kill – any suspicious Palestinian.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan outlined the situation clearly when he said, “Every terrorist should know he will not survive the attack he is about to commit” – and almost every politician joined him in nauseating unison, from Yair Lapid on up. Never have so many licenses to kill been handed out here, nor has the finger been so itchy on the trigger…
The firing squads are active every day. Soldiers, police and civilians shoot those who stabbed Israelis, or tried to stab them or were suspected of doing so, and at those who run down Israelis in their cars or appear to have done so.
In most cases, there was no need to shoot – and certainly not to kill. In a good many of the cases, the shooters’ lives were not in danger. They shot people to death who were holding a knife or even scissors, or people who just put their hands in their pockets or lost control of their car.
They shot them to death indiscriminately – women, men, teenage girls, teenage boys. They shot them when they were standing, and even after they were no longer a threat. They shot to kill, to punish, to release their anger, and to take revenge. There is such contempt here that these incidents are barely covered in the media.

Leandros Fischer: The German Left’s Palestine Problem (Jacobin, December 2014)
Shany Littman: Tel Aviv Museum Nixes Ai Weiwei Exhibit; Israeli Artist Says Censorship at Play (Haaretz)

The exhibit by the Chinese artist and dissident, which was also expected to show portraits of Palestinians by Israeli photographer Miki Kratsman, was delayed repeatedly until being nixed.

France | USA

Glenn Greenwald, Nermeen Shaikh, Amy Goodman: “Shameless” U.S. Officials Exploit Paris Attacks to Defend Spying & Attack Snowden (Democracy Now)

As France and Belgium move to expand state power in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, top U.S. officials have renewed a push to defend mass surveillance and dismiss those who challenge it. On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said intelligence and law enforcement officials need to have access to encrypted information on smartphones, despite no evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. Meanwhile, others have used the Paris attacks to criticize NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In recent days, CIA Director John Brennan has suggested revelations about mass spying have made it harder to find terrorists, while former CIA Director James Woolsey has said Snowden has blood on his hands. “We have not heard such blatant, shameless lying from intelligence and military officials since 2002 and 2003 when they propagandized the country into invading Iraq based on utterly false pretenses,” says The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who exposed NSA mass surveillance based on Snowden’s leaks.

Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaikh: Glenn Greenwald on “Submissive” Media’s Drumbeat for War and “Despicable” Anti-Muslim Scapegoating (Democracy Now)
Grey Anderson: The French Emergency (Jacobin)

From Algeria to the Paris attacks, French elites have used state of emergency legislation to consolidate power and repress dissent.

Ian Birchall: The Wrong Kind of Secularism (Jacobin)

The French secular ideal of laïcité is not a misused noble idea — it is deeply flawed at its roots…
Today laïcité serves as a justification for a variety of things — from banning headscarf-wearing mothers from accompanying their children on school outings to telling Muslim and Jewish schoolchildren that they must eat pork or go hungry.
But laïcité is not simply an idea that has been appropriated by the Right for political or cultural ends; it is also a value claimed by the Left, even the far left…
In 1886 Lafargue published a satire entitled La Religion du capital (The Religion of Capital). He imagined a conference in London with economic and political representatives of European capitalism — Clemenceau, Rothschild, Gladstone, Herbert Spencer, von Moltke, etc. Among those attending were Ferry and Paul Bert, who as education minister had been one of Ferry’s main allies in establishing laïcité. Their concern was to enable the survival of capitalism. And for that, a religion of some sort was required…
Some of the sharpest criticism of laïcité came from the anarchist and syndicalist currents; the anarchist position could be summed up as “neither the church nor the state.” As Sébastien Faure put it, the Christian school was “organised by the Church and for it, while the “école laïque” was “organised by the state and for it.” He counterposed the idea of “the school of the future . . . organised for the child.” André Lorulot put it rather more crudely, calling state schoolteachers “intellectual cops of the capitalist class.”…
Despite some opposing voices, laïcité largely achieved its goal of solidifying a national identity backed by military might…
The traditions of criticism of laïcité persisted after the First World War. The journal Clarté, close to but not entirely controlled by the Communist Party, reported on educational developments in post-revolutionary Russia that might offer an alternative to church or state education. An educational conference held in Moscow in 1919, for instance, dismissed academic neutrality and laïcité as a “mug’s game” (attrape-nigaud) designed to serve the interests of the bourgeoisie…
Today, with the concept being used in the service of Islamophobia, it is especially important to knock laïcité down from its elevated status. And that requires understanding laïcité not as a noble ideal that has been misinterpreted and distorted, but as deeply flawed from the outset.

The media after Paris: from fear to loathing, by way of made-up facts (Guardian)

Anti-immigration sentiment across Europe begins to make more sense when you realise that Brits and Spaniards think they have twice as many immigrants in their country as they actually do, the Italians, Belgians and French assume there are three times as many as there are, the Hungarians eight times and the Poles more than 30 times.

Gilbert Achcar: France Returns to the State of Exception (Jacobin)

The discourse of war is already upon us. But it must be resisted.

Don’t let them use Paris as a pretext! (International Action Center)
John Catalinotto: Historic crimes of the French military (International Action Centre)

Many young people in Paris were innocent victims of the Nov. 13 attack, but that doesn’t mean that the French imperialist state is innocent. While the 1789 French Revolution raised the idealistic slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity, French imperialism, which developed from that bourgeois revolution, has a bloody history across the world…
When imperialist France had just emerged from German occupation after World War II, the Arab and Berber peoples began carrying out mass demonstrations and uprisings in Algeria against French colonial rule. To suppress that rebellion, for several days French troops and police, acting on orders from the French president issued on May 8, 1945, massacred as many as 45,000 Algerians who peacefully demonstrated in the cities of Setif, Guelma and Kherrata. The French occupiers killed as many as a million Algerians trying to hold onto that nation, until the people finally won their liberation in 1962.
In 1947, French colonial troops slaughtered 89,000 people to “pacify” a rebellion in Madagascar, an African island in the Indian Ocean. During the long French war in Indochina, the French military killed many more Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians and some Chinese until French imperialism was finally driven out in 1954.
Even in Paris itself, on Oct. 17, 1961, French police opened fire on a demonstration of 30,000 Algerians, killing between 70 and 300 people …
This history of imperialist military intervention continues. French jets are bombing today in Syria and Iraq, along with the U.S.-led “coalition.” French jets opened the air war against Libya in 2011, leading NATO’s barbaric destruction of that country.

Mass Surveillance Isn’t the Answer to Fighting Terrorism (New York Times)

It’s a wretched yet predictable ritual after each new terrorist attack: Certain politicians and government officials waste no time exploiting the tragedy for their own ends. The remarks on Monday by John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, took that to a new and disgraceful low…
It is hard to believe anything Mr. Brennan says.

The Drone Papers (Intercept)

The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone wars.

Nicole Aschoff, Connor Kilpatrick, Paul Heideman: The Socialism of Bernie Sanders (Jacobin)

The novelty of Bernie Sanders has long been his adoption of the term “democratic socialist” to describe his political beliefs. On the presidential campaign trail, by way of definition, he’s repeatedly pointed to European countries with relatively robust welfare states.
On Thursday, in a major campaign address, he turned back stateside. Sanders cast himself not as the heir of Eugene Debs — a portrait of whom hangs in his congressional office — but of Franklin Roosevelt. In short, for Sanders, democratic socialism means New Deal liberalism.

Palestine

Daniel Boffey: Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of ‘inexplicable silence’ in row over Gaza (Guardian)

[T]he death toll of Palestinians exceeded 1,650 and Israel confirmed that it had lost 63 soldiers and three civilians, its highest death toll since the 2006 Lebanon war…
[S]ince the Israeli offensive began on 8 July, 136 schools – some serving as shelters – 24 hospitals and clinics and 25 ambulances have been damaged or destroyed, while eight UN aid workers and at least two Palestinian Red Crescent volunteers have now been reported as killed.
Some 40% of the sixth-most densely populated area on Earth is now a war zone, with a quarter of the Gazan population displaced.

Gili Cohen: Dozens of innocents killed in IDF’s ‘Hannibal’ protocol / עשרות חפים מפשע נפגעו מהפעלת “נוהל חניבעל” באזור רפיח (Haaretz)

The protocol – involving massive use of force in an effort to rescue a captured soldier, even at risk to his life – was employed in the rescue attempt of 2nd Lt Hadar Goldin. Palestinians say more than 130 people were killed.

Hagai El-Ad: אנחנו אמרנו להם לצאת מהבית, זה הם שאשמים במותם / Blaming Palestinians for their own deaths (+972)

It is moral because we told them to leave, and those who stayed did so at their own peril. It’s moral because Hamas encouraged them to stay, that’s why this is a self-inflicted genocide carried out by Hamas. The Palestinians who died in Shejaiya, in Khan Younis, actually everywhere and always, are to blame for their own deaths. Maybe it’s only the children who aren’t guilty of their own deaths – maybe it’s the parents who are to blame. As for the elderly people who died, that’s definitely Hamas’ fault. Whichever way you twist it, that blood was not spilled by our hands.
How deeply can you suppress the denial by Israelis? How can the prime minister – the prime minister of the army whose air force killed four nameless children on the beach in Gaza for the world’s cameras to see – look straight into the camera and tell the Palestinians of Gaza, “We want you to be safe”?

Gideon Levy: What, it took Washington 25 days to call the Gaza war barbaric? / על הברבריות (Haaretz)

The Palestinians’ famed barbarity has finally reached Washington in another Israeli public-relations feat…
[T]he White House spokesman released a statement calling the capture of the Israeli officer and the killing of his two comrades “a barbaric violation” of the cease-fire agreement. The restrained American spokesman used the word “barbaric” for the first time in this war.
Nothing else was considered barbaric. Not the Israeli shell that landed two days earlier on Shujaiyeh’s crowded market killing 17 people and wounding 150 at the height of another cease-fire, not the shell that fell on an UNRWA school where 3,000 refugees were hiding, not the bombing of the Gaza power station, the bombing of the university, the bomb dropped by those excellent Israel Air Force pilots on a four-story dwelling in Khan Yunis without warning, killing 35, including 18 children and eight women – apparently the most deadly bombing in Gaza ever.
Only the abduction and the killing of two soldiers. This is an American spokesman also afflicted with racism; “barbarity” is preserved only for one side.

Three articles by Yoav:
Israeli mob attacks anti-war demo in Haifa chanting “Death to the Arabs” / תומכי המלחמה תקפו באלימות הפגנת שלום בחיפה בעודם קוראים “מוות לערבים” (Free Haifa)
Israel’s Genocidal Rampage Must Be Stopped (Free Haifa)

One of the best Zionist writers that I follow recently is Uri Misgav from Haaretz. At the beginning of the latest attack on Gaza he declared that Israel already failed, because it started a military operation without any conceived goal that can be achieved. But he failed to read the writing on the wall. The Israeli politicians had a very clear goal that the mob was chanting in all the “demonstrations” that prepared for the rampage: “Ma-vet la-a-ra-vim!” – “Death to the Arabs”.

Israel disproves its own lies about the Rafah massacre – and the massacre continues… (Free Haifa)

Thailand | Ukraine | EU elections | torture | Palestine/Israel

Kate Hodal: Thai king endorses army chief as new leader (Guardian)

Thailand’s king has endorsed the army chief who seized power in a coup last week, amid widespread international criticism and increasing detention of those considered to be opposed to the takeover.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha (pràjút tɕanʔoːtɕʰaː ประยุทธ์ จันทร์ โอชา) told journalists on Monday morning that the much revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej (pʰuːmípʰon ʔàdunjádèːt ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช), 86, had officially backed him as the leader of the military council now running the country…
Prayuth has enacted sweeping changes in the four days since he deposed the democratically elected government.
More than 200 journalists, academics, politicians and activists have been rounded up and many of them detained in undisclosed locations, ostensibly to give them “time to think”, as Prayuth said last week.

The 21 announcements of the National Peace and Order Maintenance Council (Prachatai [pràtɕʰaːtʰaj ประชาไท])
Associated Press: Thailand: ousted cabinet minister surfaces from hiding to condemn coup (Guardian)

Former education minister Chaturon Chaisang (tɕaːtùron tɕʰǎːjsɛ̌ːŋ จาตุรนต์ ฉายแสง) detained after warning military coup could lead to ‘a disaster’. (Cāturont̒ C̄hāys̄æng was a leader of the leftist student uprising against the ruling junta in 1973.)

Thaweeporn Kummetha (tʰá wiːpʰɔːn kʰúm meːtʰaː ทวีพรคุ้มเมธา): Alternative parties in polarized Thai politics (Prachatai, November 2013)

Thomas Gaist: New Ukraine government launches airstrikes, prepares austerity measures (World Socialist Web Site)

The character of the new Ukrainian government headed by billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko has been quickly revealed in the day since presidential elections held over the weekend: violent repression of opposition to the regime, particularly in the east, combined with brutal austerity measures directed at the entire working class.

Sitzverteilung der Fraktionen in den EU-Staaten (Distribution of seats in the EU parliament) (Standard)
Helena Smith: Leftwing Syriza party triumphs in European elections in Greece (Guardian)
Ian Traynor: Front National wins European parliament elections in France (Guardian)
Patrick Wintour. Nicholas Watt: Ukip wins European elections with ease to set off political earthquake (Guardian)Philip Oltermann: Germany: Merkel’s CDU wins European election despite worst ever result (Guardian)

Nick Barrickman: US judge allows for continued force feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoner (World Socialist Web Site)

US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler on Thursday ruled to allow the continued force-feeding of 42-year-old Abu Wa’el Dhiab at the Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba, reversing her previous injunction against the practice…
Dhiab, a father of four, has been detained without charges at the complex for over 12 years. He was cleared for release from the camp in 2009, but has continued to languish in the camp at the hands of the Obama Administration.

Palestinian youths shot dead on camera (CNN)
Peter Beaumont: Footage of Palestinian boys being shot is genuine, says Israeli rights group (Guardian)

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has concluded that footage capturing the moment two Palestinian teenagers were shot dead by Israeli soldiers despite posing no risk to them is “genuine and consistent”, contradicting Israeli army claims that the footage is likely to have been forged.
A short section of edited CCTV footage was released earlier this week showing Nadim Nawara, 17, and Mohammad Salameh, 16, being shot and killed. Since then Israeli military sources have been quoted anonymously on several occasions in the local media trying to undermine the tape’s credibility…
Neither of the youths was throwing stones when they were killed, and one was walking away from the Israeli position, with his back to soldiers, when he was shot.

B’Tselem’s initial findings on Nakba Day incident at Bitunya: grave suspicion that forces willfully killed two Palestinians, injured two others (B’Tselem)
Ali Abunimah: After snipers kill children, US affirms “deep respect” for “Israeli army’s moral code” (Electronic Intifada)

The US government has reaffirmed its “deep respect for the Israeli army’s moral code” days after video emerged of the cold-blooded sniper killings of two Palestinian boys…
The comments, from US State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki praising the Israeli army, came as Associated Press journalist Matt Lee pressed her on her earlier call for Israel to investigate the killings.

Tamiflu | Ukraine | Africa | Korea | MAI/TTIP/TAFTA/TPA | Palestine

Rob sent these links:
James Gallagher: Tamiflu: Millions wasted on flu drug, claims major report (BBC)

Hundreds of millions of pounds may have been wasted on a drug for flu that works no better than paracetamol, a landmark analysis has said.
The UK has spent £473m on Tamiflu, which is stockpiled by governments globally to prepare for flu pandemics.
The Cochrane Collaboration claimed the drug did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications, and only slightly helped symptoms.

Michel Chossudovsky: Who Owns the Rights on Tamiflu: Rumsfeld To Profit From Bird Flu Hoax (Global Research)

Rob also sent these links on Ukraine:
Jim Maceda: Tour of Ukraine-Russia Border Finds No Signs of Military Buildup (NBC)
Alastair Jamieson: NATO: No Sign of Russian Troop Withdrawal From Ukraine Border (NBC)

I read that Russia says the images of the Russian military buildup were taken last year:
Florian Rötzer: Was beweisen Satellitenbilder? (Telepolis)
Generalstab: NATO präsentiert alte Satellitenbilder russischer Truppen an ukrainischer Grenze (RIA)
Florian Rötzer: Nächste Etappe im Streit um die Bilder (Telepolis)
In English:
NATO’s Russian troop build-up satellite images ‘show 2013 drills’ (RT)
More on Ukraine:
Jack Rasmus: Ukraine’s IMF Deal: Heading Toward a Greece-like Depression? (CounterPunch)
Emmanuel Dreyfus: Ukraine beyond politics / En Ukrainujo, la ekstremistoj de naciismo (Monde Diplomatique)

The Ukraine parliament has promised elections, after the president was swept away in a brief burst of revolution in Kiev. Can the former opposition, including the far right, unite to form a viable future government?

Tariq Ali: How Vladimir Putin became evil (Guardian)

The US and UK condemn him for Crimea but supported him over the war in Chechnya. Why? Because now he refuses to play ball.

Samir Amin: Russia and the Ukraine Crisis: The Eurasian Project in Conflict with the Triad Imperialist Policies (MRzine)
David Mandel: Ukraine Between “Popular Uprising for Democracy” and “Fascist Putsch” (MRzine)

Lori M. Wallach: The corporation invasion (Monde diplomatique)

A new treaty being negotiated in secret between the US and the EU has been specifically engineered to give companies what they want — the dismantling of all social, consumer and environmental protection, and compensation for any infringement of their assumed rights.

Serge Halimi: A trade agreement nobody should want / Transatlantika kaptilo (Monde diplomatique)

You can safely bet that the Transatlantic Partnership Agreement (TPA) will not feature as much in the forthcoming European elections as the extradition of illegal immigrants or the (alleged) teaching of “gender theory” in French schools. The TPA will affect 800 million affluent people and almost half the world’s wealth. The European Commission is negotiating this free trade agreement with Washington on behalf of the EU’s 28 member states, and the European parliament elected this May will be expected to ratify it. Nothing is settled as yet, but on 11 February the French president François Hollande, during his state visit to Washington, proposed to speed things up, saying: “We have everything to gain by moving quickly. Otherwise, as we know all too well, there will be a build-up of fears, threats and tensions.”

Chris Gilbert: Don’t Pray for Venezuela: The Struggle Against Contemporary Fascism (MRzine)

The fascists who operate today in Venezuela — to say nothing of those active in the Ukraine, Greece, or Colombia — are by no means a historical aberration. Only if we take one of capitalism’s key myths at face value must we imagine that our current society is the wondrous culmination of a teleological evolutionary process and cannot just as well contain a host of violent and irrational elements that, far from being “atavistic,” are simply part and parcel with capitalist modernity. In fact, capitalism’s historical tendency, if any such thing exists, is not toward growing enlightenment but rather toward increasing barbarism.

Dan Beeton: Violent Protests in Venezuela Fit a Pattern (MRzine)

Ali Behran Özçelik: Poulantzasian Themes for Understanding Turkey’s Political Crisis (New Left Project)

On 17 December 2013, the sons of three Turkish cabinet members, the head of a state-owned bank and the mayor of a municipality in Istanbul were taken into custody in a wave of raids sparked by allegations of corruption and bribery. The Prime Minister responded by a move which ‘effectively stalled the probe’. Since then, the political turmoil in the country has only deepened. ‘Almost every evening since Dec. 17’, writes the journalist Kadri Gürsel, ‘Turks have been listening to audio recordings leaked on YouTube, starring Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’. We have seen the police and a state prosecutor stop a truck on suspicion of carrying weapons to Syria which was in fact being escorted by the intelligence organisation of the same state. Turkey is without a doubt passing through what even the bourgeois media outlets quickly and rightly called a ‘political crisis’.

Nick Turse: America’s Non-Stop Ops in Africa (TomDispatch)

The numbers tell the story: 10 exercises, 55 operations, 481 security cooperation activities.
For years, the U.S. military has publicly insisted that its efforts in Africa are small scale. Its public affairs personnel and commanders have repeatedly claimed no more than a “light footprint” on that continent, including a remarkably modest presence when it comes to military personnel. They have, however, balked at specifying just what that light footprint actually consists of. During an interview, for instance, a U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) spokesman once expressed worry that tabulating the command’s deployments would offer a “skewed image” of U.S. efforts there…
U.S. troops carry out a wide range of operations in Africa, including airstrikes targeting suspected militants, night raids aimed at kidnapping terror suspects, airlifts of French and African troops onto the battlefields of proxy wars, and evacuation operations in destabilized countries. Above all, however, the U.S. military conducts training missions, mentors allies, and funds, equips, and advises its local surrogates.

AFP: South Korea recovers suspected North Korean drone (Guardian)

South Korea says it has recovered an unidentified drone that crashed on one of its border islands the same day that North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire across their disputed maritime boundary.
The wreckage was discovered on Baengnyeong island, which lies just south of the maritime border.

Paengryŏng-do 白翎島 is actually disputed territory, the island is controlled by south Korea, but also claimed by the DPRK. This is the area where the south Korean warship Cheonan sank in 2010; south Korea accused the DPRK to have fired a torpedo at the Choenan from a “midget submarine.”
Tania Branigan: South Korea fires back at North after artillery shells land in disputed waters (Guardian)

Ramzy Baroud: Palestinian leaders’ showdown turns ugly (Asia Times)

The ongoing Abbas-Dahlan spat is confirming all the suspicions of Fatah’s detractors regarding the Fatah leadership’s role in conspiring with Israel to destroy the resistance and its leaders. Strangely, both Abbas and Dahlan continue to present themselves as the saviors of Palestinians, while each accuses the other of being an Israeli collaborator and an American stooge.

Gabrielle Chan: Bill Shorten speech on Israeli settlements stirs Palestinian group (Guardian)

Serge Halimi: Quel cap pour la Tunisie ? / Tunisia: change, but no change (Monde diplomatique)

Tunisia has taken the most hopeful direction after its Arab Spring. But none of the entrants in the forthcoming election seems to have the valid and drastic economic plans that will be needed to fulfil the aspirations of Tunisians.

Noam Chomsky: The Week the World Stood Still (TomDispatch)

The world stood still 50 years ago during the last week of October, from the moment when it learned that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba until the crisis was officially ended — though unknown to the public, only officially.

John Pilger: The Forgotten Coup: How the Same Godfather Rules from Canberra to Kiev (CounterPunch)

On 11 November [1975] — the day [the Australian president Gough] Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia — he was summoned by [the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John] Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The problem was solved.

USAid doing the CIA’s work:
AP: US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest and undermine government (Guardian)
Paul Lewis, Dan Roberts: White House denies ‘Cuban Twitter’ ZunZuneo programme was covert (Guardian)

Ukraine | Venezuela | Turkey–Syria | Egypt | Myanmar | Palestine | Britain

John sent these links:
Dmytro Gorshkov: Ex-Ukraine Leader Tymoshenko Faces Heat For Comments About Nuking Russians (Business Insider)

Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was plunged into fresh controversy on Tuesday after Russian television broadcast a tape where she is heard urging the “wiping out” of Russians over Moscow’s seizure of Crimea…
“This really crosses all the boundaries,” Tymoshenko is heard to say in the leaked phone call posted on YouTube and broadcast extensively on Russian television Monday.
“One has to take up arms and go wipe out these damn ‘katsaps’ together with their leader,” the voice said in Russian, without mentioning Putin by name.
The word “katsap” is a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russians…
“I am sorry that I am not able to be there and am not in charge of these processes, they wouldn’t have had a fucking chance of getting Crimea off me.”
“I would have found a way to finish off these bastards,” the 53-year-old leader of the 2004 pro-democracy Orange revolution was heard as saying.
“I am hoping that I will use all my connections and will get the whole world to rise up so that not even scorched earth would be left of Russia.”
Discussing the fate of Ukraine’s eight million ethnic Russians with Shufrych, Tymoshenko was also heard as saying that they should be “nuked”.

Boris Kagarlitsky: ‘A quadrille of monsters’ and ‘Smashing the feed trough’ (Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal)
Here are the original articles:
Борис Кагарлицкий: Кадриль чудовищ | Разбить кормушку (рабкор.ру)
And here’s another article by Kagarlitsky:
Борис Кагарлицкий: “Вежливая интервенция” и украинская революция (рабкор.ру)
Boris Kagarlitsky: ‘Polite intervention’ and the Ukrainian uprising (Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal)
More on Ukraine:
Alec Luhn: IMF offers Ukraine bailout as Yulia Tymoshenko enters presidential race (Guardian)

Whoever wins the vote on 25 May will face a tough task. The International Monetary Fund on Thursday offered Ukraine a bailout of up to $18bn (£10.9bn) over two years, in return for harsh economic reforms that may well worsen living standards for the already impoverished population. Further IMF aid will be unlocked if austerity measures are passed, including a sharp rise in the cost of energy…
Apart from the rise of up to 50% in the price of gas for consumers, Ukraine's state-controlled natural gas provider announced a 40% gas price increase for local heating companies, starting on 1 July. The government also accepted a flexible exchange rate for its currency, the hryvnia, which has fuelled inflation: an annual inflation rate of 12-14% is predicted.

Ulrich Rippert: Die „Demokraten“ des Maidan / The real face of Ukraine’s Maidan “democrats” (WSWS)

Two events this week have exposed the propaganda used by the German government and its allies to justify their actions in Ukraine: the death of Alexander Musytchko and a telephone conversation with Yulia Timoschenko, which was intercepted and made public.

Alex Lantier: Leader of US-backed Ukrainian fascist Right Sector militia killed in police shootout (WSWS)

At the time of his death, Muzychko was also under investigation for involvement in Ukrainian organized crime. He also faced an international arrest warrant, for torturing Russian prisoners while fighting on the side of Islamist Chechen separatists against Russia in 1994-95.

‘I dare you to take my gun!’ AK-47-toting Ukraine far-right leader tells officials (RT)
Ukrainian nationalist with AK-47 threatens to hang Interior minister ‘like a dog’ (RT)
Murderous Ukrainian ultra-nationalist dead – after 2 decades of violent thuggery (RT)
Thomas Eipeldauer: Bruderzwist (Hintergrund)

Andrew Cawthorne, Diego Ore: Venezuela unrest shakes up opposition (Reuters)

Leopoldo Lopez, a U.S.-educated economist who leads a radical wing of the opposition, defied Capriles’ moderate approach to organize street resistance against Maduro – and has been jailed for leading the protests.
That has made him a ‘martyr’ for some in the opposition and wrong-footed Capriles, who backs the protesters’ grievances but not their tactics as he seeks to preserve his own standing as the main anti-Maduro figurehead.

Ewan Robertson: A List of Fatalities After a Month of Political Violence in Venezuela (Venezuelanalysis)

Writing on 13 March, a total of at least 30 people have died in connection with the opposition protests, street barricades and unrest which have been occurring since 12 February in Venezuela.

Tim Arango: Recordings, Posted Online, Rattle Officials in Turkey (New York Times)

If any meeting was meant to be private, it was this one: the top spy chief, the foreign minister and his deputy, and a top military official discussing secret plans for possible military action in Syria…
On Thursday morning, a recording was posted on YouTube in which the officials were heard discussing a plot to establish a justification for military strikes in Syria.

Jack Moore: Turkey YouTube Ban: Full Transcript of Leaked Syria ‘War’ Conversation Between Erdogan Officials (International Business Times, with an annoying video that starts when opening the page)

Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Nermeen Shaikh, Amy Goodman: Egypt’s Courts Further Repression with Journos on Trial & Mass Death Sentence for Morsi Supporters (Democracy Now)

Egypt is facing international criticism after the largest mass sentencing in its modern history. On Monday, 529 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi were ordered killed over the death of a single police officer in protests last summer. The trial lasted just over two days, with the majority tried in absentia. The exceptionally swift trial and harsh sentences mark a new escalation of the Egyptian military regime’s crackdown on Morsi supporters, which has led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests. In another closely watched trial, Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy have been denied bail after nearly three months in prison. They are accused of belonging to or aiding a terrorist organization.

Kathleen E. McLaughlin: Burma mobs put census in doubt as western aid workers flee violence (Guardian)

Angry Buddhist protesters rampage through streets as country’s first census for 30 years opens up ethnic tensions…
There are more than a million Rohingya in Burma, and 140,000 have lived in camps in Rakhine since ethnic riots and clashes with Buddhists nearly two years ago. They will not be counted as Burmese citizens on the census, nor will they be listed among the 135 officially designated ethnic categories. But the census will acknowledge they exist by allowing an “other” category, allowing people to identify themselves as Rohingya.

פשע מלחמה / Nothing short of a war crime (Haaretz)

Last week, 14-year-old Yusef a-Shawamreh and two of his friends left their village of Deir al-Asal al-Fauqa in the southern West Bank to pick plants on his family’s field, west of the separation fence…
After crossing the fence, the boys heard three or four gunshots. The firing came from an IDF ambush, a few dozen meters away. … [T]he shots had been fired with no warning.
A-Shawamreh was wounded in the hip and fell to the ground bleeding. He managed to crawl to the road, but then the soldiers emerged from their hiding place.
The soldiers arrested the other two boys and a-Shawamreh received preliminary medical treatment. A military ambulance arrived only half an hour later, although an IDF camp is located a mere two kilometers away. Meanwhile, the boy bled to death.

Ken Loach: Labour is part of the problem, not the solution (Guardian)

There’s too much to read …
Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s New NSA Proposal and Democratic Partisan Hackery (Intercept)
Marcy Wheeler: The White House Has Been Covering Up the Presidency’s Role in Torture for Years (Intercept)
Glenn Greenwald: Foreign Officials In the Dark About Their Own Spy Agencies’ Cooperation with NSA (Intercept)

One of the more bizarre aspects of the last nine months of Snowden revelations is how top political officials in other nations have repeatedly demonstrated, or even explicitly claimed, wholesale ignorance about their nations’ cooperation with the National Security Agency, as well as their own spying activities. This has led to widespread speculation about the authenticity of these reactions: Were these top officials truly unaware, or were they pretending to be, in order to distance themselves from surveillance operations that became highly controversial once disclosed?

Ukraine | Palestine/Egypt | Britain | Korea | Haiti

M. sent these links:
F. William Engdahl: The Rape of Ukraine: Phase Two Begins with NATO mercenaries (Sunday Times; also at 21st Century Wire)

An legitimately-elected (said by all international monitors) Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has been driven from office, forced to flee as a war criminal after more than three months of violent protest and terrorist killings by so-called opposition.
His “crime” according to protest leaders was that he rejected an EU offer of a vaguely-defined associate EU membership that offered little to Ukraine in favor of a concrete deal with Russia that gave immediate €15 billion debt relief and a huge reduction in Russian gas import prices. Washington at that point went into high gear and the result today is catastrophe…
Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the crack-para-military UNA-UNSO members have been behind every revolt against Russian influence. The one connecting thread in their violent campaigns is always anti-Russia. The organization, according to veteran US intelligence sources, is part of a secret NATO “GLADIO” organization, and not a Ukraine nationalist group as portrayed in western media.

Mike Whitney: Obama’s Dumbest Plan Yet (Sunday Times; also at CounterPunch)

The United States helped defeat Nazism in World War 2. Obama helped bring it back.

More on Ukraine:
Renee Parsons: Chronology of the Ukrainian Coup (CounterPunch)
Timothy Stanley: Hillary, Putin’s no Hitler (CNN)

It’s called Godwin’s law. The longer a debate rages, the greater the likelihood that someone will compare someone else to Hitler.
And Hillary Clinton has done just that: On Tuesday the former secretary of state reportedly told a private fund-raising party that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions are similar to Hitler’s in the run up to World War II…
After all, in the eyes of many ethnic Russians, it is the Ukrainian nationalists — not Putin — who are the Nazis. The Russians have asserted, quite accurately, that the revolution that overthrew a pro-Russian, democratically elected leader has resulted in the elevation of Russophobe fascists into key government positions. For example, the new secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council is Andriy Parubiy — co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU).
Another creator of the SNPU is Oleh Tyahnybok, a high-profile leader of the Kiev protests who has blamed Ukraine’s problems on a Jewish conspiracy run out of Moscow. Ukraine’s new deputy secretary of national security is Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector group, which regards Tyahnybok as a soft liberal and which flies the old flag of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators at its rallies.
In other words, in this situation, who exactly are the Nazis?

Colum Lynch: Beijing and Moscow Part Ways Over Ukraine (Foreign Policy)

Days after Ukraine’s deposed President Viktor Yanukovych fled his Kiev palace, an unassuming, mid-level Chinese diplomat appeared before the United Nations Security Council to highlight Beijing’s support for the new pro-Western government, marking a rare diplomatic split from Moscow.
“We respect the choice made by the Ukrainian people on the basis of national conditions,” Shen Bo, a counselor at China’s U.N. mission said in a Feb. 24 statement that went largely unnoticed by the international press.

Shaun Walker, Harriet Salem, Paul Gallagher: Ukraine PM warns of war as Russian military seizes control in Crimea (Guardian)
Shaun Walker, Ian Traynor: Russian military moves in Crimea are declaration of war, says Ukrainian PM (Guardian)
The Ukraine crisis: John Kerry and Nato must calm down and back off (Guardian)

Both John Kerry’s threats to expel Russia from the G8 and the Ukrainian government’s plea for Nato aid mark a dangerous escalation of a crisis that can easily be contained if cool heads prevail. Hysteria seems to be the mood in Washington and Kiev, with the new Ukrainian prime minister claiming, “We are on the brink of disaster” as he calls up army reserves in response to Russian military movements in Crimea.

Pepe Escobar: Carnival in Crimea (Asia Times)

The new prime minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is – what else – a “technocratic reformer”, code for Western puppet. Ukraine is a (torn) basket case. The currency has fallen 20% since the start of 2014. Millions of unemployed Europeans know the European Union does not have the dough to bail out the country (perhaps Ukrainians could ask former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for some tips).
In Pipelineistan terms, Ukraine is an appendix to Russia; it’s Russian gas that transits through Ukraine to European markets. And Ukrainian industry depends on the Russian market. …
Without Russia, Ukraine will totally depend on the West to pay all its bills, not to mention avoid being bankrupt. That amounts to a whopping $30 billion until the end of 2014. Unlike Egypt, they cannot dial the House of Saud’s number and ask for some juicy petrodollars.

Chris Floyd: Ukraine, Omidyar and the Neo-Liberal Agenda (CounterPunch)
As Vladimir Gligorov said: “Why should I be a minority in your country when you can be a minority in mine?”
Ian Traynor, Paul Lewi, Kim Willsher, Patrick Wintour: Ukraine crisis: Crimea announces referendum on joining Russia (Guardian)
Против войны! За самоопределение! (Боротьба)
Все – на митинг за самоопределение и самоуправление 8 марта! (Боротьба)
Nicolas Maury: Rostislav Vasilko, dirigeant communiste à Lviv (Ukraine) torturé par les néonazis de EuroMaïdan (Istres Grand Lyon)
Florian Rötzer: Moskau droht mit militärischer Intervention (Telepolis)
Florian Rötzer: Diplomatie ohne Erfolg (Telepolis)
Thomas Eipeldauer: »Ein Bürgerkrieg ist möglich« (junge Welt)
Susann Witt-Stahl: Argument Kalaschnikow (Hintergrund)
Konstantin Wecker: Ich kann diese Verlogenheit nicht mehr ertragen. (wecker.de)
Nick Alexandrov: Ukrainian Democracy: A Barrier to Washington’s Goals (CounterPunch)

Who is Washington’s chief enemy in Ukraine? Is it Russia, bent on killing Ukraine’s budding democracy? Is it the tyrant Yanukovych? The U.S. policy record points to a different conclusion, one a Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations study—included in the official transcription of the Senate’s 2012 “Ukraine at a Crossroads” hearing—discusses in the context of Ukraine’s potential NATO membership. “The main obstacle” to Ukraine’s joining the organization “is not Russian opposition,” its authors emphasized, “but low public support for membership in Ukraine itself.” Again: on this and other issues, the Ukrainian people are “the main obstacle” to U.S. foreign policy aims. We should bear this fact in mind as the crisis deepens in Eastern Europe.

Peter Lee: Problems in Ukraine? Blame Russia! (CounterPunch)
Statement of Communist, Left-Wing and Patriotic Left Forces of Russia on the Situation in the Ukraine (Красное ТВ)
Петр Симоненко: Обращение Первого секретаря ЦК КПУ Петра Симоненко к товарищам по партии (Комуністична партія України)
Edward Lucas: Don‘t be fooled by her angelic looks, she’s as ruthless as she’s corrupt: A withering portrait of Ukraine’s ‘saviour’ (Daily Mail)

‘Trigger-happy’ Israeli army and police use reckless force in the West Bank (Amnesty International)

Israeli forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years with near total impunity, said Amnesty International in a report published today.
Amnesty International documented the killing of 22 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank in 2013. At least four were children. According to the UN, more West Bank Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in 2013 than in 2011 and 2012 combined. In the last three years at least 261 Palestinians, including 67 children, have been seriously injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces in the West Bank. More than 8,000 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 1,500 children, have been wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets and the reckless use of tear gas since January 2011.

And here is the rather bizarre response from the occupation force:
Amnesty International Report Ignores Palestinian Violence (Israel Defense Forces)

In its upcoming report, Amnesty International wholly ignores the substantial increase in Palestinian violence initiated over the past year, and shows a complete lack of understanding as to operational challenges the IDF faces.
2013 saw a sharp increase in rock hurling incidents, gravely jeopardizing the lives of civilians and military personnel. 132 Israelis were injured during that year alone, almost double the number in 2012.

Yasmine Saleh: Court bans activities of Islamist Hamas in Egypt (Reuters)

An Egyptian court on Tuesday banned all Hamas activities in Egypt in another sign that the military-backed government aims to squeeze the Palestinian Islamist group that rules the neighboring Gaza Strip.

Patrick Kingsley: Al-Jazeera trial: prosecution presents contents of journalists’ hotel rooms (Guardian)

Trial in Egypt descends into farce on day two as everything from journalists’ hotel rooms is presented as evidence by prosecution.

Spencer Ackerman, James Ball: Optic Nerve: millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ (Guardian)

Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.
GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.
In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

Amy Goodman, James Ball: Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images (Democracy Now)
Glenn Greenwald, Murtaza Hussain: The Moazzam Begg Arrest: Part of the Effort to Criminalize Muslim Political Dissent (Intercept)

Moazzam Begg, a native-born British citizen of Pakistani descent, spent three years incarcerated in the most notorious detention camps created in the post-9/11 “War on Terror”: all without ever being charged with any crime.
Arrested in Pakistan in 2002, he was transferred to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where he suffered torture and witnessed U.S. interrogators beat an innocent taxi driver to death, and then onwards to Guantanamo Bay where he would be detained for the next three years in conditions he’d describe as “torturous”.
Throughout this time Begg, now 45, was repeatedly deprived of legal counsel and was prohibited from even viewing the alleged evidence against him. After public outcry in his home country resulted in his repatriation to England in 2005, Begg went on to become a human rights activist — writing books, and advocating for other post-9/11 detainees through his organization Cageprisoners, whose self-described mission is: “working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror”; “campaigning against the War on Terror”; and “working with survivors of abuse and mistreatment across the globe.”

Ryan Devereaux: UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law (Intercept)

A British lower court has ruled that London police acted lawfully in employing an anti-terror statute to detain and interrogate David Miranda for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport last summer, even while recognizing that the detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom.”

Glenn Greenwald: On the UK’s Equating of Journalism With Terrorism (Intercept)

The UK Government expressly argued that the release of the Snowden documents (which the free world calls “award-winning journalism“) is actually tantamount to “terrorism”, the same theory now being used by the Egyptian military regime to prosecute Al Jazeera journalists as terrorists. Congratulations to the UK government on the illustrious company it is once again keeping. British officials have also repeatedly threatened criminal prosecution of everyone involved in this reporting, including Guardian journalists and editors.

Ahn Mi Young: North Korea Doing Fine Without the South (Inter Press Service)

If the North Korea of the 1990s was seen as a starving nation that produced an exodus of hungry people, then the picture should be even gloomier now – six years after it stopped receiving South Korea’s generous aid. But it’s not. The nation of 24 million people, widely said to be the most secretive in the world and a nuclear threat, appears to have weathered the years well.
Today, more people are reported to be better off. Many are engaged in trade. Its communist regime, inherited by the 30-something supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Un after his father’s death in 2011, is actively wooing foreign investors and tourists, and introducing reforms. Pyongyang has even softened its attitude towards Seoul to resume talks.
North Korea has been gradually weaned off South Korean food and goods.

Yves Engler: Remembering the Overthrow of Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide, part I | part II | part III | part IV (CounterPunch)

Mark Berman: This chart shows how Chinese became the new French (Washington Post)

Chinese has overtaken French as the most common language in the United States other than English or Spanish, while Tagalog and Vietnamese have leapfrogged Italian and German.
These are some of the biggest takeaways from this Census Bureau chart examining how language usage in the country shifted between 1980 and 2010.