International News

A Trump rally.

From US SocialistWorker.org election night coverage: 

Why? How? Those questions are dominating the mainstream media as they take stock of Donald Trump's victory in the presidential race.

They are dominating us at SocialistWorker.org, and no doubt our readers, too. It is hard to come to terms with the upside-down results we are seeing. But here are some thoughts.

One thing is crystal clear: Hillary Clinton is a failure. And so is the neoliberal establishment.

Even if Clinton had narrowly managedto defeat Donald Trump, she would still have lost. Her failure is not individual, however, but a failure of Clintonism, the Democratic Party, and decades of failed economic policies.

Protesters at Standing Rock. Many groups have stood with Standing Rock, from Black Lives Matter, the major environmental groups, to Palestinian youth and many more.

Police and company armed guards have launched new attacks on peaceful protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

On October 27, police unleashed a wave of brutality on Native American “water protectors” seeking to block pipeline construction. About 300 highly militarised police with armoured vehicles and riot gear, joined by 80 North Dakota National Guards and 150 DAPL employees, attacked with pepper spray, Tasers, sound cannons, bean bag rounds and rubber bullets.

This year’s presidential election is the first in 50 years to take place without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act.

On November 5, the U.S. Supreme Court restored a Republican-supported law in Arizona banning political campaigners from collecting absentee ballots filled out by voters. In New Jersey, a federal judge decided against the Democratic National Committee in a complaint it brought against the Republican National Committee, ruling that the RNC’s poll monitoring and ballot security activities did not violate a legal settlement.

On November 4, Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants for all 59 MPs of the Kurdish-based left-wing opposition Peoples Democratic Party (HDP). The party’s leaders, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, and several other MPs were taken into detention.

Thousands of people demonstrated in London on November 6 in the latest protest against the mass arrests of pro-Kurdish politicians in Turkey. On November 4, the regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued arrest warrants for all 59 MPs from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), a left-wing largely Kurdish-led party.

FIFA, the world’s ruling body of football (soccer), has banned wearing poppies to mark the death of British soldiers in war, which has provoked a confected outrage by British media and politicians.

The football associations of England and Scotland intend to defy the ban in the two national teams’ match on Armistice Day on November 11. In the editorial below, British left-wing daily The Morning Star responds to the hypocrisy of those opposing FIFA’s ruling.

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In July 1915, three brothers presented themselves at Glencorse Barracks on the outskirts of Edinburgh to enlist in the Royal Scots. The First World War was almost a year old, but despite the mounting casualty lists and a growing realisation that it would not be over anytime soon, my grandfather and his two brothers joined up.

This interview by John Pilger with Jullian Assange was filmed in the Embassy of Ecuador in London – where Assange is a political refugee –  and broadcast on November 5.

***

John Pilger:

What’s the significance of the FBI's intervention in these last days of the U.S. election campaign, in the case against Hillary Clinton?

Julian Assange:

Eritrea marked 25 years of independence from Ethiopia this year, but its citizens remain victimised by one of the world’s most repressive governments.

They suffer arbitrary and indefinite detention; torture; inhumane conditions of confinement; restrictions on freedom of speech, movement, and belief; and indefinite conscription and forced labour in national service.

About 300 million children live with outdoor air so polluted it can cause serious physical damage, including harming their developing brains, the United Nations said in a study released on October 31.

Nearly one child in seven around the globe breathes outdoor air that is at least six times dirtier than international guidelines, according to the study by the UN Children's Fund. The study called air pollution a leading factor in child mortality.

Demonstrators gathered on November 2 in the Colombian capital of Bogata and the US capital, Washington DC, to simultaneously protest outside the International Finance Corporation, the private lending arm of the World Bank, against the shares it holds in Canadian mining company Eco Oro Minerals Corp.

The company’s sole asset is a mining concession in one of Colombia’s high altitude wetlands, known as the paramos, which provides fresh water for millions of Colombians, the Center for International Environmental Law said in a statement.

The regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a further leap towards undisguised dictatorship, intensifying its crackdown against the democratic and left-wing opposition, independent media and the Kurdish population.

On October 25, Co-Mayors of the Diyarbakır (Amed) Metropolitan Municipality, Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, members of the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP), were arrested.

Free Women’s Congress (KJA) spokesperson Ayla Akat Ata was detained at a protest calling for Kışanak and Anlı's release and is now facing terrorism charges alongside them.

The pictures of thousands of Thais crying and wearing black after the death of King Pumipon might lead a sane person to conclude that most Thais were political half-wits with a slave-like mentality. That would be a wrong conclusion.

We have to factor in the royalist military repression. Anyone criticising the king can be jailed under the draconian lese-majeste (insulting the monarch) law. Added to this is the green light given by the junta for mobs of fanatical royalists to “deal” with dissidents.

In the end, on October 29, it all worked out rather well for Mariano Rajoy. After patiently implementing his motto that “all things come to he who waits”, the leader of the conservative People’s Party (PP) was that day confirmed as Spain’s prime minister for a second four-year term.

Normal operations were apparently resumed in the institutions of the Spanish state after 10 months of turmoil arising from the inconclusive general election results of December 20 and June 26.

French authorities announced their operation to demolish “the Jungle”, the makeshift refugee settlement in the northern French port of Calais, was completed on October 26, with refugees bussed to government-controlled centres dispersed throughout France.

But this claim was contradicted by chaotic scenes of the camp in flames and more than 1600 unaccompanied minors being excluded from the transfer to other camps. All the while, British and French politicians bickered over whose responsibility they were.

A bill in Ireland to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, passed the first stage of approval on October 27 as lawmakers voted it through the country’s House of Representatives (Dáil Eireann).

BREAKING NEWS November 5 — The regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a further leap towards undisguised dictatorship with the issue of arrest warrants for all 59 Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs by the Diyarbakir Chief Prosecutor's Office, Kurdish Question reported.

Thirteen HDP deputies including party leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ have already been detained.

Police began descending on water protectors protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at Standing Rock in North Dakota on November 2. Common Dreams said images on social media showed the dramatic standoff along a creek that borders a construction site for the long-opposed DAPL.

Tamils in the northern province of Sri Lanka carried out a one-day strike on October 25 in protest against police repression, Tamilnet said. The strike was called by Tamil political parties after the October 20 murder of two Jaffna University students by Sinhalese police officers.

An air raid by the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 60 people in Yemen, most of them inmates of a prison near the city of Hodeidah on October 30, TeleSUR English said that day.

The prison was struck three times on October 30 by coalition fighter jets in the latest attack on civilian facilities, including hospitals, by Saudi Arabia and its allies over the past year-and-a-half.

A Reuters witness at the security complex said the building was destroyed and medics pulled about 17 bodies away, many of them missing limbs. Others remained trapped under the rubble.

The crackdown by the Turkish regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against the democratic and left-wing opposition, independent media and the Kurdish population has intensified. On October 25, co-mayors of the the Diyarbakır (Amed) Metropolitan Municipality, Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, members of the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP), were arrested.

Free Women’s Congress (KJA) spokesperson Ayla Akat Ata was detained at a protest calling for Kışanak and Anlı's release and is now facing terrorism charges alongside them.

Although fit and healthy until near the end of his life, Stan Hilton, the 98-year old veteran of the Spanish Civil War as one of the almost 60,000 International Brigade members who travelled from around the world to join the fight against fascism who passed away on October 21, could no longer recall his four-month adventure in Spain in 1937 and 1938. Thankfully, his son, Gordon, and grandson, Adam, still keep alive the stories and recollections he told them over many years.

Demonstrators express anger on October 30 at the death of Mouhcine Fikri.

In Morocco, thousands of people have been protesting across the country after a fish seller was crushed to death in a garbage truck on October 28 while trying to retrieve fish confiscated by police.

Video circulating online appears to show Mouhcine Fikri jumping into the back of the truck to rescue his swordfish, before being crushed to death by its compactor. According to local reports, Moroccan authorities prohibit the sale of swordfish at this time of year.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The American journalist, Edward Bernays, is often described as the man who invented modern propaganda.

The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, it was Bernays who coined the term "public relations" as a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.

In 1929, he persuaded feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York Easter Parade - behaviour then considered outlandish. One feminist, Ruth Booth, declared, "Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!"

An 86-year old Sioux elder at the Sacred Stone Camp near Cannonball, North Dakota.

More than 1 million people have "checked in" at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota on Facebook on October 31. The mass "check in" was in response to a viral post calling for help to protect activists in North Dakota protesting against the Dakota Access oil pipeline from police surveillance through the Facebook feature.

"The Morton County Sheriff's Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps,” the text of the viral Facebook post said.

The Republican candidate in the November 8 presidential race is lining up his excuses for why he’s going to lose: the media is against him, Democrats are faking ballots from undocumented immigrants and dead people and on and on.

Marking a grim milestone, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that 2016 is the deadliest year ever for migrants trying to reach Europe.

The agency said on October 26 that at least 3800 migrants — many of them fleeing war in their home countries — have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea this year. This is despite a significant drop in attempted crossings compared to last year.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement declaring his intentions to “separate” from the United States in both military and economic relations should be welcomed, but it’s easier said than done. Hence the president’s constant “backtracking” on his statements.

Given the president’s inconsistency, the question is posed: What does it mean to be an anti-imperialist government today? And is lining up with China (and to a lesser-extent Russia) an anti-imperialist positioning?

Close to 100 students and youth were arrested on Parliament Hill on October 24 for their participation in what organisers described as “the largest act of youth-led climate civil disobedience in Canadian history.”

Protesters targeted the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will rule to accept or reject this year.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of an assault to recapture Mosul, the most important Iraqi city held by ISIS, on October 16.

The assault is spearheaded by the Iraqi army and the peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq. It also includes the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), an umbrella group of militia groups loyal to the Iraqi government and based in Iraq’s Shi’a Arab communities, and some other Iraqi militias.

After a year of political turmoil, Venezuela turned a corner recently, at least according to an eye-catching October 21 op-ed in The Washington Post. Titled “It’s official: Venezuela is a full-blown dictatorship”, the piece claimed the country has become an “all-out, no-more-elections dictatorship”.

Venezuela is again grabbing headlines in the media, amid allegations of lack of democracy and exaggerated accounts of nonetheless very real economic problems.

Much commentary puts the problems facing the country down to the alleged “failed populism” of Venezuela’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution. Last month, the New York Times even compared Donald Trump to Venezuela’s late socialist president Hugo Chavez in an article titled “What Hugo Chavez can teach us about Donald Trump”.

Police arrested 141 people at Cannonball in North Dakota on October 27, moving in with pepper spray and armoured tanks on Native American water protectors and other activists who for months have waged resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Common Dreams said t

The tribulations of major European banks, starting with “venerable institutions” like the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the world’s oldest bank) and Deutsche Bank (Germany’s largest), have raised the spectre of a repeat of the crash of 2008 — a “Lehman Brothers times five” in the words of one market analyst.

Deutsche Bank has been found to be seriously under-capitalised, both according to the standards set under the Basel III international bank regulation standards and according to its own targets. The same goes for British giant Barclays.

In a historic step toward lifting the blockade on Cuba, the United States abstained Wednesday in the United Nations General Assembly vote, unanimously calling for the end of the Cold War measure for the 25th consecutive year.

"The United States has always voted against this resolution," said US representative to the UN Samantha Power. "Today, the United States will abstain."

The statement below was released by Pakistani socialist group, the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in response to an October 24 terrorist attack that killed dozens of people in Quetta, the capital of the Balochistan province. Balochistan has long been the victim of violent attacks from both state and terrorist forces.

The announcement from Venezuela's electoral authority on October 20 that it would head a court ruling and not proceed with a recall referendum has unleashed yet another wave of critical articles and opinion pieces throughout the English-speaking media, labeling Venezuela government as “authoritarian” or even a “dictatorship.”

Students at universities across South Africa have been demonstrating for the complete removal of university fees for poor students.

They are pushing for the realisation of the demands raised by the #FeesMustFall campaign last year. This was the largest wave of protests since the fall of Apartheid and drew tens of thousands of students into the streets.

The US has announced it will continue giving millions of dollars in military funding to the Honduran government, despite the high-profile targeted assassinations and other human rights abuses documented this year in the Central American nation.

The decision was taken by the US Department of State on September 30. It was justified to Congress on the grounds that Honduras “has taken effective steps to meet the criteria specified in the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriation legislation.”

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