Sunday, June 16, 2019

Lula and Brazil, Gulf of Oman, MMIWG Backlash & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos June 9 - 16

This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of June 9 - 16.

1) Secret Files Show How Brazil’s Elites Jailed Former President Lula and Cleared the Way for Bolsonaro

Democracy Now

A political crisis is growing in Brazil after The Intercept revealed that the judge who helped jail former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva likely aided federal prosecutors in their corruption case in an attempt to prevent Lula’s Workers’ Party from winning the presidency. Leaked cellphone messages among Brazilian law enforcement officials and other data obtained by The Intercept point to an ongoing collaboration between Judge Sérgio Moro and the prosecutors investigating a sweeping corruption scandal known as Operation Car Wash. Lula was considered a favorite in the lead-up to the 2018 presidential election until he was put in jail and forced out of the race on what many say were trumped-up corruption charges. The leaked documents also reveal prosecutors had serious doubts about Lula’s guilt. The jailing of Lula helped pave the way for the election of the far-right former military officer Jair Bolsonaro, who then named Judge Sérgio Moro to be his justice minister. We get an update from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, whose reporting is based on a trove of internal files and private conversations from the prosecutorial team behind Operation Car Wash.

2) Leaked Messages Confirm: Imprisonment of Brazil’s Lula da Silva was Politically Motivated

The Real News

The website The Intercept received a massive archive of communications between prosecutors and judges, involving Brazil's corruption cases. Initial analysis reveals that former president Lula da Silva's prosecution and conviction were politically motivated. Mike Fox discusses the ramifications.


Aída Chávez & Akela Lacy, The Intercept 

FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva should be released from prison and his conviction should be annulled, said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, on Tuesday. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., meanwhile, is calling on the Trump administration to investigate the case that imprisoned the former president on corruption charges, following The Intercept’s exposé that showed Judge Sérgio Moro plotted with prosecutors to convict Lula and prevent the Workers’ Party from returning to power.

4) Lula Is Innocent. Free Him Now.

Tony Burke, Jacobin

The evidence is now overwhelming — Lula was the victim of a politically motivated campaign to keep him from returning to power. He must be freed.

5) Brazil: Bolsonaro to Suspend Senior, Disabled Benefits Programs


A benefits program for Brazil's low-income disabled and senior citizens will be suspended as of June 25, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted Monday, citing a lack of federal funds.

6) Brazil Struggles To Replace Departed Cuban Doctors, Thousands of Lives at Risk


The Brazilian government is struggling to replace more than 8,000 departed Cuban doctors, despite promises made by President Jair Bolsonaro, according to a New York Times report published on Tuesday.

7) Brazil’s Universities Are Under Attack — And So Is Its Democracy

Daniel Peres, Public Seminar

Brazil’s democracy is on the edge of an abyss. Its new far-right government has begun an attack, first against humanities, sociology, and philosophy in general, and then on Brazil’s Public Universities in particular. First it was said that Philosophy and Sociology Programs should be defunded. Then, the government announced a 30% cut in the budget of three Universities, mine included, citing ideological bias. Eventually, the cut was extended to all federal Universities and after that to all public educational system.

8) Brazil cities paralysed as Bolsonaro faces first general strike

France 24

A nationwide strike called by Brazil's trade unions disrupted public transport and triggered road blocks in parts of the country Friday, ahead of protests against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's pension reform.

9) Tanker owner seems to dispute U.S. account of Gulf of Oman attack

CBS News

The Japanese owner of the Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, said Friday that sailors on board saw "flying objects" just before it was hit, suggesting the vessel wasn't damaged by mines.

10) Organise now to avoid war with Iran

Chris Nineham, Counterfire 

Neither the US nor Iran really wants war we are told, because the reality of such a conflict is too horrific to contemplate. But the Gulf tanker crisis and the US response shows that we are alarmingly close to open hostilities. It is true that there are voices in the US defence establishment calling for restraint. It appears to be the case too that the Iranian government is operating on the assumption that the US doesn't want a war. But there are several reasons why such assumptions are not a sound basis for judgement.

11) Greek Communist Party Demand Closure of US Bases in Country in Wake of US Threats Against Iran

Sputnik News

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Friday that the United States' plans against Iran would bring nothing good for nations in the region and urged for all US and NATO bases in Greece to be closed.

Related: Don't let the Americans lie their way into another disastrous war

12) Mike Pompeo Threatens To Intervene In British Democracy To Stop Corbyn Becoming Prime Minister

Alex Tiffin, Medium

US Secretary for State Mike Pompeo has come under fire after a recording emerged of him saying he’d intervene to stop Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. In the recording first reported by the Washington Post, Pompeo suggests he won’t wait for Corbyn to be elected, rather he’ll attempt to stop it from being possible.

13) B.C. Green’s anti-worker biases expose the party’s contradictions on climate change

Alex Cosh, Canadian Dimension 

After making vague promises in its 2017 election platform to “modernize” provincial labour standards, the British Columbia Green Party recently blocked two important reforms to the province’s labour code, showing that, in practice, Canada’s mainstream Green movement harbours anti-worker biases that negatively impact the struggle against climate change.

14) Aung San Suu Kyi in Hungary: A chilling sign of global Islamophobia

Peter Oborne, Middle East Eye

The spectacle of the Burmese Nobel Laureate's meeting with Viktor Orban highlights the monstrous threat posed to Muslims around the world.


David Climenhaga, Alberta Politics 

“Huge pothole on #StAlbert Trail right now! This is a preview of Canada’s future if Justin Trudeau is re-elected as prime minister, as he continues to implement his terrible anti-automobile agenda.”

16) Workers With Disabilities Are Making Cents Per Hour — and It’s Legal

Jack Delaney, Truthout

Imagine making cents on the dollar to toil in a warehouse, separated from the broader society, while repeatedly piecing together widgets or engaging in manual labor for some multinational corporation with which you’ve never interacted. For many Americans, the concept of making nickels and dimes for your labor in the richest nation in human history is incomprehensible. But for the tens of thousands of Americans making far less than minimum wage due to their disabilities, it is an all too familiar reality.

17) Rebel Media’s Jason Kenney Coverage is Being Funded With Foreign Money From an Anti-Muslim Billionaire

Press Progress 

It turns out Rebel Media’s coverage of Jason Kenney is funded with foreign money.

18) Jurors refuse to convict activist facing 20 years for helping migrants

The Guardian 

A US jury could not reach a verdict on Tuesday against a border activist who, defense attorneys say, was simply being kind by providing two migrants with water, food and lodging when he was arrested in early 2018.

19) Canadian Communist leader: Extreme right danger looms over fall election

Liz Rowley, People's World 

Developments in Canada this spring have been disturbing. Tory (Conservative) governments have been elected in Alberta, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, joining Tory governments in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and the right-wing CAQ in Quebec.

20) Colombia: increasing violence against union leaders


Colombian trade union leaders Igor Díaz and Dibeth Quintana have again received death threats. Since Iván Duque became president last year, violence against union and social leaders has been on the rise.

21) The Left’s Failure to Envision a World Without Capitalism

Conor Lynch, The New Republic 

There is a common saying on the left, usually attributed to the Marxist critic Fredric Jameson, that “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.” The late writer Mark Fisher once described this as “capitalist realism,” or the “widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.”

22) Breaking Point: Violence in Long Term Care

Zaid Noorsumar, Rank and File

Punched. Groped. Kicked. Killed. Violence in long-term care homes has to stop.

23) Is it Time to Care Yet?

 Zaid Noorsumar, Rank and File

On Jan. 23, 2007, 73-year-old Betty Moseley-Williams testified to the legislative standing committee about Bill 140, the Long-term Care Homes Act.

24) Swiss women strike for more money, time and respect

 Imogen Foulkes, BBC News

Women across Switzerland have taken to the streets to protest against what they say is the country's unacceptably slow pace to equality.

25) The Real Face of Prostitution

Julie Bindel, Truth Dig

The research could make a difference, by providing more evidence of the harms of prostitution, and by helping those struggling with the polarized debate on whether we are talking about “sex workers’ rights” and “women’s agency,” or the commercial sexual exploitation of vulnerable, prostituted people. What is needed, alongside such research, is for every one of us to imagine a world without prostitution, and to ask the question, “Why does it exist?” In a world where women and girls were liberated from male supremacy, in which we could live as equal human beings, prostitution would be starved of oxygen.

26) Study Linking US Sanctions to Venezuelan Deaths Buried by Reuters for Over a Month

Joe Emersberger, FAIR

I emailed Stephanie Nebehay of Reuters on May 22 about her article, “Venezuela Turns to Russia, Cuba, China in Health Crisis” (5/22/19). Her article depicted the impact of US sanctions as an allegation that Venezuelan government officials are alone in making.

27) Legal clinic cuts aim to quash resistance to province's agenda, Hamilton director says

Adam Carter · CBC News 

A series of "targeted" and "politically motivated" cuts to legal clinics across Ontario are the provincial government's way of making sure its agenda can't be challenged, says the head of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

28) To beat Scheer, fight Ford

John Bell, International Socialists 

As the fall federal election looms, the strategic voting rhetoric is coming to a boil. Not surprisingly, most of the talk originates with the Liberals who are anxious to erode Andrew Scheer’s lead in the polls.

29) One Million More Reasons to Mobilize Against Ford

Jeff Noonan, Socialist Project Bullet 

The public sector “salary restraint” legislation expected by public sector union leaders was formally introduced on June 5th (Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019). I will get to the criticism in a moment. First, I have to acknowledge the Orwellian chutzpah of this government: without a climate change plan, it cheekily appropriates the language of “sustainability” and concern for “future generations.” They could have topped themselves by tipping their hat to the indigenous traditions they are also ignoring by adding “seven” in front of “generations.” Perhaps the next spending restraint bill can be more inclusive.

30) 'Genocide' is a loaded word

Doug Cuthand, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

 It’s a shame that the reporting on this important report got stuck on one word and became defensive rather than proactive. According to the 1948 convention, Canada is guilty of committing genocide against the Indigenous people.

31) Canada's treatment of Indigenous peoples fits the definition of 'genocide'

Michael Spratt, Canadian Lawyer

Some people believe the earth is flat. Some people believe climate change is a myth. Some people believe the justice system is colour-blind. All of those people are dangerously wrong.

33) Blowback to the word genocide proves the national inquiry report was right

Tanya Talaga, The Toronto Star

I should have anticipated the blowback to the final report of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

34) 'It's torturous': Young mother joins calls from MMIWG advocates to stop apprehensions at birth

Erin Brohman · CBC News

A young mother who was on Manitoba's birth alert system is joining calls from advocates, researchers and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls demanding that the province stop taking babies from mothers at birth.

35) Andrew Scheer rejects use of ‘genocide’ in reference to Indigenous women, girls

Kerri Breen, Global News

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is disputing the use of the word “genocide” in reference to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

36) ‘It’s a farce’: No Indigenous women named to civilian advisory panel overseeing the RCMP

 Kathleen Martens, APTN

Just days after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report, the federal government announced an interim civilian advisory board to oversee the RCMP.

37) Civil Disobidience Empties Streets in Sudan’s Capital


A campaign of civil disobedience to demand civilian rule left the streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum largely deserted as the working week began Sunday, while police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum North, witnesses said.

38) Sudan’s generals launch renewed crackdown to defeat general strike

Jason Burke and Zeinab Mohammed Salih, The Guardian 

The military regime in Sudan has launched a new wave of arrests and violent intimidation in an effort to undermine opposition plans for a widespread campaign of civil disobedience.

39) Sudanese troops raped protesters at sit-in, doctors report

 Zeinab Mohammed Salih in Khartoum and Jason Burke, The Guardian

Doctors believe paramilitaries carried out more than 70 rapes during an attack on a protest camp in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, a week ago.

40) Arctic Permafrost Is Going Through a Rapid Meltdown — 70 Years Early

 Grant Currin, Live Science 

In the Canadian Arctic, layers of permafrost that scientists expected to remain frozen for at least 70 years have already begun thawing. The once-frozen surface is now sinking and dotted with melt ponds and from above looks a bit like Swiss cheese, satellite images reveal.

41) Don’t waste any more money on the Trans Mountain pipeline

Gordon Laxer, The Toronto Star

Justin Trudeau is in over a barrel. In 2015, he made a deal with Alberta. He would get an oil pipeline built to a coast if the province joined his pan-Canadian climate plan. After his election this past April, Conservative Alberta Premier Jason Kenney ripped up Alberta’s side of the bargain and declared war on Trudeau‘s climate plan.

42) The Uninhabitable Earth: A grim portrait of the future of climate change

CBC News

Floods in Ontario. Wildfires in Alberta. A mass species die-off. According to scientists, all of these phenomena are caused or exacerbated by our warming climate.

43) Near-record 'dead zone' predicted in the Gulf of Mexico this summer

Doyle Rice, USA Today

The annual Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" – a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that's harmful to sea life – will be the second-largest on record this summer, scientists announced Monday.

44) Plant extinction 'bad news for all species'

Helen Briggs, BBC News 

Almost 600 plant species have been lost from the wild in the last 250 years, according to a comprehensive study.

45) 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.

See also: MMIWG Report, Climate Emergency, Cuba Blockade, Sudan & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos June 2 - 9

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