Hysteria and posturing over “terrorism” after Canadian soldier killed in Ottawa

​By Roger Annis, Oct 24, 2014

Today, the Vancouver Sun has published a description of the troubled man who killled a guard soldier in Ottawa two days ago and then entered Canada’s Parliament building carrying his gun. He was shot and killed by police.

The Sun reporters speak to people who knew Michael Zehaf-Bibeau while he lived in Vancouver during recent years and they describe an angry and troubled man grappling with mental illness and drug addiction. He has lived in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal at various times in the past three years. He died at age 32. » Read more..

Difficult talks over winter gas supply and price to Ukraine from Russia

Introduction by Roger Annis, Oct 23, 2014

Two rounds of talks involving Russia, Ukraine and the European Union over the pricing and supply of natural gas to Ukraine this coming winter took place in Milan and Brussels on May 18 and 21, resp. In Milan, a price framework was announced in which Ukraine would pay $385 per 1,000 m3 of gas. That’s roughly an average price of Russian gas sold in Europe. There is no agreement announced from Brussels. The enclosed article from RIA Novosti news agency explains the background to Ukraine’s dispute with Russia over gas supply and pricing.

Latest news: Russia and Ukraine failed to reach an accord on gas supplies for the coming winter in EU-brokered talks on Oct 21 but agreed to meet again in Brussels in a week in the hope of ironing out problems over Kiev’s ability to pay.–Reuters, Oct 21, 2014

Some among Ukraine’s ruling elite are balking at signing an agreement at such a price. At the same time, the EU is pressuring Russia for a lower price because whatever agreement is reached, Ukraine’s financially bankrupt government will depend on EU loans and grants to pay the bills.

Ukraine has an unpaid bill to Russia for gas which it says is app. $3 billion and Russia says is app. $5 billion.

Ukraine-Russia gas crisis looms because Europe refuses to face reality

Alexander Mercouris, RIA Novosti, Oct 22, 2014

LONDON – Predictions of a written agreement in the Russia-Ukraine-EU gas dispute from the talks held on 21st October 2014 have so far failed to materialise. This was predictable because of the vast gulf of understanding that exists between the three parties. Though some temporary agreement may eventually emerge this gulf is so wide that it is likely to unravel quickly. » Read more..

New York Times and Human Rights Watch: Ukraine using cluster bombs in its war in the east

Introduction by Roger Annis, Oct 22, 2014

Cluster munition in an unexploded Uragan rocket in a field in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government near Novomykhailivka on October 14, 2014; photo by Ole Solvang, Human Rights Watch

Cluster munition in an unexploded Uragan rocket in a field in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government near Novomykhailivka on October 14, 2014; photo by Ole Solvang, Human Rights Watch

The New York Times and Human Rights Watch are each reporting findings that Ukraine has used cluster bombs against the civilian population in the east of the country during the recent war. Below is the introduction and link to the Times article. The nine-page Human Rights Watch report is here.

Human Rights Watch says:

During a week-long investigation in eastern Ukraine, Human Rights Watch documented widespread use of cluster munitions in fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in more than a dozen urban and rural locations. While it was not possible to conclusively determine responsibility for many of the attacks, the evidence points to Ukrainian government forces’ responsibility for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk. An employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was killed on October 2 in an attack on Donetsk that included use of cluster munition rockets.

“It is shocking to see a weapon that most countries have banned used so extensively in eastern Ukraine,” said Mark Hiznay, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch…

Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC, has declined to report this story on its news website. The New York Times article was posted to the Globe and Mail online on Oct 21. The same day, the Toronto Star published a wire service video report giving prominence to Ukraine government denials. Their print editions of Oct. 22 contained the first print reports on the story, consisting of wireservice reports by Reuters (in the Globe and Mail) and LA Times (in the Toronto Star). Each print report features denials by Ukraine government officials that its armed forces use cluster bombs. 

The same Reuters report as in the Globe and Mail appeared in The Guardian online on Oct 21 and in print on Oct 22.

* * *

Ukraine used cluster bombs, evidence indicates

By Andrew Roth, New York Times, Oct 20, 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine — The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims. » Read more..

Interview with Kurdish commander: ISIS has lost in Kobanê

Introduction by Roger Annis, Oct 20, 2014

Days after the interview below was published, the US Air Force has begun dropping ammunition and other supplies to the defenders of the Kurdish city of Kobanê (Kobani) in northern Syria and the Turkish government has relented and agreed to allow Kurdish peshmerga forces from Iraq to cross its territory to reinforce the city. Kobanê straddles the Turkish border in north, central Syria.

Until now, Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan has refused to allow military and other assistance to flow to the autonomous forces in Kobanê, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). And the BBC reports, “The U.S. air drops represent a significant shift in Washington’s policy towards the Syrian Kurds.”

The YPG are politically allied with the left-wing PKK in Turkey and its affiliate in Syria, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). The PKK is proscribed as “terrorist” by Turkey, the United States, Canada and other imperialist countries.

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Interview with YPG commander: ISIS has lost in Kobanê

Interview with Mehmûd BerxwedanPublished in The Rojava Report, Oct 17, 2014

Mehmûd Berxwedan, a member of the General Command of the YPG, has spoken with journalist Ersin Çaksu in a new interview for Özgür Gündem. Berxwedan told Çaksu that all those who said that Kobanê ‘had fallen’ or ‘will fall’ had themselves be defeated, and that if a corridor is opened to the city ISIS will be entirely cleared from the area. Below is the full interview translated into English. » Read more..

Bolivia’s Evo Morales re-elected, but important challenges lie ahead

By Richard Fidler, published on the author’s blog, ‘Life on the Left’, Oct 19, 2014

As expected, Evo Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government won a resounding victory in Bolivia’s national presidential and parliamentary election October 12. » Read more..

Reader on the Ebola virus epidemic in western Africa

Enclosed: Four articles and three items weblinked

1. How the West made the Ebola problem much worse, by Tony Burman, special to the Toronto Star, Oct 18 2014

Ebola in West Africa, map by WHO, Sept 26, 2014

Ebola in West Africa, map by WHO, Sept 26, 2014

2. What went wrong in response to the Ebola crisis?, by Jennifer Yang, global health reporter, Toronto Star, Oct 18, 2014

3. We need medical boots on the ground now, by Amy Goodman, Truthdig, Oct 15, 2014

4. Australian gov’t resists pressure to deploy medical specialists to west Africa, by Daniel Hurst, The Guardian, Oct 16, 2014

5. Ebola, capitalism and the idea of society, By Rob Urie, Counterpunch, Oct 18, 2014 (weblink only)

6. Visualized: How ebola compares to other infectious diseases, in The Guardian, Oct 15, 2014

And see:
* In the medical response to Ebola, Cuba is punching far above its weight, Washington Post, Oct 4, 2014
* Ebola, capitalism and the idea of society, by Rob Urie, Counterpunch, Oct 17, 2014
Cuba’s impressive role on ebola, Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2014

* * * » Read more..

Hundreds have been killed in eastern Ukraine since a ceasefire was declared on Sept 5, and other news

By Roger Annis, Oct. 14, 2014

A press release on October 8 by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights explains that despite the ceasefire signed in Minsk, Belarus on September 5, at least 331 people have been killed in ongoing shelling and clashes between September 6 and October 6 in eastern Ukraine. That’s about ten people dying per day. » Read more..

The new war in Iraq and the hypocrisy of the imperialists over the fate of the Kurdish region of Syria

Introduction by Roger Annis, Oct 14, 2014

Enclosed are four readings to understand the political situation in Rojava, the Kurdish region of western Syria that is under attack by the right-wing forces of ISIS. The ISIS attack is presently centered on the city of Kobani, on the border of south-central Turkey. The hypocrisy of the air war being waged by the Map of Syria, by Thomas van Linge, Sept 2014United States and some European countries against ISIS in Iraq stands exposed by their refusal (and that of Turkey) to provide any meaningful military assistance to the defense of Kobani. Here is an Oct 12 dispatch by Associated Press describing the fighting taking place in and around Kobani.

The Canadian government is mobilizing six fighter aircraft to join the U.S. in its new war in Iraq, a war which is already extending into Syria.

» Read more..

Another explosion in a wood processing factory in British Columbia

By Roger Annis, Oct 11, 2014

Apologies, this article is being expanded and will be published in a new version in the coming days.–RA


Video: The war in eastern Ukraine and the New Cold War

Presentation by Roger Annis in Vancouver, Canada on Sept 29, 2014

On September 29, 2014, The Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University hosted a talk by Roger Annis on the war in eastern Ukraine and the accompanying political and military threats by NATO and the Kyiv government against Russia. Roger Annis is a Vancouver-based writer and antiwar activist who has written extensively on Ukraine. He attended the antiwar conference held in Yalta, Crimea on July 6, 7, 2014. (Introduction continues below).

» Read more..