Encircling Empire: Report #30—A Review of 2019

Annual Review of 2019: The State of the Empire at the End of a Decade

This year marks the end of the second decade of the 21st-century, and as we enter the third decade one prediction seems to be warranted: the 2020s will see the most marked and unambiguous signs of the final decline of the US empire, with multipolarity rising to its greatest height yet. This will not be the same thing as the end of capitalism, especially as state-capitalism appears to be renewed as the dominant form of economic and political development worldwide. In order to stave off or stall the US’ inevitable decline, the US will do everything in its power (as it is already doing). “Human rights” in particular will be further weaponized as a strategic instrument of competition, much like Britain—which had built its wealth on top of heaps of slave labour—when it mobilized internationally against the slave trade once slavery had lost its economic value to the British empire, yet as it continued to be relied upon by competing powers. “Climate emergency” will likewise be the reason for imposing a range of protectionist measures in order to diminish the competitiveness of commodities produced by rising/competing powers, and as a tool of destabilization and regime change against oil-powered states that oppose US-led Western dominance. Triumphalist talk about globalization will give way to the realization that the state which benefited the most from the post-Cold War period was China; as we see China’s Belt and Road Initiative spread globally our primary debates will focus on whether or not this is a new era of imperial globalization, or globalized neo-colonialism, or something substantively different. It would not be alarmist to suggest that the 2020s may be the most decisive and perhaps most dangerous decade the world will witness since the early 1930s.

As this decade ends, let us also remember some of the giants who died during this period. The list includes:

  • Muammar Gaddafi (died in 2011)
  • Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (died in 2013)
  • Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (died in 2013)
  • Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (died in 2016)
  • Robert Mugabe (died in 2019)

This annual review traces some of these momentous changes as they began to take a clearer shape throughout 2019. Unfortunately, this will be the last time that we produce such a detailed end of year review on Zero Anthropology. For example, three research trips to the Caribbean in 2019 significantly ate into the coverage that follows below, with less time available to cover international developments. The next annual review will be in the form of a single essay, and with few if any links to resources for further reading. Nonetheless, these reviews could be invaluable resources to researchers seeking to trace the multiple trajectories of US imperial practice, under Trump and his predecessors, just as they have proven to be useful for our own writing.

Before we proceed, here is a list of the top 5 articles, in terms of those most read that were published on ZA in 2019:

  1. Girls, Groupies, and Grim Reapers: The Religious Politics of Mass Response”;
  2. On Duty for the CIA: German Nazis and Italian Fascists
  3. A Desperate Empire Crashes in Venezuela”;
  4. The Kursk Disaster: Facts Sunk Beneath Waves of Drama”;
  5. The WikiLeaks Case: Democracy Dies in Empire”.

Also here is our Top 10 List of all other articles published online this year:

  1. The U.S. footprint in Bolivia’s incipient colour revolution,” Bruno Sgarzini, MR online, September 5.
  2. The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – For Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I],” Cory Morningstar, The Wrong Kind of Green, January 17.
  3. Astroturfing the way for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” News from Nowhere, April 1.
  4. What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East?” Alireza Ahmadi, The National Interest, January 14.
  5. What’s at Stake in Venezuela?” Greg Grandin, London Review of Books, February 8.
  6. Inside the Neoliberal Laboratory Preparing for the Theft of Venezuela’s Economy,” Justin Podur, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 20.
  7. Losing Momentum: A Warning from the Fracturing British Left,” Leontios Xenophilos, American Affairs, Volume III, Number 1 (Spring 2019): 161–71.
  8. Noam Chomsky and the Compatible Left, Part I,” Popaganda, March 4.
  9. Mueller’s report, finding no Russia collusion or conspiracy, is a major indictment of US media,” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, March 25.
  10. America’s Generals Have Learned Nothing From Our Failed Wars,” William Astore, The Nation, March 19.

The ZA “award” for protesters of the decade has to go to France’s

Yellow Vests.

The The ZA “award” for the movie of the year, and arguably the commercial entertainment movie of the decade must without a doubt go to:

JOKER (2019).

(The Big Short [2015] would have to be a very close second.)

And now, our end-of-year review presented month by month:


JANUARY

The Key Points:

  • Trump reiterates desire for a second summit with Kim Jong-un of North Korea. Later on the month it is confirmed that a second meeting between Kim and Trump would occur in late February.
  • Jair Bolsonaro is sworn in as Brazil’s new president, vows to work with the US in destabilizing Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. His inauguration receives a sparse number of foreign delegations.
  • Falls in the stock markets seemed to reflect more the dwindling fortunes of China and the EU than the US: the US posted a massive employment and wage surge.
  • Trump’s own national security team appears to contradict his Syria withdrawal plans, which themselves undergo new twists, delays, and apparent reversals.
  • NATO: a report claimed that Trump repeatedly expressed a desire to have the US withdraw from NATO.
  • In an address to the nation from the Oval Office, President Trump laid out his case for characterizing the situation at the southern border as a crisis.
  • China and the US hold three days of trade talks—no particularly important result is publicized.
  • Mike Pompeo in Cairo attempts to rebuke Obama a decade later—the speech is widely ignored or mocked. Pompeo also tries to build an anti-Iran alliance.
  • Russia and the US fail to achieve agreement on preserving the INF Treaty.
  • Brexit: The UK Parliament, by 432 votes to 202, defeats Prime Minister’s Theresa May’s Brexit deal negotiated with the EU. On the other hand, May’s government survived a no-confidence vote, despite the defeat of the negotiated Brexit plan.
  • Yellow Vest protests enter their third month, and Emmanuel Macron calls for a “big debate,” only some of the outcomes are predetermined (i.e., no repeal of his most unpopular policies).
  • Coup logic at home: The FBI is further exposed as trying to foment a coup against the Trump presidency, pursuing conspiratorial allegations that Trump is a Russian agent. The US government reaches a legislative standstill, with escalating rounds of retaliation between the White House and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • Coup logic abroad: The US further intervenes in Venezuela’s domestic politics by deciding who it will recognize as President—and it’s not the person elected by Venezuelans to be President. Trump also implies that military intervention is a possibility.

Published on ZA in January:

  1. Trump’s Coup in Venezuela,” January 24.
  2. Ghost Exchange: Complexity, Velocity, and Risk,” January 29.

Recommended Articles for January:

  1. Time to Get Out of Afghanistan,” Robert D. Kaplan, The New York Times, January 1.
  2. How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World: A Review,” Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report, January 2.
  3. Political correctness and the rise of the right,” Jeff Sparrow, MR Online, January 2.
  4. ‘The Resistance’ & the Gilets Jaunes,” Max Parry, Off Guardian, January 3.
  5. Pro-war ‘Trump circus’: Veteran reporter quits NBC with biting critique of corporate newsroom,” RT, January 3.
  6. NBC News contributor William Arkin quits, accuses network of being ‘defender of Washington and the system’,” Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Fox News, January 3.
  7. Donald Trump’s Nationalist Moment,” W. James Antle III, The American Conservative, January 3.
  8. Trump’s Syria withdrawal is a chance for peace,” Jeffrey D. Sachs, Asia Times, January 3.
  9. Mass Psychosis and the Church of Humanitarian Interventionism,” David Penner, Mint Press News, January 4.
  10. Nicaragua and the Corruption, Cooptation of Human Rights,” Stephen Sefton, Wrong Kind of Green, January 5.
  11. On Syria, Trump is right to ignore failed foreign policy elites who embroiled us in Iraq,” Saritha Prabhu, USA Today, January 6.
  12. ‘President against his people’: Salvini openly backs Yellow Vest protesters, lashing out at Macron,” RT, January 7 + “‘Sweep your own door’: French minister bashes Italian politicians for Yellow Vest support,” RT, January 8.
  13. In Western media, publishing fake news about Russia is a good career move… with no consequences,” Bryan MacDonald, RT, January 8.
  14. There is No Military Victory in Afghanistan,” Gil Barndollar, The National Interest, January 7.
  15. Chomsky’s Unearned Prestige,” Eric Zuesse, Off Guardian, January 10.
  16. The War on Populism,” C.J. Hopkins, Consent Factory, January 10.
  17. God help us, Trump is right about something,” Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon, January 10.
  18. NYT Reveals FBI Retaliated Against Trump For Comey Firing,” Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist, January 14.
  19. What Trump’s Syrian withdrawal really reveals,” Stephen Cohen, RT, January 13.
  20. FBI Russia investigation was always about Trump,” Andrew McCarthy, Fox News, January 13.
  21. The Media’s Trump-Russia Death Spasms,” Julie Kelly, American Greatness, January 14.
  22. What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East?” Alireza Ahmadi, The National Interest, January 14.
  23. The yellow vests are at the vanguard of a politically incorrect uprising,” Gavin Mortimer, The Spectator, January 14.
  24. The FBI’s Investigation of Trump as a ‘National Security Threat’ is Itself a Serious Danger. But J. Edgar Hoover Pioneered the Tactic,” Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, January 14.
  25. Disagreeing With Conventional D.C. Wisdom Isn’t A Crime,” David Harsanyi, The Federalist, January 15.
  26. Second-Round Stakes Higher for Trump and Kim,” Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News, January 24.
  27. Intervening Against Venezuela’s Strongman, Trump Belies ‘America First’,” Peter Baker and Edward Wong, The New York Times, January 24.
  28. ‘It’s none of our business!’ Ron Paul denounces American ‘hypocrisy’ in backing Venezuelan coup,” RT.com, January 25.
  29. CUPE Statement on the situation in Venezuela,” Canadian Union of Public Employees, January 25.
  30. Venezuela Is Not Trump’s ‘First’ Intervention”, Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, January 25.
  31. Pence Pledged U.S. Backing Before Venezuela Opposition Leader’s Move,” Jessica Donati and Vivian Salama, Wall Street Journal, January 25.
  32. U.S. Faces Tough Choices as It Weighs Next Moves on Venezuela”, Deb Riechmann & Matthew Lee, Real Clear Politics, January 25.
  33. Imperialism’s Direct Intervention in Venezuela”, Farooque Chowdhury, Venezuelanalysis.com, January 25.
  34. Is a Foreign Military Intervention in Venezuela Imminent?” James Jordan, Venezuelanalysis.com, January 25.
  35. Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens,” Michael Selby-Green, The Independent, January 27.
  36. Venezuela: Call It What It Is—a Coup,” George Cicariello-Maher, The Nation, January 28.
  37. Canada Is Complicit in Venezuela’s US-Backed Coup D’état,” Yves Engler, Venezuelanalysis.com, January 28.
  38. Venezuela Will Not Be an Easy Win for Donald Trump,” Betty Purcell, The Irish Times, January 29.
  39. It’s all about the money: US defense of democracy is a pretext for seizing control of resources,” Ken Livingstone, RT.com, January 29.
  40. Mystery of the Venezuelan gold: Bank of England is independent of UK govt – but not of foreign govt,” George Galloway, RT.com, January 29.
  41. The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader,” Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, Grayzone Project, January 29.
  42. ‘US pawn that can be discarded any time’– Max Blumenthal on ‘president’ Guaido,” RT.com, January 30.
  43. Why I strongly oppose U.S. military intervention in Venezuela,” Ro Khanna, The Washington Post, January 30.
  44. Je suis Guaido? Economist endorses Venezuela coup leader with Facebook profile change,” RT.com, January 31.

FEBRUARY

The Key Points:

  • On Venezuela, US Vice-President Mike Pence publicly declared, “Maduro must go”.
  • Democrat Ilhan Omar grilled Elliot Abrams, Trump’s envoy on Venezuela, exposing him as an apologist for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
  • Trump gives a speech on Venezuela at Florida International University on February 18, making it clear that if the Venezuelan military does not engage in a coup, and allow the US to orchestrate “humanitarian intervention,” then the options will more narrowly focus on US military intervention.
  • February 23, a major test for the contending sides around regime change in Venezuela, produces failure for the US-backed opposition and a resounding victory for Maduro’s government. Defeated in its effort to force US “humanitarian aid” into Venezuela, the US announces new sanctions, while the self-declared “president” (Juán Guaidó) flees to Colombia. Richard Branson’s “live aid” style concert is a flop, with barely 10% of the expected number of people showing up, and no major international acts performing.
  • Donald Trump and then John Bolton openly threaten Nicaragua with regime change too.
  • US media assailed Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, who announced the start of her campaign for the Democratic presidential candidacy. Gabbard distinguished herself as a critic of the Washington foreign policy establishment, and was duly demonized. Gabbard was also the target of “fake news” produced by NBC, which engaged in outright fraud in order to smear her as a Russian puppet.
  • Gabbard was not slow to cave in to the mainstream media’s imperialist agenda: in agreement with the propaganda of bellicose neocons and liberal imperialists on The View, Gabbard said Bashar al-Assad was a “brutal dictator” who had likely used chemical weapons against Syrians.
  • While not recognizing Guaidó as “president” of Venezuela, Bernie Sanders (who announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential campaign this month) still supports the forcible intrusion of US “humanitarian aid” into Venezuela, siding with Trump’s foreign policy of undermining the legitimate government.
  • During his “State of the Union” speech, Trump promised both an exit from Syria and Afghanistan, while creating new conflict in Venezuela. In the same speech, he seemingly linked the fight against socialism at home, with the effort to defeat socialism in Venezuela. He also announced plans to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Vietnam on February 27 and 28. As the summit approached, even in the final hours before the two leaders meeting, US media were saturated with the usual tiresome back-and-forth about whether Trump would concede too much, what was the real goal, was Trump going it alone, etc.
  • After surrendering in a legislative deal with the Democrats on immigration, Trump declares a “national emergency” with the aim of building a wall on the southern border, delivering the news in a speech that was as unenthusiastic as it was unconvincing.
  • February 27–28: February ended with a big bang. (1) The Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi came to an abrupt and early end, with Trump walking out. He claimed that the North Koreans wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety, in return for partial denuclearization. They claimed that they requested only some sanctions to be ended. The prospects for a third meeting were dim, and few could even speculate about what came next. This was a major foreign policy failure for Donald Trump, who had openly fantasized about developing North Korea and winning a Nobel peace prize. (2) In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at the centre of a scandal involving his attempts to pervert the course of justice by pressuring the Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, into manipulating the case against major Liberal donor, SNC-Lavalin. The opposition, citing Trudeau’s lack of legitimate authority to govern, called for his resignation and invited the RCMP to investigate. Trudeau, who had advocated for the “rule of law” and a “rules-based international order,” was the source of a major violation of the law, ironically just weeks after calling for Venezuela’s president to resign. (3) Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was formally indicted on corruption charges, just 40 days before elections. (4) Explosive testimony to Congress by Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, suggested that Trump had violated campaign finance regulations and was guilty of fraud. The testimony took place on the same day as Trump’s first day of meetings with Kim Jong-un.

Published on ZA in February:

  1. Against Intervention in Venezuela: The Case of the Caribbean Community,” February 6.
  2. What are the Prospects for a US War with China?” February 9.
  3. A War for Oil: The US Economic War on Venezuela,” February 12.
  4. Fiction Plus Coercion Makes Reality: The Illegitimacy of the US-led Coup in Venezuela,” February 14.
  5. Venezuela: The Next Move and the Final Word,” February 17.
  6. Fake Humanitarianism Fails its Big Test in Venezuela,” February 24.

Recommended Articles for February:

  1. Venezuela’s Slow Coup Continues,” George Ciccariello-Maher, Al Jazeera, February 1.
  2. CIA in Venezuela: 7 Rules for Regime Change,” Jefferson Morley, Salon, February 1.
  3. Canada’s Left Party Blinks at US-led Coup in Venezuela,” Yves Engler, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 2.
  4. As she enters White House race, demonization of ‘Kremlin’s crush’ Tulsi Gabbard goes full tilt,” Igor Ogorodnev, RT.com, February 3.
  5. NBC News, to Claim Russia Supports Tulsi Gabbard, Relies on Firm Just Caught Fabricating Russia Data for the Democratic Party,” Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, February 3.
  6. The Lima Group: International Outlaws,” Christopher Black, NEO: New Eastern Outlook, February 4.
  7. ‘Neocon warmongers’: NBC slammed for drawing on dodgy Russiagate org in Gabbard smear,” RT.com, February 4.
  8. Canada’s Ugly Role in the US-led Coup in Venezuela,” Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension, February 4.
  9. International Observers to Venezuela’s Election Pen Letter to the EU,” Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, Canadian Dimension, February 4.
  10. ‘Stop Trump’s insane actions!’ Venezuela’s Maduro talks to RT about avoiding war,” RT.com, February 5.
  11. Dissecting the jingoistic media coverage of the Venezuela crisis,” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, February 5.
  12. It’s time to let go of America’s 18-year Afghan war,” Aaron David Miller, Steven Simon, and Richard Sokolsky, CNN, February 5.
  13. Trump’s 2019 State of the Union was an ode to an imaginary America,” Zack Beauchamp, Vox, February 5.
  14. Venezuela: Coup d’Etat or Constitutional Transition?” Lucas Koerner, VA editorial board, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 6.
  15. Better dead than red! Congress bonds over shared hatred for socialism at Trump’s SOTU,” RT.com, February 6.
  16. Who do you trust more? NBC journalist’s stab at RT backfires spectacularly,” RT.com, February 7.
  17. What’s at Stake in Venezuela?” Greg Grandin, London Review of Books, February 8.
  18. The Planned Plunder Behind Canada’s Support of the Coup,” Yves Engler, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 9.
  19. Venezuela Defines the Future of the Region,” Claudio Katz, Canadian Dimension, February 10.
  20. Regime Change ‘Made in the U.S.A’,” Steve Ellner, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 10.
  21. America’s Effort to Isolate Iran Will Backfire,” Trita Parsi, The National Interest, February 12.
  22. Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro interview: Full transcript,” Orla Guerin, BBC News, February 12.
  23. Venezuela Receives 933 Tons of Medical Aid From Allies Abroad,” TeleSur English, February 14.
  24. US-led anti-Iran circus in Warsaw unravels as farce,” Finian Cunningham, RT.com, February 14.
  25. The U.S. Will Regret Interfering in Venezuela,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, February 15.
  26. How Much of Venezuela’s Crisis is Really Maduro’s Fault?” Steve Ellner, Consortium News, February 15.
  27. This Trump performance is why people talk about the 25th Amendment,” Dana Milbank, The Washington Post, February 15.
  28. How to screw up an emergency declaration in 10 easy steps,” Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, February 17.
  29. Trump policies unite allies against him at European security forum,” Reuters, February 17.
  30. An off-key Pence sings from the Trump hymnal to a stony European reception,” Anne Appelbaum, The Washington Post, February 17.
  31. Why Trump and his team want to wipe out the EU,” Natalie Nougayrède, The Guardian, February 18.
  32. Protecting Americans Simply Doesn’t Require U.S. Troops In Syria,” Daniel DePetris, The Federalist, February 18.
  33. Trump’s Irresponsible Venezuela Speech,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, February 18.
  34. ‘Progressive’ Trudeau Government Attacks Venezuela,” John Clarke, Canadian Dimension, February 18.
  35. Statement: Halt the Imperialist Military Adventure Against Venezuela,” Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Canadian Dimension, February 18.
  36. The Trump-Trudeau Venezuelan ‘Lima Group’ Policy and Its Nemesis,” Arnold August, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 18.
  37. Is Venezuela Canada’s Modern Day El Dorado?” Nino Pagliccia, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 18.
  38. Venezuela’s Foreign Minister on the ‘Failed’ Coup and Building a New Non-Aligned Movement,” Anya Parampil, Grayzone Project, February 19.
  39. US Media Ignore – and Applaud – Economic War on Venezuela,” Greg Shupak, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 19.
  40. ‘Facebook is a private company!’ shout people in favor of censoring political content,” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, February 19.
  41. 4 ways India is putting its own interests before Washington’s,” RT.com, February 19.
  42. The Fantasies of Regime Changers,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, February 19.
  43. ‘Nothing to do with aid or democracy’: Roger Waters slams ‘humanitarian’ concert for Venezuela,” RT.com, February 20.
  44. First Venezuela, now Nicaragua? Bolton says Ortega’s days ‘numbered’ & people ‘will soon be free’,” RT.com, February 20.
  45. Inside the Neoliberal Laboratory Preparing for the Theft of Venezuela’s Economy,” Justin Podur, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 20.
  46. Is Trudeau’s Venezuela policy the Monroe Doctrine reborn?” Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension, February 20.
  47. Caving under MSM pressure? Tulsi Gabbard interview on The View has some supporters fuming,” RT.com, February 21.
  48. Burning Aid: An Interventionist Deception on Colombia-Venezuela Bridge?” Max Blumenthal, Grayzone Project, February 24.
  49. Why Peace With North Korea Makes Sense Even Without Disarmament,” Henri Féron, The National Interest, February 25.
  50. Debunking Four Mistruths About Venezuela’s Humanitarian Aid Showdown,” Venezuelanalysis.com, February 27.
  51. CARICOM Reiterates Support for Peaceful Resolution in Venezuela,” TeleSur English, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 27.
  52. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s defiant interview with Tom Llamas: TRANSCRIPT,” ABC News, February 27.
  53. The art of no deal: Why can’t Washington reach agreements with…anyone?RT.com, February 28.
  54. Here’s why US-North Korea talks will continue to fail,” Darius Shahtahmasebi, RT.com, February 28.
  55. Genocide survivors demand violent coup master Elliott Abrams’ removal from Holocaust museum board,” RT.com, February 28.
  56. Surprise! ‘Progressive hero’ Justin Trudeau is a fraud and a hypocrite,” Danille Ryan, RT.com, February 28.
  57. How Amnesty International is Reinforcing Trump’s Regime-Change Propaganda Against Venezuela,” Joe Emersberger, Venezuelanalysis.com, February 28.
  58. North Korea disputes Trump’s account of summit breakdown,” Associated Press, February 28.

MARCH

The Key Points:

  • Elliot Abrams, Trump’s head of regime change in Venezuela, seems to withdraw from suggesting any US invasion is likely in the foreseeable future (i.e., during elections in the US), during a State Department press briefing.
  • Venezuela relocated the European headquarters of the state oil company, PDVSA, out of the EU and moved to Moscow, to avoid any illegal seizures of its international assets by EU agencies.
  • A massive power outage causes blackouts across Venezuela lasting for more than a week; while power is restored, the US is suspected of conducting a cyber-attack that impeded efforts to recover.
  • The US is ordered to withdraw all remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela, which it does, only to pretend that it was an action which the US initiated.
  • US provocations fail to elicit the desired response from Venezuela—Juán Guaidó returns to Venezuela (reportedly ordered to do so by Pence), and is not arrested. Two months after Trump launched what he was told would be a “24 hour operation” to unseat President Maduro, the Venezuelan government remains in power.
  • Venezuelan authorities arrest Juán Guaidó’s chief aide, on charges of plotting terrorism, as they uncovered a weapons cache. The US response with additional sanctions, this time on Venezuela’s development bank.
  • Kim Jong-un placed blame for the failure of the Hanoi summit directly on Trump and the US; news reports indicate the resumption of North Korean weapons development and the rebuilding of missile test sites that had been partially destroyed.
  • The US makes it clear that it’s position on North Korea is that North Korea surrender everything—full and immediate “denuclearization”—before any US sanctions will be removed. This “all or nothing” approach is what led to the failure of the Hanoi summit, and it also means that the North Koreans would have no real reason to indulge Trump in his phony, dishonest “diplomacy”.
  • Trump seemingly reverses course on unspecified “additional sanctions” on North Korea—unclear if he meant new ones announced a day before, or new ones under consideration. Trump claims to have done so because he personally likes Kim Jong-un.
  • North Korea withdraws staff from its liaison office in South Korea, since the South showed no intention of displeasing the demands of its US patron by bucking the sanctions regime.
  • A report emerges that Trump, under the guidance of John Bolton, in fact presented the “Libya model” to North Korean leaders in Hanoi, leading to the collapse of all talks then and thereafter.
  • Russiagate conspiracy theory finally received a lethal blow: towards the end of the month, the Mueller report is submitted to the US Dept. of Justice, without any recommendations for any further indictments—adding to no indictments of anyone on any “Russia collusion” or “obstruction of justice” charges, which were stock opposition accusations against Trump. Trump’s domestic opposition is left reeling.
  • In a move that both validated acquisition of foreign territory by force—thus directly contradicting the UN Charter’s protection of the territorial integrity of states—while also undermining any lingering hopes that the US might one day play a role in Middle East peace efforts, Trump recognizes Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. Syria has not relinquished its claim, nor has the UN approved of Israel’s actions.
  • At the end of the month, Trump threatens to completely shut down the US border with Mexico, as a “response” to an alleged “surge” of migrants from Central America. In addition, Trump cancelled all US foreign aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras in “retaliation” for the surge of refugees: all three have been nations in which the US has intervened heavily for decades, establishing the foundations for the extreme poverty and inequality underpinning the current situation.

Published on ZA in March:

  1. The Kursk Disaster: Facts Sunk Beneath Waves of Drama,” March 5.
  2. Regime Change Reality Checks: Lessons from Hanoi, Caracas, and Beyond,” March 7.
  3. Americans Can Do Two Things at the Same Time,” March 13.
  4. CARICOM Confronts the Big House: Trump Attempts to Split the Caribbean over Venezuela,” March 25.
  5. On Duty for the CIA: German Nazis and Italian Fascists,” March 29.
  6. US-manufactured Crisis in Venezuela: Creating a ‘Need’ for Intervention,” March 31.

Recommended Articles for March:

  1. The US Tried to Isolate Venezuela. It has Only Isolated Itself,” Alan MacLeod, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 1.
  2. Trump’s Other ‘National Emergency’: Sanctions That Kill Venezuelans,” Mark Weisbrot, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 1.
  3. Cuba snubs Trump’s anti-socialist crusade with massive constitution vote,” Pablo Vivanco, RT.com, March 1.
  4. Trump overstated Kim’s demand on sanctions, State Department says,” NBC News, March 1.
  5. Noam Chomsky and the Compatible Left, Part I,” Popaganda, March 4.
  6. Noam Chomsky and the Compatible Left, Part II,” Popaganda, March 5.
  7. ‘Weaksauce’: State Department tries ordering media how to cover Venezuela,” Nebojsa Malic, RT.com, March 6.
  8. Lashing out at media over Venezuela, Rubio accuses CNN of ‘Russian collusion’,” RT.com, March 6.
  9. Noam Chomsky and the Compatible Left, Part III,” Popaganda, March 6.
  10. Another Failed Coup in Venezuela?” George Ciccariello-Maher, In These Times, March 7.
  11. Senior State Department Official On North Korea,” US Department of State, March 7.
  12. Failure at Hanoi Has Taught the Administration Nothing,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, March 7.
  13. Noam Chomsky and the Compatible Left, Part IV,” Popaganda, March 7.
  14. Did Trump and Bolton Sabotage a North Korea Deal?” Harry J. Kazianis, The American Conservative, March 8.
  15. Bolton’s Impossible Demands for North Korea,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, March 10.
  16. NYT’s Exposé on the Lies About Burning Aid Trucks in Venezuela Shows How U.S. Government and Media Spread Pro-War Propaganda,” Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, March 10.
  17. Footage Contradicts U.S. Claim That Nicolás Maduro Burned Aid Convoy,” Christoph Koettl, Deborah Acosta, Drew Jordan and Anjali Singhvi, The New York Times, March 10.
  18. A deal for Trump: Take North Korea’s offer and build upon it,” Christopher Hill, The Hill, March 10.
  19. Ending U.S. Risk Exposure in Korea,” Ted Galen Carpenter, Real Clear World, March 10.
  20. If Trump blows up NAFTA, he’ll blow up his reelection,” Editorial Board, The Washington Post, March 10.
  21. Our Venezuela Policy: Tossing a Drowning Man an Anchor,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, March 10.
  22. Trump Aside, What’s the U.S. Role in NATO?” Barry R. Posen, The New York Times, March 10.
  23. White House Spread False Story About Venezuela Burning Aid Trucks to Win Support for War,” Venezuelanalysis.com, March 11.
  24. The Making of the Fox News White House,” Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, March 11.
  25. Maximalism Is the Death of Diplomacy,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, March 11.
  26. US Media Erase Years of Chavismo’s Gains,” Gregory Shupak, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 11.
  27. Iran upstages the US in Iraq,” Elijah J. Magnier, March 12.
  28. A new, dark picture of America’s future,” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, March 13.
  29. Rouhani’s visit to Iraq is a slap in the face to Trump,” Darius Shahtahmasebi, RT.com, March 14.
  30. Will Trudeau follow Washington’s lead on Cuba?” Pablo Vivanco, RT.com, March 14.
  31. Media is complicit in manufacturing consent for Venezuela regime change, but that’s nothing new,” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, March 12.
  32. I am terrified of ‘children’s crusader’ Greta Thunberg – and you should be too,” Igor Ogorodnev, RT.com, March 13.
  33. Venezuela Coup Leader’s Oil Plans Revealed: Guaidó Hopes to Privatize State-Controlled Industry,” Ben Norton, Grayzone Project, March 14.
  34. Ricardo Hausmann’s ‘Morning After’ for Venezuela: The Neoliberal Brain Behind Juan Guaido’s Economic Agenda,” Anya Parampil, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 14.
  35. Juan Guaidó’s Policy Proposals: ‘The Venezuela to Come’ or the Venezuela That Has Already Been?” Barry Cannon, NACLA, March 15.
  36. Losing Momentum: A Warning from the Fracturing British Left,” Leontios Xenophilos, American Affairs, Volume III, Number 1 (Spring 2019): 161–71.
  37. Why Nationalism Works, And Why It Isn’t Going Away,” Andreas Wimmer, Foreign Affairs, March/April.
  38. On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle,” Paul Cochrane, CounterPunch, March 18.
  39. New Zealand: the barbarism of identity politics,” Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, March 15.
  40. Was Thomas Kuhn Evil?” John Horgan, Scientific American, March 19.
  41. America’s Generals Have Learned Nothing From Our Failed Wars,” William Astore, The Nation, March 19.
  42. Ex-UN Human Rights Expert Blasts ‘Manipulation’ on Venezuela: ‘We Are Swimming in an Ocean of Lies’,” Ben Norton, Grayzone Project, March 20.
  43. U.S. ‘Oil Weapon’ Could Change Geopolitics Forever,” Tim Daiss, OilPrice.com, March 20.
  44. Jane Philpott: ‘There’s much more to the story that needs to be told’,” Paul Wells, Maclean’s Magazine, March 21.
  45. Maduro: US Withholding $5bn of Medical Supplies in ‘Criminal’ Measure,” Paul Dobson, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 21.
  46. Trump’s Golan Fiasco,” Tamara Cofman Wittes & Ilan Goldenberg, Politico, March 22.
  47. It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD,” Matt Taibbi, Hate Inc., March 23.
  48. North Korea Seeks to Split Alliance Between South Korea and U.S.,” Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times, March 23.
  49. Trump Official Boasts Crippling US Sanctions on Venezuela Are Like Darth Vader’s Death Grip,” Ben Norton, Grayzone Project, March 23.
  50. Time to ban the collusion conspiracy theorists,” Adriana Cohen, Boston Herald, March 24.
  51. Mueller’s report, finding no Russia collusion or conspiracy, is a major indictment of US media,” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, March 25.
  52. As the Mueller Probe Ends, New Russiagate Myths Begin,” Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, March 25.
  53. It Was All a Lie,” Peter Van Buren, The American Conservative, March 25.
  54. After Mueller Report, News Media Leaders Defend Their Work,” Amy Chozik, The New York Times, March 25.
  55. The Reckoning Finally Arrives for the Trump Resistance,” Eli Lake, Bloomberg, March 25.
  56. Trump’s Sanctions Kill Venezuelan People. Why Can’t UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet ‘Fully Acknowledge’ That?” Joe Emersberger, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 25.
  57. Mike Pence smears Ilhan Omar in AIPAC speech: Did he just prove her point?” Sophia Tesfaye, Salon, March 26.
  58. Three lessons for the left from the Mueller inquiry,” Jonathan Cook, Znet, March 26.
  59. Pathological Deceit: The NYT Inverts Reality on Venezuela’s Cuban Doctors,” Lucas Koerner & Ricardo Vaz, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 27.
  60. Russiagate Implodes, Pleasing Trump But Leaving the Left in the Cold,” Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, March 28.
  61. US lecturing Russia to ‘keep out of Western Hemisphere’ is hubris & hypocrisy on steroids,” Robert Bridge, RT.com, March 28.
  62. Venezuela: Despite the Crisis, Chavez’s Legacy Endures,” Federico Fuentes, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 28.
  63. Exclusive: With a piece of paper, Trump called on Kim to hand over nuclear weapons,” Lesley Wroughton & David Brunnstrom, Reuters, March 29.
  64. US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention,” Eva Bartlett, RT.com, March 29.
  65. The Other Venezuela,” Alborada/Red Fish, Venezuelanalysis.com, March 29.
  66. Trump cuts all aid to Guatemala, Honduras & El Salvador,” RT.com, March 30.
  67. Hundreds march in Washington, DC, to protest against NATO, US interference in Venezuela,” Dan Cohen, RT.com, March 30.
  68. Everyone Washington Supports, by Definition, Is a Moderate Centrist,” Alan Macleod, Venezuelanalysis, March 31.
  69. Jair Bolsonaro’s Southern Strategy,” Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, April 1.

APRIL

The Key Points—Venezuela, Libya, Sudan, WikiLeaks:

  • Despite Trump’s command to “get out,” Russian military advisers continue with their mission in Venezuela. The threat of sanctions against Russia does not appear to move Russia one inch.
  • The Supreme Court of Venezuela strips opposition activist Juán Guaidó of immunity, and concludes that he is guilty of financial impropriety and will not be allowed to run for office for 15 years.
  • Venezuela, which already began the two-year process of leaving the OAS in 2017, faced the OAS choosing a representative of Juán Guaidó as the ambassador for Venezuela. However, Venezuela had already officially withdrawn from the US, so it seemed that a major international organization was being used to simply score a spiteful point. The OAS did not make clear who would pay the costs for Guaidó’s representation to the OAS.
  • Mike Pompeo demands that Venezuela open its borders; at the same time, the US threatened to shut down its southern border, and significantly impeded travel and commerce even in the absence of a total closure.
  • Trump reversed his stand on closing the US–Mexico border. Then he threatened to “dump” refugees in US sancturary cities.
  • The Libyan National Army under ex-General Khalifa Hifter launches a military campaign to take all of Libya, threatening an escalated civil war, even as the UN Secretary General is in the country trying to broker peace talks. The UN-installed government in Tripoli looks set to fall.
  • Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is arrested by UK police on April 11, and taken into custody, awaiting extradition to the US. Ecuador questionably terminated its asylum for Assange, while also unlawfully “suspending” his citizenship.
  • A military coup occurred in Sudan, leading to the overthrow of Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who had himself backed the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
  • North Korea tested a new tactical guided weapon, and then warned that the US had until the end of the year to offer concessions—or else, it was implied that North Korea would become a liability during an election year in the US. Kim Jong-un also demanded that Trump leave aside Pompeo and Bolton in any future meetings, if not replace them outright before then.
  • On April 25 in Vladivostok, Kim Jong-un held his first meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, which followed four such summits between Kim and China’s Xi Jinping.
  • The US tightened is restrictions on Iran, threatening a total and global embargo of all of its oil exports, unless China, India, Turkey and other states ignored the sanctions. Oil prices rose immediately.
  • The US imposed sanctions on Cuba, as well as allowing US citizens to sue foreign companies with investments in Cuba, which directly threatened numerous EU and Canadian companies, but was not expected to achieve anything except the deterioration of US trade relations with putative allies.
  • Donald Trump endorsed the military campaign of Khalifa Haftar in Libya, aimed at bringing down the UN-backed government. Hiftar received the endorsement as his campaign began to fail.
  • A massive terrorist attack in Sri Lanka, on Easter Sunday, killed nearly 300 hundred Christian churchgoers, and wounded many more.
  • On the final day of the month, a very weak attempted coup took place in Venezuela—with US support. Opposition activist Juán Guaidó, flanked by a few dozen men in military uniform, claimed to have won the support of the military. A few hundred marchers came out in support. Clashes with military, police, and National Guard units saw the opposition effort quickly fizzle out. The military remained loyal to the legitimate, constitutional government. Opposition leaders and military defectors went into hiding in the embassies of Chile and Brazil.

Published on ZA in April:

  1. Julian Assange, Political Prisoner: A Dark Day for Citizenship,” April 11.
  2. The WikiLeaks Case: Democracy Dies in Empire,” April 13.
  3. WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: The Duty to Expose War Crimes,” April 29.

Recommended Articles for April:

  1. Latin Americans fear precedent set by legal justification for Syria intervention,” Julian Borger, The Guardian, April 2.
  2. Reality check: CNN’s claim that Trump has been unwilling to confront Putin is total bulls**t,” Bryan MacDonald, RT.com, April 2.
  3. Mr. President: Close NATO For Good,” Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative, April 2.
  4. Don’t Goad Trump Into Starting a War,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, April 3.
  5. Sanctions Devastate the People, But They Strengthen the Regime,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, April 3.
  6. Chait bait? NY Mag’s ‘collusion’ pusher mocked for doubling down on his Russiagate conspiracy theory,” RT.com, April 3.
  7. Will Today’s Global Trade Wars Lead to World War III?” Daniel W. Drezner, Reason, April 4.
  8. It will be a while before Vogue calls on Trudeau again,” Rex Murphy, National Post, April 5.
  9. Challenging the Administration’s Many Iran Lies,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, April 5.
  10. The Increasingly Dangerous Iran Obsession,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, April 5.
  11. Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance,” Anthony C. Black, Off Guardian, April 6.
  12. Is America losing its grip on world economy? 5 big defeats for US financial interests abroad,” RT.com, April 6.
  13. Over 40 Groups Call on Congress to Oppose Sanctions, Military Intervention,” Venezuelanalysis.com, April 8.
  14. Donald Trump’s Ugly, Myth-Busting Presidency,” Andrew J. Bacevich, The Nation, April 8.
  15. Don’t mock college students because they handle failure poorly; they learned it from their gov’t,” Helen Buyniski, RT.com, April 9.
  16. Venezuela sabotage, evil Russians: 5 times video games were just blatant US war propaganda,” RT.com, April 9.
  17. Ambassador Samuel Moncada at UN Security Council,” Guanaguanare, April 10.
  18. We are all Julian Assange,” John Wight, RT.com, April 11.
  19. Assange arrest final step in character assassination campaign – Slavoj Zizek,” RT.com, April 11.
  20. ‘Dirty, deceitful, rotten traitor’ – Julian Assange’s mother hits out at Ecuador’s president,” RT.com, April 11.
  21. Exposing ‘collateral murder’ and mass surveillance: Why the world should be grateful to Assange,” RT.com, April 11.
  22. Assange is a scapegoat, distraction for scandal-ridden Ecuadorian government,” Pablo Vivanco, RT.com, April 11.
  23. Bolivian president condemns ‘persecution of Assange over US’ murders & spying’,” RT.com, April 11.
  24. No fair trial awaits Assange at US ‘Espionage Court,’ only more charges – CIA whistleblower Kiriakou,” RT.com, April 11.
  25. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be punished for embarrassing the DC establishment,” Jonathan Turley, USA Today, April 11.
  26. EDITORIAL: Beware of an attack on the press in the indictment of Julian Assange,” The Editors, Chicago Sun-Times, April 11.
  27. The Martyrdom of Julian Assange,” Chris Hedges, TruthDig, April 11.
  28. Why the Assange Arrest Should Scare Reporters,” Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, April 11.
  29. US Threatens Venezuela at UNSC as IMF Freezes Funds,” Ricardo Vaz, Venezuelanalysis.com, April 11.
  30. The Assange Arrest is a Warning From History,” John Pilger, CounterPunch, April 12.
  31. Behind the Assange Saga: Radicalized by Frustration,” William M. Arkin, April 12.
  32. The Next Woodward and Bernstein Could Go to Jail,” Branko Marcetic, Jacobin, April 12(?).
  33. Assange Arrest and Extradition Round-Up,” Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism, April 12.
  34. Cascading Cat Litter,” James Howard Kunstler, April 12.
  35. US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting,” Max Blumenthal, GrayZone Project, April 13.
  36. There’s no evidence to justify Assange’s eviction, Snowden’s lawyer says,” RT.com, April 13.
  37. CIA’s Vault 7 Files Launched New Case Against Assange – Attack Intends To Prevent Further Leaks,” Moon of Alabama, April 13.
  38. 4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED,” Washington’s Blog, April 13.
  39. If we lose WikiLeaks, we lose a whole stratum of freedom — Pilger,” RT.com, April 13.
  40. Julian Assange Is Guilty Only of Revealing the Evil Soul of US Imperialism,” Federico Pieraccini, Strategic Culture Foundation, April 14.
  41. The Affair Assange shows us what’s behind the curtain,” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, April 15.
  42. Venezuela: Canada Imposes Fresh Sanctions as Pompeo Vows to ‘Tighten Noose’,” Ricardo Vaz, Venezuelanalysis.com, April 15.
  43. Pompeo reaches the dead end of Trump’s Venezuela policy,” Francisco Toro, The Washington Post, April 15.
  44. The Absurdity of Our Regime Change Policy in Venezuela,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, April 15.
  45. The Economic ‘Forever War’ on Iran,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, April 15.
  46. Trump vetoes congressional resolution to end US support of Saudi-led Yemen war,” RT.com, April 16.
  47. Russia envisions a multipolar ‘New World Order’ as sun sets on America’s unipolar moment,” Robert Bridge, RT.com, April 17.
  48. Freedom Rider: The ‘Resistance’ is Silent on Julian Assange,” Margaret Kimberly, Black Agenda Report, April 17.
  49. Trump opens Cuba up to property confiscation lawsuits, angering allies & foes alike,” RT.com, April 17.
  50. Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence,” RT.com, April 18.
  51. Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’,” Brett Wilkins, CounterPunch, April 19.
  52. Hospitalized children & dead ducks? The ‘official’ Skripal narrative goes completely quackers,” Neil Clark, RT.com, April 19.
  53. Bernie Steals the ‘No More Wars’ Issue From Trump,” Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative, April 19.
  54. Trump Endorses an Aspiring Libyan Strongman, Reversing Policy,” David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, April 19.
  55. Why Julian Assange’s War is Our War Too,” Paul Mansfield, 21st Century Wire, April 21.
  56. Venezuelanalysis Website Back Online Following Attacks,” Venezuelanalysis.com, April 22.
  57. When ‘threatened’ media cheer arrests & bombing of journalists on ‘wrong’ side,” Nebojsa Malic, RT.com, April 22.
  58. The Collective Punishment of Strangling the Iranian People,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, April 22.
  59. China in Latin America: the U.S. loses its ‘backyard’”, MR Online, April 24.
  60. ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’: Pompeo offers honest, if disturbing admission about CIA activity,” RT.com, April 24.
  61. Mask off? US ambassador to Russia says US practices diplomacy with aircraft carriers,” RT.com, April 24.
  62. Report Finds US Sanctions on Venezuela Are Responsible for Tens of Thousands of Deaths,” Center for Economic and Policy Research, April 25.
  63. Civilians are the real victims (and targets) of Trump’s Venezuela sanctions,” RT.com, April 25.
  64. Never Forget: The Towering Exposure of Hillary Clinton by Assange and WikiLeaks,” Sheila Coombes, 21st Century Wire, April 26.
  65. Kim-Putin summit reaffirms onset of multipolar future,” John Wight, RT.com, April 26.
  66. The Mueller Report Indicts the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theory,” Aaron Maté, The Nation, April 26.
  67. FBI director hypes ‘365-days-a-year threat’ from election-meddling Russia,” RT.com, April 27.
  68. Fake news takedown: Journalist shreds Rachel Maddow’s Russiagate conspiracies,” RT.com, April 28.
  69. Pompeo’s talk of ‘Russian meddling’ is not about democracy, but about power,” Nebojsa Malic, RT.com, April 30.
  70. Trump threatens Cuba with ‘full embargo and highest-level sanctions’ over Venezuela,” RT.com, April 30.
  71. Joe Biden and Democratic Establishment Support Trump’s Coup Attempt in Venezuela,” TeleSur English, April 30.
  72. Guaido rolls the dice, a Stars & Stripes dice, in Venezuela,” John Wight, RT.com, April 30.
  73. Live Updates: Venezuelan Govt Says Guaido Coup Failed, Lopez Hides in Chile’s Embassy,” TeleSur English, April 30.
  74. Maduro congratulates military on ‘defeating’ coup attempt as Guaido calls for more protests,” RT.com, April 30.
  75. Exclusive – Blackwater founder’s latest sales pitch: mercenaries for Venezuela,” Aram Roston & Matt Spetalnick, Reuters, April 30.
  76. Afghanistan and America’s ‘Indispensable Nation’ Hubris,” Jeffrey Phillips, The American Conservative, April 30.
  77. America, We Have a Problem,” Robert W. Merry, The American Conservative, April 30.
  78. Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela,” Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, Center for Economic and Policy Research.

MAY

The Key Points—Trade War with China, Threats to Iran, Failed Coup in Venezuela, Fallout of Diplomatic Failure with North Korea:

  • In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in Venezuela, violent protests took place over the first two days of the month, while US media and government officials began to spin various explanations and excuses for the failure. Reports began to surface in mainstream sources that Trump might have been losing confidence in John Bolton’s aggressive posture on not only Venezuela, but also Iran and North Korea. The Supreme Court in Venezuela launched over a dozen prosecutions of opposition politicians for their roles in inciting violence and treason. In Washington, DC, a month-long standoff at Venezuela’s Embbasy escalated, as coup supporters and US police attempted to force out the Embassy Protection Collective, holding the diplomatic premises at Venezuela’s request following the cutting of diplomatic relations with the US. Eventually, police raided the embassy—in a clear violation of international law—and evicted the legal occupants.
  • The US’ raid on Venezuela’s embassy in Washington DC seemed designed to provoke hostile retaliation from Venezuela. The raid occurred on the very same day that it was announced that representatives of Venezuela’s government and the opposition had started a dialogue in Norway. In the days that followed, President Maduro proposed early elections for the oppostion-held National Assembly. A second (some say third) set of talks took place between representatives of the government and Júan Guaidó in Norway, as confirmed by both sides. For half of May, the two sides had been meeting. The US seemed to oppose the diplomatic talks, focusing solely on the “departure” of Maduro as the only acceptable outcome.
  • Julian Assange’s belongings, including notes and hardware containing information on his legal case, were handed over by Ecuador to US prosecutors. In addition, Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange to face rape allegations in Sweden—which could complicate matters for the UK, now having to decide which extradition case it might respect first, the US’ or Sweden’s.
  • As expected—though not expected so early—the US announced 17 additional charges against Julian Assange, each carrying a maximum of 10 years in prison. It becomes clearer than ever at this point that, even as it freed war criminals, the US intended to lock Assange away forever for having exposed war crimes.
  • Julian Assange was unable to attend his extradition hearing at the end of May, due to serious ill health which saw him moved to the hospital ward of Belmarsh prison. The UN Special Rapporteur for Torture announced that, following an investigation, his team found that Assange was suffering from psychological torture. The UK condemned the UN in response, making light of Assange’s suffering.
  • Mike Pompeo met with Sergei Lavrov and Vladimir Putin in Soci, Russia, close to mid-May. He came away with Russia’s leaders telling the US not to interfere in Venezuela’s politics, and to cease threats of military action.
  • North Korea test fired short-range projectiles, aiming them east of the country. This occurred as relatively low-key, joint military exercises between the US and South Korea took place. A second set of missile tests followed, and the US apparently responded by seizing an abandoned North Korean freighter for alleged sanctions violations. North Korea also demanded that Mike Pompeo be removed from his position, for having played a direct role in unsettling peace talks at the failed second Kim-Trump summit. North Korea also promised more severe responses if the US did not change course. During the month, North Korean media slammed Joe Biden as “a fool of low IQ” and John Bolton “ignorant” and a “defective human”.
  • The US made Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA more difficult, by placing bans affecting its peaceful development of nuclear energy. Then the US deployed a carrier strike group to the Strait of Hormuz. Afraid of the consequences of the tensions they raised, the US sent Mike Pompeo on an emergency, unannounced trip to Iraq, apparently driven by the worry that US forces risked being targeted, especially since Iran had classed them as “terrorists” in retaliation for the US catgeorizing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as “terrorists”. The US also ended all “waivers” allowing other countries to continue importing Iranian oil, in an effort to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero—and threatened sanctions, even against allies. As Iran reduced its JCPOA obligations, Trump escalated with a new round of sanctions targeting anyone trading in steel, aluminum, and copper with Iran. Pompeo made another emergency trip in mid-May, this time to EU headquarters, as the possibility of military conflict with Iran increased. Ironically, Trump asked the Iranian leaders to telephone him—Iran rejected further talks since the US walked out on the JCPOA. While Trump seemed at one point to sound as if he did not want war with Iran, he soon turned around and threatened Iran with complete destruction.
  • European allies of the US resisted US claims of Iranian threats, and insisted on moderation, dialogue, and avoidance of an escalation of tensions.
  • Trump sent a tiny force of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, as a response to alleged Iranian threats—far fewer than the 120,000 that Bolton wanted and was suggested earlier. Of those 1,500, 600 were already stationed in the Middle East.
  • Trump, in an apparent attempt to pressure China during ongoing trade talks, raised US tariffs on Chinese imports, with the aim of affecting almost all imports from China. Trump’s complaint was that trade talks were going too slowly. Stock markets took a deep dive following the threat. China retaliated, and there was a further plunge in US stock market values. There seemed to be no hope for the trade talks going anywhere, as a new economic war between the world’s two biggest economies took off. Trump signed an executive order banning Chinese telecommunications companies from investing in the US, especially designed to block Chinese 5G technology from entering the marketplace. Huawei moved to the centre of the US-China conflict, as it withdrew from the US market and and relied on alternative component supply networks it had put in place for an eventuality such as this. Senate Republicans also introduced legislation that would bar the entry of Chinese students into the US, if they were in any way affiliated with the Chinese military.
  • The US Navy sailed a warship within the territorial limit of waters claimed by China, in a dangerous act of military provocation.
  • Just as the big trade war with China took off, Trump retreated from his trade war with Canada and Mexico, and rescinded his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. This was done with the stated aim of encouraging ratification of the USMCA, which would succeed NAFTA.
  • Even after saying the US needed to have good relations with Russia, the Trump administration went ahead and extended sanctions on Russia.
  • Sparking domestic and international outrage, Trump pardoned US war criminal, Michael Behenna, who was convicted of torturing, executing, and burning an unarmed Iraqi—Ali Mansur—whose release had been ordered. Then, by the end of the month, came news that Trump was to pardon several persons charged with war crimes. Thus war criminals would walk free, while those exposing war crimes were to be severely prosecuted, such as Julian Assange.
  • New revelations showed that the OPCW covered up evidence that chlorine cylinders had been manually placed—in an where insurgents controlled the territory. This indicated that the chlorine attack had been staged by insurgents themselves, and not the result of a Syrian government attack. Previous allegations of sarin use were dismissed by the OPCW for lack of evidence.
  • On May 24, as European Parliament elections were underway, Theresa May announced her resignation as Prime Minister of the UK.
  • Nationalist, populist parties had widespread success in the EU Parliament elections, displacing the centrist block form its dominace of the parliament. The UK’s newly formed Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, won more votes than the Conservative and Labour parties combined.
  • On a visit to Japan, Donald Trump said he was not disturbed by North Korean missile strikes; he added that no trade deal with China was possible in the near future; he also asserted that the US did not want regime change in Iran.
  • Threatening to derail the USMCA before it was even ratified, Trump threatened to impose escalating tariffs on all imports from Mexico, until it completely blocked migrants’ access to the US. Trump invoked a trade measure for national security, which masked a migration and underdevelopment issue.

Published on ZA in May:

  1. A Desperate Empire Crashes in Venezuela,” May 1.
  2. America: Imagine an America without Her,” May 5.
  3. American Exceptionalism, American Innocence,” May 12.
  4. Protecting Venezuela’s Embassy and International Law,” May 14.
  5. Brexit, the Uncivil War: Watering Myths with the Teardrops of the Ruling Class,” May 21.
  6. Brexitannia: The Faces and Voices of Brexit,” May 23.

Recommended Articles for May:

  1. Fairly Unbalanced: US Media Consensus on Venezuela Overthrow,” Teddy Ostrow–FAIR, Gorilla Radio, May 1.
  2. When Is a Coup Not a Coup? When We Don’t Want It To Be One,” Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, May 1.
  3. Fake news to cover failed coup! Venezuela, Russia respond to Pompeo’s claim Maduro almost fled,” RT.com, May 1.
  4. US military action in Venezuela ‘possible if that’s what’s required’ – Pompeo,” RT.com, May 1.
  5. Tucker Carlson: Before The Bombers Take Off, Let’s Ask A Few Questions About Venezuela,” RealClearPolitics, May 1.
  6. Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for jumping bail in UK,” RT.com, May 1.
  7. Assange’s jail term ‘excessive, extreme, unjustified’ – analysts,” RT.com, May 1.
  8. ‘A complete scandal’: WikiLeaks supporters slam Assange’s 50 week jail sentence for bail violation,” RT.com, May 1.
  9. Venezuelans Hold Rival Marches for Workers’ Day as Pompeo Threatens ‘Military Action’,” Lucas Koerner & Ricardo Vaz, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 1.
  10. US hopes for Venezuela change fizzle for 3rd time this year,” Matthew Lee & Ben Fox, Associated Press, May 1.
  11. The Tragedy of Venezuela is the Tragedy of the US,” Lawrence Wilkerson, Consortium News, May 2.
  12. Bolton mocks Maduro’s bunker-bound ‘cowardice’ on day he addresses crowds in Caracas,” RT.com, May 2.
  13. Don’t trust anyone, convicted liar Abrams tells Venezuela’s Maduro,” RT.com, May 2.
  14. ‘United as never before’: Maduro leads military march, thanks army for loyalty (PHOTOS),” RT.com, May 2.
  15. Change of tack? EU quieter on latest failed Venezuela coup attempt as Guaido’s influence wanes,” RT.com, May 2.
  16. ‘Contrary to intl law’: Mogherini slams US ‘full activation’ of Cuba embargo law, vows counter steps,” RT.com, May 2.
  17. Venezuela’s Failed Uprising: How a Deal to Oust Maduro Unraveled,” Ethan Bronner & Andrew Rosati, Bloomberg, May 2.
  18. Venezuela: Lopez Arrest Warrant Issued as Military Show Strength for Maduro,” Paul Dobson, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 2.
  19. Venezuela: It’s Only a Coup if the US Government Says So,” Alan Macleod, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 3.
  20. After Venezuela coup failure, officials & mainstream media desperately spinning explanations,” RT.com, May 4.
  21. Leaked: USA’s Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela,” ZeroHedge, May 5.
  22. ‘We still need more soldiers’: Guaido admits that Maduro still has loyalty of Venezuelan army,” RT.com, May 5.
  23. Rachel Maddow endorses regime change in Venezuela to “push Russia back,” sympathizes with Bolton and Pompeo,” Aaron Mate, GrayZone Project, May 6.
  24. US State Department Publishes, then Deletes Sadistic Venezuela Hit List Boasting of Economic Ruin,” Anya Parampil, GrazyZone Project, May 6.
  25. Once Again, Mainstream Media Get It Wrong on Venezuela,” Michael Fox, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 6.
  26. Trump’s ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Meddles in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua,” Marjorie Cohn, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 6.
  27. Going South,” James Howard Kunstler, Clusterfuck Nation, May 6.
  28. Hawks at the wheel: Bolton and Pompeo ‘steering US towards confrontation everywhere’,” RT.com, May 6.
  29. Fake news alert: CNN says Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido ‘won election in January’,” RT.com, May 6.
  30. Antifa and the “Progressive” Democrats Fail to Defend Venezuela, Exposing the Fraudulent Left,” Danny Haiphong, American Herald Tribune, May 7.
  31. Guaido blames coup backers for ‘failing to follow through’ in Venezuela,” RT.com, May 7.
  32. ‘Duly elected leader’: Pompeo echoes falsehood about Venezuela’s Guaido,” RT.com, May 8.
  33. Top economists & UN experts condemn US sanctions on Venezuela. Not newsworthy enough for the media?” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, May 8.
  34. A frustrated Trump questions his administration’s Venezuela strategy,” Anne Gearan et al., The Washington Post, May 8.
  35. US Venezuela Sanctions Violate Human Rights, International Law: UN Expert,” TeleSur English, May 8.
  36. What is Happening at the Venezuelan Embassy is an Outrage,” Medea Benjamin, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 8.
  37. Venezuelan Embassy in DC Under Siege by Guaido’s Racist Mob,” Lauren Smith, Black Agenda Report, May 8.
  38. Assange Is Not a Journalist (If Journalists Are Ass-Kissing Propagandists for the Ruling Class),” An Garrison, Black Agenda Report, May 8.
  39. National Assembly VP Detained and 55 Armed Forces Officers Expelled in Attempted Putsch Fallout in Venezuela,” Paul Dobson, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 9.
  40. Thanks to Trump, War Is in the Air,” Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, May 9.
  41. The brewing conflict between America and Iran,” The Economist, May 9.
  42. Can ‘America First’ survive John Bolton?RT.com, May 9.
  43. Guaido tells supporters he wants ‘direct relationship’ with Pentagon,” RT.com, May 12.
  44. The ‘Battle for Venezuela’—a modern fairy tale,” Gerrard Bonello, Hamilton Spectator, May 12.
  45. ‘Illegal seizure’: US police raid Venezuelan embassy in DC to evict pro-Maduro activists,” RT.com, May 13.
  46. Guaido asks US military for meeting to plan ‘restoring democracy’ in Venezuela,” RT.com, May 13.
  47. Welcome to coup university: A Pentagon scholar’s guide to overthrowing governments,” RT.com, May 13.
  48. Swedish prosecutor reopens case probing Assange rape allegations,” RT.com, May 13.
  49. Assange rape case politicized, ‘mishandled throughout’ says WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief,” RT.com, May 13.
  50. Is Trump Yet Another U.S. President Provoking a War?” Robin Wright, The New Yorker, May 13.
  51. Skeptical U.S. Allies Resist Trump’s New Claims of Threats From Iran,” Helene Cooper and Edward Wong, The New York Times, May 14.
  52. ‘I’d rather starve to death’: Manning jailed again for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks,” RT.com, May 16.
  53. Trump Tells Pentagon Chief He Does Not Want War With Iran,” Mark Landler, Maggie Haberman and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, May 16.
  54. Who’s behind the pro-Guaido mob that besieged Venezuela’s embassy in Washington?” Jeb Sprague and Alexander Rubinstein, GrayZone Project, May 16.
  55. Is the Venezuela Opposition Really ‘Pro-Democracy’? That’s Worthy of Orwell,” Greg Shupak, Venezuelanalysis.com, May 16.
  56. ‘How do they sleep?’ Roger Waters calls out US, UK & France over ‘faked’ Douma chemical attack,” RT.com, May 18.
  57. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard fends off ‘fake news’ accusations of Russian support,” RT.com, May 19.
  58. #TrumpUnblockVenezuela: A Timeline of US Sanctions, Violations Against Venezuela,” Sputnik News, May 20.
  59. Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire,” Roger D. Harris, MintPress News, May 20.
  60. Trump threatens to use ‘great force’ at Iran provocation, but says there’s ‘no indication’ of one,” RT.com, May 21.
  61. US Economic War on Venezuela Targets CLAP Food Program Relied on by Millions,” Alexander Rubinstein, MintPress News, May 22.
  62. From Golden Boy to “Deflated:” The Media Trajectory of Juan Guaido,” Alexander Rubinstein, MintPress News, May 22.
  63. Up to 175 yrs in prison: US slaps Julian Assange with 17 more charges under Espionage Act,” RT.com, May 23.
  64. ‘Modern fascism is breaking cover’: Journalists react to Assange Espionage Act charges,” RT.com, May 23.
  65. In Charging Assange With 17 Espionage Act Offenses, Prosecutors Claim Power To Decide Who Is And Is Not A Journalist,” Kevin Gosztola, ShadowProof, May 23.
  66. Chelsea Manning Condemns Additional Charges Against Assange,” Sputnik News, May 23.
  67. Meddling 101: US Army research center publishes strategy to destabilize Russia,” RT.com, May 23.
  68. The Pathology of John Bolton,” Joe Lauria, Consortium News, May 23.
  69. What and Who Gave Us Trump?” Ralph Nader, CounterPunch, May 23.
  70. US attempts to colonize global business continue: China Daily editorial,” China Daily, May 23.
  71. Bannon promotes economic fascism,” Global Times, May 23.
  72. Ranking US Senator Calls for Invasion of Venezuela if Maduro Refuses to Resign,” Sputnik News, May 24.
  73. 18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World,” Lee Camp, MintPress News, May 24.
  74. Amnesty International Hangs Julian Assange Out to Dry — or Possibly Just Hang,” Alexander Rubinstein, MintPress News, May 24.
  75. ‘Everyone else must take my place’: Assange in letter from British prison,” RT.com, May 24.
  76. Assange indictments aim to ‘discourage media from reporting atrocities & war crimes’”, RT.com, May 24.
  77. MSM Needs to Protect Assange, Not Only Themselves, From Espionage Act,” Sputnik News, May 25.
  78. Shielding the World From US Chaos Is No Easy Task,” Federico Pieraccini, Strategic Culture Foundation, May 25.
  79. Venezuela crisis: Maduro officials & Guaido’s opposition to hold talks in Norway,” RT.com, May 26.
  80. US crusade against Assange a ‘blueprint’ for criminalizing journalism – Greenwald,” RT.com, May 28.
  81. 600,000 Afghan children at risk of dying from malnutrition as international aid dries up,” RT.com, May 29.
  82. ‘Grave concerns’: Assange can barely talk, moved to prison hospital, says WikiLeaks,” RT.com, May 29.
  83. Mike Pence declares war on the world at West Point,” John Wight, RT.com, May 29.
  84. What diplomacy? Here are 36 countries the US has bullied this week,” RT.com, May 31.

JUNE

The Key Points—Trump in the UK; Brink of War with Iran; Trade War with China; Another Kim–Trump (Mini) Summit:

  • Foreign interference in elections? US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed that the US would do everything possible to stop UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from getting elected to power as the UK prime minister. The current UK government—furious in its condemnations of alleged Russian conspiracies–said nothing in response to the official threat of actual election meddling. Trump also rejected meeting with Corbyn during his visit to the UK in early June. On the same trip, Trump called London’s mayor a “stone cold loser”.
  • The US continued its small and incremental troop buildup in the Middle East, sending an additional 1,000 troops on June 17 in a “message” to Iran. The US claimed to be doing this as a response to alleged Iranian attacks on two oil tankers on June 14. In May, four other tankers were attacked while in port in the United Arab Emirates, which the US also blamed on Iran, without convincing evidence.
  • Further instability and yet continuity marked White House staff turnover: acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, resigned and was replaced by Mark Esper, an ex-vice president of government relations at Raytheon.
  • The failure of “maximum pressure” through total economic sanctions, was on full display as the US confronted Iran, which not refused to back down in the face of US aggression, it also promised to increase uranium enrichment. Trump’s abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal also showed the failure of Trump’s foreign policy to produce anything other than increased tensions and moves toward war.
  • US aggressiveness against Iran starts to bear the fruit of war: this month witnesses a series of very dangerous escalations, with the US taking itself to the brink of war with Iran. Iran is accused, based on widely questioned “evidence,” of attacking a Norwegian and Japanese oil tanker, even as the Japanese prime minister was in Iran itself (Japan is also an importer of Iranian oil). Sailors on the Kokuka Courageous told the media that they saw flying projectiles coming from the sky and toward the tanker before the explosiion, suggesting the likelihood of another US false flag operation, adding to its already long history of orchestrating such attacks.
  • On June 19, Iran shot down two US drones. The US claimed that the second drone shot down by Iran was in international airspace, which it had difficulty proving. The US appeared ready to launch a military attack over the downing of an unmanned aircraft, with some generals claiming in the media that a “military attack” was not the same thing as “war”—thus assuming that Iran would passively absorb a massive US attack, without response. Trump, on the other hand, talked down the affair, saying it was likely an error on the Iranian side and that, after all, the aircraft was unmanned and no one was hurt. Trump appeared to invent a face-saving story, claiming that 10 minutes before planned retaliation he called it off due to the disroprortionate casualties it would incure—but that was known from the start (the drone was unmanned). Also, Iran did the opposite of validating Trump’s claim that a rogue general mistakenly ordered the shoot down—instead Iran state TV proudly lauded the successful downing, showed parts of the salvaged drone, and emphasized that the reaction was normal.
  • Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran which, in turn, both mocked the sanctions and declared that any diplomatic solution was now over. Trump then lambasted the Iranians with insults, and new threats of war, even if an American “thing” were to be attacked by Iran. Russia corroborated Iran’s claim that the US drone violated Iranian airspace.
  • The US trade war with China escalated even further, with Trump showing the maximum belligerence, and the minimum of diplomacy, when he threatened new tariffs if Xi Jinping did not attend the G20 Summit and sit down to talks.
  • China’s leader, Xi Jinping, traveled to North Korea on his first state visit, following several meetings with Kim Jong-un in China. They discussed denuclearization, but also aid from both China and South Korea for humanitarian assistance as food insecurity and even famine afflicted drought-stricken areas of North Korea. US and UN sanctions were now widely recognized to be too extreme, impacting medical services and farming. Nearly half of North Koreans experience food insecurity, and as many as 20,000 children were at risk of dying from starvation, as the US continued to preach “national security” and maximized economic sanctions against North Korea.
  • On June 30, Kim Jong-un held a quickly organized meeting with Donald Trump in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, as Trump returned from the G20 meeting. It was the first time a sitting US president entered North Korean territory.
  • Turkey, a NATO member, defied the threat of US sanctions and said its plan to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems ws a “done deal”. Turkey warned the US over countermeasures, and promised to retaliate in kind to any US actions.
  • New deportations of migrants was promised by the US, claiming that ICE would now be in the position of expelling millions.
  • Trump back-tracked on his tariff threat against Mexico, after the US and Mexico reached a “new” deal. Critical investigations revealed, however, that the contents of the deal were basically restatements of what the US and Mexico had already agreed to, and that some of Trump’s claims about Mexico purchasing more US agricultural products was not confirmed by Mexican authorities.

Published on ZA in June:

  1. Cyber-Terrorism: How the US and Israel Attacked Iran—and Failed,” June 25.
  2. Google’s Empire: The Science Fiction of Power,” June 28.

Recommended Articles for June:

  1. The new D-Day? Donald Trump brings a delayed Second Front with UK visit,” George Galloway, RT.com, June 5.
  2. Pompeo says US tried & failed to unite Venezuelan opposition in leaked audio,” RT.com, June 6.
  3. 7 times Putin apparently trounced US at St. Petersburg Forum,” RT.com, June 7.
  4. Trump faces critics over Mexico deal called ‘hostage-taking’ by ex-WTO chief,” Martin Pengelly, The Guardian, June 8.
  5. Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal,” Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times, June 8.
  6. ‘All I have done, no credit!’ Enraged Trump defends US-Mexico migrant deal,” Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, June 9.
  7. Trump supports special visas for Venezuelan refugees fleeing a carnage that he helped create,” Peter Bolton, RT.com, June 12.
  8. Cui bono? Iran has ‘no reason’ to torpedo oil tankers in Gulf of Oman & ‘go to war’,” RT.com, June 14.
  9. Backing Pompeo’s ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ incident is a massive anti-Iran online propaganda campaign,” Helen Buyniski, RT.com, June 14.
  10. Japanese tanker owner claims crew saw ‘flying objects’ before attack, denies ship struck mine,” RT.com, June 14.
  11. Pentagon seeks to build global ‘consensus’ on Iran. Is it time to worry?RT.com, June 15.
  12. ‘Is it diplomacy, Mr Pompeo?’ Iran recalls US history of false-flag ops, questions tanker attacks,” RT.com, June 16.
  13. Kremlin compares US attacks on Iran to fake ‘white powder evidence’ against Iraq in 2003,” RT.com, June 16.
  14. US will not ‘stumble into’ war with Iran by mistake. If it happens, it will be by design,” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, June 17.
  15. US-backed Venezuela opposition caught embezzling ‘humanitarian aid’ cash,” RT.com, June 18.
  16. War With Iran Would Become ‘Trump’s War’,” Patrick J. Buchanan, June 18.
  17. ‘Climate emergency’ on Monday, pipeline expansion on Tuesday: Trudeau the fraud strikes again,” Danielle Ryan, RT.com, June 19.
  18. Goad, threaten, backtrack: Trump & Bolton’s Iran policy is confusing, dangerous & achieves NOTHING,” Igor Ogorodnev, RT.com, June 25.
  19. Only 19% of Americans want military strike on Iran,” RT.com, June 25.
  20. Putin’s questioning of ‘liberalism’ causes existential shock,” Simon Rite, RT.com, June 28.
  21. Migrants, protests & aid cuts: Legacy of US-backed 2009 coup in Honduras,” RT.com, June 28.
  22. WATCH as Trump becomes 1st sitting US president to set foot on N. Korean soil,” RT.com, June 30.
  23. In an astonishing turn, George Soros and Charles Koch team up to end US ‘forever war’ policy,” Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe, June 30.
  24. Quincy Institute: A Think Tank Dedicated to Peace and Restraint,” Daniel Larison, Anti War, June 30.

JULY

The Key Points: Iran; Greece; Russiagate; Devastating Venezuela; the Quincy Institute

  • The IAEA confirmed that Iran had increased its level of uranium enrichment. It did this as the EU had failed to support the JCPOA by providing a functioning, active alternative payments system that would defeat US sanctions. The US continued to press Iran to abide by the very deal which the US had denounced and from which the US itself had withdrawn.
  • In very dangerous moves that could well be classed as acts of international piracy, the UK seized an Iranian-owned oil tanker destined for Syria. The US called for more such seizures. Iran in turn attempted to divert a BP tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The fallacious argument that Iran had violated EU sanctions on Syria, was debunked by Iran’s foreign minister who noted: Iran is not a member of the EU; EU sanctions do not apply to Iran; and Iran is not required to uphold EU sanctions. Iran also detained a mystery tanker, that was nominally owned by a UAE entity (the UAE denied ownership), under a Panamanian flag which Panama revoked citing the ship’s failure to comply with international regulations.
  • The US attempted to resurrect a form of the “coalition of the willing,” this time against Iran, by trying to involve more states in capturing Iranian oil tankers and in getting more non-Iranian freighters to change their flags to either the US or UK flags, in order to gain the protection of interfering powers.
  • In another dangerous blow to diplomacy, and any chance of a peaceful resolution, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, at the end of this month. The sanctions were entirely symbolic, as the Foreign Minister held no property or any assets in the US, and all other governments and international organizations continued to work with him.
  • Iran’s government claimed to have busted a large CIA spy ring operating in the country, which Trump denied.
  • There was some informal talk from the White House, speaking through anonymous sources to the press, that there might be a deal between the US and North Korea, that largely fit within the plan first proposed by North Korea. The deal would involve a gradual reduction of sanctions on North Korea’s economy, in return for a freeze on nuclear development—not disarmament. The deal might not even involve North Korea ever surrendering all of its nuclear weapons; rather they might be deactivated from active field use.
  • By the end of the month, North Korea tested a new multiple launch guided missile system. A day before, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles. Also announced was the construction, near completion, of a massive new submarine that might be capable of launching ballistic missiles.
  • Turkey defied Washington’s pressure and threats of sanctions, and began taking delivery of Russian S-400 missile defence systems, as it always said it would. The US threatened Turkey by saying the purchase would carry “ramifications for Turkey’s economy”—Washington’s interest was in securing a deal for US weapons corporations.
  • The Syriza government in Greece went down to a crashing electoral defeat. This came after its many failures to resist EU-imposed austerity measures, which were extreme, and Syriza going against the results of a popular referendum that supported Greek withdrawal from the Eurozone.
  • A small scandal erupted between the UK and the US early in the month, over leaks from the office of British ambassador to the US which described Trump and his administration in disparaging and alarming terms. Also confirmed was the private view that Trump’s stated reason for not attacking Iran was largely bogus, and intended to quiet his base ahead of the 2020 elections. The UK Ambassador in Washington resigned within days of the leak, and after a barrage of particularly spiteful tweets from Trump.
  • Driving another nail into the coffin of Russiagate conspiracy theories, a US Federal judge issued a damning rebuke of a key claim in the Mueller report, which was that the Internet Research Agency in Russia was funded and directed by the Russian government. The judge underlined the fact that this was an allegation, that was not supported by any evidence. As a result, the judge instructed all parties to refrain from making such baseless statements, at the risk of incurring court penalties.
  • In a gross rant, Donald Trump told what he believed to be foreign-born Democrats in Congress to go back to their “broken” and “crime-infested” countries before criticizing “the US” (i.e., his administration). This occurred in a week marred by vitriol from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s attacks on Ilhan Omar, calling her a “living fire alarm” for everything that’s broken with the immigration system and accused her of hating the US.
  • In late July the US Treasury imposed new sanctions on Venezuela, deliberately and directly designed to attack Venezuela’s free food aid distribution program.
  • In the US, billionaire investors and “philanthropists,” George Soros and Charles Koch, teamed up to fund the establishment of the Quincy Institute—interestingly, this new think tank would be a departure from most others in Washington, DC, in that its stated aim was to question US involvement in numerous and long-lasting wars and occupations: “The Quincy Institute promotes ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace”.

Zero Anthropology took a break from publishing in July and August. Research trips abroad in June and August also resulted in coverage of events that would be more sparse and selective.

Recommended Articles for July:

  1. Realism Resurgent: The Rise of the Quincy Institute,” Curt Mills, The National Interest, July 1.
  2. CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims,” Aaron Maté, RealClearInvestigations, July 5.
  3. Britain’s man in the US says Trump is ‘inept’: Leaked secret cables from ambassador say the President is ‘uniquely dysfunctional and his career could end in disgrace’,” Isabel Oakeshott, The Mail on Sunday, July 6.
  4. Guaido agrees to new round of talks with Maduro, but only to ‘end the dictatorship’,” RT.com, July 7.
  5. Does Justin Trudeau Hate Palestinians?” Yves Engler, The Palestine Chronicle, July 7.
  6. RT’s ban from media freedom conference shows British irony is alive and well,” Simon Rite, RT.com, July 9.
  7. Another nail in Russiagate coffin? Federal judge destroys key Mueller report claim,” RT.com, July 11.
  8. ‘No country can be ruled by people who hate it’: Tucker Carlson blasts Ilhan Omar again, saying the U.S. RESCUED the Somali-born congresswoman ‘from the worst place on earth’ and all she did in return was ‘call us names’,” Andrew Court and Emily Goodin, Daily Mail, July 11.
  9. Trump tells Democratic congresswomen to ‘go back’ to ‘fix’ countries they came from,” Reuters, July 14.
  10. Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama: How the British ambassador called the President’s actions ‘diplomatic vandalism’ fueled by ‘personality reasons’ – as revealed in more explosive cables that have sparked a free speech row while Iran tensions mount,” Isabel Oakeshott and Glen Owen, The Mail on Sunday, July 14.
  11. UN Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution Rejecting US Sanctions,” Venezuelanalysis.com, July 15.
  12. UPDATED: Venezuela: Guaido Bodyguards Arrested as Barbados Talks Resume,” Paul Dobson, Venezuelanalysis.com, July 15.
  13. Venezuela: Trump Diverts Central America Aid to Guaido as EU Threatens More Sanctions,” Ricardo Vaz, Venezuelanalysis.com, July 18.
  14. Iran’s Eye-for-an-Eye Strategy in the Gulf,” Robin Wright, The New Yorker, July 19.
  15. There Is Nothing Strategic About Trump’s Racism,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker, July 19.
  16. Class politics is rising in America. Trump hopes a culture war might stop it,” Bashkar Sunkara, The Guardian, July 20.
  17. Cuba, Russia, China, Iran – Pompeo lists every nation that ‘must leave’ Venezuela, except one,” RT.com, July 20.
  18. ‘Wrong victims’ of Syria war left voiceless by mainstream media, condemn West for their suffering,” Vanessa Beeley, RT.com, July 22.
  19. Kim Jong-un tours ‘powerful submarine’ to be deployed east of N. Korea’s coast,” RT.com, July 23.
  20. Non-Aligned Movement Condemns US Sanctions Against Venezuela,” Paul Dobson, Venezuelanalysis.com, July 23.
  21. Western Media Losing Enthusiasm for Failing Coup in Venezuela,” Lucas Koerner & Ricardo Vaz, Venezuelanalysis.com, July 25.
  22. Venezuela opposition divided by proposal for Iraq-style ‘oil-for-food’ program,” Luc Cohen, Reuters, July 25.
  23. Tulsi Gabbard sues Google for ‘election meddling’ over blocked campaign ads,” RT.com, July 25.
  24. Militarizing academia? UK university receives £400k from UK military for ‘cultural advice’ – report,” RT.com, July 26.
  25. Venezuela accuses US of another airspace violation 1 week after scrambling jet to shadow spy plane,” RT.com, July 28.
  26. If Greta Thunberg worries about end of the world, why does she pose with status quo politicians?” Igor Ogorodnev, RT.com, July 28.
  27. Panic Attack review: a wake-up call the woke won’t read,” J. Oliver Conroy, The Guardian, July 28.
  28. Can a New Think Tank Put a Stop to Endless War?” David Klion, The Nation, July 29.
  29. Wait… are Dems to the right of GOP on forever wars?RT.com, July 29.
  30. Julian Assange faces ‘TORTURE’ if extradited to US – UN rapporteur warns,” RT.com, July 29.

AUGUST

The Key Points: Venezuela sanctions, North Korea missile tests, the US-China trade war, and Buying Greenland

  • At the start of the month the US announced its most extreme and all-encompassing sanctions yet against Venezuela, designed to break any and all remaining economic and financial ties with the country. This was a sign of increased desperation on the part of the Americans, whose regime change policy failed to produce any of the desired results. The move was deliberately designed to ruin Venezuela’s finances. This was also apparently done by the US to thwart ongoing peace talks between the Maduro administration and the political opposition, talks which were in fact suspended once opposition leaders openly praised the US move.
  • President Trump reportedly considered imposing a total naval blockade on Venezuela to prevent anything from reaching the country, in what would have been an extremely aggressive act of war. Venezuela’s government had already promised to fight off any attempt at a naval quarantine, which in any case US military officials advised Trump would have been impractical, costly, and would have diverted naval resources away from the Persian Gulf and China.
  • The US seized a ship in the Panama Canal which was carrying 25,000 tons of food aid destined for Venezuela, a serious act of economic aggression and collective punishment designed to deliberately harm poor Venezuelans. Such tactics did not stop the US from proclaiming itself the humanitarian saviour of Venezuela.
  • Venezuela claimed to uncover strong evidence, which it would present to the UN, of a plot by Colombia to use paramilitary groups to stage an assault on Venezuela police units.
  • Trump tried to convince Guatemala to agree to being designated a “safe third country,” so that Central American migrants could be expected to stop there. Guatemala, with high levels of violence and extensive poverty, would not be a destination for migrants as, indeed, it had not been thus far.
  • In a bizarre series of statements and reports, Trump toyed with the idea of possibly purchasing Greenland.
  • Trump announced on August 1 that the US would impose a 10% tariff on a final $300 billion worth of Chinese imports on September 1, which provoked China into stopping purchases of US agricultural exports. The US also declared China a “currency manipulator” after the Yuan’s value fell by 7%. The IMF did not agree that the Chinese currency had been competitively undervalued, but found the US currency to be significantly overvalued.
  • Accompanying the economic measures, the US also announced its intention of establishing missile bases in nations near to China, a move which China said it would counteract. In the meantime China continued its development of advanced hypersonic missiles, against which the Pentagon admits that the US has no defense. Chinese capabilities are meant to target US aircraft carriers in waters off China, and US missile bases in Asia.
  • Trump insisted that the trade war with China was not having a negative impact on the US economy, despite rising recession fears, diminished economic growth, and volatile stock markets. Trump asserted that he was “not ready” for a trade deal with China. The next month, US and Chinese negotiators would meet to resume talks on a trade deal. Also, Trump reneged on imposing further tariffs on Chinese imports (beyond the massive increases announced in August), in an apparent desire to “save Christmas”—the most candid acknowledgement yet that tariffs were impacting US consumers. Trump’s escalation of the trade war led to a massive sell-off on Wall Street, causing stock values to plummet dramatically.
  • Despite Trump’s assertions that the trade war was not affecting Americans or the US economy, he pledged at least $28 billion to support US farmers affected by China blocking US agricultural imports. This was reported to be just the start of compensation, with more to come later. Meanwhile, China continued to increase its imports from Russia, reaching record levels, and Russia vowed to replace US agricultural supplies to China.
  • North Korea, conducted five missile tests in three weeks, protesting against US military exercises with South Korea. Trump appeared to agree with Kim Jong-un, saying he was not a fan of the exercises either, and thanked Kim for a “beautiful letter”.
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US stood ready to resume talks with North Korea. The North Korean leadership appeared to dismiss the offer.
  • The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, and the Deputy Director, Sue Gordon, resigned from their posts. Coats was an avid promoter of anti-Russia allegations that helped nurture Cold War II.

Recommended Articles for August:

  1. Trump to impose additional 10% tariff on remaining $300 bln of Chinese imports to US from Sept 1,” RT.com, August 1.
  2. ‘Washington has lost power of rational thought’: Rouhani slams ‘childish’ sanctions on Iranian FM,” RT.com, August 1.
  3. Trump considering ‘blockade’ or ‘quarantine’ of Venezuela,” RT.com, August 2.
  4. Venezuela ‘ready for battle’ if Trump imposes blockade – Maduro,” RT.com, August 2.
  5. Real threat to democracy: Media meddle in Democrat debate by siding with Harris, demonizing Gabbard,” RT.com, August 2.
  6. Explainer: U.S. branding of China as currency manipulator offers few new remedies,” David Lawder, Reuters, August 5.
  7. Bolton promises economic ruin for ‘rogue state’ Venezuela with trade embargo,” RT.com, August 6.
  8. Food Shipment Destined For Venezuela Seized Due to US Blockade,” Telesur, August 7.
  9. Turkey-Kurd Dispute Shows Why the U.S. Should Leave Syria,” Jerrod A. Laber, Real Clear Defense, August 9.
  10. MSM ignores massive anti-sanctions ‘No More Trump’ protest rallies in Venezuela,” RT.com, August 12.
  11. Enlisting peer-reviewed science in the climate crusade,” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 15.
  12. How fast is the world warming? Is it burning?” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 17.
  13. Failed state made in the USA: Ex-president of Honduras and coup victim Zelaya tells all,” RT.com, August 17.
  14. ‘How is that non-news?’ Lee Camp REVEALS why MSM choose to ignore Honduras & Brazil unrest,” RT.com, August 17.
  15. ‘We are moving into a new, controlled society worse than old totalitarianism’ – Zizek on Google leak,” RT.com, August 17.
  16. Tulsi Gabbard lists political correctness among threats to American values,” RT.com, August 17.
  17. See how climate science becomes alarmist propaganda,” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 18.
  18. Valuable minerals! Greenland buy isn’t a joke, Trump says he’ll ‘talk to Denmark about it’,” RT.com, August 18.
  19. ‘Prevent anything going in’: Report claims Trump repeatedly considered Venezuela blockade,” RT.com, August 19.
  20. Art of the steal? Trump’s ‘bid’ for Greenland screams American exceptionalism & foul play,” Robert Bridge, RT.com, August 20.
  21. Trump vows not to build giant tower in Greenland… once he buys it?RT.com, August 20.
  22. Once more with feeling? US holds ‘secret’ talks with Venezuela officials,” RT.com, August 22.
  23. On the 40th anniversary of our Afghanistan war, remember!” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 23.
  24. How journalists helped wreck the climate debate,” Roy Spencer, Fabius Maximus, August 26.
  25. Prepare to retreat before climate change!” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, August 26.
  26. New push to ‘restore democracy’: US launches Venezuela affairs unit … in Colombia,” RT.com, August 28.

SEPTEMBER

The Key Points: Afghanistan Peace Talks; Saudi Oil Fields on Fire; Bolton Gone; Venezuela Regime Change Corruption; “Bidengate”; the UN General Assembly

  • It was revealed that President Trump’s administration had been conducting peace talks with the Taliban for several weeks, and that Trump had invited Taliban leaders to Camp David in the days before the 9/11 anniversary. The meeting was called off by Trump when the Taliban claimed responsibility for a bombing in Kabul that killed a US soldier among many others. The peace deal would allegedly involve the withdrawal of most US forces from Afghanistan.
  • Upset that National Security Adviser John Bolton was reportedly upset about Trump’s invitation to the Taliban, Trump finally fired Bolton. The White House chief of staff had apparently been quietly interviewing candidates for Bolton’s job for weeks before. Bolton called his friends at Fox News to insist that it was he who had chosen to resign. It was also suggested in the media, and by a US Senator, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was considering a run for a Senate seat. These developments suggested a possible new purge of the White House, by a Trump who was growing increasingly eager for peace deals with North Korea, Iran, and the Taliban, in time for the presidential elections.
  • Presidential elections in Afghanistan were marred by low turnout.
  • Trump claimed that Iranian leaders wanted to talk, and hinted that there might be a meeting with President Rouhani during the UN assembly in September. The Iranian side remained adamant however: there would be no negotiations until the US removed all sanctions, and that in any case Iran would increase its enrichment of uranium.
  • An Iranian oil tanker that had been illegally seized and detained off Gibraltar by the British, was finally released and apparently resumed its voyage toward Syria, despite the captain reportedly claiming otherwise. EU sanctions on Syria of course did not apply to Iran’s relations with Syria, which was under no obligation to respect the sanctions. The US admitted to trying to bribe the captain with $5 million to not deliver the oil to Syria—and the captain refused. The US then put sanctions on the captain, to no known effect.
  • A massive attack on ARAMCO’s facilities in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, September 14, which severely disabled Saudi Arabia’s oil ouput (reducing it by 50%), immediately reduced global oil supply which led to a rise in oil prices and increased international calls on the US to lift its sanctions against Iran and Venezuela. The US was quick to blame Iran for the attack, even if the Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility. While Trump promised a “response,” he did not include war as an option.
  • In Venezuela, the government produced undisputed photos and videos, first circulated by a Colombian NGO, showing opposition leader Juán Guaidó in the company of Colombian leaders of a drug cartel during his trip to Colombia in February. Guaidó protested innocence, claiming not to know with whom he was keeping company and had in fact helped to usher him across the border.
  • The US apparently attempted to clear the legal for a US-led military intervention in Venezuela, by invoking a Cold War-era hemispheric military treaty: the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR). This followed an apparent attempt by Colombia to mount a false flag attack on the border with Venezuela, that could have provoked international military intervention. The US Air Force also deployed over 600 personnel to Guyana on a military exercise.
  • Towards the end of the month another ostensibly “domestic” political “scandal” was manufactured that implicated the US’ foreign intervention. President Trump was accused by Democratic candidate and former Vice-President Joe Biden of abusing his power as president to coerce Ukraine into launching an investigation into Biden, or else lose US military aid. As usual, the dominant discourse in politics and the media sidelined (as in outright ignored) the history of US intervention in Ukrainian politics, up to and including backing the overthrow of a democratically elected president in 2014 under Obama. As for abuse of power, as Vice-President, Biden publicly boasted of getting the Ukrainian public prosecutor fired. There was no explanation as to how Trump’s alleged actions (strongly disputed in every detail), constituted a departure from the norm. There was also no condemnation of Trump’s interventions in Syria, Iran, and Venezuela as abuses of power. Lastly, the supposed “whistle-blower” who launched the complaint about Trump, was a CIA agent posted to the White House, who was not privy to Trump’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart, and received the information second-hand. Meanwhile, actual whistle-blowers, like Chelsea Manning, continued to be vilified in the mainstream media.
  • At the UN General Assembly, Trump took the opportunity to try to rally more international support for his campaigns of regime change against Venezuela and Iran. His speech to the UNGA, his third, was like his others: a mix of nationalist emphases on sovereignty, and then the exact opposite as he called for more international intervention into the domestic affairs of target states. His speech generally did not generate much discussion, and was quickly overshadowed at home by the eruption of Bidengate.
  • More notable was the speech by Russia’s Foreign Minister at the UNGA, Sergei Lavrov, who boldly announced that the centuries-long domination by the West was coming to an end.

Published on ZA in September:

  1. New Book: ARIMA BORN,” September 26.
  2. Trees Talk…and Sometimes They Also Tell Lies,” September 28.
  3. Girls, Groupies, and Grim Reapers: The Religious Politics of Mass Response,” September 29.

Recommended Articles for September:

  1. The U.S. footprint in Bolivia’s incipient colour revolution,” Bruno Sgarzini, MR online, September 5.
  2. Venezuela’s Maduro deploys air defenses to Colombian border amid false flag attack fears,” RT.com, September 5.
  3. ‘Shameful heritage of neocolonialism’: Venezuela slams US invoking military aid treaty,” RT.com, September 11.
  4. Busted? Juan Guaido poses with notorious Colombian drug cartel at Venezuela border in leaked PHOTOS,” RT.com, September 13.
  5. ‘Bolton held me back!’ Trump says he’s a BIGGER hawk on Venezuela & Cuba than fired adviser,” RT.com, September 13.
  6. Driving to Colombia? New photos show Juan Guaido in car with ‘drug cartel gangster’,” RT.com, September 20.
  7. Venezuelan govt reveals VIDEO of Guaido allegedly hanging out with Colombian drug lords,” RT.com, September 21.
  8. US may attempt to sabotage Venezuela’s parliamentary vote in 2020, Maduro says,” RT.com, September 23.
  9. Greta Thunberg wants you to be afraid, and big business will make a killing off it,” Graham Dockery, RT.com, September 24.
  10. Haitian senator shoots photographer in the FACE amid political chaos in Port-au-Prince,” RT.com, September 24.
  11. US triples regime-change aid to Guaido, doling out $52mn to restore ‘democratic governance’ in Venezuela,” RT.com, September 25.
  12. US sanctions wreak havoc on Venezuela as Washington plays ‘lifesaver’ with aid dollars,” RT.com, September 26.
  13. The amazing Trump-Ukraine-Whistleblower story in a nutshell,” Larry Kummer, Fabius Maximus, September 27.
  14. Establishment & media sympathize with Greta’s ‘Fridays for Future’ movement… So how is that a ‘protest’ exactly?” Graham Dockery, RT.com, September 27.
  15. ‘We need a female POTUS, but not if she’s planning meaningful change!’: How ID politics is used to maintain the status quo,” Neil Clark, RT.com, September 27.
  16. Protesters in Haiti burn buildings, loot police station in drive to remove president,” RT.com, September 27.
  17. Trump triples down on Venezuela regime change, even as he faces one himself,” Nebojsa Malic, RT.com, September 27.
  18. Venezuela has become ‘the best evil experiment’ against multilateralism by US – Maduro’s VP,” RT.com, September 28.
  19. Afghanistan presidential vote shows low turnout after technical glitches & violence in wake of US-Taliban talks collapse,” RT.com, September 28.

OCTOBER

The Key Points: Syria Withdrawal 2.0; Haiti Protests; Ecuador Protests;

  • President Trump announced that the US was immediately withdrawing its forces from northern Syria, and leaving the US’ Kurdish force multipliers to face Turkey, the US’ NATO ally. The usual mix of leftist interventionists and neoconservatives was in a uproar that Trump was keeping a promise he made nearly a year ago, after many delays and halts. Some, like Lindsey Graham, even claimed to be “blindsided”. This time it seemed that Trump had no intention of backing down. Turkey reportedly launched immediate airstrikes against the Kurdish YPG, which had collaborated with the US. Turkey vowed to respect Syria’s territorial integrity, and promised that the operation would be temporary.
  • In Haiti, days of fiery protest threatened to bring down the widely unpopular and illegitimate government of US-backed President Moise. As Phil Taylor put it, “President Moise is on the ropes. After years of diverting funds to a rich and corrupt upper stratum of Haiti while forcing the poor into austerity, the point of rebellion has arrived. The demonstrations against Moise are wide-spread and enduring, and the President is in hiding. Haiti is returning to the revolutionary path in emulation of the slave rebellions that established the 1st real republic in the Western hemisphere”.
  • Diplomatic talks between the US and North Korea, resuming in Sweden, appeared to break down on the first day.
  • Protesters went on a rampage against the unpopular and authoritarian government of President Lenin Moreno which had instituted steep increases in fuel and transportation prices. The austerity measure was part of a plan to which Moreno agreed with the International Monetary Fund. In order to contain the protests, Moreno imposed a harsh military curfew, which had little effect.

Published on ZA in October:

  1. Climate Propaganda for Corporate Profit: Bell Canada,” October 2.
  2. Pearls before Swine,” October 11.

Recommended Articles for October:

  1. Police & protesters clash in Iraq, as rallies against corruption and unemployment spread nationwide,” RT.com, October 2.
  2. Haitian Mass Demonstrations Will Spell the End of the Latest American Backed Narco-Regime,” Phil Taylor, The Taylor Report, October 3.
  3. Iraqi PM acknowledges ‘righteous’ demands of protesters as death toll surpasses 40 in nationwide demonstrations,” RT.com, October 4.
  4. Death toll in Iraq nears 100 amid violent crackdown on nationwide anti-government protests,” RT.com, October 5.
  5. Libya was destroyed due to Western leaders’ lust to continue exploiting Africa’s riches – Gaddafi spokesman,” RT.com, October 6.
  6. Baghdad denies firing at protesters after GRAPHIC videos of shot Iraqi demonstrators go viral,” RT.com, October 6.
  7. Trump’s announced withdrawal from Syria, October 7.
  8. ‘Time to get out of these ridiculous endless wars’: Trump orders US pullback from Syrian border before Turkish operation begins,” RT.com, October 7.
  9. Turkey ‘launches airstrike’ against Kurds on Syria-Iraq border – reports,” RT.com, October 7.
  10. Clown world: Extinction Rebellion is a carnival for middle classes who love to dress up as activists,” Frank Furedi, RT.com, October 7.
  11. Scientific paper arguing Assad not responsible for Syria chemical attack shelved after Bellingcat-led backlash,” RT.com, October 7.
  12. Worried for Kurds in Syria, abandoned by US? Here’s an obvious solution but it will make Washington hawks MAD,” Nebojsa Malic, RT.com, October 7.
  13. Iraqi armed force ‘ready’ to back govt amid protests,” RT.com, October 7.
  14. Too hungry for power, too inept to rule: Moreno & his neoliberalism are behind Ecuador’s turmoil, ex-president Correa tells RT,” RT.com, October 8.
  15. Ecuador cracks down on protesters over austerity & IMF loan, President moves govt from capital,” RT.com, October 8.
  16. Julian Assange to remain locked up in UK prison following brief court appearance ahead of US extradition hearing,” RT.com, October 11.
  17. Trump announces ‘biggest deal ever’ with China for US farmers,” RT.com, October 12.
  18. Chaos in Ecuador as protesters ransack govt buildings, clash with police as military restricts movement throughout country,” RT.com, October 12.
  19. Crocodile tears? Hillary Clinton tweets that ‘sickening horror’ in Syria is ‘one man’s fault’ and gets reminded of her deeds,” RT.com, October 13.
  20. Denied tools for his defense, Assange remains resilient ahead of ‘epic’ extradition battle – Pilger,” RT.com, October 18.

NOVEMBER

The Key Points: Bolivia Coup; Phony Assange “Rape” Case Dropped;

  • After what appeared to be a decisive electoral victory for the re-election of Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, what immediately resulted resembled a coup, with the military urging Morales to resign after he agreed to new elections. Morales went into exile first in Mexico, then later in Argentina where the neoliberal and pro-US Macri administration was recently defeated at the polls. Back in Bolivia, scores of pro-Morales protesters were killed by military and police forces using live ammunition. A self-declared interim president posted an arrest warrant for Morales, accusing him of “sedition” and even “terrorism,” for his support of protesters.
  • In November the Swedish state announced that it was finally dropping its “rape” investigation of Julian Assange, thus clearing the way for the US extradition case. The original pursuit of rape claims that were imposed by the Swedish state (not by the alleged “victims”) were the basis for Assange seeking asylum in Ecuador’s London Embassy as he correctly suspected it was part of a campaign to have him extradited to the US.
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) is no longer able to hear new cases as the US, as directed by Donald Trump, refuses to appoint new judges to the organization.

Published on ZA in November:

  1. Global Giants: American Empire and Transnational Capital,” November 27.

Recommended Articles for November:

  1. What Happened in Bolivia’s 2019 Vote Count?Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), November.
  2. The world is de-globalizing. Here’s what it may mean for investors,” Andrea Riquier, MarketWatch, November 5.
  3. Bolivia’s military chief calls on President Morales to resign after new elections announced,” RT.com, November 10.
  4. Bolivian President Morales announces his resignation,” RT.com, November 10.
  5. ‘Morales’ resignation undermines claims he is dictator, US may be behind push to oust him’,” RT.com, November 10.
  6. Resignation of Morales, last of ‘pink tide,’ polarizes Latin America,” Reuters, November 10.
  7. Media ‘whitewashing coup’ in Bolivia, & CIA surely celebrating Morales’ departure – pundits,” RT.com, November 11.
  8. One step closer to democratic, prosperous, free Western Hemisphere? Trump hails ouster of Bolivia’s Evo Morales,” RT.com, November 11.
  9. AP Explains: Did a coup force Bolivia’s Evo Morales out?” Christine Armario, AP, November 11.
  10. United States: Bolivian president wasn’t forced out by coup,” Luis Alonso Lugo & Kevin Freking, AP, November 11.
  11. Ilhan Omar calls resignation of Bolivia’s socialist president Evo Morales ‘a coup’ – putting herself in line with leaders of Venezuela and Cuba,” Geoff Earle, Daily Mail, November 11.
  12. ‘Coup against Bolivian people’ forced Morales out of office, Corbyn says,” RT.com, November 11.
  13. Jeremy Corbyn blasted as he joins VENEZUELA and Cuba in backing leftist Bolivian leader who quit over election ‘vote rigging’ – claiming he has been deposed by a ‘military coup’,” David Wilcock, Daily Mail, November 11.
  14. Mexico says Bolivia suffered coup due to military pressure on Morales,” Reuters, November 11.
  15. Events in Bolivia follow script of ‘color revolution’ – the antithesis of democracy,” Nebojsa Malic, RT.com, November 12.
  16. Communiqué of the Movement to Socialism (MAS-IPSP),” Internationalist 360°, November 12.
  17. Top Bolivian coup plotters trained by US military’s School of the Americas, served as attachés in FBI police programs,” Jeb Sprague, The Grayzone Project, November 13.
  18. Assange rape case dropped: Sweden abandons probe that led to WikiLeaks co-founder’s asylum in UK’s Ecuadorian embassy,” RT.com, November 19.
  19. Opinion: The OAS lied to the public about the Bolivian election and coup,” Mark Weisbrot, MarketWatch, November 19.
  20. OPCW report on Douma chemical incident omitted & misrepresented key facts, leaked email by dissenting inspector shows,” RT.com, November 24.
  21. Manufacturing consent: How NY Times spins Bolivian coup against ‘coca-farming strongman’ Morales,” Nebojsa Malic, RT.com, November 25.
  22. U.S. life expectancy being driven down by middle-aged deaths, study suggests,” Reuters, November 26.
  23. Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia coup, Trump dubs Nicaragua ‘national security threat’ and targets Mexico,” Ben Norton, The Grayzone Project, November 27.
  24. China is on a mission to re-make the world. CBC News examines the stakes for Canada,” Greg Reaume, CBC News, November 27.
  25. China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Where it goes and what it’s supposed to accomplish,” CBC News, November 27.
  26. The man, the myth: How Xi Jinping’s rise from village life explains China’s ambitions,” Saša Petricic, CBC News, November 27.
  27. Jamaica has China to thank for much-needed infrastructure — but some locals say it has come at a price,” Tiffany Foxcroft, CBC News, November 28.
  28. It’s the end of the World Trade Organisation as we know it,” The Economist, November 28.

DECEMBER

The Key Points: Trade War Retreat; Sanctioning US allies; North Korea’s Warnings; The Afghanistan Papers; WikiLeaks on Syria Cover up

  • While US President Donald Trump struck a triumphant tone when announcing the end of the US-China trade war, the facts of the agreement painted a somewhat different picture, one that would have confirmed China’s certainty of its own ascendancy. Designed to enhance US manufacturing, the results were announced as a boost to US agriculture, with farmers having received a government bailout twice as large as what had been given to the failing automobile industry.
  • Though too much too late, US sanctions on third parties involved in building the Russian natural gas pipeline to Europe (Nordstream 2) would fail to prevent the completion of the pipeline. US sanctions, however, further antagonized and alienated key NATO allies such as Germany, where right across the political spectrum there was a vocal and vigorous defense of German sovereignty and denunciations of the illegality of US sanctions.
  • North Korea test fired even more missiles in December and warned the US of a “Christmas surprise” should the US fail to change course in sanctioning North Korea into near total isolation. No surprise materialized. Trump also issued a grim warning against North Korea, returning to the assertion that he would use all means to counter any North Korean attack. North Korea also announced that in any future talks with the US, North Korea was taking “denuclearization” off the negotiating table altogether.
  • In the UK the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn went down to a crushing defeat as the Conservatives won their fourth consecutive government, this time with a large majority of seats in Parliament. Almost immediately, PM Boris Johnson’s previously stalled Brexit legislation finally passed. This was the third time that voters went to the polls when Brexit was a leading issue, and when those supporting Brexit (or the referendum on Brexit) won—Johnson’s commanding victory thus put an end to all talk of a “second referendum” on Brexit.
  • The Afghanistan Papers published by The Washington Post contained heaps of confirmations of what critics of the US occupation of Afghanistan (such as Zero Anthropology) have been saying for over a decade. Through 611 previously unpublished documents, consisting of interviews, memos, and official reports, the war is fully revealed as a failed war in pursuit of multiple, contradictory, and unrealistic goals ranging from cultural engineering, to the creation of inappropriate political models. Instead the US has instituted corrupt and incompetent regimes, while the insurgency has gained considerable ground and support. The Papers revealed the many follies of liberal imperialist utopian thinking and why its exit from the world stage is long overdue.
  • WikiLeaks, despite the atrocious detention of Julian Assange, was still publishing new leaks. A series of published leaks concerned the OPCW’s active cover up of evidence that contradicted its official report suggesting that the Syrian government had something to do with the chemical attack in Douma in 2018. It suggests that a deliberate international effort to frame Syria took place, as a justification for the US and allied bombing in April of 2018.
  • Self-imposed “climate activist,” Greta Thunberg was appropriately schooled by Australians when she attempted to assert that “climate change” had something to do with the forest fires across Australia. Instead, CO2 does not cause fires, and Australian’s forests have burned each year for millennia, with a number of tree species specificallys facilitating fire (by releasing flammable gas) and bearing seeds that will only crack open with fire—without fire, the forests cannot reproduce themselves. Moreover, the majority of fires were caused by careless individuals, and overall forest fires worldwide have been on the decline for decades. Such is the science that the activists chose to ignore as they monumentalized Thunberg on murals and as TIME’s person of the year. It was thus also a lesson in how crusading activists, celebrated for their “passion” and their alleged “wisdom,” are often instead highly selective and opportunistic when it comes to “listening to science”.

Recommended Articles for December:

  1. Trump says he may be Kim Jong-un’s best friend, but he’ll use America’s military might against North Korea if he has to,” RT.com, December 3.
  2. Are we in for a repeat of the ‘Long Depression’?” Andrea Riquier, MarketWatch, December 4.
  3. N. Korea envoy at UN says denuclearization ‘already off the table’ in talks with US,” RT.com, December 7.
  4. Pyongyang conducts ‘very important test’ at rocket launch site – state media,” RT.com, December 8.
  5. A Secret History of the War,” Craig Whitlock, Leslie Shapiro and Armand Emamdjomeh, The Washington Post, December 9.
  6. At War with the Truth,” Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post, December 9.
  7. Stranded without a Strategy,” Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post, December 9.
  8. Cheney warns US against Middle East pullout as even Washington Post digs up proof his War on Terror was ‘UNWINNABLE’,” Helen Buyniski, RT.com, December 11.
  9. Trump’s ‘favorable’ policy instincts obstructed by neocons, foreign interests & the arms lobby at every turn – Ron Paul,” RT.com, December 11.
  10. ‘Brexitquake, not Youthquake’: Stunning UK vote proves those who ignore traditional supporters are doomed – George Galloway,” RT.com, December 12.
  11. Ripping the heart out of Labour’s heartlands: How Johnson snatched working-class towns from under Corbyn’s nose,” Jonathan Arnott, RT.com, December 13.
  12. Turning Feudal Afghanistan Into Switzerland Was Always A Fool’s Errand,” Sumantra Maitra, The Federalist, December 13.
  13. Why the Media Is Ignoring the Afghanistan Papers,” Alex Shepard, The New Republic, December 13.
  14. Fresh tests to be used for ‘strategic weapons,’ US should back off for a ‘peaceful’ year’s end – North Korea’s military,” RT.com, December 14.
  15. Christmas gift they promised? N. Korea carries out ‘crucial test’ to bolster ‘NUCLEAR deterrent’ as deadline for US talks looms,” RT.com, December 14.
  16. The good, the bad & the ugly about US-China trade breakthrough,” RT.com, December 14.
  17. Assange lawyer discloses conditions for British justice TO RETHINK his extradition,” RT.com, December 14.
  18. ‘We must show US that the jokes are over’: Top German MP says Berlin shouldn’t sit idle as Washington hampers its energy projects,” RT.com, December 14.
  19. How Trump Lost His Trade War,” Paul Krugman, The New York Times, December 16.
  20. Sen. Marsha Blackburn: The ‘Afghanistan Papers’ bombshell – It’s time for a congressional investigation,” Fox News, December 19.
  21. Get the Hell Out of Afghanistan Now,” Kurt Schlichter, Townhall, December 19.
  22. Big bully at work: Firm laying Nord Stream 2 pipeline halts all ‘activities’ faced with ‘crushing sanctions’ by US,” RT.com, December 21.
  23. ‘Interference in domestic affairs’: Germany fumes at US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” RT.com, December 21.
  24. EU companies legally doing business mustn’t be targeted by any sanctions – European Commission on US move against Nord Stream 2,” RT.com, December 21.
  25. Sleeping dragon no more: China about to replace US as strongest naval power and Washington is too late to stop it,” RT.com, December 21.
  26. ‘I’ll be back’: Ousted leader Morales says his party will win elections, plans return to Bolivia,” RT.com, December 24.