March 31, 2018 - No. 12

CPC(M-L) Celebrates 48th Anniversary of Its Founding

Party Organizations Take Measures to
Step Up Constant Work and Mass
Ideological and Political Mobilization


Micro-Targeting Underscores Need for Democratic Renewal
What to Make of the Cambridge Analytica Revelations
- Interview, Anna Di Carlo, National Leader,
Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada -

Canada-Cuba Relations

Josefina Vidal Begins New Post as Cuban Ambassador to Canada 
Enthusiastic Discussion with Visiting Parliamentarian on Cubans' Profound Role in Decision-Making

42nd Anniversary of Palestinian Land Day

Massive March to Israeli Border Affirms Palestinians' Right of Return
Diplomatic Missions Briefed on Jerusalem's Status and
Ongoing Israeli Displacement of Palestinians

70th Anniversary of Jeju Massacre in Korea
Jeju Massacre Underscores Long History of Resistance to
U.S. Aggression Against Korea

Mass Demonstrations of Youth Across United States
Students Determined to Be Heard and Win Change in Their Favour

Brazilian People Resist Counter-Revolutionary Coup
Peoples' Forces Reject Attacks on Their Political Leaders

CPC(M-L) Celebrates 48th Anniversary of Its Founding

Party Organizations Take Measures to Step Up Constant Work and Mass Ideological
and Political Mobilization

On the joyful occasion of the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) on March 31, 1970 in Montreal, the Party’s Central Committee sends revolutionary greetings to all members, sympathizers and fellow-travellers across the country. The Party's basic organizations, committees and institutions are celebrating this anniversary by engaging members in discussions on the importance of party-building at this time.

As the forces of darkest reaction continue their nation-wrecking and warmongering, a key target of attack is any attempt by the working class to organize itself and the people as an independent political force which can turn things around in their own favour. Dealing with the need to activate the human factor/social consciousness based on the thought material which provides orientation and direction in the face of the assaults on the rights of all is a challenge that cannot be ignored. As the reactionary forces concentrate economic and political power on a supranational basis, the exploitation and oppression of the people increases, along with their impoverishment, the destruction of the environment and the danger of a worldwide inter-imperialist war.

By paying first-rate attention to the Party's constant work of strengthening links with the working class and people and carrying out all political and ideological tasks on the basis of organizational work to strengthen the Party, the fundamental task to further the cause of people's empowerment is served. This is why the Central Committee is calling on the basic organizations, committees and institutions of the Party at all levels to use the 48th anniversary of the Party's founding and other anniversaries of events which led to its founding to appreciate the crucial role the Party plays and how to strengthen the Party in today's conditions. Most importantly, they should work out the practical measures required to provide the working class with confidence and organization to lead the people to take up their own nation-building project and put an end to the nation-wrecking which is taking place under the auspices of the international financial interests that have taken hold of the political power and wield it in their favour. The organizations at all levels make headway by paying first-rate attention to their own organizing work to mobilize the working class and its allies to resolve the current crisis caused by neo-liberal wrecking in a manner that favours the people. So too the working people make headway when they build their own organizations which take independent political stands.

All the activities which CPC(M-L) has carried out for the past nearly 50 years have a common thread -- to further develop the leading role of the working class in society. The strength of CPC(M-L) lies in its revolutionary theory, its political line and its organizations at various levels which are always paying attention to the particular tasks facing the society to open the path for progress. The cutting edge for this period is to wage the ideological struggle and engage in political work to determine the practical politics required to build the political movement against nation-wrecking. Practical politics are required to mobilize the working people and the youth and students to take up nation-building on a modern basis.

The emphasis on organizing work is to activate the human factor/social consciousness so that responsibility is taken to turn things around. By building committees which take their own independent political stands, the working people and the youth and students can make serious advance. These committees must be established at places of work, in the educational institutions and neighbourhoods and amongst seniors where their members can take responsibility for their decisions and the actions of their peers. They can address matters of concern to themselves, the society and the world. By developing the independent politics of the working class they will provide themselves with the key to depriving the international financial oligarchs and the governments in their service of the power to deprive the people, who depend on the society for their well-being, of what belongs to them by right.

All Out to Turn Things Around by Building the Party's
Basic Organizations, Committees and Institutions!
Long Live CPC(M-L)!

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Micro-Targeting Underscores Need for Democratic Renewal

What to Make of the Cambridge
Analytica Revelations

TML Weekly: News media are filled with stories about the British company Cambridge Analytica and the BC-based company AggregateIQ related to micro-targeting with Facebook data. It is reported as if it is something new but in fact this has been going on for some time. In 2011 you wrote an article entitled "Harper Conservatives' Micro-Targeting and Wrecking of the Electoral Process." You have also pointed out that self-serving changes which facilitate political micro-targeting have been made to the Canada Elections Act. One such change assigns a unique ID number to each elector. Can you tell us what this Cambridge Analytica scandal is all about and what impact micro-targeting has on the democratic process?

Anna Di Carlo: Scandals generally only fly if they are given wings by one section or another of the ruling elite competing for power. They are a commodity controlled by the rich and powerful and are often used as a weapon in their turf wars. Those with power and privilege choose what will be presented as scandal and how far it is pushed; they try to direct its impact and scope and try to control it to serve their own cause and interests. It's important not to accept the given framework and get swept up in a narrative that serves to disinform and subvert our own thinking and experience.

TMLW: Please elaborate on the framework you referred to.

ADC: The framework given is that there are some bad actors -- Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ in particular -- who were involved in the Trump campaign and the Brexit referendum campaign. The particular sin committed is obtaining information from Facebook users who participated in a personality quiz without their knowledge that it would be used for political purposes; they did not know their psychological profiles would be used to target electors. The implication is that if the information had been gathered with informed consent, it would have been okay. Christopher Wylie, the Canadian whistleblower who was directly involved in putting the project together, says he deeply regrets his role in the affair and is speaking out because he now views what was done as a "grossly unethical experiment."[1] When asked how so, he said, "You are playing with an entire country, the psychology of an entire country without their consent or awareness. And not only are you playing with the psychology of a nation, you are playing with the psychology of an entire nation in the context of a democratic process."

The gist of the scandal, as presented by the media in Canada, the U.S. and Britain where the scandal originated, is that Cambridge Analytica contracted a data scientist, Aleksandr Kogan, who created a Facebook personality quiz application which about 270,000 Facebook users downloaded. This allowed the scraping of their data and their friends' data, which turned into a database of profiles on about 50 million people which was used in the Trump campaign. This would mean the people who did the personality quiz each had on average 185 friends. The users did not know that their data would be used for political purposes, but they did give consent for use of their data. As Facebook VP and general counsel Paul Grewal puts it, "Like all app developers, Kogan requested and gained access to information from people after they chose to download his app. His app, 'thisisyourdigitallife,' offered a personality prediction, and billed itself on Facebook as "a research app used by psychologists... In so doing, they gave their consent for Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it." Since the whole sphere of data analytics and data aggregation is still a dark-art of sorts, how the information garnered through these personality quizzes was linked with actual voters in the U.S. has not been fully explained.

Kogan's application mimicked an earlier application that was created in 2007 by data scientists at the Psychometric Centre at Cambridge University. It was called "myPersonality" and the two academics who developed it, David Stillwell and Michal Kosinski, described it as an improved method to reach large samples of people for social research purposes. They described their quiz as a much more effective way of doing social research than traditional national surveys conducted through telephone surveys and polling. In a paper they published, they reported that of six million Facebook users who had done the quiz, about 50 per cent had given permission for their information to be used.

It is not surprising this method has been brought into the global election industry but the concern it raises is reduced to one of a violation of privacy -- the use of personal information without consent. This is the framework presented to depoliticize the very important issue of how citizens participate in the electoral process in a manner which keeps bringing alien interests to power. All of this is likely to play into how the electoral law will be changed in the name of protecting it from foreign interference, "bad actors," fake news, and so on. It all seems to be serving the overall direction where we are seeing the increasing use of police powers in the electoral and political process. It is also likely to be used to institutionalize micro-targeting, through legislation and regulations, as the new norm of political campaigning, the same way that commercial micro-targeting has rules, such as business websites being required to inform, in the most obscure manner that they can manage, about cookies and other tracking devices they use.

TMLW: What is the global election industry and how does it relate to this scandal?

ADC: Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ are part of a multi-billion dollar global election industry involving all sorts of general and specialized companies. One aspect of this scandal is how it reflects the competing interests in the industry. There are estimates that the global electoral market has annual expenditures of $6 to $8 billion, depending on the dates of electoral cycles. This includes the costs of television, radio and printing, but it is also a huge market for service providers such as Cambridge Analytica. There are general campaign management companies and dozens of niche categories within that. These include digital advertising strategists, on-line fundraising companies, text and social media specialists, telephone town-halls coordinators, micro-targeting technicians, and data-brokers with various fields of specialization. Pitney Bowes, for instance, sells a package that has been used by Canadian political parties which identifies voters by analyzing their last names and putting them into their ethnic category.

Cambridge Analytica was the subject of controversy for several years. The company was constantly boasting the powers of psychological manipulation. After Trump's victory, the company's role in his campaign became a selling card to compete for commercial, political and government work. In 2017, there were reports based on some off-the-record sources claiming that Cambridge Analytica's role in Trump's campaign was highly exaggerated and that psychographics had not been used. Others said that even if they were used, Cambridge Analytica's claim that psychographics can influence the outcome of elections is nothing more than the peddling of snake oil. At the time, there was speculation that the unnamed sources were public relations operatives employed by competitors for the purpose of discrediting Cambridge Analytica.

The company's demise is obviously another company's glee. An advertising agency that had partnered with Cambridge Analytica to bid for a contract for the U.S. Armed Forces has recently disassociated itself from Cambridge Analytica and the bid will presumably proceed with some other provider.

TMLW: It is being said that this is all an example of how the right to privacy is being violated, especially via Facebook, Google, Twitter and other social media platforms, and that regulations need to be tightened up. There are suggestions that in Canada privacy legislation should be extended to include political parties. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

ADC: The development of the internet has thrown the definition of privacy rights for a loop. The whole field of what constitutes privacy rights is being explored by governments and agencies of different kinds all over the world. It has become a complicated issue because by definition the data on the internet defies national boundaries and legislation is different in every country. Facebook is constantly getting into trouble because it violates the privacy laws of certain countries, while the same particular practice it gets into trouble for in one country is legal in another.

Canadian companies and government institutions come under privacy legislation. Non-profit organizations are exempt from these laws, and that includes political parties. Compared to the United States, our laws are more protective of personal data and there are U.S.-based data-brokers who say they won't do business in Canada because of it. For instance, in the United States anyone can buy the elector lists compiled by each state and they are routinely used for commercial purposes as well as political purposes. In Canada, the lists of electors are given to registered political parties where they field candidates and to registered candidates for their own ridings. They are also given to Members of Parliament for purposes of communicating with their constituents. Political parties are not supposed to use these for anything but political purposes, but they are not constrained by privacy laws.

In terms of internet privacy, anyone who has done a search on Google for some item or another knows they are then inundated with ads related to that item. It all takes place without human intervention as such, as fast as can be. The moment you enter a search term, an automated bidding process is triggered to buy and sell advertising access to you. And this takes place within a situation where businesses are subject to privacy legislation.

As for the exemption of political parties from privacy legislation, this has been an issue in Canada since the Robocall Scandal at the time Harper was in power. It was established that the people who were targeted for the voter-suppression campaign that sent them to the wrong voting stations, came from the Conservative Party's database which had information on who was most likely to not vote Conservative. Since that time, Elections Canada has recommended that the exemption for political parties be removed, but since the parties control the legislation that governs them they have self-servingly rejected the recommendation every time. The proposal was not made with the intention of ending or limiting micro-targeting, but ensuring that the list of electors and the party databases are securely maintained, with the logic that those who used the Conservative Party database for voter suppression wouldn't have been able to do so if there was higher level security.

This is a dubious proposition that rests on the premise that voter suppression has not entered the tactics of the political strategists in the upper echelons of the parties and their political campaign management teams. In this regard, it is interesting that in one of the documents related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the SCL Group parent company boasts that it advised a client in Nigeria that buying votes -- referred to as using "financial incentives" -- was not effective because once in the booth the voter could vote any way he wanted. It advised its client that "rather than trying to motivate swing voters ... a more effective strategy might be to persuade opposition voters not to vote at all." It said that unlike buying votes, getting people to not vote could be monitored and verified.

Most recently, following the last election, Elections Canada scaled back its recommendation for political parties to be subjected to privacy legislation. It decided to go for something that might be approved and suggested that before they receive the electors lists, political parties should have to submit to a third-party audit to ensure that they are using best security practices to secure the private information they hold. In the Parliamentary Committee on Procedures and House Affairs, where Elections Canada's recommendations were reviewed, the Liberals, NDP and Conservatives said that this would put too much of a burden on their constituency associations.

Now, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal having emerged, all of the parties are saying that they are most concerned about preserving the privacy of Canadians -- a statement which is hard to swallow. If the political parties were subjected to privacy legislation, Canadians would be able to request their files from political parties to find out what information they are holding; they could ask to have their phone numbers put on the Do Not Call List. Political parties would have to take immediate measures to remediate any leak in the personal data they hold.

That said, if political parties were subjected to privacy legislation, I don't think it would make a lot of difference in terms of micro-targeting. It certainly hasn't made a difference in the sphere of commercial micro-targeting. As I said, it is very likely that whatever legislation gets introduced, if any, it will be to legitimize micro-targeting. According to Scott Brison, acting Minister of Democratic Institutions, the Liberals are now willing to consider legislation in this sphere. In a CBC interview on March 31, he first of all tried to cover up the way that the voters list is used to build voter profiles in political party databases. He said, "There are robust rules around parties' use of data, for example the voters list." As the law stands now, the only rule is that the lists can't be used for anything other than political purposes. He said that the Liberals are "open to moving to strengthen the privacy regime that governs political parties," while at the same time defending the cartel of political parties and promising that the cartel will sort the problem out: "I want to sit down with members of parliament of all parties and strengthen these policies and develop a common approach. [Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel] Therrien recommended we consider some of the recommendations of the [Chief Electoral Officer] and ways to strengthen our existing privacy policies."

Brison told CBC, "[...]We will ensure a modern and robust regime to protect Canadians' data that at the same time enables political parties to continue the meaningful engagement of citizens that is essential for our democratic Institutions. [...] The connection between citizens and political parties, town halls or door knocking or phone banking, this is important and what we have to be careful of is that we have to preserve that fundamental link between citizens and the electoral system."

But this is precisely the problem. There is no fundamental link between citizens and the electoral system beyond them being targeted for votes. This is the link he wants to preserve. And whatever "meaningful engagement of citizens" Brison is referring to, it is certainly not what Canadians have in mind by the term and certainly not what they want -- which is to have a say in how the country is actually run.

The MLPC has called for the electoral process to be funded instead of political parties. We need a public authority that guarantees the right of all citizens to elect and be elected. Ensuring Canadians can participate on an equal footing as candidates and enabling them to participate in selecting candidates and setting the agenda would guarantee an informed vote and empower people. Even with the existing system, guaranteeing the equality of all candidates would go a long way to assisting Canadians in combating the attempts to target them and deprive them of an outlook. Funding the process instead of political parties would also deprive the cartel of the public subsidies they use to finance these types of micro-targeting marketing campaigns which act to disinform the electorate.

TMLW: The electors' list that Elections Canada distributes to political parties forms the basis of the databases and political marketing. Isn't Elections Canada, as a government institution, subject to the privacy legislation and how the data that it holds in the electors' list is used? How does that work?

ADC: Yes, Elections Canada is subject to privacy legislation, but it is authorized by the Canada Elections Act to hand over the electors' list to political parties, candidates and members of parliament. In 2006, unique ID numbers were added to the list of electors. The only reason this was done was to facilitate political parties uploading the electors' list into their proprietary databases, where they add information they get from various sources, including things like the publicly available list of everybody who has contributed over $200 to a political party, petition campaigns, all sorts of publicly available information. There are also several data-brokers in Canada, such as the Cornerstone Group of Companies which boasts that it compiles data from telephone directories, geo-demographic data, direct response data, and information it compiles from what it calls "third-party lists" that it manages in-house. Info Canada is another; it claims to have information on over 12 million Canadians, including "income range, home type and value, marital status" and so on. And then there is information gathered through telephone surveys and online surveys by the various think-tanks and polling companies, which the parties also use.

The MLPC has argued that Canadians should be able to refuse having their ID numbers given to political parties; they should be able to control whether or not they become part of a political party's database. Removing their ID number would at least hamper the ability of political parties to easily upload and integrate names into the database. At this time, all electors can do is ask to be removed from the list of electors and then they will have to register on polling day, at which point they get put back on the list and the cycle will begin over again. And even if they do get their name removed, their ID number remains permanently attached every time they re-register. Perhaps another solution would be to demand that they can be removed from the list that gets given to political parties, while remaining on the list that is used by election workers for verification when they vote.

The other aspect is that by virtue of being subject to privacy legislation, Elections Canada has an obligation to ensure that when Canadians register and get put onto the list, they are giving their informed consent. Elections Canada has taken some measures towards informed consent, but it still does not fully inform Canadians that their names may be incorporated into a database maintained by political parties.

When the permanent list of electors was started, the Canada Revenue Agency T1 tax return was changed. There is a box that can be checked off if you agree to being put on the electors' list. In 1997, the form merely said "do you authorize the CRA to provide your name, address, and date of birth to Elections Canada to update your information on the National Register of Electors. ... This information can be used for electoral purposes only." It remained that way until 2009, when it was changed to say: "Your information will only be used for purposes permitted under the Canada Elections Act which includes sharing the information with provincial/territorial election agencies, Members of Parliament and registered political parties, as well as candidates at election time."

This still doesn't constitute a sound basis for informed consent. The lists are handed over to political parties and MPs every year, even in non-election years. If Elections Canada were to really obtain informed consent, as it should, it would have to conduct an education campaign explaining how the lists are turned into political party databases and augmented with additional information. Given all the attention being paid to this issue because of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, it would in my opinion be a good time for Elections Canada to carry out an education campaign of this character.

TMLW: You said the framework in which the Analytica revelations are presented is diversionary and disinforming and that Canadians should have our own framework. What would that be?

ADC: My opinion is that raising the issue as one of needing better privacy protection does nothing to empower Canadians. This approach covers up the underlying problem which is the need to renew the political process -- it contributes to keeping Canadians disempowered. Today, the political process is so anachronistic that it has lost all ability to give rise to a government that appears to be based on the consent of the majority. The political parties which form a cartel to maintain themselves in government have been handed over to an army of political mercenaries specialized in manipulative public relations campaigns. They have lost all connection to what political parties are supposed to be -- primary political organizations through which people can participate in political affairs. Treating what Analytica has been doing as a scandal begs the question of why political parties are using micro-targeting at all -- whether it takes place within the limits of privacy legislation that can be enforced or within the scope of the current honour-system makes no difference. It is all to target individuals, not form a political opinion around which the polity can unite so as to make progress. The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP all claim that they take the greatest care to respect and protect the privacy of Canadians. It is a bad joke.

The gathering and use of personal information in electoral campaigns, and the micro-targeting of the electorate through the categorization of people according to their shopping and other habits is a common practice. The Conservative Party even boasted that its 2011 majority victory could be attributed to its sophisticated use of micro-targeting. Political parties in Canada have always bought information available on the market, going way back. The Progressive Conservative Party started its direct-mail fundraising campaign in the early 1970s by buying the database of Canadian customers of Ruby Red Grapefruit Company, a U.S. mail-order company selling citrus fruit. At the time John Laschinger, one of Canada's longest-standing political campaign managers, got a budget of $50,000 to go "prospecting" for data. Aside from the names of well-healed citrus fruit buyers, he purchased magazine subscription lists, including Canadians subscribed to Playboy, and went to other data-brokers from both the private and non-profit sector. You can bet that those people did not give their consent to have their data used in this fashion.

The issue comes back to the kind of political process we need. It goes back to making sure we keep our orientation of fighting for a renewed political process where we can have mechanisms to participate in politics beyond the act of voting every four or five years. The inherent reason for micro-targeting and the appeals that are made to people on an individual private basis, rather than on a political public basis, is that the participation of the people in the political process as it used to take place has been destroyed. Today, consistent with the politicization of private interests, people are to be micro-targeted in the cut-throat competition between the private interests to seize control of the political power.

In this democracy, freedom is described as a market economy and multiparty elections. The former is said to provide consumer choice and the later the choice of which party you want to represent you. It is a very limiting notion of freedom, to say the least.

Politics as the recognition and clashing of competing interests in society and the work to reconcile these competing interests in favour of social progress has been smashed. The political process was designed to reconcile the competing individual and collective interests with the general interest of society on the basis of a national aim. A political process is required to sort out the differences and problems as they affect individuals and all their collectives. The prevalent use of personal information and micro-targeting to serve the narrow interests of supranational private interests works to wipe out politics in the public sphere. The decision-making power is usurped by the most economically powerful international financial interests and their representatives. It is because of the takeover of the decision-making process by supranational private interests that those who govern and the political parties they belong to have abandoned even the appearance of mobilizing "a majority" behind a vision for the society. Politics is by definition an activity that belongs to a body politic. It is by definition a public, not a private, affair. It should not involve micro-targeting of individuals for purposes of disinforming them and disrupting their lives in a manner that in no way provides informed consent.

TMLW: The aim of an election to provide informed consent is not raised at all by the media coverage of the Analytica scandal. People increasingly point out that governments do not rule in their name.

ADC: Yes. Our electoral system does not in fact elect representatives of the people but of "the sovereign" where the sovereign decision-making power resides and this sovereign power today is up for grabs by the biggest supranational private interests. The media and others hyping up this scandal are not interested in the electoral system and its problems. The more things unfold, the more it looks like scandals such as these are being used by contending interests to usurp power for the private interests they represent. The direction of Britain after the Brexit vote, or of the United States under the Trump presidency are matters of huge fights within the ruling elites. It is being alleged that the spending limits in the Brexit referendum were circumvented by the "leave side" via AggregateIQ. Some are suggesting a new referendum should be held because the outcome of the first was tainted by all this. In the U.S., Cambridge Analytica has made its way into the Mueller investigation into alleged Russian electoral interference and the fight over the legitimacy of Trump's election. "Breaking news" is being released every day, with some recent scurrilous stories trying to connect the academic who designed the data-gathering psychological quiz for Cambridge Analytica with the Russian government.


1. Christopher Wylie, the young Canadian man who is the whistleblower in this case, worked with Cambridge Analytica at the time that the project to compile these psychological profiles was being conducted. Wylie describes himself as a "data scientist" and says that he helped set up Cambridge Analytica. When he started work in Britain, it was with parent company SCL Group (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories). In 2014, Wylie sent an e-mail to his friend, Jeffrey Silvester, who later created AggregateIQ, saying that "We mostly do psychological warfare work for NATO." The email is in the package of documents that Wylie handed over to British authorities.

In 2016, he had a $100,000 contract with the Liberal Research Institute, which is funded by parliamentary monies allocated to recognized parties in the House of Commons to conduct research. The Liberals have acknowledged that they contracted him to conduct a pilot project related to "acquiring and setting up social-media monitoring tools" but say they didn't proceed with it. We will probably learn more about what he did because he is being called upon to testify before the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics.

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Canada-Cuba Relations

 Josefina Vidal Begins New Post as Cuban
Ambassador to Canada

Cuban Ambassador Josefina Vidal (left) and Governor General of Canada Julie Payette.

Josefina Vidal presented to Governor General of Canada Julie Payette her diplomatic credentials on March 27, officially becoming Cuba's new ambassador to Canada. Vidal succeeds Julio Garmendía Peña, who completed his nearly five-year term at the end of January. New ambassadors must be officially welcomed by the Governor General before they can carry out their duties as heads of mission.

During the ceremony at Rideau Hall, the Governor General's official residence, Vidal conveyed her government's interest in expanding and strengthening the longstanding relations between Canada and Cuba. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1945 and have continued unbroken ever since. In 1962, after the U.S. imperialists organized to expel Cuba from the Organization of American States, Canada and Mexico were the only two countries in the Americas to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Prior to being appointed Ambassador to Canada, Vidal headed the North America Division at the Cuban Foreign Ministry. She played a crucial role in negotiations between Cuba and the U.S. after December 17, 2014, when Cuban President Raúl Castro and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama announced the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and start a process towards full normalization of relations. Before her posting at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Vidal was the first secretary at the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, DC from 1999 to 2003.

Members of Cuba's diplomatic corps in Canada with Ambassador Vidal at the Governor General's residence, March 27, 2018.

Reception at Cuban Embassy

Ambassador Josefina Vidal (second from right) with (left to right) Giuvel Orozco Ortega,
Counselor-Deputy Head of Mission;  Mr. José Anselmo López; and Canadian Senator Pierrette Ringuette, Counselor of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas and Co-Chair of the Canada-Cuba Inter-Parliamentary Group.

The following day, Ambassador Vidal made her first official appearance as Cuba's official representative to Canada at a lively reception at the Cuban Embassy.

There, Ambassador Vidal, her husband José Anselmo López and Counselor-Deputy Head of Mission Giuvel Orozco Ortega received the many guests that included Canadian government officials, Ambassadors and staff from other embassies, officials from the Canadian Labour Congress, members of Ottawa Cuba Connections (the local member organization of the Canadian Network on Cuba), ALBA Social Movements, and many friends of Cuba from the Ottawa and Gatineau area.

A delegation from the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) presented flowers and a card from the First Secretary of the Party's Central Committee, extending congratulations to Ambassador Vidal on her appointment and the "very best wishes for the success of your mission and our joint work."

The solidarity movement builds people-to-people friendship by, amongst other things, providing opportunities to learn about Cuba and its revolutionary nation-building project that puts the people and their needs at the centre. The solidarity work is based on upholding Cuba's right to determine its own internal and foreign affairs and seeks to contribute to the building of peaceful relations based on mutual benefit between countries and peoples. Those present at the reception from the solidarity and friendship organizations as well as members of parliament expressed their intention to develop this work further with the new ambassador.

(Photos: Cuban Embassy)

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Enthusiastic Discussion with Visiting Parliamentarian on Cubans' Profound Role in Decision-Making

Professor Juan Carlos Rodríguez Díaz and Yamil Martínez Marrero, address public meeting in Ottawa, March 26, 2018.

The cross-country tour of Professor Juan Carlos Rodríguez Díaz, deputy to the National Assembly of People's Power in Cuba and Yamil Martínez Marrero, official of the Canada Desk of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), continued this week with events in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Winnipeg, to bring news and information about the recent general elections in Cuba as well as up-to-date information about this year's program for the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade.

Halifax, March 29, 2018

The Cuban people elected their deputies to the National Assembly on March 11. The 605 members of the National Assembly will elect the Council of State and the Cuban President on April 19. Thus, participants at the events are offered keen insights into the process as it unfolds.

The tour highlights an important issue at this time for humanity, namely, how a people can wield decision-making power. Participants at the events have been intrigued to hear how Cuba conducts its elections where, as a result of the Cuban Revolution, the people have taken charge of their own affairs in the most profound way. Real life disproves the anti-communist caricatures -- the Cuban people are fully in control of the process, beginning with who they select as candidates  as well as how those elected take up their responsibilities and render account to their constituents.

TML Weekly encourages everyone to take part in the remaining events on this tour from the perspective of finding out about Cuba and how the decision-making process takes place.

Visit to Ottawa

Lively discussion at the public meeting in Ottawa, March 26, 2018.

On Monday, March 26, Professor Rodríguez and Yamil Martínez Marrero spoke at several events in Ottawa, beginning with a visit to the National Office of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, where they spoke with several members of the union's National Executive Committee and some other invited workers. Professor Rodríguez spoke eloquently about the decisive role of workers and the union organizations in Cuba in the local and general elections, nominating candidates from among their ranks and participating in decision-making in all aspects of the implementation of the Cuban nation-building project. A lively discussion with members of the National Executive Committee followed, who elaborated some of the preoccupations of the union and the problems faced by workers in Canada. They thanked the Cuban delegation for the interesting discussion.

Later that afternoon, Professor Rodríguez and Martínez Marrero went to the Cuban Embassy to speak with a class of some 20 students from Carleton University who had asked to meet with the visiting Cuban parliamentarian. There, Professor Rodríguez, who teaches at Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca University in Pinar del Rio, spoke about the general elections in Cuba and the participation of the Cuban people from all sectors of the society in the nomination of candidates, the election procedures and the ongoing discussions and decision-making regarding problems of the economy and other important social issues. The students asked many questions and found the discussion very enlightening.

Discussion with Carleton University students.

In the evening, the Cuban delegation addressed a public meeting organized by Ottawa Cuba Connections.

Professor Rodríguez provided a lively historic summary of the struggle of the Cuban people against foreign domination and for their independence. He pointed out that the Cuban Revolution was born in solidarity with people from all over Latin America, North America and Europe, fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Cuban people to drive out the foreign oppressors. That is one of the reasons why an independent Cuba under the leadership of Fidel Castro has always expressed in deeds its profound international solidarity and humanitarianism to peoples in need all over the world, he said.

He also explained the democratic process followed in Cuba for elections from the local to the national level. He spoke about the importance of April 19, when the newly elected National Assembly of People's Power will be convened and will elect the Council of State, including five Vice-Presidents and the President, and establish the government structures.

Martínez Marrero spoke about ICAP's work with more than 2,000 groups and associations in 152 countries. He provided a summary of the program of this year's Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade, being held from April 22 to May 6. He pointed out that the Brigade exemplifies Cuba's internationalism and its program of voluntary labour that builds respect for those who work in its key economic sectors, as the Brigadistas work side-by-side with ordinary Cubans in the fields. These are areas where Che Guevara provided key leadership and to which the Brigade continues to give life.

For more information about the program for this year of the Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Brigade, visit the web site of the Canadian Network on Cuba here.


The Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba hosted a meeting with a Cuban delegation at the Saint-Pierre Centre, March 27, on the electoral process in Cuba. More than 70 people attended and a large number of youth actively intervened during the question period.

The meeting was a lively uninterrupted discussion on the electoral process that existed before the Revolution -- when it was a process that had been usurped by the elite under the domination of the USA -- and the process that emerged from the Cuban Revolution, with which the Cuban people took their place as a sovereign people.

Juan Carlos Rodríguez explained the changes and new mechanisms put in place so that people can exercise their power. The Cuban people established a new form of popular democracy, he said, that came about in the midst of the struggle. He described how it has been enriched by past experience, establishing on a day-to-day basis the mechanisms of consultation and participation, the mass organizations, the youth committees, the Federation of Cuban Women, and much more.

The people hold meetings with their representatives at the workplaces, in the communities, in the neighbourhoods, and in various sectors. All sections of the population are called upon to contribute to every bill to be presented in the legislature. Everyone participates in the selection of candidates. There is a continuous rendering of accounts, including the right of recall and the right of initiative. The right to vote exists as of 16 years of age.

In the most recent election, 605 members of parliament were elected to represent the Cuban people, 322 of them are women -- that is 53.22 per cent. Cuba is the country with the second highest number of women representatives in its parliament in the world. As well, the youngest member of parliament is 19 years old.

During the question period, young people asked, among other things, how does the government take care of the youth?, what role are the youth called upon to play in the elections?, what is communism in Cuba? and why is there an embargo against such a small country as Cuba? These questions were highly appreciated by the speakers who elaborated on the role of the youth as the new generation entrusted with guaranteeing the future and how Cuba has taken up the task of making sure the youth can take up the challenges facing the nation. It became clear that the way life unfolds in Cuba is the best explanation of what communism stands for and is.

(Photos: TML, Cuban Embassy, Cuban Consulate in Montreal, D. Callahan)

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42nd Anniversary of Palestinian Land Day

Massive March to Israeli Border Affirms
Palestinians' Right of Return

Mass Land Day demonstration in Gaza, near the border with the Zionist State of Israel,
March 30, 2018, as the March of Return begins.


This year is the 42nd anniversary of Palestinian Land Day. On March 30, 1976, six Palestinians from Arab villages inside the Green Line were shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting the confiscation of 5,500 acres of land from the Galilee. Since then, Land Day has been commemorated by Palestinians inside Israel as well as in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem and around the world.

This year, Land Day is being marked by a Mass March of Return, with thousands of people from Gaza and the West Bank marching for over 46 days to converge en masse on the Gaza Strip's roughly 45-kilometre-long eastern border with Israel. The action will culminate on May 14 to mark the 70th anniversary of Al Nakba (the catastrophe) in which the brutal and genocidal displacement of the Palestinian people that continues to this day accompanied the creation of the Zionist state of Israel. The Mass March of Return makes clear the indomitable resistance of the Palestinian people to the Zionist occupiers by which, generations later, all those displaced as well as their descendants fully affirm their right of return as codified in international law.

Israeli army opens fire on thousands of unarmed Palestinians participating in Land Day March of Return in Gaza near the Israeli border, with at least 15 deaths and the Palestinian Ministry of Health reporting more than 1,400 injured, including injuries from live ammunition fire. The Palestinian Authority has declared Saturday, March 31, 2018 a day of national mourning.

The Zionist occupiers have responded with predictable violence and threats of mass killings and collective punishment of protestors. Palestine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates strongly condemned the Zionists' threats, noting that "the most prominent of these threats is the statement of the Israeli Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Gadi Eizenkot.

"Eizenkot bragged that he had given a death warrant to hundreds of snipers deployed on the border of the Gaza Strip and to target unarmed Palestinian citizens participating in peaceful protests. Eizenkot justified this radical statement: 'If the snipers feel the lives of Israelis are under threat,' which reminds us of the same statement that was authorized by the Israeli government's decision to allow Israeli soldiers to kill Palestinian citizens as they wish, which resulted in hundreds or even thousands of executions on the ground against our people. These executions were later documented in videos that proved that these crimes against Palestinians are done with premeditation, without causing any danger to the Israeli soldiers.

"Benjamin Netanyahu's government bears full and direct responsibility for the consequences of this extremist criminal statement.

"The ministry affirms that this authorization to commit murders against Palestinians is a continuation of the fascist, racist and colonial ideologies that are based on violence and organized state terrorism. Therefore, Israeli officials publicly admit that they are preparing to commit a massacre on Friday [March 30] against our people, and here we ask: What will the international community do? The Ministry assures that the failure to hold Israel accountable as an occupying force for its crimes and violations has encouraged Israeli politicians, military and security officials to continue to abuse and suppress our people, aiming to exterminate the national existence in Palestine.

"The biased and unlimited American support for the occupation's policies and measures, and the double standards of many countries in their foreign policy has encouraged the expansion of the colonial projects, in addition to escalating the mass murder of Palestinians."

For its part, Canada has a long history of interference in the Middle East, including rendering assistance to the Zionist occupiers. Meanwhile at home, it is increasingly criminalizing Canadians' just support for the Palestinian cause and opposition to the racist ideology of Zionism by claiming this to be anti-Semitism. Far from it, it is Zionism that degrades all of humanity, including people of the Jewish faith, by justifying ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide as a means to provide "security" for one group of people by dehumanizing others. This must not pass!

TML Weekly calls on Canadians from all walks of life to go all out to support the just stands of the Palestinian people and demand that the killers of the people on March 30 be brought to justice. Canadians must hold the Canadian government to account for conciliating and providing active support for the Zionist occupation of Palestinian land and the crimes of the occupiers. In doing so, Canadians also fight for their own right to conscience and freedom to speak out in support of peace and the peoples' resistance to aggression, war and occupation.

Picket against occupation of Palestine at Israeli consulate in Montreal on Land Day,
March 30, 2018.

(Photos: R. Al Jaar, Bea, Adalauk Palestin, D. Abushamala, K. Sofi)

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Diplomatic Missions Briefed on Jerusalem's Status
and Ongoing Israeli Displacement of Palestinians

On March 7, several human rights groups held an event at the Yabous Cultural Centre in Jerusalem to brief diplomatic missions on the current status of Jerusalem. Its status is clearly defined in international law as an occupied territory. However, on December 6, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump made a provocative announcement that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, as the capital of Israel and as such plans to move its embassy there. This act, along with other developments in Israel, are aimed at creating the facts on the ground to de facto change the status of Jerusalem.

The Catholic human rights organization, the Society of St. Yves, provided an introduction by reviewing the legal status of the city of Jerusalem since UN General Assembly Resolution 181 was passed in 1947, which recommended the partition of Palestine and the creation of a corpus separatum regime for Jerusalem. The Society followed with a presentation on the "Legal Status of Jerusalem: The Land, the People," outlining the deterioration of the situation in Jerusalem over the past three months since Trump's announcement, as well as the general situation in the city, as a result of Israel's discriminatory demographic policies.

The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC) followed with a presentation titled "Forcible Transfer and the Amendments on the Laws (Shaked's Plan)," which analyzed the plan of Member of the Knesset Ayelet Shaked to create an "administrative court" to expand Israeli legal jurisdiction to the occupied Palestinian territory by transferring jurisdiction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from the Israeli High Court of Justice to a newly-created administrative court. JLAC underscored its concerns in relation to the Israeli High Court of Justice and the Israeli Judiciary as a whole, and highlighted the gravity of Shaked's plan to impose Israeli law in the West Bank by creating the new administrative court as an annexationist measure.

JLAC pointed out that the new administrative court would cover areas such as planning and construction, including land ownership and demolitions, requests under the freedom of information law of access to information and freedom of movement in and to the West Bank. Although Palestinians would still be able to appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice, after hearings at the administrative court, the cost of appealing is unaffordable for most Palestinians. JLAC clarified that the plan is another attempt to legally annex the West Bank and strip it of its special status as an occupied territory, as expressed by Shaked, who has declared that the new court aims to "normalize" the situation of the West Bank and "end discrimination against settlers." JLAC further clarified that the administrative court would not consider points of international law, especially humanitarian law.

Human rights group Al-Haq made a presentation on the "Alteration of the Legal Status of Jerusalem: A Legal Analysis of Bills and Legislation" in which it examined the expansion of the Jerusalem municipality in 1967, and the legal annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel in 1980 through the amendment to Israel's Basic Law. It noted that annexationist measures since 1967 have been condemned under United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. Al-Haq, then comprehensively detailed the series of bills currently tabled before the Knesset, including the Greater Jerusalem Bill, which aims to annex settlement blocks on the East Jerusalem periphery, including industrial zones, and the Jerusalem and Its Daughters Bill, which intends to incorporate settlement blocks into Jerusalem, while creating sub-municipalities for three Palestinian neighbourhoods behind the wall. In addition, the Jerusalem Capital of Israel Bill requires a super majority Knesset vote for any alteration of the legal status of Jerusalem under the Basic Law, making final status negotiations more difficult. Al-Haq outlined concerns over the Law for the Rescue of Jerusalem as a Jewish and Democratic Capital City, which aimed to reduce Palestinian presence in Jerusalem and freeze Israeli citizenship procedures for Palestinian Jerusalemites. The latter is no longer on the table, but clearly indicates a tendency in the Israeli law-making process to radically alter the demography of East Jerusalem and force the transfer of Palestinians out of the City, Al-Haq noted. In a different vein, already in February, Israel adopted a higher education law that effectively imposes its jurisdiction on settlement universities, which amounts to an annexationist measure.

In its intervention titled "'Security' as Justification for Forcible Transfer," Al-Quds University's Community Action Centre (CAC) presented the case of Manwa Qunbar, the mother of Fadi Qunbar, whose family was the target of Israel's collective punishment and persecution after her son was alleged to have carried out an attack. Her permanent residency and family unification permits for several of her family members were revoked. CAC then presented the case of Nadia Abu Jamal, the relative of another alleged attacker. Nadia was forcibly moved out of Jerusalem and her house punitively demolished by the Israeli authorities.

CAC pointed out that in 2015 the Israeli Security Cabinet provided further grounds to revoke residency on a punitive basis, in line with the Israeli demographic goals in Jerusalem. In addition, CAC presented the case of four Palestinian parliamentarians whose residency revocations were considered by the Israeli Supreme Court on December 13, 2017, for breach of allegiance to the State of Israel. Despite the fact that the Israeli High Court of Justice acknowledged the current illegality of revocations, it granted the Knesset six months to issue a law legalizing residency revocations for breach of allegiance to the State of Israel. On March 7, the Israeli Parliament passed an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law which allows the Israeli Minister of Interior to revoke the permanent residency status from Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, who the Minister deems have 'breached allegiance' to Israel. Furthermore, CAC explained that five new bills currently being discussed at the Knesset deal with residency revocation on punitive grounds, despite being clear collective punishment measures and reprisals against family members.

The human rights organizations concluded that these and other measures of displacement, including demolitions, psychological warfare and coercive environments, are Israeli policies that contribute to a clear plan to eliminate Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. The organizations presented conclusions and recommendations on the situation in Jerusalem, and the obligations of the international community and Third States in this regard.


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70th Anniversary of Jeju Massacre in Korea

Jeju Massacre Underscores Long History of Resistance to U.S. Aggression Against Korea


click image to enlarge


This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Jeju Massacre, instigated by the U.S. Military Government in Korea on April 3, 1948, on Jeju Island. It started more than two years before the U.S. began the Korean War under the cover of the UN flag. It was only in 2008 -- sixty years later -- that the true scope of the crimes committed in Jeju began to come to light when mass graves were uncovered at the Jeju airport, and still the events are not well known. Today, Jeju Islanders continue the tradition of militant defiance by rejecting the deep-water U.S. naval base being built there.

With the third inter-Korean Summit scheduled for April 27 at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea, and the DPRK-U.S. summit in May, it is important to look at unfolding events from the actual historical context, not the Cold War outlook imposed by the U.S. to justify the division of Korea and all the crimes it has carried out there. By doing so, warranted conclusions can be drawn about why Korea was divided, what is the source of tension on the Korean Peninsula, and the necessity to reunite Korea and defend the cause of international peace.

TML Weekly is publishing below an excerpt from an article by U.S. veteran and peace activist S. Brian Willson, entitled "U.S. and South Korea Assault an Idyllic Island: Not For the First Time," published on his blog on June 21, 2012.

Activists protest at the U.S. naval base on Jeju Island, south Korea, June 20, 2017, to oppose the arrival of warships from the U.S., Canada and south Korea for military exercises. They include a team of kayakers, who paddle out to the ships to ensure the people's rejection of the naval base and their presence is clearly conveyed to those aboard the ships.

"U.S. and South Korea Assault an Idyllic Island: Not For the First Time"
- S. Brian Willson (Excerpt) -


One of the darkest, virtually unknown chapters of U.S. intervention occurred in the southern portions of Korea prior to the Korean War. In 1945, a Joint U.S. Army-Navy Intelligence Study reported that the vast majority of Koreans possessed a strong desire for independence and self-rule, and were vehemently opposed to control by any successor to the hated Japanese who had ruled them since 1910. A subsequent U.S. study reported that nearly 80 per cent of Koreans wanted a socialist, rather than capitalist system.

Left: From one illegitimate act to another, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur (left), after the U.S. divided Korea, imposes Syngman Rhee (right) as "president" of the southern part. Right: Rhee
in turn holds bogus elections in May 1948 to codify the division.

Despite the conclusions of these internal documents, U.S. President Harry Truman, after the Japanese surrender in August 1945, imposed a purportedly temporary partition at Korea's 38th Parallel, dividing a 5,000-year homogenous culture. He then commanded U.S. General Douglas MacArthur to "govern" the people living south of the 38th Parallel. In October 1945, needing a trusted Korean with "an [U.S.] American point of view" to be the U.S. strongman, MacArthur flew 71-year-old Korean-born Syngman Rhee from the U.S. to Seoul on MacArthur's personal plane. Rhee, a Methodist who had lived in the United States for 40 years, was to be a surrogate ruler of Korea that was largely Buddhist and Confucianist.

Rhee unilaterally chose to hold separate elections in 1948 to "legally" create an artificially divided Korea, despite vigorous popular opposition throughout the Peninsula, north and south of the 38th Parallel, including residents of Cheju Island (now called Jeju, hereafter identified as such). What is referred to as the April 3 (1948) uprising on Jeju in response to these elections, actually lasted into 1950, and is the single greatest massacre in modern Korean history. The Jeju uprising in 1948 may be seen as a microcosm for the impending Korean War.

Mass imprisonment of suspected communists begins on Jeju Island in 1948, to quell the people's refusal to submit to foreign dictate.

A CIA National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Rhee was so unpopular that the newly established Republic of Korea (ROK) would not survive "without massive infusion of U.S. aid."

The U.S. Embassy described the repression in response to the Jeju opposition to Rhee as a "scorched earth" campaign of "extermination." Secret protocols placed all Korean Constabulary, police, ROK forces, and paramilitary units under USAMGIK's (United States Army Military Government In Korea) control.

CIA documents concluded that politics under the USAMGIK and Rhee regime were dominated by a tiny elite class of wealthy Koreans who repressed dissent of the vast majority, using "ruthlessly brutal" policies similar to those of the previous Japanese machinery hated by most Koreans.

Depiction of the beginning of the Jeju Massacre on April 3, 1948, by artist Kang Yo Bae based on witness statements -- click to enlarge.

Then-U.S. Military Governor of Korea, John Reed Hodge, briefed U.S. Congressional Representatives that "Cheju was a truly communal area that is peacefully controlled by the People's Committee." Despite this understanding, he commanded three U.S. military officers (among others) -- Colonel Harley E. Fuller, Captain John P. Reed, and Captain James Hausman -- to advise and coordinate the "extermination" and "scorched earth" campaign. Koreans who had collaborated with the hated Japanese occupiers now served in the U.S.-trained Korean Constabulary and police. Right-wing paramilitary units became a brutal element of Rhee's security apparatus. U.S. advisers accompanied all Korean Constabulary and police (and additional ROK units after 1948) in ground campaigns; U.S. pilots flew C-47s to ferry troops, weapons, war materiel while occasionally directing bombings; and U.S. intelligence officers provided daily intelligence. Additionally, U.S. Navy war ships, including the USS Craig, blockaded and bombed the Island, preventing supplies and additional opposition forces from arriving, while preventing flight of boatloads of desperate Islanders.

Hodge's successor, General William Roberts, declared it was of "utmost importance" that dissenters "be cleared up as soon as possible." The repressive Japanese organization, "National League To Provide Guidance" (Bo Do Yun Maeng), was expanded by the Rhee regime. Used to systematically identify any Koreans who had opposed Japanese occupation, the League now worked to identify those who opposed the de facto brutal U.S./Rhee rule. Thousands were murdered, jailed, and tortured, and many dumped into the sea as a result.

Some of the legion of children orphaned by the Jeju Massacre,
shown here attempting to flee to safety.

The Governor of Jeju at the time admitted that the repression of the Island's 300,000 residents led to the murder of as many as 60,000 Islanders, with another 40,000 desperately fleeing in boats to Japan. Thus, one-third of its residents were either murdered or fled during the "extermination" campaign. Nearly 40,000 homes were destroyed and 270 of 400 villages were levelled. One of Roberts' cohorts, Colonel Rothwell Brown, claimed that the Islanders were simply "ignorant, uneducated farmers and fishers," a weak excuse for repressing those who, Brown asserted, refused to recognize the "superiority" of the "American Way."

U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson and George Kennan, head of the State Department's Policy Planning, agreed in 1949 that suppression of the internal threat in south Korea, (i.e., Koreans' passion for self-determination), with assistance of the newly created CIA, was critical to preserving Rhee's power, and assuring success of the U.S.'s worldwide containment policy. The 1949 Chinese Revolution made repressing the neighbouring Koreans' passion for self-determination indispensable for success in the emerging "Cold War," complementing successful U.S. efforts using CIA covert actions to thwart any socialist movements in Europe following World War II.

The Jeju Islanders' resistance inspired similar uprisings on the mainland that were met with similar brutal repression by U.S.-backed forces, in the name of containing communism. Shown here are scenes of repression in Jeosu in 1948.

The 1949-50 National Security Council study, known as NSC-68, laid out U.S. aims to assure a global political system to "foster a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish."

The Korean War that lasted from June 1950 to July 1953, was an enlargement of the 1948-50 struggle of Jeju Islanders to preserve their self-determination from the tyrannical rule of U.S.-supported Rhee and his tiny cadre of wealthy constituents. Little known is that the U.S.-imposed division of Korea in 1945 against the wishes of the vast majority of Koreans was the primary cause of the Korean War that broke out five years later. The War destroyed by bombing most cities and villages in Korea north of the 38th Parallel, and many south of it, while killing four million Koreans -- three million (one-third) of the north's residents and one million of those living in the south, in addition to killing one million Chinese. This was a staggering international crime, still unrecognized, that killed five million people and permanently separated 10 million Korean families.

Recovery of human remains found in a mass grave near Jeju Island Airport in 2008.

Following the Korean War, Dean Acheson concluded that "Korea saved us," enabling the U.S. to implement its apocalyptic imperial strategy laid out in NSC-68. In Korea, this meant that the U.S. consistently assured dictatorial governments for nearly 50 years, long after Rhee was forced out of office at age 85 in 1960. Since 1953, the U.S. and south Korea have lived under a Mutual Defense Treaty, Status of Forces Agreements, and a Combined Forces Command headed by a four-star U.S. general. The fact is that despite claims to the contrary, Korea has never assumed sovereignty since the U.S. imposed division of Korea in 1945. The U.S. has possessed more than 100 military bases and nearly 50,000 troops on Korean soil, and even today has dozens of bases and 28,000 troops stationed there. For decades, the U.S. maintained its main Asian bombing range south of Seoul.


(Edited slightly for style by TML. Photos: U.S. National Archives, Yang Jo Hoon, D.H. Song, Anti-war kayakers)

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Mass Demonstrations of Youth Across United States

Students Determined to Be Heard and
Win Change in Their Favour

Washington, DC

Across the U.S. in every state, more than one million people, mostly students, demonstrated to defend their rights and demand an end to violence in their schools and communities. Everywhere, students and teachers rejected plans for more police measures, such as armed police in the schools, more cameras, fences and metal detectors. Common slogans reflecting this stand included Art Not Artillery; Books not Bullets; Arm Teachers With Resources Not Guns; I Am a Teacher Not a Sharp Shooter; and No Guns, Just Peace. Young women and girls made up the majority of the protesters and their determined spirit imbued the many actions. In some cities, such as Washington, New York and Los Angeles, they were joined by actors, musicians and other celebrities, some of whom performed on stage or spoke. A number made substantial financial contributions as well.

Students also expressed opposition to police violence. Tribute was paid to those killed by police alongside the students and others who have died in various shootings. Demonstrations saw protesters using the Hands Up, Don't Shoot motion to show their rejection of police killing of unarmed youth. The action emerged from the struggle in Ferguson and also symbolizes the demand for an end to racist police violence, especially against African American youth.

Protesters took their stand against the general militarization of schools and communities. Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, for example, is considering building a sniper tower and requiring all students to have see-through backpacks. Parkland students, who initiated the demonstrations, are publicly rejecting such measures and demanding more counselors, full funding, and no armed police or teachers in the schools.

Use of force and violence do not solve the social problems faced by the youth. As the demonstrations indicate, students are demanding a bright and safe future. Demilitarize Police for Peace in Our Streets; Automatic Weapons Are Only for Murdering People; Melt All the Guns; Don't Kill Our Future; No Guns, No Nukes; and No Weapons of War were among the signs expressing the demand to end violence both at home and abroad. There is growing consciousness of the connection between police violence and use of force at home with military violence abroad. Both serve to block the striving of youth everywhere for a bright future where their rights and the rights of all are guaranteed.

The students are contending with great efforts to narrow their fight and keep it contained to appealing to politicians for new legislation. Various politicians joined the demonstrations in an effort to take control -- though many of them are responsible for police violence and criminalizing youth. New York politicians for example are notorious for defending Stop and Frisk measures against the youth, mass incarceration, police killings and police impunity. Both New York and California are considering measures to have armed police in every public school.

The students are not only rejecting such measures, they are insisting that their voice is heard and their solutions utilized. They are showing that security lies not with the politicians and police measures, but with continued organizing for rights. As signs put it: "If the opposite of pro is con, then the opposite of Progress is Congress." And "We Are Students, We Are Change." Keeping matters in their own hands, students are going forward with more walkouts and demonstrations planned for April 20.

Washington, DC

  Boston, Massachusetts

Buffalo, New York

New York City

Baltimore, Maryland

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Chicago, Illinois

Downers Grove, Illinois

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

St. Paul, Minnesota

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Raleigh, North Carolina

Montgomery, Alabama

Parkland, Florida

Tampa Bay, Florida

South Beach, Florida

Savannah, Georgia; Harlem, Georgia

Nashville, Tennessee

Little Rock, Arkansas

Bentonville, Arkansas

St. Louis, Missouri

Bozeman, Missouri

Austin, Texas

Houston, Texas

Denver, Colorado

Los Angeles, California

San Francisco, California

San Clemente, California

Santa Rosa, California

Las Vegas, Nevada

Portland, Oregon

Seattle, Washington

Kona, Hawaii


Solidarity Marches in Canada

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Montreal, Quebec

Toronto, Ontario

Thompson, Manitoba

Edmonton, Alberta

Calgary, Alberta

Victoria, BC

Elsewhere Around the World

Belfast, Ireland

Stockholm, Sweden

Copenhagen, Denmark

Paris, France

Madrid, Spain

Rome, Italy

Canberra, Australia

New Zealand

(Voice of Revolution. Photos: VOR, March for Our Lives, L. Catallozzi, K. Rector, C. O'Connor, L. Sutton, D. Harding, N. Curland, K. Brennan, M. Welsh, T. Rice, J. Consolla, A. Boeing, E. Suzanne, C. Critz, Stephanie, D. Moore,D. Anne, Nicole, B. Sullivan, D. Scanzari, L. Brinkley, L. Feierman, P. Franz, Pythia, S. Selaggio, Charlotte, Megan, J. Lang, C. Yardley, K. Whetter, K. Darbyson, K. Doyle, K. Pringle, M. Kagan, C. Johonnson, S. Kozul, L. Voss, Madrid Resistance, J. Andrews, R. Coole, J. Watson )

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Brazilian People Resist Counter-Revolutionary Coup

Peoples' Forces Reject Attacks on
Their Political Leaders

Lula da Silva concludes his fourth caravan in Curitiba, Paraná, March 28, 2018.

The fight of former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the multitudes of Brazilians who support his right to be a presidential candidate for the Workers' Party in the October 2018 elections continues without letup. The fourth in a series of "Lula for Brazil" caravans -- this one through the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná -- wrapped up successfully on March 28 in the city of Curitiba, despite a spate of organized violent attacks along the way against it and against local people who came out in their thousands to show support for Lula and the Workers' Party. At the big political rally in Curitiba, Lula shared the podium with the presidential candidates of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) Manuela d'Avila, and the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), Guilherme Boulos. In her speech d'Avila said, "Defending Lula is not only the task of the Workers' Party and the Lulistas. It is the task of all who defend democracy." Boulos said it is important to have a united front of the left at this time despite there being different positions and points of view.

Manuela d'Avila (left) and Guilherme Boulos (right) join Lula on the last stop of his caravan in Curitiba, March 28, 2018.

Rally in Curitiba, Paraná, March 28, 2018.

The campaign for Lula's right to be a candidate is taking place in a context of the increasing use of police powers against the peoples' opposition by the oligarchs who usurped power in 2016 by staging a parliamentary coup against President Dilma Rousseff. This was done in order to impose on Brazilians a corrupt, foreign-inspired agenda of privatization, cuts to social programs and attacks on workers' rights, which the working people and their organizations are vigorously resisting.

One way these police powers are being wielded is through the courts, which are being used against Lula in an effort to disqualify him as a presidential candidate. The next round of Lula's battle against the persecution to which he is being subjected by a politicized Judiciary takes place April 4. That is when the Federal Supreme Court will decide whether or not to approve his application to remain out of prison until all appeals to higher courts of his conviction on "corruption and money laundering" charges and a 12-year jail sentence -- handed down in the absence of any evidence -- are exhausted.[1] Whatever the outcome, Lula and his supporters all over the country have vowed to keep up their fight for justice, democracy and for his right to be a candidate in October.

Regarding the attacks on Lula's caravan, which were attributed to armed militias mainly linked to wealthy landowners in the region, the International Relations Department of the Workers' Party wrote in a letter on March 26 that the attackers were "trying -- with guns, knives, stones, whips (a symbol of 19th century slavery) and other means -- to block the caravan's access to towns in the region. People, mostly women, were beaten with the connivance of the State Police, which also did not prevent the caravan vehicles from being hit by stones and fireworks, nor the road blockades by tractors, trucks and agricultural machinery."

Since then, on the night of March 27, the attacks escalated, with shots being fired at one of the caravan buses in the state of Paraná.

Caravan stops in Foz do Iguaçu, in Paraná, March 27, 2018.

Workers' Party parliamentarians also issued a statement on the events in which they declared that in spite of the violence directed against their party and others the Workers' Party would not be deterred from defending Lula's right to be a candidate:

"We denounce to the world the deepening of the rupture of democracy in Brazil, a process composed of a series of measures of exception adopted in the face of the omission -- and of the complicity, in many cases -- of the State in the face of growing political violence against the left in general and the Workers' Party in particular.

"As parliamentarians elected by popular vote to represent the ideals of the Workers' Party, we will continue to hold public debates across the country and will not be intimidated by anyone. The 'Lula for Brazil' caravan will continue until the end, always firmly defending Lula's right to run for the presidency in the October elections."

Caravan is met at the archaeological site São Miguel das Missões, in Rio Grande do Sul, by Indigenous leaders from the Guarani and Kaingang peoples, March 23, 2018.

Another way the peoples' forces are being attacked is through the targeted killing of social and political activists. On March 14, Marielle Franco, a popular Rio de Janeiro city councillor for the Socialism and Freedom Party, and the driver of the car in which she was travelling, Anderson Gomes, were brazenly assassinated in the middle of downtown Rio. Franco, a 39-year-old black woman who grew up in Maré, a Rio favela (poor neighbourhood), was known as a human rights defender and outspoken critic of militarized policing and police violence, especially against youth in the favelas.

Demonstrations were held all over Brazil denouncing the assassination of Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco on March 14, 2018 and to demand those responsible be punished. Banner reads "Marielle Lives: Militarization -- Not in Our Name."

When coup president Michel Temer ordered the army to take charge of public security in the state of Rio de Janeiro on February 15, favela residents banded together to set up their own People's Truth Commission to monitor the military's policing actions. Franco was named its rapporteur. The General in charge of the military intervention, as it is called, reportedly declared that he didn't want another Truth Commission set up to investigate military human rights abuses.

Four days before her murder, Franco publicly criticized the Rio Military Police's 41st Battalion for a series of police killings of teenagers and the terrorizing of residents in one of the city's favelas the previous week. Huge demonstrations have taken place all over Brazil and in other countries around the world to denounce Franco's murder and the impunity with which others have also been attacked, and to demand that those responsible for these crimes be found and brought to justice.

TML Weekly denounces the all-sided attacks on the Brazilian people's forces and their political leaders, whether through acts of physical violence or state-organized persecution of other types including odiously manipulated legal, parliamentary and constitutional processes. It also denounces  the unelected coup government's foreign backers, including Canada, for their silence on all this while they conspire against, threaten and subject the Bolivarian government of Venezuela to every kind of vile attack.


1. See "Lula Has the Right to be a Candidate for President," TML Weekly January 24, 2018.

(With files from Brasil Wire, Prensa Latina, Folha de Sao Paulo. Photos: Brasil de Fato, Media Ninja)

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