April 22, 2017 - No. 14

U.S. Intelligence Failures

Our Security Lies in Our Fight
for the Rights of All!


Manufactured Justifications for Use of Police Powers
- Pauline Easton -

International Developments Since U.S. Attack on Syria
Unprincipled and Warmongering Stand
of Trudeau Government

- Sam Heaton and Enver Villamizar -

U.S. Ramps Up Provocations
U.S. Threats Against Korea
- Charlie Vita -
Contradictions Sharpen Within U.S. Bureaucracy
Over Chemical Attack

- Hilary LeBlanc -

International Actions Condemn U.S. Bombing of Afghanistan
Hands Off Afghanistan! NATO Out of Afghanistan!
End the Occupation Now!

Venezuela's Resistance to Imperialist Interference
Oppose Canada's Nefarious Role! Hands Off Venezuela!
- Margaret Villamizar -
Venezuelans Mobilize in Defence of Bolivarian Revolution 

Mass Hunger Strike Launched on Palestine Prisoners' Day, April 17

Freedom for Palestine and All Political Prisoners in Israeli Jails! Resistance Is a Right! End the Occupation!
- Yi Nicholls -

Conditions in Israeli Prisons
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights -

Presidential Election in Ecuador

Citizens' Revolution Prevails Over Oligarchy

U.S. Intelligence Failures

Our Security Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All!

Contradictions within the ranks of the U.S. bureaucracy have increased manifold since Donald Trump became President of the United States. Evidence of the failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to provide information which is trustworthy is sharpening these contradictions.

One or another or all of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies were accused of interfering in the presidential election while not a few military figures also spoke in favour of either the Clinton camp or the Trump camp. Both political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, have been accused of spying on one another and/or of collaborating with Russian spying. The Russians have also been accused of interfering in the U.S. electoral process. Cabinet leaks, accusations of White House spying or of the intelligence agencies spying on the White House are rife while accusations of false information emanating from the intelligence agencies is released from within their own ranks.

The latest accusations that the intelligence agencies are providing false intelligence and that the U.S. presidency is not basing its actions on trustworthy intelligence relate to the accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians on April 4. This is countered by several former military and intelligence figures who, using inside channels, are corroborating the Russian version of events that the Syrian government did not carry out such an attack. According to some accounts, Trump's CIA Director himself, Mike Pompeo, tried to warn the President of the intelligence failure on Syria before the U.S. airstrike and was then subsequently sidelined by the "hawks" and did not appear in the "war room" at the President's private Florida estate when the missile strike was conducted.[1] To have this account by one section of the "intelligence community" against the account of the other is supposed to get the peace-loving people who oppose what the Trump administration and other governments are doing to engage in the factional fighting taking place within the ranks of the ruling elites.[2]

It is also to further divert attention from the deep crisis in which the U.S. democratic institutions are mired and the dangers posed by government of police powers. The revelations of the former intelligence officers also show that the aggression against Syria did not unite the U.S. bureaucracy as intended. The material provided by TML Weekly this week  shows that as the divisions within the ranks of the ruling elite and its intelligence agencies continue to sharpen, the dangers to the peoples of the world increase. Two days after the U.S. strike, the U.S. military's Pacific Command announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier, warships and submarines to Korean waters to threaten the People's Republic of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as well as to contain Russia. Then, on April 13, for the same purposes, the U.S. attacked Afghanistan with the first use of what is known as a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, a 21,600-pound device we are told is "America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb."

Despite the massive intelligence failures, the peoples of the world are supposed to entrust their fate and protection to the very same security agencies, intelligence agencies, police and armed forces that either provide the false intelligence or base their actions on it. It is not only irrational but also a desperate attempt to keep the peoples disarmed in the face of the situation. Such a path is fraught with danger.

In the opinion of TML Weekly, far from the peoples basing their stand on what the U.S. imperialists and other big powers say and on false and self-serving intelligence, it is necessary to take a clear look at the results of the contention for power among the private interests which have seized the U.S. state apparatus and that of their NATO allies and draw warranted conclusions. The developments taking place inform the resistance movements of the people to base themselves on their own independent collective intelligence based on their own collective experience. The security of the peoples of the world lies in the fight for their own rights and the rights of all.


1. The same CIA Director Pompeo announced on April 13 that the U.S. now considers the organization Wikileaks to be a "non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia." Pompeo stated, "we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. ... To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now," he said. During the 2016 U.S. election campaign, both Pompeo (previously a Tea Party Congressperson) and Trump cited and praised Wikileaks for exposing various crimes of Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

2. Within the U.S. administration, the Syrian attack was preceded by a reshuffling of Trump's National Security Council and related moves, and was said to have favoured National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster -- one of many military figures in the Trump administration but one of the few who remains on active duty. McMaster's nomination was itself the result of vicious infighting within Trump's inner circle, with his predecessor General Michael Flynn forced to resign after 24 days due to allegedly misleading the Vice-President about his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Following the Syria strike, Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland was asked to step down and was moved to a diplomatic post.

Examples of those coming forward to unite with Trump include his erstwhile rival, Hillary Clinton who, only hours before the missile strike called for the U.S. to bomb Syrian airfields. Following the strike, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham -- both vociferous critics of the Trump administration -- issued a strident joint statement in support of the strike and stated that Trump now "deserves the support of the American people." Republican Senator Marco Rubio, himself a former Trump rival who has continued his criticism of Trump, also praised the strikes, quoting Bible verses that "the wicked will not go unpunished." He called for more action and to "stop worrying so much about what Russia's going to think or what Russia's going to do."

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Manufactured Justifications for Use
of Police Powers

The hysteria about Russian hacking, fake news and subversion in the U.S. presidential election and since has led the intelligence agencies and secret police of the U.S. and other NATO countries to present themselves as the defenders of democracy. In doing so they call for the strengthening of their arbitrary powers to guard against "threats." Despite the fact that these agencies are notorious for their own domestic and international lies and interference past and present, the spectre of "Russian aggression" is presented as proof of the need to put our trust in the police powers of the U.S. imperialist state.

In Canada, the Trudeau government has jumped on the bandwagon, announcing that instead of promised reform to the electoral system, Canada's intelligence agencies will involve themselves further in elections to defend against alleged Russian threats. Trudeau announced on February 1 that his government's new mission is to "defend the Canadian electoral process from cyber threats," and this will include integrating the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada's electronic spy agency -- which is known for conducting its own "cyber warfare" -- into Canadian elections and work directly with political parties. Likewise, Canada's military deployment to Latvia is said to include military intelligence "cyber warriors" to defend against "attacks by Russia" and "fake news," which military leaders have said includes any claims that Canadian and other NATO countries have aggressive aims in placing troops on Russia's borders or that people oppose their presence.

All of this increased reliance on the intelligence agencies comes despite the fact that they famously could not even predict the results of the U.S. election. Hillary Clinton gloated that no less than 17 separate agencies backed her claims about Russian hacking of the Democratic Party and Russian interference to elect her opponent. The winner, Trump, declared support for the intelligence agencies and their powers to be a top priority and his administration has likewise taken up the torch of opposing the Russian menace, despite the ongoing factional fights in search of connections between Trump's campaign and the Russian state that would vindicate Clinton. The "intelligence" seems to be either inaccurate or simply self-serving. In that regard, how can these agencies and those they work for be trusted to provide the people with security?

As one example of the self-serving aspect of the actions of these agencies, it is a little-known fact that the explosive claims about Russian hacking of the U.S. election and subsequent official intelligence agency conclusions and reports were produced not by those agencies but contracted out and produced by a private agency called CrowdStrike. Although its client list is secret, CrowdStrike's clients are said to include not only the U.S. government but the Democratic Party and "five of the world's 10 largest banks and three of the top 10 oil and gas firms." CrowdStrike is also known for a discredited report claiming that Russian hackers had compromised Ukrainian artillery resulting in huge losses of equipment.

Both CrowdStrike and its main competitor, Mandiant, rose to prominence based on questionable reports claiming widespread Chinese cyberattacks against the U.S. and some of its allies. Mandiant's allegedly comprehensive 2013 report linking the Chinese government to cyber attacks was criticized by various cyber-security experts, including for discounting the possibility that other state actors disguised their own actions to look like they were perpetrated by the Chinese.[1] China has denied such claims and asked the U.S. to stop groundless accusations, pointing out that IP addresses can be easily disguised and that China faces many cyber attacks from U.S. IP addresses.

On March 31, Wikileaks released hundreds of files on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) "Marble" source code that it said allows the agency to engage in a "forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese."

The self-serving conclusion pushed by all the agencies and private firms is to peddle their wares and strengthen their hold over the institutions of the state. The U.S. example shows how deep is the crisis in which the ruling circles and their institutions are mired. The more security forces they create and security measures they enforce and police powers they usurp, the more bogged down they get. The contradictions within the military, security and civil services and bureaucracy are getting sharper but nonetheless the people are told to rely on these agencies.

The ruling circles have not changed their pretexts since the start of the Cold War, unleashed using the pretext of Russian spying. At that time, the intelligence agencies were given a mission -- counter-revolution. The infrastructure in the advanced capitalist countries was based on a social contract destined to keep the working people tied to the two-party system so as to isolate communism and make sure the people's desire for peace, democracy and socialism was diverted into shoring up the capitalist institutions and ensuring that communism would not spread.

Allegations of Russian spying were used to justify the creation of intelligence agencies and their covert activities, just as the allegations of Russian cyber-espionage today are used to increase the use of police powers. According to the disinformation taken up as soon as World War II was coming to an end, the first spy was Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk for the Soviet Embassy to Canada. He "defected" on September 5, 1945 -- just three days after the end of the war -- "with 109 documents on Soviet espionage activities in the West." This is said to have "forced Prime Minister Mackenzie King to call a Royal Commission to investigate espionage in Canada."

Historian Jack Granatstein writes that the "Gouzenko Affair" triggered the Cold War. Gouzenko "exposed Stalin's efforts to steal nuclear secrets, and the technique of planting sleeper cells," Granatstein says, adding that the affair "was the beginning of the Cold War for public opinion" by which is meant that a rationale was presented to strengthen the security and intelligence agencies and wage an anti-communist campaign so as to defend the "western democracies."

Journalist Robert Fulford wrote, "I am absolutely certain the Cold War began in Ottawa." The New York Times described Gouzenko's actions as having "awakened the people of North America to the magnitude and the danger of Soviet espionage."

Following Gouzenko, to further corroborate these "dangers," Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were falsely accused of spying for the Russians and stealing "nuclear secrets." This was despite the fact that after the war, U.S. atomic scientists had emphasized over and over that there was no secret to making a nuclear bomb and that any country would be able to apply the same scientific principles and develop their own bomb within three to five years. Yet all of the charges against the Rosenbergs and other claims about spying served to justify their persecution including sentencing them to death, and the persecution of communists, progressive workers and other forces, and the use of police powers to "defend democracy against totalitarian dictatorship."

The ruling elite is trying to pull the same stunt today. However, despite their enormous power, the intelligence agencies are suffering the humiliation of one intelligence failure after another, especially their failure to convince the people to entrust their security to them. They continue to pose a grave danger to the cause of peace and democracy on the world scale.


1. They pointed out that the Mandiant report had major analytic flaws, among them:

- excluding, without justification, other possible perpetrators of the attacks in question, including the possibility of other foreign agencies disguising their own operations as Chinese;
- leaps of logic, such as that if a hack was conducted by one of the millions of people in the Chinese military, it was directed by the government;
- tracing an IP address to a section of Shanghai, a city of more than five million people, and falsely suggesting it was traced to an army building;
- a seeming determination to cast China as a villain despite the fact that many state actors are known for cyber attacks, including the biggest U.S. allies; and
- insisting on the Chinese government as a culprit despite the fact that it is nearly impossible to prove responsibility for such attacks, and many methods exist to disguise the perpetrators.

See for instance, Adam Taylor, "Sorry, But That 'Chinese' Hacking Report Proves Nothing," Business Insider, February 19, 2013.

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International Developments Since U.S. Attack on Syria

Unprincipled and Warmongering Stand
of Trudeau Government

The Trudeau government is taking an unprincipled and warmongering stand on the war in Syria. While it claims to favour a political solution, and prior to the U.S air strike declared that a proper investigation into the deaths of civilians in Syria on April 4 was necessary, it completely changed its tune when the U.S. administration called for its support. Trudeau then made statements blaming the Syrian government and supporting the illegal U.S. strike. At the same time, it has remained silent on the subsequent U.S. use of its super bomb on Afghanistan and also participates in warmongering against Korea.

On April 7, the day after the U.S. air strike against Syria, Prime Minister Trudeau told the House of Commons that he had spoken to President Trump that morning and that "the Assad regime needs to be held to account." Trudeau continued to pledge support for "diplomatic solutions for the situation in Syria" but as he visited former battlefields of World War I and II with French President François Hollande on April 10, he declared the need to "move as quickly as possible towards peace and stability in Syria that does not involve Bashar Assad." Trudeau further called for Russian blood, taking up the line of the U.S. that the Russian government too bears responsibility for the chemical weapons deaths due to its support for Syria, and that it must be held to account. These would be topics for the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Lucca, Italy April 10-11, he said.

From Italy the next day, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland declared, "Assad has to go." This phrase has become the mantra of the Liberal government since the Trump administration announced it would go after Syria. It echoes the stand of the Harper Conservatives and in particular the endless repetition by Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird in 2012 and 2013 that "Assad must go." This demand of the Anglo-American imperialists, France, Saudi Arabia and others since 2011, hampered by the "intelligence failures" around U.S. President Obama's botched attempt at war against Syria in 2013 and the parallel conflict with ISIS, has once again become the cause du jour. At the same time, Canada has continued to support politically and financially the forces angling for regime change in Syria, while paying lip service to the need for a political solution.

Liberal MP Matt De Courcey, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Freeland, told the Huffington Post on April 17 that Canada's role in further intervention in Syria will be based on discussions "through the G7, through the UN, through our allies in other coalition efforts" and that "our close relationships with the U.S. allies is to be knowledgeable and in the loop on their ongoing plans and actions as it relates to some of the conflict zones around the world." De Courcey added, "We have seen [President Trump] express... views that are more closely aligned to ours ... around multilateralism, around the importance of NATO, around the importance, once again, of finding that lasting peace for the Syrian people."

Canada condemned Russia's use of its veto power at the UN Security Council on April 12 against a resolution designed to authorize further U.S. attacks against Syria. The resolution was defeated when Russia, as one of the permanent members of the Security Council, vetoed it. Russia and Bolivia voted against the resolution which received votes in favour from permanent members the U.K., U.S. and France as well as Egypt, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine, and Uruguay. Three members abstained -- permanent member China as well as Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.

The U.S.-backed resolution demanded Syria give unrestricted access to "any and all sites" demanded by international inspectors, provide flight plans and logs as well as the names of military officers on request to international inspectors. Crucially, it stipulated that failure to comply with the terms of the resolution could justify Security Council-backed U.S. military action under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter -- a near-exact repetition of the U.S. attempts to obtain UN authorization for its invasion of Iraq in 2002-2003. Vladimir Safronkov, Russia's deputy envoy at the Security Council (Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN Ambassador died in New York on February 20), stated, "The main objection to the resolution is that it apportioned blame prior to an objective outside investigation of the incident... The outcome of the vote was predestined, because we disagreed categorically with a document that was fundamentally misconceived."

Foreign Minister Freeland stated, "Canada deplores the Russian veto during today's UN Security Council vote. This is Russia's eighth veto on Syria. This systematic obstruction at the UN callously ignores the suffering of Syrians and prevents the perpetrators of these horrifying atrocities from being held accountable. Of the 15 members of the UN Security Council, only Bolivia joined with Russia, who vetoed the resolution."

On April 21 Global Affairs Canada announced stepped up sanctions against 17 "high-ranking individuals in the Assad regime" and five entities "linked to the use of chemical weapons in Syria." This followed other sanctions announced on April 14 targeting 27 other "high-ranking individuals." A news release informed that the sanctions are intended as "pressure on the regime to immediately end indiscriminate violence against its own people, like this month's chemical weapons attack, and engage in meaningful negotiations." It also stated that the government of Canada "contributes to investigations on the use of chemical weapons and the collection of evidence to support the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria" despite the fact that it has already declared one party guilty in the April 4 alleged chemical attack and that no investigation is needed.

Inside Syria on April 16, a suicide attack by the so-called rebels killed more than 126, including 68 children in buses being evacuated by the government from terrorist-besieged cities in Idlib province to liberated Aleppo. The CNN report that day stated, "Dozens of supporters of President Bashar Al-Assad are the latest victims of Syria's brutal civil war." This massive loss of life, which it did not serve U.S. imperialist interests to promote, was ignored by the Canadian government.

The moves of the Trudeau government to close ranks behind Donald Trump and his nefarious deed against Syria, the depraved bombing of Afghanistan and the dramatic escalation of war preparations have not prevented the contradictions within the ranks of ruling elites from emerging sharper than ever, or the need for the people to make Canada a zone for peace.

In France for the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge, Trudeau inspected the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars and paid tribute to "the thousands of Canadians who gave their lives far from Canada's shores." He should remember that the First World War was a criminal slaughter of unprecedented proportions among the imperialist and colonial powers of the day. It killed more than 17 million people and brought down four empires -- the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Prussian Empire ruling Germany and the Ottoman Empire. He should also remember that more than 27 million Soviet citizens, more than 14 million in China and Asia and millions more throughout Europe sacrificed their lives to contain Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo in World War II. The people do not want a repetition.

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U.S. Ramps Up Provocations

Failed Effort to Split Russia and Syria

A G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting was held April 10-11 in Lucca, Italy, at the same time that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made an official visit to Moscow and met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin. Coinciding with the meetings was a U.S.-led effort to pressure Russia to abandon its military and political support for Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Canada joined the effort, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs saying from the G7 meeting, "Russia needs to decide whether it wants to double down on its support for this murderous regime." British Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said that "by proxy Russia is responsible for every civilian death" in the April 4 attack. The Economist declared on April 8, "The longer [Russia keeps Assad] in power, the more they will share his guilt for war crimes." U.S. President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May held a joint press conference on April 10 declaring that the U.S. strike gave Russia a "window of opportunity" to accept that "its allegiance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest."

In Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged the dangerous state of U.S.-Russia relations: "There is a low level of trust between our countries. The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship." The G7 countries also declined to impose additional sanctions on Russia, something pushed for by the U.S. and UK. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated, "We have agreed that the current stage in our relations regarding the global agenda is not calm, to say the least. We are being realistic and realize that in order to overcome such obstacles we will need to imply weighty efforts on condition that our U.S. colleagues will meet them."

U.S. Use of "MOAB" Bomb in Afghanistan

As if to underscore the point about what is in Russia's "strategic interest," on April 13 the U.S. conducted an unprecedented strike against Afghanistan with a GBU-43/B massive ordnance air blast bomb (MOAB) -- a "super bomb" -- a 21,600-pound munition. The death toll was announced as 94 people. Seeming to imply that the U.S. could soon use even more devastating weapons in pursuit of its geopolitical striving for domination, in U.S. media the device was repeatedly called the "largest non-nuclear bomb." The MOAB destroys everything within a distance of 900 metres from the point of detonation; within 1.6 kilometres it will topple buildings. It can kill up to 2.7 kilometres away, cause deafness within 3.2 kilometres and break windows up to 8 kilometres away.

Trump told media that he has given the U.S. military "total authorization" to use the MOAB and stated, "we have the greatest military in the world, and they've done their job as usual." Asked about the use of the MOAB to threaten other countries, Trump replied, "I don't know if it, this, sends a message; it doesn't make any difference if it does or does not."

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) immediately condemned the criminal act and mobilized along with Canadians of Afghan background to demonstrate at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto on Sunday, April 16. CPC(M-L) called for an end to the use of Afghanistan as a proving ground for larger wars and for the government of Canada to not be able to get away with support for such acts. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, himself installed in power as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, condemned the attack as a "brutal misuse of our country" and condemned the U.S. use of Afghanistan as "a testing ground for new and dangerous weapons."

Afghanistan is also a long-standing area of contention between the U.S. and Russia, with the latter offering to hold peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban as well as India, Iran, Pakistan and China. These "six-nation" talks without the presence of any of the NATO countries occupying Afghanistan have been held twice to date, with one meeting in December 2016 and a second on February 15, although the Taliban has so far refused to join.

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U.S. Threats Against Korea

Toronto Pickets Against U.S. War Preparations Against Korea

April 19, 2017 picket at Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.

Wednesday, April 26 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
Ontario Superior Court (Across from U.S. Consulate)
361 University Ave.

Organized by Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
and Korean Federation in Canada
For information: (647) 907-7915

On April 17, U.S. Vice President Michael Pence visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border of north and south Korea at the same time that a U.S. nuclear carrier group -- including an aircraft carrier, destroyers and cruisers -- is headed for Korean waters and expected to arrive at the end of April. At a joint press conference with south Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn (a loyalist of impeached president Park Geun-hye) Pence stated:

"We hope to achieve this objective [of denuclearization of north Korea] through peaceful means but all options are on the table.

"Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan. North Korea would do well not to test his resolve, or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.

"[...] we will defeat any attack and we will meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective response."

With evangelical fervour, Pence stated, "Let me assure you that under President Trump's leadership our resolve has never been stronger, our commitment to this historic alliance with the courageous people of South Korea has never been stronger and with your help and God's help freedom will ever prevail on this peninsula." Pence also spoke of his father's participation as a U.S. soldier in the Korean War for which he earned a Bronze Star. "I think, in some way, my Dad just might be smiling from heaven to see the sacrifices that he and other American soldiers and South Korean soldiers made here are now passed on to my generation. That's not changed our commitment to the security and prosperity of South Korea," he said.

Kim In Ryong, Deputy Ambassador to the
United Nations of the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea

The same day, Kim In Ryong, the Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a news conference stating the desire of the DPRK for a peace treaty with the U.S. to end the Korean War and hostility against the north. Deputy Ambassador Kim reiterated that if the U.S. "dares opt for a military option" that the DPRK "is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S." He pointed out that the decision of the Trump administration to deploy its carrier strike group to Korean waters showed that the U.S. reckless moves towards invading Korea have once again reached a serious phase.

Kim noted in response to reporters' questions that missile launches conducted by the DPRK are part of the normal process of a country building up its defensive capacity. He noted that similar launches by south Korea, Japan and other countries are ignored by the UN Security Council and big powers. The "precondition to solving all the problems in the Korean Peninsula" is rolling back U.S. hostility, the ambassador said. Kim also rejected the decision to hold a meeting of the UN Security Council on April 28 on the DPRK's nuclear program, calling it "another abuse of authority" by the U.S. The DPRK's own requests for meetings on the issue of Korea have been ignored, he said.

Kim reiterated two proposals supported by China for de-escalating the situation that have also been ignored by the U.S.: denuclearization of the Korean peninsula based on signing a peace treaty to end the Korean War; and a freeze on U.S.-south Korean military exercises in exchange for a freeze on DPRK missile tests and nuclear development.

U.S. President Trump on April 13 tweeted, "I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will!"

An editorial in China's Global Times newspaper on April 18 stated, "Beijing will cooperate with Washington and stick to its own principles. [...] However, cooperative efforts by China and the US will under no circumstance evolve into any kind of military action against North Korea. Beijing will never support or cooperate with Washington when it comes to implementing solutions that involve using military force against Pyongyang. Nor will Beijing support increasing measures from Washington that involve the direct overthrow of the Pyongyang regime."

The Global Times editorial continued: "If [a U.S.] blow [against the DPRK] is heavy, the Chinese people will not allow their government to remain passive when the armies of the US and South Korea start a war and try to take down the Pyongyang regime. The Chinese will not let something like that happen, especially on the same land where the Chinese Volunteer Army once fought in the early 1950s. It is a land covered with the blood of Chinese soldiers who bravely fought in the early 1950s." The editorial also stated that China is willing to impose further sanctions against the DPRK, and that "the denuclearization of North Korea is a priority that sits above all of its other interests."

April 15, 2017, DPRK celebrates 105th anniversary of the birth of the country's
founder President Kim Il Sung.

Inside the DPRK, April 15 was filled with celebrations of the 105th anniversary of the birth of the country's founder President Kim Il Sung. Choe Ryong Hae, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee, spoke at the main rally in Pyongyang. He noted that the U.S. is "resorting to frantic nuclear war provocations against the DPRK." Choe stated that a pre-emptive U.S. attack of any sort, nuclear or otherwise, will be met with a response in kind from the DPRK.

U.S. threats have been accompanied by media reports painting the DPRK as unwilling to negotiate and irrational. In a characteristic example, Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told NBC News, "The leadership in North Korea has shown absolutely no sign or interest in diplomacy or dialogue with any of the countries involved in this issue." U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry told Fox News on April 16 that the DPRK is "not interested in negotiation." Gordon Chang, an anti-DPRK, anti-China U.S. academic has been quoted in several media outlets explaining that all of the U.S. attempts at negotiations to date have been futile, covering up that it has been the U.S. which violated the spirit and letter of each one.

On April 20, a U.S. resolution at the UN Security Council condemning an alleged missile test conducted by the DPRK failed as a result of Russia's veto. According to Russia's Permanent Mission to the UN, the U.S. refused to include language in the resolution stipulating that the situation on the Korean peninsula be resolved through dialogue. The Russian mission stated that the U.S. refused to accede to its request to include such language in the motion, and then when the resolution failed to pass pointed to the vote as another example of Russia "blocking" the security council.

Despite U.S. disinformation as well as the brutal sanctions it imposes on the country, the DPRK strives to provide a prosperous life for its people. On April 13, the country's leadership joined
by local residents inaugurated the new "Ryomyong" (dawn) apartment block of public housing
in the capital, Pyongyang (pictured). The complex includes a 70-storey skyscraper
incorporating solar and geothermal technology and green roofs and walls, dozens more apartment buildings or housing units, six schools, three kindergartens and three nurseries. Construction on the project was completed in just under one year.

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Contradictions Sharpen Within U.S. Bureaucracy
Over Chemical Attack

New York rally against U.S. missile strikes on Syria, April 7, 2017. (G. Butterfield)

Opposition to the Trump administration's fraudulent pretext for launching an airstrike against Syria on April 6 continues from within the ranks of U.S. experts, military and political figures. The Trump administration's position was repeated in a four-page document issued on April 11 in which the White House laid out its case for Syrian culpability in civilian deaths due to use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces on April 4 in Idlib province.[1] 

MIT Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security Theodore Postol called the White House document "an obviously false, misleading and amateurish intelligence report." Postol stated that the document "does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the U.S. government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack." It "contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft. In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity," he said.[2] In a subsequent detailed analysis of the alleged impact site of the attack, Postol refuted the U.S. administration claims and stated, "No competent intelligence professional would have made so many false claims that are totally inconsistent with the evidence."[3]

Also commenting on the report to media, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies think-tank noted that the report "does not provide anything close to proof, or even evidence, of the who, the what or the how of the chemical attack."[4]

Many within and on the fringes of the U.S. "intelligence community" are also disagreeing with the official U.S. position and taking positions that coincide with the explanation given by the Syrian and Russian governments, that deadly chemicals were unwittingly dispersed when Syrian jets struck a terrorist facility containing said chemicals. Along with leaks that contradict the official U.S. position, this paints the picture of a split within the U.S. bureaucracy.

This explanation exculpating the Syrian government was previously given by former senior military intelligence officer Colonel W. Patrick Lang on April 7.[5] The same explanation was given by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell (who broke with Powell following disagreement over the claims on which the 2003 Iraq war was based) in an April 7 interview on the Real News Network. "I don't think [the Trump administration] cared [what the intelligence showed]. I think they were looking for a provocation. This one was suitable, and so they acted," he said.

Wilkerson gave his opinion that an aim of the strikes was to give the U.S. additional leverage in any settlement of the conflict through negotiations:

"In fact, most of my sources are telling me, including members of the team that monitors global chemical weapons, including people in Syria, including people in the U.S. intelligence community, that what most likely happened -- and this intelligence, by the way, was shared with the United States by Russia, in accordance with the deconfliction agreement we have with Russia -- [is] that [the Syrians] hit a warehouse that they had intended to hit. They told both sides, Russia and the United States, they were going to hit [it].

"This warehouse was alleged to have ISIS supplies in it, and indeed it probably did, and some of those supplies were precursors for chemicals. Or, possibly an alternative, they were phosphates for fertilizing the cotton-growing region that's adjacent to this area. The bombs hit, conventional bombs hit the warehouse, and because of a very strong wind, and because of the explosive power of the bombs, they dispersed these ingredients and killed some people."[6]

Journalist Robert Parry, writing for Consortium News on April 8 stated, "a source told me that [CIA Director Mike Pompeo] had personally briefed Trump on April 6 about the CIA's belief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was likely not responsible for the lethal poison-gas incident in northern Syria two days earlier" and that subsequently Pompeo and other intelligence figures were not included in the decision-making or actual launch of missiles on April 6.[7]

Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer for the CIA, appearing on the Scott Norton Show radio program on April 6, stated:

"I'm hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available who are saying that the essential narrative that we're all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham.

"The intelligence confirms pretty much the account that the Russians have been giving which is that they hit a warehouse where the rebels -- now these are rebels that are, of course, connected with Al Qaeda -- where the rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear."

A memorandum to President Trump issued on April 11 by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group founded in January 2003 to oppose the spurious claims used to justify war on Iraq, provided similar conclusions. "Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian 'chemical weapons attack.' Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died," the VIPS statement said.[8]

Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, in an April 12 article criticized the White House intelligence claims and the justification for the U.S. strike:

"The Pentagon eventually produced what it claimed to be a radar track of a Syrian aircraft, believed to be an SU-22 fighter bomber, that took off from Shayrat airbase and was over Khan Shaykhun at the time of the alleged chemical attack. This radar track was produced in conjunction with what [National Security Advisor H.R.] McMaster called 'our friends and partners and allies around the world,' but most likely derived from a NATO AWACS reconnaissance aircraft flying over Turkey at the time. According to other U.S. military sources, the same system used to track the SU-22 aircraft also detected the release of weapons, and the impact of these weapons on the ground, using infrared (IR) sensors that detected the heat signatures associated with both events.

"According to McMaster, the intelligence linking this documented airstrike to the chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun was drawn exclusively from images released by rebel-affiliated media activists, including the 'White Helmets,' and from media reports about observed symptoms by medical personnel who claimed contact with the victims. At this point, there is no evidence the U.S. intelligence community used any independent information to corroborate the reports out of Syria. Instead, a combination of images and alleged eyewitness accounts from persons under the exclusive control of Tahrir al-Sham [the new name by which the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate is known] and medical evaluation of persons presented to medical authorities by Tahrir al-Sham 'confirmed' the use of a nerve agent."

Ritter adds that "the evidence seems to corroborate Syrian and Russian claims that the SU-22 aircraft used against Khan Shaykhun employed conventional weapons, and not the chemical weapons the rebels claimed. ... [I]t is physically impossible for a chemical weapon to produce the impact IR signatures detected by the U.S. and linked to the Khan Shaykhun attack. ... The IR data collected by the U.S., when combined with the rebel eyewitness statements and video, provides unequivocal corroboration of the Syrian government's claim that it employed conventional weapons against Khan Shaykhun.

Ritter noted that the type of rockets used by Syria's SU-22 aircraft are "ill-suited for chemical weapons deployment. There is no evidence that either the S-8 or S-24 rockets have ever been fitted with a chemical warhead. For the U.S. case to hold any water, Syria would have had to undertake a covert weapons development program that designed, developed and produced a new class of chemical warhead possessing zero military value (the small amount of agent able to be carried, combined with the high impact speeds, makes no military sense)."

Ritter also noted that the "open source reporting" from social media that the U.S. claims rely on in fact contradict the idea that sarin was used. While victims spoke of a "yellow-blue" smoke and pungent odour, sarin is colourless and odourless, he stated. Furthermore, "Any rescuer who handled contaminated persons in the manner shown on the 'White Helmet' video would themselves become victims," he said. Ritter argued that "Russian claims [that Syria's bombing that day hit a terrorist weapons depot containing chemical substances] remain the only viable possibility, and as such should be worthy of the kind of international investigation being called for by Russia and Syria, but opposed by the United States." Ritter also stated that the widely-cited image of a crater allegedly resulting from the Syrian chemical attack can be shown to be unrelated to the April 4 bombings and "consistent with the impact of a high explosive warhead from a mortar or air-to-surface rocket."[9]


1. The main claims of the April 11 White House report are:

- "personnel historically associated with Syria's chemical weapons program" were at the bombed Shayrat Airfield in late March and on April 6;

- "accounts of victims presenting symptoms consistent with sarin exposure, such as frothing at the nose and mouth, twitching, and pinpoint pupils. This constellation of symptoms is inconsistent with exposure to a respiratory irritant like chlorine;" "Local physicians posted videos specifically pointing out constricted pupils (a telltale symptom of nerve agent exposure), medical staff with body suits on, and treatments involving atropine, which is an antidote for nerve agents such as sarin;"

- any fabrication of reports, footage or evidence "would have required a highly organized campaign to deceive multiple media outlets and human rights organizations while evading detection;"

- "Amnesty International said evidence pointed to an air-launched chemical attack;"

- "Doctors Without Borders said that medical teams...found symptoms to be consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin;"

- "Laboratory analysis of physiological samples collected from multiple victims detected signatures of the nerve agent sarin;"

- "Further, the World Heath Organization stated on April 5 that its analysis of the victims of the attack in Syria showed they had been exposed to nerve agents, citing the absence of external injuries and deaths due to suffocation."

The Doctors Without Borders and World Health Organization statements are here misquoted or selectively quoted by the White House.

In a reversal of its prior position, the U.S. government now claims that Syria's chemical weapons were not in fact destroyed and the Syrian government "maintains the capability and intent to use chemical weapons..."

The report is based on "signals intelligence and geospatial intelligence, laboratory analysis of physiological samples collected from multiple victims, as well as a significant body of credible open source reporting," the latter referring to social media posts. No evidence is presented, only a "summary" of U.S. conclusions.

2. Theodore A. Postol, "A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017."

Also see, on the 2013 U.S. allegations, "Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013" by former UN Weapons Inspector Richard Lloyd and MIT Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy Theodore A. Postol, published January 14, 2014. And Robert Parry, "New York Times Retreats on 2013 Syria-Sarin Claims," Consortium News, April 6, 2017.

3. Theodore A. Postol "The Nerve Gas Attack Described in White House Report Did Not Occur, Expert Says of Syria Incident," Truthdig, April 19, 2017.

4. Steven Rosenfeld, "Trump's missile attack on Syria was justified with fake intelligence: experts," Alternet, April 18, 2017.

5. Lang wrote:

"Donald Trump's decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie. In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened:

"1. The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent U.S. and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.

"2. The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believed was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.

"3. The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.

"4. There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.

"5. We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called 'first responders' handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you. How do I know? I went through 'Live Agent' training at Fort McClellan in Alabama.

"There are members of the U.S. military who were aware this strike would occur and it was recorded. There is a film record. At least the Defense Intelligence Agency knows that this was not a chemical weapon attack. In fact, Syrian military chemical weapons were destroyed with the help of Russia."

See "Make Canada a Zone for Peace!" TML Weekly, April 8, 2017.

6. "Wilkerson: Trump Attack on Syria Driven by Domestic Politics," Real News Network, April 7, 2017.

7. Robert Parry, "Where Was CIA's Pompeo on Syria?" Consortium News, April 8, 2017.

8. The statement was signed by:

- Eugene D. Betit, Intelligence Analyst, DIA, Soviet FAO, (U.S. Army, ret.);
- William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.);
- Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, (ret.);
- Thomas Drake, Senior Executive Service, NSA (former);
- Robert Furukawa, Capt, CEC, USN-R, (ret.);
- Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.);
- Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator;
- Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq and Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS);
- Larry C. Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.);
- Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC);
- John Brady Kiesling, Foreign Service Officer (ret.);
- John Kiriakou, former CIA analyst and counterterrorism officer, and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee;
- Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS);
- David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.);
- Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army infantry/intelligence officer and CIA analyst (ret.);
- Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.);
- Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator, Department of the Army;
- Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, U.S. Army Judge Advocate (Ret.);
- Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.);
- Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, and former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq;
- Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS);
- Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA;
- Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS);
- Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat.

9. Scott Ritter, "Dereliction of Duty, Redux," Truthdig, April 12, 2017.

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International Actions Condemn U.S. Bombing of Afghanistan

Hands Off Afghanistan! NATO Out of Afghanistan!
End the Occupation Now!

On April 13, the U.S. dropped its massive ordnance air blast (MOAB) bomb, aka the "mother of all bombs," in the Achin district of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, using the pretext that it was necessary to destroy a network of underground tunnels used by terrorists.[1]

Emergency anti-war protests beginning on April 14 took place around the world -- in Kabul, Afghanistan as well as in the U.S. cities of Boston; Minneapolis; New York City; Washington, DC; Los Angeles; in Toronto, Canada; London, UK and Vienna, Austria. Many of these were organized by youth in those countries who are part of the Afghan diaspora, as well as anti-war and rights organizations. TML Weekly is posting below photos from those actions.

Referring to the MOAB, an April 14 statement issued by Afghans United for Justice pointed out:

"The bomb is not just a weapon to target people underground. It is a tool for psychological warfare. It is a weapon of mass destruction. It is a blast that destroys whatever is in its path for miles and causes severe hearing damage. At the time of this writing, an ongoing fire still rages due to the blast.

"Along with the short-term damage and injury, Nangarhar province will be affected for generations to come from the toxic effects left behind by the bomb in its air, water, and soil. War is an environmental and health issue that affects us all. Our entire planet is saturated by toxins due to these bombings in the long term because we share the same atmosphere.

"Though the U.S. military, in collaboration with the Afghan government, claimed to target only ISIS operatives, the truth is that the innocent people living in Nangarhar will endure the effects of this bomb for decades to come. [...]

"This bomb, like the drones, air strikes, night raids, and the destruction that came before it, is used as a tool for warfare that prevents the stability of people living in provinces all across the country. We must demand accountability for this war crime. Afghans have suffered 16 years of this so-called 'War on Terror' illegally waged by the US and its allies. This war has worsened the chances for world peace. The MOAB was nicknamed as the 'Mother Of All Bombs' but there is nothing mothering about this or any bomb. Mothering is about reproducing and protecting life -- not killing and destroying it.

"In 2016, when President Obama was still in office, the U.S. dropped at least 1,337 bombs on Afghanistan, while the international community claimed the country was safe and forced thousands of refugees to return. And since Donald Trump took office, there were more than 150 strikes dropped on Afghanistan, with more than 100 airstrikes in just the first two weeks of April. The use of the MOAB bomb signals an escalation in an already protracted and vicious war that has cost Afghans their homeland."

The Afghan Overseas Student Network issued a call to action in response to the use of the MOAB and the increased danger of war that could lead to humanity's extinction. The students firmly rejected the dehumanization of the Afghan people and the ongoing U.S./NATO imperialist occupation of their homeland, saying in part:

"The recent launch of the horrendous 'MOAB' bomb by the Trump cabinet was an insult to us and to the lives of millions of Afghans who have been dehumanized for many years by the illegitimate U.S. actions in waging war in Afghanistan. The Afghan people have been decimated for many years but the recent use of the MOAB weapon in the Achin district of Nangarhar made us think our human lives are not important. [...]

"Today we ask all the U.S. citizens to hold the U.S. government accountable for their immoral act of war. Your tax money could be used better in helping the lives of millions of people in this world rather than spending it on wars for the benefit of profiteers. The effect of three decades of war is what the U.S. military wanted to inflict upon the lives of ordinary citizens in Afghanistan and that's to promote panic, insecurity, fear and anger that has devastated the lives of our people. Today every Afghan family is tired of wars and we ask all of you to stop the aggression of U.S. imperialist war. Today we cannot go back to our normal life, while thinking of our families and people who are trapped under U.S. strikes. There are 100 unreported cases of U.S. drone attacks in the South and North part of Afghanistan as Afghanistan is called the Mother of Drones attacks. The world is apparently just watching!!!"

Kabul, Afghanistan


United States


New York City

Washington, DC






1. The MOAB is a weapon of mass destruction, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal. Its use came one week after U.S. airstrikes on Syria, on the spurious pretext that the Syrian government used weapons of mass destruction, i.e., chemical weapons.

This first use of the MOAB in the field killed at least 94 people. The U.S. military says it dropped leaflets in the area asking civilians to leave in the weeks leading up to the bombing where it was already carrying out heavy fighting. This feeble act of "due diligence," coupled with regular killings of civilians by NATO forces -- victims who are infamously dismissed as collateral damage -- surely indicates that the U.S. military's claims that no civilians were killed is just so much hogwash. Since the bomb was dropped, no civilian reporters or even Afghan military forces have been permitted into the area to assess the damage or the veracity of the U.S. military's claims.

(With files from Afghans United for Peace, Afghan Student Network, Fight Back News, Press TV, hambastagi.org. Photos: hambastagi.org, TML, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Fight Back News, D. Raja, G. Cohen, M. Samiullah, tryfotographie, E. Cucina)

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Venezuela's Resistance to Imperialist Interference

Oppose Canada's Nefarious Role!
Hands Off Venezuela!

Caracas, Venezuela mass actions defend Bolivarian Republic on Independence Day,
April 19, 2017.

Canada is engaging in more nefarious activities against Venezuela as forces inside the country work to promote foreign intervention and a coup against the government of Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution. This includes through the Organization of American States (OAS), the Washington, DC-based agency founded and historically used by the U.S. to facilitate its domination of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Canada Leads "Institutional Coup" at the OAS

A special meeting of the OAS Permanent Council was convoked April 3 by 20 of its 34 member countries "to consider the recent events in Venezuela" and entertain a draft resolution said to be supported by the same 20 countries.[1] Past attempts to pass resolutions against Venezuela at the OAS failed miserably. This was no exception, notwithstanding a declaration that the resolution was "adopted" by a minority of the delegates while most abstained.

The meeting was called in violation of the OAS rules of procedure since Bolivia's ambassador, Diego Pary, who assumed the Chair of the Permanent Council on April 1, had not been consulted. Showing Canada's dirty role, the official request for the holding of this special meeting was sent on the letterhead of the Permanent Mission of Canada to the OAS, with Canada the first country named on the list of those making the request.

The contents of the resolution submitted by Canada and the others, expressing their "grave concern regarding the unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" and calling for the OAS to "foster the restoration of the democratic institutional system," in accordance with its Inter-American Democratic Charter represent blatant interference in Venezuela's internal affairs. The deceptively-named Democratic Charter, a U.S. invention adopted by the OAS at a special session on September 11, 2001, is nothing more than a tool for violating the sovereignty and interfering in the internal affairs of member states who like Venezuela assert their independence and refuse to come under imperialist dictate.

The Bolivian Ambassador suspended the meeting for the lack of prior consultation or any information about the agenda being provided to him as Chair. In a statement denouncing the convoking of the meeting, Bolivia's Ministry of External Relations explained why it had been suspended and said it would be convened once the appropriate arrangements had been made in accordance with the Charter of the OAS and the rules of the Organization. The statement went on to say that while Bolivia was willing to work on the basis of mutual respect and collaboration with all countries of the hemisphere and the world, it rejected any attempt to undermine its dignity and that of its representatives and said it would never accept "any impositions or pressure on its sovereignty as a country."

To "adopt" a resolution after the meeting had been suspended, Canada and others carried out what was described as an institutional coup within the OAS Permanent Council against its Chair and Vice Chair and the organization's own rules and procedures. Invoking an OAS bylaw that provides for the representative of a member state with the most seniority on the Permanent Council to assume the Chair on an interim basis "in the temporary absence" of the Chair and Vice Chair, the Honduran representative, Leonidas Rosa Bautista proceeded to oversee the illegal "meeting."

Before the resolution could be voted on, the representatives of Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua entered the meeting hall and raised points of order, denouncing the institutional coup. To rescue the situation, Canada's Ambassador Jennifer Loten rose to declare the meeting to be perfectly legal and correct and asked the "Chair" to get on with debating the resolution Canada had submitted on its letterhead.

Caracas, Venezuela, April 19, 2017

Mexico called for adopting the motion then and there "without a vote" while Canada proposed delaying the vote for two days, saying this would allow time to find more support (i.e., to bribe, pressure and coerce more countries) and possibly amend the resolution "to better reflect the will of the majority." Regardless, Canada's representative stated that the Canadian government "very firmly supported" the resolution as it reflected its "grave concerns" over the "decline in democracy" in Venezuela and "that is what the Inter-American Democratic Charter is for."

Despite the suspension of the meeting by the legitimate Chair, and with four countries still present declaring their intention to abstain, others having walked out in protest after intervening on points of order, and many more having stayed away completely, the coup "Chair" declared the resolution adopted by consensus "with no objections"! One of those who made a point of speaking in support of what had just transpired was the U.S. representative who asserted that "everyone" was affected by the situation in Venezuela and this made it important for the OAS to "be involved." He declared ominously that the resolution with its call for dialogue and a peaceful resolution in Venezuela was a good preventive measure to take, at least until it no longer appeared to be useful. He then issued a number of threats and even warned Venezuela to "respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours."

Unacceptable Interference by Parliamentary Subcommittee

On April 6, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of Canada's House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development held an "emergency briefing" on the "Human Rights Situation in Venezuela." The committee, which has held numerous similar meetings in the past, provided an official venue for the promotion of the most egregious lies from those in Canada and outside of it who have been calling for external intervention to carry out regime change in Venezuela for years.[2] No opportunity was provided for the official representatives of the Venezuelan government in Canada, nor were any representatives of Venezuelan political parties or social organizations which do not share the aim of removing the elected government or calling for foreign intervention invited to participate, give their views or respond.

The main content of remarks made by the two invited witnesses, both of whom live in Canada, consisted of half-truths, slanderous accusations and outright lies for the purpose of "proving" that the people of Venezuela are in dire straits, living through a humanitarian crisis and suffering widespread human rights abuses on a scale warranting urgent intervention against the country's government by "the international community." The aim was also to hide the many achievements of the Bolivarian revolution in terms of human rights and in many other areas over the past 18 years based on its rejection of neoliberal "solutions." After hearing testimony and engaging in a Question and Answer session with the witnesses, the Subcommittee passed a motion which blatantly interferes in Venezuela's internal affairs and tries to justify Canada's actions at the OAS just days prior. The motion was subsequently issued as a press release by the Committee entitled Human Rights Situation in Venezuela and the Response of the Organization of American States.[3]

The essence of the Parliamentary meeting on the "Human Rights Situation in Venezuela" was to not permit any discussion of what is taking place in Venezuela and why, how the lives of Venezuela's working people have changed for the better thanks to the Bolivarian revolution led by Hugo Chávez until his untimely death four years ago and by President Nicolás Maduro today, and how the pro-social nation-building project in Venezuela has come under relentless attack by the U.S. imperialists and oligarchy who are being deprived of power. The well-documented economic sabotage which has contributed greatly to current hardships facing Venezuelans was also not allowed to be examined.

Despite Venezuela's current economic difficulties, the Subcommittee was not told, for example, that on February 25, Venezuela's Great Housing Mission reached a landmark of 1.5 million new public dwellings that have been built since the start of the project in 2011, and that by the end of 2017 another 540,000 new homes will be handed over to Venezuelans. In 2016, mass mobilizations blocked attempts by the political forces that Canada is supporting in Venezuela to privatize these housing units and hand them over to landlords and speculators.

Poverty in Venezuela in 1999 stood at 44 per cent of the population while 20 per cent of the people lived in extreme poverty. Today, poverty and extreme poverty have been reduced to 27 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively. In 1998, 21 per cent of the population suffered from undernourishment, and today this figure is two per cent. The number of underweight children in 1998 was 5.3 per cent, a figure cut in half by 2012. Today 95.4 per cent of Venezuelans eat three times per day, according to the National Institute of Statistics. Access to drinking water has gone from 80 per cent of the population in 1998 to 96 per cent today. Social investment has gone from 37 per cent of the state budget in the years before Chávez took office to 61 per cent today.

Illiteracy has been eradicated, following the example of Cuba, and Venezuela now has one of the world's highest proportions of citizens attending university. More than 80 per cent of Venezuelans have accessed the country's public health care system, and more than 10,000 health centres have been constructed during the revolution. Infant mortality has dropped by one-third, resulting in hundreds of thousands of lives saved. In 1998, unemployment stood at 14.5 per cent officially. This number has been reduced by two-thirds, and formal employment has risen to 60 per cent of the population. More than 2.5 million people are now receiving a state pension, versus 387,000 before the Bolivarian revolution.

When the aims are foreign intervention and regime change these important victories for the people's well-being have to be covered up. Canada is following the lead of the U.S. to raise hysteria about alleged Russian interference in political institutions while openly interfering in Venezuela's democratic institutions, against the sovereign will of its people. It must be condemned.


1. The delegations which requested the April 3 special meeting of the OAS Permanent Council were those of Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, the United States and Uruguay. The Permanent Council is comprised of one representative of each member state who is designated as the country's ambassador. The offices of the chair and vice-chair are held by each country's ambassador on a rotating basis, with the terms running for three months.

2. The Parliamentary Subcommittee meeting was addressed by:

- Maria Margarita Torres, a West Montreal municipal councillor who was born in Venezuela but has lived in Canada for 40 years, since age 20. In her testimony she said she visits family in Venezuela every year and claimed that through these visits she has "witness[ed] the rapid deterioration of the country and its people," saying she was "shocked" by "the atrocities and violations committed against Venezuelan people at the hands of the government."

Torres claimed that the Venezuelan government was torturing "political prisoners," told of people being forced to stand in line for hours to buy basic foodstuffs and scavenging for food in piles of garbage and claimed levels of malnutrition and neo-natal mortality were "at an all-time high." She and her co-presenter submitted as "evidence" for their allegations a report by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro -- no doubt the same slanderous one attacking the Bolivarian government and President Nicolás Maduro and calling for Venezuela to be suspended from the OAS, for which he sought but failed to get approval at a March 28 meeting of the OAS Permanent Council.

Torres concluded her remarks stating, "Our hope is to impress on you the urgent need that exists today to discuss and establish a concrete set of recommendations that will lead to an immediate action plan, one that this government can enact in order to help us fight human rights violations in Venezuela, and in the process, help us restore its democracy."

- Orlando Viera-Blanco, a Canadian resident and lawyer who the opposition-controlled National Assembly of Venezuela has named as an "external adviser" to its Committee on Foreign Affairs and Sovereignty. He is President of a group called the Canadian Venezuelan Engagement Foundation which claims to be "Venezuelans in exile" committed to defending the human rights of Venezuelans still living in the country via engagement with the Government of Canada.

Viera-Blanco tried to make the case for what he called "an on-going coup d'etat" in Venezuela, asserting that "everyone is now describing the situation as a rupture, or breakdown, of the constitutional order and a coup d'état." He also claimed that "changes to Venezuela's constitutional order" had led to the suffering of the Venezuelan people "for the past 18 years" -- in other words, since the election of Hugo Chávez to the Presidency of Venezuela that brought undisputably massive improvements to the Venezuelan people's social and living conditions.

The full testimony and Q and A from the meeting can be found here.

3. Endorsing the nefarious activities of those who had just organized an unconstitional coup at the OAS in the name of rescuing democracy in Venezuela, the Subcommittee affirmed its support for "the work of members of the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council to develop concrete measures to guide Venezuela to a return to constitutional order" and applauded in particular the efforts of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro to "hold the Venezuelan executive branch to account."

Their motion ended with a call for the Government of Canada and "international community" to intervene in Venezuela on spurious grounds:

"The Subcommittee stresses the need for the Government of Canada and the international community to develop effective measures to promote the restoration of Venezuela's constitutional order, to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and to allow Venezuelans to enjoy their basic human rights. We urge the international community to ensure that the Venezuelan regime is held accountable for abuses of internationally recognized human rights."

The Chair, Liberal MP Michael Levitt (York Centre) said of the motion, "It is time to take real, concrete action to ensure that constitutional and democratic order -- including respect for the separation of powers and fundamental freedoms -- is restored in Venezuela. Venezuelans have suffered long enough."

One Vice-Chair, Conservative MP David Sweet (Flamborough-Glanbrook) stated, "The use of state machinery to suppress dissent cannot be tolerated. The detention of political prisoners is but one of the Venezuelan regime's many cynical ploys to cling on to power, even at the expense of 30 million Venezuelans and the Venezuelan constitution."

The other Vice-Chair, NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor-Tecumseh), who did not attend the April 6 Standing Committee meeting and was replaced by MP Erin Weir (Regina-Lewvan) said, "It is crucial at this juncture that the international community stress the responsibility of governments to protect and strengthen democracy. Respect for human rights is fundamental and we urge the government and oppositional parliamentarians to show their dedication to the well-being of their people. We support them in this endeavour."

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Venezuelans Mobilize in Defence of
Bolivarian Revolution

President Maduro addresses rally, Caracas, Venezuela, April 19, 2017.

More than a million Venezuelans marched in the capital, Caracas and throughout the country on April 19 in defence of the country's sovereignty and Bolivarian revolution against foreign intervention, violence and destabilization. April 19 marked the 207th anniversary of the beginning of Venezuela's war of independence against Spanish colonial rule.

Demonstrators chanted, "They will not return!" in reference to the former domination of Venezuela by the imperialists and the rich. Reports said the mobilization was the largest in recent years, a rejection of efforts by the U.S. imperialists, the Organization of American States, Canada and the regional oligarchy to instigate chaos and overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Speaking in Caracas, President Maduro called on Venezuelans to prepare for a complete, peaceful and democratic victory over coup attempts. He said the mass mobilization marked a triumph over attempts by foreign-sponsored groups to incite violence in the anti-government actions also planned for that day.

President Maduro said that there are three reasons that U.S.-aligned forces have stepped up their violence and calls for foreign intervention: fresh support from the new Trump administration in the U.S.; improvements in the economic situation inside the country; and the failure of the opposition-controlled National Assembly to address any of the problems facing Venezuelans. Maduro also took the opportunity to state his support for holding regional elections throughout the country when a date is determined by the National Electoral Council.

Mobilization Overcomes Provocations

Two deaths in the context of the anti-government protests taking place at the same time bore the hallmarks of an organized provocation to incite further violence and destabilize the country, something seen in the previous U.S.-backed coup in Venezuela in 2002 as well as more recently in the "Maidan" coup d'etat in Ukraine in 2013.

Nineteen-year-old Carlos Moreno was not a protestor but was shot and killed on April 19 in the vicinity of a demonstration and rumours were quickly spread throughout opposition protests that he had been killed by armed government supporters. The killing of Paola Andreina Ramirez, a 23-year-old woman who likewise was not participating in protests, was immediately blamed on "Chavistas" in Venezuela's privately-owned media.

Venezuela's Ombudsman Tarek William Saab called for a full investigation into the deaths and punishment for the guilty. He also announced that a suspect in the killing of Ramirez had been arrested. Saab also announced that a member of Venezuela's Bolivarian National Guard, Niumar José Barrios, who was killed the same day, had been shot by a sniper, along with another National Guard member who survived.

These tragic events were used to fuel further organized counter-revolutionary violence at anti-government demonstrations, including attacks on police and public buildings with molotov cocktails, slings and other weapons, as well as throwing glass jars and bottles at pro-government demonstrators which led to the hospitalization of one woman. In the days leading up to April 19, public buildings were vandalized including a high school, a community health centre, subsidized food markets and government ministries.

A Factor for Peace

President Maduro called the mobilization of Venezuelans in support of the Bolivarian Revolution a point in favour of peace in the country. "When the Bolivarian people are in the street, there is peace," he said. "Today they tried to take power again and we have again defeated the coup plotters, the corrupt right-wing and the interventionists."

A joint statement in advance of the April 19 Bolivarian marches was issued by U.S.-backed governments in Latin America -- many of which are notorious for violent repression of protests such as Honduras, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia -- calling on the Venezuelan government to "ensure the right to peaceful protest" and "avoid violence." A subsequent statement by the U.S. State Department supported the call and referred to "the undermining of democratic institutions and practices," while Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro issued his own statement calling Venezuela a "repressive regime."

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez pointed out the hypocrisy of these governments criticizing human rights in Venezuela. She affirmed that Venezuela, unlike these governments, can show the whole world a participatory democracy that affirms human rights. Rodriguez noted that the foreign intervention in Venezuela is not simply to remove its president, but to undermine and reverse its nation-building project and example to the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

TML Weekly salutes the efforts of the Venezuelan working class and people who, facing immense pressure from the imperialists and their lackeys, are going all out to defend their Bolivarian Revolution and nation-building project. TML Weekly calls on Canadians to be active in denouncing any attempts by Canada to violate Venezuela's sovereignty and to oppose disinformation to justify imperialist intervention.

(With files from AVN, TeleSUR. Photos AVN, VTV.)

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Mass Hunger Strike Launched on Palestine Prisoners' Day, April 17

Freedom for Palestine and All Political Prisoners
in Israeli Jails! Resistance Is a Right!
End the Occupation! 

Palestine Prisoners' Day action in support of prisoners' mass hunger strike,
Gaza City, April 17, 2017.

As many as 1,700 Palestinian political prisoners are now on a mass hunger strike that began on April 17, Palestinian Prisoners' Day. At present, a total of 6,440 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails, including many children and youth, detained for even the smallest acts of defiance against the occupation. Addameer, the Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association, informs that more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel over the past 50 years.

In an April 17 press release, Addameer reports on the hunger strikers' demands and calls for international support:

"The hunger striking prisoners' demands include: family visits, proper medical care, end to Israel's practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial in so-called administrative detention and stopping the use of isolation. As the strike begins, Addameer Prisoner Support urges supporters of justice around the world to take action to support the Palestinian prisoners whose bodies and lives are on the line for freedom and dignity.

"The issue of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held in Israeli prisons and detention centers transcends one of individual human rights; it is also one of collective rights of an entire people -- the Palestinian people, who continue to be deprived of the right to self-determination and sovereignty -- basic fundamentals of international law. All Palestinian political prisoners -- regardless of their alleged political affiliations or charges -- are entitled to fair trial guarantees under international humanitarian law and international human rights laws. Palestinian political prisoners and detainees are systematically subjected to torture and ill-treatment with continued impunity -- highlighting the need for more solidarity actions from people around the globe to call for immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners, long-denied their basic rights.

"Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association urges all people to organize events in solidarity with the struggle of hunger-striking prisoners and detainees. 2017 marks 100 years of the Balfour declaration; 70 years of Palestinian Catastrophe (al-Nakba); 50 years of brutal military occupation. This is also the year to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for its actions and to demand the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners!"

Maan News Agency reports on the inhuman treatment experienced by Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, particularly those who are already ill:

"Central to the long list of demands put forward by Marwan Barghouthi, the leader of what has come to be known as the Freedom and Dignity strike, are a number of demands related to lack of adequate health care in Israeli prisons, as well as what rights groups have branded a deliberate policy of medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners.

"Hunger strikers are calling on the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to shut down the Ramla prison clinic for not providing adequate treatment, to terminate Israel's policy of deliberate medical negligence, carry out periodic medical examinations, perform surgeries to a high medical standard, allow specialized physicians from outside the IPS to treat prisoners, release all sick detainees -- especially those who have disabilities and incurable diseases -- and not hold prisoners accountable for expenses incurred for medical treatment."

Maan goes on to note that "contrary to the demands seeking basic medical treatment for prisoners, Israeli authorities have instead established a field hospital for Palestinian prisoners, raising alarm that hunger strikers, who will likely face deteriorating health conditions in coming days, will be force fed en masse -- violating international standards of medical ethics and international law that regard the practice as inhumane or even a form of torture.

"Israeli doctors in civilian hospitals have so far refused to force feed hunger strikers, despite the Israeli Supreme Court's recent decision that ruled the practice to be constitutional," Maan reports.

There are more than 700 sick prisoners, including 21 held in the Ramla prison clinic, according to Addameer. In 2016, there were also a number of severely wounded Palestinian prisoners.

The IPS is undertaking various acts of reprisal against the hunger strikers. The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs reports that IPS officials have transferred a number of prisoners -- including Marwan Barghouthi and Karim Yunis -- into solitary confinement, confiscated hunger-striking prisoners' personal belongings and clothes, and banned the prisoners from watching TV. The committee also reported that Barghouthi would be "prosecuted in a discipline court" as punishment for his op-ed published by the New York Times on April 16, which detailed the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and the demands of the hunger strikers. Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross reports that the IPS has suspended family visits for the hunger strikers.

Canadians should give their full support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people, their right to resist the occupation and their right to be. Demand an end to the occupation now!

Actions Across Palestine Mark Palestine Prisoners' Day











Gaza City

(Photos: Samidoun, Maan, Active Stills, A. Amra)

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Conditions in Israeli Prisons

Poster for the "Dignity Strike," depicting some of Palestine's most high profile prisoners.
L to R: Fouad Shubaki, Nael Barghouthi, Karim Yunis, Ahmad Saadat and Marwan Barghouthi.

Today, 17 April 2017, marks Palestinian Prisoners' Day. Over 6,500 Palestinian and Arab prisoners have been detained in the Israeli jails and detention centers under cruel and inhumane conditions.

The Palestinians [have commemorated] this day since 1979, supporting the cause of prisoners detained in the Israeli jails, as it marks the anniversary of the first prisoner released in the first prisoners' exchange deal between the Palestinians and the Israeli occupation on 17 April 1974.

This occasion comes at a time whilst the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli prisons has exacerbated due to the Israeli violations and punitive measures taken against them. These prisoners are regularly subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including torture; denial of family visitation; [strip] search; night raids; solitary confinement; medical negligence; denial of education under a decision issued by the Israeli Prison Service on 20 July 2011[1]; applying the force-feeding law against prisoners on hunger strike[2]; in addition to other violations falling within the Israeli policy against Palestinian prisoners.

The Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails declared today [they are] moving to the hardest choice, which is starting a hunger strike until their minimum human demands are met. Statistics available at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) shows, that about 1,500 prisoners in a number of prisons and detention facilities have declared [they are] starting a hunger strike claiming a number of human demands, the most prominent of which are, inter alia, putting an end to the solitary confinement policy, offering medication to sick prisoners, constant communication with their families, ending arbitrary and degrading measures against female prisoners, receiving magazines and newspapers [always] and the right to education.

It is expected that other prisoners would join them in their hunger strike which was described as a rolling strike.

Furthermore, data and statistics available at PCHR indicate that over 6,500 Palestinian prisoners have been detained in 22 prisons and detention facilities, the majority of which are located in Israel in a clear violation of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that obliges Israel to detain the prisoners of the occupied country in their country until they serve their sentences therein. The majority of the prisoners are from the West Bank, including 57 women and 300 children. Moreover, the number of sick prisoners reached about 1,800, including 180 suffering from serious illnesses and 26 having cancer.

The Israeli authorities continued to place 500 under administrative detention in the Israeli prisons, including 15 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and former ministers, in a clear violation of their right to fair trial and right to receive adequate defense and be informed of the charges against them. The violation of the right to fair trial is part of the administrative detention policy implemented without a court ruling in a way that violates the fair judicial procedure.

Prisoners' families begin solidarity hunger strike in Salfit, Palestine, April 18, 2017.

PCHR, on this day, draws attention to the increasing violations committed against the Palestinian prisoners and the poor conditions under which they live in view of the Israeli authorities' insistence on violating the rules of international humanitarian law and principles of human rights to which Israel is a state party. PCHR further highlights that the international community's silence encourages the commission of more violations without accountability.

Since it was established, PCHR has been following up on the prisoners' cause, offering them and their families the legal aid they need, working on unveiling the Israeli violations, and calling upon:

- The High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations;

- The international human rights organizations to follow up the Palestinian prisoners' cause and rally international support to pressure Israel to stop all its arbitrary practices against the Palestinian prisoners;

- The European countries to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel should respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation; and

- The UN bodies, International Committee of the Red Cross and international community to pressure Israel to improve the detention conditions of the Palestinian prisoners, stop torture and open prisons to observers until prisoners are released.


1. See PCHR's website, press release no. 70/2011 issued on 21 July 2011, PCHR Condemns Punitive Measures against Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails.

2. On 30 July 2015, the Israeli Knesset approved in the second and third reading the amendment to the so-called "Law to Prevent Harm of Hunger Strike." On 12 January 2016, Israeli forces force-fed Journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq, who had been on hunger strike for about 50 days.

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Presidential Election in Ecuador

Citizens' Revolution Prevails over Oligarchy

Lenín Moreno, (centre) following his win in Ecuadorian presidential election. (Xinhua)

Lenín Moreno prevailed in the second round of votes in the Ecuadorian presidential election on April 2. Moreno won with 51 per cent of the vote to 49 per cent for Guillermo Lasso, a banker. Nearly 12.5 million Ecuadorians in the country cast a vote (nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters) along with almost 400,000 overseas citizens.

Moreno is known for fighting for the rights of people with disabilities and is former UN Special Envoy for Disability and Accessibility and former Vice-President of Ecuador with the Alliance PAIS party of outgoing President Rafael Correa. According to reports, Moreno is the first paraplegic head of state. The new administration will be inaugurated on May 24.

Moreno pledged to continue the expansion of social programs, pro-social policies and stand in defence of the sovereignty of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean that characterized the past ten years of Ecuador's Citizens' Revolution and the Correa presidency. This has led to more than one million people being lifted out of poverty and greatly expanded public health care and education.

President Correa said of the results, "The revolution has triumphed again in Ecuador. The right has lost, despite its millions and its media." Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long stated that the result "is a positive endorsement of our plan to create a more equal Ecuador. We have made great strides in social progress in the past decade and we will now continue to do so for the next four years."

Moreno campaigns during presidential election, February 2017.

Moreno's election is a defeat for the U.S. imperialists and local oligarchy. Both hoped to follow the constitutional coup in Brazil and electoral coup in Argentina against progressive forces with a takeover of Ecuador, a member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) and leading country in other mechanisms for regional cooperation such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). Brazil and Argentina have since been used as players in the U.S. imperialist attacks against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through the Organization of American States and other organizations.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said of the victory, "Conscious of the importance of the historic moment, the Ecuadorian people dealt a strategic, continent-wide blow to the powers that be, led by the [U.S.] State Department, which have once again failed in their obsessive attempt to destabilize the progressive governments in the region." Cuban President Raúl Castro congratulated Moreno on the victory, stating that it will "initiate a new stage of the Citizens' Revolution and will continue the commitment of this sister nation to the unity and defense of the sovereignty of Our America."

TML Weekly congratulates Lenín Moreno and the people of Ecuador for prevailing at a time when the imperialists have stepped up their efforts to undo all the achievements of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, first and foremost the affirmation of sovereignty. Consolidating the Citizens' Revolution in Ecuador is an important contribution to defending the peoples of the continent and their movements.

(With files from TeleSUR.)

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