1/3 of Federal Workers in Canada on Strike – Lula’s China Visit Shakes Up Biden Admin as Us Pledges More $ for Brazil – Last Nuremberg Prosecutor Dies

Picketers march on Parliament Hill after more than 155,000 public sector union workers with the Public Service Alliance of Canada began a strike, in Ottawa on April 19. (BLAIR GABLE/REUTERS)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where I just got back from hanging out with over 2,000 Steelworkers attended a Safety & Health Training at United Steelworkers international headquarters here in Pittsburgh. 

Anyhow, we wanted to bring a quick update with some important news, but first a fundraising alert. 

Only $80 to Go to Reach Our $420 Goal 

Unfortunately, I worked all day and did not partake in the 4/20 holiday. (More on some exciting projects coming up later). However, we did not hit our goal from what I thought was a clever fundraising scheme. 

Donate to help us hit our $420 goal. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors today. 

⅓ of Federal Workers in Canada on Strike 

In Canada, nearly a ⅓ of the federal workforce has walked out in one of the largest strikes in Canadian history. The strike comes as tax seasons hits in Canada and many of the workers are employed in tax filing and passport services in Canada. 

“We are still here at the table. We will remain at the table. We will remain for as long as it takes during the strike and we will remain on strike until the government addresses our key issues at the bargaining table,” Chris Aylward, national president for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said in a statement. 

For more, check out Reuters. 

Lula Shakes Up Biden Admin as WH Promises More Money for Brasil

In February, when Brazilian President Lula visited the White House, Biden pledged that the US would give $50 million to the Amazon Fund, created to prevent deforestation of the Amazon. 

Now, after Lula took a trip to China when he criticized the IMF and pushed for pushing a peace deal to end the war in Ukraine, the Biden Administration has promised to give ten times as much money – $500 million – to the Amazon Fund. 

In the weekly online newsletter of the Washington Office on Brazil, Paulo Abráo & Andre Palgrini write that the event questions about how Lula is changing things on the international stage: 

The higher value announced this week might well have come anyway, but it is impossible to consider the offer apart from the events of the last week. Many worried about the state of US-Brazil relations in the wake of Lula’s visit to China. In addition to his warm embrace of Xi Jinping’s government, Lula also reiterated his belief that blame for Russia’s war on Ukraine does not rest exclusively with the Kremlin. At one point, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby even accused Lula of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda,” a harsh criticism made on the record. 

Lula’s theory of the case, however, has long been not only that Brazil should resist choosing sides in the budding cold war between Washington and Beijing but that Brazil stands to gain materially from an independent streak on the world stage. In that context, the $500 million Biden proposed on Thursday was seen as a reaction to Lula’s China visit. 

Diplomatic events this week served as a reminder that the world is very different now than it was twenty years ago when Lula first won the presidency. China is no longer a rising power — it is already a global power in its own right. Russia is now a clear enemy of the West, which it was not in 2002. In steering an independent course, Lula must navigate a more complicated set of global relations. Independence is a clear strategy, despite what some of his critics suggest. If it can deliver real material gains for Brazilians, it will likely be considered a success. If living standards do not improve for Brazilians over the course of this administration, however, Lula’s foreign policy will likely play into a narrative that he is too old and backward to lead Brazil into the next decade. Despite some concerns about where Brazil stands, new trade deals with China and a hefty offer to fight deforestation from the Biden administration indicate Lula should not be dismissed as a capable steward of Brazil’s international standing.

For more, check out the newsletter of the Washington Office on Brazil. 

Obituaries of Nuremberg Prosecutor Erase Calls to Prosecute US War Crimes in Iraq 

Finally, Jonathan Schwarz has a moving piece at the Intercept about how obituaries on Benjamin Ferencz, the last living US prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials. As Jonathan Schwarz documents nearly all of the obituaries of Ferencz omit that they fact that he called for the US Government to be prosecuted for their crimes in Iraq: 

Ferencz served in the U.S. Army during the war and in its aftermath investigated the conditions at the Buchenwald, Mauthausen, and Dachau concentration camps. He spent the rest of his life advocating for the creation of an international criminal court and accountability for war criminals generally.

These facts appear in his obituaries. What’s missing from all of them in major outlets — including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, and the Associated Press — is Ferencz’s belief that top members of the George W. Bush administration, including Bush himself, should have been tried for war crimes for the Iraq War.

This is not obscure, difficult-to-obtain information. In 2002, the Times published a letter to the editor from Ferencz stating that “a preemptive military strike [on Iraq] not authorized by the Security Council would clearly violate the UN Charter that legally binds all nations.” In December 2003, Ferencz said in an interview, “The invasion by the U.S. of Iraq, I think, would also qualify under the Nuremberg principles as a violation of international law. … If you’re going to have that kind of a factual situation as we have in Iraq, I think the first trial should be a trial which is absolutely fair and should include all the principle perpetrators and planners of the crimes which occurred.” Ferencz wrote the foreword to a 2009 book titled “George W. Bush, War Criminal?: The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes.” He also wrote the foreword for another book, “Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.”

Yet the Times published an almost-2,000 word obituary for Ferencz without mentioning this. It somehow includes the sentence, “Critics say the [International Criminal Court] has focused on prosecutions in Africa while American wars have not even been investigated,” without mentioning that one of the most vociferous critics of this was Ferencz.

For more, check out the Intercept 

Alright yinz, i gotta go to bed, but please send emails to [email protected] 

Donate to help us cover uncovered stories of workers rights. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors today. 

Catch yinz tomorrow, 

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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