From our Daily Report:

Palestine
khan al ahmar

New Israeli admin in West Bank propaganda ploy

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met in Jerusalem with President Isaac Herzog, signaling continued US support for Israel’s new far-right government—despite the Biden administration’s supposed opposition to its policies such as settlement expansion and annexation of the West Bank. The trip coincided with Israel’s eviction of a wildcat settler outpost in what Israeli authorities call the “Samaria” region of the West Bank. Simultaneously, the Israeli government announced it is preparing to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, home to at least 180 people. Khan al-Ahmar lies within a key corridor stretching to the Jordan Valley, where Israel aims to expand and link settlements, effectively cutting the West Bank into two. (Photo: B’Tselem)

North America
Tortuguita

Outrage after police slaying of Atlanta forest defender

Protests and vigils have been held across the US following the police slaying of environmental activist Manuel Teran, 26, also known as Tortuguita, in Georgia’s Dekalb County. A protest over the killing turned violent in downtown Atlanta, with a police car burned, windows smashed, and several arrested. Tortuguita was shot in a police raid on an encampment in the Weelaunee Forest, a threatened woodland within the South River Forest conservation area. The Atlanta Police Foundation seeks to clear a large area of the forest in order to build a $90 million Public Safety Training Center, referred to as “Cop City” by local residents. Authorities say a Georgia state trooper was also shot and injured in the raid. (Image: It’s Going Down)

Europe

Germany calls for Ukraine war crimes tribunal

In an address at the Hague Academy of International Law, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for an international tribunal to prosecute Russian officials for war crimes and the crime of aggression in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Making her case for the tribunal, Baerbock said loopholes in international criminal law allow Russia to escape the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Baerbock was referring to the 2010 “Kampala Amendments” to the Rome Statute, which allow the ICC to prosecute the crime of aggression—but only with a referral from the UN Security Council. Since Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, it can veto any such referral. (Photo: EuroMaidan Press via Twitter)

Palestine
tel aviv

Israel: protests mount against far-right government

Anti-government protests have mounted in Israel each week since the new far-right administration led by Benjamin Netanyahu government took power at year’s end. The most recent saw over 100,000 march in Tel Aviv, while thousands more filled the streets in Jerusalem, Haifa and other cities. The protests have won support from Israel’s traditional political establishment as well as the left opposition. While Israeli flags and slogans such as “Israel, we have a problem” predominate, some demonstrators have raised the Palestinian flag in defiance of an order from new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to remove all Palestine flags from public places. The demonstrations have included an “anti-apartheid bloc” calling for a secular state and decolonization of Palestinian lands. (Photo via Twitter)

The Andes
toma de lima

Podcast: Peru at the precipice

In Episode 159 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the inspiring and terrifying situation in Peru—which is only escalating, with no resolution in sight. Since left-populist president Pedro Castillo was ousted in a “soft coup” last month, a mass movement has rapidly mobilized to demand that new president Dina Boluarte step down, that Congress be dissolved, and a “constituent assembly” be called to draft a new constitution with the participation of popular organizations. Despite repression approaching genocidal levels, thousands of protesters from across Peru converged on the capital for a “Taking of Lima”—which only brought street-fighting to the center of national power, when the gathering was charged by the riot police. It is a case of “bad facts” for the popular movement that the crisis was sparked by Castillo’s attempt to seize autocratic power in an auto-golpe in response to relentless efforts to remove him by the reactionary fujimorista bloc in Congress. But this does not alter the basic right and wrong of the struggle in Peru, which is fundamentally that of campesinos, indigenous peoples and common folk fighting for their elementary rights and very survival, against the corrupt political class fighting to preserve its privileged position and ill-gotten gains. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: IndymediaArgentina)

Greater Middle East
hdp

Turkey: Kurdish party challenges ban order

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) asked the Turkish Constitutional Court to postpone its decision on a government request to ban the party until after upcoming general elections. Co-leader of the HDP, Mithat Sancar, told reporters: “The Constitutional Court should stop all proceedings on this case. The authorities want to use this case…as a tool to threaten us.” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government accuses the HDP of ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is banned in Turkey. The HDP won 12% of the vote in the 2018 general election and holds 56 of parliament’s 579 seats. (Image: HDP)

Europe
XRebellion

UK: new measures to halt ‘disruptive’ protests

The UK government introduced amendments to the pending Public Order Bill to change the definition of “serious disruption,” broadening the range of situations in which police in England and Wales may act to stop protests. Police will not need to wait for disruption to take place to shut down protests under the proposed measures. The amendments would also create a new criminal offense for interfering with “key national infrastructure.” The amendments are clearly aimed at activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain. Through the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Act 2022, the government already created a statutory offense of “public nuisance,” created powers for the police to place restrictions on “unjustifiably” loud protests, and increased the sentences for obstructing highways. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sat down with the Home Secretary and police chiefs in December to give a clear message that the Government expects protesters who disrupt the lives of others to be removed and arrested. (Photo: @XRebellionUK)

Europe
LĂĽtzerath

German police clash with anti-mine protestors

German police clashed with protestors as thousands rallied for the protection of the village of LĂĽtzerath, which is set to be destroyed to make way for a coal mine. Earlier in the week, a German regional court upheld a ruling to clear the village, which is in the brown-coal district of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Utility company RWE says it reached a deal with the regional government last year that allows the village to be destroyed in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038. LĂĽtzerath is the last of 14 villages sacrificed for the Garzweiler mine, with thousands of residents resettled, and churches and schools bulldozed to make way for the energy expansion plans. Thousands of protestors were moved from empty buildings in the village last week. (Image: @XRebellionUK)

New York City
lower-east-side

New York City mayor: ‘no room’ for migrants

New York Mayor Eric Adams traveled to the US-Mexico border and declared that “there is no room” for migrants in his city. At a press conference with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, Adams called on the US government to help cities manage unprecedented levels of immigration, and claimed that the influx of migrants could cost New York City up to $2 billion. “The federal government should pick up the entire cost,” Adams said. “[W]e need a real leadership moment from FEMA. This is a national crisis.” He also criticized the governors of Texas and Colorado for contributing to a “humanitarian crisis that was created by man,” citing busloads of migrants sent to New York and other northern cities. But New York City comptroller Brad Lander dissented from Adams’ Texas trip, stating that it “reinforces a harmful narrative that new migrants themselves are a problem.” (Photo via TripAdvisor)

Iran
Iran

Iran: resistance grows as death toll tops 500

The independent Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) released statistics finding that 522 protestors, including 70 children and youths, have been killed in Iran since the start of the national uprising in September. Authorities have arrested 19,400, including 168 children and youths. Of those detained, 110 are “under impending threat” of a death sentence. Four protestors have already been executed. Thousands of Iranians from across Europe meanwhile gathered at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to demand that the body officially designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. A statement in support of the measure was issued by an underground alliance of protest groups, United Youth of Iran. The new underground network released a manifesto last month, calling for a unified front of protesters, labor unions and opposition forces to bring about a secular, democratic government in Iran. (Photo via Twitter)

Mexico
Mexico

Mexico: 140 missing in wake of Sinaloa violence

Residents of JesĂşs MarĂ­a barrio in Culiacán, capital of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, marched on the governor’s palace demanding action on the whereabouts of 140 community members they say have been missing since violence engulfed the city after the arrest of a top cartel kingpin. The youngest of the missing residents is said to be 12 years old. Protesters also denounced abuses by the military troops that have been patrolling Culiacán since the outburst, including illegal detentions and home searches. The arrest of Ovidio Guzmán LĂłpez—son of the infamous “El Chapo” Guzmán—set off days of street-fighting between cartel gunmen and the security forces. (Map: PCL)

The Andes
Juliaca

‘Genocidal’ massacre of protesters in Peru

The prosecutor general’s office in Peru, the FiscalĂ­a, opened a preliminary investigation into President Dina Boluarte and five of her current and fomer cabinet members for possible acts of “genocide” in the repression of the mass protests sparked by the ouster of president Pedro Castillo last month. The announcement came a day after 17 were killed, including two teenagers, as protesters attempted to occupy the local airport in Juliaca, Puno region. The total death toll in the unrest since Castillo’s ouster now stands at 47. Peru’s southern regions of Puno, Cuzco, Arequipa and Madre de Dios have been almost entirely cut off by roadblocks since the protests remobilized with the new year. The giant Antapaccay copper mine in Cuzco region, operated by the Swiss multinational Glencore, is also under occupation by protesters, who set company vehicles on fire and clashed with police sent to remove them. (Photo: Max Nina/Pachamama Radio via Wayka)

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Featured Stories

kharkiv

UKRAINE: DEBUNKING RUSSIA’S WAR PROPAGANDA

In a special analysis for CounterVortex, Bill Weinberg debunks Vladimir Putin’s “de-Nazification” propaganda for his invasion of Ukraine, a paramount example of the ultra-cynical phenomenon of paradoxical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. The Ukrainian state that he demonizes as “Nazi” has been experiencing a democratic renewal since the Maidan Revolution, as Russia has descended into autocratic dictatorship. Putin’s stated justifications for the Ukraine war are either paranoid delusions or outright lies. His real objectives are to rebuild the Russian Empire, re-establish the Russian dictatorship, and exterminate Ukraine as a cultural and political entity. These are the open aims of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the political heir of Ivan Ilyin, the 20th century theorist of “Russian Fascism.”

Continue ReadingUKRAINE: DEBUNKING RUSSIA’S WAR PROPAGANDA 
Kosovo-Serbs

RUSSIA’S STRATEGY TO DESTABILIZE THE BALKANS: IT’S WORKING

Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is emboldening Russia’s ally Serbia to press its claims on Kosovo, which declared its independence in 2008. As ethnic Serbs launch violent protests in Kosovo, Serbian officials are threatening to launch a campaign to “de-nazify” the Balkans. Meanwhile, leaders of the autonomous Bosnian Serb Republic have announced their intention to secede from Bosnia & Herzegovina. The wars in the states to emerge from the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s were an early harbinger of the current conflagration in Ukraine. Now, in a grim historical cycle, the war in Ukraine could re-ignite the wars in the Balkans. Nicholas Velazquez, in an analysis for Geopolitical Monitor, sees an intentional Moscow design to destabilize the region.

Continue ReadingRUSSIA’S STRATEGY TO DESTABILIZE THE BALKANS: IT’S WORKING 
mariupol ruins

RUSSIAN GENOCIDE OF THE UKRAINIAN NATION

Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine has sparked a strong international reaction, with most states referring to the actions of the Russian army as war crimes. A number of parliaments and heads of state have recognized that yet another international crime—genocide—is being committed by the occupation’s troops. Poland’s parliament, the Sejm, was the first to pass a resolution in March, strongly condemning “acts of genocide…committed on the territory of sovereign Ukraine by the Russian Federation armed forces, together with its allies, at the behest of military commanders being under the direct authority of President Vladimir Putin.” Since then, especially after the infamous Bucha massacre, other parliaments have joined Poland in condemning Russia’s actions as genocide, including those of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Canada, Czechia and Ireland. However, the International Criminal Court investigation has been slow to examine charges of genocide, and any binding action by the UN against Russia is effectively blocked by its veto on the Security Council. The dilemma is explored by Ukrainian law student Nastya Moyseyenko in a commentary for Jurist.

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Crimea protest

CRIMEA: LEGACY OF THE DEPORTATION

May 18 is commemorated as a memorial day for the victims of the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people. On that day in 1944, Joseph Stalin began a mass deportation of the entire population of Crimean Tatars who survived the German occupation of the peninsula. Over 200,000 Tatars, baselessly accused of collaborating with the Nazis, were packed in railroad cattle-cars and sent to remote locations in Central Asia and Siberia. Over 46 percent of the Crimean Tatar people perished during the first two years of the exile due to harsh conditions. Only in 1989 did the USSR condemn the deportation, after which the indigenous people of Crimea started returning to their homeland. The deportation was recognized as a genocide by Ukraine in 2015, and later by Latvia, Lithuania and Canada. In a commentary for Ukraine’s Euromaidan Press, Olena Makarenko notes that today, thousands of Crimean Tatars have been forced once again to leave the Crimean Peninsula due to the Russian occupation of 2014; hundreds of those who stayed are persecuted.

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witches

APOLOGY TO THE ‘WITCHES’: WHY NOW?

Scotland and Catalonia have issued formal apologies for the burning of thousands of women as “witches” between the 15th and 18th centuries. An apology for a crime committed hundreds of years ago, with the victims and perpetrators alike both long dead, may seem like an empty exercise. However, the contemporary world still sees periodic frenzies of “witchcraft” hysteria, with women and the least powerful in society “tried” and lynched—especially in rural areas of Africa and Asia. Last year, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Cameroon calling for “Elimination of harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks.” New York area neo-pagan practitioner and commentator Carole Linda Gonzalez argues that, in this light, the new apologies are all too relevant.

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Kryuchki

ENVIRONMENTAL WAR CRIMES IN UKRAINE

The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, finding that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe war crimes have been committed. Media attention has, quite rightly, focused on the plight of individuals caught up in the carnage—many of whom have died in terrible circumstances. However, in the background, there is another victim of the invasion: the environment. Bombardment of oil depots, the release of radiation at the Chernobyl nuclear site, the forest fires engulfing the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve—these may constitute environmental war crimes under the Rome Statute. However, the criteria are rigorous, and the perpetrators ever standing trial seems contingent on a political upheaval in Russia. In a commentary for Jurist, international law scholar Elliot Winter of Newcastle University in the UK examines the odds for prosecution of such crimes in the Ukraine conflict.

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mariupol

ECHOES OF SYRIA, AS PUTIN BOMBS HOSPITALS IN UKRAINE

Many Syrians are experiencing heart-wrenching flashbacks as they watch the mounting devastation in Ukraine, the millions of refugees fleeing—and the targeting of hospitals by Russian bombs, as so recently and repeatedly happened in their own country. Physicians for Human Rights have documented hundreds of attacks on healthcare facilities in Syria over 11 years of war, and no perpetrator has been held accountable for these crimes. Just a month into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the figure already stands at over 100. But with timely action by the UN and International Criminal Court, things can be different in Ukraine. In a commentary for The New Humanitarian, Dr Houssam al-Nahhas, a Syrian physician and a researcher at Physicians for Human Rights, urges: “Whether a hospital is bombed in Mariupol or Aleppo, in Sana’a or in Kunduz, those responsible must be held to account.”

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deportations

THE CRIMEAN CLAUSE OF THE UKRAINE QUESTION

The current Russian-Ukrainian war started eight years ago with the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which fell with hardly a shot fired, and largely without notice in the world at large. The most important thing to understand about Crimea is that it is indigenous land, and that the Crimean Tatars are its people. The Crimean Tatars overwhelmingly favor Kyiv over Moscow, but a large majority of the peninsula’s population has been Russian since 1944. Stalin’s genocidal forced relocation of the Tatars that year was carried out under a pretext of “denazification.” Under the new Russian occupation, the Tatars have again become a terrorized minority,  their language and culture again threatened by policies of Russification and “denazification.” In an analysis for CounterVortex, Kyiv-born writer and activist Yevgeny Lerner sees a foreboding historical cycle at work.

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Taliban

AFGHANISTAN: GOING BACK TO ZERO

The international community and the United States spent billions of dollars on rebuilding the Afghan legal and judicial system and improving the rule of law and governance over the past two decades. However, after the Taliban takeover, any such progress quickly disappeared, and the foundations for the Afghan legal system that had been expensively rebuilt over the last 20 years are in state of collapse—approaching the state of lawlessness that existed prior to 2001. In a commentary for Jurist, Mahir Hazim argues that is the responsibility of the United Nations and countries engaging with the Taliban to make rescuing the legal system and ensuring rule of law a top priority when they negotiate with the regime.

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LFJL

LIBYA: INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT WORSENING PROSPECTS FOR PEACE

Eleven years ago, courageous women and men took to the streets of Libya with an unflinching desire for rights, justice, and democracy. They were met with an unprecedented international response, ostensibly to protect them. The UN Security Council quickly established a no-fly zone, while NATO launched airstrikes. On the anniversary of the start of the uprising against Qaddafi, the country’s future could not be more precarious. Amid delayed elections and fragmented governance, the UN-led political process for Libya is unravelling. The international community has dramatically failed to live up to its promises to Libya. In fact, as geopolitical interests take center stage, it is making things worse. Writing in The New Humanitarian, Elham Saudi and Cristina Orsini of Lawyers for Justice in Libya say the international community must urgently refocus on human rights and accountability.

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Ukraine anarchists

UKRAINE: KHARKOV ANARCHISTS SPEAK

Ukraine is in the world headlines now as a frontline of confrontation between Russia and the West. Putin is implicitly threatening to invade the country if his demands are not met for a guarantee that it will not be granted NATO membership. Amid the geopolitical chess-game, few recall that during the Russian Revolution and the preceding years, Ukraine had one of the most powerful anarchist movements that the world has seen. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, anarchist groups have started to re-emerge in Ukraine, intransigently rejecting the regimes in Kiev and Moscow, and the power blocs around NATO and Russia, alike. CounterVortex communicated via email with one such group, the newly formed Assembly, which mostly functions as a media collective, reporting on labor and social struggles in Ukraine’s second city of Kharkov.

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thantlang

MYANMAR: CRISES SPIRAL ONE YEAR AFTER COUP

Volatile new conflict zones, aerial bombardment, rising hunger, and hundreds of thousands uprooted: A year after the military coup, crises are spiralling across Myanmar. But aid blockades by the junta are cutting off assistance to stricken areas even as humanitarian needs reach record levels. Irwin Loy of The New Humanitarian takes stock of what is fast becoming a forgotten disaster, relegated to “tier-two” by the world media.

Continue ReadingMYANMAR: CRISES SPIRAL ONE YEAR AFTER COUP