From our Daily Report:

Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma: new warnings of Rohingya ‘genocide’

Twenty-eight non-governmental organizations representing Burma’s Rohingya Muslim minority issued a joint statement warning of the risk of a new “genocide” and urging the international community to take action. The NGOs, including the Free Rohingya Coalition and Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK), said that this time the threat comes from the Arakan Army, a predominantly Buddhist ethnic armed group that is waging an insurgency against the ruling junta. According to the statement, the Arakan Army has ordered Rohingya residents to evacuate the town of Buthidaung, Rakhine state, where many internally displaced during the 2017 genocide carried out by the Burmese armed forces have taken refuge. The evacuation order is being backed up by a campaign of threats, violence, and arson. (Map: PCL)

Palestine
Palestine

More advances for Palestinian statehood

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has ordered the opening of an embassy in Palestine, joining a handful of other nations around the world that have done so. The announcement comes after Petro’s government withdrew its diplomats from Israel and broke relations with the country, describing Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “genocide.” The Colombian embassy is to be installed in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s capital on the West Bank. The move also comes as Spain, Ireland and Norway have announced their recognition of Palestine as a state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of course opposed these decisions, charging that “the intention of several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state is a reward for terrorism.” (Image: Nicolas Raymond via Flickr)

Africa
Senegal

Senegal PM broaches ejecting French military

The new prime minister of Senegal, Ousmane Sonko, announced the possibility of closing French military bases in the West African country in a national address. During his speech at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Sonko expressed his concerns about the French role throughout the West African region. He stated: “More than 60 years after our independence we must question the reasons why the French army still benefits from several military bases in our country, and the impact of this presence on our national sovereignty and our strategic autonomy.” (Map: PCL Map Collection)

Africa
police

Kenya court approves suit opposing Haiti deployment

The Kenya High Court ordered that a lawsuit seeking to prevent the deployment of police troops to Haiti be served on top government officials. Leaders of the civil organization Thirdway Alliance Kenya filed the complaint to block the deployment, which is part of a UN-backed mission to assist Haiti’s battle against gang violence. The plaintiffs argued that the government’s agreement with Haiti to deploy the troops is in contempt of a January court order that deemed the deployment unconstitutional. The plaintiffs emphasized the urgency of the matter, noting that the deployment is scheduled to begin this month. (Photo: Amnesty Kenya via PolicingInsight)

East Asia
Legislative Yuan

Protesters surround Taiwan parliament

Some 30,000 Taiwanese demonstrators surrounded the Legislative Yuan, the island’s parliament, one day after Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was sworn in as president. They were protesting against the legislative majority’s attempts to enact new laws they say would unconstitutionally limit the power of the executive. Three days before the inauguration, physical conflict broke out among lawmakers on floor of the Legislative Yuan, with five briefly hospitalized. The DPP, while winning the presidency, failed to maintain a legislative majority in the January election, leaving the opposition Kuomintang to form a majority coalition. The Kuomintang favors closer ties with China, while the DPP upholds Taiwan’s de facto independence. Beijing responded to Lai’s inauguration with menacing naval maneuvers, completely surrounding Taiwan with warships. The protest at the Legislative Yuan evokes memories of the 2014 Sunflower Movement, when activists occupied the parliament chamber for 24 days to oppose a free trade agreement with China being pushed by the then-Kuomintang government. (Photo: Kanshui0943 via WikimediaCommons)

Africa
Niger

US agrees to withdraw troops from Niger

The US has agreed to withdraw its troops from Niger, the two countries announced in a joint statement. A Joint Disengagement Commission has been established to guarantee the protection and security of the some 1,000 US troops during the withdrawal process. Earlier this month, Russian military personnel entered an air base in Niamey, the capital, that was hosting US troops, raising fears of a confrontation. However, Russian forces avoided contact with the US troops, using a separate hangar at Airbase 101, which is next to Niamey’s international airport. (Map: PCL)

Oceania
new caledonia

Podcast: New Caledonia in the Great Game

Azerbaijan, now facing accusations of genocide against Armenians, suddenly rallies to the defense of the Kanak indigenous people in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, and accuses France of a legacy of “crimes against humanity” in its colonial holdings. This appears to be blatant retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. The repression of the Kanak uprising in their colonized homeland and the cleansing of the Armenians from their usurped ancestral lands both demand our protest—but the propaganda game makes everything more complicated. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg discusses in Episode 227 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Flag image via Wikipedia)

Palestine
ICC

ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Netanyahu

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim AA Khan announced that he has applied for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as senior Hamas leaders, for crimes committed during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The officials face various charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute. (Photo: OSeveno/WikiMedia)

Oceania
Kanak

France accuses Azerbaijan of interfering in New Caledonia

France accused Azerbaijan of interfering in the conflict in New Caledonia, and spreading anti-French propaganda on social media to enflame the unrest in the French overseas territory. The charge was based on a report published by the French state investigative agency Viginum, alleging that Azerbaijan has disseminated “manifestly inaccurate or misleading content…blaming France for its handling of the situation in New Caledonia in the context of the riots.” The report came one day after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin accused Azerbaijan of making an agreement with the New Caledonia independence leadership, implying that this was retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. Darmanin further added that France will not cede to the violence, and that it maintains sovereignty over New Caledonia. (Photo: New Caledonia protesters fly flag of Azerbaijan alongside that of the independence movement. Credit: @BabakTaghvaee1)

Syria
Idlib

Syria: protests against HTS face repression in Idlib

Security forces of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Islamist militia that controls much of northwest Syria, put down protests that broke out in cities and towns across Idlib province. In the Idlib cities of Binnish and Jisr al-Shughour, HTS forces beat protesters with batons, deployed armored vehicles, and fired tear-gas and even live rounds to disperse demonstrations calling for the fall of the militia group and its leader, Abu Muhammad al-Jolani. Since then, HTS has increased security in the region, establishing checkpoints and roadblocks, especially aimed at preventing protesters from gathering in the provincial capital, Idlib City. Protests against HTS rule have been mounting in Syria’s northwest since the start of the year. (Photo: Macro Media Center)

Oceania
Tuvalu

Tuvalu regains full sovereignty over security relations

Australia and Tuvalu released a joint statement announcing new commitments to improve security relations, and remove the veto power Australia previously had over the small island nation’s security relations with other countries. The announcement concerned implementation and interpretation of the Falepili Union, a bilateral treaty entered into last November, which expands upon the Australia-Tuvalu Security Partnership of 2017. However, it eliminates the 2017 provision that limited Tuvalu’s sovereignty in foreign affairs—a sensitive matter given Australia’s growing regional rivalry with China. (Image via Pixabay)

Planet Watch
WajĂŁpi

Protect indigenous rights in biodiversity framework

Amnesty International cautioned against potential threats to indigenous peoples’ rights in the monitoring process for progress towards the Global Biodiversity Framework. The organization emphasized the imperative for states to engage in consultations with indigenous communities and secure their “free, prior, and informed consent” in conservation projects, in line with the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The statement warned against “fortress conservation” methods in which original inhabitants are forcibly evicted from protected areas. (Photo of WajĂŁpi indigenous people in Brazil via Mongabay)

More Headlines

Featured Stories

EZLN

THE NEW ZAPATISTA AUTONOMY

Last week the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) released a declaration, setting out a new structure for the autonomous indigenous communities in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. Uri Gordon of the British anarchist journal Freedom spoke to Bill Weinberg, a longtime radical journalist in New York City, for insight into this change and its significance. Weinberg’s book about the Zapatistas, Homage to Chiapas: The New Indigenous Struggles in Mexico, was published by Verso in 2000. He spent much time in Chiapas and elsewhere in Mexico during the 1990s, covering the indigenous movements there, prominently including the Zapatistas. In recent decades he has reported widely from South America and is now completing a book about indigenous struggles in the Andes, particularly Peru. He continues to follow the Zapatistas and Chiapas closely, and covers world autonomy movements on his website CounterVortex. In this interview, he explores new pressures in the encroachment of narco-paramilitaries on their territories as a factor prompting the Zapatistas’ current re-organization, and how it actually represents a further localization and decentralization of the movement.

Continue ReadingTHE NEW ZAPATISTA AUTONOMY 
Siberia Pipeline

GAS INTRIGUES, ECOLOGY AND THE UKRAINE WAR

Over the past decades, Russia has sought to expand natural gas exports, necessitating construction of pipelines to Europe and China. In addition to profits for the Russian state, fossil fuel exports are a valuable tool for Moscow’s geopolitical ambitions. Since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2014 and the full-scale invasion in 2022, the economic and political stakes have skyrocketed. Russia”s green movements had previously been able to mobilize effective campaigns, winning concessions on pipeline routes through natural areas. Since 2014, however, they have come under increasingly harsh scrutiny from the Russian government, with organizations branded “undesirable” or declared “foreign agents.” Control of pipelines routes through Ukraine itself are also a goad of the Russian war effort. Eugene Simonov and Jennifer Castner of the Ukraine War Environmental Consequences Work Group demonstrate how war fever and militarization threaten resources and ecology across the Russian Federation as well as in Ukraine.

Continue ReadingGAS INTRIGUES, ECOLOGY AND THE UKRAINE WAR 
Ukraine tribunal

UKRAINE’S DIFFICULT PATH TO JUSTICE

This August, Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv hosted a large international conference entitled “Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine: Justice to be Served.” The conference was aimed at reinvigorating global efforts to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine—a crime which cannot be prosecuted under the current jurisdictional regime of the International Criminal Court. Many in Ukraine believe that justice can be served only when a fully-fledged international special tribunal for the crime of aggression is created. However, some of Ukraine’s most powerful allies endorse a “hybrid” tribunal, such as those created for Sierra Leone and Cambodia—which would rely in large part on Ukrainian national law and raise questions about the reach of jurisdiction. Despite optimistic expectations at the beginning of the year, disagreements between Ukraine and its allies have left some wondering: in the end, will justice indeed be served? International law scholars Mariia Lazareva of Ukraine’s Taras Shevchenko National University and Erik Kucherenko of Oxford provide an analysis for Jurist.

Continue ReadingUKRAINE’S DIFFICULT PATH TO JUSTICE 
Gaza attack

GAZA’S SHOCK ATTACK: UNVEILING THE CONTEXT

The shock attack from the Gaza Strip has terrified Israelis, and the government appears to be preparing a massive retaliation. But writing for Israel’s independent +972 Magazine, Haggai Matar insists that the current horror must bring home the overwhelming context. Contrary to what many Israelis are saying, this is not a “unilateral” or “unprovoked” attack. The dread Israelis feel now is a sliver of what Palestinians have experienced daily under the decades-long military regime in the West Bank, the siege and repeated assaults on Gaza. In recent months, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been marching for “democracy and equality” across the country, with many even saying they would refuse military service because of this government’s authoritarian turn. What those protestors and reserve soldiers need to understand—especially now, as many of them announce they will halt their protests to join the new war on Gaza—is that Palestinians have been struggling for those same demands for decades, facing an Israel that to them is already, and has always been, completely authoritarian.

Continue ReadingGAZA’S SHOCK ATTACK: UNVEILING THE CONTEXT 
Crimean Tatars

CRIMEA: UKRAINE’S OTHER NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLE

Many would-be “peacemakers” on the political right as well as on the political left have “very helpfully” suggested that Ukraine should give up some territories, which they describe as “Russian-speaking,” in order to appease the aggressor. When these self-styled “peacemakers” lay out exactly how Ukraine should be unmade piece by piece, Crimea is always the first territory mentioned. Crimea is, we are told, the most “Russian speaking” region in Ukraine, and voted for union with Russia in 2014. In an analysis for CounterVortex, Kyiv-born writer and activist Yevgeny Lerner debunks both these claims. Not only was the 2014 referendum illegitimate, but the “Russian speaking” majority in the region was effected through generations of ethnic cleansing of its indigenous inhabitants: the Crimean Tatars. The struggle of the Crimean Tatar people for land recovery and territorial autonomy is now unified with the general struggle of Ukraine for national survival against Russian aggression.

Continue ReadingCRIMEA: UKRAINE’S OTHER NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLE 
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.

Continue ReadingCRIMEA: LEGACY OF THE DEPORTATION 
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.

Continue ReadingAPOLOGY TO THE ‘WITCHES’: WHY NOW? 
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.”

Continue ReadingECHOES OF SYRIA, AS PUTIN BOMBS HOSPITALS IN UKRAINE