From our Daily Report:

Europe
SS-27

Russia suspends compliance with New START

Russia officially informed the US that it is “temporarily” suspending on-site inspections of its strategic nuclear weapons, a condition of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Moscow accused Washington of seeking “to create unilateral advantages” and deprive Russia of “the right to carry out inspections on American soil” through the closure of air space to Russian planes and visa restrictions on Russian officials. The suspension comes a week after President Joe Biden said he was ready to work on a new nuclear arms deal with Vladimir Putin. New START, set to expire in 2026, is the last remaining arms pact between the US and Russia. The 2010 agreement limits the US and Russia to 1,550 deployed long-range nuclear missiles each.  (Photo: Russian SS-27 missile, via SIPRI)

Europe
Chernobyl

UN: ‘real risk of nuclear disaster’ in Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials blamed each other for a series of blasts within the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces shelled the plant in what he called “an act of terror.” The Russian military responded by claiming a Ukrainian artillery strike was responsible, calling the attack “nuclear terrorism.” Kyiv had been accusing Russian forces of using the plant as a “shield,” firing on the Ukrainian positions from within the complex. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said the “possible consequences of hitting an operating reactor are equivalent to the use of an atomic bomb.” UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi warned of a “very real risk of a nuclear disaster.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

East Asia
Paiwan

Taiwan expands rights for indigenous peoples

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, speaking at an Indigenous Rights Forum in Taipei held to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day, pledged new measures to protect and promote the languages, cultures and territorial rights of the island nation’s Aboriginal communities. Tsai noted that the new Indigenous Peoples Basic Act seeks to bring Taiwanese law and policy into conformity with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and calls for re-assigning the country’s place names to reflect Aboriginal languages. Her office has established a Transitional Justice Committee to oversee implementation of the law in collaboration with Aboriginal communities. (Photo: President Tsai on visit to harvest festival of the Paiwan and Rukai peoples, Sandimen township, Pingtung county, via Wikipedia)

North America
League of the South

Podcast: can Russia foment civil war in the US?

In Episode 135 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines Russia’s obvious attempt to bring about a return to power by MAGA-fascism in the US, or to have the country collapse into civil war—leaving Moscow considerably freer to carry out its campaign of reconquest in Ukraine and possibly beyond. This is the evident design of the FSB (neo-KGB) in coordination with a political network in the orbit of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Vladimir Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the strategy of building a “Red-Brown alliance” of the radical right and radical left against the “liberal order” of the West. How is it possible that Black Nationalists and supposed “progressives” are being taken in by the same FSB-backed astroturf organizations that are also grooming white supremacists and neo-Confederates? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Iran
ivel

Iran demolishes houses, farms of Baha’i community

Security forces laid siege to a village in northern Iran, demolishing houses and farms belonging to members of the persecuted Baha’i faith. Over 200 troops were deployed to Roshankouh, in Mazandaran province, blocking the road into the village and confiscating residents’ cell phones before commencing demolition of several properties. However, video footage of heavy machinery demolishing buildings was posted to social media by the Baha’i International Community. The organization reports that six homes were destroyed and over 20 hectares of land were confiscated. Troops used tear-gas and fired shots in the air to disperse residents who gathered to protest the demolitions. (Photo of Baha’i village in Mazandaran: Baha’i Communiyu of Canada)

Southern Cone
BsAs

Econo-protests sweep Argentina

Argentina has seen weeks of mass protests in response to a rapidly deepening economic crisis. Prices for basic goods are skyrocketing, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The protest wave began on Argentina’s independence day, July 9, when thousands marched on the presidential palace. Dubbed the “Argentinazo,” the mobilization was held in Buenos Aires and cities across the country. Last week, center-left President Alberto Fernández named his second new economy minister in less than a month, as his own coalition has fractured over how to handle the burdensome national debt. The country avoided defaulting on an IMF loan in March, postponing scheduled payments in exchange for pledges of belt-tightening measures. These include a slash in energy subsidies that have helped keep utility bills low—imposing further hardship on the poor amid the spiralling inflation. (Photo: PagĂ­na12)

Syria
SUWAYDA

Assad regime faces Druze resistance in Syria’s south

The Assad regime is facing a challenge to its authority in southern Syria, with Druze groups in Suwayda province seizing control of the headquarters of a pro-regime militia. The Druze Men of Dignity overran the local headquarters of the Dawn Forces, affiliated with regime military intelligence, in the town of Ateel. At least 21 were reported killed n the clash—17 Dawn militiamen and four Druze, including a sheikh. Druze groups accuse the Dawn Forces of kidnappings and assassinations throughout the province. Tensions escalated in the days leading up to the Ateel clash, when Dawn militiamen abducted a local man, accusing him of involvement in attempts on the life of their leader Raji Falhout. The rival militias blocked roads to each others’ strongholds, and both sides took hostages. Four regime officers, including two colonels, were reportedly seized by the Men of Dignity. (Photo: EA Worldview)

Africa
Kivu

Mounting crisis, resource sale in DRC’s east

Two people were killed and several others injured when UN peacekeepers opened fire during an incident in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The incident, in Kasindi, North Kivu province, appears to have started in a confrontation between soldiers of the peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, and Congolese troops. It followed several days of anti-MONUSCO protests, in which some 20 people were killed, including three peacekeepers. Demonstrators attacked MONUSCO bases in Goma and other eastern cities, calling on the mission to leave the country, as it has failed to protect civilians amid a resurgence of fighting between security forces and the M23 rebels. The North Kivu violence comes just as the DRC government is auctioning off vast amounts of land in the country’s east in a push to become “the new destination for oil investments”—to the alarm of the country’s environmentalists. (Photo: Sylvain Liechti via UN News)

North America
blackhammer

FBI raids Russian-backed Black Nationalists?

A federal indictment names three “US Political Groups” as cultivated for propaganda purposes by Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (AGMR), which is said to operate “in conjunction with” the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB, successor agency to the KGB). Ionov faces criminal charges, although he remains at large in Russia. The three groups are the Uhuru Movement, whose Florida offices were raided by the FBI, the Atlanta-based Black Hammer Party, and proponents of the “CalExit” plan for California secession. The first two are Black nationalist groups, and all three have adopted leftist rhetoric. However, AGMR has also cultivated overtly white supremacist and neo-Confederate groups—revealing an evident Moscow design to enflame social strife in the United States. (Photo of Black Hammer protest at Meta offices in San Francisco: YouTube via AJC)

North America
SCOTUS

Podcast: Trumpism must be smashed

In Episode 134 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg documents the increasingly real threat of a right-wing authoritarian takeover of the United States within the next two years. The recent alarming Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights, migrant detention and environmental regulation could be a mere prelude to a decision that could effectively mean the end of democracy. In Moore v. Harper, ostensibly about North Carolina’s congressional map, the state’s legislators hope to upend 200 years of election law and give statehouses unfettered authority to make rules and seat electors. This comes as Trump’s scheme to use “fake electors” to throw the 2020 elections has come to light. After the failed coup of 2021, the Republicans are laying the groundwork to do it again in 2024—and this time more methodically. Trumpism needs to be defeated—by any and all means necessary. This includes pressure for a criminal indictment of Donald Trump, readiness to contend with MAGA fascism for control of the streets if it comes down to a physical stand-off—but also voting for the Democrats, however odious it may be. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

New York City
Second Circuit

Jury nullification at issue in federal case

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated a New York law that limits protest near courthouses. The reinstated law, New York Penal Law § 215.50 (7), prohibits people from engaging in conduct “concerning the conduct of a trial being held” within 200 feet of a courthouse. The case, Picard v. Magliano, concerned activist Michael Picard, who was arrested for distributing “jury nullification” literature outside of a New York courthouse. In 2017, Picard stood outside of the Bronx County Hall of Justice holding a sign that said “Jury Info.” Picard had flyers that read “No Victim? No Crime. Google Jury Nullification” and “‘One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws’ – Martin Luther King Jr.” Picard claimed he was not trying to influence juror votes, nor was he aware of “any particular cases in which jurors were being impaneled or serving at the time.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

South Asia
Adhivasi

India: high court rejects probe of Adivasi killings

The Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition seeking an independent investigation into extra-judicial killings of Adivasis, or tribal people, in villages in Chhattisgarh state. The petition charges that state security forces, including the Chhattisgarh Police and affiliated paramilitary groups, were responsible for the deaths of villagers during operations against the Naxalite guerillas that took place in the area in 2009. The petition was filed by Gandhian social activist Himanshu Kumar and 12 relatives of the slain villagers. The Indian government opposed the petition, and sought perjury charges against the petitioners for supposedly false accusations against the security forces. (Photo: IMPRI)

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Featured Stories

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.

Continue ReadingRUSSIAN GENOCIDE OF THE UKRAINIAN NATION 
Crimea protest

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 ReadingLEGACY 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.”

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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.

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Social Movement

STATEMENT FROM UKRAINIAN SOCIALISTS

As the Russian army masses its forces on the Ukrainian border and  threatens to intervene if the US and NATO do not meet the Kremlin’s demands, Ukrainian socialists call on the international left to condemn the imperialist policies of the Putin government and to show solidarity with the people who will suffer from an escalation of the war. In an international call for anti-war solidarity, Ukraine’s democratic-left Social Movement exposes the revival of Russian imperialism, describes the situation in the conflicted Donbas region, and proposes steps to ensure peace.

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oromo

ON THE ETHIOPIAN CIVIL WAR

In November 2020, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched full-scale war on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which governed Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state. He claimed this was a mere police operation against terrorists, and lied that no troops from the neighboring country of Eritrea were involved. Since then, Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have attacked the Tigrayan people as a whole, by looting farms, factories and hospitals, burning crops and food supplies, and raping women. Some 60,000 Tigrayans have fled to Sudan as refugees, and more than two million Ethiopians are now internally displaced. Abiy has used mass starvation as an instrument of war, which has left some 900,000 Tigrayans haunted by famine. Frank Arango of Seattle Workers’ Voice traces the conflict to rival visions of a federal versus unitary state system for Ethiopia over the course of successive regimes, going all the way back to the empire of Haile Selassie. He urges support for the current struggle for a democratic and federalist future for the country, rejecting the new drive for a unitary state under the war criminal Abiy Ahmed.

Continue ReadingON THE ETHIOPIAN CIVIL WAR