Europe
Hagal

Propaganda exploitation of Italy neo-Nazi bust

Italian police carried out raids against an armed neo-Nazi network called the Order of Hagal, arresting five suspected militants. Searches in Naples and other cities turned up large caches of fascist regalia. In addition to swastika flags and Mussolini portraits was a banner of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, with whom one member of the network is said to have fought. This is avidly jumped on by Putin propaganda outlet Grayzone, under the headline: “Blowback: Italian police bust Azov-tied Nazi cell planning terror attacks.” Grayzone of course fails to mention that in the press photos where the regalia is displayed, the Azov Battalion ensign appears directly below that of the European Solidarity Front for Syria, a pro-Assad formation rooted in Italy’s far-right Casa Pound movement. (Photo: IPA/Fotogramma via  Sky TG24. Fair use rights asserted.)

The Amazon
santacruz

Bolivia: soy boom fuels Santa Cruz unrest

Bolivia’s eastern lowland city of Santa Cruz has been rocked by roadblocks and street clashes since an indefinite paro (civil strike) was called by right-wing opposition groups last month. With the open support Santa Cruz departmental governor Fernando Camacho, strikers are demanding that a new census be held next year rather than in 2024, as is currently scheduled. The last census was in 2012, and the region’s population has swelled with an influx of migrants since then. At issue is greater funding for the department, and more slated congressional seats ahead of the 2025 elections. Resentment against the central government is in large part driven by the designs of the region’s land barons to expand the agricultural frontier into the expansive terrains declared off-limits as protected areas, reserves for indigenous peoples, or the titled holdings of campesino communities. A boom in soy and beef for export is especially fueled by Chinese investment and market demand. (Photo: Pixabay)

Planet Watch
COP27

COP27: progress on ‘loss and damage,’ not mitigation

The 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) closed with what was hailed as a breakthrough agreement to establish a “loss and damage” fund for vulnerable countries on the frontlines of climate disasters. Yet no action was taken to stop oil and gas expansion from fueling further disasters. India had pushed a proposal to extend to all fossil fuels the agreement to “phase down” coal reached last year at COP26 in Glasgow. A broad coalition of more than 80 countries took up the call, but host country Egypt, holding the presidency of the conference, was able to block the measure, acceding to powerful opponents prominently including Saudi Arabia and Russia. It should be noted that while Saudi Arabia and Russia are key oil and gas producers, India is a major coal producer—and fought for weaker language on the coal “phase down” at Glasgow. So the battle lines seem to reflect competition between different sectors of the hydrocarbons industry. (Photo: Tribal Army)

Greater Middle East
syria

Multiple interventions continue in Syria

An air raid on the convoy of an Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria’s Deir az-Zor province left 14 presumed fighters dead and made brief headlines. There was immediate speculation that the raid was the latest in the small but growing handful of times over the course of the 10-year Syrian war that the US has bombed forces allied with the Assad regime. The strikes did immediately follow the slaying of a US aid worker in Iraq. However, Israel has for years also carried out sporadic air-strikes on similar targets in Syria, and has likewise come under suspicion in this attack. Getting far less media attention are ongoing air-strikes by Russia and the Assad regime on the remaining pocket of rebel control in Syria’s northwest. Just three days before the Deir az-Zor attack, Russian or regime strikes in Idlib province targeted a displaced persons camp, leaving at least seven noncombatants dead—and winning few international headlines. (Image: Pixabay)

Watching the Shadows
Kremlin

Wagner Group revelations expose Kremlin lies

Russia’s heretofore secretive private mercenary force, the Wagner Group, has opened its first official headquarters, in an office building in the city of Saint Petersburg—with a stylized W logo and the words “Wagner Center” in Russian emblazoned on the glass door facing the street. Putin-allied oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin last month also publicly confirmed for the first time that he is the founder of the mercenary outfit. These are amusing developments after years of claims that the Wagner Group—which is accused in a string of horrific human rights abuses both in Ukraine and across Africa—doesn’t actually exist. (Photo: Wikipedia)

North America
Tohono O'odham

GOP lawmaker threatens new Indian war

In a little-noted interview on the right-wing online video show “In The Trenches with Teddy Daniels,” Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar suggested that his party’s gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, could order the state’s National Guard to surround and blockade the Tohono O’odham Nation, a Native American reservation that borders Mexico, ensuring that “no one passes.” Gosar also offered the notion that Lake could go to the US Supreme Court to seek state authority over the reservation. The Tohono O’odham tribal government cooperates with the Border Patrol, but has long opposed plans for a border wall that would cut through their traditional territory. (Map via Google)

Europe
Kremlin

Russia: from ‘denazification’ to ‘desatanization’

Since launching its invasion of Ukraine in February, the Kremlin has been using the rhetoric of “denazification” to justify its war of aggression. It now appears to be updating its nomenclature. Aleksey Pavlov, assistant secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, told state news agency RIA Novosti that Ukraine has become a “totalitarian hypersect” where citizens have abandoned Orthodox Christian values. He added that the “desatanization” of Ukraine should be a goal of the “special military operation.” Jews in Ukraine and Russia alike are aghast that Pavlov named the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic group as one of the “hundreds of sects” that need to be purged from Ukraine, calling it a “supremacist cult.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

Europe
RKAS

Ukraine: anarchists reject Moscow propaganda

The British anarchist journal Freedom features an interview with Ukraine’s Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (RKAS), challenging the hegemony of Russian propaganda on the supposed anti-war left in the West, entitled “‘Leftists’ outside Ukraine are used to listening only to people from Moscow.” The two longtime RKAS militants interviewed are Anatoliy Dubovik, born in Russia but now living in Dnipro, and Sergiy Shevchenko, from Donetsk but forced to relocate to Kyiv after the Russian-backed separatists seized power in Donbas. Both have been involved in protests against the Ukrainian government’s gutting of labor protections and other “neoliberal” reforms. But they strenuously reject the flirtation between elements of the international left and the authoritarian Donbas separatists and their Russian sponsors. They especially protest Western lecturing to Ukrainians that they must “negotiate”—which inevitably means ceding territory to Russia in exchange for “peace.”

Europe
ICBM

Russia escalates threats of nuclear war

In the wake of Vladimir Putin’s barely veiled nuclear threat upon announcing a mobilization of Russia’s reserve forces to reverse his recent losses in Ukraine, official and semi-official Moscow commentators have made such menacing completely explicit. Former Putin advisor Sergei Markov was interviewed by BBC Radio, whose anchor politely began with “Good morning to you.” Markov replied: “It’s not a good morning for everybody. In Russia there’s partial mobilization and for Western countries, for your British listeners, I would say that Vladimir Putin told you that he would be ready to use nuclear weapons against Western countries, including nuclear weapons against Great Britain. Your cities will be targeted.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

Europe
dugin

Intrigue over assassination of Daria Dugina

Darya Dugina, Russian state media war propagandist and the daughter of ultra-nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, was killed when a remote-controlled explosive device planted in her SUV went off as she was driving on the outskirts of Moscow. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is charging that the assassination was “prepared and perpetrated by the Ukrainian special services.” According to the FSB, a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, carried out the attack and then fled to Estonia. Russian media reports are claiming she was a member of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, and that the elder Dugin was the actual target of the attack. A statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the killing reflects Kyiv’s reliance on “terrorism as an instrument of its criminal ideology.” Kyiv vigorously denies any involvement in the killing. In Estonia, the prosecutor general’s office said that it “has not received any requests or inquiries from the Russian authorities on this topic.” (Image: Social media post in which Dugin called for “genocide” of the Ukrainian “race of degenerates.” Via Twitter)

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)

East Asia
Zhengzhou

China: can authorities contain unrest after Henan protests?

China’s banking regulator announced that it has opened an investigation into officials at its bureau in Henan province, which this month saw protests by depositors unable to withdraw funds. The China Banking & Insurance Regulatory Commission said a local inspector is suspected of “serious disciplinary violations” concerning fraud and embezzlement at five rural lenders. Several members of a “criminal gang” accused of taking control of the banks have been arrested. The situation turned violent after some 1,000 depositors protested in Zhengzhou, demanding access to their savings in frozen accounts. The protesters were assaulted by a group of unidentified men in matching white outfits, as police held back and did not intervene. Video of the incident went viral on social media. In addition to the banking imbroglio, China’s central government faces a growing mortgage payment boycott across the country—and it is all happening in a politically sensitive year. President Xi Jinping is widely expected to secure a third leadership term at the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. (Photo via Twitter)