The Amazon
VRAE

Protests as US troop mission approved for Peru

Peru’s Congress, at the behest of President Pedro Castillo’s government, voted to approve the entry of US military troops for participation in anti-drug and anti-terrorism operations. But the vote was protested by voices within Castillo’s own Partido PerĂş Libre (PPL), with legislator Kelly Portalatino calling it a “sign of submission.” Previous such US troop missions have seen operations in the Valley of the ApurĂ­mac and Ene Rivers (VRAE), a key coca cultivation zone. Campesinos of the VRAE Federation of Agrarian Producers (FEPAVRAE) have just announced a region-wide indefinite paro (civil strike) in protest of ongoing government coca-eradication campaigns. (Photo: FEPAVRAE)

New York City
traffic casualty

Podcast: against the anti-bicycle backlash

In Episode 142 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes on the ugly backlash against bicyclists in New York City, which has escalated from petitioning against bike lanes to dangerous anti-bicycle vigilantism. The recent killing of Chelsea resident Gavin Lee by a hit-and-run bicyclist became a rallying point for the anti-bike partisans. But 255 New Yorkers were killed by motorists last year, their names quickly forgotten by all but their loved ones. The killing of young bicycle messenger Robyn Hightman by a truck driver in 2019 briefly sparked protests. But the names of most victims of automotive terror quickly go down the media Memory Hole. Weinberg recounts some of the recent lives claimed by motorists in the city: Be Tran, Carling Mott, Christian Catalan, Lynn Christopher, Karina Larino, Eric Salitsky, Raife Milligan. It is the auto-centric system that pits pedestrians and bicyclists against each other. What is needed is the dismantling of this system, and its replacement with one that centers human beings and human-powered transport—as is already underway in several European cities. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Bill Weinberg)

Europe
Crimea

Crackdown on civil society widens in Crimea

Drone strikes and unexplained explosions on the Russian-annexed Criman Peninsula have prompted the Moscow-controlled administration to urge citizens to hunt for possible saboteurs. This comes amid widening repression on civil society, especially targeting the Tatar people. A local court jailed four people involved in a Tatar wedding in Bakhchysarai for performing a Ukrainian patriotic song. Officers of the FSB security agency raided the home of Vilen Temeryanov, an independent journalist working with the rights group Crimean Solidarity, in the village of Vilne. Temeryanov was detained on charges of collaborating with a “terrorist organization.” In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists said: “Authorities must drop all charges against Temeryanov, release him immediately, and stop cracking down on Crimean Tatar journalists.” (Map via Wikimedia Commons)

New York City
Loisaida

Podcast: political geography of the Lower East Side

In Episode 141 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg defends the notion that he lives on New York’s Lower East Side, repudiating those who would insist that his neighborhood is actually the East Village or (worse) NoHo. Weinberg traces the nomenclature controversies going all the way back to the Lenape indigenous villages of the area, Dutch and English colonial settlement, the riots and uprisings of the “Gangs of New York” era, the neighborhood’s Puerto Rican identity as Loisaida, the origin of the name “East Village” in the hippie explosion of the 1960s, its cooptation by the real estate industry in the gentrification of the 1980s, and the resultant last gasp of anarchist resistance. Weinberg counts himself among a surviving coterie of old-timers who still consider the entire area to be the Lower East Side. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Carmen PabĂłn del Amanecer JardĂ­n)

Iran
hijab protest

Iran: high-tech crackdown on hijab resistance

An Iranian government entity enforcing Islamic rules says the Intelligence Ministry has arrested 300 anti-hijab activist “ringleaders” working “for the enemy.” A spokesman of the Enjoining Good & Forbidding Evil Headquarters said that the activists were arrested in accordance with the new Hijab & Chastity Regulations, which officially extend the mandatory hijab to social media posts. This is to be monitored by the government’s facial recognition software that was used during the pandemic to track if people were wearing face masks. (Image: Iran International)

Europe
St Petersburg

Russia: municipal revolt against Putin

Dozens of municipal deputies from Moscow and St. Petersburg issued a public statement calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to resign. “President Putin’s actions are detrimental to the future of Russia and its citizens,” reads the petition shared on Twitter by Xenia Torstrem, a deputy for St. Petersburg. The call comes amid claims of vote-rigging in local and regional elections—as well as a dramatic advance by Kyiv’s forces that marks the most significant setback yet in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The call’s signatories, numbering some 30, are at risk of long prison terms under laws passed shortly after the invasion was launched, which have facilitated a harsh crackdown on dissent. (Photo of St. Petersburg via FW)

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 
The Caucasus
Nakhchivan

‘Cleansing’ of Armenian culture in Azerbaijan exclave

New clashes broke out on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, with each side accusing the other of violating the ceasefire. Fighting was first reported near the Lachin Corrdior, which connects Armenia to the autonomous ethnic Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh. But attacks on Armenia have also been launched from the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan, which is cut off from the rest of Azerbaijan by Armenian territory. A land corridor through Armenia to Nakhchivan is one of Azerbaijan’s outstanding demands in the conflict. Days before the fighting erupted, a report was released by the group Caucasus Heritage Watch at New York’s Cornell University, accusing Azerbaijan of “a systematic, state-sponsored program of cultural erasure” targeting Armenian heritage sites in Nakhchivan. (Photo: CHW)

The Amazon
COICA

Indigenous peoples issue urgent call for Amazon

More than 500 indigenous leaders from across the Amazon, meeting in Lima, issued an urgent call for the world to act against the destruction of the planet’s largest rainforest. The statement, “Amazonia Against the Clock,” was approved by the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), at a summit of representatives from nine countries. The statement invokes the Emergency Motion 129 issued last September in Marseille by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), calling for “permanent protection” of the remaining 80% of intact rainforest by 2025. (Image via Twitter)

Watching the Shadows
Roger Waters

Roger Waters: another brick in the war propaganda

In Episode 140 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls out former Pink Floyd creative genius Roger Waters as a propaganda agent for the criminal regimes of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Bashar Assad. In his recent CNN interview, Waters blames Ukraine for getting invaded, falsely states that “Taiwan is part of China,” and dismisses as “bollocks” that there are human rights abuses in China. He has the unmitigated chutzpah to send an open letter on social media to Ukrainian First Lady Elena Zelenska urging her to influence her husband to “end the war”—to which she rightly responds: “If we give up, we will not exist tomorrow. If Russia gives up, war will be over.” We’ve noted before Roger’s spewing of genocide-abetting denialism about the Syria chemical attacks. And he disses his own fans who don’t go along with his war propaganda. Roger Waters has become the fascist rock starhe once satirized in The Wall. The public acrimony between Waters and his ex-bandmate David Gilmour has now become political, with Gimour’s release (under the banner of Pink Floyd) of the song “Hey Hey, Rise Up,” explicitly in support of Ukraine. David Gilmour is right, while Roger Waters is now just another brick in the wall. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image via Wikipedia)

Syria
Daraya

Remembering the Daraya massacre

In Episode 139 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg marks the 10th anniversary of the 2012 Daraya massacre, in which the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad killed some 700 civilians while taking back the city from the secular pro-democratic revolutionary forces that had seized power there. These early Syrian revolutionaries were inspired by the grassroots-democratic vision of the anarchist thinker Omar Aziz, and the ethic of nonviolent resistance propounded by Jawdat Said, the “Syrian Gandhi.” Daraya was re-taken by rebels later that year, but fell a second time in August 2016, putting an end to the experiment in parallel power and direct democracy. Most of the remaining inhabitants were evacuated to Idlib province in the north, which remained in rebel hands, and the model of parallel power survived there for another two years—before extremist factions linked to the Nusra Front began to take over. The November 2018 assassination of civil resistance leader Raed Fares was another turning point. The following year saw a popular uprising in idlib by the pro-democratic resistance against jihadist rule. But the legacy of Daraya, once the frontline of a peaceful revolution, is largely forgotten history, its true heroism betrayed by the world. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Daraya, 2011 via Leila’s Blog)

Syria
Masayaf

Russia conniving in Israeli strikes on Syria?

Satellite images show significant damage from an Israeli air-strike on the Assad regime’s main center for conventional and chemical weapons development. Nine buildings of the Scientific Studies & Research Center (SSRC) were destroyed or damaged, and a military captain was reportedly killed. The attack came as Russia removed the S-300 air defense system that it had positioned near the complex. The site, near Masyaf in northwest Syria, is also reportedly a base for Iranian forces and Iran-supported militias. (Photo via EA Worldview)