New York City
Google

Google fires employees who protested Israel contract

Google fired 28 workers after dozens of employees participated in sit-ins at the company’s offices in New York City and Sunnyvale, Calif., to protest a cloud computing contract with the Israeli government. Several were arrested at both locations. Tensions had been building between management and activist employees over Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion joint Google-Amazon deal to supply the Israeli government with cloud services, including artificial intelligence. Google employees affiliated with the group that organized the sit-ins, No Tech for Apartheid, said in a statement that the firings were “a flagrant act of retaliation.” The use of artificial intelligence to generate potential targets appears to have contributed to the destructive nature of the current war on the Gaza Strip, an investigation by progressive Israeli website +972 recently revealed. (Photo: Q Sakamaki/The Village Sun)

Europe
Marek Edelman

Marek Edelman: Jewish hero, anti-Zionist

In Episode 222 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg marks the 81st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by reviewing the new documentary on Jewish armed struggle against the Nazis, Resistance—They Fought Back. A nearly forgotten element of this struggle was the consciously anti-Zionist politics of some of the resistance leaders—most notably Jewish Combat Organization subcommander Marek Edelman, who was the last surviving leader of the Ghetto Uprising when he died in his native Poland in 2009. Edelman was a follower of the General Jewish Labor Bund, which rejected the colonization of Palestine in favor of fighting for a dignified and secure place for Jews within Europe This history is especially critical at this moment in light of credible accusations that the self-proclaimed Jewish State is committing genocide in Gaza, and propagandistic efforts to cynically conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: New Jewish Resistance)

North Africa
Khalifa Haftar

War crimes suits against Libya’s Haftar dismissed

A US judge dismissed a group of civil lawsuits accusing Libyan military leader Khalifa Haftar of war crimes. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she had no jurisdiction to preside over a case concerning crimes committed in Libya—even though Haftar has US citizenship and lived for more than 20 years in the DC suburbs of northern Virginia. In the suits, first filed in 2019 under the Torture Victim Protection Act, the plaintiffs charged that family members were killed in bombardments conducted by Haftar’s forces on civilian areas of Tripoli that year. Plaintiffs noted that Haftar’s extensive properties in Virginia could have been used to compensate the survivors. The head of the Libyan-American Alliance, Issam Omeish, expressed his regret over the court’s decision, calling it a setback in the groups’ work seeking justice and accountability for rights abuses in Libya’s civil war. (Photo: Haftar with US embassy ChargĂ© d’Affaires Leslie Ordeman and USAF Lt. Gen. John Lamontagne, January 2023. Via Wikimedia Commons)

Iran
Hezbollah

Iran, Hezbollah threaten Argentina: Milei

The Argentine government of far-right President Javier Milei announced that it has placed its borders on alert due to potential infiltration of operatives linked to Iran and Hezbollah. There have long been concerns about a Hezbollah presence in the Triborder Region where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. But Interior Minister Patricia Bullrich in making the announcement this time emphasized a supposed threat from Bolivia. Following years of closer ties, including security cooperation, Bolivia and Iran signed a formal defense pact in July 2023. The deal was said to inlcude an Iranian pledge to provide Bolivia with drones for narcotics enforcement, but the terms were secretive, with both Argentina and the Bolivian opposition demanding clarity on the details. (Photo: Khamenei.ir via Wikimedia Commons)

Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma: Karen rebels seize strategic border town

The Karen National Union (KNU) said that it will establish its own administrative mechanism in territory recently captured from Burma’s military in and around the critical trade hub of Myawaddy, on the border with Thailand. The KNU has several departments in its governance structure, including those for health, education, foreign affairs and defense, in territories it controls in seven districts across southeastern Burma, including in Karen (Kayin) and Mon states and Bago and Tanintharyi regions. The junta has lost control of several towns on the border with China to other rebel armies in recent months, but the loss of Myawaddy is a special blow, as it is the transfer point for most of Burma’s overland trade with Thailand. (Map: PCL)

Palestine
Gaza

Pressure mounts for arms embargo on Israel

The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution, A/HRC/55/L.30, reiterating the Security Council’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza—and further calling for an embargo and prevention of the supply of weapons to Israel by UN Member States. Simultaneously, 40 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to cease arms transfers to Israel in the wake of the air-strike that killed seven humanitarian aid workers in Gaza. Meanwhile in Germany, human rights lawyers filed a motion in the Berlin Administrative Court to halt the Federal Republic’s arms exports to Israel. The lawyers claim that the German government has committed the crime of aiding and abetting in the genocide of the Palestinian people living in Gaza by continuing to supply Israel with arms. (Photo: hosnysalah/Pixabay via Jurist)

Planet Watch
toad

Podcast: further thoughts on the common toad

In Episode 221 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues the Spring ritual from his old WBAI program, the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade (which he lost due to his political dissent), of reading the George Orwell essay “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad“—which brilliantly predicted ecological politics when it was published way back in April 1946. The Social Ecology of Murray Bookchin today informs a radical response to the global climate crisis, emphasizing self-organized action at the local and municipal levels as world leaders dither, proffer techno-fix solutions, or consciously obstruct progress. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: National Wildlife Federation)

Palestine
Isratine

Podcast: against Zionism, toward pro-Semitism

In Episode 220 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses two new books on the related themes of the Jewish Question and the Question of Palestine. One, The New American Anti-Semitism: The Left, the Right, and the Jews by Benjamin Ginsberg, is dangerously deluded. The other, The No-State Solution: A Jewish Manifesto by Daniel Boyarin, begins to move the discussion in the right direction. Weinberg goes further, calling for pan-Semitic unity between Jews and Arabs in repudiation of racism, imperialism and colonialism in all forms—including both Zionism and anti-Semitism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: proposed symbol for “Isratine,” a binational state in historic Palestine. Credit: AnonMoos via Wikipedia)

Iran
Baluch

Iran: insurgents strike in Baluchistan region

The insurgent Sunni Baluch group Jaish al-Adl carried out simultaneous attacks on bases of the security forces in Iran’s southeastern Sistan & Baluchestan province, leaving five troops dead. The attacks targeted a Border Guard post in Chabahar, and a Revolutionary Guards base in Rask. Troops gave pursuit, and skirmishes in the areas continue, with several more reported dead on both sides. Jaish al-Adl, or Army of Justice, is largely made up of followers of the banned militant organization Jundullah (Soldiers of God), and claims to “defend the rights of the Sunni Baluch people.” (Map: PCL)

Greater Middle East
Egypt

Egypt: hold on presidency consolidated amid repression

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt was sworn in for a third term after being re-elected in a December vote in which he faced no serious challengers. El-Sissi won 89.6% of the vote, running against three virtually unknown opponents. First elected in 2014 (after coming to power in the previous year’s coup d’etat), then re-elected in 2018, el-Sisi was allowed a third term under constitutional amendments passed in a 2019 referendum. In addition to allowing a third run, the reform also extended his terms from four to six years. Another such reform allowing him to stay in office beyond 2030 has been broached. The election took place in an atmosphere of repression, with opposition candidates barred from running and even prosecuted. Hundreds of protesters and regime critics were arrested in the lead-up to the vote. (Photo: Abdelrhman 1990 via Wikimedia Commons)

South Asia
Pakistan

Chinese interests targeted in Pakistan terror

At least five Chinese nationals and one Pakistani were killed in a car bombing in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The victims, employees of Wuhan-based engineering firm Gezhouba Group, were en route to the Dasu hydropower project on the Indus River. It was the third attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan in a week. No group has claimed responsibility for the car bombing, but the two previous attacks were claimed by the separatist Baloch Liberation Army (BLA)—including an assault on the Chinese-funded strategic port of Gwadar. (Map: PCL)

Planet Watch
anthropocene

2023: ‘bonkers year’ for global climate

Records were once again broken last year for greenhouse gas levels, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise, and retreat of glaciers, according to a new global report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO State of the Global Climate 2023 report finds that on an average day in 2023, nearly one third of the ocean surface was gripped by a marine heatwave, harming vital ecosystems and food systems—far beyond the already inflated levels seen in recent years. Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest extent on record—at one million square kilometers below the previous record year of 2022, an area equivalent to the size of France and Germany combined. One leading oceanographer wryly stated: “The scientific term is bonkers year.” (Photo: CounterVortex)