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)

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)

North Africa
Morocco

Morocco: Melilla massacre survivors get prison

A court in Nador, Morocco, sentenced 33 migrants, mostly from Sudan and South Sudan, to 11 months behind bars for “illegal entry” into the country and “disobedience.” The 33 are among the hundreds who last month attempted to enter Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla, sparking a violent response from authorities. Some 2,000 migrants stormed the heavily fortified border between the Moroccan region of Nador and the Spanish enclave, with many trying to scale the border wall. They were repelled by Moroccan and Spanish security forces, with up to 27 killed. The African Union is calling for an investigation into the repression. (Map: PCL Map Collection)

Syria
drone

Turkey escalates drone strikes on Rojava

A Turkish drone strike targeted three members of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) who were driving in a vehicle near the northeast Syrian town of Qamishli. All three women were killed, and several passers-by injured by shrapnel. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) said that it was the second drone strike on territory of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in North & East Syria (AANES) in the past 48 hours. The YPJ is the women’s wing of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the territorial defense force of the autonomous zone, in the region known to the Kurds as Rojava. Turkey has carried out repeated drone strikes within AANES territory this year, amid apparent preparations for a new military incursion into the autonomous zone. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Southeast Asia
Insein

Burma: prison protests after execution of activists

Inmates at Burma’s Insein Prison launched a protest in response to the announcement by the ruling junta that four political prisoners who had been held in the Yangon facility were executed. Several people who took part in the uprising were physically assaulted by prison authorities, and some 15 were removed to isolation cells separate from the general population, according to a source within the facility. Among the executed were two of Burma’s leading dissidents—Ko Jimmy, 52, a veteran of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, and Phyo Zayar Thaw, 41, a hip-hop star and former MP with the National League for Democracy (NLD). The two longtime activists were sentenced to death in January for allegedly plotting to carry out attacks on regime targets. Amnesty International said it believes the charges against them were politically motivated. (Photo: Myanmar Now)

South Asia
colombo

Fascist pseudo-anti-fascism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s newly appointed acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe unleashed police and army troops against remnant protesters at an encampment site in the capital, Colombo. More than 50 were injured in the raid and several arrested. Military personnel also reportedly detained a group of protesters for several hours and severely beat them before they were released. Just hours earlier, protest leaders had agreed to disband the encampment the following day, in response to a court order. The site had been occupied by protesters since March, when an uprising began in response to near-total economic collapse in the country. Wickremesinghe, implicated in past atrocities during a counterinsurgency campaign against leftist rebels, has repeatedly derided the protesters as “fascists.” (Photo via Twitter)

Europe
CNT

Podcast: the Spanish Revolution revisited

In Episode 132 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg expounds on the legacy of anarchist heroism in the Spanish Civil War and Spanish Revolution, which both began on July 19, 1936. Interestingly, that same date also marks the victory of the Nicaraguan Revolution in 1979 and the Rojava Revolution in Syria in 2012. There was an anarchist element to all these revolutions—but it was strongest by far in Spain. The betrayal of the Spanish anarchists holds lessons for these later struggles, as a counter-revolutionary dictatorship is established in Nicaragua, and the Kurdish revolutionaries of Rojava face growing contradictions in the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: LibCom.org)