Europe

Germany calls for Ukraine war crimes tribunal

In an address at the Hague Academy of International Law, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for an international tribunal to prosecute Russian officials for war crimes and the crime of aggression in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Making her case for the tribunal, Baerbock said loopholes in international criminal law allow Russia to escape the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Baerbock was referring to the 2010 “Kampala Amendments” to the Rome Statute, which allow the ICC to prosecute the crime of aggression—but only with a referral from the UN Security Council. Since Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, it can veto any such referral. (Photo: EuroMaidan Press via Twitter)

Europe
LĂĽtzerath

German police clash with anti-mine protestors

German police clashed with protestors as thousands rallied for the protection of the village of LĂĽtzerath, which is set to be destroyed to make way for a coal mine. Earlier in the week, a German regional court upheld a ruling to clear the village, which is in the brown-coal district of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Utility company RWE says it reached a deal with the regional government last year that allows the village to be destroyed in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038. LĂĽtzerath is the last of 14 villages sacrificed for the Garzweiler mine, with thousands of residents resettled, and churches and schools bulldozed to make way for the energy expansion plans. Thousands of protestors were moved from empty buildings in the village last week. (Image: @XRebellionUK)

Europe
ReichsbĂĽrger

Podcast: Russia, Ukraine & the ReichsbĂĽrger cult

In Episode 155 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the accusations that the coup conspiracy by the ultra-right ReichsbĂĽrger cult in Germany was Russian “hybrid warfare.” The plausibility of this claim reveals the degree to which far-right forces around the world today look to Moscow for tutelage and sponsorship. Volodymyr Zelensky’s historic Congressional speech was dissed in the most vulgar terms by Tucker Carlson—whose comments were avidly promoted by RT, the official Russian state propaganda outlet, as per explicit instructions from the Kremlin. This same RT similarly promotes Putin-shilling voices of the “tankie” pseudo-left. Our rightist enemies are enthused by the genocidal regimes of both Syria’s Bashar Assad (backed by Russia) and the Argentine generals of the 1970s (backed by the US). They’ve rallied around Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, as well as the neo-Ustashe in Croatia. It is only confused “leftists,” indoctrinated by campism and accustomed to seeing everything in terms of geopolitics, who fail to recognize the fascism on both sides—and get taken in by fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Despite the left’s obsessive fixation on the Azov Battalion, reactionary forces around the world are looking to Putin as their great leader—not Zelensky. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo via EU Political Report)

Europe
ReichsbĂĽrger

ReichsbĂĽrger plot: Russian ‘hybrid aggression’?

The Brussels-based pro-EU think-tank International Foundation for Better Governance (IFBG) is calling the apparent thwarted ultra-right plot to overthrow the German government by the so-called “ReichsbĂĽrger” movement “a classic example of the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation.” The statement notes that chancellor Olaf Scholz, apparently one of those marked for “physical elimination” in the ReichsbĂĽrger plot, is a key supporter of Ukraine among Western leaders, and was chiefly responsible for the recent German donation of Gepard mobile anti-aircraft systems to the Kyiv government. IFBG concludes: “The circumstances demand that Russia must be completely isolated, receive the maximum possible sanctions and be recognised as a terrorist state by the parliaments of Western countries.” (Photo of 2013 ReichsbĂĽrger rally in Berlin via WikimediaCommons. Banner reads: “The German people, freed from Napoleon in 1813, freed from EU-fascism in 2013”)

Europe
Holodomor

Germany recognizes Holodomor as genocide

The German Bundestag voted to formally recognize the Holodomor, a politically induced famine that decimated Ukraine in 1932-3, as a genocide. The declaration found that Soviet authorities demanded inflated quantities of grain from Ukrainian farmers and punished those who fell short with additional demands. Affected regions were cut off from the rest of the Soviet Union so that Ukrainians could not receive aid. As a result, approximately 3.5 million Ukrainians starved to death. The Bundestag characterized the Holodomor as a project of Joseph Stalin to suppress the Ukrainian “way of life, language and culture,” and one of the most “unimaginable crimes against humanity” in Europe’s history. The motion also recognized Germany’s own history of genocide and the Bundestag’s “special responsibility” to acknowledge and condemn crimes against humanity. Ukraine declared the Holodomor a genocide in 2006. (Photo: 2019 Holodomor remembrance in Kyiv. Credit: EuroMaidan Press)

Europe
Lampedusa

EU doubles down on asylum double standards

More than 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers have entered Germany this year—outpacing the 890,000 that arrived during the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2015. Back then, the vast majority were Syrians. This year, around one million of those who have entered are Ukrainians, although Syrians, Afghans, and others continue to arrive. For Ukrainians, the EU Commission has extended the Temporary Protection Directive—first activated in March, and allowing them to live, work, and access services throughout the EU. Some 4.2 million Ukrainians have registered under the directive, which is now valid until March 2024. Meanwhile, the EU is pursuing much less welcoming policies for asylum seekers and migrants from other parts of the world. These include the the Dublin Regulation, that since 2003 has required asylum seekers to apply for protection in the member state they first entered—often prolonging perilous journeys to reach sanctuary beyond countries with harsh immigration policies, such as Poland and Hungary. (Photo: Sara Creta/TNH)

Europe
Munich

Podcast: Donbas = Sudetenland

In Episode 143 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the all too telling irony that Putin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Donbas region came on exactly the same day as the 1938 Munich Agreement, which approved Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland region. Russian annexation of the Donbas was preceded by that of Crimea, just as the Nazi annexation of Sudetenland was preceded by that of Austria. This is the same pattern of escalation toward world war—only this time Putin’s overt nuclear threats make the stakes even higher. Signs of hope include the anti-draft uprising in Russia and mass exodus of Russian youth, which undermine Putin’s war effort and threaten his very regime. War Resisters International has issued a petition demanding that European states offer asylum to all Russian deserters and conscientious objectors to military service. Alas, much of the Western “left” continues to make excuses for Putin’s criminal aggression. Dissident websites such as CounterVortex and Balkan Witness debunk the Russian war propaganda being recycled by Putin’s internet partisans on the pro-fascist pseudo-left. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo of Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, interpreter, and Neville Chamberlain meeting in Munich, September 1938: German Federal Archives via Encyclopedia Britannica)

Planet Watch
Mercedes-Benz

German court rejects climate suit against Mercedes-Benz

A German court rejected a lawsuit filed by environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfeseeking to bar Mercedes-Benz from selling cars with combustion engines that emit greenhouse gases after 2030. Deutsche Umwelthilfe asserted that Mercedes-Benz must comply with the Paris Climate Protection Agreement and the German Climate Protection Actregarding reduction in its vehicles’ CO2 emissions. Deutsche Umwelthilfe charged that the “new vehicles from Mercedes have the highest CO2 emissions of all manufacturers in Europe,” and “German car manufacturers have been preventing effective climate protection laws for decades.” (Photo of Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen: Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
Budapest

EuroParliament: Hungary no longer a democracy

The European Parliament voted to adopt an interim report finding that Hungary is no longer a democracy, but is becoming a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy”—a constitutional system in which elections occur, but respect for democratic norms and standards are absent. The report was mandated in 2018, when EuroParliament passed a resolution asking European Union member states to determine whether Hungary is at risk of breaching the EU’s founding values, in accordance with Article 7(1) of the Treaty on the European Union. EuroParliament raised concerns about judicial independence, freedom of speech and religion, and the rights of migrants and LGBTQ persons. (Photo: Pixabay)

Europe
Nordstream

Russia ‘weaponizes’ gas supplies to Europe

Russian energy giant Gazprom cut off the flow of natural gas to Germany and other European markets via the Nord Stream pipeline, calling it a three-day shut-down for maintenance. But Western governments charge that Russia is “weaponizing” gas supplies amid the Ukraine war. Days earlier, Germany’s government broached allowing the blocked Nord Stream 2 pipeline to begin pumping Russian gas. Wolfgang Kubicki, vice president of the Bundestag, said the move is necessary so “people do not have to freeze in winter and that our industry does not suffer serious damage.” His comment prompted a harsh response from Kyiv, where Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “addiction to Russian gas kills.” (Map: Wikipedia)

Europe
Budapest

European Commission sues Hungary over civil rights

The European Commission announced that it will sue Hungary in the EU’s Court of Justice over an anti-LGBT law and Hungary’s refusal to allow a dissident radio station to broadcast. Hungary adopted a law in June 2021 that prevents companies from featuring LGBTQ couples in educational or advertising content intended for children. The legislation was swiftly condemned by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who later initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary. The Commission’s case also concerns Hungary’s refusal to renew broadcaster Klubradio‘s license, taking them off the air. Klubradio is highly critical of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. Hungary is being sued on the basis of violating the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive, e-Commerce Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. (Photo: Pixabay)

Europe
Budapest

Hungary dictatorship consolidates; Putin pleased

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Órban declared a state of emergency, citing threats originating from the war in Ukraine. The declaration, allowing him to rule by decree, came days after his Fidesz party used its supermajority to pass a constitutional amendment allowing the government to impose a state of emergency in the event of war in a neighboring country. Órban declared a similar emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and those assumed special powers, having been extended by the National Assembly multiple times, were set to expire just days before the new declaration. The declaration also came days after Tucker Carlson and friends from the American far right attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Budapest. It also comes as Hungarian officials are blocking a European Union plan for an embargo of Russian oil, and calling for removal of the question from the agenda of an imminent EU summit. (Photo: Pixabay)