Watching the Shadows
anti-chomsky

Chomsky & the Orwellian manipulation of Orwell

In Episode 124 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues his deconstruction of the increasingly sinister, fascist-abetting politics of Noam Chomsky. In the latest in the endless litany of sycophantic interviews with Chomsky, this supposed icon of the left actually praises Donald Trump for advocating appeasement of Putin in Ukraine—for which he was favorably tweeted by the inevitable Glenn Greenwald. Most perversely, the interview is entitled “Noam Chomsky on the Russia-Ukraine war, The Media, Propaganda, Orwell, Newspeak and Language.” Yet Chomsky is advocating positions that are utterly inimical to everything Orwell ever stood for. This constitutes an Orwellian exploitation of Orwell, mirroring Putin’s fascist pseudo-anti-fascism, and the pseudo-pacifist war propaganda of his Western enablers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo collage with image from the 1984 movie 1984. Big Brother’s face is replaced by Chomsky’s, mimicking his sycophantic treatment in the 1992 move Manufacturing Consent. Fair use rights asserted.)

Europe
tatars

Russia imprisons still more Crimean Tatars

A court in Russia sentenced another group of Crimean Tatars to lengthy prison terms on charges of belonging to a banned political organization. A military court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Bilyal Adilov to 14 years, while Izzet Abdullaev, Tofik Abdulgaziev, Vladlen Abdulkadyrov and Mejit Abdurakhmanov each received 12-year sentences. The men are accused of being members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an organization that advocates for the peaceful restoration of an Islamic Caliphate. It operates freely in Ukraine but is banned in Russia as an “extremist” organization. The men, arrested in March 2019 in a sweep along with more than a dozen other Tatars, were also members of the group Crimean Solidarity, formed to oppose the illegal Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Since the annexation, over 30 Crimean Tatars have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, more than half this year alone. (Shirts read: “Truth cannot be imprisoned, killed, or hidden!” Photo via RFE/RL)

Europe
bucha

Ukraine preparing multiple war crime cases

Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova announced that her office is preparing war crimes cases against 41 suspects, on charges including “the bombing of civilian infrastructure, the killing of civilians, rape and looting.” Venediktova said her office is investigating more than 10,700 potential war crimes involving more than 600 suspects. The first war crime trial since the start of the invasion has opened in Kyiv. The suspect is a Russian soldier accused of killing an elderly Ukrainian civilian riding his bicycle in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka. He has been charged with both international war crimes and with premeditated murder under Ukraine’s penal code. The Ministry of Defense has identified 10 other Russian soldiers who may be charged for mass killings in the city of Bucha. (Photo: Vigilant News via Twitter)

Watching the Shadows
khazaria

Podcast: whither Khazaria?

In Episode 123 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the history of Khazaria, the medieval Turko-Jewish empire in what is now southern Russia and eastern Ukraine. While the fate of the mysterious Khazars has won much attention from scholars—and controversy—because of what it may reveal about the origin of the Jews of Eastern Europe, this question also touches on the origins of the Ukrainian people and state. Whatever the validity of the “Khazar Thesis” about the ethnogenesis of the Ashkenazim, it is the Ukrainian Jews—such as President Volodymyr Zelensky—who are the most likely to trace a lineage of the Khazars. In 2021, Zelenksy and the Ukrainian parliament passed a law recognizing the cultural and autonomous rights of three indigenous peoples of the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula: the Muslim Tatars and the Jewish Krymchaks and Karaites. Of any Jews on Earth, it is these last two groups that have the best claim to the Khazar inheritance—and are now a part of the struggle for a free and multicultural Ukraine, in repudiation of the Russian neo-imperialist project. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Fanciful rendering of Khazaria flag via AlternateHistory.com)

Europe
russonazis

Russian ‘denazification’ goes full Nazi

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, just days after issuing blatant nuclear threats, now engages in the classic anti-Semitic trope of blaming Nazism on the Jews. Speaking to Italian TV, Lavrov responded to a reminder that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish thusly: “When they say ‘What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews,’ well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing. For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves.” This as Russian state media voices are openly calling for the “total annihilation” of Ukraine, and more mass graves are being discovered daily. Russia will be glorifying this campaign of extermination in massive military parades next week, commemorating the Soviet Union’s 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. (Photo via Twitter)

Planet Watch
Chernobyl

Podcast: Chernobyl and nuclear fear in Ukraine

In Episode 121 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the grim irony that on the week of International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day, Russian regime and state media figures issued blatant threats to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war. This follows criminal recklessness by Russian forces at the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya nuclear plants, which itself constituted an escalation on the ladder of nuclear terror. These events clearly illustrates how nuclear power and weapons constitute a single unified threat, and make imperative our deconstruction the industry propaganda about how the “no safe dose” dictum is now obsolete (no, it isn’t, actually), and sophistries such as the “Banana Equivalent Dose.” Amid the relentless plans to revive the nuclear industry in US, China is undertaking a major thrust of nuclear development, with similar plans afoot in France. And this as economies are increasingly based on energy-intensive and socially oppressive activities like “crypto-mining.” Nonetheless, respectable environmentalists now advocate a continuance of reliance on nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels. But their assumptions are predicated on the continuance of dystopian “normality“—exactly what needs to be challenged. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Europe
druzbha

Transnistria blasts signal spread of Ukraine war

A series of blasts tore through the building of the de facto “Ministry of State Security” in Tiraspol, capital of Moldova’s Russian-backed separatist enclave of Transnistria. Officials said the building was fired on by unknown assailants with grenade launchers. Ominously, the attack came one day after a Russian military commander openly broached extending Moscow’s war in Ukraine to neighboring Moldova, to “give the Russian army access to Transnistria.” The blasts also came on the same day as large explosions in Bryansk, a Russian town near the Ukrainian border which is serving as a key staging area for the invasion. Bryansk is a hub on the Druzhba oil pipeline, and the flames engulfed a petroleum depot. Russian officials are speculating that Kyiv’s forces were behind the blasts, while Ukrainian officials speculate they were Russian “false flag” operations. (Photo of Druzhba blasts: Anonymous Operations)

Europe
mariupol ruins

Ukraine formally accuses Russia of ‘genocide’

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, adopted a resolution formally recognizing the actions of the Russian armed forces in the country as genocide of the Ukrainian people. The resolution calls upon the UN, the European Parliament, the OSCE and NATO to similarly designate Russia’s actions as genocide. These bodies do appear to be weighing such a determination. An investigation by the Organization for Security & Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) found that Russian forces have committed “violations concerning even the most fundamental human rights” in Ukraine. International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan told reporters during his visit to Bucha, the Kyiv suburb where a massacre was carried out last month, that “Ukraine is a crime scene.” The ICC opened an investigation into possible war crimes after 39 state parties referred the situation in Ukraine to the Court. (Photo via Twitter)

Europe
Azov Battalion

Podcast: Antifa and the Azov Battalion

In Episode 119 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the intellectual challenge posed to Western anti-fascists by Putin’s ultra-cynical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Russian state media have issued a “blueprint for genocide” in Ukraine—in the perversely paradoxical name of “de-nazification.” With much of the American “left” rallying around Putinand repeating his line that the Ukrainians are Nazis, some of the once-stalwart antifas (themselves coming under attack from domestic fascism) are in danger of being coopted by fascism. Of course there are actual far-right elements on the Ukrainian side—which Ukrainian anti-fascists have been actively resisting. But in an atmosphere of totalizing propaganda, it is critical that we do not rely exclusively on pro-Putin sources for information on elements such as the notorious Azov Battalion, but get outside the confirmation-bias bubble. It is even more critical that we ruthlessly reject double standards, and acknowledge that the fascist element is far more hegemonic on the Russian side—and that Putin’s new Russo-fascism is aligned with Trumpism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Azov Battalion website)

Europe
Lyubimov

Russian crackdown on Ukrainian… composers

Moscow police broke up a concert by pianist Aleksey Lyubimov and singer Yana Ivanilova at the city’s Rassvet Cultural Center. The official reason for the raid was an anonymous bomb threat on the venue. But concert organizers noted that the program included songs by the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, which had apparently been chosen as an implicit anti-war statement. Lyubimov continued to play the song he was in the middle of even as uniformed police took over the stage and hovered over him menacingly. Police then ordered the premises cleared, but applause from the audience drowned out the officers’ words. After the theater was evacuated, police brought in dogs and had it searched for two hours. No explosives were found. (Photo via Facebook)

Europe
doxa

Russia: student journalists sentenced to labor

Four journalists who worked for the independent Moscow student magazine Doxa were sentenced to two years’ “corrective labor” over an online video in which they defended the right of young Russians to engage in peaceful protest. The four—Alla Gutnikova, Armen Aramyan, Natasha Tyshkevich and Volodya Metelkin—had been under house arrest for nearly a year after being detained for posting the three-minute video on YouTube. In the video, posted in January 2021, they asserted that it was illegal to expel and intimidate students for participating in demonstrations in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Prosecutors claimed that the video encouraged the “involvement of minors” in anti-Kremlin protests, leading to the arrest of over 100 people under the age of 18 in the demonstrations then sweeping Russia. (Photo via openDemocracy)

Europe
mariupol

Ukraine: Russian chemical attack on Mariupol claimed

Ukrainian officials are accusing Russian forces of having used chemical weapons on the besieged Azov Sea port city of Mariupol, causing troops and civilians alike to develop respiratory symptoms. The claim first emerged from the Azov Battalion, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard involved in the defense of the city, which said a substance believed to be sarin gas was sprayed from a drone. The fact that this report emerges from the Azov Battalion, with its notorious far-right proclivities, will doubtless provide an excuse for those predisposed in favor of Russia to dismiss the claims. However, that same day, a far-right militia commander on the Russian side had openly threatened to use chemical weapons on defenders of Mariupol. Immediately dismissing an atrocity claim at Mariupol—or assuming it was a “false flag” by Ukrainian forces against their own people—amid the destruction of the city by Russia’s war machine is perverse and dishonest on its face. (Photo via Twitter)