A top US sportswear company announced that it has dropped a Chinese supplier over concerns that its products were made by forced labor in detention camps in Xinjiang. Reports have mounted that the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uighurs believed to be held in a fast-expanding system of detention camps are being put to forced labor for Chinese commercial interests. An Associated Press investigation tracked recent shipments from one such detention-camp factory, run by privately-owned Hetian Taida Apparel, to Badger Sportswear of North Carolina. After long denying that the camps exist, Chinese authorities now say they are "vocational training centers" aimed at reducing "extremism." (Photo via Bitter Winter)
Mexican federal police and the military have taken over policing duties in Acapulco, after the entire municipal force was disarmed due to suspected co-optation by criminal gangs. But the federal forces are also accused of endemic corruption and brutality. The country's National Human Rights Commission just accused military troops in Puebla of extrajudicial executions of suspected fuel thieves in a bloody incident in Puebla that left 10 dead. Meanwhile, a new Internal Security Law vastly expands the powers of federal troops operating in a domestic security capacity against the drug trade, and frees them from public oversight. Mexico's left-populist president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador is scheduled to take office Dec. 1 amid an escalating human rights crisis in the country. (Map: CIA)
In Episode 12 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg pays homage to the martyred Berber singer and songrwiter Lounes Matoub on the 20th anniversary of his assassination. It remains unclear to this day if Matoub was killed by agents of the Algerian state or militants of the Islamist opposition—as both were equally opposed to the Berber cultural renaissance that he represented. The Berbers, or Imazighen (singular: Amazigh), are the indigenous people of North Africa, whose language and culture have been suppressed to varying degrees by Arab-dominated regimes from Morocco to Libya. The 1980 "Berber Spring" in the Kabylia region of Algeria was key to Matoub's politicization, and his assassination was followed by a second round of "Berber Spring" protests in 2001. This presaged the international Arab Revolution that broke out a decade later—which in North Africa was really also a Berber Revolution. The 2011 ptotests and uprisings resulted in advances for Berber cultural rights and autonomy in Algeria, Morcco and Libya alike—a sign of hope amid the current atmosphere of counter-revolution and reaction throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon. (Image via Le Matin d'Algéria. Lounes Matoub shown accosted by Algeria's ruling generals on one side and the Islamist opposition on the other.)
Pakistan's army high command approved the death penalty for 10 condemned jihadists who were convicted by a military tribunal of attacks that claimed over 60 lives—including the assassination of Amjad Sabri, one of the country's most revered singers of qawwalii, traditional Sufi devotional music. Sabri was on his way to a televised Ramadan performance in Karachi when his car was attacked by gunmen, and his many followers hailed justice in the case. But in the two years since Sabri's death, attacks on Sufis in Pakistan have continued, with suicide blasts and horrific massacres at shrines and mosques. (Photo via PTI)
A Tunisian court sentenced British DJ Dax J to a year in prison for "offending public morality" after the artist played a remix of the Muslim call to prayer in a nightclub.
Idlib governorate, where evacuees from Aleppo were forced to flee, is dominated by jihadist factions that both threaten secularists and draw air-strikes from the US and Russia alike.
UN experts on cultural rights and freedom of expression called for the release of artists, musicians and filmmakers imprisoned in Iran for "insulting Islamic sanctities."
Thousands of people attended the funeral of slain qawwali singer Amjad Sabri in Karachi, the day after he was shot dead in an attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.
Obama's embrace of Cuban dissidents allows the Castro regime to to more easily paint any push for greater democracy on the island as part of an imperial agenda.
An Iranian court sentenced filmmaker Keywan Karimi to prison for "insulting sanctities"—a charge stemming from his documentary on political graffiti in post-revolution Iran.
Kurdish-American pop singer Helly Luv is facing death threats from ISIS after travelling to the frontline in northern Iraq to produce a music video cheering on the Peshmerga.
Aryana Sayeed, a popular singer and TV personality facing death threats for refusing to wear the hijab, performed at a Kabul "Peace Concert," organized by youth groups.