Europe
Winter War

Podcast: propaganda & the de-Finlandization of Finland

In Episode 170 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg predicts that Russian propaganda weaponization of World War II history, now being employed against Ukraine, will next be used to target Finland. Now that Finland has been “de-Finlandized,” abandoning its Cold War neutrality to join NATO, its de facto wartime alliance with Nazi Germany is likely to be exploited by the Kremlin media machine—exactly as Israel exploits the wartime pact between Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem. In a pre-emptive strike against such propaganda, Weinberg breaks down the history of Russian conquest and colonization of Finland, the heroic resistance of the Finns in the Winter War of 1939-40, and how their betrayal manipulated them into the Nazi camp in the Continuation War of 1941-44. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo of Finnish defensive line in Winter War via Wikipedia)

Europe
Galizien Division

Ukraine and the weaponization of history —again

In Episode 169 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the move by the Kyiv City Council to name a street after Nazi collaborator Volodymyr Kubiyovych, who was instrumental in forming the SS Galizien Division. The plan was quashed by Kyiv’s mayor following protests from the Israeli ambassador—but not before internet tankies exploited the affair to portray Ukraine as a “Nazi state.” Ironically, this came the same week that President Volodymyr Zelensky honored victims of the Holocaust at the Babi Yar memorial in Kyiv. The unseemly nostalgia for Nazi collaborators who fought the Soviets in World War II is opposed by the leadership of Ukraine’s Jewish community—who also vigorously repudiate efforts by Kremlin propagandists to launder Putin’s war of aggression as “denazification.” Russia’s fascist pseudo-anti-fascism is likewise repudiated by Ukraine’s own bona fide left-wing anti-fascists, in groups such as the Solidarity Collectives, who now support the Ukrainian war effort against the Russian aggression. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo of the Galizien Division: Polish National Digital Archive via Lviv Interactive)

Europe
Nordstream

Nord Stream pipeline sabotage: rush to judgment

Ukraine is denying involvement in September’s attack on the Nord Stream pipelines following a New York Times report citing anonymous US officials to the effect that an unnamed “pro-Ukrainian group” was to blame. Russia’s online partisans are meanwhile hyping a piece by Seymour Hersh, similarly citing anonymous officials to the effect that the attack was a US covert operation. Rarely has there been a more blatant case of the cyber-commentariat deciding what to believe on the basis of political convenience. (Map: Wikipedia)

Greater Middle East
Palestine

From Palestine to Iran: free the land

In Episode 160 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes hideous ironies in the current horrific headlines. Russia was excluded from the official commemorations of Holocaust Day at Auschwitz-Birkenau as it pursues its war of aggression and extermination in Ukraine in the perverse name of “de-nazification.” But Israeli flags were of course displayed at the commemoration—even as Israel escalates toward a genocidal solution to the Palestinian question. The fundamental contradiction driving the conflict is the expropriation of the Palestinian people of their lands, and the denial of their self-determination by Israel. The emergence of an explicitly anti-Zionist bloc in the protests against the new far-right government in Israel is a sign of hope. The US, however, is undertaking its biggest joint military exercises ever with the new Israeli regime, despite Biden’s supposed rejection of its extremist policies of settlement expansion and annexation—viewing the Jewish State as a strategic ally against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Meanwhile, the oppressive regime in Iran treats minority peoples such as the Kurds, Baluch, Ahwazi and Baha’i much as Israel treats the Palestinians. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: B’Tselem)

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)

Europe
Georgia

Mass exodus of Russian youth

Tens of thousands of conscription-age Russian men have fled to neighboring countries since Vladimir Putin announced a mobilization of military reserve troops to fight in Ukraine. The tide has grown in recent days amid fears that the Kremlin will impose an exit ban. The sense of a closing window has led to chaotic scenes on Russia’s land borders with Georgia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia—countries that do not require a visa for visiting Russians. But Poland, Finland and the Baltic states have stopped issuing visas for Russians entirely. Among European Union countries, only Germany is offering refuge to Russians seeking to escape the war. Anti-war groups including War Resisters International, International Fellowship of Reconciliation and the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection have issued a petition calling on EU leaders to extend asylum for deserters and objectors to military service from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. (Photo: Verhniy Lars via Moscow Times)