Europe
Extinction Rebellion

Climate protesters shut down The Hague

Climate protestors who attempted to create a road blockade at The Hague were detained by Dutch police. Among those detained was prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg. Protestors took to the streets to oppose fossil fuel subsidies, and especially the Dutch government’s tax concessions for companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from The Hague city center to a field next to the A12 highway, a main artery through the Netherlands, which some then tried to block with their bodies. The protest, organized by Extinction Rebellion, was part of an international campaign against fossil fuel subsidies in Europe. Simultaneous demonstrations also took place as part of the campaign in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the UK. (Photo: Extinction Rebellion)

Europe
Humanity-1

Italy detains rescue ship after sea confrontation with Libya

At least one person drowned after a group jumped overboard from a migrant boat as the EU-supported Libyan coast guard fired shots into the water to stop an NGO vessel from carrying out a rescue operation. The rescue vessel Humanity 1 was subsequently seized and ordered detained for 20 days by Italy—over the protests of the German non-governmental organization that operates it, SOS Humanity. Italian authorities invoked the Piantedosi Decree, a new legal provision that imposes a stricter set of requirements for charities that rescue migrants at sea, with potential penalties of stiff fines and impoundment of ships. The Humanity 1 is currently being held at Crotone, a port in Italy’s southern region of Calabria. (Photo: Teddybär500 via Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
Buda

Antifa march against Budapest Nazi-nostalgia fest

Anti-fascist protestors marched in Budapest in response to a previously banned right-wing gathering to commemorate the so-called “Day of Honor”—when German and Hungarian soldiers made a last stand against the Soviet forces besieging the city in 1945. Activists travelled from across Europe to take part in the protest against the event, which similarly drew far-right adherents from across the continent. The dueling rallies came amid diplomatic tensions between Budapest and Rome, as an Italian anti-fascist arrested at last year’s protest against the “Day of Honor” remains imprisoned in Hungary, potentially facing a lengthy term. (Banner reads: “Stop the idolization of fascism! Whether in Budapest, Dresden, Pliberk, Riga or Sofia.” Photo via Twitter)

Europe
arm ukraine

Propaganda game in fight over Ukraine military aid

With Republicans holding up new military aid for Ukraine on Capitol Hill, Russia launched one of the most massive aerial assaults of the war, killing 40 in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro and Lviv. Ukraine retaliated the next day with a missile strike on the Russian city of Belgorod, killing at least 22. Russia counter-retaliated with a wave of drone strikes, damaging schools, hospitals and homes across Ukraine, killing at least 24. Russia accused Ukraine of using internationally prohibited cluster munitions in the strike on Belgorod, and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Of course, Russia has itself used cluster munitions since the start of the war in February 2022, despite international criticism from bodies including the UN Human Rights Council. (Photo from Little Ukraine, NYC: CounterVortex)

Southern Cone
anti-ancap

Argentina gets an anarchist president? Not!

English-language media accounts are calling Argentina’s far-right president-elect Javier Milei a “self-described anarcho-capitalist,” but this appears to be a translation error. In Episode 202 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg sets the record straight, exposing “anarcho-capitalism” as an oxymoron and the fascistic Milei as antithetical to everything that Argentina’s proud anarchist tradition ever stood for. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Anarcho-capitalist flag via Wikimedia Commons, defaced by CounterVortex)

Europe
migrants

Italy in deal to hold asylum-seekers in Albania

Italy and Albania announced an agreement that would see asylum-seekers intercepted at sea by Italian forces taken to Albania while their claims are processed. Italy is to pay for construction of two centers in Albania with the capacity to hold up to 3,000 migrants at a time. If Italy rejects the asylum bids, Albania would deport the migrants. Albania is also to provide external security for the two centers, which would be under Italian jurisdiction. Some experts question whether the plan is legal, and say it follows a worrying trend of European countries seeking to “externalize” migrant processing to third countries. (Photo: US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Watching the Shadows
computer smash

Podcast: artificial intelligence and the abolition of truth

In Episode 182 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes heart in SAG-AFTRAjoining the Hollywood writers’ strike, demanding limits on the use of artificial intelligence by the industry. This is a sign of human resistance to robot rule and the growing hegemony of silicon-based “intelligence” over carbon-based intelligent life-forms. Although journalists are not yet at risk of being rendered redundant as script and copy writers are, Weinberg’s own trade of journalism is already being impacted. The post-truth zeitgeist and online cognitive environment of total propaganda is set to become exponentially worse, quantitatively and qualitatively, with the advent of “deep-fakes,” indistinguishable from actual reality. Objective truth, even as a concept, is about to be abolished—unless the human race stands up and says no to AI, before it’s too late. Contrary to the dogma that the “advance” (sic) and ubiquity of this technology is inevitable, resistance is possible. Italy has banned use of ChatGPT within the country. Listen on SoundCloud or Patreon. (Image: Earth First! Newswire)

Europe
Lampedusa

Politics, neglect hobble Italy’s migration system

The number of asylum seekers and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy has surged this year, according to EU officials. More than 56,000 people have made the journey–almost double the total over the same period last year. The increase prompted Italy’s government to declare a six-month state of emergency in April, in part to address overcrowding at a center for those who arrive on the Italian island of Lampedusa. But experienced aid workers say the focus on numbers is distracting from the real issues: dire conditions in North Africa—most recently Tunisia—pushing more people to take dangerous journeys at sea; and an Italian migration reception system near collapse due to years of politicization and neglect. (Photo: Sara Creta/TNH)

Planet Watch
migrants

Migrant fatalities surged in 2022: UN

The UN migration agency reported that 2022 was the deadliest year yet for migrants crossing from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) into Europe. According to the report from the International Organization for Migration‘s Missing Migrants Project, a record number of 3,800 people died along these migratory routes last year. The report underscored the urgent need for action to improve the safety and protection of migrants. The data, though recognized as undercounted due to the challenges in collecting information, sheds light on the magnitude of the problem. The recorded deaths in 2022 represent an 11% increase from the previous year. (Photo: Flavio Gasperini/SOS Mediterranee via InfoMigrants)

North Africa
migrant camp

Drones deployed in Libya migrant crackdown

Libyan politicians wrapped up nearly three weeks of talks in Morocco meant to set a framework for the country’s long-delayed elections. Back at home, the country’s rival sides are both cracking down hard on migrants and refugees. The Tripoli-based Government of National Unity is using armed drones to target what it says are migrant traffickers bringing people in from Tunisia. In eastern Libya, authorities have reportedly rounded up some 6,000Egyptian migrants, deporting some and holding others in a customs hangar near the border. Some suspect that this has been driven by the political calculations of Gen. Khalifa Haftar, leader of the “Libyan National Army” that controls much of the country’s east. Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s far-right prime minister, visited Haftar last month to talk migration control amid an increase in people crossing the central Mediterranean. (Photo of migrant camp near Tunisian border with Libya: UK Department for International Development via Jurist)

Europe
Lampedusa

Italy immigration law: ‘devastating impact’ on rights

Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that Italy’s newly passed Cutro law will have “devastating impacts” on migrants’ rights, threatening their ability to seek protection, access fair asylum procedures, and move freely throughout the country. Ironically, the law was passed in response to a February shipwreck on the coast of southern Italy that left more than 80 migrants dead. HRW called upon Italy to “reverse course and ensure a humane and rights-respecting response to sea crossings.” (Photo: Sara Creta/TNH)

Central Asia
Kashagan

Kazakhstan: environmental suit against Caspian consortium

The government of Kazakhstan has brought a legal action for violation of environmental protection laws against the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC), the consortium leading development of the country’s massive Kashagan oil field, seeking $5.14 billion in fines. In the complaint, the Ministry of Ecology & Natural Resources cites storage of sulfur on site in excess of permitted limits, burning of crude gas on flares without a permit, improper discharge of wastewater, and other violations. Kashagan is one of the largest oil-fields discovered on Earth over the past 40 years, with recoverable reserves estimated at up to 13 billion barrels. The consortium includes the Italian Eni, French Total, US-based ExxonMobil, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Chinese CNPC, Japan’s Inpex, and KazMunayGas, the Kazakh national operator. (Map: US Energy Information Administration via Jurist)