Europe
Cospito

Italian anarchist on prison hunger strike

Supporters are warning that Italian anarchist militant Alfredo Cospito is in danger of dying in prison after more than a month on hunger strike. Cospito, being held at Bancali prison in Sardinia, began his hunger strike in October to protest the inhumane conditions he faces under Article 41-bis of the Italian legal code, with harsh restrictions on his mobility and communication with loved ones, and no prospects for a review of his life sentence. The European Court of Human Rights in 2019 ruled that Article 41-bis, designed for terrorist and Mafia-related cases, violates the European Convention on Human Rights. Cospito is charged in a 2012 attack on a nuclear industry executive in Genoa. (Photo: Dinamo Press)

Planet Watch
anti-artemis

Podcast: against space imperialism

In Episode 146 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg protests the unprovoked imperialist attack on the asteroid Dimorphos, and rants against the sacrosanct dogma of space expansionism. The much-hyped asteroid threat is being used as a cover for militarization of space to achieve global hegemony on Earth—and eventual corporate pillage of the heavenly bodies. Finally, a long-overdue voice of space skepticism emerges from academe, with the book Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Ends of Humanity by Daniel Deudney. But hubristic notions of “space communism” have been seen on the political left, as discussed in the book I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism by AM Gittlitz. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image altered from NASA)

Europe
Stratofortress

Massive military drills from North Sea to Caucasus

NATO opened an annual exercise to test nuclear deterrence capabilities in Europe, with the participation of 14 of the 30 member countries. The drill, this year dubbed “Steadfast Noon,” will run two weeks and involve 60 aircraft, mostly over the North Sea. Russia’s own nuclear deterrence drills, known as GROM, are expected to begin later this month—which means they will overlap with the NATO exercise. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps meanwhile launched a large-scale military drill along the borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The exercise has seen construction of a temporary pontoon bridge, allowing passage of tanks and armored vehicles, over portions of the Araz River that separates Iran from the Caucasus republics. Last month, Tehran warned that it would not tolerate any seizure of territory from Armenia by Azerbaijan after border clashes broke out between its two northern neighbors. (Photo of B-52 Stratofortress via Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
ICBM

Russia keeps escalating nuclear war threats

As Russia suffers more territorial losses on the ground in eastern Ukraine, figures close to the Putin regime are escalating both the frequency and blatancy of their threats to use nuclear weapons. Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia’s region of Chechnya who has mobilized his regional forces to fight in Ukraine, stated on social media platform Telegram: “In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the…use of low-yield nuclear weapons.” Kadyrov’s comment came as Russian forces retreated from Lyman, a key city in Donetsk oblast—mere days after Putin had declared the entire oblast as annexed. Former president Dmitry Medvedev stated that if Kyiv continues its offensive on annexed territory, Russia could be “forced to use the most fearsome weapon against the Ukrainian regime.” (Photo: Russian Ministry of Defense via BAS)

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
ICBM

Russia escalates threats of nuclear war

In the wake of Vladimir Putin’s barely veiled nuclear threat upon announcing a mobilization of Russia’s reserve forces to reverse his recent losses in Ukraine, official and semi-official Moscow commentators have made such menacing completely explicit. Former Putin advisor Sergei Markov was interviewed by BBC Radio, whose anchor politely began with “Good morning to you.” Markov replied: “It’s not a good morning for everybody. In Russia there’s partial mobilization and for Western countries, for your British listeners, I would say that Vladimir Putin told you that he would be ready to use nuclear weapons against Western countries, including nuclear weapons against Great Britain. Your cities will be targeted.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

Europe
St Petersburg

Russia: municipal revolt against Putin

Dozens of municipal deputies from Moscow and St. Petersburg issued a public statement calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to resign. “President Putin’s actions are detrimental to the future of Russia and its citizens,” reads the petition shared on Twitter by Xenia Torstrem, a deputy for St. Petersburg. The call comes amid claims of vote-rigging in local and regional elections—as well as a dramatic advance by Kyiv’s forces that marks the most significant setback yet in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The call’s signatories, numbering some 30, are at risk of long prison terms under laws passed shortly after the invasion was launched, which have facilitated a harsh crackdown on dissent. (Photo of St. Petersburg via FW)

East Asia
Hwasong

North Korea law authorizes pre-emptive nuclear strikes

North Korea passed a law enshrining its right to launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes. According to the official Korea Central New Agency (KCNA), the law states that “if the command and control system of the national nuclear force is in danger of being attacked by hostile forces, the nuclear strike will be carried out automatically and immediately.” The KCNA added that “by promulgating a law on a policy of the nuclear forces, our country’s status as a nuclear-weapons state has become irreversible.” The new law replaces a 2013 law that allowed for the use of nuclear weapons in retaliation only. (Photo: MissileThreat)

Planet Watch
doomsday

Nuclear war would cause global starvation: study

More than 5 billion people would die of hunger following a full-scale nuclear war between the US and Russia, according to a study led by Rutgers climate scientists, published in the journal Nature Food. The team estimated how much sun-blocking soot would enter the atmosphere from firestorms that would be ignited by the detonation of nuclear weapons. Researchers calculated soot dispersal from six scenarios—from a regional India-Pakistan exchange to a large US-Russia war. Under even the smallest nuclear scenario, global average caloric production decreased 7% within five years of the conflict. In the largest scenario—a full-scale US-Russia nuclear conflict—global average caloric production decreased by about 90% three to four years after the exchange. “The data tell us one thing: We must prevent a nuclear war from ever happening,” said Alan Robock, professor of climate science with the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University and co-author of the study. (Image: MoreSky)

North America
FBI

Far-right threats mount against US authorities

After a US federal judge unsealed documents related to the FBI’s search of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, fears have grown over increased threats of violence. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart unsealed the search warrant and attachments, following a motion from the Department of Justice. Since unsealing the documents, Reinhart has become the target of violent and anti-Semitic threats, with his personal information, including home address, shared across Twitter and far-right platforms. Threats against Reinhart have prompted the federal judiciary to renew calls for Congress to pass legislation aimed at increasing security for judges. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
Crimea

Nuclear flashpoint Crimea?

A series of explosions tore through a Russian airbase on the Crimean Peninsula, leaving one dead. Saki airfield is some 200 kilometers from the Ukrainian lines, and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office denied responsibility for the blasts. However, an unnamed Kyiv official anonymously told the New York Times that Ukrainian forces carried out an attack on the base. Zelensky later stated: “Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up. This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea—with its liberation.” But last month, in response to the arrival of US High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in Ukraine, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedevimplied that Ukrainian strikes on targets in Crimea would meet Russia’s stated criteria for use of nuclear weapons. Saying that the refusal of Ukraine and Western powers to recognize Moscow’s control of Crimea poses a “systemic threat” to Russia, he added: “Doomsday will come very fast and hard. There will be no hiding from it.” (Map via Wikimedia Commons)

Planet Watch
Nagasaki

Nagasaki mayor: ‘tangible and present crisis’ of nuclear warfare

In official comments on the anniversary of the 1945 US atomic bombing of the Japanese city, the mayor of Nagasaki sounded a note of alarm. Mayor Tomihisa Taue stated: “In January this year, the leaders of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China released a joint statement affirming that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’ However, the very next month Russia invaded Ukraine. Threats of using nuclear weapons have been made, sending shivers throughout the globe. The use of nuclear weapons is not a groundless fear but a tangible and present crisis.” (Photo: Pop Japan)