Greater Middle East
Sahrawis

Podcast: from Palestine to Western Sahara

Benjamin Netanyahu’s gaffe on French TV, displaying a map of the “Arab World” that showed the occupied (and illegally annexed) Western Sahara as a separate entity from Morocco, sparked a quick and obsequious apology from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. But the snafu sheds light on the mutual hypocrisy at work here. There is an obvious hypocrisy to Moroccan protests that demand self-determination for the Palestinians but not the Sahrawi, the indigenous Arab inhabitants of Western Sahara. The hypocrisy of Israel is also obvious: Israeli commentators and hasbara agents are the first to play the “whataboutery” game—relativizing the plight of the Palestinians by pointing to that of Kurds, Berbers, Nubians, Massalit and other stateless peoples oppressed under Arab regimes. But, as we now see, they are just as quick to completely betray them when those regimes recognize Israel and betray the Palestinians. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg breaks it down in Episode 229 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Kirby Gookin/Western Sahara Resource Center)

Greater Middle East
sahara

Netanyahu’s new map flap: multiple ironies

Israel was forced to apologize to Morocco after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seen in a video displaying a map of the Middle East and North Africa—that failed to show the occupied (and illegally annexed) territory of Western Sahara as within the kingdom’s borders. Netanyahu brandished the map in an interview with a French TV channel, showing what he called “the Arab world” in green, a swath of near-contiguous territory from Iraq to Mauritania—contrasting small, isolated Israel, “the one and only Jewish state.” The goof was especially dire because in 2020 Israel joined the US as the only two countries on Earth to recognize Moroccan annexation of Western Sahara, in exchange for Moroccan recognition of the Jewish state under the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords. This was a cozy mutual betrayal of both the Palestinians and Sahrawi Arabs, the indigenous inhabitants of occupied Western Sahara. (Image: Twitter via Middle East Eye)

Oceania
new caledonia

Podcast: New Caledonia in the Great Game

Azerbaijan, now facing accusations of genocide against Armenians, suddenly rallies to the defense of the Kanak indigenous people in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, and accuses France of a legacy of “crimes against humanity” in its colonial holdings. This appears to be blatant retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. The repression of the Kanak uprising in their colonized homeland and the cleansing of the Armenians from their usurped ancestral lands both demand our protest—but the propaganda game makes everything more complicated. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg discusses in Episode 227 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Flag image via Wikipedia)

Oceania
Kanak

France accuses Azerbaijan of interfering in New Caledonia

France accused Azerbaijan of interfering in the conflict in New Caledonia, and spreading anti-French propaganda on social media to enflame the unrest in the French overseas territory. The charge was based on a report published by the French state investigative agency Viginum, alleging that Azerbaijan has disseminated “manifestly inaccurate or misleading content…blaming France for its handling of the situation in New Caledonia in the context of the riots.” The report came one day after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin accused Azerbaijan of making an agreement with the New Caledonia independence leadership, implying that this was retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. Darmanin further added that France will not cede to the violence, and that it maintains sovereignty over New Caledonia. (Photo: New Caledonia protesters fly flag of Azerbaijan alongside that of the independence movement. Credit: @BabakTaghvaee1)

Africa
Darfur

Podcast: the betrayal of Darfur —again

In Episode 226 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the alarmingly under-reported humanitarian disaster in Darfur. A generation later, the genocide is back on—but this time there is no global campaign to stop it. Even last time around, elements of the campist pseudo-left portrayed the “Save Darfur” movement as a Zionist conspiracy, because atrocities by an Arab-led regime happened to be useful to Israel in the “whataboutery” game. Alas, such cynical voices are at it again. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (19th century map of Sultanate of Darfur via GlobalSecurity)

Palestine
Warsaw Ghetto

Podcast: from Warsaw Ghetto to Gaza Strip

Masha Gessen in a New Yorker essay draws a parallel between the Warsaw Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland and the Gaza Strip, where Israel’s long siege is now escalating to genocide. Some Israeli military tactics in Gaza mirror those of the Nazis in Warsaw. Yet, while some voices on the ostensible “left” go so far as to glorify Hamas, Israel’s online partisans are drawing a parallel that reverses the roles, depicting Hamas as the new Nazis. In a case of paradoxical fascistic pseudo-anti-fascism, the genocidal rhetoric of figures such as hardline Israeli cabinet member Bezalel Smotrich dehumanizes the victims by portraying all Gazans as Nazis. In Episode 223 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg turns to the words of Leon Trotsky and Albert Camus to make sense of the seeming contradiction. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Stroop Report via Wikipedia)

Europe
Marek Edelman

Marek Edelman: Jewish hero, anti-Zionist

In Episode 222 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg marks the 81st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by reviewing the new documentary on Jewish armed struggle against the Nazis, Resistance—They Fought Back. A nearly forgotten element of this struggle was the consciously anti-Zionist politics of some of the resistance leaders—most notably Jewish Combat Organization subcommander Marek Edelman, who was the last surviving leader of the Ghetto Uprising when he died in his native Poland in 2009. Edelman was a follower of the General Jewish Labor Bund, which rejected the colonization of Palestine in favor of fighting for a dignified and secure place for Jews within Europe This history is especially critical at this moment in light of credible accusations that the self-proclaimed Jewish State is committing genocide in Gaza, and propagandistic efforts to cynically conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: New Jewish Resistance)

Syria
ISIS

Germany: ISIS suspect arrested for war crimes

The German Federal Criminal Police arrested a suspect identified as Sohail A, said to be a former member of the Syrian insurgent group Liwa Jund al-Rahman and the Islamic State. Both are designated “terrorist organizations” by the German government, making membership an offense under the Criminal Code. Sohail A is also accused of participating in war crimes including forced displacement. Liwa Jund al-Rahman, or Brigade of the Soldiers of the Merciful God, carried out a 2013 “cleansing operation” in Deir ez-Zor province, in which Shi’ite residents were forcibly expelled. According to the German Prosecutor General, Sohail A glorified the operation on social media platforms as part of the group’s propaganda department. (Photo via Syria Call)

Europe
RTVS

Slovakia: protests over government’s authoritarian tilt

Slovakia has seen mass protests in recent weeks over new authoritarian measures by the ruling populist government of Prime Minister Robert Fico. The government has dissolved the Special Prosecutor’s Office, which had indicted Fico’s chief of staff and imprisoned his former prosecutor general for corruption. The government is also proposing to dissolve the state broadcaster Slovak Television & Radio, and replace it with a new official media body that would be under closer government control. Critics see the move as facilitating propaganda for the ruling coalition, as well as disinformation and Russian influence. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Watching the Shadows
Krasnogorsk

Podcast: conspiracy theory and the Moscow terror

The deadly terror attack in a concert hall outside Moscow was immediately claimed by ISIS-K, the Islamic State network’s Afghanistan franchise. But just as quickly, the Russian and Ukrainian intelligence services accused each other of being behind it—the latter saying it was organized as a “provocation” to expand Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Putin’s rise to power, including his recent rise to outright autocratic power, as well as his various military adventures, have indeed been lubricated every step of the way by terror attacks. But who was actually behind the Crocus City Center attack may not really matter overmuch. If 9-11 was a “Reichstag Fire” for the hyper-interventionist aims of Dubya Bush, that analogy may prove to apply even more closely to the concert hall carnage serving the war aims and totalitarian domestic agenda of Vladimir Putin. Bill Weinberg discusses in Episode 219 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: governor of Moscow Oblast via Wikimedia Commons)

Watching the Shadows
anti-semitism

Podcast: Blood Libel in a time of genocide

Calling out the “Blood Libelrhetoric and imagery in anti-Israel invective would certainly be a lot easier if Israel were not actually killing children, in large numbers, with leading voices openly calling for genocide of the Palestinians. And if pro-Israel (and MAGA) propaganda did not cynically conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Yet from Manhattan to Cincinnati to Dallas to Berkeley and Santa Barbara, slogans and graffiti have tarred Jews as Zionists and “baby-killers”—playing into the hands of Israel’s propagandists. Bill Weinberg discusses the dilemma in Episode 218 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.(Image: frgdr.com)

Palestine
Tibetan Uprising Day

Podcast: for Tibet-Palestine solidarity

The 65th anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day immediately follows Tibetan protests against plans to flood ancestral lands for mega-hydro development to power the cities and industrial zones of China’s east—a clear parallel to the struggle of the Cree and Inuit indigenous peoples of the Canadian north to defend their territories from mega-hydro schemes to power the megalopoli of the US Northeast. The illegal Chinese occupation of Tibet since 1959 also has a clear parallel in the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories since 1967. Yet the Tibetan and Palestinian leadership have long been pitted against each other in the Great Power game. In a significant sign of hope, Students for a Free Tibet responded to the criminal bombardment of Gaza by issuing a statement in solidarity with the Palestinians, and some leading figures in the Tibetan exile community have drawn the connection between the two peoples’ struggles. Bill Weinberg explores in Episode 217 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Central Tibetan Administration)