Europe
kherson

Podcast: against pseudo-left disinformation on Ukraine II

In Episode 150 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls out the panelists at The People’s Forum event on “The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine“—including the inevitable Noam Chomsky and Medea Benjamin—for actually spreading Russian war propaganda, in Orwellian manner. As Ukraine advances on the ground, liberating the city of Kherson (which Moscow had declared “annexed”), Russia retaliates with massive missile strikes targeting civilian infrastructure such as heating plants as the bitter Ukrainian winter approaches—clearly war crimes, aimed at breaking the will of the populace. But rather than protesting the Russian bombardment, these pseudo-anti-war voices join with the Trumpian right in calling for an end to military aid to Ukraine. And rather than Russian mass atrocities and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory, they point to imaginary pressure on Kyiv from the US not to negotiate as the obstacle to peace. This war propaganda is all the more sickening for being disguised as peace propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo via Razom for Ukraine)

Watching the Shadows
Kremlin

Wagner Group revelations expose Kremlin lies

Russia’s heretofore secretive private mercenary force, the Wagner Group, has opened its first official headquarters, in an office building in the city of Saint Petersburg—with a stylized W logo and the words “Wagner Center” in Russian emblazoned on the glass door facing the street. Putin-allied oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin last month also publicly confirmed for the first time that he is the founder of the mercenary outfit. These are amusing developments after years of claims that the Wagner Group—which is accused in a string of horrific human rights abuses both in Ukraine and across Africa—doesn’t actually exist. (Photo: Wikipedia)

North America
Tohono O'odham

GOP lawmaker threatens new Indian war

In a little-noted interview on the right-wing online video show “In The Trenches with Teddy Daniels,” Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar suggested that his party’s gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, could order the state’s National Guard to surround and blockade the Tohono O’odham Nation, a Native American reservation that borders Mexico, ensuring that “no one passes.” Gosar also offered the notion that Lake could go to the US Supreme Court to seek state authority over the reservation. The Tohono O’odham tribal government cooperates with the Border Patrol, but has long opposed plans for a border wall that would cut through their traditional territory. (Map via Google)

Europe
Jill Stein

Podcast: against pseudo-pacifist war propaganda II

In Episode 148 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the ANSWER Coalition—a formation so “tankie” that it actually displays portraits of the genocidal Syrian dictator Bashar Assad at its Orwellian “anti-war” rallies—is holding a panel at The People’s Forum in New York on “The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine.” The headlining speaker is to be Jeremy Corbyn, who was bashed by Ukraine’s government as a “useful idiot” of Vladimir Putin for joining a panel demanding a cut-off of military to aid to the besieged nation. Other panelists are even more subservient to Moscow’s military aims, including Vijay Prashad, Medea Benjamin, Jill Stein and Brian Becker. Notably absent from the panel (of course) are any progressive Ukrainian voices—such as Yuliya Yurchenko or Vladislav Starodubtsev of the Ukrainian left-opposition group Sotsialniy Rukh (Social Movement), Taras Bilous, editor of the Ukrainian socialist journal Commons, or Artem Chapeye, Noam Chomsky’s Ukrainian translator who called Chomsky out in an open letter for abetting Russian propaganda after the war began. All these Ukrainian voices, whatever strong criticism they may have of the neoliberal government of Volodymyr Zelensky, are unequivocal on the need to defend Ukraine against Russian imperialist assault. Whereas this hypocritical “anti-war” panel is an exercise in pseudo-pacifist war propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo of Jill Stein dining with Putin via social media)

New York City
Randall's Island

NYC: island emergency camp for asylum seekers

New York City workers have started erecting a series of sprawling tents in vacant parking lots on Randall’s Island, between the East and Harlem rivers, to house undocumented migrants and asylum-seekers. The so-called “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers” are to hold some 500, officially for no more than five days. At least two more tent cities are planned, with Orchard Beach in the Bronx named as another possible location. Gov. Kathy Hochul has ordered National Guard troops to help staff the centers. Since the spring, some 17,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in New York—many sent to the city on buses by authorities in Texas. The city has already opened 42 emergency shelters to deal with the influx, and Mayor Eric Adams has declared a state of emergency. (Map via Google)

Europe
anti-z

Podcast: anarchist voices on Ukraine

In Episode 145 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg contrasts statements from anarchists in Ukraine and Russia—who call unequivocally for Putin’s defeat and removal from power—with the relentless lecturing from stateside “leftists” that the Ukrainians must cede territory in exchange for “peace.” These stateside voices include (inevitably) Medea Benjamin and (of course) Noam Chomsky on (predictably) Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now. They actually call for the United States to “negotiate” with Russia—the Great Powers deciding the fate of Ukraine, without the participation of the Ukrainians (exactly as in the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Czechoslovakia was betrayed to the Nazis). Both these ostensible leftist positions line up with figures from the political establishment. On Chomsky’s and Benjamin’s side are Elon Musk and Donald Trump. On the side of the intransigent Ukrainian and Russian anarchists are Ukraine’s former defense minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk writing in Foreign Affairs, and President Joe Biden, who told CNN: “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.” Is it possible that Joe Biden has a more progressive position than Noam Chomsky? Actually, yes. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: “Anti-fascist resistance” logo via Russian anarchist group Autonomous Action)

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)

North America
League of the South

Podcast: can Russia foment civil war in the US?

In Episode 135 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines Russia’s obvious attempt to bring about a return to power by MAGA-fascism in the US, or to have the country collapse into civil war—leaving Moscow considerably freer to carry out its campaign of reconquest in Ukraine and possibly beyond. This is the evident design of the FSB (neo-KGB) in coordination with a political network in the orbit of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Vladimir Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the strategy of building a “Red-Brown alliance” of the radical right and radical left against the “liberal order” of the West. How is it possible that Black Nationalists and supposed “progressives” are being taken in by the same FSB-backed astroturf organizations that are also grooming white supremacists and neo-Confederates? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

North America
SCOTUS

Podcast: Trumpism must be smashed

In Episode 134 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg documents the increasingly real threat of a right-wing authoritarian takeover of the United States within the next two years. The recent alarming Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights, migrant detention and environmental regulation could be a mere prelude to a decision that could effectively mean the end of democracy. In Moore v. Harper, ostensibly about North Carolina’s congressional map, the state’s legislators hope to upend 200 years of election law and give statehouses unfettered authority to make rules and seat electors. This comes as Trump’s scheme to use “fake electors” to throw the 2020 elections has come to light. After the failed coup of 2021, the Republicans are laying the groundwork to do it again in 2024—and this time more methodically. Trumpism needs to be defeated—by any and all means necessary. This includes pressure for a criminal indictment of Donald Trump, readiness to contend with MAGA fascism for control of the streets if it comes down to a physical stand-off—but also voting for the Democrats, however odious it may be. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Andes
Francia-Petro

Colombia: pending presidency ‘between two populisms’

Following a first round of presidential elections, “between two populisms” is the catchphrase being used by Colombia’s media for an unprecedented moment. A pair of political “outsiders” are to face each other in the run-off: Gustavo Petro, a former guerilla leader and Colombia’s first leftist presidential contender, versus Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate whose pugnacious swagger inevitably invites comparison to Donald Trump. Hernández, an independent candidate and the former mayor of Bucaramanga, rose precipitously in an ostensibly anti-establishment campaign driven by social media, winning him the epithet “King of TikTok.” But Colombia’s political establishment is now lining up behind him to defeat Petro. The former mayor of Bogotá and a veteran of the demobilized M-19 guerillas, Petro is the candidate of a new progressive coalition, Colombia Humana, emphasizing multiculturalism and ecology as well as more traditional social justice demands. (Photo via Twitter)

Africa
Somalia

US troops ‘back’ to Somalia —but did they ever leave?

The Pentagon announced that a “small, persistent US military presence” of around 500 troops is to return to Somalia, to assist ongoing operations against the Shabaab insurgents. Media commentators widely portrayed this as a policy reversal, with some incorrectly stating that Present Trump “brought the troops home” from Somalia in 2020. However, the Pentagon press release implicitly acknowledges that the so-called “withdrawal” had been largely a fiction: “The existing model of US assistance moving into and out of the country as needed…is inefficient.” The troops were never “brought home”; they were redeployed to neighboring Djibouti and Kenya, and sent back in to Somalia as mandated by contingency. Even if the announcement doesn’t mean very much, it is being met with some trepidation by rights advocates. Human Rights Watch warned against “repeating past laws of war violations.” (Photo: Patrick Crosley/USMC via CommonDreams)

Watching the Shadows
anti-chomsky

Chomsky & the Orwellian manipulation of Orwell

In Episode 124 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues his deconstruction of the increasingly sinister, fascist-abetting politics of Noam Chomsky. In the latest in the endless litany of sycophantic interviews with Chomsky, this supposed icon of the left actually praises Donald Trump for advocating appeasement of Putin in Ukraine—for which he was favorably tweeted by the inevitable Glenn Greenwald. Most perversely, the interview is entitled “Noam Chomsky on the Russia-Ukraine war, The Media, Propaganda, Orwell, Newspeak and Language.” Yet Chomsky is advocating positions that are utterly inimical to everything Orwell ever stood for. This constitutes an Orwellian exploitation of Orwell, mirroring Putin’s fascist pseudo-anti-fascism, and the pseudo-pacifist war propaganda of his Western enablers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo collage with image from the 1984 movie 1984. Big Brother’s face is replaced by Chomsky’s, mimicking his sycophantic treatment in the 1992 move Manufacturing Consent. Fair use rights asserted.)