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)

Europe
Kremlin

Russia: unprecedented number of treason cases in 2023

The Russian authorities opened 70 cases in 2023 for “state treason” or “secret cooperation with a foreign state or organization,” according to a report from the human rights organization Perviy Otdel. Out of the 70 new cases initiated in 2023, in addition to 28 pending from previous years, courts found defendants guilty in 37 cases, marking an historical high. Some cases progressed swiftly from initiation to final judgment, spanning a mere month. Often, the Federal Security Service (FSB) conducted online sting operations, particularly targeting individuals opposing the war in Ukraine. Those charged under the treason statute, Article 275of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, may face from 12 years to life imprisonment. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Europe
ICC

Russia: ex-GRU officer to testify before ICC

Former Russian military intelligence officer Igor Salikov arrived in the Netherlands to testify as a witness at the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding Russian war crimes. Salikov took part in operations in eastern Ukraine as an officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) starting in 2014, and later served as a senior instructor for the private military company Wagner in Syria. In 2022, he was a commander in the private military company Redut during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Salikov admitted to witnessing crimes against civilians, including child abductions. (Photo: OSeveno/WikiMedia)

Palestine
Yarmouk

Gaza & Yarmouk: forbidden symmetry

As Israel crosses the genocidal threshold in Gaza, a regional summit in Riyadh protests, issuing an urgent call for a ceasefire. Yet the regional powers at that summit are guilty of equivalent crimes—Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and Iran and the Basar Assad regime in Syria. Assad’s propaganda chief Bouthaina Shaaban especially decried Israel’s targeting of hospitals in Gaza. Yet just last month, the Assad regime bombed hospitals in Syria’s rebel-held north. Indeed, the Assad regime also savagely bombed and besieged Palestinians for months, at Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus. In Episode 200 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes with chagrin that key organizers of this month’s National March on Washington for Palestine included pseudo-left “tankie” formations that actively support the genocidal Assad regime. They also now abet Russia’s genocidal campaign in Ukraine, in which hospitals have been repeatedly targeted. This moral contradiction undercuts our effectiveness in advancing the demand for a Gaza ceasefire. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Palestinians await aid distribution at Yarmouk, 2014. Credit: UNWRA)

The Caucasus
Caucasus

Anti-Semitic riots, attacks in Russian Caucasus

An angry mob in Russia’s Caucasus republic of Dagestan stormed the airport of regional capital Makhachkala, seking to confront passengers arriving on a flight from Israel. Some held signs reading “Child killers have no place in Dagestan” and “We are against Jewish refugees.” The National Guard only showed up hours after rioters had overrun all areas of the airport, including the runway. Clashes then ensued, with several arrested. There was a similar scene in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt, after reports on social media claimed that “refugees from Israel” were being accommodated at a local hotel. Another such rally was reported from Cherkessk, capital of Karachay-Cherkessia republic. And in Nalchik, capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, an under-construction Jewish cultural center was set ablaze, with “Death to the Yahudi” written in Russian on one wall. (Map: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection)

Europe
Putin

Russia conducts simulated nuclear strike

Russia’s military conducted exercises with nuclear-capable missiles, shortly after the State Duma unanimously voted to revoke ratification of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The Russian Strategic Missile Forces command claimed the exercises were part of a regularly scheduled annual training drill held every October. But Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the exercises were to simulate a retaliatory nuclear strike to be carried out if Russia were attacked with nuclear firepower first. The Russian military widely publicized videos of the exercises across state media. According to the Kremlin, the exercises were overseen by President Vladimir Putin from a Moscow command center. (Photo: Kremlin)

Europe
Ukraine

Evidence mounts of Russian war crimes in Ukraine

A new UN report finds continued evidence of war crimes and human rights violations committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, including torture, rape and the deportation of children. The report, the latest issued by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, documents additional indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons, resulting in deaths, injuries and the destruction and damage of “civilian objects.” For example, 24 people, mostly women and children, were killed in an attack on a block of residential apartments in Uman, a city in the Cherkasy region, in April. (Map: PCL)

Palestine
Gaza

Ukraine & Palestine — forbidden symmetry III

In Episode 197 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that as Israel crosses a genocidal threshold in Gaza, Vladimir Putin hypocritically protests the carnage—despite the fact that he has already crossed that threshold in Ukraine. This hypocrisy is precisely mirrored by that of Joe Biden. The moral position of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression, occupation and genocide is undermined by the contradiction of its Western backers such as the US marshalling massive resources—in the very same legislation just introduced by Biden on Capitol Hill—to assist Israeli aggression, occupation and genocide. Listen on SoundCloudor via Patreon. (Photo: Maan News Agency)

Europe
Lavra

Ukraine bans religious organizations linked to Russia

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, adopted Decision Number 8371, banning religious organizations found to have “colluded with armed aggressors” from operating within the country. The measure is clearly aimed at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been accused of collaborating with Russia. Some 16% of Ukrainians follow the church, which is distinct from the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The church claims that it is not currently aligned with the Russian Orthodox Church and argues the law is unconstitutional. Passage of the law follows the prosecution of church leaders, including the three-year prison sentence of Metropolitan Iosaf, for distributing pro-Russian literature, and imposition of a 60-day house arrest on Metropolitan Pavel, for “supporting Russia’s armed action against Ukraine.” (Photo of Kyiv’s Pechersk Lavra via Wikipedia)

Palestine

Ukraine & Palestine — forbidden symmetry II

In Episode 196 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes with alarm the police-state measures being put in place in place in Israel, as well as Germany, France and the United Kingdom to suppress protest against Israel’s criminal assault on Gaza, now approaching a genocidal threshold. This has obvious echoes of the draconian crackdown on anti-war dissent in Russia since the launch of the Ukraine invasion. The more Israel and its Western allies which are also backing Ukraine come to resemble the fascist state of Vladimir Putin, both in criminal military tactics and police-state measures to suppress dissent to such tactics, the worse it will to be not only for the Palestinians, but also in the long run for the Ukrainians. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Q Sakamaki via The Village Sun)

Palestine
Gaza genocide

Ukraine & Palestine — forbidden symmetry

In Episode 195 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg warns that with “Operation Swords of Iron,” the massive military campaign in Gaza launched in response to Hamas’ “al-Aqsa Flood,” Israel may be crossing the genocidal threshold it has long been approaching. As the United Nations and human rights groups urgently appeal to Israel to rescind its illegal order for a mass evacuation of northern Gaza, obviously a prelude to yet greater bombardment and a re-occupation of the Strip, the US and other Western powers are complicit. Their support for Israel, a predatory annexationist power on Palestinian land, opens a moral contradiction that weakens the position of Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s annexationist and ultimately genocidal aggression. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Seth Tobocman)

Africa
#OccupyJulorbiHouse

‘Occupy’ protests hit Ghana

Hundreds held a three-day protest campaign in Ghana’s capital, Accra, to denounce harsh economic conditions and the “moral decay” of the country’s leadership. With placards reading “Ghana deserves better,” protesters attempted to march on the seat of government, Golden Jubilee House, intending to “occupy” it—but riot police and armored vehicles barred their way. In response, demonstrators sat down in the road, effectively shutting down the area for hours. Over 50 were arrested when police finally cleared the intersection. (Photo: Jurist via GhanaWeb TV)