France

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.

France accuses Azerbaijan of interfering in New Caledonia

France accused Azerbaijan on May 17 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—photo or video montages—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.

Podcast: Four dead in Ohio. And two in Mississippi.

As the police crackdown on the Gaza protests continues coast-to-coastdrawing concern from Amnesty International—Bill Weinberg notes that this repression comes in the month marking the 54th anniversary of slayings of student protesters at Kent State University in Ohio and Jackson State University in Mississippi. With police now unleashing violence on student protesters in Paris, Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in Jordan and Lebanon, there is an unsettling sense of deja vu. In Episode 225 of the CounterVortex podcast, Weinberg warns that the world could be headed toward an historical moment that rhymes with May 1970.

Podcast: liberatory legacy of heresy

Raoul Vaneigem, famous as a key figure in the Situationist International and author of The Revolution of Everyday Life, a tract associated with the May 1968 uprising in Paris, traces Gnostic and millenarian movements of ancient and medieval times as critical precursors of the revolutions of the modern age. In Episode 208 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses his book Resistance to Christianity: A Chronological Encyclopaedia of Heresy from the Beginning to the Eighteenth Century, newly translated from the French by Bill Brown and released by Eris imprint of Columbia University Press.

France issues warrant for Assad on war crimes

France issued arrest warrants on Nov. 15 for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher al-Assad, de facto chief of the regime's elite 4th Armored division, as well as two high-ranking military generals. The warrants stem from an investigation into two chemical weapons attacks that occurred in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013, resulting in the death of over 1,000 people. French officials launched the investigation in 2021 after the Syrian Center for Media & Freedom of Expression (SCM) and other nongovernmental organizations filed a complaint with the Specialized Unit for Crimes against Humanity & War Crimes of the Paris Judicial Court. The SCM argued that the use of chemical weapons is a jus cogens crime, implying an absolute prohibition with no immunity based on state sovereignty.

Russia conducts simulated nuclear strike

Russia's military conducted exercises with nuclear-capable missiles Oct. 25, 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.

Synagogues attacked in Germany, Tunisia

On Oct. 18, unknown assailants targeted a Berlin synagogue with Molotov cocktails, while rioters in Tunisia burned down the historic El Hamma synagogue. Berlin police reported that two unidentified persons threw the Molotov cocktails at the Kahal Adass Jisroel synagogue in the center of the city. No casualties or significant property damage were reported. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the attack and promised to protect the country's Jewish communities, saying, "Anti-Semitism has no place in Germany." He also noted in later comments that the legacy of the Holocaust means Germany must be extra vigilant. The Kahal Adass Jisroel community was resolute, with the synagogue's chairperson saying, "We will live on, we will be strong, we will stay."

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 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.

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