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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.

UN rights experts warn against arms exports to Israel

A statement released Feb. 23 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on behalf of United Nations rights experts warns countries against the transfer of war material to Israel, as such transfers could constitute violations of international humanitarian law if weapons are used contrary to the Geneva Conventions. The statement asserts that "states must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition—or parts for them—if it is expected, given the facts and past patterns of behaviour, that they would be used to violate international law."

'Blood gold,' diamonds behind Russian war effort

Gold-mining operations in Africa under the control of the paramilitary Wagner Group are funneling money to the Kremlin for the Russian war effort in Ukraine, according to a new report by watchdog organizations. "The Blood Gold Report," prepared by the Consumer Choice Center and Democracy 21, finds that Wagner has laundered some $2.5 billion in proceeds from its African operations since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, helping Moscow to ride out international sanctions.

Alberta invokes Sovereignty Act over emission regs

The legislature of the Canadian province of Alberta invoked the controversial Alberta Sovereignty Act on Nov. 27 in response to new federal environmental policies. The provincial legislature passed a resolution resolving to "urge the Government to use all legal means necessary to oppose the implementation and enforcement of the Federal Initiative in Alberta." The initiative refered to is Canada's proposed Clean Energy Regulations, which the resolution says mandate "a set of emissions standards and timelines that are unattainable within the context of Alberta's electricity industry and available energy resource," and would have "an extreme chilling effect on investment in Alberta's electricity generation industry." 

World Court censures Syria for torture

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague issued an interim order on Nov. 16 directing the Syrian government to "take all measures within its powers" to prevent torture. This development stems from a case brought by the Netherlands and Canada, accusing Syria of engaging in a prolonged campaign of torture of its own citizens. The court's order seeks to safeguard potential victims as the case proceeds. Syria is accused of breaching the Convention against Torture & Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Protests prompt Panama mining moratorium

Panama's President Laurentino Cortizo announced Oct. 29 that he will hold a referendum to determine the fate of a contentious mega-mining contract, after several days of the country's largest protests in decades. Cortizo also said he would instate a moratorium on any new mining projects in response to the protests, a move approved by a vote of the National Assembly on Nov. 2. The moratorium bill was signed by Cortizo the next day, which was Panama's independence day. The protests, driven by environmental concerns, were sparked by the National Assembly's Oct. 20 vote to award an extended concession to Canadian company First Quantum, allowing it to operate the largest open-pit copper mine on the Central American isthmus for another 20 years.

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."

Artificial intelligence and the abolition of humanity

In Episode 183 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues his rant on the dangers of artificial intelligence, this time focusing on the threat it poses to human evolution. The advent of Elon Musk's Neuralink brain implant technology, now approved for human testing by the FDA, actually portends the ultimate abolition of humanity, and its replacement by a conditioned post-humanity stripped of all dignity and reason. But there are signs of human resistance to robot rule that we must fan the flames of before it is too late—such as the current strike by Vancouver dockworkers against their replacement by automation. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

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