Burma

Malaysia: calls to end mass detention of refugees

Rights groups in Malaysia are calling for the release of thousands of detained refugees and asylum-seekers, after a deadly incident in the northern state of Penang April 20. Six Rohingya refugees were reportedly struck by vehicles and killed when hundreds fled a detention center after breaking through barriers and attempted to escape across an adjacent highway.

Podcast: solidarity with Nagaland

In Episode 109 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the under-reported conflict in India's northeastern state of Nagaland, which has seen a multi-generational pro-independence insurgency. Popular protest is rising there since an army massacre of coal-miners in December. The armed conflict began in 1956, when the Naga National Council declared independence from India in the face of Delhi's intransigence on recognizing local autonomy, and adopted a constitution emphasizing village self-rule. The traditional Naga territory is divided by the border with Burma, which has complicated their self-determination struggle. With Burma now going over the edge into civil war, there are growing fears that India's conflicted Northeast could be further enflamed. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Burma: Karenni rebels resist 'annihilation'

Several civilians have been killed and more than 10,000 forced to flee their homes in heavy clashes between Burma's military and resistance fighters of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) for control of Loikaw, capital of Kayah state. "Members of humanitarian organizations for IDPs [internally displaced persons] and civil society groups are carrying out rescue operations to save the trapped civilians," said a KNDF officer. "KNDF soldiers are also helping them." Speaking of the military's new offensive to retake the city, he added: "We can see they are preparing to annihilate us in every possible way."

'Great Leap Backward' for press freedom in China

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has issued a new report, The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, revealing the extent of the regime's campaign of repression against the right to information. The report especially examines the deterioration of press freedom in Hong Kong, which was once a world model but has now seen an increasing number of journalists arrested in the name of "national security."

Burma junta leader accused of crimes against humanity

Burma's military junta leader Gen. Min Aung Hliang was accused of crimes against humanity in a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) filed Dec. 10 by the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP). Article 15 of the Rome Statute empowers the ICC prosecutor to initiate an investigation upon receiving information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. MAP, a human rights advocacy group, has requested that the ICC under Article 15 launch a criminal investigation into "the use of torture as part of the violent crackdown against the protest movement in Myanmar." MAP's submission is accompanied by evidence of the widespread and systematic use of torture in Burma (Myanmar) since the military seized control from the democratically elected government in February.

Podcast: R2P in the 21st Century

In Episode 101 of the CounterVortex podcast, we present the audio from a panel at the Ninth Biennial International Conference of the Herbert Marcuse Society, held in October at Arizona State University in Tempe. The panel, "The Responsibility to Protect in the Twenty-First Century," features two presentations. Javier Sethness speaks on "Realism, Egalitarianism, and Internationalism," providing a theoretical and historical framework for the question, including a discussion of Herbert Marcuse's work with US intelligence in World War II. Bill Weinberg, speaking via Zoom from New York, follows with "For Solidarity; Against Dictators and Campism," discussing contemporary examples, including Syria, Libya, Burma and Taiwan. A third presentation was to have been offered by Anner G. in Ethiopia, on "The Responsibility to Protect in Tigray," but she was unable to join. The work of her group, Horn Anarchists, is briefly discussed in Weinberg's presentation. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Burma: resistance escalates as Suu Kyi sentenced

Ousted Burmese state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, was found guilty Dec. 6 of "incitement" and breaking COVID restrictions—but the first of a series of 11 charges that could see her imprisoned for life, with potential combined terms of up to 100 years. For these initial two charges, she was given a four-year sentence; junta chief Min Aung Hlaing ordered it reduced it to two years. Deposed president Win Myint, 69, convicted on the same charges, also had his sentence commuted from four years to two. They will each be able to serve the two years at their undisclosed "current place of detention," where they have been held since the February coup d'etat. (BBC News, Myanmar Now, The Irrawady)

Book review: Underground Asia

Underground Asia
Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire
by Tim Harper
Harvard University Press, 2021

This dauntingly detailed book on the roots of Asia's anti-colonial movements documents the early influence of anarchism, and how it was ultimately displaced by nationalisms of different stripes.

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