Italy

Climate protesters shut down The Hague

Climate protestors who attempted to create a road blockade at The Hague were detained April 6 by Dutch police. Among those detained was prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg. Protestors took to the streets to oppose fossil fuel subsidies, and especially the Dutch government's tax concessions for companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from The Hague city center to a field next to the A12 highway, a main artery through the Netherlands, which some then tried to block with their bodies.

Italy detains rescue ship after confrontation with Libya

At least one person drowned March 2 after a group jumped overboard from a migrant boat as the EU-supported Libyan coast guard fired shots into the water to stop an NGO vessel from carrying out a rescue operation. The rescue vessel Humanity 1 was subsequently seized and ordered detained for 20 days by Italy—over the protests of the German non-governmental organization that operates it, SOS Humanity. Italian authorities invoked the Piantedosi Decree, a new legal provision that imposes a stricter set of requirements for charities that rescue migrants at sea, with potential penalties of stiff fines and impoundment of ships. The Humanity 1 is currently being held at Crotone, a port in Italy's southern region of Calabria.

Antifa march against Budapest Nazi-nostalgia fest

Anti-fascist protestors marched in Budapest on Feb. 10 in response to a previously banned right-wing gathering to commemorate the so-called "Day of Honor." Activists travelled from across Europe to take part. The dueling rallies came amid diplomatic tensions between Budapest and Rome, as an Italian anti-fascist activist remains imprisoned in Hungary.

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 on Dec. 29, 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.

Argentina gets an anarchist president? Not!

English-language media accounts are calling Argentina's far-right president-elect Javier Milei a "self-described anarcho-capitalist," but this appears to be a translation error. In Episode 203 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg sets the record straight, exposing "anarcho-capitalism" as an oxymoron and the fascistic Milei as antithetical to everything that Argentina's proud anarchist tradition ever stood for. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Italy in deal to hold asylum-seekers in Albania

Italy and Albania on Nov. 6 announced an agreement that would see asylum-seekers intercepted at sea by Italian forces taken to Albania while their claims are processed. Italy is to pay for construction of two centers in Albania with the capacity to hold up to 3,000 migrants at a time. If Italy rejects the asylum bids, Albania would deport the migrants. Albania is also to provide external security for the two centers, which would be under Italian jurisdiction. Children and pregnant women would be excluded from the plan. Some experts question whether the plan is legal, and say it follows a worrying trend of European countries seeking to "externalize" migrant processing to other countries. (TNH, AP)

Artificial intelligence and the abolition of truth

In Episode 182 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes heart in SAG-AFTRA joining the Hollywood writers' strike, demanding limits on the use of artificial intelligence by the industry. This is a sign of human resistance to robot rule and the growing hegemony of silicon-based "intelligence" over carbon-based intelligent life-forms. Although journalists are not yet at risk of being rendered redundant as script and copy writers are, Weinberg's own trade of journalism is already being impacted by AI. The post-truth zeitgeist and online cognitive environment of total propaganda is set to become exponentially worse, both quantitatively and qualitatively, through the advent of "deep-fakes," indistinguishable from actual reality. Objective truth, even as a very concept, is about to be abolished—unless the human race stands up and says no to AI, before it is too late. Contrary to the dogma that the "advance" (sic) and ubiquity of this technology is inevitable, resistance is possible. Italy this year banned use of ChatGPT within the country.  Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Politics, neglect hobble Italy's migration system

The number of asylum seekers and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy has surged this year, according to EU officials. More than 56,000 people have made the journey–almost double the total over the same period last year. The increase prompted Italy's government to declare a six-month state of emergency in April, in part to address overcrowding at a center for those who arrive on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

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