Nord Stream pipeline sabotage: rush to judgment
Ukraine is denying involvement in September's attack on the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to carry Russian natural gas to Germany (but had already been shut by Russia before the apparent sabotage). The denials follow a March 7 report in the New York Times, citing anonymous US intelligence officials to the effect that an unnamed "pro-Ukrainian group" was to blame. (BBC News) German prosecutors simultaneoulsy announced their investigators had found "traces" of explosive on a yacht that had sailed to the site of the attack from Rostok just beforehand, and had been rented from a Polish-based company that is "apparently owned by two Ukrainians." (Politico, The Guardian)
Reichsbürger plot: Russian 'hybrid aggression'?
The Brussels-based pro-EU think-tank International Foundation for Better Governance (IFBG) is calling the apparent thwarted ultra-right plot to overthrow the German government by the so-called "Reichsbürger" movement "a classic example of the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation." The statement notes that chancellor Olaf Scholz, reportedly one of those marked for "physical elimination" in the Reichsbürger plot, is a key supporter of Ukraine among Western leaders, and was chiefly responsible for the recent German donation of Gepard mobile anti-aircraft systems to the Kyiv government. IFBG concludes: "The circumstances demand that Russia must be completely isolated, receive the maximum possible sanctions and be recognised as a terrorist state by the parliaments of Western countries." (EU Political Report)
Roger Waters: another brick in the war propaganda
In Episode 140 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls out former Pink Floyd creative genius Roger Waters as a propaganda agent for the criminal regimes of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Bashar Assad. In his recent CNN interview, Waters blames Ukraine for getting invaded, falsely states that "Taiwan is part of China," and dismisses as "bollocks" that there are human rights abuses in China. He has the unmitigated chutzpah to send an open letter on social media to Ukrainian First Lady Elena Zelenska urging her to use her influence on her husband to "end the war"—to which she rightly responds: "If we give up, we will not exist tomorrow. If Russia gives up, war will be over." We've noted before Roger's spewing of genocide-abetting denialism about the Syria chemical attacks. And he disses his own fans who don't go along with his war propaganda. Roger Waters has become the fascist rock star he once satirized in The Wall. The public acrimony between Waters and his ex-bandmate David Gilmour has now become political, with Gimour's release (under the banner of Pink Floyd) of the song "Hey Hey, Rise Up," explicitly in support of Ukraine. David Gilmour is right, while Roger Waters is now just another brick in the wall.
Podcast: against pseudo-left disinformation on Ukraine and Syria
In Episode 138 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg is outraged that The Nation magazine marks the ninth anniversary of the Ghouta chemical massacre by engaging in glib "false flag" theorizing—the predictable response of the post-truth pseudo-left. This sinister spewing from writer David Bromwich is but the latest entry in a long and shameful litany of pro-Assad and pro-Putin propaganda to appear in The Nation. Similar chemical denialism has been dished out by James Carden, and loaned credence by Phyllis Bennis—despite the findings of bona fide human rights groups. The Nation's Bob Dreyfuss has expressed open support for the genocidal dictatorship of Bashar Assad. The Nation's late éminence grise Stephen F. Cohen has spread dishonest Russian propaganda both on Syria and on Ukraine, his spewings eagerly lapped up by Tucker Carlson. Weinberg asserts that The Nation has become a vehicle of Kremlin foreign policy aims, and calls for a complete boycott. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Intrigue over assassination of Daria Dugina
Darya Dugina, Russian state media war propagandist and the daughter of ultra-nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, was killed when a remote-controlled explosive device planted in her SUV went off Aug. 20 as she was driving on the outskirts of Moscow. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) is charging that the assassination was "prepared and perpetrated by the Ukrainian special services." According to the FSB, a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, carried out the attack and then fled to Estonia. Russian media reports are claiming she was a member of Ukraine's Azov Battalion, and that the elder Dugin was the actual target of the attack. A statement from Russia's Foreign Ministry said Dugina's killing reflects Kyiv's reliance on "terrorism as an instrument of its criminal ideology."
Podcast: whither Khazaria?
In Episode 123 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the history of Khazaria, the medieval Turko-Jewish empire in what is now southern Russia and eastern Ukraine. While the fate of the mysterious Khazars has won much attention from scholars—and controversy—because of what it may reveal about the origin of the Jews of Eastern Europe, this question also touches on the origins of the Ukrainian people and state. Whatever the validity of the "Khazar Thesis" about the ethnogenesis of the Ashkenazim, it is the Ukrainian Jews—such as President Volodymyr Zelensky—who are the most likely to trace a lineage to the Khazars. In 2021, Zelenksy and the Ukrainian parliament passed a law recognizing the cultural and autonomous rights of three indigenous peoples of the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula: the Muslim Tatars and the Jewish Krymchaks and Karaites. Of any Jews on Earth, it is these last two groups that have the best claim to the Khazar inheritance—and are now a part of the struggle for a free and multicultural Ukraine, in repudiation of the Russian neo-imperialist project. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
'False flag' plot behind Mali mass grave?
The junta in Mali is accusing France of spying and subversion after the French military used a drone to film footage that Paris says shows Russian mercenaries burying bodies in a mass grave near a military base. The French government says the bodies were buried outside the base at Gossi, Tombouctou region, in a scheme to falsely accuse its departing forces of leaving behind mass graves. Video from the drone was released after pixelated images appeared on social media of corpses being buried in sand, with text accusing France of atrocities in Mali. France claims the bodies were brought to Gossi from Hombori, immediately to the south, where Malian troops and Russian mercenaries have been carrying out an operation against jihadist insurgents. The junta has acknowledged that 18 militants were killed in the operation. (The Guardian, AfricaNews, BBC News, Al Jazeera)
Transnistria blasts signal spread of Ukraine war
A series of blasts tore through the building of the de facto "Ministry of State Security" in Tiraspol, capital of Moldova's separatist-controlled enclave of Transnistria, on April 25. Officials said the building was fired on by unknown assailants with grenade launchers. Video footage showed windows and doors blown out, although there were no reports of casualties. (Reuters) Ominously, the attack comes one day after a Russian military commander openly broached extending Moscow's war in Ukraine to neighboring Moldova.
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