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.
Nearly 30 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were killed in a Burmese junta drone strike on a village near the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the parallel National Unity Government (NUG) reported Oct. 10. The attack, which killed several children, appeared to target an IDP camp where some 500 were sheltering in the village of Munglai Hkyet. The village lies just outside the town of Laiza, which is the capital of the KIA's autonomous zone in remote Kachin state. The drone attack came almost exactly a year after regime warplanes carried out a deadly air-strike on a music festival at nearby A Nang Pa village, Hpakant township, celebrating the 1960 founding of the Kachin Independence Organization. The KIA's Col. Naw Bu accused the junta of a "genocidal act of militarism towards our ethnic people." (Myanmar Now, Jurist)
In Episode 195 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg warns that with "Operation Swords of Iron," the massive military campaign in Gaza launched in response to Hamas' "al-Aqsa Flood," Israel may be crossing the genocidal threshold it has long been approaching. As the United Nations and human rights groups urgently appeal to Israel to rescind its illegal order for a mass evacuation of northern Gaza, obviously a prelude to yet greater bombardment and a re-occupation of the Strip, the US and other Western powers are complicit. Their support for Israel, a predatory annexationist power on Palestinian land, opens a moral contradiction that weakens the position of Ukraine in its struggle against Russia's annexationist and ultimately genocidal aggression.
More than 50 were killed and dozens injured in a suicide attack in Pakistan's Balochistan province Sept. 29 as people gathered to celebrate the festival marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Mawlid an-Nabi. Those targeted in the blast at the town of Mastung were overwhelmingly members of the Baluch ethnicity. The attack is believed to have been carried out by the local ISIS franchise, Islamic State-Khorasan. That same day, at least five were killed in a separate blast at a mosque in Hangu, outside Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. (BBC News, Al Jazeera, AP, NWorld, UAE)
The separatist government of Nagorno-Karabakh, which controlled the disputed territory for more than three decades, announced on Sept. 28 that it will disband by the end of the year. Azerbaijan took full control of Nagorno-Karabakh following a swift military offensive last week. The region, an enclave within the borders of Azerbaijan, is home to around 120,000 ethnic Armenians who have considered it a de facto independent state, the Republic of Artsakh, since 1991. Most of that population—almost 90,000 people—has fled to Armenia in the past week due to fears of persecution and ethnic cleansing by the Azerbaijani forces that are now in control. At least 170 people died in a massive fuel depot explosion amid the scramble to leave. Authorities in Armenia are struggling to register and provide for the needs of the tens of thousands of people arriving from the enclave, and concerns are growing about a nascent humanitarian crisis.
There is "continuous evidence" that Russian armed forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine, including unlawful attacks with explosive weapons and attacks harming civilians or targeting energy infrastructure, as well as torture and sexual and gender-based violence, the UN Human Rights Council's Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said in its latest update Sept. 25.
With a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians underway from the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh following its fall to Azerbaijani forces, the threat of "ethnic cleansing" looms. The enclave had maintained a de facto independence as the Republic of Artsakh since 1991, but the war in Ukraine has pushed the stand-off out of the headlines, and ironically given Azerbaijan a free hand to finally re-take the territory. In Episode 193 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the historical roots of the conflict, and demonstrates how the Armenians of Artsakh have been betrayed by all the Great Powers—including both Russia and the United States. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal on Sept. 21 struck down the spurious thesis behind a legislative proposal advancing in the country's Congress, which would impose a marco temporal or "time limit" on indigenous land recovery claims. The marco temporal law would nullify any indigenous group's claim to traditional lands that they weren't physically occupying on Oct. 5, 1988, the day of the enactment of Brazil's Constitution, which for the first time recognized native peoples' territorial rights. Instead, these lands would be considered the property of those currently in occupancy, or of the state. The thesis ignores the forced displacements that occurred during Brazil's dictatorship in the generation before 1988, as well as the nomadic lifeways of some indigenous groups. Environment Minister Marina Silva declared the high court's annulment of the marco temporal thesis an "act of justice."