Ireland

More advances for Palestinian statehood

Colombian President Gustavo Petro on May 22 ordered the opening of an embassy in Palestine, joining a handful of other nations around the world that have done so. The announcement comes after Petro's government withdrew its diplomats from Israel and broke relations with the country on May 2, describing Israel's actions in Gaza as a "genocide." The Colombian embassy is to be installed in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority's capital on the West Bank.

Podcast: Four dead in Ohio. And two in Mississippi.

As the police crackdown on the Gaza protests continues coast-to-coastdrawing concern from Amnesty International—Bill Weinberg notes that this repression comes in the month marking the 54th anniversary of slayings of student protesters at Kent State University in Ohio and Jackson State University in Mississippi. With police now unleashing violence on student protesters in Paris, Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in Jordan and Lebanon, there is an unsettling sense of deja vu. In Episode 225 of the CounterVortex podcast, Weinberg warns that the world could be headed toward an historical moment that rhymes with May 1970.

Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism: parsing the difference II

In a disturbing coincidence in Missoula, Mont., a Palestine solidarity march to protest the bombardment of Gaza ran into a separate but simultaneous anti-Israel march by neo-Nazis. Since the Gaza bombardment began, open neo-Nazi marches have also been reported from Madison, Wisc., Dallas, Tex., and elsewhere around the country. Yet, in addition to displaying enthusiasm for Hamas, their banners also read "REFUGEES NOT WELCOME"—and we may assume it was a similar ultra-right xenophobe who shot three Palestinian youths in Burlington, Vt. This makes it all the more maddening that elements of the "left" share with the Nazis an unseemly enthusiasm for Hamas—providing much fodder for the pro-Israel and "anti-woke" right. In Episode 201 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues to explore the dilemma. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

UK orders closure of China-run 'police stations'

UK Minister for Security Tom Tugendhat updated Parliament June 6 about Chinese "overseas police service stations" operating within the United Kingdom.  Tugendhat told lawmakers that the UK has ordered China to close any remaining "police stations" on UK soil, calling the stations' existence "unacceptable." Tugendhat said that British authorities received reports from non-governmental organization Safeguard Defenders of these stations in Croydon, Hendon and Glasgow, with allegations of another in Belfast.

Germany recognizes Holodomor as genocide

The German Bundestag on Nov. 33 voted to formally recognize the Holodomor, a politically induced famine that decimated Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, as a genocide. The declaration found that Soviet authorities demanded inflated quantities of grain from Ukrainian farmers and punished those who fell short with additional demands. Affected regions were cut off from the rest of the Soviet Union so that Ukrainians could not receive aid. As a result, approximately 3.5 million Ukrainians starved to death. Ukraine declared the Holodomor a genocide in 2006.

Pact indefinitely keeps open 'Australia's Gitmo'

A new memorandum of understanding allowing Australia to continue to indefinitely detain asylum seekers at a facility on the Pacific island of Nauru was signed on Sept. 24. Since 2012, asylum seekers arriving by boat have been barred from settlement in Australia and sent to offshore detention centers instead. The deal extending use of the Nauru facility comes just as the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) finally reached an agreement to close the contentious Manus Island Regional Processing Center. In the deal announced Oct. 6, Australia and the PNG finalized a Regional Resettlement Arrangement in which detainees on Manus Island will either be transfered to Nauru or allowed to remain in Papua New Guinea with a "migration pathway" allowing eventual legal residency.

No prosecution for soldiers in Bloody Sunday

Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced Sept. 29 that after reviewing the evidence against 15 British soldiers suspected of killing civilians in Derry on "Bloody Sunday," Jan. 30, 1972, they will maintain the decision not to pursue prosecution. The final decision, announced in a statement from the PPS, upholds an earlier one from March 2019, which found that "the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction." After the 2019 announcement, families who lost loved ones and survivors injured in the massacre asked for a review of the decision. In her statement, PPS senior assistant director Marianne O'Kane said, "It is understandable that a number of the bereaved families and injured victims subsequently exercised their right to request a review of decisions relating to 15 of those suspects originally reported." However, she went on to say, "I have concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction of any of the 15 soldiers who were the subjects of the reviews."

Podcast: paradoxes of anarchism and nationalism

In Episode 32 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg reads from George Orwell's 1945 essay "Notes on Nationalism," and explains why despite his anarchist politics he is willing to march under the Mexican flag but not "Old Glory," under the Palestinian flag but not the Israeli, under the Tibetan flag but not that of the People's Republic of China—and under the Free Syrian flag but not that of the Assad dictatorship. The Free Syrian flag flown by the rebels and opposition is the original flag of an independent Syria, and now represents the struggle to free the country from a one-family dynastic dictatorship massively propped up by foreign powers. Weinberg especially calls out the depraved Max Blumenthal for purveying a version of events in Syria starkly at odds with reality. Weinberg invites listeners to join the Syria Solidarity NYC contingent at New York's May Day march, gathering 5 PM at the Sixth Ave. entrance to Central Park. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon.

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