Wagner Group revelations expose Kremlin lies
Russia's heretofore secretive private mercenary force, the Wagner Group, has opened its first official headquarters, in an office building in the city of Saint Petersburg—with a stylized W logo and the words "Wagner Center" in Russian emblazoned on the glass door facing the street. Putin-allied oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin last month also publicly confirmed for the first time that he is the founder of the mercenary outfit. (Al Jazeera) These are amusing developments after years of claims that the Wagner Group—which is accused in a string of horrific human rights abuses both in Ukraine and across Africa—doesn't actually exist.
GOP lawmaker threatens new Indian war
In a little-noted interview on the Oct. 28 episode of right-wing online video show "In The Trenches with Teddy Daniels," Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar suggested that his party's gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, could order the state's National Guard to surround and blockade the Tohono O'odham Nation, a Native American reservation that borders Mexico, ensuring that "no one passes." Gosar also offered the notion that Lake could go to the US Supreme Court to seek state authority over the reservation.
Podcast: against pseudo-pacifist war propaganda II
In Episode 148 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the ANSWER Coalition—a formation so "tankie" that it actually displays portraits of the genocidal Syrian dictator Bashar Assad at its Orwellian "anti-war" rallies—is holding a panel at The People's Forum in New York on "The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine." The headlining speaker is to be Jeremy Corbyn, who was bashed by Ukraine's government as a "useful idiot" of Vladimir Putin for joining a panel demanding a cut-off of military to aid to the besieged nation. Other panelists are even more subservient to Moscow's military aims, including Vijay Prashad, Medea Benjamin, Jill Stein and Brian Becker. Notably absent from the panel (of course) are any progressive Ukrainian voices—such as Anatoliy Dubovik and Sergiy Shevchenko of Ukraine's Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists; Yuliya Yurchenko or Vladislav Starodubtsev of the Ukrainian left-opposition group Sotsialniy Rukh (Social Movement); Taras Bilous, editor of the Ukrainian socialist journal Commons; or Artem Chapeye, Noam Chomsky's Ukrainian translator who called Chomsky out in an open letter for abetting Russian propaganda after the war began. All these Ukrainian voices, whatever strong criticism they may have of the neoliberal government of Volodymyr Zelensky, are unequivocal on the need to defend Ukraine against Russian imperialist assault. Whereas this hypocritical "anti-war" panel is an exercise in pseudo-pacifist war propaganda.
NYC: island emergency camp for asylum seekers
New York City workers have started erecting a series of sprawling tents in vacant parking lots on Randall's Island, between the East and Harlem rivers, to house undocumented migrants and asylum-seekers. The so-called "Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers" are to hold some 500, officially for no more than five days. At least two more tent cities are planned, with Orchard Beach in the Bronx named as another possible location. Gov. Kathy Hochul has ordered National Guard troops to help staff the centers. Since the spring, some 17,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in New York—many sent to the city on buses by authorities in Texas. The city has already opened 42 emergency shelters to deal with the influx, and on Oct. 7 Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency.
Podcast: anarchist voices on Ukraine
In Episode 145 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg contrasts statements from anarchists in Ukraine and Russia—who call unequivocally for Putin's defeat and removal from power—with the relentless lecturing from stateside "leftists" that the Ukrainians must cede territory in exchange for "peace." These stateside voices include (inevitably) Medea Benjamin and (of course) Noam Chomsky on (predictably) Amy Goodman's Democracy Now. They actually call for the United States to "negotiate" with Russia—the Great Powers deciding the fate of Ukraine, without the participation of the Ukrainians (exactly as in the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Czechoslovakia was betrayed to the Nazis). Both these ostensible leftist positions line up with figures from the political establishment. On Chomsky's and Benjamin's side are Elon Musk and Donald Trump. On the side of the intransigent Ukrainian and Russian anarchists are Ukraine's former defense minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk writing in Foreign Affairs, and President Joe Biden, who told CNN: "Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine." Is it possible that Joe Biden has a more progressive position than Noam Chomsky? Actually, yes. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Far-right threats mount against US authorities
After a US federal judge unsealed documents related to the FBI's search of former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, fears have grown over increased threats of violence. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart unsealed the search warrant and attachments Aug. 12, following a motion from the Department of Justice (DoJ). Since unsealing the documents, Reinhart has become the target of violent and anti-Semitic threats, with his personal information, including home address, shared across Twitter and far-right platforms. Threats against Reinhart have prompted the federal judiciary to renew calls for Congress to pass legislation aimed at increasing security for judges.
Podcast: can Russia foment civil war in the US?
In Episode 135 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines Russia's obvious attempt to bring about a return to power by MAGA-fascism in the US, or to have the country collapse into civil war—leaving Moscow considerably freer to carry out its campaign of reconquest in Ukraine and possibly beyond. This is the evident design of the FSB (neo-KGB) in coordination with a political network in the orbit of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Vladimir Putin's revanchist imperial project, and the strategy of building a "Red-Brown alliance" of the radical right and radical left against the "liberal order" of the West. How is it possible that Black Nationalists and supposed "progressives" are being taken in by the same FSB-backed astroturf organizations that are also grooming white supremacists and neo-Confederates? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Podcast: Trumpism must be smashed
In Episode 134 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg documents the increasingly real threat of a right-wing authoritarian takeover of the United States within the next two years. The recent alarming Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights, migrant detention and environmental regulation could be a mere prelude to a decision that could effectively mean the end of democracy. In Moore v. Harper, ostensibly about North Carolina's congressional map, the state's legislators hope to upend 200 years of election law and give statehouses unfettered authority to make rules and seat electors. This comes as Trump's scheme to use "fake electors" to throw the 2020 elections has come to light. After the failed coup of 2021, the Republicans are laying the groundwork to do it again in 2024—and this time more methodically. Trumpism needs to be defeated—by any and all means necessary. This includes pressure for a criminal indictment of Donald Trump, readiness to contend with MAGA fascism for control of the streets if it comes down to a physical stand-off—but also voting for the Democrats, however odious it may be.
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