The Yellow Vest movement in France scored a victory, as President Emmanuel Macron agreed to suspend a controversial fuel tax after weeks of increasingly violent protests. This may be concretely a win for the working class, but the fact that Macron imposed the tax in the name of reducing carbon emissions has provided fodder for anti-environmental content to the movement. Exploiting this moment, Donald Trump blamed the uprising on the Paris climate accord, tweeting: "The Paris Agreement isn't working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting 'We Want Trump!' Love France." (Photo via CrimethInc)
In Episode 17 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses growing repression against the Tatar people of the Crimea, and the abrogation of their autonomous government by the Russian authorities since Moscow's illegal annexation of the peninsula. This is a clear parallel to violation of the territorial rights of the Lakota people in the United States through construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the legal persecution of indigenous leaders who stood against it. The parallel is even clearer in the cases of the Evenks and Telengit, indigenous peoples of Siberia, resisting Russian construction of pipelines through their traditional lands. Yet the US State Department's Radio Free Europe aggressively covers the Tatar struggle, while Kremlin propaganda organ Russia Today (RT) aggressively covered the Dakota Access protests. Indigenous struggles are exploited in the propaganda game played by the rival superpowers. It is imperative that indigenous peoples and their allies overcome the divide-and-rule game and build solidarity across borders and influence spheres. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon.
Four years after Russia's annexation of Crimea, repression is mounting against the peninsula's Tatar people—whose autonomous powers, officially recognized under Ukrainian rule, have been unilaterally revoked. The group Human Rights in Ukraine is demanding that Russian authorities provide details on the death at the hands of Russian agents of Vedzhie Kashka, an 83-year-old veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement. Last November, a team of Russian National Guard troops and FSB secret police carried out raids in which five Tatar leaders were detained while their homes were searched. Kashka was among those targeted, and died during the operation. An initial report said Kashka had died of natural causes, but an investigation carried out after her family had contracted a lawyer revealed that she had suffered several broken ribs. Kashka was a survivor of Stalin's 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatars to Uzbekistan. She had been agitating for greater political rights for the Tatar people since they were allowed to return to Crimea in 1954. (Photo: Crimean News Agency)
A leading LGBT rights group projected messages for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in giant letters on the wall of the Presidential Palace in Helsinki hours before the summit between the two leaders was set to open. "Trump and Putin: Stop the Crimes Against Humanity in Chechnya," read one message displayed by the Human Rights Campaign. Other projections read: "The whole world is watching" and "Silence is deadly." The group said in a tweet ahead of the action: "Last year, reports surfaced of Chechen authorities rounding up and detaining more than 100 men who were suspected of being gay or bisexual and 20 have been murdered. Today HRC confronted Trump and Putin in Helsinki over these crimes against humanity." The statement continued: "For more than 15 months, @realDonaldTrump has refused to publicly condemn the systematic torture, abuse and murder of LGBTQ people occurring in Chechnya as Vladimir Putin has licensed the violence to continue." (Photo: Human Rights Campaign via Twitter)
The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Russian authorities to release Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, and all the other "illegally detained Ukrainian citizens" in Russia and Russia-annexed Crimea. Sentsov has been on hunger strike in a Russian prison since May 14, demanding the release 64 Ukrainian citizens he considers political prisoners. Sentsov was arrested in Crimea in 2014, after Russia seized the Ukrainian region. The 76 MEPs who voted against the resolution are either of far-right formations such as the French National Front, Germany's Alternative für Deutschland, the Greek Golden Dawn, Italy's Northern League, the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, and Britain's UK Independence Party; or "leftist" parties such as the French Left Front, Germany's Die Linke, the Greek Syriza, Italy's The Other Europe, and Spain's Podemos. (Photo via Kyiv Post)
The US has approved the sale of $47 million worth of anti-tank guided missiles to Ukraine, for use against Russia's "volunteer" mechanized units in the breakaway Donbass region. While the news was of course met with glee in Keiv, Russia's Foreign Ministry warned that Washington has "crossed a line." Is this to be read as a White House green light for Ukraine to re-escalate the war and launch a new offensive for the Donbass? Or is it just a propaganda move by Trump to shake the perception that he is "Putin's puppet"? (Map: CIA)
Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladi? was sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, for crimes committed during the Bosnian conflict from 1992 to 1996. Mladi? was found guilty of two counts of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity, including persecution, extermination, deportation and inhuman acts.
Riot police raided a bookstore in the Belarusian city of Hrodno, interrupting a lecture by anarchist historian Pyotr Ryabov, who was visiting from Moscow, and arresting him on the pretext of breaking up an "unsanctioned mass gathering." Ryabov, who had been giving a presentation on "Libertarian Social Thought," was convicted on charges of "hooliganism" and sentenced to six days in jail. He spent the six days on hunger strike
Hundreds of thousands filled the streets of Barcelona as a general strike was called to protest "grave violation of rights and freedoms" by Spanish security forces during the vote on independence for Catalonia. Civil Guard troops mobilized to Catalonia are being cheered along the way by crowds of right-wing Spanish nationalists waving the national flag and chanting provocatively, "Viva Franco!"
Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov was convicted by Russian-appointed judges on spurious "separatism" charges, and sentenced to two years. Human Rights Watch called his sentencing "ruthless retaliation" for his opposition to Moscow's annexation of Crimea and suspension of the Tatars' autonomous government.
A Moscow district court rejected a lawsuit by relatives of Raoul Wallenberg, seeking to access uncensored documents concerning his death in Soviet captivity. Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II. Soviet forces detained Wallenberg in 1945, supposedly for espionage. He was reported to have died two years later in Moscow's notorious Lubyanka Prison.