Syria

Propaganda and the accounting of death in Syria

The US State Department harshly condemned the Syrian regime over thousands of death notices it has released in recent weeks, saying they confirm suspicions of mass detentions, torture and murder. The State Department said that over 117,000 are believed to have been detained or forcibly disappeared in Syria since the conflict began in 2011, “the vast majority” by the regime. Amnesty International meanwhile issued a statement protesting the US-led Coalition’s “flurry of responses” rejecting the findings of its recent report on devastation wrought by the aerial bombardment of Raqqa last year, revealing “how deeply in denial the Coalition leadership is about its failure to protect civilians caught in conflict.” (Photo: SDF)

North America

Podcast: What will it take to stop Trump?

In Episode 14 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the national protest wave that brought down president Park Geun-Hye in South Korea last December, and asks why Americans can't similarly rise to the occassion and launch a mass militant movement to remove Donald Trump. Given this extreme emergency—the detention gulag now coming into place, with undocumented migrants the "test population" for domestic fascism—we should be mobilizing in our millions. Weinberg identifies two significant obstacles to unity: 1. The fundamental split in the left over the whole question of Russia and its electoral meddling; and 2. The phenomenon of party parasitism, with both the Democrats and sectarian-left factions seeking to exploit popular movements to advance their own power. He concludes by asking whether social media can empower us to sidestep the Dems and the alphabet-soup factions alike and work rapidly and efficiently to build a leaderless, broad-based, intransigent movement around the aim of removing Trump. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon. (Photo of protest at Foley Square, Manhattan, by Syria Solidarity NYC)

Syria

Protest Assad supporter Seymour Hersh

Syria Solidarity NYC will be protesting Seymour Hersh’s appearance at the New York Public Library to promote his newly released memoir on June 20. It is a painful irony that Seymour Hersh, who broke the My Lai massacre story in 1968, has now become an open supporter of the genocidal Assad regime, portraying it as a guarantor of “stability” and repeatedly covering up for its massacres. Please stand with us, and for the Syrian victims who cannot be present. Wednesday, June 20 at 6:30 PM, New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd St (Image: Hersh’s memoir placed in the “fiction” section where it belongs by Syria Solidarity NYC)

Syria

White Helmets vow to soldier on after aid cut-off

Two months after it was first reported that Trump had issued an order to freeze over $200 million in “reconstruction aid” to what media accounts called “US-backed rebels” in Syria, details finally emerge on which groups have had their aid cut. And the first to be mentioned isn’t a “rebel” group at all, but the White Helmets—the volunteer unarmed civil defense force that operates in areas under bombardment by the Assad regime and its Russian backers. The US State Department, which is said to provide about a third of the White Helmets’ budget, acknowledged that funding for the group is “under active review.” But White Helmets leader Raed Saleh pledged to persevere: “Our volunteers are still operating on the ground.” You can donate to the White Helmets through their website. (Photo: White Helmets)

Syria

Podcast: Against Red-Brown politics

In Episode Nine of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg rants against "Red-Brown Politics," the dangerous notion of an alliance between the left and fascist right against liberalism and the West—now evidenced in the growing support for the genocidal dictatorship of Bashar Assad on both the "anti-war" (sic) "left" (sic) and the "alt-right." Leading lights of the American "left" have joined pro-Assad delegations to Syria, as have figures on the fascist right. Emerging as the global representative for this sinister trend is Russo-nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, who is bringing together supposed peaceniks and neo-fascists around supporting despots like Putin and Assad in the name of a "multi-polar" world. Weinberg urges that leftists utterly reject overtures from the radical right, and adopt a single-standard anti-fascism—which must inlcude solidarity with the Syrian Revolution. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon.

Syria

Podcast: from Guernica to Syria

In Episode Eight of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the bitter historical irony: In April of 1937, the aerial bombardment of the Spanish town of Guernica by the Nazi Luftwaffe shocked the world. Today, what happened there is a near-daily occurrence in Syria (as well as Yemen and elsewhere around the world), and we are so inured to it that the “anti-war” people are actually on the side of the authors of aerial terror. During the Spanish Civil War, the left heroically opposed Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s drive to establish a fascist dictatorship with the aid of German military intervention. Today, it cravenly abets Bashar Assad’s drive to re-establish his fascist dictatorship with the aid of Russian military intervention. Even as Russia scrambles to block any investigation into the Douma chemical attack and other war crimes in Syria, “leftists” shamefully echo Russian propaganda denying any responsibility by Assad. Weinberg again urges that any legitimate anti-war position must begin with opposition to the genocidal regime of Bashar Assad, and with solidarity for the Syrian Revolution. Listen on SoundCloud. (Photo of Aleppo ruins from UNHCR)

Syria

Podcast: the anti-war left morphs into its opposite

In an in-depth interview for the Dobbstown podcast, CounterVortex editor Bill Weinberg traces the downward trajectory of the anti-war movement to the point that it now doesn’t protest when Trump (let alone Assad or Putin) bombs civilians, but does protest when Trump bombs warplanes that are used to bomb civilians. The poorly named “anti-war” left has morphed into its exact opposite: pro-war, pro-dictatorship, and even pro-genocide. Weinberg discusses his own political awakening in the Reagan cold war, and the American left’s descent to its current political and ideological nadir. He urges support for the actual social struggles in places like Syria, Libya, Crimea, etc., rather than viewing them as pawns on the geopolitical chessboard, as our imperialist enemies do. (Photo of Aleppo ruins from UNHCR)

Syria

Podcast: against pro-war ‘anti-war’ jive

In Episode Seven of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg rants against the sinister development of pro-war propaganda masked as “anti-war” propaganda. The overwhelming response of the “anti-war” left to the Douma chemical attack and Trump’s retaliatory air-strikes is to baselessly deny that Bashar Assad was behind the attack, to portray the victims as CIA-jihadists, and to change the subject (“What about Gaza, Yemen, etc?”) These are all propaganda tactics lifted directly from the Assad regime’s playbook. “Anti-war” hypocrites may protest that they do not support Assad, they just oppose US air-strikes. But when you echo the Assad regime’s propaganda and rush to exculpate it of every atrocity, you objectively do support Assad. You are actively abetting his war of extermination against the Syrian people. Any legitimate anti-war position must begin with opposition to the genocidal regime of Bashar Assad and his foreign backers in Moscow and Tehran, and with solidarity for the Syrian Revolution. Listen on SoundCloud.  (Image: Syria Solidarity NYC)

Syria

Syria: gas attacks, air-strikes and hypocrisy —again

Just over a year after Trump’s air-strikes on an Assad regime airbase in response to a chemical attack, we witness a repeat of this episode—although this time the air-strikes were on wider targets, and carried out in conjunction with British and French forces. In response to last week’s chemical attack on Douma in Syria’s besieged Eastern Ghouta enclave, missiles and warplanes from the USS Donald Cook in the eastern Mediterranean carried out the first Western strikes on targets around the Damascus area. The targets were chemical warfare and military facilities, with no deaths or civilian casualties yet reported. “Anti-war” hypocrites who were silent during Trump’s massive bombardment of civilians in Raqqa and Mosul, silent during the Assad-Purtin destruction of Aleppo, and silent (at best) over the Douma chemical attack, are now protesting air-strikes on Assad’s machinery of death. Such “anti-war” depravity is part of the problem. (Image: Syria Solidarity NYC)

Syria

Syria: new chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta

Estimates of the dead vary from 70 to 150 after the latest and worst chemical attack on the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta, in the Damascus suburbs. The number is likely to rise, as rescue workers are still reporting new casualties at the town of Douma, the last in the enclave that remains in rebel hands. The apparent strike by a “barrel bomb” filled with either sarin or chlorine gas targeted a building where displaced families were sheltering from the ongoing Assad regime and Russian air-raids. The victims are overwhelmingly civilians, and many are said to be children. Trump has pledged a US military response to the attack. (Image: Syria Solidarity Campaign)

New York City

Why do people treat the word ‘Jew’ as an insult?

From anonymous radical-right xenophobes in Britain came the call to make April 3 "Punish a Muslim Day." Letters were sent to addresses across England, calling for violent attacks on Muslims. Police were on alert, and women who wear the hijab were advised to stay home. There were also reports that some of the letters had arrived in New York, causing the city's Muslim community to mobilize and the NYPD to beef up security. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined multi-faith leaders to condemn the threats. His comments were laudable in intent, but revealing in their wording: "Our message must be just as loud. Not punish a Muslim, let’s embrace a Muslim, let’s embrace a Christian, let’s embrace a person of Jewish faith…" Why has the word "Jew" become taboo, and especially in progressive circles? (Image: frgdr.com)

Planet Watch

Podcast: The Abolition of (Hu)man(ity)

In Episode Six of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg reads and discusses selections from CS Lewis' classic work The Abolition of Man, and explores its relevance in light of the contemporary dilemmas posed by biotech and artificial intelligence. Conservative Christian moralist Lewis paradoxically developed a quasi-anarchist critique of technological society, with ideas closely mirroring those of his contemporary George Orwell—despite the fact that the two were on opposite sides of the political divide. But Lewis went beyond even Orwell's dark vision in foreseeing an actual end to humanity itself, as it has been understood for millennia, and its replacement by a conditioned post-humanity stripped of all dignity and reason. Recent technological "advances" have made this possible more literally and completely than Lewis could have imagined. Listen on SoundCloud. (Image: Earth First! Newswire)