Gray Zone: Leaked files: private spying firm targets global population with illegal spyware

Leaked documents reviewed by The Grayzone reveal how a smartphone tracking technology tramples over fundamental data protection tenets and international law, while violating the privacy of citizens across the world without their knowledge or consent. The clandestine tool can transform anyone into a potential person of interest to Western intelligence agencies, and thus a target for recruitment, surveillance, harassment, or worse.

It is likely most readers will be unfamiliar with Anomaly 6. Its spartan, single-page website is home to the company’s name, a generic email address, and general location – Fairfax, Virginia, not far from CIA headquarters – but nothing about its services, personnel, or otherwise. By carving through layers of “anonymized” data, this little-known company unearths reams of sensitive information about any individual it chooses anywhere on Earth. 

WSWS: Interest rate hikes start to make their impact

The rate rises, being carried in the name of “fighting inflation,” have been instituted to try to suppress the growing upsurge of the world working class in response to soaring prices by inducing a major economic slowdown or even a recession.


TeleSUR: Russia Readies Its Response to the $60 per Barrel Cap

An official response from the Russian government is being prepared, according to the Kremlin spokesman, who said, “We will not recognize any price caps.”

People’s Daily: Russia could cut oil output given Western price cap: official

Reuters: Russian oil sanctions fuel boom for old tankers

The market for old oil tankers is booming, and it’s all down to efforts by Western nations to curb trade in Russian crude.

People’s Daily: West’s cap on Russian oil risks exacerbating Europe’s energy woes

A price cap on Russian seaborne crude recently agreed by the European Union (EU), the Group of Seven (G7) nations and Australia came into effect on Monday. Whether the move will prove effective largely depends on market response, observers have noted. However, with opposition from Russia, the price cap could trigger growing instability in the market, slowing oil production and even further exacerbating Europe’s pain inflicted by the energy crisis and soaring inflation, they said.

Fortune: A trillion-dollar opportunity? Rebuilding Ukraine will mean giant investments and potential big payoffs, say economists adding up the costs

Gonna be so fucking epic being a Ukrainian in 2030. Dodging landmines to get to your farm that’s privately owned by a cryptocurrency trillionaire in Silicon Valley. Oopsie doopsie, your tractor just accidentally crossed the Demilitarized Zone stretching from Kiev to Odessa, and now it’s been destroyed by a Ukrainian Patriot missile!

People’s Daily: Ukraine’s agriculture incurs 6.6 bln USD in direct losses from conflict

Ukraine’s agricultural sector has suffered direct losses of 6.6 billion U.S. dollars due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Economy Ministry said Tuesday in a statement, citing a recent report.

Guardian: Ukraine calls on western allies to boycott Russian culture

Ukraine’s culture minister has called on the country’s western allies to boycott Russian culture, urging a halt to performances of the music of Tchaikovsky and other Russian composers until the end of the war.

Reuters: 25 suspected members of German far-right group arrested in raids - prosecutor’s office

People’s Daily: Swedish media warns of potentially higher suicide rate amid economic difficulties

People’s Daily: EU sanctions on Russia cost Cyprus 20 pct of oil tanker fleet: deputy minister

East Asia and Oceania

FT: China risks 1mn Covid deaths in ‘winter wave’, modelling shows

One million Chinese people are at risk of dying from Covid-19 during the coming winter months if President Xi Jinping pursues his pivot to remove strict pandemic controls, new modelling shows.

Here we go! The rapid switch in propaganda from “China is such a tyrannical state, they’re locking up their entire population inside their houses and starving them to death authoritarianly!” to “China is such a tyrannical state, they’re letting their population die of coronavirus authoritarianly!” Who could have possibly seen this coming?

FT: China’s reopening to reverberate around global markets

Al Jazeera: China’s trade plunges to lowest level since 2020 amid COVID curbs

Imports fell 10.6 percent in November while exports dropped 8.7 percent, according to customs data.

TeleSUR: Up to Half a Million Australians Infected With COVID-19: Expert

Central Asia and the Middle East

Al Jazeera: Turkish deadline for SDF withdrawal from northern Syria: Source

Turkish source tells Al Jazeera that Ankara has told the US and Russia that the SDF must withdraw within two weeks, or face a new Turkish military ground operation.

RT: US court drops Khashoggi murder case

A Washington federal judge has dropped a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known as MBS, over his alleged involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a decision on Tuesday, the court ruled that the prince was entitled to immunity as a foreign head of state.

MEE: EU abandons police cooperation deal with Israel

The European Union (EU) has informed Israel that it will not be moving forward with an intelligence cooperation agreement between the Israel police and Europol.


SCMP: Chinese using a mobile phone in Beijing effectively manage cobalt mines in Africa by remote control: study

Chinese mine operators overseeing cobalt mining in Africa can monitor and control on-site activities from their mobile phone or laptop in China in real time, according to engineers at a state-owned company that runs these mines.

Africa News: Tigray capital reconnected to Ethiopia power grid after year-long blackout

North America

People’s Daily: Americans don’t expect Congress to achieve much: Poll

Most Americans (65 percent) say US President Joe Biden and 61 percent say Republican leaders in Congress will be unsuccessful in getting their proposals enacted in the next two years, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Dec 1.

FT: US unemployment rate set to surpass 5.5%, economists predict

TeleSUR: US Records Over 15 Million Cases of COVID-19 in Children

WSWS: Auto parts workers strike Pennsylvania plant after third contract rejection

About 270 workers are on strike against the Autoneum AG auto parts plant in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, after overwhelmingly voting down a third and “final” contract, which would have imposed a major health care increase on a workforce already suffering under the effects of inflation.

Guardian: Environmental leaders urge Democrats to drop deregulation bill

Progressive lawmakers and hundreds of climate, public health and youth groups are urging the Democratic leadership to stop the latest attempt by Joe Manchin, the West Virginia fossil-fuel-friendly senator, to force through legislation that would weaken environmental protections and expedite permits and construction of pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure while restricting public input.

Guardian: San Francisco lawmakers vote to ban killer robots in drastic U-turn

San Francisco lawmakers voted to ban police robots from using deadly force on Tuesday, reversing course one week after officials had approved the practice and sparked national outrage.

South America

TeleSUR: Venezuela Ready Engage With Energy Companies, Says Maduro

“Venezuela belongs to the world’s energy equation and we are ready and prepared to produce, to export and to enter into contracts and agreements with all the energy companies of the entire world, from the United States and Europe,” said the president during a speech.

MEMO: Iran oil tanker arrives in Venezuela, UANI says

An Iranian tanker carrying about 2 million barrels of ultra light-oil arrived this week in Venezuelan waters, non-government organisation, United Against Nuclear Iran, said on Tuesday, Reuters reports

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

TeleSUR: Putin Convenes Russian Security Council After Airfields Attacks

“On the agenda of the day we have the discussion of issues related to the guarantee of the internal security of the State,” Putin said at the beginning of the meeting.

On Monday, Ukrainian drones attacked two airfields in the Saratov and Ryazan regions, killing three servicemen and wounding four soldiers.

Reuters: Blinken says U.S. neither encourages nor enables Ukraine to strike inside Russia

WSWS: Drone attacks on Russian airbases: A major escalation in the war authored in Washington

Yesterday’s drone attack on an airfield in Kursk marks a major escalation in NATO’s war against Russia. It comes just one day after Russia accused Kiev of launching drone attacks on two military airfields deep inside its territory. There were no casualties from the attack, 62 miles from the Ukrainian border. But a major fire erupted after oil tankers thought to have been hit burned for 10 hours and covered almost 5,500 square feet.

Reuters: U.S. lawmakers authorize $800 million more for Ukraine in defense bill

Reuters: U.S. approves potential sale $3.75 billion of M1A1 Abrams tanks to Poland


Retrospectives, History, and Theory

Jacobin: From the Progressive Era to Today, Employers Have Always Been Petty Dictators

Today’s union-busters owe much to the bosses of the Progressive Era, who refused to recognize unions and fired labor organizers. Employers have never been “enlightened,” instead fighting tooth and nail to maintain their dictatorial powers.

Michael Hudson: Oligopoly Unchecked

The Left and the Right

Anti War: Letter to the Left on Ukraine

To end the war in Ukraine, peace champions must win the war of ideas. This requires tackling two often-repeated claims that serve as obstacles to a diplomatic agreement between Ukraine and Russia. The first problematic claim is that the war was unprovoked; the second that Ukraine can achieve a decisive military victory.

To challenge claims the Russian invasion of Ukraine was an “unprovoked” decision of an imperial maniac, the anti-war Left has pointed to the official expansion of NATO – a hostile military alliance on Russia’s borders – as the match that lit the fire, unleashing death, destruction and displacement upon the breadbasket of the world.

Jacobin: Taiwanese Workers Have Shown Us How to Gain Ground in the Neoliberal Era

Taiwan’s working class has been able to make significant gains in recent decades despite the pressures of economic liberalization. That’s because its unions have received crucial support from a wider network of social movements and advocacy groups throughout the country.

Inside the Imperial Core

Anti War: How Aligned Is the Atlantic Alliance?

The war in Ukraine is stretching the NATO alliance. The pull is still gentle and the cracks still small. But the potentially endless duration of the war, the economic suffering it has caused in Europe and even disagreements over causes and solutions is stretching the alliance.

It is sometimes forgotten that Turkey is a member of NATO. Turkey is the second largest military in the NATO alliance; yet, it has not been aligned with NATO against Russia. It has not joined the sanctions regime against Russia, and it has reserved for itself a mediating role rather than a participatory role. Retired US ambassador Chas Freeman says that “The United States has lost most of its influence in Turkey” and that there has been a “deterioration in Turkish relations with the EU, NATO, and US.” He says that “The West can no longer count on Turkey to support or acquiesce in its policies.”

Outside the Imperial Core

Monthly Review: What is the future of Venezuela’s communes?

Climate Change

Naked Capitalism: A New Era for Germany’s Gas Industry Fuels Climate Fears

Originally at DeSmogBlog.

Canadian Dimension: Canada and Saudi Arabia are partners in climate inaction

A few weeks ago, the New York Times published an investigation into Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive campaign to perpetuate the global fossil fuel economy. It was a grim look at how one of the world’s largest producers of oil is using a diversity of tactics to block meaningful global climate action while simultaneously painting itself as green.

What is perhaps more grim is that nearly every sentence in the piece would hold just as true if you replaced “Saudi Arabia” or “the kingdom” with “Canada.” In perhaps the most indicative example, the Times reported that the “Saudi Ministry of Energy said it expected that hydrocarbons such as oil, gas and coal would ‘continue to be an essential part of the global energy mix for decades.’”

Over the last year or two, the Canadian government has become bold enough to say the exact same thing, going so far as to assert that Canada will—and should—be the main country producing fossil fuels in the latter half of this century.

Guardian: The food emissions ‘solutions’ alarming experts after Cop27

“From treating cow burps to robotic weeders, none of the false solutions on offer at Cop27 come close to stopping the industrial food production from being an engine of planetary destruction,” said Raj Patel, food justice scholar and author of Stuffed and Starved. “Agribusiness and governments offered a series of patented patches designed not to transform the food system, but to keep it the same.”

Techbros are being techbros, and will be until the last river is poisoned with mercury.

Michael Roberts: COP15: the two horsemen of the apocalyse

COP15 started this week in Montreal, Canada. This is the UN’s biodiversity summit. In effect, it is an international meeting to discuss how to cope with and reduce the impact of global warming and environmental destruction on nature. As Carter Roberts, the US head of the World Wildlife Fund, put it: “It’s like two horsemen of the apocalypse — one is climate change and one is nature. They’re wound up with each other.”

“Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction and governments must end the “orgy of destruction”, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, said at the beginning of the meeting. “We are out of harmony with nature. In fact, we are playing an entirely different song. Around the world, for hundreds of years, we have conducted a cacophony of chaos, played with instruments of destruction. Deforestation and desertification are creating wastelands of once-thriving ecosystems,” he said. “Our land, water and air are poisoned by chemicals and pesticides, and choked with plastics … The most important lesson we impart to children is to take responsibility for their actions. What example are we setting when we ourselves are failing this basic test?” 

All this must remind us of what Marx called a ‘metabolic rift’ between human activity under capitalist production and nature (see my recent review of Kohei Saito’s book).