Common Dreams: US, Israel Vote No as UN Approves World Court Resolution on Illegal Occupation

The General Assembly of the United Nations on Friday approved a resolution that asks the International Court of Justice to issue an opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The resolution passed with a final vote of 87 in favor, 26 opposed, and 53 nations abstaining. Among those opposed to the measure were the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

Specifically, the resolution asks the ICJ to provide the United Nations with an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s ongoing “occupation, settlement and annexation” of the Occupied Territories, “including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”


TeleSUR: Germany Records Second-Warmest Year in Its History

According to the National Weather Service (DWD), temperatures were 2.3 °C above the value for the internationally valid reference period (1961-1990), and higher than in 2018, the previous record holder.

WSWS: France whitewashes December 23 assassination of Kurdish nationalists in Paris

East Asia and Oceania

WSWS: Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

TeleSUR: India Contemplates Transactions in Digital Currency

India is contemplating transactions in digital currency as the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has launched a pilot program both in retail and wholesale sectors.

The first pilot project for wholesale business in the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or digital rupee was launched on Nov. 1, 2022. One month later, the first pilot project for the retail digital rupee was unveiled on Dec. 1.

TeleSUR: Death Toll Rises to 44 in Philippines Floods

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) of the Philippines reported that the death toll from the persistent rains, floods, and landslides that hit the country since last weekend has risen to 44.

WSWS: Slave labour systemic in New Zealand’s Pacific employment scheme

Workers in New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, under which Pacific Islanders are brought into the country on temporary visas to labour in its horticulture industry, are being subjected to conditions akin to “modern slavery,” the Human Rights Commission has found.

According to a report released before Christmas by the Labour government’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo, the situation is not a case of “a few bad apples” but is deeply systemic.

Central Asia and the Middle East

IFP: First direct shipping line from China to Iranian port city of Chabahar

This is the first shipping line that links China to Chabahar. Previously, Chinese ships would unload their cargos at Bandar Abbas port and their freight was then carried to Chabahar on smaller vessels.

TeleSUR: 35 Palestinians Injured by Israeli Soldiers in West Bank

So far this year, over 160 Palestinians including women and children have been killed by Israeli occupation forces.

This article was written in 2022, Israel hasn’t (yet) killed 160 Palestinians in 2023.

Multipolarista: Imran Khan: Pakistan should be non-aligned in cold war, neutral over Ukraine, applauds China

Ex Prime Minister Imran Khan argued Pakistan should have been non-aligned in the first cold war and in the new one between the US and China/Russia, as well as independent in the Ukraine proxy conflict. He also praised Beijing’s historic poverty reduction program.

Multipolarista: Pakistan’s Imran Khan compares his ouster to CIA coup in Iran, criticizes Western colonialism

Pakistan’s ex Prime Minister Imran Khan compared the US-backed coup against him in April 2022 to the CIA plot that overthrew Iran’s elected PM Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. He praised Tehran’s sovereignty, criticized Western colonialism, and reaffirmed support for Palestine.

Canadian Dimension: Canada is still preventing charities from bringing aid to Afghanistan

In August of this year, the Canada-based charity World Vision was forced to cancel a shipment of food that would have fed 1,800 children because of a federal law that bans Canadians from supplying “terrorist organizations” (Ottawa recognizes the Taliban as such) with property or finances. Anyone who breaks this law, including by delivering food to starving Afghans, can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.


Common Dreams: African Feminist Movements Face More​ Obstacles After Roe v Wade Decision

This year’s most notable decision affecting gender justice—the overturning of federal protection of the right to abortion in the US—happened more than 6,000 miles from Africa, but its impact was felt here too.

TheUS Supreme Court’s decision will affect legal, policy and public service spheres on the African continent. It will also intensify the ideological war to control women’s bodies and push LGBTIQ citizens further to the margins.

African states havediverse abortion policies. For example, in Cape Verde and South Africa, abortion is available on demand—in theory if not in practice, especially for poorer women. In Congo-Brazzaville, Egypt and Gabon, however, it is prohibited without any exceptions. Between those two poles are dozens of countries that allow terminations in some circumstances.

Following the US reversal of Roe v Wade, I was among the African gender justice advocates who feared a domino effect on the continent. That hasn’t happened. However, even though we haven’t seen any changes to the law to further restrict abortion access, the US decision has definitely re-energised anti-abortion narratives.

TeleSUR: Burundi Declares Cholera Outbreak

The cholera outbreak happens at a time when heavy rains hit several parts of Bujumbura and its surroundings from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31, causing overflows of toilets.

North America

Inside Climate News: 2022 Will Be Remembered as the Year the U.S. Became the World’s Largest Exporter of Liquified Natural Gas

When environmentalists look back on 2022, they might remember it as the year the United States finally passed a major climate change law. Some advocates worry, however, that this significant victory is being undermined by a long-term trend that accelerated while that law—the Inflation Reduction Act—was being negotiated.

In the first half of the year, the United States became the world’s top exporter of liquified natural gas, or LNG. Then, in September, crude oil exports hit an all-time high when the country sent abroad about 4 million barrels per day.

WSWS: Socialist candidate Will Lehman exposes massive voter suppression in the UAW elections

On December 19, UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman filed a formal protest to the results of the 2022 officer elections “in their entirety.”

Lehman’s written protest to the court-appointed monitor overseeing the ballot is an encyclopedic historical record of the election, comprehensively detailing every facet of the antidemocratic conspiracy by the entrenched bureaucracy to cling to power by suppressing the vote.

Common Dreams: Pharma Giants to Hike 350+ US Drug Prices in the New Year: Analysis

Global pharmaceutical giants plan to hike U.S. prices for hundreds of drugs next month in anticipation of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which will allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of certain drugs starting in 2026, an analysis published Friday revealed.

Circle of Blue: Federal Water Tap, January 2: USGS Finds Steep Groundwater Declines in Rural Nevada

The U.S. Geological Survey finds declining groundwater levels in agricultural valleys in Nevada.

The EPA finalizes a new definition of the scope of the Clean Water Act.

New data shows the number of households receiving federal water bill assistance rose last summer.

The EPA misses its self-imposed, end-of-year deadline for issuing draft drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS.

TeleSUR: Mexico Enters 2023 With Recession Risk Due to US Slowdown

Mexico’s economy will see lower inflation in 2023 but a high risk of recession due to an expected slowdown in the United States, its main trade partner.

Common Drams: Canada’s First Nations Are Conserving Land on an Unprecedented Scale

Not only are First Nations and the Inuit working closely with Western scientists to inventory and study their lands, but they have also made striking progress setting aside vast tracts of land and ocean.

South America

TeleSUR: ‘We Consolidated Peace in Venezuela in 2022’, President Maduro

During an interview with the Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet on Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took stock of the political, economic and international situation of his country during 2022.

“Last year, we consolidated the climate of harmony, peace, and coexistence that Venezuela enjoys today,” he said, recalling that his administration also took the necessary steps to recover Venezuelan assets seized abroad.

TeleSUR: Venezuelan Economy Grew Over 17% Until September 2022

TeleSUR: Venezuela: Non-Existent Figure of Interim Government Eliminated

Sectors of the Venezuelan opposition agreed this Friday to eliminate the figure of the so-called “Interim Government,” which is not established in the Constitution of the Republic, headed by former deputy Juan Guaidó.

The National Assembly, elected in 2015, no longer in force, but which held the non-existent figure of “interim president,” had a meeting with members of the opposition in which they approved the proposal with 72 votes in favor, 29 against and eight abstentions.

Common Dreams: ‘Amazing!’ Lula Applauded for Naming Amazon Defenders as Brazilian Ministers

Environmentalists and rights advocates around the world are celebrating Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s selection of Marina Silva and Sônia Guajajara to serve as the nation’s environment and Indigenous ministers, respectively.

TeleSUR: Lula da Silva to Meet Six Latin American Presidents

On Monday, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva will hold bilateral meetings with six Latin American presidents, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, the King of Spain Felipe VI and other African leaders.

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

WSWS: Defense contractor shares surge as US doubles NATO arms sales

The year 2022 concludes with a shocking death toll: according to figures cited by US General Mark Miley, 200,000 people have been killed or injured in the fratricidal war in Ukraine.

This horrific loss of life has been the basis for the generation of vast profits for the arms manufacturers. Under conditions in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen by 10 percent for the year as a whole, the share prices of US defense contractors have surged.

Over the past 12 months, the share price of Northrop Grumman has increased 40 percent and Raytheon is up by nearly 17 percent, while Lockheed Martin has surged by 37 percent.

Anti War: Morocco and the 2022 Hypocrisy Award

Morocco has reportedly broken its neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine war by becoming the first African country to provide military assistance to Ukraine.

Though Morocco has not officially confirmed the transaction, they have reportedly agreed to provide 90 T-72 tanks as well as spare parts to Ukraine in a $97 million dollar contract being paid for by the US and the Netherlands.

The transfer of the tanks was reportedly requested by the US. African media opted for the stronger description that Morocco “has apparently succumbed to pressures from the United States,” explaining that “The United States has secretly convince Morocco to deliver modernized T-72B tanks, and spare parts to Kiev.” Le Journal L’Afrique says “In the greatest secrecy, [the US] managed to convince Rabat to deliver spare parts for T-72 armored vehicles to Kyiv.”

The US considers Morocco a major strategic ally and has reportedly “exerted pressure on Morocco to adopt a clear position on the conflict and to take a side.” In April, Morocco accepted a US invitation to attend a 43 nation high-level military summit on how more support can be given to Ukraine.


Retrospectives, History, and Theory

Gray Zone: Declassified intelligence files expose inconvenient truths of Bosnian war

A trove of intelligence files sent by Canadian peacekeepers expose CIA black ops, illegal weapon shipments, imported jihadist fighters, potential false flags, and stage-managed atrocities.

The established mythos of the Bosnian War is that Serb separatists, encouraged and directed by Slobodan Milošević and his acolytes in Belgrade, sought to forcibly seize Croat and Bosniak territory in service of creating an irredentist “Greater Serbia.” Every step of the way, they purged indigenous Muslims in a concerted, deliberate genocide, while refusing to engage in constructive peace talks.

This narrative was aggressively perpetuated by the mainstream media at the time, and further legitimized by the UN-created International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) once the conflict ended. It has become axiomatic and unquestionable in Western consciousness ever since, enforcing the sense that negotiation invariably amounts to appeasement, a mentality that has enabled NATO war hawks to justify multiple military interventions over subsequent years.

However, a vast trove of intelligence cables sent by Canadian peacekeeping troops in Bosnia to Ottawa’s National Defence Headquarters, first published by Canada Declassified at the start of 2022, exposes this narrative as cynical farce.

The documents offer an unparalleled, first-hand, real-time view of the war as it developed, with the prospect of peace rapidly degrading into grinding bloodshed that ultimately caused the painful death of the multi-faith, multi-ethnic Yugoslavia.

The Left and the Right

Counterpunch: Capitalism’s Court Jester: Slavoj Žižek

One of the most prominent intellectuals in the contemporary world was named to the list of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” in Foreign Policy magazine in 2012.[1] He shares this distinction with the likes of Dick Cheney, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Benjamin Netanyahu, and former Mossad director Meir Dagan. The theorist’s best idea—according to this well-known publication that is a virtual arm of the U.S. State Department—is that “the big revolution the left is waiting for will never come.”[2]

Other ideas were surely strong contenders, and we could add to the list more recent positions. To select but a few examples, this top global thinker has described 20th-century communism, and more specifically Stalinism, as “maybe the worst ideological, political, ethical, social (and so on) catastrophe in the history of humanity.”[3] As a matter of fact, he adds for emphasis that “if you measure at some abstract level of suffering, Stalinism was worse than Nazism,” apparently regretting that the Red Army under Stalin defeated the Nazi war machine.[4] The Third Reich was not as “radical” in its violence as communism, he insists, and “the problem with Hitler was that he was not violent enough.”[5] Perhaps he could have taken some tips from Mao Zedong who, according to this theoretical grandee, made a “ruthless decision to starve tens of millions to death.”[6] This undocumented assertion positions its author well to the right of the anti-communist Black Book of Communism, which recognized that Mao did not intend to kill his compatriots.[7] Such information is of no import, however, to this theorist since he operates on the assumption that the worst ‘crime against humanity’ in the modern world was not Nazism or fascism, but rather communism.

The thinker in question is also a self-declared Eurocentric who intimates that Europe is politically, morally, and intellectually superior to all other regions of planet Earth.[8] When the European refugee crisis was intensified due to brutal Western military interventions around the wider Mediterranean region, he parroted Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ credo by declaring that “it is a simple fact that most of the refugees come from a culture that is incompatible with Western European notions of human rights.”[9] This top-tier pundit also endorsed Donald Trump for president in the 2016 election.[10] More recently, he explicitly positioned himself to the right of the notorious warmonger Henry Kissinger by accusing the latter of “pacifism” and expressing his “full support” for the U.S. proxy war in the Ukraine, claiming that “we need a stronger NATO” to defend “European unity.”[11]

Inside the Imperial Core

Common Dreams: The New York Times Is Rapidly Diminishing Itself

By Ralph Nader himself!

Young people—bereft of history—should realize that those two pages used to be considered the most important spaces in American journalism. This self-inflicted stupefaction intensified in the 2021-2022 years without the Times informing serious readers as to why the changes were made.

What a darn shame. What on earth are we gonna do without the NYT newspapers.

During the Trumpian era, the Times developed a bizarre obsession with over covering political extremists in ways that made them into big acts and gave them material for more fund-raising. Apart from their award-winning continual critical coverage of the Trump Dump, the Times constantly published his slanderous tweets and pejorative nicknames for others without affording the libeled a right of reply.

Its long features on e.g., J.D. Vance, Tucker Carlson and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene were so biographical as to unwittingly serve to advance their careers. They loved the coverage in the “liberal” Times. Without a balanced profiling of counterparts, readers might think that very little is going on within the progressive community. (See, e.g., a totally unreported, aggregated effort during the mid-term elections).

Outside the Imperial Core

Developing Economics: Top posts of 2022

Sure, sure, another end of year list. But these are articles/essays on various countries across the developing world, so worth a read if you have the time.

Monthly Review: Twenty-Two years of austerity in Timor-Leste: The IMF and rebuilding the neoliberal state from scratch

Gilbert Doctorow: News from Syria

The news in question is about the announced results of negotiations held in Moscow two days ago between representatives of Russia, Syria and Turkey. That such a three-way meeting was possible was due to the recent decision of Turkish President Erdogan to finally recognize the legitimacy of the Bashar Assad government in Damascus. In this connection, it has also been reported in Russian media that a face to face meeting of Erdogan and Assad is expected to take place in the second half of 2023.

The outcome of the negotiations in Moscow was Turkey’s announcement that it is about to withdraw all of its troops from Syria. As you may know, these troops had crossed over into Syria more than a year ago partly to seal the border from infiltration by jihadists but more importantly to separate and better control the Kurdish populations on both sides. 

The pending removal of the Turks, presumably in exchange for certain Russian –backed guarantees on security and tighter administration of the Kurdish population in northeast Syria, leaves only the Americans as illegitimate occupiers of Syrian soil today.

The American operations in their country were recently denounced by Damascus for their plundering the oil wells and harm done to the entire economy of southeastern Syria. Meanwhile, for the Turks, sensitivity to the Kurdish population in Syria is a significant contributing factor to their prickly relations with NATO generally. Ankara never accepted American sponsorship of the Syrian Kurds as a tool to be used against Damascus.

In the past few days there have been missile strikes against American forces in Syria from unidentified sources. In light of the new agreements between Turkey, Syria and Russia, we may assume that the military pressure on the Americans to evacuate will only increase in the weeks and months to come.

Naked Capitalism: The US and China Are in a War “for Peru’s Soul”, Says Mexican Geopolitical Analyst

“We are seeing a surreptitious clash, a war that no one dares name, between China and the United States for Peru’s soul.”

These are the words (translated from their original Spanish to English by yours truly) of the renowned Mexican geopolitical analyst Alfredo Jalife-Rahme. Jalife-Rahme is a professor, writer, columnist and political analyst of Lebanese descent who specializes in international relations, economics, geopolitics, and globalization. His last two weekly video lectures (in Spanish) have dealt with the wide-ranging causes and potential consequences of Peru’s latest political crisis.

That crisis has already resulted in the impeachment and imprisonment of the democratically elected President Pedro Castillo, and has cost the lives of 27 protesters. After decades of stumbling from crisis to crisis, scandal to scandal and president to president, Peru is locked in an escalating struggle between the oligarchs and privileged classes who are determined to hold onto power at any cost and its legions of poor, voiceless and marginalized, for whom Castillo represented the possibility of something different.

Alas, it was not to be. A complete outsider in Lima, the former rural teacher was outmanoeuvred at every turn by the rabid right-wing opposition to his government in Congress. But according to Jalife, Peru is also a proxy for a much larger struggle between the world’s two geopolitical rivals, the US and China, for the control of vital strategic resources in Latin America.

Climate Change

Inside Climate News: Proposed EU Nature Restoration Law Could be the First Big Step Toward Achieving COP15’s Ambitious Plan to Staunch Biodiversity Loss

In the race to reach the new COP15 goals to heal damaged ecosystems, the European Union could have a head start if it passes an ambitious nature restoration law pending in the European Parliament. The new EU law would set specific timetables for repairing degraded rivers, wetlands, fields and forests across 1.6 million square miles stretching across the 27 member countries from Scandinavia to the Iberian and Balkan peninsulas.