‘We won’t be war profiteers’: Microsoft workers protest $480m army contract


Workers say augmented reality headsets provided to US army risk ‘turning warfare into a simulated video game’

Microsoft workers are calling on their employer to cancel a $480m contract to provide the US army with augmented reality (AR) headsets, saying they “do not want to become war profiteers”.

“We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used,” reads a petition being circulated inside the company, a copy of which was published on Twitter on Friday afternoon. More than 50 employees had signed the letter as of Friday afternoon, according to an employee.

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Italian MPs demand answers over claims Salvini’s League sought Kremlin funding | World news | The Guardian

The League has been developing ties with Russia since 2013. Salvini has long admired Putin, posting a photo on social media of their first encounter in 2014. In 2017, the League signed a co-operation agreement with the ruling United Russia party. In June of last year, Salvini reacted angrily to a suggestion by billionaire financier George Soros that the League was receiving money from the Kremlin. “I have never received a lira, a euro or a rouble from Russia,” Salvini said at the time. Massimiliano Panarari, a politics professor at Luiss university in Rome, said that while the League was very careful when it came to the party’s finances, there was a clear “common vision and tactical convergence” with the Kremlin. “Their interests are the same: national sovereignty and attacking the EU,” Panarari said.

Source: Italian MPs demand answers over claims Salvini’s League sought Kremlin funding | World news | The Guardian

CIA gave details of 9/11 suspect’s secret torture to film-makers, lawyers say


Ammar al-Baluchi’s defense team said they were stunned to see portrayal of his torture, including beatings, in Zero Dark Thirty

The makers of the film Zero Dark Thirty were given detailed information about the torture of an inmate at a CIA “black site” that had been denied to the prisoner’s own defence counsel at his trial in Guantánamo Bay, his lawyers claim.

Related: ‘Why can’t we get this over?’: 9/11 hearings drag on at Guantánamo

Related: The Trial: inside Guantanamo with 9/11 suspect Ammar al-Baluchi

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Threat of Fascism in Russia is ‘More than Real,’ Shevchenko Says

via aleksey godin

Paul Goble
            Staunton, February 16 – Ever more signs indicate that Vladimir Putin is moving along the same path that Mussolini and Hitler trod and threatening to establish a fascist state in Russia, Maksim Shevchenko says, adding that only the communists and the left more generally have any chance of stopping this march. 
            Not only does it appear that Putin may use Donbass veterans to be the core of this movement, the Russian commentator says, but Vladislav Surkov’s latest article represents an appeal “to Putin and cosmopolitan capital standing behind Putin and Putinism to use artificially created veterans of artificially created wars to change the political paradigm and rearrange the political elite” (echo.msk.ru/blog/shevchenkomax/2372351-echo/).
            “All of this was planned long ago,”” the leftist journalist says, on the model of Mussolini’s march on Rome and Hitler’s positioning himself as the head of “the political party of ‘the German World.’” The Italian variant looks more likely, with Prilepin in the role of Toscanini in Fiume and Surkov in that of the ideologist D’Annuncio.”
                Indeed, Shevchenko continues, this has been clear at least since 2014 when Putin loyalist Andrannik Migranyan declared that “Hitler did everything correctly” until he went off the rails because of anti-Semitism.
            “Deep Putinism is the direct rule of cosmopolitan capital with the assistance of a dictatorship” which relies on “zombified militants the brains of which are soaked in a sauce of Nietzsche, Zombart, Gumilyev, Howard and various kinds of heroic fantasies.”
            Such people want to do away with parties and the institutions of Western democracy, they want to dispense with social and judicial institutions, and they will suppress all left or neo-socialist ideas, Shevchenko says.  They will dispense with federalism and declare that “the nationality question has been solved.”
            “The dream of major cosmopolitan speculative capital about decisive, cruel, and primitive storm troopers” who will operate with the assistance of “cynical technologists” and destroy “the public social and democratic agenda” in order that there will be no obstacles to capitalism “is close to that which coming into view.”
            The rise of fascism in Russia should be opposed by communist and leftist forces, he argues; but just as in Italy and Germany some of them are falling victim to “national-state demagoguery as was the case in Italy and in Germany.” But despite that problem, these leftist forces remain the only obstacle to the rise of fascism in Russia.
            “Only the left has a vision of the people as a historic community and consistently fights for the institutions of development and social rights both of the individual and of society as a whole,” Shevchenko says.  But to succeed, they must have Stalin’s penetrating vision and Lenin’s decisiveness.
            “The threat of fascism is more than real: Only the blind and the deaf (in the political sense or the hidden accomplices of fascism are incapable of not seeing this.”
            Shevchenko’s remarks reflect three important things: the continuing importance of Marxist views on fascism among many in Russia, the real dangers that Putin’s behavior represents of transforming Russia into a fascist state, and the despair many on the left feel about the unwillingness of the KPRF and the left more generally of fighting him more directly.