The Avalanche – Snapshot 10 – Mar 26, ’18

“Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments” by Genn Greenwald

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In September of last year, we noted that Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground that they constituted “incitement.” The meetings — called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country.

The predictable results of those meetings are now clear and well-documented. Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decades-long, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials. Indeed, Israeli officials have been publicly boasting about how obedient Facebook is when it comes to Israeli censorship orders…

“How I Believe Facebook Was Censoring My Political Speech” by Philipi Giraldi

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In the Summer of 2007 I traveled to China to speak at a conference concerning security preparations for the Olympic Games, which were to be held in Beijing the following year. While transiting Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport I noticed something odd. The internet sites that I checked every day would not open, to include The American Conservative and When I finally reached China, the same sites continued to be inaccessible and I also noted that writing emails had become problematic either at the airports in Hong Kong or Beijing or at the Sheraton Hotel in Shenyang. Some words would not type at all while other words that were clearly considered to be offensive would be altered without any input from me. Words like “damn” and “hell” appeared as “d**n” and “h**l” and the same alterations took place with more obviously scatological and reproductive expressions.

When I returned to the United States, I learned that there was commercially available software that enabled internet service providers to selectively censor online content. That was apparently what was being used by the French in the airport and more so in China. Since 2007, I have learned that many governments and their agencies employ such software to limit access to what they hold to be objectionable content and to control certain aspects of messaging going out of the country.

From Mondoweiss:
Netanyahu in the Golan Heights looking out at Syria and warning Iran not to “test” Israel’s resolve, on Feb. 6. From his twitter feed.

“NYT fails to report that Netanyahu started air war over Syria as corruption probes close in on him” by James North

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== =
Once again, the New York Times has failed in its duty to its readers to tell the full truth about Israel. This latest example of Times journalistic malpractice is on display in today’s report about Israel’s dangerous escalation of air attacks against Syria, during which an Israeli F-16 warplane was shot down, amid fears that Iran and even Russia might be drawn into the conflict.

First, and most important, the article, by Isabel Kershner, nowhere explains that many Israelis and others believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promoting regional armed conflict to distract attention from the corruption probes that are zeroing in on him and his wife, Sara. This site back in December quoted respected Haaretz opinion writer Bradley Burston’s view, that Netanyahu “needs a war with Iran,” that he is “desperate because police detectives and investigative journalists are closing in on him.”
= ===

Israeli F-16 fighter jet (Amir Cohen/ Reuters)

“Syria strikes back as Israel discovers its warplanes aren’t invincible” by Rania Khalek

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Israel has long been the unchallenged bully in the Middle East, but now Tel Aviv will face consequences for its temper tantrums. That was the message from Damascus last weekend when the Syrian army shot down an Israeli F-16…

Even the head of the Israeli Air Force Air Division confessed that his country has carried out “thousands of operations in Syria” in the last year alone. This fact was missing from most mainstream news accounts, which portrayed Israel as a non-interventionist bystander in the Syrian conflict. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Oxfam Sex Scandal and NGO Imperialism” by Yves Engler

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Imagine living in a country where the entire social services sector is privatized, run by “charities” that are based in other countries and staffed by foreigners who get to decide whether or not you qualify for assistance.

Welcome to Haiti, the “Republic of NGOs.”

As salacious details about Oxfam officials hiring Haitian girls for sex make headlines, the media has downplayed NGOs’ lack of accountability to those they purportedly serve. Even less attention has been devoted to the role so-called non-governmental organizations have played in undermining the Haitian state and advancing wealthy countries’ interests…

The Oxfam “sex scandal” should shine a light on the immense, largely unaccountable, power NGOs continue to wield over Haitian affairs. In a decent world it would also be a lesson in how not to use “aid” to undermine democracy.

A paid killer, aka a soldier

“Media Erase US Role in Syria’s Misery, Call for US to Inflict More Misery” by Gregory Shupak

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Washington D.C. (FAIR) – In the Guardian (2/10/18), Simon Tisdall described the US and its Western partners as “hovering passively on the sidelines in Syria,” and “restricting themselves to counterterrorism operations and vain calls for peace.” ABC’s Conor Finnegan (2/26/18) expressed concern that “the US will remain on the sidelines” in the country.

However, America currently controls 28 percent of Syria (Foreign Policy, 1/25/18), precisely the opposite of being “on the sidelines,” and has recently declared its intent to continue occupying the country indefinitely (New York Times, 2/22/18). As Joshua Landis (Syria Comment, 1/15/18), director of the Center for Middle East Studies, notes, the US controls “half of Syria’s energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria’s best agricultural land.”

Anglo-American press coverage of the Syrian situation has grossly misled readers about their own governments’ role in the catastrophe, and has urged audiences to accept greater Western military intervention in the country without examining the implications of such a move.

From website:
Former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse: “Fifty years ago, when there was a strike, or even 30 years ago, a lot of editors thought this would be a matter of public import.”

“West Virginia Strike Highlights Corporate Media’s Atrophied Labor Coverage” by Reed Richardson

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

But for much of the 20th century, press attention paid to Wall Street and corporations was coupled with a similar focus on covering unions and labor movements.

No longer is that the case. As union membership has declined from about 35 percent of US workers 50 years ago to barely 10 percent now, the mainstream press’ broader institutional interest in the labor beat has ebbed as well, as Columbia Journalism Review (3/12/15) noted several years ago. Today, we are left with a vast news infrastructure that ceaselessly covers management concerns and breathlessly fêtes CEOs, while critical labor issues—like workers’ rights and safety, stagnant middle-class wages, and a decades-long campaign to undermine union power—struggle to get mentioned in the press.

The statewide teachers and school staffers strike in West Virginia—just concluded earlier this week with a stunning victory by the union—offers an ominous case study of the state of labor coverage in the national press. More than 20,000 teachers and 13,000 staffers walked out, shutting down every school in the state, despite having no legal “right” to strike—a remarkable feat. Yet many in the corporate media took days to notice the story, while others neglected to cover it until the stoppage was all but resolved.

From Mondoweiss:
Lorde at the 2014 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Sydney, Australia (Photo: Annette Geneva/ Wikimedia)

“Youtube allows countless parodies of Lorde song — but pulls down one detailing Palestinian oppression” by Philip Weiss

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
Earlier this month, some creative friends of Palestinians did a stirring cover version of Lorde’s hit song “Royals” that exalted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) as a means to end Palestinian persecution, as well as saluted the young New Zealand artist for respecting the BDS call and not playing Israel. Replete with disturbing images of the occupation– the cover video can be seen on Facebook.

The video– “a gift for Lorde” — was originally up on Youtube. But after 75,000 views or so, Youtube removed the video “due to a copyright claim by Kobalt Music Productions,” which owns the rights to Lorde’s music.

I am told that the makers of the video will be challenging the censorship. Glaringly, there are tons of other videos on YouTube by others covering Lorde’s hit and adding lyrics that discuss such matters as– the Kansas City Royals, the almighty, the Cleveland Browns, Pinterest… just about anything. Many of these videos are aimed at mocking Lorde for being spoiled or blase – often savagely.
= == ===

“Dandelion Salad is in Facebook Jail, Again! by Lo”

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

by Lo
Dandelion Salad, editor
March 1, 2018

“You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 11:55am.” That’s the message I received from Facebook today.

I am very, very angry about this. There is no reason for this blocking. I only posted to 4 groups today and all were marked as “Spam” by FB. Of course, it is not Spam.

I have made an appeal but I did that last time it happened and it didn’t work. FB wants Pages to have to pay them to “boost” their posts. FB thinks all the Pages are for-profit businesses, which they are not.

Again I will need your help in sharing the posts on Facebook or other social media for the next few days, more so than usual.

I support Dandelion Salad, but I can’t go along with its position on Facebook. I think that progressives who can’t ditch Facebook – no excuses – are wrong.

“Bell Leads on Radical Proposal for CRTC-Backed Mandatory Website Blocking System” by Brian J. Matis

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Canadaland reports today that Bell is leading a coalition that plans to file a proposal with the CRTC that would lead to the creation a mandatory website blocking system in Canada. The unprecedented proposal, which includes the creation of a new “Internet Piracy Review Agency”, envisions the creation of mandatory block lists without judicial review to be enforced by the CRTC. As a result, the companies (reportedly including Rogers and Cineplex) envision sweeping new Internet regulations with the CRTC ultimately charged with enforcing site blocking by every Internet provider in Canada…

…Canada already has some of the toughest anti-piracy laws in the world with unique “enabler” provision that makes it easy for rights holder to target Canadian-based sites that are perceived to facilitate piracy. Moreover, industry data suggests that Canada has lower rates of piracy than many other countries. For example, Music Canada recently reported that Canada is well below global averages in downloading music from unauthorized sites or stream ripping from sites such as YouTube.

Yet the telecom and cable giants maintain that a new system designed to block foreign-based sites is still needed. This despite the fact that there is now the possibility of Equustek global takedown orders from the Canadian Supreme Court, which provides an obvious alternative that does not involve blocking. Perhaps most notable about the proposal is that there is no court oversight in the creation of the mandatory block list…

“South Africa: Facebook is Still Censoring Black Activists” by Thabi Myeni

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A few months ago, the US-based investigative journalism website ProPublica leaked internal documents revealing Facebook’s guidelines for dealing with hate speech and abusive language for its moderators in training. These “guidelines” fall nothing short of racist, discriminatory and tone deaf. One example of blatant racism was a multiple-choice question asking the moderators-to-be, “Which group is protected from hate speech?” Among the options were: female driver, white men and black children. The correct answer to the question was: white men.

It’s no surprise that Facebook, a company where the top-level executives are cisgender white men and only 2% of its staff is black, would allow hate speech against black children before white men. The real dilemma, however, is that the victims of Facebook’s racist policies use it as an outlet to express themselves, organize and build movements for social and political justice…

South Africa’s Black First Land First movement’s (BLF) president, Andile Mngxitama, is among the many black activists, globally, who have consistently been discriminated against, racially profiled and silenced by virtue of Facebook’s racist community standards guidelines. The BLF president practically has a Facebook jail cell with his name on it by now and it takes just a few drops of white tears for him to land back in jail every other week after he’s released back to Facebook society.

“Egypt continues its crackdown on authors, booksellers, and publishers” by Simon Reichley

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

MobyLives has been covering Egypt’s depressingly long crackdown on intellectuals, writers, booksellers, and publishers for some time now, giving particular attention to the trials and tribulations of novelist Ahmed Naji…

Naji’s experience is only one, high-profile example of the general diminution of artistic and literary autonomy that has been a staple of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s repressive regime…

Our own Basma Abdel Aziz, author of The Queue, wrote last year for MobyLives, “To know what steps need to be taken next [in Egypt], one must first be able to differentiate truth from lies, reality from distortion. For the time being, many things look vague, illogical, and even horrifying.”

In seeming agreement with this assessment is a more recent portrait given by Farid Y. Farid in an Atlantic piece titled “Egypt’s War on Books,” a chilling and familiar portrait of a literary community under seige.

According to Farid, the situation has escalated in recent months. As we’ve written recently, a number of libraries — opened in the aftermath of the revolution by lawyer and activist Gamal Eid—were shut down under accusations of “seditious activity.” Eid himself has had his assets frozen, and is barred from leaving the country. In addition, Farid reports, thousands of websites have been shut down, a leftist activist has been sentenced to five years in prison for owning a copy of Karl Marx’s Value, Price and Profit, and a number of bookstores have been closed for possessing or selling “unregistered” books.

“English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?” by James Tracey

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.

Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09.[note from OffG- we also checked on Amazon UK, as of January 7 2018 the book is unavailable there too]

The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.

Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,” Ulfkotte observed: “Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”

Craig Murray

“Zionist Censorship on Facebook” by Craig Murray

An excpert from the above linked-to article follows:

Facebook has refused to carry an advert for my book of early collected works, Zionism is Bullshit. At first it refused the ad on grounds of “profanity”. I then removed the title of the book from the advert (though it might still be dimly discerned on a small photo if you squint) and resubmitted, but approval was denied again. I then appealed, and this time the ad was refused because it “denigrates the religious views of others”. The text was standard book blurb and in no way did that.

“‘Mother Jones’ Senior Reporter Asks Medium To Silence Antiwar Leftists” by Caitlin Johnstone

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

When news first broke that Medium, one of my primary blogging platforms, had closed the accounts of Trump-supporting pundits Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer, I tweeted the following in response:

“The only people cheering for this are leftists who haven’t been paying attention and centrists who have. This ongoing trend of marginalizing online dissent is already impacting the far left, and will do so more and more. The #MAGA crowd are the canaries in the coal mine, lefties.”

Hours later, right on cue, prominent Mother Jones Senior Reporter Shane Bauer was singing the praises of Medium’s recent account suspensions, and tagged Medium’s Twitter account saying they need to take it further and include left-wing writers like myself due to my repeated criticisms of the pro-regime change Syria narrative.

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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