The Avalanche – Snapshot 30 – Feb 23, ’19

“Highlighting the Peace Damascus Missed for Years When Under Terrorists’ Mortars” by Eva Bartlett (In Gaza and beyond)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article/video follows:

)=-
As I mentioned at the beginning of this clip, when in Syria as a journalist it usually takes 3 or so days to acquire the necessary permissions to go to areas outside Damascus (or rather, areas outside of Damascus where there is a risk due to presence of terrorists, terrorists bombings, or their landmines).

During this time, instead of loitering I try to interview average Syrian civilians, sometimes artisans, and otherwise love walking alone in the meandering back lanes, absorbing the atmosphere–whether daytime or evening.

People ask me about safety: I feel completely safe walking alone in these lanes. In contrast from my first visit in 2014 to the liberation of eastern Ghouta in 2018, I did not feel safe, nor did Syrian civilians, because at any moment a terrorist-fired mortar might strike, as they did incessantly over the years.

As I noted a few weeks ago when I was here, the mood on the streets is completely difference than in previous years. Yes, people remained steadfast and defiant in the face of the terrorism, but now streets are busier than before, late into the night. That doesn’t make a good “story”, so Western media are not, to my knowledge, reporting on this. Instead, I see new stories invented to yet again attempt to demonize Syria or Russia, instead of just allowing Syrians to get back to life. It’s for the hell Syrians have endured and the silence of the media on this hell that I continue to post positive updates while in Damascus.
-=(

“What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression” by Eric Zuesse (Counter Culture)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

(—
On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N.s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.” He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.”…

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”…

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?
—)

From The Greanville Post:
The Srebrenica massacre memorial: its significance and magnitude are very much in dispute, as the whole incident has been used by the West as part of Washington’s information war against independent Serbia.

“FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND SCHOLARLY RESEARCH THREATENED IN CANADA” by Stephen Karganovic (The Greanville Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

====—
With attention riveted to imperialism’s threat to the freedom and sovereignty of Venezuela, some no less ominous threats to liberty closer to home are passing unnoticed. Several weeks ago, an obscure organization called “Institute for research of genocide – Canada” managed to gather sufficient signatures to put before the Canadian Parliament Petition 1837 which would drastically undermine Canadians’ freedom of expression. Petition 1837 makes spurious claims about what happened in Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian civil war and urges the imposition of criminal penalties for “denying Srebrenica genocide”. Its sponsor is NDP MP Brian Masse (brian.masse@parl.gc.ca).

Canadian lawmakers would be well advised not to get involved in this controversy and not to approve, at the behest of lobbying groups that they probably know little or nothing about, such a drastic infringement on the right of free expression in Canada…

There are several reasons why Parliament should reject Petition 1837. The first is that it is discriminatory toward the several hundred thousand Canadians of Serbian descent who will not change their views on Srebrenica just because such a law was passed…

Secondly, there is no similar law in Canada criminalizing denial of the Holocaust or the genocide of the Jewish people that was undoubtedly committed in Auschwitz…

Last but not least, if Petition 1837 is enacted, what will be left of Canada’s reputation as a haven for those seeking freedom, of which freedom of expression is foremost?
—====

“Western Media Fall in Lockstep for Cheap Trump/Rubio Venezuela Aid PR Stunt” by Adam Johnson (FAIR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|[|
The Trump administration’s now completely overt effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had a very successful public relations effort this week, as major Western media outlets uniformly echoed its simplistic, pre-packaged claim that the Venezuelan government was heartlessly withholding foreign aid…

Except three pieces of key context are missing. Context that, when presented to a neutral observer, would severely undermine the cartoonish narrative being advanced by US media.

1. Both the Red Cross and UN warned the US not to engage in this aid PR stunt.
2. The bridge in question is a visual metaphor contrived by the Trump administration of little practical relevance.
3. The person in charge of US operations in Venezuela has a history of using aid as a cover to deliver weapons to
right-wing mercenaries…

(1) Not only has the international aid community not asked for the “aid,” earlier this week, both the International Red Cross and United Nations warned the US to explicitly not engage in these types of PR stunts. As Washington Post contributor Vincent Bevins pointed out, the transparent cynicism of these efforts was preemptively warned about by the groups actually charged with keeping starving people fed:

Red Cross Warns US About Risks of Sending Aid to Venezuela (PBS NewsHour, 2/1/19):

The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned the United States about the risks of delivering humanitarian aid to Venezuela without the approval of security forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro.

|]|

“THE MAGNITSKY ACT – BEHIND THE SCENES”

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

+++—
The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes is a Norwegian, internationally supported investigative documentary feature. Its scheduled premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 27 2016 was cancelled at the last moment due to the legal threats from the protagonists at the centre of the investigation. A few days later ARTE (a French-German TV network that co-financed the film) annulled the May 3 broadcast at a short notice. The legal and political pressure on the film and its makers has continued ever since. In September 2018 the film was taken down by Vimeo for alleged defamation.

The film tells the story of how William (Bill) Browder, an American born investment consultant and manager of a fund trading in Russian energy companies’ shares, invented a seminal narrative of Russian corruption and brutality.

Using PowerPoint presentations and two websites Browder (and a team of his mainly Russian U.K. based associates) developed a story about a lawyer and heroic whistleblower Sergei Magntisky who had uncovered an elaborate financial fraud and exposed its perpetrators, in particular, two police officers who subsequently had Magnitsky arrested and imprisoned. During Magnitsky’s year long detention he was, according to Browder, tortured every day to be forced to take back his accusations of the police. Magnitsky refused and was beaten to death, Browder claims, by eight riot guards in an isolation prison cell in November 2009…

The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes explores the veracity of Browder’s claims. Andrei Nekrasov, the film’s director, started out by believing Browder, as did virtually all mainstream media of the world. At a closer look it turned out, however, that the company theft story was riddled with inconsistencies, and the whistleblower role had been falsely assigned to Magnitsky to reinforce the impression that the companies had been stolen by the people Magntisky had allegedly accused.
—+++

“Israel’s Story” by Philip Giraldi (The Greanville Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
A study by a Toronto-based consulting and research company has revealed that over the past fifty years mainstream reporting about Israel has been distorted to portray the Jewish state in positive terms while ignoring the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. The media study, based on a computer analysis of 50 years of data, found that major U.S. newspapers have provided consistently skewed, pro-Israel reporting on Israel-Palestine. The slanting in news coverage included subtle manipulations like using word associations favorable to Israel and derogatory to Palestinians as well as persistent publication of stories praising Israel while also avoiding reporting anything supportive of the dispossessed Arab point of view.

The researchers from 416Labs were able to evaluate headlines and articles derived from five major U.S. newspapers: the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal during the time period 1967 to 2017. June 1967 was selected as the starting point to include coverage of the Six Day War and its aftermath, when Israel attacked Jordan, Egypt and Syria to begin its military occupation of Palestinian territory on the West Bank and Gaza.

No one should be surprised by media bias in favor of Israel given the dominance of Jewish owners and editors in the major media…

Shaping the favorable perception of Israel has also involved the efforts of Zionist-dominated Hollywood movies and television to portray Jewish heroism while also at the same time ignoring the Zionist terrorism directed against both the indigenous Palestinian population and the British Mandate authorities prior to Israel’s statehood…

Indeed, Israel and its partisans are now using lies to change the way the public views the issue of anti-Semitism and are willing to do so by legislating to enforce how people think, to include the use of legal sanctions consisting of fines and imprisonment to silence critics. If legislation currently in congress is ever implemented fully, it will be the death of freedom of speech in the U.S. That such nonsense has gained currency at all is due to the Israeli corruption of both America’s government and its news media, which is not a lie, but the absolute truth that you won’t find discussed anywhere in your newspaper or on television reporting.
= == ===

“the so-called holocaust” says Mr Giraldi. I’d love to have him elaborate. There wasn’t one holocaust on this planet. There were many before and after Hitler. Many have been committed by nazi Israel and nazi America. And what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany was, as far as I am aware, a holocaust.

“US Media Erase Years of Chavismo’s Gains” by Gregory Shupak (FAIR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

====:-
Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, which took off with the election of President Hugo Chávez in December 1998, frequently and even quite recently received praise for its social gains from the United Nations, international humanitarian organizations and economists. This aspect of the country’s story has been almost entirely written out of media coverage of the effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government by the US, Canada and their right-wing partners in Venezuela and the region.

Under Chávez, poverty in Venezuela was cut by more than a third, and extreme poverty by 57 percent (CEPR, 3/7/13). (These declines were even steeper if measured from the depths of the opposition-led oil strike, designed to force Chávez out by wrecking the economy.)

In June 2013, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) included Venezuela in a group of 18 nations that that had cut their number of hungry people by half in the preceding 20 years, 14 of which were governed by Chavismo: The FAO said that Venezuela reduced the number of people suffering from malnutrition from 13.5 percent of the population in 1990–92 to less than 5 percent of the population in 2010–12; the FAO credited government-run supermarket networks and nutrition programs created by Chávez…

The starting point for discussions about Venezuela involving anyone who purports to care about the welfare of the people of the country ought to be the question, “What steps can be taken for Venezuela to resume making the impressive strides that it made for the majority of the time that Chavismo has held power?” as opposed to, “How can we disempower the social forces that gave birth to those gains, namely Venezuela’s poor and disproportionately mestizo, indigenous and black populations?” To their discredit, corporate media have framed their coverage around the latter rather than the former–a question whose answer necessarily involves lifting the draconian sanctions.
-:====

Meanwhile in the United States: “Sacrifice ‘for’ the children or ‘of’ the children?”

“Telling Only Part of the Story of Jihad” by Daniel Lazare (Consortium News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

[=-
A recent CNN report about U.S. military materiel finding its way into Al Qaeda hands in Yemen might have been a valuable addition to Americans’ knowledge of terrorism.

Entitled “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” the 10-minute segment, broadcast on Feb. 4, featured rising CNN star Nima Elbagir cruising past sand-colored “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” armored vehicles, or MRAPs, lining a Yemeni highway.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” she says. “And this is not under the control of [Saudi-led] coalition forces. This is in the command of militias, which is expressly forbidden by the arms sales agreements with the U.S.”

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she adds. “CNN was told by coalition sources that a deadlier U.S. weapons system, the TOW missile, was airdropped in 2015 by Saudi Arabia to Yemeni fighters, an air drop that was proudly proclaimed across Saudi backed media channels.” The TOWs were dropped into Al Qaeda-controlled territory, according to CNN. But when Elbagir tries to find out more, the local coalition-backed government chases her and her crew out of town.

U.S.-made TOWs in the hands of Al Qaeda? Elbagir is an effective on-screen presence. But this is an old story, which the cable network has long soft-pedaled…

However, in April-May 2015, right around the time that the Saudis were air-dropping TOWs into Yemen, they were also supplying the same optically-guided, high-tech missiles to pro-Al Qaeda forces in Syria’s northern Idlib province…

CNN reported that story very differently. From rebel-held territory, CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh described the missiles as a “possible game-changer … that may finally be wearing down the less popular side of the Shia-Sunni divide.” He conceded it wasn’t all good news: “A major downside for Washington at least, is that the often-victorious rebels, the Nusra Front, are Al Qaeda. But while the winners for now are America’s enemies, the fast-changing ground in Syria may cause to happen what the Obama administration has long sought and preached, and that’s changing the calculus of the Assad regime.”

Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times all reacted the same way, furrowing their brows at the news that Al Qaeda was gaining, but expressing measured relief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was at last on the ropes.

But now that Elbagir is sounding the alarm about TOWs in Yemen, CNN would do well to acknowledge that it has been distinctly more blasé in the past about TOWs in the hands of al Qaeda.
-=]

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