The Avalanche – Snapshot 33 – April 11, ’19

Carol M. Highsmith • Public domain

“The Case Against the CIA’s Censors” by Melvin Goodman (CounterPunch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

I have joined in a lawsuit with four former federal employees to end the government’s censorship of our writings on national security issues. The current publications review system of our military and intelligence agencies is dysfunctional, inhibiting our ability to participate in national security debates. The government has a legitimate interest in protecting bona fide secrets, but the review system is opaque, exceeding legitimate national security boundaries and compromising free speech.

Dareen Tatour (center) in Berlin. (Photo: Abu Salameh/courtesy of the author)

“Dareen Tatour: I was booked to read poems alongside Rasmea Odeh in Berlin, then Israel intervened” by Dareen Tatour (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

My trip to Germany was not easy. Last month I was invited to speak at an event, “Palestinian Women in the Liberation Struggle,” alongside Rasmea Odeh, a 71-year-old Palestinian activist who was stripped of her U.S. citizenship after she was convicted of immigration fraud in 2014 for failing to report a conviction in her naturalization paperwork a decade earlier. The panel was organized to coincide with International Women’s Day by Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and Hirak, a Palestinian youth organization in Germany.

Rasmea spent ten years in prison in Israel. When she was a 21-year-old college student she was arrested on terrorism charges in 1969 in a sweep of more than 500 people, including her two sisters, one of whom is paralyzed, and her father. She confessed but says the confession was made under duress. She alleges she was tortured with electrical shocks, raped and further sexually assaulted during interrogation, which lasted 45 days. Her father recounted one horrific scene in 1979 to the Sunday Times. At one point interrogators brought him into a room with Rasmea, who was handcuffed and naked, and threatened to force him to rape her. When he refused the interrogators sexually assaulted her with a stick in front of him.

After she confessed she recanted, yet she was convicted in 1970 for planning bombings that killed 2 and injured 9 and for membership in a banned organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or the PFLP. She was given two life sentences in a Israeli military court, a system with a 99.7 percent conviction rate that Human Rights Watch said lacks due process and violates international law. In 1980 after she was released in a prisoner exchange she gave testimony about her alleged torture to the United Nations and Amnesty International.

But I never got to speak with Rasmea at the event, because German police prohibited her from speaking and revoked her visa after complaints from Israeli officials.

From Mint Press News:
This composite image shows the cover of Max Blumenthal’s new book, The Management of Savagery, left, and an Associated Press photo of the late Senator John McCain posing with Mouaz Moustafa in Syria in the early days of the Syrian war.

“The Syrian American Council’s Pressure Campaign to Censor One of Its Major Critics” by Alexander Rubenstein (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Syrian American Council and a collection of pro-war lobbyists have led an intimidation campaign aimed at bullying a major Washington-based bookstore, Politics and Prose, into canceling award-winning journalist and author Max Blumenthal’s launch event for his new book The Management of Savagery.

And it appears to have worked. Politics and Prose announced that it would “postpone” the event, citing “concerns” over the event’s “format, substance, … [and] security” in a tweet. In a testament to the ferocity of the harassment campaign against the small chain, the company has pinned the statement to the top of its Twitter page so that anyone visiting it sees immediately that they caved.

Politics and Prose is the go-to space for D.C. book events. If you are on a book tour and coming to Washington, chances are that Politics and Prose will be hosting your event.

“Banned by Amazon and Purged by the Neocons” by Ron Unz (The Greanville Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Over the last decade, Amazon has gained a near-total monopoly over Internet book sales, and late last month, we saw the dangerous consequences of such intellectual control as the company suddenly banned dozens of books, many of them of excellent scholarly quality…

This small webzine was founded with a mission of providing “interesting, important, and controversial perspectives largely excluded from the American mainstream media.” Therefore, it seems natural to extend this policy to cover books, and I have now added a new Bookstore Section, allowing interested readers to browse and order those texts that Amazon has banned, in most cases directly from the websites of the particular publisher…

A half-century ago in a totally different America, publishers sometimes trumpeted the fact that their books had been “Banned in Boston,” which vastly increased their sales in many other parts of the country. Since past sales of the banned books had hardly been great, it seems not impossible that the notoriety associated with their removal might actually boost their visibility and purchase sufficiently to render the policy counter-productive.

After all, Amazon eagerly sells many millions of books these days, including Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, and how-to manuals for producing homemade explosives to be used in domestic terrorist attacks. Yet the hundred-odd books now provided in my new system are apparently believed to contain ideas so horrifically dangerous that Amazon has chosen to violate its longstanding policy of intellectual freedom and ban them. Perhaps you should consider purchasing a couple of them and deciding for yourself.

To be clear, Ron Unz’s website hasn’t been censored (yet). He just happens to have devoted a section on it to the many books banned by Amazon. The Unz Review is not alt/progressive, but it’s not awful either. As always, If you visit Ron’s website, be sure to read with filters/guides, like the guidance offered in the Post’s presentation of Ron’s article about Amazon, which is presented in the image that I placed on top of this entry. And there’s a lengthy response to a reader/commenter by the Post’s moderator Addison dePitt that more fully explains TGP’s approach.

“Battlefield Libya: Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change” by Tony Cartalucci (Land Destroyer Report)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Forces under the control of Khalifa Haftar – a former Libyan general under the government of Muammar Qaddafi – turned opposition during the 2011 US-led NATO intervention – turned “opposition” again against the UN-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA) seated in Tripoli – have most recently reached Tripoli’s airport.

The confusing chaos that has continually engulfed Libya since 2011 should come as no surprise. It is the predictable outcome that follows any US-led political or military intervention. Other examples showcasing US-led regime change “success” include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine.

And just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine – the Western corporate media has regularly omitted mention of Libya from headlines specifically to mask the very predictable consequences of US-led regime change as additional interventions against nations like Venezuela, Syria, and Iran are engineered and pursued…

NATO’s Secretary General proclaims NATO’s mission as one to “prevent conflict and preserve peace,” yet it paradoxically and very intentionally engineered the war in Libya, overthrew the government in Tripoli, and triggered regional chaos that not only plagues North Africa to this day – but also inundated Europe with refugees fleeing the conflict.

Europe is one of the few places NATO could conceivably claim any mandate to protect or operate in – yet its own wars of aggression abroad directly compromised European safety and security.

The media blackout that has shrouded the true impact of NATO’s intervention in Libya for the past 8 years helps enable the US and its NATO partners to perpetrate additional proxy wars and political interventions elsewhere.

As the US openly pursues aggressive regime change in Venezuela and meddles in the internal politics of nations across Southeast Asia, the “fruits” of US intervention in places like Libya should always be kept in mind.

Stephen Gowans (Baraka Books)

“So, you think Washington’s long war on Syria is almost over. Think again.” by Stephen Gowans (what’s left)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

If you think Washington’s long war on Syria has been largely defeated by the combined opposition of Syria, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, think again.

While attention turns to another US regime change campaign, this one in Venezuela, the long war on Syria grinds on.

“The United States still has cards to play in Syria,” concludes two analysts linked to the US foreign policy establishment. “If it plays them well, the U.S. intervention in Syria may yet become an enduring American success.”

Indeed, the US intervention in Syria has already been a success in at least one respect.

“Syria is currently in a state of de-facto partition,” observe Merve Tahiroglu and Andrew Gabel, research analysts at the billionaire-backed Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think-tank that is interlocked with the US government…

These are the other respects in which the US intervention has scored successes. It has greatly weakened Syria, a pole of opposition to US hegemony in the Middle East. And it has drawn Russia and Iran into a conflict that strains their treasuries.

No less part of the US war on Syria is Washington’s recent declaration of two-thirds of the Syrian Golan as part of Israel, an event greeted with yawns by much of the world, including the anti-war Left.

Golan, a New York Times reporter once observed, is the forgotten occupied territory. By contrast, northeastern Syria may become the occupation that will never be forgotten for the simple reason that it was never noticed.

As to Washington’s long war on Syria, it was largely unnoticed until 2011, and appears to be returning to an unnoticed-in-the-West phase, partly because it depends in large measure on economic weapons (which have far less sway over the attentions of anti-war activists than does kinetic warfare, even though economic ‘atom bombs’ can be equally, if not more, devastating) and partly because it relies on diplomatic measures, like recognizing Israel’s annexation of Syrian territory. Also, the US and other Western forces in Syria are mainly special operations forces that operate under the radar.

Another factor explaining the near invisibility of the US war on Syria is that it is hardly talked about anymore in the Western mass media. As we allow the White House-driven media agenda to divert our attention to other matters, the real business of extending the reach of the international dictatorship of the United States goes on unobserved.

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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