The Avalanche – Snapshot 39 – June 24, ’19

It looks like I only started getting censored about the time that the Hong Kong (US-inspired) protests began. It’s relative. Both sides of the above stats diagram represent censorship. The censorship that began around the time that the Hong Kong protests began kicked into very high gear. I’m now lucky if I get a ‘busy’ day and see 6 visitors. Most days, now, it’s two or three visitors. Interestingly, I’ve been discussing my experience of censorship with another blogger and he noticed that he had a regular viewer from India and theorized that that viewer was one of the deep State’s many manual censors. On a day when he should have been getting lots of hits, for him, he’d see only his Indian viewer (or one of them-?). The blog would all but die and then slowly recover. Was that a censor who was going through the motions, slowing down blogs but not killing them, and getting paid to do it? Of course the behavior that me and my friend are seeing on our blogs could be exactly what is intended. There’s no question that time delays will hurt views.

And there’s no question that WordPress, despite its claim to not censor, doesn’t care about censorship. They can’t have their cake and eat it too. They partnered with evil Google some time ago and I recently read an article in which it was mentioned that WordPress was preparing to use Google plug-ins of some sort. WordPress is big. I always knew that it would either go along with the fascist Corporatocracy and its global pacification program or else be attacked by that same gangster Corporatocracy. For WordPress, going along with the evil seems to have been easy. When I came across a happy announcement by WordPress that it was partnering with Google and complained, my complaint was disappeared and the reason given was that it was a rant. It was hardly a rant. It was a meager expression of disapproval. Have you seen them squawk about the awful censorship happening? My manual censors (again, speculation) were Hong Kong based. It looks like the Hong Kong gatekeepers suddenly had their hands full with all of the crap happening there and a US group took over. Hong Kong views suddenly stopped, 99%, and on my unusually dead days, I’d see views from the US and sometimes no one else. Who knows?

From FAIR:
Reuters depiction (6/7/19) of Venezuelan refugees. (photo: Pilar Olivares/Reuters)

“Study Linking US Sanctions to Venezuelan Deaths Buried by Reuters for Over a Month” by Joe Emersberger (FAIR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

I emailed Stephanie Nebehay of Reuters on May 22 about her article, “Venezuela Turns to Russia, Cuba, China in Health Crisis” (5/22/19). Her article depicted the impact of US sanctions as an allegation that Venezuelan government officials are alone in making. The article stated:

The opposition blames [medical shortages] on economic incompetence and corruption by the leftist movement in power for two decades, but [President Nicolás] Maduro says US economic sanctions are the cause.

I asked why the piece made no mention of a study (CEPR, 4/25/19) released a month earlier by economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, which directly linked US sanctions to 40,000 deaths in Venezuela since August of 2017.

Her reply to me on May 23 was quite telling:

I was not aware of that study, but am now and will bear in mind.

It would indeed have been impossible for a Reuters reporter to be aware of the study if they depended only on Reuters articles to keep informed. The news agency hadn’t mentioned the study since it was released, never mind written an article about it…

Apologists for Trump always rush to say that Venezuela’s depression began years before Trump’s sanctions—as if that made it acceptable to deliberately worsen a humanitarian crisis. To tweak an analogy Caitlin Johnstone used, think of a defense attorney saying, “Your Honor, I will show that the victim was already in intensive care when my client began to assault him.”

Google’s New York office © Reuters / Brendan McDermid

“Google staff keep ‘blacklist’ of conservative and ‘fringe’ sites – report” by ? (RT News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Google reportedly runs two “blacklists,” one allowing staff to remove “fringe” websites from search results and another for filtering out opinion articles, according to conservative news outlet the Daily Caller.

The lists allow Google employees –who CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress in December never “manually intervene on any particular search result”– to suppress certain addresses in a user’s search results.

The Daily Caller claims to have seen screenshots of the lists in question. Google did not address whether its staff deliberately weed out certain political content, but did say they are working to filter out “inappropriate” search results…

A recent study found that Google’s search algorithms display a “left-leaning ideological skew,” while video footage of an internal company meeting recorded after the 2016 election showed executives calling Donald Trump’s victory “deeply offensive” and talking about using AI to fight populism in future.

YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, implemented a blanket ban on “hateful” and “supremacist” videos last week. The ban, which came about after Vox journalist Carlos Maza led a campaign against conservative shock-jock Steven Crowder, swept away or demonetized thousands of videos critical of the social justice movement and several video reports on extremist movements by legitimate journalists.

Do note that the ‘left-leaning ideological skew’ which the unknown RT journo refers to is not a reference to leftwing anything. Clicking on the link in the above article that talks about the study to which the RT journo is referring brings up another RT article which includes this line: “CNN, perhaps the outlet most-reviled by conservatives, was Google’s overall favorite source.” That’s RT’s idea of leftwing?!! The RT article is poorly written. Maybe that isn’t RT’s idea of leftwing. Maybe it is. RT, while more useful to people than anything establishment in the West, is still establishment in my view. Regardless, The basic idea of the about report is that Google is doing censorship, which we already know. But we are getting a glimpse here of some details in that regard.

“The Guardian’s direct collusion with media censorship by secret services exposed” by Thomas Scripps (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Minutes of Ministry of Defence (MoD) meetings have confirmed the role of Britain’s Guardian newspaper as a mouthpiece for the intelligence agencies.

Last week, independent journalist Matt Kennard revealed that the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, was personally thanked by the Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (or D-Notice) committee for integrating the Guardian into the operations of the security services.

Minutes of a meeting in 2018 read: “The Chairman thanked Paul Johnson for his service to the Committee. Paul had joined the Committee in the wake of the Snowden affair and had been instrumental in re-establishing links with the Guardian.”

Johnson joined the committee in 2014 and evidently excelled in his performance. A separate set of minutes from the first meeting attended by Johnson records the Guardian’s close collaboration with military officials.

Under a section detailing “advice” given by the intelligence agencies to the media, the document reads “most of the occurrences and requests for advice were related to further publications by The Guardian of extracts from the Snowden documents. The Secretary reported that the engagement of DPBAC [Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee] Secretariat with The Guardian had continued to strengthen during the last six months, with regular dialogues between the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries and Guardian journalists.”

The secretary and deputy secretaries were Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance CB OBE, Air Commodore David Adams and Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE. The chairman was Peter Watkins CBE, the MoD’s director general of Strategy, Security and Policy Operations.

Under the direction of these military intelligence handlers, the Guardian played a role in bringing other newspapers internationally to heel…

The Guardian has been viewed historically as the voice of British liberal dissent, critical of the worst excesses of British capitalism at home and abroad. But it has always acted as a political policeman—filtering the news “responsibly” and channelling the resulting anger into impotent moral appeals to the state and other authorities. Its dealings with Assange and Snowden transformed political allegiance into direct subservience. Its liberal, critical pretensions unravelled in a matter of a few months…

One of Assange’s persecutors-in-chief, Luke Harding, enjoys the most intimate relations with the security services. His notorious November 2018 fabrication, claiming Assange held meetings with US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, was published in the Guardian just two weeks after Johnson was thanked for “re-establishing links” with the MoD. The story was widely cited and formed a keystone of the efforts, spearheaded by the Democrats in the US, to present WikiLeaks and “Russian interference” as the causes of Trump’s 2016 election victory.

Harding played a central role in silencing questions over the UK government’s bogus account of the Skripal affair in mid-2018. These events were the subject of at least one D-notice, issued while Paul Johnson was on the responsible committee.

“Facebook blocks ad for PES meeting in Paris to defend Assange” by Alex Lantier (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On Thursday morning, members of the Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES) received an email from Facebook, stating that it was suspending a paid advertisement for the June 23 PES meeting in Paris calling for freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

PES members campaigning for the meeting have met a warm response among workers, youth and “yellow vest” protesters in Paris. By Thursday, over 700 people had clicked “interested” on the meeting event page, a common form of expressing political solidarity with or support for an event. This points to the broad popular support in France for the courageous journalist and principled whistleblower, who have played central roles in exposing imperialist war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond, amid growing working class opposition to President Emmanuel Macron.

Last week, Facebook had approved the purchase by PES members of advertising for the meeting’s Facebook page, which made the meeting’s page appear on the Facebook feeds of users who have expressed relevant interests. Yesterday, Facebook reversed course, blocking further purchases of ads for the meeting…

Facebook now censors and manipulates posts of its billions of users around the world. Under orders from Zuckerberg to Facebook to push its users to have “personal moments” not political discussion, including by demoting “viral videos” because they are not “good for people’s well-being and for society,” a vast censorship campaign is underway. Facebook Artificial Intelligence algorithms and its army of thousands of “content reviewers” now scour social media for content to remove and report to police and intelligence agencies.

Apart from the US government itself, the French government is among the most closely tied to Facebook censorship. Last November, as “yellow vest” protests against social inequality began in France, Macron hailed France’s World War II-era fascist dictator Philippe Pétain as a great soldier and launched an unprecedented collaboration on social media censorship with Facebook. Countless “yellow vest” social media posts have been deleted since, as police detained over 7,000 protesters in the largest wave of mass arrests in metropolitan France since the Nazi Occupation.

“Unpublished Letter to the Washington Post Editor” by Ralph Nader (Ralph Nader)

Ralph’s letter:

== =
March 14, 2019

Dear Editor:

Regarding the op-ed by the Dalai Lama and Arthur C. Brooks: “All of Us Can Break the Cycle of Hatred,” March 11, 2019.

Did the Dalai Lama, with his message of love and peace, realize that Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, runs the most concentrated center of lawless war advocates and opponents of government mandated life-saving health and safety standards in the United States? The list of these monetized, cold-blooded minds is a rogues gallery of people who, like John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz and John Yoo, held high positions in a war crimes government, including having key roles in the Iraq catastrophe. Brooks has the gall to quote Jesus “Love your enemies” and the contagion of “warm-heartedness.”

This column gives a new dimension to brazen hypocrisy.


Ralph Nader
= ==

“US exceptionalism: Exploiting certain Syrians, ignoring others” by Eva Bartlett (In Gaza and beyond)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Syria and Russia have been evacuating civilians from yet another region starved by its Western-backed terrorists. But Western corporate media ignore this and instead continue spinning nightmarish war propaganda on Syria.

Predictably, copy-paste Syrian reports emanate from Western governments and corporate media feign concern for civilians in Idlib while negating to mention that the Idlib governorate is an al-Qaeda hotbed…

When eastern areas of Aleppo were liberated in December 2016, even Reuters had to report that civilians blamed so-called ‘rebels’ for hoarding food they desperately needed.

When Madaya, heavily propagandized about in early 2016, was restored to safety in 2017, I travelled there and spoke to residents who again solely blamed terrorists for their starvation. Same in eastern Ghouta, where residents spoke of starvation and executions, by terrorists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that if Americans at al-Tanf could get supplies from Iraq and Jordan, they could have also brought in humanitarian aid for Rukban civilians, were they actually so concerned.

Unsurprisingly, in Syria’s and Russia’s eyes, the US is holding civilians in Rukban hostage. This became more apparent when America refused to shut down the camp, quite clearly preferring to have a raison d’être for continuing their illegal occupation of southeastern Syria…

Even the Middle East director for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Amin Awad, said that civilians in Rukban were being held against their will, as “human shields”“deprived of basic services,” according to Sputnik News…

Many others who I spoke to said they had wanted to leave before but believed the fearmongering from terrorists who told them they would be “slaughtered by the regime,” a claim floated in corporate media when Aleppo was being liberated.

The Russian Reconciliation Centre reports that some Rukban residents had to pay as much as US$1000 to “militants controlled by the US side” in order to leave…

Canada’s Globe and Mail went as far as to cite the utterly non-credible, Qatar-based, Syrian Network for Human Rights in a recent article claiming that thousands of Syrians who have returned home have been arrested.

As journalist Max Blumenthal humorously pointed out in his investigation into this Qatar-influenced body,

“citing the Syrian Network for Human Rights as an independent and credible source is the journalistic equivalent of sourcing statistics on head trauma to a research front created by the National Football League, or turning to tobacco industry lobbyists for information on the connection between smoking and lung cancer.”


“Top scientist slams OPCW leadership for repressing dissenting report on Syria gas attack” by Aaron Maté (The Grayzone)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Facing a growing controversy, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has offered his most extensive comments to date on a leaked internal assessment that challenged allegations that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018.

But the remarks from OPCW chief Fernando Arias have done little to address concerns that his UN-backed watchdog suppressed the document and published a flawed report that ignored countervailing data.

In an exclusive interview with The Grayzone, the award-winning rocket scientist and MIT professor emeritus Theodore Postol accused Arias of badly mischaracterizing the document in order to paper over his organization’s errors.

According to Postol, the OPCW appeared so determined to attribute blame to the Syrian government that it overlooked clear evidence the incident was staged.

In the end, Postol said, the OPCW produced “a product of compromised reporting of the inspection and analysis process by upper level OPCW management.”

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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