The Avalanche – Snapshot 41 – July 9, ’19

Vadim Komarov

“Ukrainian Investigative Journalist Dies from Beating After Being Comatose for Weeks, Western Media Silent” by Natylie Baldwin (Natylie Baldwin)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On the morning of June 20th, I received an OSCE email alert announcing the death of Ukrainian investigative reporter Vadim Komarov, who was beaten unconscious on May 4th and had been in a coma until succumbing last week. According to the OSCE:

VIENNA, 20 June 2019 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his deep sorrow following the death of journalist and blogger Vadim Komarov, who died last night in the hospital. He had been in a coma since suffering a violent attack on 4 May in Cherkasy, Ukraine.

“I am deeply shocked by the death of Vadim Komarov, who was brutally attacked last month in Cherkasy and suffered from serious head injuries,” Désir said. “Vadim Komarov was a well-known media professional who reported about issues of public importance for many years, including by exposing corruption and uncovering abuses of power.”

As a journalist myself, I’m sensitive to crimes and repressions committed against fellow reporters wherever they may be. As the day wore on, however, I began to wonder why I didn’t hear any mention of this from any of the multiple news outlets I follow. Around 9:00 pm, I decided to do a search for any articles covering the death of Komarov. I placed the terms “Vadim Komarov death” into both a regular Google search engine and a Google News search engine. I also tried the alternative spelling of his first name “Vadym” in the searches. The only western media coverage of this I found was an article by RFE/RL. Nothing else from either the establishment media or the alternative media.

From Mondoweiss:
Moshe Ya’alon, left, meets with Col. Ofer Winter in December 2013. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Ministry of Defense)

“Why won’t the ‘NY Times’ do a profile of Israel’s most notorious general, Ofer Winter?” by James North (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Reporters at the New York Times love to have their stories featured on the front page. In fact, among themselves they dismiss articles that run inside as merely “vitamin page” reports — because the Times labels the pages in its print edition as A6, B3, and so on.

The paper’s Jerusalem bureau has missed another sure-fire chance to get on page A1. Brigadier General Ofer Winter, the Israeli army’s most controversial officer, just got promoted again — but the Times continues to ignore him. Winter’s notoriety is summarized in Haaretz’s characterization: “a Pattonesque holy warrior on the battlefield.” Winter has been well-known since the early 2000s, but one Times reporter after another has somehow failed to write a profile.

Here’s why: one of the ways the Times rigs its coverage of Israel/Palestine is by covering up Israeli extremists, to make Israel seem a much more moderate place than it really is. You will rarely if ever read about the far-right leaders of the West Bank settler/colonists, for example, nor will you learn about the vicious anti-Palestinian racism that is becoming steadily more normalized in Israeli life.

Logo for Israeli Director of Security of the Defense Establishment, or MALMAB, as posted by the Akevot site.

“Purging the Nakba. Or how an Israeli security agency takes on a monstrosity, the truth” by Yossi Gurvitz (Mondweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

As I write this, I am in something of a state of shock. If you’d told me, IDF troops are in the habit of invading houses of Palestinians and looting them, I’d tell you I’ve seen this movie. Corrupt cops? A dime a dozen. Prosecutors conspiring against defendants? Tell me something I don’t know. And if you told me — as Jefferson wrote about George III– that the government was protecting IDF troops “by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States,” this would not faze me. Been there, done that, got the bloody shirt.

But what was revealed this weekend is beyond the pale, and should trouble any person who still thinks Israeli is a democracy.

As a report by Israeli NGO Akevot and reporter Hagar Shezaf shows, one of Israel’s most notorious security apparatus, DSDE, has been going through official archives for almost two decades and removing “delicate” documents from them, particularly those recording events during the Nakba.

Michelle Bachelet

“Venezuela – The Bachelet “Human Rights Lie”” by Peter Koenig (Global Research)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Washington based Center for Economic and Policy Research issued a few weeks ago a report co-authored by Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot, concluding that more than 40,000 people have died in Venezuela since 2017 as a result of sanctions. They reduced the availability of food, medicine, and medical equipment, increasing Venezuelans disease and mortality rate. Jeffrey Sachs wrote in the report and repeated to Democracy Now–

“American sanctions are deliberately aiming to wreck Venezuela’s economy and thereby lead to regime change. It’s a fruitless, heartless, illegal, and failed policy, causing grave harm to the Venezuelan people.”

Is Michelle Bachelet bought by Washington? Has she been threatened? Been given Washington’s script of what has to be in the report? Has she been told that no condemnation of the sanctions is allowed, or else… and who knows what “or else” might include? Believe me, it could be the worst…

Former consultant of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Alfred de Zayas, says that Bachelet’s report is highly flawed and “unfortunately unbalanced and does not draw conclusions that can help the suffering Venezuelan people.” He went on calling for what Bachelet’s report did not call for – “immediately lifting United States sanctions on the nation.”

The report did not condemn the US sanctions, and did not address the criminality of the foreign guided internal coup attempts. Instead the report states dubious figures of deaths that have occurred during the last several years of violent upheavals – some 9,000 – leaving unclear who is responsible for the deaths, but implies by the general tenor of the report that it is most likely the Maduro Government. – That is not true, but that’s precisely what Washington and its European and Latin American vassals, want to hear.

Have a good look at how bad mental and spiritual ruin can be. As the article points out:

“However, what Ms. Bachelet should not forget and most certainly did not forget, when she accepted this high-profile assignment, is her father, Alberto Arturo Miguel Bachelet Martínez. Her dad was in the Chilean Air Force as a Brigadier General, who opposed the 1973 CIA-Pinochet coup. He was imprisoned shortly after the coup on 11 September 1973; he was tortured and died on 12 March 1974, while incarcerated, from the usual “heart attack”. In fact, he died from torture. One of his two chief torturers, Retired Chilean Air Force Colonel Edgar Cevallos Jones, died a few months ago, the other one, Ramon Caceres Jorquera, was recently liberated from prison and put under house arrest by current President Sebastian Piñera’s High Court, for “severe dementia and irrelevance”. Together the two were the top leaders of Pinochet’s repressive torture team, “Joint Command”.

“Alberto Bachelet was deprived of food and water, water-boarded, tortured with apparent suffocation with plastic hoods over his head, electric shocks – and more. All of this, his daughter, Michelle Bachelet, was aware of and has for sure not forgotten. She knows what torture is; she knows what disrespect for Human Rights means. So, she knows that Venezuela, the legally elected Nicolás Maduro Government, does respect Human Rights; that, if there is any torturing in Venezuela, it’s by the opposition, by Juan Guaído’s criminal cronies.”

I’m reminded of a report I read a little while ago titled “Dismissing Truth – Why Amnesty International Is Wrong About Nicaragua.” In that report we learn about the US-inspired efforts to change the regime in Nicaragua, including via terrorism that resulted in the deaths of civilians, including police officers. One police officer, Faber López Vivas, who was murdered by a fascist sniper, was betrayed by his mother who, when questioned, at first acknowledged what (essentially) happened to her son. But then she later changed her mind so as to align her story with the narrative of the coupists, who tried to make it appear that Faber was a victim of extra-judicial killing. Can you imagine! That was Faber’s mother.

From Investig’Action:
Uncle Sam has a problem in his South American “backyard” with those uppity Venezuelans who insisted on democratically electing Nicolás Maduro as their president instead of by-passing the electoral process and installing the unelected US asset Juan Guaidó. No matter, Amnesty International has come to the rescue with a full-throated defense of US imperialism.

“Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire” by Roger D. Harris (Investig’Action)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

“Faced with grave human rights violations, shortages of medicines and food and generalized violence in Venezuela, there is an urgent hunger for justice. The crimes against humanity probably committed by the authorities must not go unpunished.” – Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

Amnesty International fails in its broadside to put its claims against the Maduro government in the context of a concerted regime-change campaign, which amounts to war, by the bully from the north. The US is waging an illegal war against Venezuela and Amnesty International’s broadside leaves out this inconvenient fact, egregiously even omitting any mention of sanctions.

As human rights activist Chuck Kaufman of the Alliance for Global Justice noted about Amnesty International (AI): “They don’t seem to even care about their credibility anymore.”

From The Narwhal:
Daryl Bennett, who was born and raised in Taber, Alta., is frustrated with orphan oil and gas infrastructure in his community. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is seeking to limit or eliminate the ability for people to voice objections to energy projects that may affect them and their land. Photo: Theresa Tayler / The Narwhal

“CAPP seeks to limit public involvement in Alberta energy projects: lobbying records” by Sharon J. Riley (The Narwhal)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

==== == =
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the self-described voice of the oil and gas industry, has laid out its vision for a “streamlined” public-involvement process in extensive lobbying records obtained by The Narwhal in a freedom of information request.

The lobbying records — obtained after readers of The Narwhal bellied up $643.95 to access them — span more than a year, and show CAPP’s input into key decisions made by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The documents reveal that CAPP’s vision is one that would “expedite” aspects of public consultation — potentially reducing the opportunities for Albertans to voice objections to energy projects that affect them — and reduce the scope of projects that companies need to seek public input on…

And so CAPP is lobbying the regulator to “streamline” the process and reduce or eliminate the opportunity for the public to be involved in some cases — that could include shortening the 30-day period that stakeholders can file a statement of concern for some types of projects, or increasing the regulator’s use of discretion in posting public notice at all.

“A [statement of concern] is one of the only ways Albertans can try and have their concerns recognized,” Nikki Way, a senior analyst with the Pembina Institute who reviewed some of the documents, wrote in an email to The Narwhal.

“It is part of the ‘deal’ with oil and gas development in this province — that [Albertans] can have a say … Frankly, their ability for input and influence is already fairly limited to this process.”
= == ====

Alexis Tsipras and his fascist friend Benjamin Netanyahu

“Syriza’s election defeat: A balance sheet of a political betrayal” by Alex Lantier (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

When Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took office four years ago, pledging to end the European Union (EU) austerity Memorandum, the entire middle-class pseudo-left declared the party’s victory a massive triumph for the working class and a “radical” alternative to capitalism.

These forces held Syriza up as a model for all the parties and political leaders “of the 99 percent”—from the Podemos party in Spain to British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and America’s self-styled “socialist” candidate Bernie Sanders.

Instead, Syriza imposed a set of deeper austerity measures than any government in modern history, save the Stalinist Communist Party in its dissolution of the USSR, while turning the country into a quasi-police state and carrying out the most draconian anti-refugee policy in all of Europe.

Four years later, a frustrated, impoverished electorate threw Tsipras out…

A deafening silence reigns in Spain’s Cuarto Poder, Britain’s Socialist Worker and America’s Jacobin magazine on the reasons for this defeat. But it was the predictable outcome of Syriza’s rank betrayal of its election promises.

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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