The Avalanche – Snapshot 48 – Nov 5, ’19

William Barr

“With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program” by Whitney Webb (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public…

Perhaps the most jarring aspect of the memorandum is Barr’s frank admission that many of the “early engagement” tactics that the new program would utilize were “born of the posture we adopted with respect to terrorist threats.” In other words, the foundation for many of the policies utilized following the post-9/11 “war on terror” are also the foundation for the “early engagement” tactics that Barr seeks to use to identify potential criminals as part of this new policy. Though those “war on terror” policies have largely targeted individuals abroad, Barr’s memorandum makes it clear that some of those same controversial tactics will soon be used domestically…

The memorandum, despite heralding a new era of Orwellian surveillance and “pre-crime” on a national level, has been sparsely covered by the mainstream media. One of the few reports that did cover the new Justice Department policy, published Wednesday by the Huffington Post, framed the new Barr-led initiative as largely positive and asserted that the “anti-terror tactics” to which Barr alluded could “help thwart mass shooters.” No mention was made in the piece of the threat such a program is likely to pose to civil liberties.

“Information Warfare: Twitter Targets Hong Kong” by Tony Cartalucci (New Eastern Outlook)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

When Twitter Safety announced that it was taking actions against “information operations” directed at Hong Kong – informed observers could have immediately assumed that Twitter was not actually serious about stopping anything of the sort – but rather ensuring the information operation they are a part of was protected and those attempting to take action against it were purged from their platform.

And of course, those informed observers would be correct.

The official statement published on Twitter’s official blog titled, “Information operations directed at Hong Kong,” would claim:

We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change.

The statement would also claim:

This disclosure consists of 936 accounts originating from within the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Overall, these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground. Based on our intensive investigations, we have reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation. Specifically, we identified large clusters of accounts behaving in a coordinated manner to amplify messages related to the Hong Kong protests.

Ironically, “a coordinated state-backed operation” is exactly what the Hong Kong protests themselves are…

The fact that Twitter not only has taken no action to expose and stop US interference in Hong Kong, but is actively aiding and abetting it illustrates unmistakable as well as unforgivable hypocrisy shedding any doubt over what Twitter actually is. It is not a social media platform – but a political tool merely masquerading as social media.

“Reddit Must End Politically-Motivated Publishing Decisions” by Jim Banks (Real Clear Politics via ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Reddit administrators’ decision to “quarantine” r/The_Donald, a subreddit forum for fans of President Trump and Reddit’s largest conservative community, is a recent and egregious example of social media sites meddling in political affairs.

It’s no secret that Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly left wing. For every $1 that employees at the world’s biggest technology companies donated to Donald Trump, they gave $60 to Hillary Clinton.

But tech CEOs assure conservatives that their company’s overwhelming partisanship somehow has no effect on the content they publish. They claim that because their sites are run by algorithms, not people, they’ve managed to uphold a Spockian political impartiality. What a bunch of baloney! Many of tech companies’ editorial decisions are made by people, and ultimately their algorithms were created by a group 99% opposed Donald Trump’s election. Tech CEOs may imitate Spock’s empty gaze, but they’ve strayed far from his actual disposition.

The original r/The_Donald “quarantine” was put in place for what site administrators described as “repeated rule breaking behavior.” Some of r/The_Donald’s 770,000 users commented “encouragements to violence” after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called on state police to corral Republican representatives back to the statehouse following a skipped global warming vote.

The comments in question were reprehensible and clearly violated Reddit’s rules. The problem is that Reddit, with its 330 million users, was and is rife with similarly disgusting rhetoric. After the controversy in Oregon, a commenter in the liberal subreddit r/Politics had the following to say about Republican legislators: “Shoot these f*ckers. In the knees. For running like pieces of sh*t.” I’m not going to belabor my point and list the thousands of unaddressed, rule-breaking comments on left-wing subreddits. The point is, when such comments are posted in apolitical or left-wing subreddits, nothing happens. Reddit has a responsibility to ensure that it applies its rules equally to all political content.

The censorship is awful, but there’s a large dose of hypocrisy in this article, as you’ll find in much otherwise sensible Conservative, or rightwing (take your pick), commentary. The Left that the fool, Jim Banks, is complaining about is his Right. Hillary Clinton is NOT leftwing. What this smear job, which attempts to make real leftists guilty by association, does, I have no doubt, is disappear the real Left. If someone doesn’t know much about politics and is used to reading Conservative material (some which is good, in a limited way, if lacking in honesty in this particular area), then he or she is, reasonably, going to avoid anything labelled or identified as “Left” or “Leftwing.”

“Journalist Max Blumenthal arrested on false charge in DC” by Aaron Maté and Max Blumenthal (The Grayzone/Pushback)

The blurb attached (on the Grayzone website) to the above video:

====== =
Blumenthal was seized from his home by a group of officers and held for two days in cells and cages. His arrest warrant labels him as “armed and dangerous.” Blumenthal says the charges are false and a retaliation against The Grayzone’s journalism on the US-backed coup in Venezuela and corrupt members of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition carrying it out.
= ======

When deep-pocketed establishment funders are finished, the results of their dirty work of funding progressive organizations is not just to have a back door into any earnest progressive organizations that they will one day enter into in order to re-direct that org, but the intertwining of progressive orgs (that have funding from those same orgs and even progressive orgs that don’t have their funding) that the sudden deviation of one can have a negative influence on other progressive orgs that support and rely on info from the deviant. As I was watching the above Pushback show, an article by Joe Emersberger, whose work is good, was displayed momentarily. The problem? Joe’s article appeared on FAIR. This blog post carries links/excerpts to three different Mint Press articles, two of which were written by FAIR journo Alan McCleod and I see a negative influence at work in his articles (which I specify in the pertinent entries). See my previous blog post, “Progressives – part 4,” to get an idea why FAIR is a problem.

Let’s see how long the above YouTube version of this episode of Pushback lasts.

Palestinian Parliament member Khalida Jarrar of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who was imprisoned by Israel is comforted after her release from an Israeli prison, at Jabara checkpoint near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, June 3, 2016. Photo by Haytham Shtayeh/Flash9

“Israeli army arrests Palestinian feminist lawmaker, months after her release” by Jaclynn Ashly (+972)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Dozens of Israeli soldiers arrested Khalida Jarrar, a prominent Palestinian left-wing lawmaker and activist, after raiding her home in central Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank overnight on Thursday.

Suha Ghassan, Jarrar’s 29-year-old daughter, was the only other person at home with her mother during the raid. She said she woke up to the sounds of walkie-talkies used by soldiers outside. Jarrar’s husband, Ghassan, was in Jordan at the time — the first time Israel had allowed him to travel abroad in 60 years…

It’s not an uncommon scene for the former member of the dormant Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Jarrar has been arrested before, in 2015 and 2017. She was last released from Israel’s Damon prison in February, after nearly two years under administrative detention — the controversial Israeli policy of imprisonment without charge or trial, used almost exclusively against Palestinians. This form of detention is based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing, and can be renewed indefinitely for three-to-six month intervals.

Jarrar is one of Palestine’s most distinguished and popular politicians. She has served as a fierce women’s rights activist for years, both inside and outside Israel’s prison walls…

Suha said that the “basis for this continuous harassment is merely because [Jarrar] speaks loudly against the occupation and its arbitrary practices against the Palestinian people.” She noted that it is “convenient” for Israel to place Jarrar under administrative detention…

[Hanan] Ashrawi also demanded that the “unequivocal international condemnation” of Israel’s use of administrative detention, which “has allowed the occupation authorities to detain 54,000 Palestinian men, women and children since the beginning of the 1967 occupation.”

related: “Jewish Group Lauds Ontario MPP’s Defense of Palestinian MP Detained by Israel” by ? (Independent Jewish Voices)

Susana Hidalgo | Twitter

“Chilean Protests: A Revolt against Neoliberalism the Media Refuses to Acknowledge” by Alan McCleod (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Santiago, Chile — “We are at war with a powerful, relentless enemy that respects nothing nor anyone” thundered Chilean President Sebastian Piñera during a speech to the nation, deliberately echoing the infamous catchphrase of fascist military dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The “enemy” he was referencing were Chilean citizens, more than one million of them taking to the streets Friday afternoon in a revolt against the neoliberal system Piñera was implementing against their will, demanding his resignation.

The spark for the revolt that started October 14 was a 30-Peso increase to the subway fare in Santiago, the country’s capital and by far its largest and most important city. But demonstrations quickly escalated into a general protest against the decades of neoliberal economic policies carried out by successive governments that increased the cost of living and marginalized and disenfranchised the population, leading to greater social and economic inequality. As a popular slogan of the protest goes: “It’s not about 30 pesos; it’s about 30 years.”

The government’s response has been brutal. The President has declared a state of emergency across much of the country and ordered tanks through Santiago to break the movement in images that would be on endless repeat in our media if Piñera were not such a loyal ally of Washington…

After managing to overthrow the democratically-elected Marxist President Salvador Allende in a 1973 coup, the United States had an opportunity to construct a new society based on neoliberal principles, with the help of the new fascist dictator, Augusto Pinochet. The country became the “empire’s workshop,” where American economists had free rein to construct the perfect society along market principles.

The problem was that the population did not want everything privatized, sold off to foreign corporations, for workers’ rights to be removed and the social safety net to be destroyed. Therefore, the population had to be terrorized into submission first. At least 3,000 people were killed, and tens of thousands brutally tortured by the Pinochet dictatorship, which remained in power until 1990. Two hundred thousand managed to flee the country…

Mainstream media, like CNN, NBC News and the Guardian, have shown far less interest in, or solidarity with, Chile than Hong Kong, framing the former not as protests, but as “riots,” a word never used to describe the Hong Kong protests.

[Whitney] Webb criticized the press for their warped coverage: “The media in the West and also in Chile has focused largely on the looting and rioting (that does occur) and is claiming that ALL the protests are this way, and this is completely false” she told Mint Press.

The above article, by Alan McCleod (FAIR), ends with a positive mention of Climate Strike. Readers can get a good look at the phony baloney Climate Strike on “Wrong Kind Of Green.” There, you’ll find Cory Morningstar’s extensive research into the corporate-inspired and -led Green New Deal, which Climate Strike is part of. I mention it, as well, in my previous blog post “Progressives – part 4.”

From Mint Press:
A journalist looks on during a media tour of a damaged house where Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors are belived to have visited in Douma near Damascus, Syria April 23, 2018. REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho

“Media Silent as Nobel Prize Winning OPCW Found “Fixing” its Own Findings on Syria” by Alan McCleod (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Douma, Syria, April 2018. Dozens of people die in a suspected chemical weapons attack in the eastern suburb of the capital Damascus. The United States and many European countries immediately identify President Bashar al-Assad as responsible for the attacks, and respond with deadly violence of their own, starting a bombing campaign against his forces. Yet new evidence leaked from whistleblowers suggests that not only is the Western story on shaky ground, but the report into the incident from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) deliberately suppressed evidence and testimony that contradicted the U.S. narrative…

After its fact-finding mission was complete, the OPCW issued a report on the alleged Douma attack…

But others criticized the findings. Piers Robinson, Co-Director for the Organization for Propaganda Studies and formerly Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism at Sheffield University claimed the OPCW report contained “significant anomalies” and was “unpersuasive, to put it mildly”, noting contradictions on analysis of chemicals used, the method of delivery, and more…

Robinson’s fears appear to have been confirmed and on October 15 an OPCW whistleblower met in secret with a panel of international experts, including the first Director-General of the organization, Dr. Jose Bustani. After seeing the evidence provided by the whistleblower, the panel came to the conclusion that the OPCW had suppressed and distorted its data, analysis and conclusions, noting that “key information” about chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics investigations and witness statements were suppressed, “ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion.”

While state-funded Russian outlets have covered the story, the silence from the mainstream, corporate press has been deafening, with no interest whatsoever in the story (one reason why supporting independent, alternative media as a counterweight against corporate news is so important). Judging by the minimal impact of the news, there will likely be few consequences for those who suppressed information and misled the world, nor for those who called for war on the basis of it, their assertions proving, once again, disastrously wrong.

Alan McCleod’s report is welcome, but I wish we had gotten it from some other source. FAIR, which Alan hails from, is a problem. I noticed that Alan ‘mentions’ Robert Fisk’s anti-Russian / anti-Syrian statement and then just passed over it as though there was nothing to see there. The following is that statement: “On the fudged OPCW report, veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk wrote, “It is difficult to underestimate the seriousness of this manipulative act”, worrying that this will undermine the credibility of all trustworthy international organizations and give fuel to Assadist and Russian propaganda networks.”

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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