The Avalanche – Snapshot 51 – Dec 24, ’19

“Twitter censored my tweet, locked my account” by Yasha Levine

An excerpt from the above linked-to email I received from Yasha Levine follows:

##### ###
I sent out my last letter, posted it on Twitter, went out for the evening, came home and went to sleep, and in the morning…woke up to a nice dose of opaque corporate censorship.

Turns out that at some point in the night, Twitter locked my account for a tweet that stated plainly and satirically what has for years been the official policy of our political establishment — a sentiment that has been repeated over and over again during the impeachment hearings and spread around and which boils down to: “We gotta kill Russians in Ukraine or they’ll come and kill us here!…

Although for some reason it does not show up in the email, the tweet was not a standalone statement posted without context. It linked to another tweet that quoted the letter I sent out last night that had discussed and criticized America’s destructive foreign policy in Ukraine and the dangerous “we are at war with Russia mentality” that underpins it. In short, there were plenty of reference points to show that my tweet was meant to be satirical. It clearly wasn’t just me calling on people to kill Russians.

It’s absurd, especially when you consider that someone like Stanford professor Pamela Karlan could say this — that we must fight and kill Russians in Ukraine — straight in front of Congress, be praised for her testimony, and have her words zip across Twitter with no repercussion of any kind. But none of that matters.

Twitter wants me to now delete the tweet in order to get my account back — all because the company doesn’t seem to recognize satire or sarcasm as acceptable and protected speech on its private platform.

Mark Ames sent a complaint to Twitter on my behalf and pointed out how insane it is:

“it’s ironic as hell you’re censoring Yasha Levine whose family emigrated from the Soviet Union and whose Moscow newspaper was shut down by the Kremlin — over an obviously sarcastically-worded tweet mocking official US policy in Ukraine. People say ‘Twitter doesn’t understand satire when it censors.’ Funny, neither did the Kremlin when it shut down our satirical newspaper The eXile for ‘disseminating extremism.’ Satire is not recognized by the Kremlin — or Twitter.”

What’s frustrating here is that I don’t know if it was Twitter’s bots that picked it up and the lockdown is a genuine misunderstanding, or if it was reported by people who disagreed with my politics and the lockdown is the result of a malicious targeted campaign — the kind that happen all the time on Twitter. Or maybe it was a combination of both. It’s impossible to tell. Welcome to transparency in the age of algorithmic censorship.

As someone who wrote the book on how the Internet is a product our national security establishment’s desire to create technologies for social and political control, I know how much platforms like Twitter are integrated into our government and security apparatus. I also know that this integration has only increased post-2016.

These exact nature of these partnerships and how they work on the backend is, of course, opaque and impossible to trace without whistleblowers or some sort of Congressional investigations into the inner workings of these companies — and there haven’t been any of those. But from information that drips out in public now and again, we know that Twitter (and Facebook and Google as well) work closely with outfits like the Atlantic Council and more often than not end up censoring pages and accounts that belong to critical journalists, activists, and the long list of America’s “official” enemies.

This integration is not restricted to America. For instance: recently a Twitter executive who oversees the platform’s editorial content for the Middle East was outed as a part-time member of the 77th Brigade, the British Army’s psychological warfare division. According to Middle East Eye, which broke the story, “The 77th Brigade uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as podcasts, data analysis and audience research to wage what the head of the UK military, General Nick Carter, describes as ‘information warfare.’” Ooops. No conflict of interest there!

Anyway, I appealed Twitter’s censorship of the tweet. We don’t actually have any rights on these platforms. They are, after all, private property — no different than Walmart. So Twitter can do as it pleases and make me delete whatever it wants, no matter how much I protest.

Will update you when I hear back. All I can say now is that Immigrants as a Weapon finally met Surveillance Valley!

—Yasha Levine
### #####

related: “Twitter rejects my censorship appeal” by Yasha Levine

Glenn Greenwald

“Two Huge Suppressed News-Reports in a 3-Day Period Display Corrupt U.S.-&-Allied Mainstream Press” by Eric Zuesse (The Greanville Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|(-
n Friday, December 12th, Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept reported and documented that the mainstream U.S. press has lied through its teeth about “Russiagate,” and Zero Hedge reported and documented that not only had the U.S., UK, and France, committed an international war-crime when they invaded Syria on 14 April 2018 firing 105 missiles against Damascus, but the U.N.-authorized agency OPCW that was supposed to investigate the U.S.-&-allied allegation which had been the alleged ‘justification’ for that invasion was instead lying through its teeth about what the evidence actually showed about it: that this invasion had been based upon U.S.-&-allied lies.

These lies by the U.S.-and-allied ’news’-media are not exceptions to the rule; they are the rule whenever anything happens that is contrary to the self-justificatory ‘journalism’, or actually propaganda-line, of the U.S., and of its allied governments.

The lying that got these countries into invading Iraq on 20 March 2003, and into invading Libya in 2011, and into invading and occupying Syria in 2012 until now, are not simply ‘errors’, but are instead systematic and intentional on the part of the news-managements of all of the major U.S.-&-allied ’news’-organizations, none of which will ‘rat’ on any others of them, because they all are in the same boat of liars, and for any one of them to expose the ‘journalistic’ fraudulence of any other of them would be to expose also themselves, because they’re all in the same racket: destroying democracy — making democracy in their own country an impossibility.
-)|

Sebastian Moro

“Media, Human Rights Groups Silent Over Politically-Motivated Murder of Journalist in Bolivia” by Alan Macleod (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|O
Argentinian journalist Sebastian Moro was found unconscious, left for dead, covered in bruises, scratches and other signs of violence on November 10. Moro was wearing a vest identifying him as press covering the dramatic U.S.-backed coup against democratically elected President Evo Morales in Bolivia.

The 40-year-old worked for the influential Argentinian newspaper Pagina/12. Hours earlier he had denounced what he saw as a far-right takeover of power. His last known words, published in his newspaper hours before he was found, were denouncing the kidnappings of government officials, and mob attacks on journalists and media outlets. He had been one of the only voices exposing the local opposition’s campaign of terror to the world. Moro spent six days in a La Paz hospital before finally succumbing to his injuries.

Despite the world’s attention being focused on the Andean country, media has steadfastly ignored the likely beating to death of a foreign journalist for political reasons. No mention of Moro has been made in the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News or any mainstream Western outlet, despite his story being well known in his native Argentina. Nor has his case been mentioned by the major human rights networks such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. Even the Committee to Protect Journalists has not acknowledged his killing. Its list of deceased journalists in 2019 shows none across South America.
O|

Max has something interesting things to say about all of the fake journalists’ orgs flying around out there. See his interview with Jimmy Dore here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWJbdIqwJBU&t=1459s

I tried to download the video using three different downloaders, to no avail. I also note, when searching YouTube for this vid, that I had to enter the entire search term into the field. The auto-fill avoided the show. It gave me lots of other stuff, but not this vid. In other words, It’s being repressed.

Julian Assange

“Assange gives evidence in Spanish case against security contractor” by Thomas Scripps (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|-
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was brought from Belmarsh Prison yesterday to appear in person at Westminster Magistrates Court and provide video-link witness testimony in the Spanish prosecution of David Morales, the founder of security firm UC Global. Morales, a former Spanish military officer, is accused of spying on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy and was charged in October with privacy violation, bribery and money laundering.

The hearing was held in private session. No members of the media or the public were allowed inside the courtroom to see or hear Assange, on the remarkable grounds that the Spanish prosecution of UC Global involves “matters of national security.” His appearance took place 24 hours after he appeared via video-link in a case management hearing ahead of the scheduled February 24 trial on the application by the United States to extradite him. Assange has been charged with 17 counts of espionage and is threatened with life imprisonment over his role in WikiLeaks’ publication of the documents leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning which exposed US war crimes and diplomatic intrigues.
-|

related: “Wikileaks Exclusive: 20 inspectors blow apart OPCW Douma, Syria false flag” by Alex Christoforou (The Duran)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

:::::—
Today WikiLeaks releases more documents showing internal disagreement within the OPCW about how facts were misrepresented in a redacted version of a report on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.

Amongst these is a memorandum written in protest by one of the scientists sent on a fact finding mission (FFM) to investigate the attack. It is dated 14 March 2019 and is addressed to Fernando Arias, Director General of the organisation. This was exactly two weeks after the organisation published its final report on the Douma investigation.

WikiLeaks is also releasing the original preliminary report for the first time along with the redacted version (that was released by the OPCW) for comparison…

The aforementioned memo states that around 20 inspectors have expressed concerns over the final FFM report, which they feel “did not reflect the views of the team members that deployed to Douma”. Only one member of the fact finding team that went to Douma, a paramedic, is said to have contributed to the final version of the report. Apart from that one person, an entirely new team was gathered to assemble the final report, referred to as the “FFM core team”…

The author of the memorandum states that he was the one originally tasked with analysis and assessment of the two cylinders found on the scene of the alleged chemical attack. This was a task he undertook “in the understanding [he] was clearly the most qualified team member, having been to the location in Douma and because of [his] expertise in metallurgy, chemical engineering (including pressure vessel design), artillery and Defence R&D”. He continues: “In subsequent weeks I found that I was being excluded from the work, for reasons not made clear”.

The author explains that he had frequently asked to be updated on the progress of the final report and to be allowed to review the draft, but was turned down on both counts. “The response was utmost secrecy”.
—:::::

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

“Newsweek Journo Quits After Editors Kill Report On Syria Chemical Attack Scandal” by Alan Macleod (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

||\|
A top journalist has resigned from his post after management killed his report on the bombshell news that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) suppressed a mountain of evidence suggesting that the 2018 Douma Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria was staged.

Newsweek’s Tareq Haddad announced on Twitter that, rather than accepting top-down censorship on an important issue, he was publicly walking away from his job at the New York-based magazine.
|\||

President Trump at the Israeli American Council National Summit [Credit: White House]

“Trump signs executive order aimed at suppressing criticism of Israel” by Niles Niemuth (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

)-
At a Hanukkah celebration in the White House Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at suppressing criticism of the Israeli government on college campuses across the United States.

The action is targeted in particular at squelching the First Amendment rights of US-based students, professors and other activists involved in the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, by classifying opposition to the policies of the state of Israel as anti-Semitism…

Trump’s order expands the federal government’s interpretation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits funding to institutions which discriminate or allow discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin, to include anti-Semitism.

Trump declared that his order makes clear that Title VI “prohibits the funding of institutions which traffic in anti-Semitic hate.” He went on to proclaim that if publicly funded universities “want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars you get every year you must reject anti-Semitism.”

The president boasted of his tremendous support for Israel as proof of his support for Jews, citing his decisions to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognize Israel’s control over the disputed Golan Heights and tear up the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

While he didn’t specify which institutions were targeted by the order, he did explicitly call out the BDS movement, whose supporters seek to pressure Israel through protests and lobbying into ending its occupation of the West Bank, grant full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and recognize the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Leaders of the BDS movement have been blocked from entering Israel and supporters are routinely smeared as anti-Semites simply for advocating on behalf of the Palestinian people.
-(

This is a tactic used by manipulators like Trump. In case some of his dumb supporters aren’t dumb, or ruined, enough, give them something that they can latch onto, if they want to, that will allow them to convince themselves that Trump et al are democratic and are actually champions of human rights. You see something similar at work in a recent event here in Canada that Dimitri Lascaris talks about in his blog post titled “SAIA Demands That Herut Canada And The JDL Be Permanently Banned From York University.”

“Internet Censorship In Croydon Libraries” by TheDarkMan (The Duran)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

[\[[
Today, I did some shopping in Croydon, and en route stopped off at the Central Library to use the Internet, being one of the few people in this once great nation who does not actually own a mobile phone.

One of the things I wanted to check was a video related to the Canadian anti-feminist academic Janice Fiamengo, and entering her name at the YouTube search bar I was surprised to see one video come up on a channel so named. As far as I know, Janice doesn’t have her own channel, and as her field is English I asked myself did she really misspell that word?

More importantly was the message:

“Some results have been removed because Restricted Mode is enabled by your network administrator.”

Signing in to YouTube made no difference, so this really is the local network. I’ve long grown used to censorship bordering on silliness in public libraries. Local authority libraries were quick to embrace the Internet. I remember a slightly humorous incident many years ago when Google was still a novelty. I tried to use image search in one Lewisham library only to find it had been deactivated. When I pointed this out to a librarian he replied this was so because children used the computer, and they might use such searches to find pictures of naked people and the like.

While no reasonable person could object to libraries blocking sites that are dedicated to extreme pornography, many otherwise innocuous websites end up being blocked. In my local library, which is run by the London Borough of Bromley, Bitchute is currently blocked…
]\]]

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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