The Avalanche – Snapshot 53 – Feb 4, ’20

Kristin Hrafnsson

“WikiLeaks Editor: US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case” by Caitlin Johnstone (

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave a brief statement to the press after the latest court hearing for Julian Assange’s extradition case in London today, saying the Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.

“We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” Hrafnsson said.

“Now let that sink in for a second,” Hrafnsson continued. “At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States. So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange, it’s about press freedom.”

Hrafnsson’s very newsworthy claim has as of this writing received no mainstream news media coverage at all. The video above is from independent reporter Gordon Dimmack.

Glenn Greenwald and Julian Assange

“The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate” by Caitlin Johnstone (

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been charged by the Bolsonaro government in Brazil with the same prosecutorial angle used by the US to target WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Per The New York Times:

“Citing intercepted messages between Mr. Greenwald and the hackers, prosecutors say the journalist played a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime.”

“For instance, prosecutors contend that Mr. Greenwald encouraged the hackers to delete archives that had already been shared with The Intercept Brasil, in order to cover their tracks.

“Prosecutors also say that Mr. Greenwald was communicating with the hackers while they were actively monitoring private chats on Telegram, a messaging app. The complaint charged six other individuals, including four who were detained last year in connection with the cellphone hacking.”

This argument is essentially indistinguishable from the argument currently being used by the Trump administration in charging Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act…

It is not surprising that Brazil is advancing the same war on journalism we’ve been seeing in the US, UK, Australia and France. With the election of the overtly fascist Jair Bolsonaro in October 2018 (an election whose corrupt foundations were exposed by Greenwald’s reporting with The Intercept Brasil), the Brazilian government moved into full alignment with the the US-centralized empire, which was why his inauguration was enthusiastically celebrated by characters like Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Benjamin Netanyahu.

In exactly the same way we saw a coordination between the US, UK, Sweden, Ecuador and Australia to immobilize, and then silence, and then imprison Julian Assange, we are seeing a uniform movement toward silencing oppositional journalism throughout the entire US-centralized empire. This is because a rising China and the increasing coziness of the cluster of nations which have resisted absorption into the imperial blob greatly imperil the USA’s position as the unipolar global dominator, meaning that the empire needs to quickly shore up global control in order to avoid being surpassed and replaced by other power structures.

Caitlin ‘always’ lets the people off the hook, as though ‘the people’, everywhere, all the time, are automatically righteous. And, as for China resisting absorption into the imperial blob, What does that even mean? Caitlin knows that China is fully capitalist, I’m sure. The fact is, While China is a target of the US ruling class and the Corporatocracy’s US-based weapons makers, China is not outside of the American-designed and -dominated global capitalist system, despite what some would have us think. (James Corbett has done some great shows debunking the idea that BRICS and a SWIFT alternative mean something. See these two: “Globalization Is Dead. Welcome To The New World Order!” and “China And The New World Order.”) Yes, China is a target of the US, as is Russia and as any great power would be, since the US ruling class wants to continue to dominate within the Corporatocracy and it wants to weaken all would-be competitors in that area, and, probably, the true rulers of the Corporatocracy would prefer that the US (and white people) would continue to dominate the world.

Also, China is awful. Too many self-identifed progressives, it seems, are afraid that we won’t take their critiques of the US seriously unless they completely support targets of the American ruling class. Just be honest folks!

Chris York

“Nobody Sets Out To Become A War Propagandist. It Just Sort Of Happens.” by Caitlin Johnstone (

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Senior Huffington Post UK editor Chris York has published what is by my count his twelfth smear piece against a small group of academics and independent journalists who’ve expressed skepticism of establishment Syria narratives.

York’s obsessive deluge of hit pieces revolve around British academics Tim Hayward and Piers Robinson, as well as independent journalist Vanessa Beeley. Every word in this sentence hyperlinks to a different article smearing them.

York’s twelfth such hit piece is much like the preceding eleven: it omits fundamentally crucial facts, it hides the shady nature of its sourcing, it makes outright false claims, and will only be believed by individuals who either don’t research this subject very deeply or whose paychecks depend on their not thinking about it too hard. But, more importantly, it’s his twelfth such hit piece.

“Warning: Do NOT Read This! NewsGuard ‘News Rating Agency’ Gives Red ‘Fake News’ Label” by Niall Bradley (SOTT)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Well, they finally got around to ‘officially’ marking ‘fake news’.

In October 2018, a representative of ‘NewsGuard Technologies’, a self-described “news rating agency,” reached out and invited us to answer “some questions regarding’s background and editorial practices.” Based on the false assumptions that were clear in their questions, and their ludicrous examples of content they deemed “far-right,” we immediately had a good idea of who they were and what their shtick was. (Ostensibly, “combating online disinformation.” Really, cracking down on dissent.) We nevertheless humored NewsGuard with detailed responses, which apparently stumped them because it was another 14 months before they got back to us…

If you download the NewsGuard app and see a red shield appear next to a post or search result, this means it comes from a site NewsGuard has deemed ‘fake news’; if a green shield appears, users may proceed to click on it, safe in the knowledge that it’s from a ‘trustworthy’ news site…

While this is a free opt-in browser extension for now, NewsGuard has big plans to roll it out nationwide in the US – and its powerful backers are also intensively lobbying the EU to do likewise – as a default feature in libraries and educational institutions, and is in the process of securing big contracts with Big Tech to have it baked into devices and operating systems like Microsoft Windows, and/or ‘at source’, directly with Internet Service Providers. NewsGuard isn’t the only such initiative taking off; a plethora of similar ‘news ranking initiatives’ are competing to “turn media credibility into a booming business.”

Censorship will become big business because Satan is the ruler of this world and gangster capitalism, which he’s down with, is global and without restraints. Most of the people on the planet right now are mentally and spiritually ruined and are a part of the problem, rather than being a part of the solution. Things will get worse, and darker, until Jehovah puts an end to it all. When no one can communicate freely anymore, I expect that Armageddon will be on. Much of the blocked communication is nothing that God would approve of. But some of it will be and that’s crucial. If there’s nothing more for us to learn – and really, it looks to me like we’ve learned the main lessons that God wanted to impart, indirectly – then the ‘lesson’ is over. We see that man’s rule over man doesn’t work. We see that Satan’s way of ‘riches for the strongest’ doesn’t work. We see that disconnecting from the Source of life doesn’t work.

I highly recommend to the reader of this post that he or she read the entire above linked-to article by Niall Bradley. It’s a bit lengthy, but, I think, worth the investment in time. While there’s nothing that SOTT can do about abusive power, SOTT, in my view, really put the bully, Newsguard, in their place. I didn’t get this though: “That still leaves in-born and cultural biases in the volunteers who make up its staff of course, and we work to correct for those by researching and disseminating psychological research – such as the latest findings in cognitive and neurological science – to go hand-in-hand with our content on political, societal and environmental developments.” And it sounds alarming.

“Zerohedge Suspended On Twitter” by ? (ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

First it was Facebook, then all of New Zealand; now Twitter has decided to suspend Zero Hedge.

Just as in the prior bans, which were eventually overturned, it is unclear what prompted Twitter’s abrupt censorship…

What appears to have happened is that twitter received a complaint from the website best known for publishing the discredited Steele dossier when no other media outlet would touch it, and making cat slideshows of course, Buzzfeed, in which someone called Ryan Broderick (who appears to have a rather “colorful” history), writes that Zero Hedge “has released the personal information of a scientist from Wuhan, China, falsely accusing them of creating the coronavirus as a bioweapon, in a plot it said is the real-life version of the video game Resident Evil.”

related: “Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?” by Tyler Durden (ZeroHedge)

related: “Media Fail: Bloomberg News Goes After Contrarian Blog, Beclowns Itself” by Tom Blumer (MRC)

I have gone back and forth on how to present entries by ZeroHedge. Should I say “by ?” or “by Tyler Durden.” I thought that Tyler Durden was one person. Now that I know that he isn’t, I will be employing the “by ?” format.

“Swedish Government Told Country’s Crime Authority to Censor “Politically Sensitive” Data” by Chris Christoforou (Summit News via The Duran)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Swedish government told the country’s main authority on crime to “correct” their reports in order to cover-up “politically sensitive” data, according to a study by Linköping University.

Sweden’s Crime Prevention Council (Brå) censored their own statistics after political pressure from higher-ups, according to the research.

The study reveals that Brå personnel were summoned to the Justice Ministry to change their findings and that a “silence culture” based on “political steering” has been created.

“A number of interviewees testify, among other things, about how Brå’s management directly applied pressure on them to change their findings which, for political, ideological or other reasons, were not desirable,” the report stated.

“Boston area professor fired after anti-Trump Facebook posting” by Dan Conway (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Asheen Phansey, adjunct professor at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, was fired Thursday after posting a joke on his Facebook account related to US president Donald Trump’s threats to wage war against Iran.

Phansey wrote that the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei should “tweet a list of 52 sites of cultural American heritage that he would bomb.” Phansey jokingly suggested some US sites for the Iranian military to target in retaliation: “Um… Mall of America?… Kardashian residence?”

The post was in response to a tweet by Trump threatening to bomb 52 cultural sites in Iran, such a threat being itself a war crime.

The Babson professor later described the posting as a sloppy attempt at black humor. “I am sorry that my sloppy humor was read as a threat,” he said. “I am completely opposed to violence and would never advocate it by anyone.”

Despite his apology for remarks made on his personal time, the college absurdly said Phansey was threatening violence. “Babson College condemns any type of threatening words or actions condoning violence or hate,” the administration declared in a statement issued after his firing.

In contrast to Phansey’s treatment, the US president is allowed to make actual threats against millions of innocent people and carry out assassinations with impunity. Last June, Trump threatened Iran with “obliteration” should it attack US forces. Infamously, Trump in 2017 threatened the country of North Korea, with a population of 25 million, with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

From Mint Press News:
A press conference announcing the arrest of Hospital Administrator, Mirtha Sanjinez, center, in La Paz, Bolivia. Screenshot | YouTube

“Bolivia’s New Right-Wing Government Intensifies Crackdown on Journalists, Doctors” by Alan Mcleod (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The U.S.-backed right-wing coup government of Jeanine Añez continues its moves against media and other dissenting voices. The latest victim of the crackdown was Marcelo Hurtado, president of the ATB media network. Hurtado was paraded before cameras; handcuffed and forced to wear a vest labeled “arrested.” He was flanked by two black clad, masked and armed members of the country’s infamous police, who led a successful coup against socialist president Evo Morales in November.

The Añez administration justified Hurtado’s public arrest on the grounds that he was linked to Morales and ex-Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, in what new Communications Minister Roxana Lizarraga has called the “dismantling of the propaganda apparatus of the dictatorial regime of Evo Morales.” Since November, the new government has begun systematically destroying all voices opposed to it. TeleSUR, Bolivia TV and RT en Español have already been taken off the air, journalists have been shot, detained and tortured. Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera correspondent Teresa Bo was tear-gassed in the face live on air at point-blank range by riot police as she stood alone, talking to the camera.

Thanks Trump. You shouldn’t be impeached for no good reason. But you should be destroyed for being a monster who tramples on God’s standards. And you will be – by God. I started to watch an interview that Glenn Greenwald had with Evo Morales but realized that I wanted to take my time, and take notes, and so put off watching. I haven’t yet watched the interview. Evo Morales is such a disappointment. He was a good leader and seems to be a good person. But he did absolutely nothing to prepare for the coming coup against him. (The few minutes of the Glenn Greenwald interview that I watched confirmed for me that Evo was out to lunch in this regard. He seems to have no clue about the nature of imperialist coup-making machinery. If he knew it was operating in Bolivia, I see no evidence of that. If he did know, Why didn’t he act?) See my blog post titled “Evo Morales: How could you fail to defend yourself and your people from the coming coup?!!!.” The time to worry about the catastrophe is before it happens, not after.) In that way, he handed his country, and its hapless citizens, over to fascists. A few friends (online) of mine on the Left didn’t agree with me. That’s too bad. I wasn’t attacking Evo by pointing the above out. Don’t they see that?

Feature photo: Andy Miah | Flickr

“Keeping with its Crackdown on Alternative Voices, Google Deletes Press TV from YouTube” by Alan Mcleod (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Without warning, tech giant Google “permanently removed” Iranian government-owned media channel Press TV UK’s YouTube channel Monday night amid increasing American hostility to Iran.

“This attack on the freedom of speech of Press TV’s journalists seems to be part of an anti-Iran purge as the West sets its sights on regime change in Iran,” Press TV said. Its content, in its own words, focuses on “anti-imperialism, anti-racism, and covers aspects of the news which the mainstream corporate media in the United Kingdom have refused to air.”

The London-based outlet had over 28,000 subscribers on its YouTube account at the time of its deletion.

I HATE using McLeod’s articles. But, those that I link to here are acceptable and, content-wise, belong here in my Avalanche Snapshot series. But I think Mcleod is a faker and Mint Press’s use of his, and Tom Secker’s, articles has me wondering about Mnar Muhawesh, Mint Press’s owner. Wake up Mnar!, unless you’re a faker. We will learn the truth in eventually.

Andrew Coyne

“The ‘Lying’ Mainstream Press and Media in Canada” by Robin Mathews (American Herald Tribune)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

More and more… reasonably informed Canadians believe ‘the Main Stream Press and Media’ constitutes a ‘lie factory’, a ‘manipulator of public response’ in the service of real power in the country. Canada’s MSPM, that is, exists to help ‘the Deep State’. To help the Corporatocracy. To help the Imperial Master. To help the people Stephen Harper’s group governed for … and the same people the Justin Trudeau group governs for with, perhaps, a little more ‘panache’… and cover-up.

Stark proof of Canadians’ dark and suspicious belief about the MSPM was provided in the first election Justin Trudeau won … and after. The Globe and Mail beat the drums to keep the corrupt Conservative Party of Stephen Harper in power … fighting up to the last hour. And … now … that one of Harper’s worst, rabbit-skinned hatchet-men, makers of ugly, anti-democracy legislation is running for leader, you may be sure no one in the Mainstream Press and Media (MSPM) will review his ugly past doings. Not even Andrew Coyne, star commentator for the Globe and Mail who – in a large recent advertisement tells readers “I can just write what I really think”…

Today, fewer than 5% of non-fiction books that Canadians buy are produced by Canadian publishers! Canada’s whole book trade is – for all intents and purposes – a branch activity of foreign (mostly Imperial U.S.) publishers. “We will tell Canadians what they may read.” (and who will profit from it.) Think about that …. (Where is Andrew Coyne?)

WHY, for instance, is there no genuinely fact-informed argument for Canada to get out of NATO. NATO is an arm of U.S. Imperial Policy: period. Why… in addition … do we hear nothing – ever – about Canada’s despicable and repressive role (over decades) in Haiti? Silence. Why does no reasonably intelligent and informed commentator cut through the wholesale truckload of lies about the voracious, calculated, perverse U.S. assault on Venezuela [and any other Central and South American country that seeks real democracy and independence]. And especially … why is there no attack on Canada’s sad and shameful backing of the U.S. in every vicious act against those countries? Why does no “mainstream” Canadian newsdealer ever even mention that the extermination of Palestinians is being pursued … a slow and steady program is being pursued…?…

Before leaving Part One… think about the fact that the Castrated Broadcasting Corporation NEVER touches Palestinian Extermination; Haiti; Sell-out of Canadian publishing; “the NATO Question”; the “takeover” (by the Bank of International Settlements) of the Bank of Canada; Canada’s shameful me-too foreign policy in the suppression and devastation by the U.S.A. of Central and South American countries and people; or the behaviour of Canadian Corporations overseas …. Think about … that… and add your own contribution to the list of endless failures “achieved” by Canada’s Mainstream Press and Media.

Stephen Lendman

“War on Dissent by the US and West Threaten Speech, Media and Academic Freedoms” by Stephen Lendman (Stephen Lendman)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Censorship is the new normal in America and the West, wanting the message controlled, targeting what conflicts with it for elimination, notably on major geopolitical issues.

Digital democracy is the last frontier of free and open expression.

It’s threatened by social media, Google, and other tech giants — complicit in a campaign against content conflicting with the official narrative.

Media scholar Robert McChesney earlier said without digital democracy, “the Internet would look like cable TV…a handful of massive companies (controlling) content” — deciding what’s permitted online and what’s suppressed.

Without free expression rights, all others are threatened — [which is] where things are headed in US and other Western societies…

Dark forces in the US and other Western societies want views conflicting with official ones silenced.

I love Stephen Lendman. He cares and I agree with most of what he writes, but he just doesn’t follow the rules of writing and it’s annoying. He’s not alone in that. “sic” is not mean to indicate something that you disagree with. Besides Stephen’s inability to make whole, proper sentences, his improper use of ‘sic’ is confusing and irritating. (See my rant titled “Mangled English.”)

Oliver Stone (left) and Rafael Correa

“Hollywood has been more heavily censored since 2001, films bashing US army & CIA can’t go public – Oliver Stone to RT” by ? (RT News)

The American film industry changed beyond recognition after the milestone year of 2001, director Oliver Stone told RT, with producers using financial restraints to censor movies challenging the US military or the CIA.

“Maybe in the 1980s, when I did ‘Platoon’, ‘Born on the Fourth of July’ and ‘Heaven & Earth’, I could do that, because it was a slightly more relaxed system,” said the award-winning filmmaker, mentioning his famed movies while making his case during former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s show on RT Spanish.

When the Iron Curtain fell and the Cold War ended, things didn’t change for the better, Stone believes. “My film career has suffered, because sometimes I’ve said things that American producers hate to hear,” he revealed, adding that those sponsoring film productions sometimes resort to “economic censorship.”

Oliver Stone is so fringe (on the Left side of it) establishment that he often does good work. His rant to Rafael Correa, who, under pressure – and judge for yourself whether it was forgiveable – turned on his friends, as John Perkins reports in his (awful) book, “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man,” about Hollywood reports on censorship factually enough, although his moaning about the US pulling out of the Paris accords causes me to suspect that he’s down with the entirely establishment Green New Deal. I’m not an expert on the Paris accords, but folks like Cory Morningstar, who deep dives into the corporate Green New Deal, do not support it. And I trust Cory Morningstar more than I trust Oliver Stone.

An other quibble I have with Stone’s statements about Hollywood is that he would have people think that Hollywood is an entertainment industry occupied by militarist elements of the deep State. That’s just not how it is. Hollywood is part of the deep State and actors and actresses in great numbers are ruined. As for this producer being for the Republicans and that one being for the Democrats, that’s meaningless. They are all rightwing, pro US empire, pro neoliberal capitalism and anti working class. Actors are ruined, even when they seem to not be. Another article on the (not solid) RT News website warns us to not expect much from Hollywood going forward. So far so good. The article mentions James Bond, noting that Daniel Craig is probably the least enthusiastic member of the latest Bond project, implying that Daniel is somehow innocent. Don’t kid yourself, Craig is ruined.

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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