Pro Bono CIA Propagandists aka “amateur” Government Agents aka Self-appointed Gatekeepers

Source: “I Oppose Interventionism, But-” But Nothing. Stop Being A Pro Bono CIA Propagandist. – Caitlin Johnstone

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In a recent interview with The Corbett Report, the Ron Paul Institute‘s Daniel McAdams spoke disdainfully of those ostensibly anti-interventionist libertarians who picked this moment of all times to loudly and aggressively condemn Venezuela’s president Maduro, just as the US power establishment is ramping up its campaign to topple the Venezuelan government.

“All of a sudden now there are millions of Venezuela experts in America, and many of them could not point Venezuela out on a map five days ago,” McAdams said. “And everyone has to have this disclaimer, ‘Well, I know it’s probably worse than North Korea, but the US government shouldn’t get involved.’ It’s cowardice, because once the war starts, they can say ‘Hey I never called for US intervention!’ No, but you’re a conveyor belt for propaganda. You’re a conveyor belt to get the machine ginned up for war. And so you’ve got to stand up and take responsibility.”…

Even more often, what you will see is excuses made for the US government’s aggressive attempts to control who runs Venezuela, followed by some mumbling along the lines of “I don’t want us to go to war, though” dribbling out of the corner of their mouths. Some silly, arbitrary line in the sand saying that Trump’s current ongoing starvation sanctions, CIA covert ops and premeditated campaign to delegitimize and overthrow Venezuela’s government is fine, and hey, maybe arming some right-wing militias via Columbia would be fine too, but don’t send American troops to do the killing or we’ll be a tad upset.

My online responses to the above linked-to blog post follow:

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“A common refrain is “It’s possible to be opposed to US interventionism while also opposing these tyrannical governments, you know.”” I would say yes, as long as “the tyrannical governments” part of that sentence is true. And if we want to oppose tyrannical governments, then absolutely number ONE on that list would be the United States of America.


“Over and over and over I run into this stupid herd mentality while arguing about this stuff online where people (seemingly deliberately) conflate the notion of Venezuelans sorting out Venezuelan affairs with US interventionism.” Yes, the question of ‘who’ do we mean by the people is important in Venezuela and in the United States. If the people in the US knew the facts about Venezuela and not just the propaganda, then they’d rise up and demand an end to the aggression. Except that caring is knowing. If they don’t know, the[n] you have to ask why. Yes, censorship is rampant now and getting worse. (The hits on my blog yesterday: zero. Today: zero, so far.) Even so, People don’t know about alt/progressive media because they didn’t care when it would have been easier for them to know. It’s getting even harder to reach info now that the State and it’s gatekeepers are literally killing communication, but for people who have been caring all along, they can still get info and even if they couldn’t, they’d be immune to propaganda. On the other hand, If few people care – my proposition – then they don’t even care if it’s propaganda. As gatekeepers (“amateur” government agents, to use Randolph Bourne’s term for self-appointed, unpaid gatekeepers who auto-activate; regular people who aling [align] with power for selfish reasons), expect the majority to support the war-making State.

“The most powerful thing in our society is narrative. Please treat it with an appropriate level of respect.” Of course. And we can disagree, but not when it comes to something like war (and terrorism and suffering and destruction) against an innocent country.
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I posted those comments and received, as of yet, no responses. I sometimes wonder whether I’m visible. I also find commenters on websites like this to be cliquish. They don’t rove online, but more or less stick to one or two sites and become known to each other. The infrequent commenters are outsiders. Or at least this commenter feels like one. This is what progress looks like?

Caitlin’s post is, in its main thrust, bang on. And important.

Randolph Bourne wrote about the State well before people started talking about, and causing confusion as a result, a deep State. (If Bourne were to suddenly be resurrected into our world and resume his thinking and writing, he’d say very different things about the State. But he’d also repeat much that he said previously.) It’s not that there isn’t one. But it isn’t separate from the more fluid State, namely the presidents and admins that come and go. There is only The State. Or the Corporatocracy State. The deeper part of the State is the more stable, enduring parts of it, namely institutions like the ‘military-intelligence-security industrial complex’, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Big Pharma and other big corporate entities. If you don’t believe in Corporatocracy, then you will not agree that those other non government entities are also government. Which isn’t to say that the functions that Bourne assigns to the State are not specific and exclusive to the State. But those functions are not performed by governments that are as they appear to be, independent, democratically arrived at and neutral. Heck, Armies are slowly but surely being privatized. Look at all the private contractors doing uncle Sam’s bidding in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Private security companies, in it for profit, will work for uncle Sam or anyone, but never against uncle Sam. And as Yasha Levine explains in his book, “Surveillance Valley,” With the arrival of Ronald Reagan in the White House, the neoliberal agenda, with its main features of privatization and deregulation, also arrived. He gave the word that led to the privatization of the internet in 1995. Afterwards, Those who own and run the world allowed the people to use, unmolested, the internet until they decided that they had had enough of the people’s voice. That change in mood happened in 2006 when Google created it’s censorious First Draft. So, We the people lost the internet in two main stages. And do note that when the internet was privatized in 1995, it was in fact stolen from the people whose tax dollars created it. Americans, let alone others, had zero to say about the transfer on the newborn internet to the private sector.) The Corporatocracy is world government, essentially, led by nazi America, the world’s biggest, most perverted and lawless superpower. It’s a wild beast that devours all and we, the very few people who care, can’t kill it. That will take a higher power. The idea that that higher power resides in uncaring citizens – the majority of citizens in many places – is sad. (It’s as sad as Thor, the 2012 movie, The Avengers, pleading with his psycho, mass-murdering brother to come back to his senses and join Thor in fighting other mass murderers. Hollywood really hates the idea of crime and punishment while the government that it is a part of presents itself as a law & order government.) It’s a conclusion reached by good people who lack faith and have no choice but to see in themselves, in imperfect humankind, their savior. But that doesn’t work.

The following excerpt from Randolph Bourne’s “The State” saw Bourne taken up with the state of the country when at conventional war. It completely applies to the all-devouring beast that arose out of ‘the earth’ (and to today’s situation), namely the United States, which is an imperial power that does regime change regularly. The Kennedy’s were responsible for turning the State’s guns on its own people – which is to say, its active animosity (counterrevolution) – when it identified the “internal enemy” in connection with Third World countries that sought to self-determine and in a way not to the False Prophet’s liking. The American ruling class’s (hot) attack on the people was an attack on the people in Vietnam and in resistant places like Cuba and various South American countries, firstly, but not solely. Counterrevolution – oppression and suppression of the people – is a concomitant of Corporatocracy, in which elites fear political innovation that can only come from free people who might have solutions for serious environmental and social problems and even ideas about new forms of social organization. Elites benefit from the gangster system they have put in place and maintained and fear the unknown in which they might not only lose their power and privilege but also be called to account for their crimes.

Randolph Bourne:

When we say that Americans are lawless, we usually mean that they are less conscious than other peoples of the august majesty of the institution of the State as it stands behind the objective government of men and laws which we see. In a republic the men who hold office are indistinguishable from the mass. Very few of them possess the slightest personal dignity with which they could endow their political role; even if they ever thought of such a thing…

The republican State has almost no trappings to appeal to the common man’s emotions. What it has are of military origin, and in an unmilitary era such as we have passed through since the Civil War, even military trappings have been scarcely seen. In such an era the sense of the State almost fades out of the consciousness of men.

With the shock of war, however, the State comes into its own again. The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war. For the benefit of proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world…

The moment war is declared, however, the mass of the people, through some spiritual alchemy, become convinced that they have willed and executed the deed themselves. They then, with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction toward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come within the range of the Government’s disapprobation. The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an august presence, through the imaginations of men. Patriotism becomes the dominant feeling…

The patriot loses all sense of the distinction between State, nation, and government. In our quieter moments, the Nation or Country forms the basic idea of society…

…Country is a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living and letting live. But State is essentially a concept of power, of competition: it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects. And we have the misfortune of being born not only into a country but into a State, and as we grow up we learn to mingle the two feelings into a hopeless confusion.

The State is the country acting as a political unit…

Wartime brings the ideal of the State out into very clear relief, and reveals attitudes and tendencies that were hidden. In times of peace the sense of the State flags in a republic that is not militarized. For war is essentially the health of the State…

The classes which are able to play an active and not merely a passive role in the organization for war get a tremendous liberation of activity and energy. Individuals are jolted out of their old routine, many of them are given new positions of responsibility, new techniques must be learnt. Wearing home times are broken and women who would have remained attached with infantile bonds are liberated for service overseas. A vast sense of rejuvenescence pervades the significant classes, a sense of new importance in the world. Old national ideals are taken out, re-adapted to the purpose and used as the universal touchstones, or molds into which all thought is poured. Every individual citizen who in peacetimes had no living fragment of the State becomes an active amateur agent of the Government in reporting spies and disloyalists, in raising Government funds, or in propagating such measures as are considered necessary by officialdom. Minority opinion, which in times of peace was only irritating and could not be dealt with by law unless it was conjoined with actual crime, becomes with the outbreak of war, a case for outlawry. Criticism of the State, objections to war, lukewarm opinions concerning the necessity or the beauty of conscription, are made subject to ferocious penalties, far exceeding [in] severity those affixed to actual pragmatic crimes. Public opinion, as expressed in the newspapers, and the pulpits and the schools, becomes one solid block. “Loyalty,” or rather war orthodoxy, becomes the sole test for all professions, techniques, occupations. Particularly is this true in the sphere of the intellectual life. There the smallest taint is held to spread over the whole soul, so that a professor of physics is ipso facto disqualified to teach physics or hold honorable place in a university – the republic of learning – if he is at all unsound on the war. Even mere association with persons thus tainted is considered to disqualify a teacher. Anything pertaining to the enemy becomes taboo. His books are suppressed wherever possible, his language is forbidden. His artistic products are considered to convey in the subtlest spiritual way taints of vast poison to the soul that permits itself to enjoy them. So enemy music is suppressed, and energetic measures of opprobrium taken against those whose artistic consciences are not ready to perform such an act of self-sacrifice. The rage for loyal conformity works impartially, and often in diametric opposition to other orthodoxies and traditional conformities or ideals. The triumphant orthodoxy of the State is shown at its apex perhaps when Christian preachers lose their pulpits for taking in more or less literal terms the Sermon on the Mount, and Christian zealots are sent to prison for twenty years for distributing tracts which argue that war is unscriptural.

The bolding in the above excerpt is mine.

From “Gatekeepers”:

A gatekeeper is anyone who decides to opportunistically ally himself with those who are powerful and anti-democratic. (Consider: If we were one big human family, rather than the divided human race we are with so many choosing to believe in inequality [and ‘us’ and ‘them’ therefore], then there’d be no exclusion and gates wouldn’t therefore be needed. Democrats know that. True Christians know that best.) A gatekeeper can be rich or poor, educated or uneducated, professional or average Joe / Josephine, appointed or self-appointed, completely aware of his gatekeeper role (if appointed), ignorant of it or partially aware of it (if self-appointed). The gatekeeper’s role is to hinder, in any way, small or serious, those who don’t have the ‘right’ political views. The ‘right’ political views, held by the gatekeeper, can be summed up as: The way to survive is to serve and protect those who are powerful, which service ‘may’ therefore protect and/or prosper you in return for your service. Calling that democracy is required.

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Professional Scam Artists – part 34

“Oil and Gas Efforts Proceed, Public Lands Opened to Hunters During Government Shutdown” by Tara Lohan (Earth Island Journal)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Two years into the Trump administration, its attacks on environmental regulations, policy, and science are already well documented. But the current partial government shutdown, now more than a month long, provides a unique lens through which to view the administration’s priorities. The list of what isn’t being done is long and troubling, but equally concerning is what is being done during the shutdown.

Over the past several weeks national parks have been trashed, climate change research stalled, and crucial wildfire prevention work halted — all while oil and gas drilling efforts continue to cruise along and national wildlife refuges are reopened to hunters.

Lawmakers and nonprofits are calling out the administration for using the shutdown to cater to special interests like the oil and gas industry while there’s limited oversight, and with possible suspect use of funds.

War criminal and scam artist Donald Trump

“How This Oil Refiners Group Rallied GOP Governors’ Support for Trump’s Rollback of Auto Standards” by Ben Jervey (DESMOG)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

As the Trump administration worked to revise and relax federal fuel economy and emissions standards for cars and light trucks, an oil refiners trade group worked connections with Republican governors to rally support for the proposed rollback.

Emails obtained by Documented, a watchdog group that tracks corporate influence in government, revealed that the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) were actively recruiting Republican Governors to sign onto a public comment letter supporting the weaker CAFE (corporate average fuel efficiency) standards, while also “shopping around” a pre-written op-ed with language borrowed from the American Energy Alliance, a free market advocacy group run by a former Koch Industries lobbyist.

A blockbuster New York Times investigation published in December revealed how AFPM, using a front group called Energy4US, deployed Facebook advertisements to prompt thousands of identical public comments filed in the Federal Register supporting the proposed rule. An earlier article on the Facebook ads by ProPublica had linked AFPM to Energy4US, and researchers at DeSmog’s KochvsClean had since connected the front group to more than one-quarter of all public comments that the Department of Transportation (DOT) had received on the proposed rule, while also revealing that the Consumer Energy Alliance was connected to the campaign.

“VALE OF DEATH: Statement on the collapse of the tailing dam in Brumadinho” by ? (Mining Watch Canada)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

(Brazil) We have received the news of another tragedy instigated by Vale mining company with profound indignation. This afternoon (January 25, 2019) two tailings dams located in the Corrego de Feijao community, in Brumadinho, metropolitan region of Belo Horizon[t]e [state capital of Minas Gerais) have breached. We do not yet have information about the number of victims, but, according to reports, there were about 1000 people in the company dining room, now covered with tailings, at the time of the disaster. There are reports about the spill of toxic materials into the Paraopeba River, an affluent of the Sao Francisco River. The full dimensions of the disaster cannot yet be determined.

In recent years, the Articulation of People Affected by Vale has been protesting at Vale’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders, alerting the company to the dangers of reducing costs and expenses in its operations, thereby expanded [sic] the risks of incidents such as the disaster that happened in Mariana in 2015 and today in Brumadinho. The company, however, changed nothing. You cannot say that the breach in the dam that occurred today was not anticipated or expected. Despite the warnings, Vale did nothing but continue mining and increasing its profits.

Fascist Benjamin Netanyahu

“Netanyahu’s Brand of Tolerance for Anti-Semitism Goes Back 120 Years” by Jonathan Cook (Consortium News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a soft spot for rightwing authoritarians. This is no surprise since Netanyahu is a rightwing authoritarian himself, one who sees Israel as an old-fashioned ethno-state in which Jewish national aspirations are the only ones that count – as his support for last year’s “Nation-State Law” makes clear.

But what may come as a surprise is that he also has a soft spot for rightwing authoritarians with a pronounced anti-Semitic streak…

So what’s the explanation? If Netanyahu is a hawk’s hawk when it comes to enemies of the Jewish state, then doesn’t it follow that he should be no less militant when it comes to enemies of the Jews?

The answer is, no, it doesn’t, for the simple reason that Zionism’s attitude toward anti-Semitism is more ambiguous than people realize. Theodore Herzl, the Viennese journalist who founded modern Zionism, made this clear in the 1890s. Rather than combatting anti-Semitism, he argued that Jews should accept it as an ineradicable fact of life. Instead of opposing it, they should make use of it as a lever with which to pry their co-religionists loose from western society so that they would move to Palestine…
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Venezuela – oil rig

“Venezuela: Guardian sparing neocon blushes” by Kit Knightly (Off Guardian)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

This website started as a way to air opinions that The Guardian would not allow in their comments section. Over time it evolved into fact-checking. Rarely has it been so simple. This is The Guardian’s latest story on the unfolding crisis in Venezuela, it is headlined:

Venezuela: Maduro accuses US of trying to ‘get hands on our oil’

That headline is technically true. Nicolas Maduro – the beseiged Venezuelan President and the MSM’s current “monster of the week” – did accuse the USA of wanting to control Venezuela’s vast crude oil deposits. He cited Iraq and Libya as recent examples of similar behaviour.

What The Guardian did NOT mention is that John Bolton, Donald Trump’s neocon National Security Advisor, admitted that Maduro was right. He told Fox Business that Venezuela’s oil was a big motivation for Trump’s admin:

“We’re in conversation with major american companies now…I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here…it will make a BIG difference to the American economy if we could have American oil companies invest in, and produce, Venezuela’s oil capabilities.”


fascist Venezuelan tools

“CNN’s ‘Venezuelan army defectors’ not in army, not defectors & don’t live in Venezuela” by ? (RT News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Closer inspection of the uniforms worn by two self-proclaimed Venezuelan army defectors interviewed on CNN earlier this week has revealed that they are not who they say they are, and probably should not be given guns.

“As Venezuelan soldiers, we are making a request to the US to support us, in logistical terms, with communication, with weapons, so we can realize Venezuelan freedom,” one of the alleged defectors told CNN.

Their conveniently timed appeal came alongside ramped up efforts by the US to institute regime change in the oil rich South American nation…

If this story wasn’t already suspicious enough, it turns out that the pair were wearing uniforms that were retired by the Venezuelan military after consolidating its branches in 2008. This fact was easily confirmed by paying attention to their badges which still read ‘FAN’ ( Fuerza Armada Nacionales), where-as all Venezuelan service members today have badges which read ‘FANB’ (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana).

CNN creeps

“CNN Goes ‘Undercover’ To Manufacture Consent For Coup Attempt In Venezuela” by Kevin Gosztola (ShadowProof)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A CNN “exclusive” report from inside Venezuela aired multiple times on the network on January 28. It is a prime example of how influential media outlets in the U.S. effectively create propaganda for the opposition, which now is receiving funds from President Donald Trump’s administration.

For the four-minute report, CNN correspondent Nick Paton Walsh went “undercover” amidst what the network described as the “deepening crisis in Venezuela” in order “to capture the desperation gripping the nation.”

The segment highlighted hyperinflation at grocery chains, Venezuelans lined up in queues for fuel and food, particularly in Caracas, and opposition demonstrations on January 23, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself president of the country.

“This was the day when change was meant to come,” Walsh stated.

It suggested President Nicolas Maduro’s government has given “handouts” to Venezuelans for years to buy their loyalty, but now “handouts” are no longer enough. Opponents like to equate social programs to “handouts” because corporate elites favor de-nationalization and privatization of services…

Another part of the report featured street children in Caracas. A 14 year-old boy recounted how his brother was killed in July by a member of a gang. He said he has to go through the garbage for food and beg so he does not go hungry.

Walsh did not show a cause-and-effect relationship, yet the boy’s poverty was wryly attributed to a “socialist utopia that now leaves nearly every stomach empty.”

On the surface, the report may have seemed balanced and neutral because CNN spoke to citizens caught in the middle of the political crisis. Yet, there was no clips of the tens of thousands of Maduro supporters who marched through Caracas the same day that Guaido claimed he was the country’s interim president.

CNN also omitted the role of U.S. sanctions and other measures in making Venezuela’s economic recovery nearly impossible.

Nathaniel Gleicher (Facebook)

“Facebook’s Troll Hunter in Chief Nathaniel Gleicher Tied to Neocon Think Tank” by Alexander Rubenstein (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA — After Facebook purged thousands of independent media pages from its platform in October, one may be forgiven for thinking that Facebook couldn’t go any lower. But in the company’s second purge of 2019, the social media giant may have done just that…

The Facebook bans are much like the other rounds issued by the company since it came under scrutiny on Capitol Hill following the 2016 elections for supposedly allowing a private Russian company, the Internet Research Agency, to run a campaign of desultory disinformation on its platform…

But with the Thursday bans, Facebook’s troll hunter in chief, Nathaniel Gleicher, who commands a 30,000-strong cyber warrior unit, cited no supposed authorities such as FireEye or the Atlantic Council’s DFRL…

A sampling, hand-picked by Facebook, of posts made by the pages Facebook “tied” to an entire country, promote women’s rights in Saudi Arabia; Palestinian’s yearning for the return of their former capital, Jerusalem (al-Quds); information pertaining to a UN session on the situation in Idlib (formerly a “rebel” enclave in Syria recently taken over in its entirety by al-Qaeda); and a report on human-rights violations and ill-treatment of black Africans in Libya in the seven years since NATO-backed ruffians sodomized Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to death…

A cursory look at Gleicher’s resume reveals a massive conflict of interest, as he is also a senior associate at the hawkish foreign policy think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The think tank is funded by oil and gas companies and leading firms in the military industrial complex. It is also funded by the governments of Japan, United Arab Emirates, the U.S., and Taiwan.

Earlier this week, CSIS hosted a pro-regime-change conference on Venezuela that was disrupted by anti-war protesters. Codepink national co-director Ariel Gold was manhandled by CSIS-contracted security guards on video, and later said that the guard choked her and tried to throw her down a set of stairs.

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Lawlessness / Ruined – part 36

From Watershed Sentinel:
Economic Warfare – Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Pfc. Andrya Hill / U.S. Army, Lomo-Cam

“Economic Warfare” by Joyce Nelson (Watershed Sentinel)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Most people are horrified to watch Venezuela seemingly on the verge of outright civil war, or worse, an invasion by U.S. military forces. The death toll continues to rise in the violent street protests led by the right-wing opposition, following the July 30 vote on a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution. U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened to take further, unspecified “economic actions” if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro went ahead with the vote, and Trump added that the U.S. would not stand idly by “as Venezuela crumbles.”

The Canadian Peace Congress issued a statement (July 29) that said, “If the attempt at internal counter-revolution fails, plans are being put in place for direct military intervention by the United States, possibly under the cover of the Organization of American States (OAS).”

Maduro had hoped that the July 30 vote would help to bring dialogue and peace to the country, which has been wracked by violence for more than four months.

According to sociologist Maria Paez Victor, the opposition had been demanding that the Maduro government negotiate with them, so early in 2017 “a Peace and Dialogue Table was set up, facilitated by 2 former presidents of Latin America and one of Spain. They then refused to negotiate, demanding the presence of the Vatican. When the Nuncio arrived, they still refused to dialogue. Pope Francis himself stated the dialogue failed because the opposition would not participate. President Maduro then concluded that if the opposition would not negotiate with the government, they would have to negotiate directly with the people – and called for a Constitutional Assembly to amend the constitution.”

From Axis of Logic:
A protest outside the United States Consulate in Sydney on January 23 to demand no US intervention in Venezuela. Photo: Peter Boyle

“Venezuela: What Activists Need To Know About The US-Led Coup” by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers (Dissident Voice via Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Two things stand out about the US coup in Venezuela. First, it is unusually open. Typically, the US tries to hide its coups. Second, the coup is built on a series of obvious falsehoods, yet the bi-partisans in Washington, with a few exceptions, keep repeating them…

President Maduro was re-elected on May 20, 2018, in response to the opposition demanding an early election. The legitimacy of the election of Maduro is so evident that it must be assumed those who say he is illegitimate are either intentionally false or ignorant…

There is no doubt the economic situation in Venezuela is dire. The cause is the economic war conducted by the United States, the major decline in oil prices and economic sabotage by the opposition. In essence, the United States and opposition created problems in the Venezuelan economy and now say Maduro must be replaced because of problems they created…

Opposition protesters have been extremely violent. One tactic of the opposition was to be violent and then film the government’s response to make the government look violent. When Abby Martin was confronted by opposition protesters, they told her, “Do not film anything that we do. Just film what the government does to us.”…

On December 6, 2015, the opposition won a parliamentary majority in the Assembly. There were allegations of vote buying in Amazonas state that were investigated by the National Electoral Council, another branch of the government. The Supreme Court barred four legislators from Amazonas taking office, two from the opposition, one allied with the opposition and one from the ruling party. The National Assembly allowed three candidates to take office. The Assembly has been held in contempt of court since July 2016 and their decisions were nullified.

Before the court ruling, the Assembly passed an amazing amnesty law, which granted amnesty for crimes the opposition has committed since 1999 (Chavez’ election). The law is an admission of guilt and provides a well-organized catalog of crimes including felonies, crimes committed at public rallies, terrorist acts involving explosives and firearms and undermining the economy. They essentially admitted exactly what Chavez/Maduro have claimed — crimes to overthrow the government for 17 years. Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled the amnesty law was unconstitutional. Inaccurately, the Trump administration calls the Assembly Venezuela’s only remaining democratic institution.

“Bio-piracy: the Sale of Uganda’s Lakes to Investors” by Mary Serumaga (Pambazuka via Black Agenda Report)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The fishermen of Kabarole District appear to have blown the whistle on an audacious act of bio-piracy. They brought to the attention of the authorities that they were being barred from access to the 53 crater lakes that they have fished in from time immemorial. In law this is known as a customary right. It cannot be extinguished simply by putting up barbed wire or waving guns about. But that is just what the District Fisheries Officer of Kabarole tried to do when he leased all 20 lakes to Ferdsult Engineering Services who then proceeded to “re-stock” some lakes and claim ownership of all them.

While the people of Kabarole may be focused on their fishing rights, it is possible, in fact likely, that they have been robbed of a lot more. The tourism potential of the crater lakes needs no explanation. Then there are potential biological assets. A lot can be learned from the Lake Bongoria saga in Kenya .

Lake Bongoria in the Kenyan arm of the Rift Valley is a habitat to the type of organism known as an extremophile. Extremophiles can withstand extreme heat, cold (as in the Arctic), saltiness and acidity, as in Lake Bongoria. As such they can be put to industrial use. The Bongorian variety was found to be useful as an agent in detergents where, withstanding hot water, it devours vegetable and animal stains during laundry. They are also used to soften and “stone-wash” denim to produce the type that differs from the stiff hard to wash denim of the 70s.

Scientists from Genencor International BV, a Dutch company, discovered extremophiles and their potential uses. Without the knowledge of most Kenyans they set up camp at Lake Bongoria and spent six months harvesting extremophiles. Returning to Europe, they cloned them and sold them to Proctor & Gamble, the detergent manufacturers. The Kenya Wildlife Services pursued them in court for a share in the hundreds of millions of dollars they have earned.

“Peaceful Resistance of La Laguna challenges deforestation in Guatemala” by Brent Patterson (Rabble)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In an article about deforestation in Guatemala, The New York Times reported, “Cattle ranchers, farmers, illegal loggers and drug traffickers all lay waste to forestland, virtually immune to government efforts to protect it.”

That article also noted the role of forest protection in relation to stopping climate breakdown. It notes, “By absorbing carbon dioxide and trapping carbon, forests play a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

As Global Forest Watch has reported, “In 2010, Guatemala had 5.70Mha (million hectares) of tree cover, extending over 52% of its land area. In 2017, it lost 79.7kha (thousand hectares) of tree cover, equivalent to 6.16Mt [megatonnes or million tons] of CO₂ of emissions.”

“Argentina: Is the IMF Intervention helped by HAARP?” by Peter Koenig (Dissident Voice)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

HAARP – the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program – was initiated as an ionospheric research program, established in 1993 in Gakona, Alaska and operated by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. It was and is funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Its alleged purpose “was to analyze the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance. HAARP is a high-power, high-frequency transmitter used for study of the ionosphere.”

That is the official version. HAARP was supposed to be shut down in May 2014, but then it was decided that the facility would be transferred to the University of Alaska. In reality, this sophisticated research project, owned by the military, and most probably with CIA hands in it, is continuing in some secret location, working on “ionospheric enhancement technologies”, to be used to influence weather patterns – in fact, to weaponize weather…

However, since then, research has evolved and it is now possible to influence weather patterns throughout the world. In other words, to create droughts, floods, storm, hurricanes – wherever such weather phenomena are convenient for the purposes of empire and its vassals. Talk about man-made climate change. Imagine the amount of money that can be generated by such unsuspicious weather modifications – let alone the amount of human suffering, famine, despair – chaos, economic collapse – eventually entire segments of populations can be wiped out. And all will be attributed to ‘climate change’, which are claimed to be man-made due to our civilization’s excessive CO2 emissions. Man-made – indeed!

Is Peter pushing the idea, accepted by a lot of ‘progressives’, that climate catastrophe is not happening? It isn’t clear to me.

From “If Americans Knew”:
A photo taken during a previous attack on Palestinian olive trees near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yitzhar in April 2013. (Reuters)

“Palestine: Jewish Settlers Torch 100 of World’s Oldest Olive Trees” by Tabatha Kinder (International Business Times via If Americans Knew)

And excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Israeli settlers in the northern occupied West Bank have razed to the ground huge swathes of Palestinian-owned agricultural land in the town of Huwara, according to reports.

The fields were set on fire by “masked settlers”, Al-Resalah newspaper reports, who snuck on to the land and poured petrol on it before setting it alight. Around 100 olive trees were destroyed in the blaze, which spread as locals were prevented from attending the fire by Israeli forces.

Olive trees in Israel hold vast religious and cultural significance to both Jews and Palestinians. As well as being the livelihood of many Palestinian farmers, the trees are thought to be the “oldest on Earth” and are mentioned in the Old Testament numerous times.

“When Reactionary Politics Become University ‘Ethics’” by Tim Anderson (American Herald Tribune)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Quite a number of people have asked me what is happening with the review of my ‘suspension pending expulsion’ from the University of Sydney, following managers’ attempts to censor some of my public comments.

I give an update here, along with the discussion of one matter that emerged in discussion with Provost Stephen Garton, at the Review Committee yesterday. That concerns the management attempt to advance reactionary politics under the guise of ethics. My infographic on ‘Gaza casualties’ (above) helps illustrate this point…

Lobbyist incited attacks on me began back in January 2014, as a result of my writing and campaigning against the dirty war on Syria. These attacks were led by the Murdoch media, which resumed attacks at the time of (and to assist) Donald Trump’s April 2017 missile attacks on Syria. Recall that fake chemical weapons pretexts were used back then. See my most recent article on this:‘WMD take two: chemical weapons claims in Syria’.

In 2018 the chief lobbyists against me were Channel Seven (like the Murdoch media, deeply invested in Israel and supporting every single US intervention and war in the Middle East) and several public and private friends of Israel. The Zionist lobby has always conscripted a few parliamentarians to join in, especially those who have traveled to Israel on their regular junkets…

My Review Committee was not interested in the activity of lobbyists, just the actions of the managers and their allegations against me. I rejected all the allegations, over 2017-2018. Most in 2017 were to do with my alleged ‘inappropriate’ criticism of journalists for their war disinformation; then I was attacked in 2018 for some perceived insults to Israel, buried in the background of two social media posts…

Stephen said he felt the fact that the Palestine flag was presented correctly, while the Israeli flag was altered and placed vertically, showed an ‘imbalance’ or a lack of ‘even-handedness’…

I told the committee that I see the matter differently. My course ‘Human Rights in Development’ begins by looking at imperialism and self-determination, and the history leading up to the twin human rights covenants of the 1960s. Both begin with the right of peoples to self-determination. That is a right placed in international law by the formerly colonized peoples, as a reaction to and rejection of imperialism and colonization. As a result, no educational process in the 21st century should have to regard colonial regimes as ‘morally equivalent’ to anti-colonial movements.

Israel’s several dozen racially discriminatory laws, its occupation, and theft of Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian land, its racial ideology and its denial of equal citizenship to Palestinians all give it the character of a colony and, in recent years, that of an apartheid state. Under international law an apartheid state is a crime against humanity and the international community has a responsibility to see it dismantled. This is not me saying this, this is a series of UN statements and reports. See my 2018 essay ‘The Future of Palestine’. See also the excellent report prepared for the UN in 2017 by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, ‘Israeli practices towards the Palestinian people and the question of apartheid’.

“John Bolton catches everyone off guard by telling the truth!” by Arturo Rosales (Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
So … it’s not about Maduro at all. It’s about the oil reserves that are almost twice the size of those of Saudi Arabia right on the doorstep of the US.

This fact, which has always been ignored or denied, is now out in the open and has been published hundreds of times on Axis of Logic.

This is predatory colonialism at its worst, with Bolton being barefaced about it with no qualms as if he does not give a damn about what other countries think or the niceties of international law.
= == ===


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The Real Avengers (Spoilers galore)

Combat missiles on a launcher.

This is about the 2012 movie called “The Avengers.” And there’s nothing but SPOILERS.

“We are hilariously, hopelessly outgunned,” says Nick Fury to the Avengers. But he’s not really saying what he seems to be saying. Nick is actually bragging. Ostensibly, He’s comparing human defenses to Asgaardian technology. He supposedly sees Asgaardian technology as one example of the kind of alien threat to humanity that is out there. Remember, though, these movies are a reflection of the minds who fashion them. And there’s a lot of projection happening. And perversity. What the US does is so often what it accuses others of doing, as others have noted. When JFK came into office after being elected President of the United States in 1960, he soon learned the truth about the balance of forces between the US and the Soviet Union. The US was way ahead of the USSR in the number of missiles it possessed (but lacking in ground forces), but Kennedy and others simply proceeded to lie to the media and the public about both a missile gap and a ruthless, monolithic, global Communist threat. Such lies are self-serving to neoconservatives and their ‘defense’ contractor friends who want war and the profits that they generate. (See “The US Ruling Class Thinks And Does What It Says Its Targets Are Thinking And Doing.” See also David Swanson’s online list titled “U.S. Wars and Hostile Actions: A List.”) And JFK was not a dove. He certainly had no use for democracy. He was in fact a fascist, which automatically makes one neoconservative. (See my compendium: “John F Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy Were Terrorists.”)

This reminds of the PLOT HOLE in The Avengers.

Here’s the plot hole to the ridiculous story being told with this movie: Once it’s clear that Manhattan is being lost to the invaders and their floating dragon ships (no hilarity there), Fury’s military associates casually decide to nuke Manhattan. There’s no genuine threat here since, as everyone knows, nukes solve all military problems. And we are to believe that these advanced races, Asgaardian and Chitauri, don’t have 1. intelligence to know that the humans have nukes and 2. the capability to deal with them.

He’s Adopted

And there’s more hilarity, with Thor reacting indignantly to Banner’s comment about Loki’s brain being like a bag full of cats and then Black Widow’s response to that with “He’s killed 80 people in two days,” followed by Thor’s ha, ha line about Loki being adopted. Mass murder is such a joke.

Regimes Fall Every Day

Later, Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, interrogates Loki. In the course of that discussion Loki points out that Romanov’s world is in the balance and yet she bargains for one man’s life (that man being Clint Barton) and she replies with “Regimes fall every day. I tend not to weep over that. I’m Russian.” Ha, ha. This is really the most hilarious – but not in a truly funny, harmless way – line in the whole stupid (but entertaining) movie. Russians, who actually don’t do regime change or imperialism, are cold-blooded, whereas Nick Fury’s country does regime change regularly and proudly but is somehow virtuous. As Tacitus said, “Crime Once Exposed Has no Refuge but in Audacity.”

Come Back To Us Loki!

And we also see here the usual neoconservative/Star Wars idea that no matter how evil you are; If you are of the right tribe, then your evil is okay. (I just read an article online about a new book by a fellow named James Backque. The article called “A holocaust was what the Americans did to the Germans,” looks at Backque’s book titled “Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950.” The title says it all. I’ve also read Eric Lichtblau’s book titled “The Nazis Next Door,” which reveals what animals the americans were, keeping Nazis’ prisoners in jails, sometimes for years, ‘after’ the war had ended! See my blog post titled “Nazi America.”) Thor just wants Loki to come to his senses and return to the loving embrace of the Asgaardian tribe, the same way that Luke Skywalker just wanted mass murdering Darth Vader to come to the light, or good, side and return to the loving embrace of the Skywalker (and by extension, Jedi) tribe. Thor defends his mass murdering brother just as Fury defends, and, really, boasts about, his mass murdering, regime-changing, democracy-deterring American Empire. For clearly, When he laments that humans are “hopelessly, hilariously outgunned,” he’s really saying that all of America’s enemies – any who don’t bow to uncle Sam – are hilariously, hopelessly outgunned.

A Real Avenger Called Nuke!

How? Nukes. In fact, Nukes are the real Avengers in the movie, which is what Hollywood/CIA/FBI/NSA/Pentagon wants to say – to those who get the joke – and that joke is why there must be the huge plot hole, big enough to get an army, alien or otherwise, through, in The Avengers.

I’m going to link to this little rant in my blog post titled “Nazi America,” where I talk about Hollywood’s pathology. Here’s what I said in that blog post:

“…And, now that Americans (and others) have been getting corporate owned media, including big screen movies, blasted at their heads for many years, How many people think that torture, nuclear warfare, smoking (that’s back big time in movies and tv), sex with kids, murderous spies and talking like a toilet are okay? (I stopped watching Arrow and Daredevil because those shows both carried episodes that sold torture.) How many people, subjected to “National Security Cinema” think that all of those things are fine, as is the marauding American military? How many Americans are okay with all of that darkness, even while, if you asked them whether Nazis are good or bad, most would answer “bad”? How many Americans, and other consumers of Hollywood’s crap, have no fear of nukes which feature in almost all superhero movies these days? They don’t even bother to weave nukes into the stories they are found in in a logical way.

“This is not always, or even usually, pure propaganda. There’s psychology at work here as well. Hollywood, which is not just the entertainment industry but includes the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI and the NSA, produces stories that allow those who run and ruin the world to feel good about themselves. They can tell stories about their world, which is all they know and care about, but leave out nasty details in order to feel good about themselves. (Nick Fury is a superspy but look at that, He’s a superhero!) Think of it as a mirror image of the people who have input into the storytelling that goes into movies we pay for. That image is distorted however. It presents a pretty picture of the evildoers who stand in front it, gazing lovingly at themselves as audiences, who can do nothing about any of that, toss money at them! It’s exactly the opposite of the kind of mirror that is presented in Snow White. That mirror told the truth. One could ask it a question and get a satisfactory answer, so long as it was also the truth. But if the facts were such that the truth hurt the person asking that mirror questions, that was that.”

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The Avalanche – Snapshot 28 – Jan 27, ’19

Bahia Amawi

“Fired School Employee Sues Over Israel Loyalty Oath” by Marjorie Cohn

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
In a return to the bad old days of McCarthyism, Bahia Amawi, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, lost her Texas elementary school job after refusing to pledge in writing that she would not participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Earlier this month, Amawi sued the school district that fired her.

The BDS movement against Israel has become a hot button issue in the closing month of 2018. A bipartisan group of senators tried to attach the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to the unanimous spending bill that Trump almost signed to avoid the current government shutdown. Meanwhile, Donorbox, a US software company, blocked the BDS fundraising account at the behest of a pro-Israel group…

On Dec. 12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on Amawi’s behalf in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas against Pflugerville Independent School District, alleging that Texas’ law requiring the oath violates the First Amendment. Amawi’s complaint says the law constitutes an impermissible attempt “to impose an ideological litmus test or compel speech related to government contractors’ political beliefs, associations, and expressions.”

Amawi had contracted with the school district for nine years to work with students with autism and developmental disabilities in Austin. This fall, for the first time, Amawi was required to sign an oath that she would not boycott Israel. When she refused to sign it, she was fired.
= == ===

Louis Gordon Crovitz and Steven Brill of Newsguard Technologies

“How a NeoCon-Backed “Fact Checker” Plans to Wage War on Independent Media” by Whitney Webb (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

MINNEAPOLIS — Soon after the social media “purge” of independent media sites and pages this past October, a top neoconservative insider — Jamie Fly — was caught stating that the mass deletion of anti-establishment and anti-war pages on Facebook and Twitter was “just the beginning” of a concerted effort by the U.S. government and powerful corporations to silence online dissent within the United States and beyond…

As MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh recently wrote, MintPress was informed that it was under review by an organization called Newsguard Technologies, which described itself to MintPress as simply a “news rating agency” and asked Muhawesh to comment on a series of allegations, several of which were blatantly untrue. However, further examination of this organization reveals that it is funded by and deeply connected to the U.S. government, neo-conservatives, and powerful monied interests, all of whom have been working overtime since the 2016 election to silence dissent to American forever-wars and corporate-led oligarchy…

More troubling still, Newsguard — by virtue of its deep connections to government and Silicon Valley — is lobbying to have its rankings of news sites installed by default on computers in U.S. public libraries, schools, and universities as well as on all smartphones and computers sold in the United States.

In other words, as Newsguard’s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site’s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States. Worse still, if its efforts to quash dissenting voices in the U.S. are successful, Newsguard promises that its next move will be to take its system global…

However, some of the rankings Newsguard itself has publicized show that it is manifestly uninterested in fighting “misinformation.” How else to explain the fact that the Washington Post and CNN both received high scores even though both have written stories or made statements that later proved to be entirely false? For example, CNN falsely claimed in 2016 that it was illegal for Americans to read WikiLeaks releases and unethically colluded with the DNC to craft presidential debate questions to favor Hillary Clinton’s campaign that same year.

In addition, in 2017, CNN published a fake story that a Russian bank linked to a close ally of President Donald Trump was under Senate investigation. That same year, CNN was forced to retract a report that the Trump campaign had been tipped off early about WikiLeaks documents damaging to Hillary Clinton when it later learned the alert was about material already publicly available.

The Washington Post, whose $600 million conflict of interest with the CIA goes unnoted by Newsguard, has also published false stories since the 2016 election, including one article that falsely claimed that “Russian hackers” had tapped into Vermont’s electrical grid. It was later found that the grid itself was never breached and the “hack” was only an isolated laptop with a minor malware problem. Yet, such acts of journalistic malpractice are apparently of little concern to Newsguard when those committing such acts are big-name corporate media outlets.

Big Ben / Westminster Bridge

“Integrity Initiative And Affiliates Behind Multiple Attacks On Disobedient Media” by Elizabeth Vos (Disobedient Media)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Last month, an anonymous hacking group published a slew of documents that revealed a vast operation by the Integrity Initiative and its parent group, the Institute for Statecraft. The organizations and their slew of affiliates sought to propagandize a Western audience by crafting false narratives, creating smears out of whole cloth, and in all of these efforts, backed by the UK intelligence community. In other words, make psychological warfare sound like journalism, while accusing Russia of the same…

The revelation is not merely an embarrassment to some factions within the British intelligence community, but represents a glimpse into the inner workings of the propaganda machine that keeps the plutocratic class in control of the public…

Grayzone’s Mohamed Elmaazi and Max Blumenthal summarized the scandal, writing: “Recent hacked documents have revealed an international network of politicians, journalists, academics, researchers and military officers, all engaged in highly deceptive covert propaganda campaigns funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), NATO, Facebook and hardline national security institutions… The whole operation appears to be run by, and in conjunction with, members of British military intelligence… The exposing of the Integrity Initiative has just scratched the surface of what appears to be a much more sophisticated, insidious, and extremely online version of Operation Mockingbird.”…

Small independent outlets including Disobedient Media were among those targeted by proxies and partners of the Integrity Initiative and its parent organization, the Institute for Statecraft. One of the earliest attacks on Disobedient Media came from the Atlantic Council’s controversial DFRLab, which infamously partnered with Facebook to help shape the social media giant’s censorship policy. The Atlantic Council was also revealed to be a partner of the Integrity Initiative. Disobedient Media co-founder William Craddick wrote of the Council’s attack on this outlet:

“On February 10th, 2017, an article distributed by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab attacked research published by Disobedient Media concerning the EU and added the Atlantic Council to a line of media houses and other outlets who deny the Wikileaks and Harvard Human Rights Journal supported research collected and published by Disobedient Media exposing the role that the Clintons and Department of State played in helping Laura Silsby and her co-conspirators off the hook after they were caught smuggling children illegally out of Haiti.”

“A New Narrative Control Firm Works To Destroy Alternative Media” by Caitlin Johnstone (Rogue Journalist)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The frenzied, hysterical Russia narrative being promoted day in and day out by western mass media has had two of its major stories ripped to shreds in the last three days.

A report seeded throughout the mainstream media by anonymous intelligence officials back in September claimed that US government workers in Cuba had suffered concussion-like brain damage after hearing strange noises in homes and hotels with the most likely culprit being “sophisticated microwaves or another type of electromagnetic weapon” from Russia. A recording of one such highly sophisticated attack was analyzed by scientists and turned out to be the mating call of the male indies short-tailed cricket. Neurologists and other brain specialists have challenged the claim that any US government workers suffered any neurological damage of any kind, saying test results on the alleged victims were misinterpreted. The actual story, when stripped of hyperventilating Russia panic, is that some government workers heard some crickets in Cuba…

These are just the latest in a long, ongoing pattern of terrible mass media debacles as reporters eager to demonstrate their unquestioning fealty to the US-centralized empire fall all over themselves to report any story that makes Russia look bad without practicing due diligence…

Imagine, then, how disastrous it would be if these last strongholds of skepticism and holding power to account were removed from the media landscape. Well, that’s exactly what a shady organization called NewsGuard is trying to do, with some success already.

A new report by journalist Whitney Webb for MintPress News details how NewsGuard is working to hide and demonetize alternative media outlets like MintPress, marketing itself directly to tech companies, social media platforms, libraries and schools. NewsGuard is led by some of the most virulently pro-imperialist individuals in America, and its agenda to shore up narrative control for the ruling power establishment is clear.

“Free Speech, Hassan Nasrallah, and Other Victims of Internet Censorship” by Chris Wright (Dissident Voice)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The fact that we live in a world in which the distribution of information is largely under the control of private corporations (and of governments overwhelmingly influenced by corporations) is itself a sufficient indictment of our civilization. Even if, impossibly, no other crimes ever occurred anywhere and systems of power were by and large benevolent, private control and distribution of information would justify attempts to reconstruct society on a new foundation. Such control is simply too contrary to the principles of free expression and free access to information to be tolerated by a people who value democracy, truth, and rational, unimpeded communication. How much worse is it, though, when corporate control of information is an essential precondition for the non-stop commission of systematic crimes against humanity by these very corporations and governments…

As it is, we’re living in a planetary practical joke, victims of some malevolent cosmic intelligence with a sick sense of humor: in order to organize political dissent, struggle for social progress, and spread knowledge of corporate and government crimes [sic]. We’re dependent in large part on networks that are run and policed by these criminals themselves…

Facebook has censored countless users who didn’t deserve it…

But the main victim of this creeping McCarthyism has been, of course, the cause of the Palestinians, and more generally anyone who objects to Israel’s decades-long orgy of bloodlust. Whether on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or other platforms, entities resisting Israel are regularly denied a voice. Hamas’s armed wing isn’t permitted an account on Twitter, while the Israeli army is. Facebook blocks Palestinian groups so often—including Fatah and leading media outlets in the West Bank—that they have their own hashtag, #FBcensorsPalestine. Given that these media near-monopolies are an essential means of reaching followers and spreading a message, such censorship has a very destructive effect.

Recent outrages concern suppression of the voice of Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah. A year ago YouTube suspended a popular channel that broadcast, and provided translations of, speeches of Hassan Nasrallah, among other “anti-American” leaders (Putin, Assad, etc.). The channel, which had over 400 videos, had 10,000 subscribers and had racked up more than six million views, and was growing in popularity. YouTube’s pretext for its suspension was “violation of the rules concerning graphic or violent content.”…

The owner of the channel then created a Facebook page to post similar content, called Resistance News Unfiltered. A year later, just a few weeks ago, it was deleted. With no explanation. It had over 6,000 subscribers and was providing an important service by translating the speeches of a highly perceptive political analyst. Norman Finkelstein recently released a statement on all this censorship of Nasrallah:

It is a scandal that the speeches of Hassan Nasrallah are banned on youtube. Whatever one thinks of his politics, it cannot be doubted that Nasrallah is among the shrewdest and most serious political observers in the world today. Israeli leaders carefully scrutinize Nasrallah’s every word. Why are the rest of us denied this right? One cannot help but wonder whether Nasrallah’s speeches are censored because he doesn’t fit the stereotype of the degenerate, ignorant, blowhard Arab leader. It appears that Western social media aren’t yet ready for an Arab leader of dignified mind and person.

The New York Times has reported that “Israeli security agencies monitor Facebook and send the company posts they consider incitement. Facebook has responded by removing most of them.” In fact, typically over 90 percent of them. Meanwhile, as Glenn Greenwald notes, “Israelis have virtually free rein to post whatever they want about Palestinians,” including calls for genocide and the most grotesque celebrations of the torture and murder of Palestinian children.

“Facebook to Work With Ukrainian Authorities to Ensure 2019 Election Results” by Joaquin Flores (Fort Russ)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

KIEV, Ukraine – Representatives of the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine intend to cooperate with Facebook to ensure information security during the presidential elections in the country. It is reported by the press service of the Ministry…

It is unclear to FRN at the present time whether Facebook will work to re-elect Poroshenko, or will lend its support to Tymoshenko. At the same time, Facebook is friendly towards Neo-Nazi organizations in Ukraine, which as a result of the U.S backed coup in 2014, have parliamentary status as well.

A woman places flowers on an impromptu memorial at the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 worshippers were murdered during Saturday’s shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 28, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

“Don’t use the murder of my family members to suppress criticism of Israel” by Chad Rosenbloom (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

When news started pouring in last October that eleven people were shot and killed in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, I was preparing to meet some classmates for a study group in Ithaca, New York. I was raised in the Steel City, and immediately became consumed by the fact that someone I knew was likely connected to the tragedy. It was only later that I found out that two members of my family were murdered in cold blood. They were my second cousins on my mother’s side: Cecil and David Rosenthal.

About a week later I was asked to honor them and the other victims at a candlelight vigil on Cornell University’s Ho Plaza. While grateful for the invitation, I soon realized how the massacre might be appropriated and the memory of the slain tarnished. Some touching words were shared, but the louder voices conveyed the worst tendencies of discourse around anti-Semitism. There was very little self-reflection, no clear universal moral message. Only cursory connections were made to the plight of Black Americans, immigrants, and Muslims. The hysterical allusions to the unique character of Jewish suffering dashed my hopes for catharsis and served as an uncomfortable reminder of the dubious manipulations that would inevitably follow…

Just five months before Robert Bowers brutally extinguished these innocent lives in a place of worship I knew relatively well, Israel was massacring unarmed Palestinians at the Gaza “border” while the body politic largely looked on…

A promising mechanism for compelling such accountability, a strategy that I wholeheartedly support, is the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that emerged out of Palestinian civil society in July 2005. Historically boycott initiatives have been powerful tools in the service of social justice, from the Montgomery Bus Boycott that targeted segregation in the Jim Crow South to the Anti-Apartheid Movement that chiseled away at the structure of white supremacy in South Africa. In recent history, New York governor Andrew Cuomo even instituted a boycott of North Carolina in response to discriminatory anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Established Jewish organizations and the Israel lobby have long sought to malign BDS as anti-Semitic. In doing so they have furthered an agenda that is both dangerous to freedom of speech in particular and deleterious of justice and equality more broadly. Already 26 states have passed legislation that penalize boycotting the State of Israel, and 13 more have seen such laws introduced in their legislatures. The ACLU has pointed out that these anti-boycott laws violate the First Amendment and run afoul of the Supreme Court case NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware CO, which specifically affirms the right to engage in political boycotts.

After the massacre at the Tree of Life proponents of these anti-boycott laws wasted no time in attempting to expand their ideological program at the federal level. In doing to so, they displayed a shameful level of political opportunism that is all too common in Zionist apologia…

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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