According to The Grayzone, its editor Max Blumenthal has been arrested on false charges after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence outside the Washington, DC, embassy. What’s really behind this action and does it have any stifling effect on independent journalists? He was arrested on the morning of October 25 on what he says is a fabricated charge related to the siege of the Venezuelan embassy in DC that took place between April and May. What happened and what’s going on here?
"A team of DC police officers appeared at Blumenthal’s door at just after 9 a.m., demanding entry and threatening to break his door down. A number of officers had taken positions on the side of his home as though they were prepared for a SWAT-style raid," Ben Norton wrote for The Grayzone. "Blumenthal was hauled into a police van and ultimately taken to DC central jail, where he was held for two days in various cells and cages. He was shackled by his hands and ankles for over five hours in one such cage along with other inmates. His request for a phone call was denied by DC police and corrections officers, effectively denying him access to the outside world. Blumenthal was informed that he was accused of simple assault by a Venezuelan opposition member. He declared the charge completely baseless." First, simple assault required such a show of force? Also, the arrest warrant was five months old.
"According to an individual familiar with the case, the warrant for Blumenthal’s arrest was initially rejected. Strangely, this false charge was revived months later without the defendant's knowledge," Norton continued. If he had been notified, he could have voluntarily surrendered and appeared at his own arraignment. According to Max, “Instead, the federal government essentially enlisted the DC police to SWAT me, ensuring that I would be subjected to an early morning raid and then languish in prison for two days without even the ability to call an attorney."
"Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced he was resigning today, succumbing to the demands of protesters who have staged nationwide demonstrations for nearly two weeks," CNN reported Tuesday. "The three-time prime minister has led a national unity government, which included some of his political adversaries, for less than two years. In recent months, the country saw rapid economic deterioration, ballooning debt and rising prices." What’s really going on here, and will Hariri’s resignation make any substantive difference? "Scores of protesters in downtown Beirut cheered as Hariri announced his departure. At their peak, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest government corruption on Sunday," CNN continued. What’s happening in Lebanon?
"After President Donald Trump said on Monday the US will be 'keeping the oil' in northeastern Syria, his administration is looking into the 'specifics,' according to a senior State Department official — but it's prompted renewed cries that doing so is a war crime," ABC News reported Monday. What does all of this mean? "On Sunday, when detailing the US special forces raid against [Daesh] leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Trump said US troops would remain in Syria to secure 'massive' oil reserves and even put up 'a hell of a fight' against any force that tried to take them. 'We should be able to take some also, and what I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly,' he added. 'We're keeping the oil,' Trump said Monday to a conference of police chiefs in Chicago. 'I've always said that — keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month. Keep the oil. We've secured the oil,'" the report continued. So, when you hear the president say that, what comes to your mind?
Bill Moran — Attorney for Max Blumenthal.
Kevin Zeese — Co-editor for Popular Resistance.
Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War."
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
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