DISSIDENT: The Arrest of Max Blumenthal

By Guy Crittenden

The Grayzone's Max Blumenthal.

Independent journalist Max Blumenthal has been arrested and charged with assault, based on allegations dating back to this past May, when Blumenthal joined other journalists and activists who entered the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC during the time it was under siege from right-wing opponents of the democratically-elected socialist Maduro government. Activists occupied the embassy to protect it from the opponents, who support Juan Guaidó — the political apparatchik the US has attempted to install as Venezuela's leader in a failed coup d'etat.

Blumenthal — who I'd listed as one of the rising stars of the New Left in my recent article about the best current journalism — denies the charges, which he describes as baseless and designed to intimidate him and and other critical voices.

After a long standoff, the sovereign territory of the Venezuelan embassy was illegally occupied by forces loyal to the US government and turned over to the Venezuelan government's opponents. Venezuela's foreign assets have been frozen or stolen by foreign governments, including the UK which has seized a large gold holding, and the US which has seized Citgo — a chain of gas stations that belongs to Venezuela, the income from which has been turned over to Guaidó and his group.

 Max Blumenthal discusses his arrest in the video clip above from the Jimmy Dore Show on YouTube. He refers to a heavy-handed arrest involving a Swat team and a paddy wagon. The arrest of this dissident journalist comes in the shadow of Julian Assange's unlawful confinement in Britain's Belmarsh prison awaiting possible extradition to the United States and prosecution under espionage laws there. Blumenthal was denied a phone call to a lawyer during the 36 hours he was detained, handcuffed and subjected to body searches.

It's clear the US government and intelligence agencies are now targeting independent journalists who criticize US policies and programs abroad, including various coup d'etat and proxy wars.

Max Blumenthal has attracted attention and the ire of various governments due to his relentless investigation and exposure of human rights violations, torture programs and propaganda associated with the US and NATO countries' ongoing program of "regime change" wars and coups designed to install vassal states loyal to Washington, expand neoliberal policies around the globe and prop up the petrodollar. His books include The Management of Savagery: How America's National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump and Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel — his 2013 book that examines Israel's aggressive shift to the far-right and its brutal crackdown on Palestinians, especially those living in Gaza. 

It's clear the US government and intelligence agencies are now targeting independent journalists who criticize US policies and programs abroad, including various coup d'etat and proxy wars. A censorship and intimidation chill is descending on media and social media platforms alike, hence the importance of sharing the work of independent journalists like Max Blumenthal.

CONTRIBUTOR/RESEARCHER:

Guy Crittenden: 
Environment and business journalist and award-winning book author (The Year of Drinking Magic: Twelve Ceremonies with the Vine of Souls, Apocryphile Press) based in Innisfil, Ontario, Canada and Principal of Crittenden Communication. Contact Guy at guy@crittendencommunication.com

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