Alan Macleod reports on the recent arrest of journalist Max Blumenthal

5 November 2019 — Mint Press

The SWAT-style raid on the home of government critic and journalist Max Blumenthal signals a new level of escalation in the US government’s war on dissent.

Max Blumenthal, the editor of independent media outlet The Grayzone, was secretly arrested on October 25 in a “SWAT-style” morning raid on his Washington D.C. home. He was held in D.C. Central Detention Facility for two days incommunicado, without the ability to communicate to the outside world, having been refused a phone call. He claims to have been shackled by his hands and ankles for some time and kept in a series of cages and cells. Blumenthal was arrested on a five-month-old assault charge stemming from an incident that took place during the D.C. Venezuelan Embassy siege.

A Venezuelan opposition supporter, Naylet Pacheco, claims that Blumenthal kicked her in the stomach several times during a conflict between the embassy protectors and supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaído, who proclaimed himself President of Venezuela in January. At the time of the incident, The Grayzone was publishing a series of investigative reports and news updates that contradicted the Trump administration’s narrative, noting how much of the supposedly grassroots uprising, was, in fact, funded by Washington and exposing the corruption and violent tactics of opposition members. The warrant for the charge had initially been rejected. It was, however, revived later without Blumenthal’s knowledge.

The dramatic story of a SWAT team bursting into a dissident journalist’s home, bundling him into a car and holding him incommunicado for days appears not to have interested either corporate media or professional press freedom groups like Reporters Without Borders or the Committee to Protect Journalists.

There has been exactly zero mainstream coverage or commentary of the government’s arrest of a prominent critic, meaning that for those relying on corporate media to inform and shape their worldview, the event did not happen.

Filmmaker Dan Cohen described Blumenthal’s treatment as a “blatant attempt to stifle and suppress” The Grayzone’s reporting on the U.S.’ attempts to overthrow the Venezuelan government, adding, “Everyone who cares about press freedom in the US should speak out against this.”

Judging by their silence, very few in the mainstream media do.

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