Archive for November, 2012

Something no US journalist would ever dare to do: treat the conflict objectively and tell the truth on Israel/Palestine. Independent, UK columnist Owen Jones tells it straight, gets resounding applause in Britain:

 

 

TOXIC IS SO LAST SEASON

They say you can tell next season’s hottest trend by looking at the colour of the rivers in Mexico and China. That’s because global fashion brands like Calvin Klein, GAP and Victoria’s Secret are using hazardous chemicals and dyes to make our clothes. These chemicals poison our rivers, and traces of these hazardous chemicals also end up remaining in many of the garments people buy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Around the world, hundreds of thousands of people are calling on brands to make fashion that doesn’t cost the Earth. Just this week, the world’s largest retailer ZARA committed to clean-up their supply chain after over 320,000 people joined the campaign calling on the brand to Detox. True People Power in action. Join fashion-lovers, activists, models and designers in exposing big brands’ dirty little secret and demanding fashion without pollution.

campaign

Behind Skyfall: The Not So Charming Face of 007

By Paul Carline, Associate Editor, The Greanville Post

It’s said there are few safer bets in Hollywood than a Bond film.The latest offering in the extremely lucrative Bond franchise – “Skyfall” – has already broken box-office records, taking some $87.8 million in its first weekend in the USA, and easily covering its $200 million production costs in the first two weeks. So far, the Eon Productions series has grossed $4,910,000,000 (over $12,360,000,000 when adjusted for inflation) worldwide, making it the second highest grossing film series after “Harry Potter”.

In a world in which active compassion for our fellow humans was the norm, would such extravagances be tolerated? A question at least worth asking. But I’ll leave it open. I’m going to tackle the simpler question as to whether anything of consequence lies below the surface of the seemingly harmless escapism of the 007 movies, and in particular “Skyfall”.

A little background for those (few? many?) who are perhaps blissfully ignorant of James Bond. The original books – 15 of them – were written between 1953 and 1964 by Englishman Ian Fleming. He had a privileged upbringing and a very varied professional career pre-war. In 1939, he became the personal assistant to the British director of naval intelligence and was used as his liaison officer with other sections of the government’s wartime administration, such as the Secret Intelligence Service, the Political Warfare Executive, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Prime Minister‘s staff.

Fleming also worked with Colonel “Wild Bill” Donovan, President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s special representative on intelligence cooperation between London and Washington. In May 1941 Fleming traveled to the United States, where he assisted in writing a blueprint for the Office of the Coordinator of Information, the department which turned into the Office of Strategic Services and eventually became the CIA. In 1942 Fleming was instrumental in forming a commando group tasked with seizing German documents close to or even behind the enemy line. In 1945 Fleming had a house built in Jamaica. It was named “Goldeneye” and was where all his Bond novels were written. It took him only two months to write the first one: “Casino Royale”.

It’s interesting that Fleming said that he had chosen the name “James Bond” because it was “the dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find”, and that Bond would be “a neutral figure”: “Exotic things would happen around him [but he himself would be] “an anonymous blunt instrument wielded by a government department”. In fact it was not until the penultimate novel “You Only Live Twice”, published in 1964, that Fleming bothered to include any biographical details about Bond – giving him a Scottish father and a French mother, both killed in a mountaineering accident when “James” was 11 years old. Their Scottish home is called Skyfall.

The young Bond is then brought up by an aunt in England and briefly attends the famous Eton public school (as did Fleming), before being “sent down” (expelled) for having – at the age of 12 or 13 – had some kind of sexual relationship with a maid. He is then sent to another public school – Fettes College in Edinburgh – at which British Prime Minister Tony Blair would also be educated (British “public schools” are of course the opposite of being “public”; they are in fact expensive private schools and a very important part of the British establishment). Bond’s Scottish background plays a significant role in “Skyfall”.

For anyone wanting more detailed information about Fleming and the stories, the Wikipedia entry on Fleming is excellent. In addition to the biographical detail, the entry examines some of the “major themes” of the books. It notes:

“The Bond books were written in post-war Britain, when the country was still an imperial power. As the series progressed, the British Empire was in decline; journalist William Cook observed that “Bond pandered to Britain’s inflated and increasingly insecure self-image, flattering us with the fantasy that Britannia could still punch above her weight.” This decline of British power was referred to in a number of the novels; in From Russia, with Love, it manifested itself in Bond’s conversations with Darko Kerim, when Bond says that in England, “we don’t show teeth any more—only gums.” The theme is strongest in one of the later books of the series, the 1964 novel You Only Live Twice, in conversations between Bond and the head of Japan’s secret intelligence service, Tiger Tanaka. Fleming was acutely aware of the loss of British prestige in the 1950s and early ‘60s, particularly during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, when he had Tanaka accuse Britain of throwing away the empire “with both hands”.

Jeremy Black points to the defections of four members of MI6 to the Soviet Union as having a major impact on how Britain was viewed in US intelligence circles. The last of the defections was that of Kim Philby in January 1963, while Fleming was still writing the first draft of You Only Live Twice. The briefing between Bond and M is the first time in the twelve books that Fleming acknowledges the defections. Black contends that the conversation between M and Bond allows Fleming to discuss the decline of Britain, with the defections and the Profumo Affair of 1963 as a backdrop. Two of the defections had taken place shortly before Fleming wrote Casino Royale, and Fleming’s biographer Andrew Lycett observes that the book can be seen as the writer’s “attempt to reflect the disturbing moral ambiguity of a post-war world that could produce traitors like Burgess and Maclean.” (1)

After playing on postwar anti-German sentiment in novels such as “Moonraker” (1955) and “For Your Eyes Only” (1960), Fleming first exploited the Cold War “Russian threat” – embodied in SMERSH (meaning “death to spies”) – and then created the supposed international terrorist group SPECTRE (in Thunderball, 1961), permitting the depiction of “evil unconstrained by ideology”.

“Skyfall” relates to all this in sometimes perplexing ways. To begin with, there is very little overt ‘geopolitical context’ – a criticism made of Fleming’s ‘Bond’ stories by none other than John le Carre. The only exceptions are, firstly, in relation to the computer hard drive – containing the names and aliases of all the “NATO agents” who have infiltrated foreign terrorist organisations – which the “villain” (an ex-MI6 agent called Raoul Silva) has somehow managed to obtain i.e. it locates MI6 and by implication Britain firmly within the NATO context; and secondly in a very significant speech by ‘M’ towards the end of the film which bears little direct relationship to the storyline. I shall come back to this. There is in this also a sort of connection to the theme of defection mentioned above: the “villain” is presented as a renegade spy who has become some kind of international cyberterrorist. Yet his “defection” was seemingly an enforced one – he was effectively betrayed by his MI6 boss ‘M‘ – and his ‘terrorist’ actions (including blowing up part of the MI6 headquarters in London) appear to be largely motivated by his desire for personal revenge on ‘M’, whom he accuses of having condemned him to years of imprisonment and torture after he had been ‘sacrificed’ in a spy exchange deal with a foreign power (China).

There is – perhaps surprisingly – a welcome absence of any direct reference to the concocted ennemi du jour which replaced Soviet Russia in the 1990s as the “devil incarnate”: a ‘jihadist’ Islamic fundamentalism bent on destroying the West, though one could suppose it to be (almost subliminally) implied in the speech by ‘M’ quoted below. It has even been proposed that the Silva character is meant to suggest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – a hero to some, a “cyberterrorist” to others; and for some a CIA/MI6 stooge.

Compared, for example, to the in-your-face title sequence of the current series of the American TV drama Homeland – with its catalogue of film and audio clips all relating to America’s alleged major “terrorist” events, Skyfall is disarmingly reticent, with historical references being implied rather than stated; as, for instance, in the scene in which Silva, being chased by Bond in some deserted underground space below London, detonates a charge which brings down the ceiling, leaving a large hole through which a London Tube train then dramatically plunges – a fairly obvious reminder of the “terrorist” attack on three Tube trains in July 2005 (allegedly carried out by four young “homegrown” Islamic fundamentalists, but which the evidence suggests was in reality a “false flag” event, almost certainly – and ironically, in terms of the film – involving both MI5 and MI6).

I’ll briefly mention a few elements in the film which seem to me to have a wider resonance. When the ‘resurrected’ Bond resurfaces (literally – he is shown in the pre-title sequence apparently drowning after plunging off a high bridge into the sea, having been accidentally – and seemingly fatally – shot by a fellow MI6 agent) he appears (improbably) in ‘M’’s room, standing in the shadows by the heavily-curtained windows (we are not meant to ask how, with neither money nor passport, he has made his way half way across the world and entered what must be one of the most heavily protected houses in the country).

THE BULLDOG: the squatting china bulldog with the Union Jack painted on its back which sits on M’s desk wasn’t made specially for the film. The original “Bulldog Jack” design dates from 1941 and is a piece still produced by the Royal Doulton company. The company’s website notes that “due to very high demand we are now out of stock” – no need to guess why (the new range of “Jacks” have an 007 backstamp). If you want one, you will have to wait until February 2013, when the 3.75” high model will be available again at the ‘royal’ sum of £50.

Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, was an ardent reader at a young age of the “Bulldog Drummond” novels written by Herman Cyril McNeile between 1920 and 1954. The Wiki entry reads: “The Bulldog Drummond stories follow Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond, DSO, MC, a wealthy man who was an officer in the “Royal Loamshire Regiment“, who, after the First World War, spends his new-found leisure time as a private detective. It begins when he places an advertisement in the local newspaper: “Demobilised Officer finding peace incredibly tedious would welcome diversion. Legitimate if possible; but crime of a humorous description, no objection. Excitement essential.” Drummond is a proto-James Bond figure. The earlier film portrayals of Bond, especially in the Roger Moore incarnation, certainly played up the humorous angle. Daniel Craig’s ‘Bond’ is altogether more intense.

A ‘blunt instrument’ does what it’s told, of course, unquestioningly; it has no conscience. In a Pravda article of 1965, the author writes that: “James Bond lives in a nightmarish world whose laws are written at the point of a gun, where coercion and rape are considered valour and murder is a funny trick … Bond’s job is to guard the interests of the property class and he is no better than the youths Hitler boasted he would bring up like wild beasts to be able to kill without thinking”. John le Carre said that Bond was more like an “international gangster”. There is still some truth in this analysis: MI6 exists to protect the (often illegal) interests of the elites, and Bond still kills the ‘villains’ without compunction (as, presumably, do real-life agents of MI6 and other secret services), but in Craig’s Bond we are given a more ‘human’ spy – less human, to be sure, than George Smiley and a far cry from the deeply introspective, self-questioning humanity of the ‘good spies’ in Gaither Stewart’s “Europe Trilogy”.

The Russians apparently called wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill the “British Bulldog” – and it has to be admitted that there is some facial resemblance between the two.

After the bombing of the MI6 headquarters in Skyfall, MI6 decamps to what is described as Churchill’s underground wartime bunker system.

At the end of the film, Bond is presented with a parcel containing something that ‘M’ has bequeathed him in her will: it’s the china bulldog. An American reviewer writes that this “four-legged twin of Winston Churchill and talismanic symbol of British tenacity, features prominently. Hence, a ceramic bulldog improbably survives the explosion in M’s MI6 office. M wills the bulldog to Bond. When Bond unwraps M’s symbolic bequest, the audience in my west Texas theatre erupted in cheers and applause.” The symbolism is clearly understood.

The last scene of the film shows Bond standing solidly, legs apart in a defiant – Churchillian? – posture, on the roof of MI6, looking out over the skyline of London, and flanked on his right by a large Union Jack. We are clearly meant to identify with the flag.

M’s ADDRESS: As already mentioned, the political context of Skyfall is fairly unclear, even confused. Only once it is expressed in any kind of coherent way. When Silva reveals the identities of a number of British agents, they are captured and killed and ‘M’ is summoned before a parliamentary inquiry at Westminster to account for herself. In her defence she states:

“Our enemies are no longer known to us. They don’t exist on a map. Our world is not more transparent, now. It’s more opaque. That’s where we have to fight. In the shadows.”

She then quotes from Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses”, which she says was her father’s favourite poem:

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

The poem has clear resonances for the self-understanding of a Britain – more particularly an England – which is (once again) suffering a crisis of identity. It also relates directly to Bond in ‘Skyfall’. When he reappears, he has certainly been “made weak by time and fate”. But his will is strong: though he fails the fitness and pistol shooting tests, he is able to return to active duty because ‘M’ lies about the results.

When they first meet, Silva taunts Bond with the words: “England. The Empire. MI6. You’re living in a ruin”. Out of the mouths of renegade MI6 agents … This is far closer to the truth than many would wish to admit. The new crisis has less to do with the loss of empire and more with a widespread sense of purposelessness and anomie: tied to NATO but unsure of its “special relationship” with the US; swept up unwillingly into America’s imperial wars – based in part on lies in which Britain, in the person of Tony Blair, was centrally implicated; in a strange love:hate relationship with the rest of Europe; looking enviously at the economic might of Germany, the real powerhouse of Europe, solidly based in the engineering skills which were once the pride of Britain; subconsciously aware of the fragility of its own economy, masked for the moment by the Bank of England’s ability to print money on demand, like the Federal Reserve in the US; and threatened by the break-up of disunited “United Kingdom”, with Scotland pushing hard for an independence which might drag Wales and Northern Ireland in its wake, leaving England stuck in its outdated monarchical past.

All of this has to be denied or suppressed and the fiction maintained that Britain is still “Great”. That false sense of greatness is something it shares with the US, and for similar reasons – collapsing economies and crumbling social cohesion, with the growing realisation by more and more people that the system works for the interests of the few, not the many. In that context, the Bond stories can be used as an effective propaganda weapon, part of the agenda to protect the establishment – including the ‘useful’ monarchy – through the manufactured fear of “unknown enemies” who lurk “in the shadows”.

It’s the same old ruse, admitted in 1945 by Hermann Goering:

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

The London Olympics connection:

As part of the four-hour-long opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London, a short film commissioned by the BBC and directed by the ceremony designer Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”, “Slumdog Millionaire”) is shown (on TV and on screens to the spectators in the Olympic Stadium; the worldwide audience was estimated at 900 million). Daniel Craig – in classic Bond attire – arrives at Buckingham Palace in an iconic black London cab. He mounts the grand staircase, passing exactly between two corgi dogs (one of which performs a full roll) before being admitted to the Queen’s private room by one of the Queen’s servants. Bond coughs discreetly to attract the Queen’s attention (she is sitting with her back to him at a writing desk). She eventually turns and greets him with “Good evening, Mr. Bond”.

They depart together, followed by the corgis, and are apparently seen climbing aboard a (British made) helicopter, which takes off and flies across London towards the Olympic stadium. On cue, various individuals – a black cab driver with a Union Jack painted on his face, for instance – and groups turn to wave. The statue of Winston Churchill is digitally animated to make him appear to wave his walking stick at the helicopter. The ‘copter hovers above the stadium and two figures are seen to exit it. Their Union Jack parachutes open and they eventually land alongside the stadium (both figures are, of course, stuntmen). The Queen is then seen to enter the stadium, together with her husband, and take her seat. The entire sequence is accompanied by ‘atmospheric’ music: two pieces by Handel (The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and the music for the Royal Fireworks), the theme music of the film “The Dam Busters” (about the RAF’s destruction in WWII of two dams in Germany using the “bouncing bomb” invented by Barnes Wallis), and finally the most famous 007 theme.

All in all, a very clever combination of highly evocative icons – not forgetting a commercial pre-launch boost for “Skyfall” and the Bond brand (of course, in the way they are exploited, for nationalistic and other purposes, you could say that the Queen and wider Royal Family are also a brand). The film was given the title “Happy and Glorious” – words from the national anthem relating to the monarch, but presumably intended to be applied more widely to Britain as a whole, which with notable exceptions – such as the Olympics, when Britain certainly “punched above its weight” – is neither happy nor glorious. The film was commissioned by the BBC – the propaganda voice of the British establishment.

The opening ceremony also made much of Blake’s “Jerusalem”. The musical setting of the poem is often seen as Britain’s unofficial national anthem. The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant, travelled to what is now England and visited Glastonbury during Jesus’ lost years. A model of the famous hill in Glastonbury – Glastonbury Tor – was created for the ceremony. The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem. The Christian Church in general, and the English Church in particular, used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace. In the most common interpretation of the poem, Blake implies that a visit by Jesus would briefly create heaven in England, in contrast to the “dark Satanic Mills” of the Industrial Revolution. No ‘dark mills’ now – but there’s no shortage of dark satanic intrigues and machinations.

In the final paragraph of his programme notes for the ceremony, Danny Boyle writes:

“But we hope that through all the noise and excitement you’ll glimpse a single golden thread of purpose – the idea of Jerusalem – of the better world, the world of real freedom and true equality, a world that can be built through the prosperity of industry, through the caring notion that built the welfare state, through the joyous energy of popular culture, through the dream of universal communication. A belief that we can build Jerusalem. And that it will be for everyone.”

Fine words, but freedom and equality are not on the agenda of those who pull the strings – the real “enemies in the shadows”. We should also remember that a ‘new Jerusalem’ is also a central aim of Zionism (the peculiar 2012 Olympic logo was widely seen as a veiled spelling of the word ZION). In the utterly un-Christian, so-called “Christian Zionism”, when Israel has rebuilt Solomon’s Temple (necessitating the destruction of the Muslim Dome of the Rock) after having finally completed its aim of ‘cleansing’ the whole of Biblical Palestine of its original Arab – and ironically mostly Semitic – population, this will be the sign of the ‘Second Coming’ and the beginning of the ‘end times’.

There was a very apt online comment on Boyle’s use of the idea of a ‘new Jerusalem’: “I’m not sure ‘building Jerusalem’ is the right language to use. It echoes the ‘shining city on the hill’ syndrome that gives legitimacy to US exceptionalism”. There’s more than a little of that wholly unjustified “we are special” delusion in Britain. The reality is that were it not for the Bank of England’s ‘right’ to print money (the same right as the Federal Reserve), Britain would long ago have joined Greece and Spain in the austerity camp. And instead of being a society which promotes “real freedom and true equality”, Britain has one of the lowest levels of social mobility (which equates with inequality) in the developed world.

In relation to ‘Skyfall’ i.e. to the role of the secret services, we need to remember that it was Britain’s MI6 which conspired with the CIA to set up the “stay behind armies” in Europe after WWII – paramilitary organisations trained and armed by the CIA and MI6 which carried out assassinations and bombings across Europe between 1969 and around 1982 which resulted in the deaths of at least 500 civilians, with many more left seriously injured. These were classic “false flag” events, blamed at the time on ‘the Communists’, with the aim of preventing left-wing parties from gaining political power, especially in Italy. (cf. Daniele Ganser’s “NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe). The European Parliament promised to set up full official inquiries in all the 17 or so countries where there had been these groups, but then failed to do so. As Ganser noted: “The dog barked but did not bite”.

Of course, there’s no reference in the Bond films to any such “false flag” activities, past or present, on the part of MI6. Bond and “M” and “Q” and the rest of them are all ‘nice‘ people whom we are supposed to believe are single-mindedly dedicated to saving us from terrorism, while in reality they are complicit in the alleged ‘terrorist‘ events, often setting up ‘patsies’ whom they can entrap, and in the propaganda lie that we are threatened by fanatical Muslims. ‘al-Qaeda‘ and all its many derivatives are inventions of the secret services – paid mercenaries in the war of fear against the general public. The Bond movies are not innocent entertainment. Whether the directors, producers, actors and others realise it or not, they are part of the cover-up of the dirty tricks the secret services are engaged in to subvert states and maintain the fiction of the “war on terror” – and thus part of the megalomaniac pursuit of world domination by those who stand in the shadows pulling the strings. Does ‘Bond’ contribute in any way towards the achievement of Danny Boyle’s idealistic hopes? I think not.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PAUL CARLINE considers himself self-deprecatingly as a “jack of all trades and master of none.” His career spans teaching music and German, work in special needs communities, store owner, direct democracy activist, and general truth campaigner (recent targets including pseudo-science, biblical mistranslation, state-sponsored false flag terrorism, and pseudo democracy). Now in hopefully graceful semi-retirement, Paul works sporadically as a writer, translator, editor, and musician. He authored the preface to the second volume of The Europe Trilogy: Lily Pad Roll. He lives in Scotland. He serves as associate editor with The Greanville Post and Gaitherstewart.com .

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SUGGESTED READING

(1) For further discussion of the world of Western espionage before and during the Cold War, see Subversive thrills: Where Le Carré doesn’t dare to tread, by William T. Hathaway and Paul Carline, and P. Greanville: Warnings about ugly, subterranean worlds.

//

Written by Tim Hjersted

Every year Project Censored puts together a list of the top 25 stories censored and ignored by the mainstream media. Even regular consumers of alternative, independent media may be surprised to learn about some of these stories, but by and large, turning off the TV and turning to new information sources on the internet provides the best guarantee you’ll learn about the news that really matters.

If you need any more proof that the mainstream media is failing to do its job, here it is. This is also an excellent article to share with friends and family who haven’t yet made the leap from TV news to quality internet sources.

Below the top 25 I’ve listed 37 of my favorite sources for alternative news. There are surely many more though. Share your favorite alternative news sources in the comments below.

1. Signs of an Emerging Police State

1. Signs of an Emerging Police State

Since the passage of the 2001 PATRIOT Act, the United States has become increasingly monitored and militarized at the expense of civil liberties. The 2012 passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has allowed the military to detain indefinitely without trial any US citizen that the government labels a terrorist or an accessory to [...]

2. Oceans in Peril

2. Oceans in Peril

We thought the sea was infinite and inexhaustible. It is not. The overall rise in ocean temperature has led to the largest movement of marine species in two to three million years, according to scientists from the Climate Change and European Marine Ecosystems Research project. A February 2012 study of fourteen protected and eighteen unprotected [...]

3. Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Worse than Anticipated

3. Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Worse than Anticipated

Developing evidence from a number of independent sources suggests that the negative consequences of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are far greater than first acknowledged or understood. An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout in Japan, according to a December 2011 report published in the International [...]

4. FBI Agents Responsible for Majority of Terrorist Plots in the United States

4. FBI Agents Responsible for Majority of Terrorist Plots in the United States

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has embarked on an unusual approach to ensure that the United States is secure from future terrorist attacks. The agency has developed a network of nearly 15,000 spies to infiltrate various communities in an attempt to uncover terrorist plots. However, these moles are actually assisting and encouraging people to commit [...]

5. First Federal Reserve Audit Reveals Trillions Loaned to Major Banks

5. First Federal Reserve Audit Reveals Trillions Loaned to Major Banks

An audit of the First Federal Reserve reveals sixteen trillion dollars in secret bailouts to major American and European banks during the height of the global financial crisis, from 2007 to 2010. Morgan Stanley received up to $107.3 billion, Citigroup took $99.5 billion, and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to data obtained through Freedom [...]

6. Small Network of Corporations Run the Global Economy

6. Small Network of Corporations Run the Global Economy

A University of Zurich study reported that a small group of companies—mainly banks—wields huge power over the global economy. The study is the first to look at all 43,060 transnational corporations and the web of ownership among them. The researchers’ network analysis identified 147 companies that form a “super entity,” controlling 40 percent of the [...]

7. 2012: The International Year of Cooperatives

7. 2012: The International Year of Cooperatives

The United Nations named 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. According to the UN, nearly one billion people worldwide are co-op member-owners, and the co-op is expected to be the world’s fastest growing business model by 2025. Worker-owned cooperatives provide for equitable distribution of wealth and genuine connection to the workplace, two key components [...]

8. NATO War Crimes in Libya

8. NATO War Crimes in Libya

Although the rationale of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for entry into Libyan conflict invoked humanitarian principles, the results have proven far from humane. In July 2011, NATO aircraft bombed Libya’s main water supply facility, which provided water to approximately 70 percent of the nation’s population. And, in a failed attempt to appear unbiased [...]

9. Prison Slavery in Today’s USA

9. Prison Slavery in Today’s USA

The US comprises less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet US prisons hold more than 25 percent of all people imprisoned globally. Many of these prisoners labor at twenty-three cents per hour, or similar wages, in federal prisons contracted by the Bureau of Prisons’ UNICOR, a quasi-public, for-profit corporation, which is the US [...]

10. HR 347 Would Make Many Forms of Nonviolent Protest Illegal

In March 2012, President Obama signed into law HR 347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. The law specifies as criminal offenses the acts of entering or remaining in areas defined as “restricted.” Although pundits have debated to what extent the new law restricts First Amendment rights or criminalizes Occupy protests, [...]

11. Members of Congress Grow Wealthier Despite Recession

11. Members of Congress Grow Wealthier Despite Recession

The net worth of the members of Congress continues to rise regardless of the economic recession. An analysis of financial disclosure forms by Roll Call magazine, using the minimum valuation of assets, showed that members of the House and Senate in 2010 had a collective net worth of $2.04 billion, a $390 million increase from [...]

12. US Joins Forces with al-Qaeda in Syria

12. US Joins Forces with al-Qaeda in Syria

The US, Britain, France, and some conservative Arab allies have funded and armed the Syrian rebellion from its start in 2011. In fact, the US has been funding groups against Bashar al-Assad since the mid-1990s. However, the anti-Assad ranks include members of al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other groups that the United States lists as terrorist organizations. [...]

13. Education “Reform” a Trojan Horse for Privatization

13. Education “Reform” a Trojan Horse for Privatization

Public education is the target of a well-coordinated, well-funded campaign to privatize as many schools as possible, particularly in cities. This campaign claims it wants great teachers in every classroom, but its rhetoric demoralizes teachers, reduces the status of the education profession, and champions standardized tests that perpetuate social inequality. The driving logic for such [...]

14. Who Are the Top 1 Percent and How Do They Earn a Living?

14. Who Are the Top 1 Percent and How Do They Earn a Living?

The richest 1 percent of the country now owns more than 40 percent of the wealth and takes home nearly a quarter of national income. Evidence based on tax returns indicates that this superelite 1 percent consists of nonfinancial executives, financial professionals, and members of the legal, real estate, and medical professions. Earnings at this [...]

15. Dangers of Everyday Technology

15. Dangers of Everyday Technology

Recent research raises compelling concerns about two commonplace technologies, cellular phones and microwave ovens. Heavy, long-term exposure to cell phone radiation increases risks for certain types of cancer, including leukemia, and in males impairs sperm production. Prenatal exposure to cell phone radiation has been shown to produce blood-brain barrier leakage, and brain, liver, and eye [...]

16. Sexual Violence against Women Soldiers on the Rise and under Wraps

16. Sexual Violence against Women Soldiers on the Rise and under Wraps

The 2005 death of US Army Private LaVena Johnson, officially ruled suicide by the Department of Defense, in fact exemplifies the sexual violence that female soldiers encounter while serving their country. Johnson’s autopsy revealed wounds inconsistent with suicide, including chemical burns that many believe were intended to destroy DNA evidence of rape. The Pentagon has [...]

17. Students Crushed By One Trillion Dollars in Student Loans

17. Students Crushed By One Trillion Dollars in Student Loans

In April 2012, US student loan debt topped one trillion dollars, more than credit card debt. Although corporate media dutifully reported this milestone, they underplayed its significance and ignored one promising solution. Student loan debt is the only form of consumer loan debt that has increased substantially since 2008. The threat of massive student loan [...]

18. Palestinian Women Prisoners Shackled during Childbirth

18. Palestinian Women Prisoners Shackled during Childbirth

Female Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are treated inhumanely and often denied medical care, and legal representation, and are forced to live in squalid conditions. The conditions and violations faced by women in Israeli jails need to be addressed from a gender perspective, according to CEDAW, the United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination [...]

19. New York Police Plant Drugs on Innocent People to Meet Arrest Quotas

19. New York Police Plant Drugs on Innocent People to Meet Arrest Quotas

A host of stories document how the New York Police Department operates outside the very laws it is charged with enforcing. In October 2011, a former NYPD narcotics detective testified that he regularly saw police plant drugs on innocent people as a way to meet arrest quotas. The NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” program has [...]

20. Stealing from Public Education to Feed the Prison-Industrial Complex

A systemic recasting of education priorities gives official structure and permanence to a preexisting underclass comprised largely of criminalized, poor people of color. The rise of corporate-backed charter schools and privatized prisons cannot be understood apart from the record closures of public schools across the country. Censored News Cluster: From “Bankster Bailout” to “Blessed Unrest”: [...]

21. Conservatives Attack US Post Office to Break the Union and Privatize Postal Services

21. Conservatives Attack US Post Office to Break the Union and Privatize Postal Services

The US Postal Service has been under constant assault for years from conservative Republicans who aim to eviscerate the strongest union in the country. Under the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, USPS must fully fund retiree health benefits for future retirees—including the retirement packages of employees not even born yet. No other organization, public [...]

22. Wachovia Bank Laundered Money for Latin American Drug Cartels

22. Wachovia Bank Laundered Money for Latin American Drug Cartels

Between 2004 and 2007, Wachovia Bank handled funds totaling $378.4 billion for Mexican currency-exchange houses acting on behalf of drug cartels. The transactions amount to the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in US history. This case is not exceptional; Wachovia is just one of several US and European banks that [...]

23. US Covers up Afghan Massacre

23. US Covers up Afghan Massacre

Although the March 2012 massacre of sixteen unarmed Afghan civilians, nine of whom were children, received a great deal of news coverage, independent news sources have focused on whether one US solider acting alone—as US officials have insisted—or multiple US soldiers—as Afghan witnesses and Afghan President Hamid Karzai contend—bear direct responsibility for the killings. These [...]

24. Alabama Farmers Look to Replace Migrants with Prisoners

24. Alabama Farmers Look to Replace Migrants with Prisoners

Alabama’s expansive anti-immigrant law, HB56, has been so economically devastating that farmers in the state sought legislation to force hard labor on prison inmates eligible for work release programs, to “help farms fill the gap and find sufficient labor.” The state’s Department of Corrections opposed the legislation, noting that its approximately 2,000 prisoners eligible for [...]

25. Evidence Points to Guantánamo Dryboarding

In June 2006, three Guantánamo prisoners were found dead in their cells, hanging from what appeared to be makeshift nooses. Although the Department of Defense declared the deaths suicides, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) inquiry found evidence inconsistent with suicide—including the fact that the prisoners’ hands were bound behind their backs. The NCIS evidence [...]

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Grow a fucking pair, mother fuckers.  If you don’t demand they stop violating the Constitution with impunity it sets a precedent.

 

PASS THIS ON

 

“NDAA Vote This Week: Tell Senate to end indefinite detention

The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act allows the United States military to detain civilians indefinitely and without charge or trial — even American citizens. Help us reverse this travesty of justice by adding your name at right.

Next, please use the new social media tools we’ve built to help us win this fight:
Please click here to use our fun “detain-a-friend” tool to spread word using Facebook.
And use our Twitter tool to tweet directly at your senators.

The Senate is taking up the 2013 NDAA this week. Several senators are poised to put forth amendments to revoke or narrow the indefinite detention powers that we’ve been fighting so hard over the last year.

Demand Progress members have sent hundreds of thousands of emails to Congress and have helped fund the courageous lawsuit by Chris Hedges et al — which recently spurred a federal judge to rule that indefinite detention is unconstitutional.

Because there are several amendments in play, our ask is broad and simple: Please urge your Senators to support any and all amendments to revoke or narrow indefinite detention powers.

Earlier this year we helped push an anti-indefinite detention amendment to the House’s version of the NDAA to the brink of passage. The Senate is friendly turf for us: We have a real chance of winning this fight.
Please email the Senate in front of its critical vote — it could happen this week.”

 

Revolution Now

With John Sayles, Tom Morello, Chuck D, Public Enemy, Gogol Bordello, Lewis Black and others, the film takes on the system, the music, the right-wing assault, the movements to break their stranglehold on us all. I’m going to call that a “Must See” film:

 

Film’s website.

Rough, raw and unapologetically inspirational, LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR is a charged journey into the heart of the creative counter-culture in 2012. In a time of global challenges, big questions and by-the-numbers politics, this upbeat, outspoken film tracks the story of the artists, writers, thinkers and musicians who have gone underground to re-imagine the world – honing in on equality, community and engaged creativity – in exuberantly paradigm-busting ways.

Writer/director Antonino D’Ambrosio unites 50 powerful, of-the-moment voices –from street artist Shepard Fairey to rapper Chuck D to playwright Eve Ensler to musicians Tom Morello and Billy Bragg to novelist Edwidge Danticat to filmmaker John Sayles to comic Lewis Black – who share personal and powerful tales of how they transformed anger and angst into provocative art and ideas. Mix-mastered with historical footage, animation and performances, D’Ambrosio presents a visceral portrait of a generation looking to re-jigger a system that has failed to address the most pressing problems of our times . . . or human potential.

The story begins in the 1980s with the rise of Reagan and Thatcher — and a cultural shift towards fierce individualism and rampant consumerism. Coming of age in a world seemingly gone mad or at least gone shopping, some kids started searching for something more authentic. This was the start of a renegade movement D’Ambrosio calls “creative-response.” It was a hybrid, haphazard collective of skateboarders, punk rockers, rappers, street poets, feminists and graffitists whose reaction to this brave new world was not to turn away, but to turn up the volume and have their say.

Now that generation is coming to the fore, sparking a global movement focused not just on pushing the boundaries with guitars, paint, dance, storytelling, graphics and subcultural style – but on coming together around real reasons for hope.

Set to a stirring soundtrack from the film’s artists – including Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg, Gogol Bordello, MC5, DJ Spooky and Sean Hayes – LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR is a fast and furious trip into the grass roots of art and activism, 21st Century style. The film is written and directed by author and visual artist Antonino D’Ambrosio in his feature debut. The producers are D’Ambrosio and James L. Reid and the executive producers are Jonathan Gray, Brian Devine, Rob McKay, Mark Urman and Chaz Zelus. The film features original music from composer and MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer. A CAVU Pictures release.


See:

It’s More Than a Sex Scandal
Paula Broadwell, Whistleblower
by FRED GARDNER

“Given that the CIA was holding prisoners in Benghazi, the goal of the Sept. 11 action at the consulate may have been an effort to free them, or payback for their detention. And everybody involved in that detention, including CIA Director David Petraeus, was committing a crime.

Unfortunately for Jennifer Griffin of Fox News, the rightwing politicians who are looking for ammunition against Obama can’t make use of her Benghazi reporting because it exposes their 4-star hero (who never saw combat or commanded a division) as a perjurer, and the CIA as a rogue agency. After initial calls for an investigation —even a special commission, a la Watergate— they realize they mustn’t “go there.” By way of consolation, we are awarding Griffin the first-ever Helen Thomas Prize for taking seriously the comments of a loudmouthed dame.”

As the holiday shopping season comes around again, it might do us some good to take a look at where our toys really come from. And you might be surprised that behind the innocent face of a child’s teddy bear lies a dark and bloody secret.

This caught my attention: “Two and a Half Men” star finds religion, calls TV show “filth”

Angus T. Jones

“If you watch ‘Two and a Half Men’, please stop watching ‘Two and a Half Men,” Jones says in the video. “I’m on ‘Two and a Half Men’ and I don’t want to be on it.”

“If I am doing any harm, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be contributing to the enemy’s plan… You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that.

“I’m not okay with what I’m learning, what the Bible says and being on that television show,” Jones added.

I’ve never bothered with the show, or with much of any “Prime Time” crapola on the boob tube. Maybe I’m safe from “the enemy’s” insidious plans. Who is this enemy? Is it S-A-T-A-N-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-?

Dole’s Assault on the First Amendment:

Big Boys Gone Bananas

The film they tried to censor out of existence:
http://www.bananasthemovie.com/

Bananas

Agricultural workers poisoned by a US corporation.

This was posted at “33 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True.”

BBC – Whitehouse Coup

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

16. The Business Plot:

In 1933, group of wealthy businessmen that allegedly included the heads of Chase Bank, GM, Goodyear, Standard Oil, the DuPont family and Senator Prescott Bush tried to recruit Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler to lead a military coup against President FDR and install a fascist dictatorship in the United States. And yes, we’re talking about the same Prescott Bush who fathered one US President and grandfathered another one. Smedley Butler was both a patriot and a vocal FDR supporter.

Apparently none of these criminal masterminds noticed that their prospective point man had actively stumped for FDR in 1932. Smedley spilled the beans to a congressional committee in 1934. Everyone he accused of being a conspirator vehemently denied it, and none of them were brought up on criminal charges. Still, the House McCormack-Dickstein Committee did at least acknowledge the existence of the conspiracy, which ended up never getting past the initial planning stages.

Though many of the people who had allegedly backed the Business Plot also maintained financial ties with Nazi Germany up through America’s entry into World War II. In 1934, the Business Plot was publicly revealed by retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testifying to the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional Committee. In his testimony, Butler claimed that a group of men had approached him as part of a plot to overthrow Roosevelt in a military coup. One of the alleged plotters, Gerald MacGuire, vehemently denied any such plot. In their final report, the Congressional committee supported Butler’s allegations of the existence of the plot, but no prosecutions or further investigations followed, and the matter was mostly forgotten.

On July 17, 1932, thousands of World War I veterans converged on Washington, D.C., set up tent camps, and demanded immediate payment of bonuses due them according to the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924. This “Bonus Army” was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.

The Army was encouraged by an appearance from retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who had considerable influence over the veterans, being one of the most popular military figures of the time. A few days after Butler’s arrival, President Herbert Hoover ordered the marchers removed, and their camps were destroyed by US Army cavalry troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Butler, although a self-described Republican, responded by supporting Roosevelt in that year’s election.

In a 1995 History Today article Clayton Cramer argued that the devastation of the Great Depression had caused many Americans to question the foundations of liberal democracy. “Many traditionalists, here and in Europe, toyed with the ideas of Fascism and National Socialism; many liberals dallied with Socialism and Communism.” Cramer argues that this explains why some American business leaders viewed fascism as a viable system to both preserve their interests and end the economic woes of the Depression.