Posts Tagged ‘justice’

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In this mind-controlled imperial parody of a free society, it’s only taken roughly a decade of revelations for the biggest newspaper to come right out and say what the government did was torture. This was notably only AFTER the president used the word last week, not before. They now have permission to give us a tiny slice more truth in their highly doctored pages.

New York Times Will Finally Start Calling CIA Torture Practices ‘Torture’
But ask yourself this:

Is the Times going to look up the torture statute, which any idiot can google in five seconds? Are they going to talk about punishing those who unlawfully torture people in our name?

(a) Offense.— Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b) Jurisdiction.— There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if—

(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.
(c) Conspiracy.— A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

 

You see, when little inconsequential people — like you — commit felonies they get prosecuted in court and sent to prison. Not so for state-sanctioned criminals. The only person who has seen the inside of a jail cell over these torture war crimes so far is John Kiriakou, the guy who blew the whistle on it.

Obama prosecuted him.

Obama is still covering up torture to this day, censoring the senate investigation.

Obama is guilty of conspiracy, section c.

 

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Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Threatened with ‘Diesel Therapy,’ Suffers Shakedowns for Talking to Press

““One of my cellmates, a 40-ish African-American whom I like, respect and consider a friend, made an important point,” according to Kirakou. “‘Don’t you see what they’re doing? They’re trying to make us mad with these shakedowns so that we’ll turn on you.’ He imagined a conversation: ‘Let’s piss off the big black guy so he pressures Kiriakou to stop writing and doing interviews.’”

It did not work that time. “My cellmate urged me to ‘keep up the fight. Keep telling people what it’s like in here.’ I promise to do that.”

John Kiriakou exposed that the CIA was torturing people in violation of the law, and with impunity.  For exposing CIA crimes he was imprisoned and his life threatened repeatedly.  This is truly a lawless, criminal age, and the criminals are in charge.

 

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Roger Ebert once called Fight Club a “fascist movie.”  Although that might have been misplaced, it may apply more aptly to these murder is fun films, Kickass and Kickass 2.

It’s so frustrating when the ideas are so nakedly presented to offset the other malignant ideas that were just presented moments ago.  The level of manipulation reaches schizophrenic heights when torture is fun, but all of a sudden another character pretends to have a moral conscience.  We have a battle of marketing manipulation memes, selling fascist ideas, but trying to also wrangle those peacenik dollars and assuage the consciences of parents who let their kids watch these assaults.

I was shocked at the prospect of “Hit Girl” (Chloe Moretz) the moment I read about the first film in production.  This was a kind of line that had to be crossed, inevitably, but for what purpose?  What is the meaning of Hit Girl?  She’s some kind of super enforcer freak show that could never exist in real life.  She’s also a bloodthirsty mass murderess, with flashy colors and makeup to sell killing as cool.  Of course a collection of lowlifes are presented for her to mow down.  What are people to make of this murder as fun and games, it’s all part of the modern lifestyle, kind of vibe?

The society has drifted quite a bit from the times of peace protests and antiwar movements.  We’ve regressed to a kind of infantile love of mindless violence.  Meaning and consequences are stripped away in favor of blood and circuses.  Now in Amerika it’s easy to sell violence as the solution to just about anything.  Little girls playing dress up is now little girls playing dress up with hollow point rounds and machetes.

The title character, Kickass (Aaron Johnson), represents the common knave. He’s brought into the world of murder for fun and Hit Girl, as a way of establishing his own identity as a superhero.  He’s a scaredy cat and inept.  The contrast between the two remains throughout.

With Kickass attempting to bring balance to the vigilante ideal, the films meander toward gore and death and back toward justice and forgiveness.  The people behind it coldly manipulate the storylines to sell death and supremacy one moment and high school innocence and the rule of law the next. 

Vigilantism is pitted against a useless law and justice system that essentially does nothing positive, ever.  This is an ideological attack on the idea of a justice system at all.  Never are the police called or do they do anything positive.  The only solution is massive force and violence by unaccountable individuals.  Similarities to other vigilante comic book stories (Batman) are intentional, but to what end?  What is it these people think they’re saying in the end?

My guess is that they’re saying: ‘we put x in there to counter y, so give us lots of money, assholes.’

Sounds about right.

No trailer.  Fuck you, Kickass.

2/5

 

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The murder of justice.

I was first alerted to Closed Circuit (2013) because of Jennifer Epps’ review.  This is an important film, one of the most relevant and insightful of the so-called “war on terror.”

This terrorism story parallels numerous real world conspiracies and cover-ups, including but not limited to the London bombings 2005, the 9/11 attacks, the 1993 World Trade Center attacks, Operation Gladio and various terrorists known to be working for intelligence services such as Ali Mohamad (and potentially Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden).

The film focuses on the people tasked with defending terrorism suspects and essentially upholding the Constitution, habeas corpus and the Magna Carta – what we understand as “western civilization.”  The defense team is the target of intelligence surveillance and worse when the secrets are deemed more valuable than the people involved.

With precedents such as Lynne Stewart, who was imprisoned as a defense lawyer for a notable terrorist, the pressure on the justice system is real.  The surface can only be scratched in a paranoid thriller movie.  Secret trials, secret evidence, pervasive surveillance, and a longstanding history of intelligence agencies double dealing with terrorists around the world and at home, this type of story is highly relevant to current events (such as the Boston Marathon bombing).

4.5/5

 

Donald Sutherland as President Snow in The Hunger Games: Catching Fir

“We did it in ’68.”
Donald Sutherland: ‘I want Hunger Games to stir up a revolution’

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SunCruz

Hopsicker on the SunCruz mob/murder/republican trial happening in Florida:

“Wrote one optimistic pundit, “Murder trumps fraud in the prosecutorial world.” But neither Abramoff or Adam Kidan was ever named as a suspect. The answer to “why not Kidan?” is easy.

No one would be able to convince a jury that the buck stopped with him. (Kidan was the man, after all, who wrote checks(totaling $200,000) to pay for the hit.) That meant charging Abramoff.”

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This was a surprising film, as I hadn’t expected much.  Turns out that if you can get past the neon orange skin colors, a Michael Bay trademark, the story is very dynamic and well spun.

These wacky characters are well developed over the course of their crime spree.  The story is based on true events, by the way, and not just a muscle exploitation opportunity, as the trailer appeared to be.  This is a serious crime film with darkly comedic overtones.

PAIN AND GAIN

In some ways it’s a classic gangster scenario, getting roped into more serious consequences as ambition takes over.  It pits the American dream ideal, sold on TV by arrogant millionaire huckster Johnny Wu, against the reality of working class insignificance.  It pits notions of American meritocracy against get rich quick thievery.  It flips the characters somewhat, so that the likable protagonists are the bad guys, and a very unlikable mark is the antagonist, but also the hero in a way.  It’s an uncomfortable mess of a situation and hard to believe that it could actually have transpired.

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Collateral Murder”: Evidence of Genocide

by Kieran Kelly

In Iraq, you can’t put pink gloves on Apache helicopter pilots and send them into the Ultimate Fighting ring and ask them to take a knee. These are attack pilots wearing gloves of steel, and they go into the ring throwing powerful punches of explosive steel. They are there to win, and they will win.” Lt. Col. Chris Wallach

The video known as “Collateral Murder” is strong evidence of genocide being carried out by the US against the people of Iraq. Hidden in the horrors of its brutality is a rich historical record revealing an armed force which systematically targets and kills non-combatants. The events shown are war crimes violating the principle of non-combatant immunity in numerous clearly illegal ways including attacking those rendering aid to the wounded. They are also evidence of genocide because there are clear indications that these war crimes are representative of enshrined procedures. They indicate that the ambiguities of the US Rules of Engagement mandate the systematic mass murder of civilians when applied by US personnel. They indicate something of a tactical, strategic and doctrinal approach that radically violates the fundamental obligations to distinguish between civilians and enemy personnel and the combatant status of enemies. Finally they indicate something about the way in which the US indoctrinates its personnel in a way guaranteed to create murderers.

Lt. Col. Wallach was the commander of the aircrew. He recently said: “Ultimately, my combat pilots at the scene did the best they could under extreme and surreal conditions.” However, we now know that the only incident to occur before we are able to see what is occurring was a report of small arms fire being heard. If there is a surreal aspect to any of this it comes from the minds of the aircrew and those who command both air and ground forces. I am going to go through exactly what it is that the gun camera footage shows. It shows a massacre of non-combatants, followed by the murder of rescuers, and finally a more obscure sequence which definitely involves another murder of rescuers.

Former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said of this footage: “You’re looking at a situation through a soda straw, and you have no context or perspective.” Therefore, after describing exactly what is shown, taking into account exactly what is known and exactly what is not known from the footage, I will provide that context that Gates calls for. But the context does not, or should not, counter what our eyes and ears reveal to us. On the contrary, the very evidence that apologists like Gates and Wallach produce to show that the aircrew were legitimate in their actions is in fact evidence that their behaviours are not isolated. This is very strong evidence that by the manner in which, in practice, the US defines “hostile intent”; the manner in which it practices its doctrine of “force protection”; and the manner in which it indoctrinates and situates its forces, the US was systematically murdering non-combatants. In this case killing non-combatants inextricably means killing civilians. Placed in the context of more than two decades of direct and indirect destruction of Iraq in social, political, biological, economic, cultural, ecological, and physical terms, this systematic killing is clear and compelling evidence of genocide. Those who insist that this is merely warfare join the vast ranks of genocide perpetrators, deniers and apologists who insist that other genocides were warfare with inevitable, if regrettable, instances of civilian death.

As I have written elsewhere, all of the common claims of genocide deniers are regularly applied to US “military” actions, but they tend to be overlooked as they are so pervasive that they are seldom examined or challenged. Ultimately denial of US genocide relies on people having a vague notion that genocide involves actions like the mass gassings at Nazi death camps. But the word genocide was coined by someone who did not know at that time about the mass gassings and who applied the word to far more that the Nazi project to exterminate Europe’s Jews.

Genocide??

So, what exactly is genocide? The man who coined the term, Raph>äel Lemkin, was a Polish Jew and a legal scholar. Impelled by knowledge of the Armenian Holocaust as well as the history of state sanctioned or controlled pogroms against Jews, Lemkin devoted much of his life to understanding mass violence against ethnic populations. In 1933 he proposed that there be an international law which, among other acts, prohibited acts of “barbarity” and “vandalism”. “Barbarity” was conceived as violence against members of a “collectivity” on the basis that they were of that “collectivity” and “with the goal of its extermination”. “Vandalism” was the destruction of the “cultural or artistic heritage” of a “collectivity … with the goal of its extermination”.

The German occupation of most of Europe was the horrific crucible in which Lemkin synthesised “vandalism” and “barbarity”. He recognised a greater process of which they were both part – the process he called “genocide”. Genocide was “a war not merely against states and their armies but against peoples.” Extermination, or the intent to exterminate, was no longer a requisite. The occupant could impose a “national pattern” onto the land, once it was cleansed by killing or forced migration, or onto the people themselves. And despite knowing that Europe’s Jews were slated for complete annihilation, Lemkin’s examples of genocide included such things as forcing the people of Luxembourg to take German names. His most common exemplar of genocide was the treatment of Poland – a comprehensive and systematic genocide in which killing people was only one of many forms of genocidal destruction.

I think it is important that we realise that the fluidity of identity does not allow for actual extermination to be undertaken as a project. Genocide is a schizophrenic undertaking full of bizarre contradictions such that it cannot truly be said that the Germans attempted to exterminate the Jews, or even Europe’s Jews. The Germans had immense difficulties in even defining who was Jewish for a start. They said Jews were a “race” but ultimately they relied on confessional identification to define them. As Yehuda Bauer wrote: “One can see how confused Nazi racism was when Jewish grandparents were defined by religion rather than so-called racial criteria.”(1) As well as the fact that many with Jewish heritage would inevitably successfully evade detection, in the Nuremburg Laws (and later when deciding who to kill at Wannsee), exemptions were made on various criteria, such as being a decorated war hero. However defined, there were Jews in the German military(2) and there were Jewish civilians living unincarcerated in Berlin when Soviet troops arrived.(3)

So, as the Genocide Convention outlines, genocide is an attack on people, rather than states, with the “intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such….” Lemkin referred to these collectivities as having a “biological structure”. There is a genetic interconnection involved here, but that does not mean that Lemkin believed in Nazi racial theories or any racist or racialist notions. The most evident proof of this is the inclusion in both his own work and in the Genocide Convention the practice of “transferring the children of the group to another group”. If genocides were truly about racial hygiene and racial hatred that would hardly be a recognised component, would it?

If it is not about race, then what is it about? Though he never articulated it, the answer stared Lemkin right in the face and he obviously grasped it at an unconscious or intuitive level. If we refer to one of these collectivities as a genos, what ties the genos together is not “biological interrelation” but rather personal interconnection and, most particularly, familial interrelation.

Genocide is about Power not Hatred

I want to outline a simplified cartoon narrative, just to illustrate a point: In feudal Europe mass violence was used in acts of war or banditry which were only distinguishable from each other by scale and the rank of participants. A Baron might conquer the demesne of another Baron just as one King might conquer the realm of another King. In relative terms the peasants of the demesne or the realm might have had very little concern over who exactly ruled. The change in rulers would not be akin to a foreign occupation as we would currently understand it. By the time of Napoleon, however, it was beginning to be a little different. People had started to develop a national consciousness. The national genos associated itself with a territory of land and aspired to a nation-state polity based on that (often rather generous) sense of territorial entitlement. By 1871, the inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine were quite unhappy at being made German. Nationalism would become the dominant political ideology for the entire twentieth century. The multinational and largely interchangeable feudal ruling class was gone. This was not an unprecedented situation, but it was something that Europe had not faced for since the times of Charlemagne (well, in reality it had, but I’m still in cartoon generalisation mode here, so bear with me).

(more…)

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ACLU Strongly Supports Sensenbrenner-Leahy Bill Reforming NSA Surveillance Authorities
USA Freedom Act Would Limit NSA Spying

October 29, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan reform bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk collection, analysis, and storage of Americans’ electronic communications was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives today. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly supports the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), one of the original authors of the Patriot Act.

“The last five months have proven that the NSA cannot be trusted with the surveillance authorities they have been given by a secret court without the knowledge or approval of the American people,” said Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “The only way to stop the NSA’s collect-it-all mentality is for Congress to pass legislation that prohibits the intelligence community from engaging in the dragnet surveillance of Americans’ communications. The legislation introduced today by Sen. Leahy and Rep. Sensenbrenner is a true reform bill that rejects the false and dangerous notion that privacy and our fundamental freedoms are incompatible with security.”

The bill, The USA FREEDOM Act, would enact the following core reforms to NSA surveillance authorities:

  • It would end the bulk collection of Americans’ records shared with third parties and put reasonable limits on Patriot Act powers targeted at people in the U.S. The new restrictions would apply not only to phone records collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but national security letters and pen registers that have also been abused.
  • It would amend the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to require court orders before the government could use American information collected during foreign intelligence operations.
  • It would increase transparency by allowing communications providers to disclose the number of surveillance orders they receive, mandate the government publish how many people are subject to surveillance orders, and make public significant FISA Court opinions since July 2003.
  • It would create a public advocate that could advise the secret surveillance court in certain cases.

The bill pulls language together from the many House and Senate bills introduced over the last several months by members of both parties.

“The bulk collection of Americans’ phone records is an extraordinary and intrusive power government should not have,” said Richardson. “This legislation rightly shuts the program down and provides additional protections to ensure the government doesn’t engage in the bulk collection of any other records. Proposals described by the Intelligence Committees would only make the current situation worse by entrenching privacy-busting practices. Congress should focus on reforms like Sensenbrenner-Leahy.”

The bicameral legislation has attracted prominent, bipartisan support.

In the Senate, 16 bipartisan cosponsors include Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

In the House, more than 70 bipartisan cosponsors include Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), John Mica (R-Fla.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

The ACLU has also filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ call records. Oral argument has been set for Nov. 1. For more on ACLU vs. Clapper: aclu.org/national-security/aclu-v-clapper-challenge-nsa-mass-phone-call-tracking

More information on the ACLU’s work rolling back NSA spying can be accessed at:
aclu.org/time-rein-surveillance-state-0

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No Justice No Peace: California’s Battle Against Police Brutality & Racist Violence

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  • [Jennifer Epps, who usually gets to the movies a lot quicker than me, also has a review.]

The East has come out on DVD this past week, and home is likely to be the place most people will see it.  The film is a mixed bag, some interesting ideas about corporate power and abuse, but ultimately it suffers from a plodding pace and predictability.

Brit Marling’s previous film, The Sound of My Voice, also rambled along at a snail’s pace, and it begs the question if she and her partners in crime are not putting enough plot in to fill up a full-length feature film.  It seems The East was better thought out than Voice, but I still felt constrained by budget and limited locations for the middle section of the movie.  They linger far too long at an abandoned, ruined house, and it tries your patience.

What’s more, and probably the true deal breaker, The East group never really sold me that it was genuine.  This anarchist cult seemed more like Hollywood’s version of a rebel movement, and a lot of obligatory moments and forced on the nose dialogue kept me at arm’s length.  Wearing your movement on your sleeve is a sign of bad writing, lacking subtext, and the film seemed to veer this way and that, but kept taking me out of the story with forced bits of dialogue.

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The major “jam,” targeting one of the member’s fathers, also felt so contrived and given short shrift that it sunk the film at the moment things should have escalated to the next level up.  That sequence failed, and it felt like not enough thought had been put into the entire film.  As Kirsten said, “It fizzled at the end.”

Not sure the end is where it fizzled, but yes there is an anti-climactic wrap-up that should have been staged better.  The larger ideas clicked at the ending, but the execution not so much.

The East could have been a much grittier, more raw tour de force, and it probably should have been.  Instead there is a cleanliness, a neat pat style that works against the film.  It far too easily mingles at luxury parties and corporate headquarters.  That was one of the film’s points, but it tainted the rest of the movie, which lacked realism and authenticity.  I never bought, for a second, that I was watching anything other than actors reading lines.

Take from that what you will.  The East, a victim of its own slick production and budget, perhaps amounting to anarcho-exploitation rather than any meaningful examination of corporate crimes against humanity.

Rape Revenge Horror Films

Posted: October 15, 2013 in -
Tags: , , ,

Indiewire:

Woman Seeks Revenge: What’s the Purpose of the Rape/Revenge Horror Film?

I’m not a fan of revenge stories, particularly horror torture porn revenge stories.  Yuk.  I did see I Spit on Your Grave many years ago, and so what the article says about it resonated.

It also inspired new ideas on how to portray this situation without exploiting it.