Posts Tagged ‘torture’

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“In Frank Miller’s influential 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns, Batman drags an unconscious perpetrator up to a rooftop, and hangs him upside down with his eyes covered. When the bad guy wakes up, Batman begins to question him, and then uncovers the guy’s eyes. Hundreds of feet above the city, the bad guy starts to scream in terror, prompting our hero to ruminate smugly about how much fun he’s having.

Last year, in the film Olympus Has Fallen, the American agent played by Gerard Butler stabbed a North Korean bad guy in the knee to get him to talk. The audience at the preview I attended cheered enthusiastically.”

Torture Is Good

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UN Blast of U.S. Human Rights Record Goes Mostly Unnoticed

 

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Awesome satire from the annals of British deviance, found by Dangerous Minds.

 

 

 

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Indeed one of the most unnecessary remakes of all time, this one has five times the ammunition with much less of the cinematic punch.

I could grind my teeth over getting there early and being subject to advertiser cliches and Hollywhore bimbos hawking TV shows, Coca Cola, cell phones and the rest of the corporate mindless culture we all know and despise. But I’m pretty clear where I stand on that, and it may have given me the dose of blinding anger I needed to get on board an anti-corporate crime film.

If only they’d played Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 classic instead, where black comedy is understood, where shots are framed and held for more than two seconds.

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I thought of hating the new Robo, all the choices made that were lesser than the original, particularly his transformation. But, this was a distinctly different take on the world, a man/drone for a more fascistic America, a post-9/11 lobotomized America.

The first problem that tipped me off about the tone deafness was in the opening sequence. We’re supposedly in Tehran, Iran, as part of a right wing propagandist’s TV show. The idea was to push the robot warriors so that America would demand robot police across the land here. Only, when we get to the occupied Iranians, who are they?

They’re generic Hollywood “suicide bombers” from whereveristan. With suicide vests, they launch an attack on the invading ED-209s, and are pretty much wiped out in the process. The reason America’s lethal invader robots are marching through Tehran in the first place is irrelevant. Who the occupied people are is irrelevant. Nothing here is black comedy, and nothing here is done well to rise to the level of actual drama.

Then we’re onto Murphy, the new tough undercover Murphy who’s out on a limb, a loose cannon, a hot headed son of a bitch with a badge dodging 8,000 assault rifle rounds with ease. Someone should have told them that each bullet fired diminishes the impact of the one before. Here the bullets are nothing more than light shows, flickering props.

But onto RoboMurphy. The difference here is with the doctor assigned to the Robocop development project. Now we have a doc who’s essentially the protagonist and Murphy his Frankenstein’s monster. An odd choice, but the relationship between Robo and his support team is perhaps more feasible than in the original. How long could a few slabs of meat remain alive without intensive care?

Also Murphy’s wife gets more lines. But is she going to become a generic damsel by film’s end? How could she not?

I had a serious problem with Robo torturing suspects as some kind of routine now. There’s a lot of fascist imagery, but not all of it intentional it seems. Now, I do recall a scene in Robocop 2 where Murphy beats up a dirty cop who sold out the police and set them up for assassination. That was an uncomfortable scene, and perhaps I’m in the minority pulling that one out for mention. Here we live in the cops as torturers world. Torture doesn’t merit a second thought. The idea of selling torture to young people, but hiding behind a PG-13 rating, like this is an acceptable version of violence, really irks me.

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We’re at a point where our society is slipping into medieval barbarism, more and more each year. In the original Robocop, Murphy was meticulous about responding to situations with only the appropriate level of force. Here, I don’t think this was as big a concern. It isn’t so much about the law, morality, what is justified or any of those concerns. It’s more about which action sequences look cool with half a million bullets flying for almost no reason – a video game. Video games have corrupted drama, and that’s how they did it. They replaced mindless shooting for meaning and character development.

We get a last opportunity to rewrite the Tehran / foreign policy question at the very end. I can’t see the redneck slobs in my theater actually getting it though. Maybe I’m underestimating someone. That’s possible. It’s a sticky situation, calling out US foreign policy and global bullying, to Americans.  It seems they wanted to try and please everyone, for marketing’s sake — for Mammon’s sake — and ended up pleasing no one.

3/5

California Prisons

 

More failed policies turning America into a bankrupt police state…

 

 

 

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McClatchy includes lots of almost humorous language to the effect ‘mistakes were made.’  This ridiculous excuse accompanies every instance of US government conspiracy and malfeasance.  For some reason the terms “error” and “mistake” serve to distract the public sufficiently such that “felony” and “war crime” never make it to print.  US personnel are only capable of making errors, never willfully committing crimes.  It’s through the looking glass imperial dogma.

Senate panel finds CIA illegally interrogated terror suspects after 9-11

 — CIA officers subjected some terrorism suspects the agency held after the Sept. 11 attacks to interrogation methods that were not approved by either the Justice Department or their own headquarters and illegally detained 26 of the 119 in CIA custody, the Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded in its still-secret report,McClatchy has learned…

 

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Washington Post:

CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says

Here is my response to the WP’s imperial weasel wording:

Translated to eliminate propaganda…

“CIA Conspiracy to Lie to Congress in Torture Cover-Up”

The Central Intelligence Agency has been caught in numerous felony violations in its ongoing cover-up of war crimes throughout the 2000s. President Obama continues to protect official torturers, and the agency has stonewalled the Senate Select Oversight Committee, a normally compliant co-conspirator. Torture has degraded the image of America around the world and many nations justifiably question America’s claims to democracy, freedom and even civilization and the rule of law.

Secretive, lawless agencies that torture with impunity are a clear and present danger to the republic, and this Constitutional crisis deserves full investigation and public action.

In the cse of Zubaydah, he provided evidence that he was working for Saudi state intelligence prior to his torture (or possibly afterward / competing accounts). This Saudi complicity in his actions was soon eliminated from the story after repeated torture leading critics to question if the purpose of the torture was to produce false testimony (videotapes of this Saudi link with phone numbers of three Saudi princes divulged by Zubaydah were destroyed illegally by CIA).

Further Saudi intelligence links to the September 11th attacks remain covered up by CIA and the administrations of George W. Bush as well as Barack Obama. Senator Bob Graham’s investigation into the San Diego hijacker cell showed clear Saudi Arabian material support to the hijackers. Further support in Sarasota Florida links the Saudi regime, an undemocratic monarchy, to the named 9/11 hijackers. These facts and the FBI investigations surrounding them remain redacted and somewhat hidden from public view. Such “aid and comfort” to the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks meets the Constitutional definition of “Treason.”

BUT-WAIT

The Miami Herald:

Citing broad public interest, newspapers ask judge to deny bid to block 9/11 lawsuit
I suppose there are still brain dead ignorant Americans who have no clue that they are living in a police state.  Perhaps with racist blinders they assume that abuses will only be directed at outsiders, people unlike themselves.  That is, of course, how fascism succeeds.  The government fosters the concept of in-groups and out-groups: scapegoats.  The scapegoats allow them to remove restrictions on government power.  This is how the Nazis came to power and other fascists.  It’s an old script, which shouldn’t work except for the profound ignorance of the public.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

 

Hey that’s what I’ve been saying since the 90s.  Anyone remember “CARNIVORE?”  I guess it’s not a problem until these corrupt assholes are personally targeted.

Reid Orders Probe of CIA Spying, Warns of ‘Intelligence Community Run Amok’

 

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The US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison.

Seymour Hersh, one of America’s all-time most respected investigative journalists, addressed the ACLU in 2004:

“Some of the worst things that happened that you don’t know about. OK? Videos. There are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at [Abu Ghraib], which is about 30 miles from Baghdad — 30 kilometers, maybe, just 20 miles, I’m not sure whether it’s — anyway. The women were passing messages out saying please come and kill me because of what’s happened. And basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking. That your government has, and they’re in total terror it’s going to come out. It’s impossible to say to yourself, how did we get there, who are we, who are these people that sent us there.”

Now you can understand why the CIA spies on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  Now you can understand why their year long comprehensive torture investigation and report remains top secret.  Now you can understand the motivations and the utter depravity of these Caligulas operating in the shadows with impunity.

More:

The “Big Secret” Behind the CIA Spying on the Congress: America’s “Rogue Government” Controlled by US Intelligence
Senator: Government Used Communist Torture Techniques Aimed at Extracting FALSE Confessions

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Senators Outraged CIA May Have Spied on Intelligence Committee

Note that this is completely separate and a different matter than the NSA electronic wiretapping of the same congress.

“These allegations have serious constitutional implications that go to the heart of the separation of powers, and I intend to monitor the situation closely,” Leahy said.

CIA head Brennan threatens the Intelligence Committee!

CIA and senators in bitter dispute over Capitol Hill spying claims

“John Brennan, the director of the CIA, said the claims by members of the Senate intelligence committee were “spurious” and “wholly unsupported by the facts”, and went as far as suggesting the committee itself may have been guilty of wrongdoing.”

That’s fascism on display.  The secret bowels of state power are unaccountable and will remain so.  Calling them to task, as with the torture felonies, will bring retribution.

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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