Archive for February, 2013

All-American Babe Who Didn’t Torture Anybody Wins OscarJennifer_Lawrence_35972

 

One more waterboarding for Bigelow and Boal. Glenn Greenwald, who always keeps his razor sharp, gives a needed fuck you to the bootlicking film critics who ignore morality, ethics and propaganda, even when it’s right in their faces.

Zero Dark Thirty, the CIA and film critics have a very bad evening

The stigma attached to the pro-torture CIA propaganda vehicle, beloved by film critics, results in Oscar humiliation

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By Dennis Loo 

During Jack Nicholson’s announcing the Best Picture Oscar last night he brought in direct from the White House First Lady Michelle Obama as his co-presenter to announce the winner. Flanked by men and women in full military dress complete with awards regalia, Michelle congratulated Hollywood for its work.

Behind Michelle we don’t see a group of actors, creative types, children, regular Americans or even distinguished civilian Americans. This isn’t a Veteran’s Day broadcast either. This is the Academy Awards, the principle awards show for films.

In helping to introduce the 2013 Best Picture, the First Lady looks like she’s about to announce the Medal of Honor or the Distinguished Cross.

This tableau isn’t so inappropriate after all, for when she opens the envelope, the winner is (drum roll please): Argo! A film that depicts the Iranian Revolution through the eyes of the CIA, the people who brought the tyrant Shah to power in Iran through a coup in 1953, overthrowing the extremely popular Mossadegh who tried to nationalize the oil fields (which sealed his doom from the perspective of Big Oil and the U.S. Empire). The CIA provided torture instruction and equipment to the Shah for decades so that he could torture and kill his opponents in Iran (his opponents being the vast majority of the people). The 1979 Iranian Revolution drove him and the U.S. and the CIA out. As one of the film’s producers, Grant Heslov, says in a half an hour “The Making of Argo” piece: he’s proud of the film because it humanizes the CIA and makes us proud of them.

So Michelle Obama’s chosen backdrop of a military entourage does make sense after all in this season of all things military and secret agents/special ops. It’s just jarring to see it if you’re not completely seduced by the Military Security State.

***

I was very pleased to see that Zero Dark Thirty, despite being touted heavily by major movie critics upon its release a few months ago as the best film of the year which they said would sweep multiple awards at the Oscars, including Best Picture, was shunned by Hollywood, garnering only one Oscar, a tie for sound editing with the James Bond flick “Skyfall.”

A funny thing happened on the way to the podium for the makers of ZDT: people smelled a rat and wrote about it. This was something that took some time to build because as late as the Golden Globes, the biggest pre-Academy Awards show whose winners frequently predict the Oscar winners, Jessica Chastain (who played Maya the CIA torturer/killer in ZDT) won the Golden Globes’ Best Actress.

The shunning of this film that revels in torture came about clearly because of the stinging criticism and protests against it by a number of writers and activists, including notably actors such as David Clennon and Ed Asner, columnist Glenn Greenwald, director Alex Gibney, Jane Mayer, and others including myself, and World Can’t Wait which, among other things, staged a sarcastic first annual Leni Riefenstahl Award by the Committee for Sanitizing Crimes Against Humanity in Film outside of the Oscars yesterday, which I was pleased to join as, playing against type, John Yoo, to give out the First Annual Leni. Actor David Clennon, whose work in breaking ranks in Hollywood publicly condemning the film for its immoral endorsement of torture, played a signal role, joined and helped to make this counter-awards’ event.

We had trouble finding a place to do our performance piece, however, as a wide swath of the areas around the Hollywood and Highland area where the Oscars were happening were closed down to traffic and the foot traffic severely restricted by the police, another example of the Military Security State exercising its muscle to make sure that the spectacle occurred without the public having more than a glancing opportunity to be physically present or even very proximal physically.

Bigelow and her co-writer Marc Boal did not help their cause when criticisms of their docu – propaganda (docu-ganda?) piece were aired. Bigelow and Boal purposefully mischaracterized their critics as attempting to censor their film and mischaracterized what was in their film, as if people couldn’t recognize these misstatements after seeing the films for themselves. In this case it wasn’t Hollywood itself that pressed the attack on ZDT but mostly political writers. Hollywood, however, responded to that and it’s a good thing.

In a related matter, The New York Times is reporting today in its top story that the Afghan government has banned U.S. forces from operating in Maidan Wardak Province. Maidan Wardak is southwest of Kabul and is “the American military’s main source of offensive firepower from the area.” It is also a staging area for Taliban attacks. The reason for the ban from the Karzai government, a puppet of the U.S.? Fury among Afghans for the U.S. Special Forces torturing and killing villagers.

Our Special Forces? Our military? The kind of people that First Lady Michelle Obama surrounded herself with during the Academy Awards announcing the Best Picture?

By announcing the ban, the government signaled its willingness to take a far harder line against abuses linked to foreign troops than it has in the past. The action also reflected a deep distrust of international forces that is now widespread in Afghanistan, and the view held by many Afghans, President Hamid Karzai among them, that the coalition shares responsibility with the Taliban for the violence that continues to afflict the country.

Afghan officials said the measure was taken as a last resort. They said they had tried for weeks to get the coalition to cooperate with an investigation into claims that civilians had been killed, abducted or tortured by Afghans working for American Special Operations forces in Maidan Wardak. But the coalition was not responsive, they said.

The provincial government in Maidan Wardak expressed support for the ban. “There have been lots of complaints from the local people about misconduct, mistreatment, beating, taking away, torturing and killing of civilians by Special Forces and their Afghan associates,” said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial government.

He cited a raid on a village on Feb. 13, when American troops and Afghans working with them detained a veterinary student. “His dead body was found three days later in the area under a bridge,” Mr. Khogyani said, prompting protests against foreigners.

Mr. Faizi said that villagers in Maidan Wardak had reported a number of similar episodes in recent months, including the disappearance of nine men in a single raid. “People from the province, elders from villages, have come to Kabul so many times, and they have brought photographs and videos of their family members who have been tortured,” he said.

So while Hollywood both rejects and accepts the CIA’s preferred view of itself, the fact of U.S. military and CIA activities are emblazoned on the front pages of The New York Times again. Efforts to combat falsified history and the promotion of crimes as heroism and patriotism made and make a difference, as evidenced by Hollywood’s shunning of the pre-Academy Awards favorite in ZDT. Much more, however, must be done.

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Can Argo’s Best Picture Win Stop War with Iran?

by Ruth Hull

On February 24, 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has thrown down the Gauntlet to Congress, the President, the corporate oil vultures and the Military Industrial Complex by presenting the Best Picture Award to Argo, a movie showing that peace is the way to save lives in response to an act of war.


 

On November 4, 1979, Iranian students stormed the American Embassy in Tehran and took Americans hostage. This was a violation of U.S. Sovereignty. America was attacked where it was supposed to be secure under international law. But Jimmy Carter refused to take up the sword. Instead, he took up the dove and got everyone home, alive and safe.

The takeover of the American Embassy was effectively an act of war – unlike any current actions of Iran involving the United States or its citizens. Iran has not taken over any of our embassies since 1979. It has committed no acts of war against the United States. Its peaceful nuclear energy plan (albeit an unhealthy and unsafe energy plan) is peaceful.  In fact, if asked their opinion, most Americans living near nuclear power plants would gladly encourage the U.S Government to dig up and ship all 104 of our operational nuclear reactors to Iran as a belated Christmas present. I live near San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and Californians have been trying to get rid of that plant for decades as it is the most unsafe reactor in America.

In 2013, Congress has been besieged with lies about Iran by hawks, eager to attack the country with the fourth largest oil reserves in the world, after “Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada.”  Congressional warmongers are eager for war.

In the face of all this genocidal drive towards another future wasteland of dead babies and innocent civilians as a ritual sacrifice to the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences has boldly stood up and reminded the blood-thirsty Congressional and Executive Branch hawks of the success of Jimmy Carter’s path towards peace.

As shown in Argo, while peace saved lives in 1979 and 1980, it did not save Jimmy Carter’s Presidency. Heroically, he put the lives of others before his own career. He could have taken credit for the rescue of six American from the Canadian Ambassador’s home instead of letting the Canadians have the credit. However, that would have risked Canadian lives in Iran. Carter was not about to risk lives to save his Presidency.

Also clear from the movie was the attempted undermining of Carter’s peace plan by a shadow government with ties to the Pentagon. Movie goers see that Tony Mendez, the CIA rescuer who conceived and carried out the plan for the Argo rescue, actually had to go against CIA superiors in order for the plan to succeed. If he had listened to his CIA bosses, the six Americans would have been captured and they and the Canadian diplomats could have been killed. This betrayal by the intelligence community is no surprise as a helicopter rescue plan was sabotaged by people in the Military Industrial Complex working against Carter and the hostages. The helicopter rescue idea was ridiculous, given the terrain and weather conditions in Iran. The military advisors had to know the helicopter plan would fail and embarrass the President even as they were working to sell the plan as a likely success scenario. Going against his bosses, Argo’s Mendez proved that he was one CIA officer who cared more about saving lives than about bringing down a President.

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Abby-Martin

Mainstream Still Silent on NDAA Trial of the Century

 

Poisoning WA With Radioactive Waste,
Oscars / Propaganda,
TPP Threat to National Sovereignty and Rights,
Cindy Sheehan’s Tour de Peace

 

One of the most powerful segments of radio you will ever hear in your life:

MP3 – The Man Who Stopped the My Lai Massacre

No big Hollywood movie has been made about one of the most defining moments of the Vietnam War, the My Lai massacre.  Helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson was the man who represented the United States of America that day, as barbaric monsters executed babies, children, women, the elderly, in a genocidal rampage that killed over 500 defenseless villagers.

Book also available on Amazon:

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Credit to Jon Wiener of KPFK (website) for going back to the archives and reposting this historically crucial interview.

MP3 Mirror Site

 

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The premeditated hit on Dorner, as described by the two women’s lawyer. The women were inside the truck pictured above:

Jonas [lawyer for the two women] told The Times that the police officers gave “no commands, no instructions and no opportunity to surrender” before opening fire. He described a terrifying encounter in which the pair were in the early part of their delivery route through several South Bay communities.

Hernandez was in the back seat handing papers to her daughter, who was driving….

Jonas estimated that the officers fired between 20 and 30 rounds. Photographsof the back of the truck showed at least two dozen bullet holes. Neighbors, however, suggested there were more shots fired. The street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs.

Hunting Humans in California

by PETER LEE

We know beyond any reasonable doubt that the San Bernadino police deliberately burned Dorner alive in the cabin. Should you be concerned that police throughout Southern California across multiple jurisdictions are acting as unaccountable death squads?

And of course Christopher Dorner was fired specifically for blowing the whistle against fellow officers abusing suspects. His Manifesto.
 

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Now it’s serious. Obama and this kakistocracy have squandered untold TRILLIONS on wars against nations that didn’t do anything to us, in the pursuit of global domination. Further, untold TRILLIONS have been printed and given to Wall Street Banksters so that when they bet trillions and lose, there are no penalties for them, these “masters of the universe.”

You do understand that one trillion = 1,000 billion dollars?

Ah, but who will pay the bill?

Austerity is an all out class war on you by the aristocratic ghouls who run Amerika. Heads they win, tails you lose. This is not a representative democracy, but an out of control empire, and the bills are officially due. Consider this the real world price tag for criminal ignorance and immoral apathy:

…here’s a short list of some of the massive, national bi-partisan-created austerity cuts, according to the New York Times:

-600,000 food stamp recipients will be cut from the program

-Massive education cuts. According to President Obama:

“Once these cuts take effect thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. ”

-12 billion in Medicare cuts (more to come after 2013)

-Millions receiving unemployment will see their checks cut by 11% (an average of 132 a month)

-Federal funds to state governments will be cut, creating even more deficits for states and municipalities, and thus more localized cuts (the states have already made austerity cuts of $337 billion
!)

Also, 700,000 jobs are expected to be loss
, while 70,000 kids are also expected to be kicked off of Head Start

And this is just for 2013.

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According to the White House website
:

-$130 billion in “savings” [cuts] to Social Security, by implementing a “superlative CPI.”

-$35 billion in “savings” [cuts] to the retirement of federal employees.

– $400 billion in health care “savings” [cuts], much of it Medicare cuts.

Obama cynically fails to mention the words Social Security or Medicare in the above plan, choosing instead to write in code (“superlative Consumer Price Index”).

 

Austerity USA Begins March 1st: Bipartisan Project to Impoverish the American People

By Shamus Cooke